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LJ Interests Mem

Peter Rabbit
roseleaf chose these items from my list of interests. I will happily choose from your list for things for you to talk about, if you let me know in the comments you want me to.

Beading
Like roseleaf, a lot of my interests are from years ago. I was, at one point, very into beaded jewelry. I loved making things both for myself and for friends. I've been away from this for a long time, well before my office got torn apart. When I lived at my townhouse, I had a table set up in the family room so I could do it while I watched tv. Since moving in with Brian, I've shifted 90% of my crafting to crocheting, since it's easiest to do when in a position that doesn't hurt my back. A lot of crafts I moved away from because I couldn't deal with the sitting and bending over, like scrapbooking and sewing on sewing machine. Maybe now that office is returning to order and my back is doing a lot better, thanks to a chiropractor, I can get back to that. I still have all my beads, and since Wyrmling loves playing with some larger wooden ones my mom got her, I think it's a hobby we might start doing together in a couple years.


Brian Froud
He's an artist mainly known for painting fairies and goblins, but he's also the visual concept designer (I guess that's the right term) for "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth." Dark Crystal is my favorite movie, so, when doing research on the movie and buying up every book related to it, I found out about him. He's done some really amazing stuff, like the Pressed Fairy book. I was lucky enough to meet both him and his wife Wendy (who also worked on the movies) a few years ago at a conference. I attended a mask-making workshop with them and the mask bases we used were cast from their son, who played the baby in Labyrinth. So I actually have a mask of the baby from Labyrinth (grown up) in my house.

Camping
It probably comes as a shock to people who know me now (ie, with a luxury cabin), but I used to really, really love camping. I didn't do nearly as much as I'd like, because of timing and finding people to go with, but the times I've gone camping in college were some of the best. I was always disappointed in girl scouts that we almost never slept in tents. I got away from it in my late 20s both because of my back (hm, I'm seeing a theme here! I should have gone to a chiro years ago!) and having a greyhound, which isn't a dog you can take camping and I hated to board her while I went off and had fun in the woods. Which is odd, because that's about the time I started dating Brian and he was REALLY into camping, but to this date, we've only gone on a couple camping trips together. Stlll have all our gear, though, and when Wyrmling gets older we'll definitely be doing some!


Cloisters
The Cloisters in NYC are home to the Unicorn Tapestries. I visited mja700 when she lived in NYC a few years ago and we went there because I'd been working on a book inspired by the tapestries for years. It was amazing! Unicorns have always been an interest of mine (I'm currently re-reading "The Last Unicorn" now that I finally have an ecopy!!!) and seeing those in person was wonderful. There's a big unicorn exhibit in NYC now that I really need to find a way to visit.

Hallowmere
Hallowmere is a series by tltrent . At the time I added that to my interests, her books were just starting to come out, right around the same time that Bronze Dragon Codex was published by the same publisher. We became LJ friends and, oddly, I first met kathleenfoucart on her LJ, rather than at Hollins, where we both were graduate students! We've stayed in touch online over the years and met up a few times. The books are wonderful: dark fairies in Civil War era Virginia. Pity it was canceled, but she's written some other great stuff since then!

Seahorses
I am completely obsessed with seahorses. If I had to pick a spirit animal, it would be a seahorse. I think it actually started from two seahorse decorations on the outside of a house that was very near my aunt's when I was growing up. I ALWAYS had to see that house when we drove by. As I grew up, I was always interested in them. I probably would have wanted to get some to keep in an aquarium, but I was never able to keep a goldfish alive and I knew I'd be heartbroken if they died. The Baltimore Aquarium had an exhibit of seahorses a few years ago and Brian practically had to drag me out of there. Perhaps it's because they're like miniatures seadragons. This actually brings me back to roseleaf because the only downside to our wonderful visit to the Baltimore Aquarium last spring was the lack of seahorses. I know when I was there before it was an exhibit, but seriously? ONE TANK OF THOSE AMAZING CRITTERS AND THAT'S IT?????

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New Blog!

Owl
I decided my website needed an overhaul, so I migrated over to Wordpress. I'll continue to post here a bit, but for more public info about my writing life or, at the moment, updates on my office renovation, go here.

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Tapestry Threads
My agent is currently reviewing my manuscript. That still sounds weird for me to say. Her changes were VERY minor (I'm still stunned at how little she wanted to change and how easy what she did want me to change was to do!), but I have a couple ideas that, while very easy to implement, could have a big impact on the book. Haven't had a chance to talk with her yet, but I thought I'd see what people had to say. The first is changing the book's title and the second is changing the name of a major, albeit silent (not her fault, she's a dog!), character. Anyone can vote with their gut reaction to the title and character name. If you vote for something else, please leave your idea in the comment section. Thanks!

Poll #1896920 WIP Opinions
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 4

Title?

View Answers
"Tapestry Threads"
1 (25.0%)
"Thread"
1 (25.0%)
Something else
2 (50.0%)

Dog's Name?

View Answers
"White Rose"
1 (25.0%)
"Thread"
2 (50.0%)
Something Else
1 (25.0%)

Announcement!

Tapestry Threads
I can finally go public with this as of last week! I now am represented by The Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency! I found out that they were looking for children's writers via an email from the head of the Children's Lit program at Hollins. I hadn't been sending "Tapestry Threads" out for a long time, mainly because it had gotten so many rejections (I need to do an exact count of my submission spreadsheet, as a lot of lines are requests for partials, requests for full, etc, but by my estimates it has at least 50 and maybe as many as 70) that I thought I needed to do some overhauling. I'd gotten so many "like it, lot of good things here, just don't love it" rejections, though, that I thought it was still in submittable form. Well, this last submission was the one! I heard back within a month (which is impressive under any circumstances, but this was also right after Hurricane Sandy hit!) that the agent wanted to talk with me on the phone. This is difficult to schedule, as I can't do phone calls with Wyrmling around and she doesn't have a regular nap schedule, but we managed to make contact on November 20th and they offered to represent me! I'm still having trouble believing this is real.

Reason it took me so long to publicly announce was it took me until January to get a contract. They got me started on revisions (which weren't that extensive at all; I at first was a bit daunted when they suggested getting them done by Jan 1, but once I looked at what they wanted, it wasn't that hard at all and only required adding two scenes and re-writing the ending), but I still didn't have a contract. I hated to bug them, so I didn't mention anything about it until I sent them the revisions just after Christmas. Well, turns out they either HAD sent it and it got lost in the mail, or someone thought someone else had sent it. Either way, they thought I had it. That's now straightened out, I received and sent it back last week, and I can now officially announce my representation!

This still doesn't seem real. I believed in this manuscript so much, but it really seemed like something just wasn't clicking and I was going to have to do a major re-write. But knowing that someone, especially someone with 20 years experience, believes in it enough to market it, is a real boost. What's even better, I now have ideas for as many as 6 sequels and companion novels, rather than just 2. A comment from the agent lead me to a sequel with one of the characters from "Tapestry," rather than the companion novel I'd been working on and thinking about for a while now. I know that this is not a guarantee of publication, but it did my ego a heck of a lot of good, and got me writing again. That last part is the important part.

So, please, if you believe in a manuscript, don't give up submitting it. You never know who is going to believe in it the same way you do.

It's time to wake up

Tapestry Threads
This post has been bouncing around my head for a few days now, but I'm only just now sitting down to write it. Because I'm procrastinating from writing. But I think this is a good wake up exercise, both for me, and my character.

Elaine? Elaine, it's time to wake up. I know, I know, you've been asleep since 2010. I'm really sorry it's been so long. I've had a little person running around that's been taking a lot of energy, both physical and mental, and I knew it would take a lot of motivation for me to come back to you and your story. But something has happened, something big, that gave me the motivation I need to do one more revision on your story. I won't be doing all the changes I'd thought I'd need to at one point, at least not yet, but there will be more. There will be more of Phillip, and Catherine, and more of you, of course. And hopefully more of companion stories to yours.

A lot has happened since we last spoke. There's a thing called Pinterest now. I won't bore you with the details, but it has allowed me to focus on what you look like. I now picture you as Bryce Dallas Howard in "The Village." I picture Catherine as Amanda Seyfried in "Red Riding Hood." I have some lovely images of the places you frequent. I don't know if this will help me when writing you, but it can't hurt, and it allowed me to at least think of you while not actively writing.

That's all for now. In a moment, I'll go open your file, save under a new number, put on "Track changes." And I'll gently shake your shoulder and say one more time:

It's time to wake up.

To Conference or Not to Conference

Pooh with Balloon
I'm having a serious problem deciding if I should attend my region's SCBWI conference in July. Our region is awesome. Really, really awesome. We have some great speakers this year (although none that I'm seriously ga-ga over; they're great writers, just never happened to write any of my favorite books). The location is great; it's less than half an hour away and we have comfortable chairs (seriously, that is something not all regions have, and with my back, that's a huge thing). We're free that weekend. Seems like a no-brainer.

But.

My house is currently in complete chaos (well, not entire house. My office, hallway, sitting room, and dining room). We've completely emptied my office and it's in boxes completely lining the hall (which has resulted in both my hips being constantly bruised as I bang into things) and making our sitting room into a complete maze of Indiana Jones proportions. My computer is on the dining room table and the bits and pieces of office that I need on a weekly if not daily basis are spread around the room. I don't like this because it not only makes my work intrude in our regular lives, which I really fight to prevent, it also means that Wyrmling associates watching "tv" (Muppets or Pixar or Sesame Street other things like that on YouTube or DVD or Netflix) with the dining room table, which is NOT what we want to do. But I sometimes have to put something on the computer if I'm to get a couple minutes of work done.

Right now, the office is 85% stripped of wallpaper. I'm hoping to finish that this weekend, if not before, and then Brian can start prepping the walls for painting. Our time for work is really limited, since we can only manage it during the weekends and we have a ton of stuff schedule this summer. Over the next two months, we only have 4 weekends at home, and many of those weekends have something one evening or another. For that reason, I'm giving serious thought to not going to SCBWI.

It feels wrong not to go. But the fact is, I'm not producing anything these days, so I wouldn't do a manuscript critique. The past few just kind of got me down because all I get is feedback that I don't have time to address. It just seems like a waste of my time and money. I'm also counting my "spoons" much more closely these days (if you don't know the spoon theory of chronic illness/disability, I highly recommend reading it!). Conferences have been known to throw my back out, and with Wyrmling I can't just lay around for a couple days unless Brian takes time off work. Also, if my back goes out, I, of course, can't do any work on my office or watch Wyrmling while Brian does work.

Sigh. I guess I've answered my own question. But like I said, it just feels wrong not to go. But I'm going crazy with my house like this and not being able to have a space to work. Once the office is done, it will be child proofed, so Wyrmling can at least be in there with me, but she can't climb up and get to things. I can also shut the door on work, which I've found I really need to maintain sanity. I guess it's damn the conferences, full speed a head on the office!

Blowing away cobwebs for some luck!

Owl
The ever lovely kathleenfoucart has tagged me in the Lucky 7 game because she knows I've been writing again. While I wish I could post something from what I'm doing currently, it's a work-for-hire and I'm worried it might be bad luck for me to post from it! So here's something from School Spirits.

So here are the rules (copied from Katie):

Open your most recent novel or work-in-progress.
Turn to page 7 or page 77.
Count 7 lines down.
Copy (or read aloud in a vlog post) the next 7 sentences…in their entirety.
No cheating or editing!!!
Then tag 7 more authors!

“I think so. I told Coach Bickle and Mrs. Abernathy, but don’t know if they’re going to do this. They seem too wrapped up in their families at the moment.”

“Understandable,” I say. “I’m Rio.”

“Hannah. I’m with, well, I was with the band.” Hanna holds up the instrument case as though I thought she was the school star poker player. “You’re the one whose Mom is trying to ruin our families.”


Tagged! You might have to go on Facebook for some of these:

melissajoyadams
stregamomma
roseleaf
chaz_lehmann
annemariepace
laurabowers
loisszy

Good heavens! A post!

LittleHouse
This blog has really been neglected lately. I won't make any promise about writing more often, because with the Wyrmling and a full-time job, all bets are off. But I had a particularly wonderful weekend that I wanted to write about.

Back in September we fulfilled a lifelong dream of both the hubby's and mine and purchased land and a cabin in West Virginia. We've gone up a handful of times and hope to go up at least once a month now that the weather's getting nice. We've brought almost everything from the house that we've been saving for the cabin (like I said, this has been a lifelong dream, and since both hubby and I had full households when we married, we had a lot of furniture and household items to take up). We were down to two large pieces: an entertainment center that I'd had in my old townhouse that I particularly liked and a changing table that hubby built years ago for his nephew, who's now 19, and was given back to us when we had Wyrmling. Both of these pieces are pretty large and pretty solid. We found some suckers recruited some wonderful people to help us move them. Here's where wackiness ensues.

Getting them into our truck wasn't too bad. Our wonderful neighbor came over and he and hubby managed to cram them into the truck. We did that Thursday night, then left here Friday evening after hubby got back from work to drive to WV. We're still trying to figure out a good time to drive with Wyrmling. During afternoon nap time? Close to bed time? Doesn't seem to matter, as she sleeps horribly anyway. But at least we're getting used to that.

Now. We still have no phone at the cabin, even though hubby first contacted the phone company back in October. Now, hubby's background is network engineering which has, over the years, meant he's run a lot of phone cable. A lot. So when I say this job would take about a day tops, I am getting that from a good authority. So, we went to the cabin one weekend and the phone line had been run to the property, but was coiled on a pole. Next time we went, the coil was gone and it was in a box, but it wasn't run to the house. This past weekend, we realized that it had finally been run to the house. We'd had no phone calls and no messages with updates, just saw that it was run to the house on Saturday morning. This meant hubby could now wire the house for phone and we could make calls without running up the hill from the cabin to get a good cell signal (not bad when the weather's nice, but sucky in December).

Peachy! However, my cousins had agreed to move the furniture Saturday morning. Another cousin knew the phone guy and was told that we had service. So, my entire family heard at Saturday breakfast (which we can't make because of Wyrmling's insane sleeping) that we had a phone. So I had two cousins, my aunt, and my mom all trying to reach hubby and me. At one point we managed to get a message that they were on their way over, so we decided to just drive down the mountain and hopefully meet them. This is not as odd as it sounds when you know that my husband has a very big, very red truck that can be spotted miles away. As candice_ransom once said, all the red in the world is in that truck.

So we drive down the mountain. When we get to the bottom our emails download to our phones. We both have one saying "We're at the gate." What? We just drove by the gate (note, the gate is locked, so people can't just drive up. That is one of the very few things I don't like about the property; I'd love for people to drop by)! There's no place to miss anyone! Further emails with my mom reveal that they're at a property they own by the river. We finally meet them and they follow us to the cabin.

Then we get to the cabin. There are my two cousins, my one cousin's two daughters, age 5 and 3, our dog, and my cousin's dog. CHAOS! Although I now understand why roseleaf says that more kids are less work than one, because they entertain each other. I watched the kids play (I do so love that Wyrmling has so many cousins close in age and geography!) while hubby and my cousins move the furniture. Both pieces had to go upstairs, of course. It was much amusing, but they eventually got them up there!

Now, back up a bit to Friday evening. We're driving to the cabin and I'm checking Facebook on my phone. I see a post from roseleaf that her husband chaz_lehmann had Saturday off. They are actually slightly closer to the cabin than our house, so I ask her if they want to come for a visit. Much to our delight, she and chaz leapt at the invitation and agreed to meet us in town Saturday at noon! We did just that (fortunately they did not need to get in touch with us so the lack of phone was not an issue) and we had a wonderful day relaxing at the cabin, taking a short hike, and eating at a wonderful restaurant close to the cabin. Although I've been visiting the area my entire life, I've never eaten there, and we were all pleasantly surprised. It was, bar none, the best dining experience we'd had with kids. Two high chairs were available, the waitress asked if we wanted the kids' food brought out before ours, did we need extra spoons, etc, etc. The food was awesome too, and I can't wait to go back!

All in all, Saturday was an amazing day filled with friends and family. The rest of the weekend we did work around the cabin and tried to figure out how to repel an unwanted guest. There's at least one mouse running around the cabin and we're trying to figure out a way to deal with it that doesn't involve poison (because of Wyrmling and Lucy) or trapping a dead mouse in a place we only visit every month. Hmmmm....
Wyrm_YWH_Cry
Wrote this post a few days ago, but LJ was being wonky. Trying again!

Wyrmling is not a good sleeper these days. While I really shouldn't complain, especially since I have a friend whose 6 week old will only sleep 20 minutes at a time, we were spoiled by her sleeping through the night from about 4 months to 6-7 months. Then she started waking up once or twice during the night, now it's been every 2-3 hours over the past week. Last night MIGHT have been a bit better, except....

I'm woken by my husband nudging me around 4 AM. He's saying something to me and I can't figure out what. Then I realize I'm hearing music. Pirate music. The Corsairs, to be specific. Singing Maggie May, to be more specific.

Wyrmling's ipod clock radio, which I put in her room, ironically, to play lullabies to help her sleep, TURNED ON BY ITSELF AT 4 FRIGGEN AM! We think that she turned on the alarm when she was fiddling with the clock that evening, or maybe it was the spirit of Steve Jobs come to wreak vengeance on an Apple-hating household (seriously, my husband and I despise Apple products, other than the ipod, which is just ok).

So. Wyrmling is still asleep. The Corsairs are still singing. They are an a cappella group, so when my husband first heard them over the monitor he thought there was someone talking in her room. He sleeps horribly under the best of conditions and has been going on about 2 hours of sleep every night this week, so the fact that he was awoken by this is just heartbreaking. I know that there's a ton of other music on the ipod, some of which she won't sleep through as well. So I sneak into her room. Very very quietly. I turn off the clock radio. Very very quietly. I turn the volume all the way down just in case. Very very quietly. She's still asleep. I quickly and quietly step out of her room, through the doorway, close the door behind me.

WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sob!!!! (that was from me)

Take Wyrmling back to our room for nursing, which these days is the only way we can get her to sleep (if you have suggestions that don't involve "cry it out," we'd love to hear them!). Get her back to sleep. I don't remember if she went back to her crib with no fuss after that, or if we had to let her settle down with us before moving her to her crib. It's kind of a blur. Especially since I'm very, very tired today, since she only had a one hour nap. I know she will eventually drop her afternoon nap altogether, but I'd hope she'd start sleeping through the night before then.

Fast forward a couple days. She didn't go to sleep until 1:30 last night, but she did sleep 7 straight hours! She was exhausted, but maybe this is a sign of improvements to come!

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I need a permission slip

Wyrm_YWH_Cry
I'm very guilt-prone when it comes to writing. I saw a good quote not long ago, can't remember who it was from, that said that "Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel like I should be doing anything else." These days, every time I do something, I feel like I should be writing.

Now, given my life the past year, I would think that I deserve a permission slip to stop writing for XXX amount of time. New baby? Check. Death of parent? Check. Serious illness of parent in law? Check. Having to put writing, and other interests, aside when having a child seems to be accepted as a postponement of writing. So why do I feel like I'm a slacker for not writing?

All I know is, I just can't write right now. In addition to taking care of a very active toddler, I also run a buisness (see death of parent). While I can do that from home, it is very difficult to get work time in during the day since she cries whenever I work on my computer. I'm serious. I thought it was because she didn't like being in her play area in my office, but when we were in a cabin in West Virginia a couple weeks ago, unless someone else was there to entertain her, she just got fussy every time I tried to do some computer work. It isn't like I am playing with her all the time, either. She lets me read and crochet and sometimes type on the keyboard on my phone (which is how I'm able to do this blog post. I do manage some work emails, but can't do accounting, drawings, invoicing, banking, etc, from here. I wish I could write from here, but when I'm keeping an eye on a toddler, I just can't focus enough to fall into a story. Especially when she's prone to coming over and grabbing at the keyboard, like she is doing now).

Now, in case anyone who wants to offer me a contract, I can manage to get things done...if there's a deadline. But for self-imposed deadlines, revisions, first drafts, of stories just for me...not happening.

So do I get a permision slip? Maybe until she's in preschool? I don't think it will make the guilt go away entirely, but maybe it would help.

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