Friday, February 26, 2010

The Power Cords Are Taking Over

Hard to believe this was two weeks ago. The ground is still covered in snow but something along the lines of six inches rather than 32. I'm okay with that.

Two days ago was the first day since January that all three of my kids were in school all day for a regular school day, so most of my writing has been in my head, thinking, plotting, devising, rewriting. I think a lot was done, but it's so frustrating not to be able to see it on paper.

Today I'm heading out with my oldest daughter to a weekend of all-state choir. While she spends ten hours in rehearsals, I get to settle in with my laptop and try to put words to those snow-days virtual wrangling of this WIP. It's below freezing and winds are topping 60 miles per hour, so I'm hoping to find one of those big leather chairs next to a fire at Panera's, prop my feet up on the hearth, and drink some coffee, breath in the aroma of fresh bread, and write. A little slice of heaven.

Packing has gotten a bit weird though. When did packing involve so many electrical outlets? I had to charge the ipod, the Nook, the cell phone, the camera, the video camera, and the laptop. Trying to keep all those cords straight is driving me crazy, too.  Not just packing, but every day. I love the Nook but I hate having to think about whether or not my book is charged enough to keep me reading for a few hours (it almost always is... it lasts forever!).  I'm just thankful that so far, I don't have a toothbrush that needs charging too.

Happy Friday, and I'll be back next week, with hopefully great progress on the book!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why Queries Are Horrible, Gut-Wrenching, Soul-Sucking... and Necessary

(This was originally posted on my crit group's Four Corner's Blog)

I went through the query process. Twice. Well, to be honest, really only once and a half. The first time was a hesitant, put-my-toes-in-the-water type of experience. I only queried a few agents, got a handful of requests which were subsequently turned down, and I quit to write a better book.

The second time I went full out. Every query I received a rejection on, I turned around and sent another. I decided I'd quit after I had a hundred rejections. I didn't.

It became like an addiction. I swore I'd stop. But I couldn't. Which isn't to say it felt good to do it, because rejection like that can suck the hope right out of you. Even when you wake up saying, "Today may be the day," it can come crashing around you into the dark "this is never going to happen to me" as fast as you can click open an email.

You can get wonderful comments from agents about the strength of your voice or the intriguing nature of your plot or the beautiful use of language or the appeal and depth of your character, and in the next breath they say, "But it's not for me."

Or you can get a form rejection with nothing more than a "Sorry."

They hurt just the same. Equally devastating.

People who have gone their entire lives on an emotional even keel can find themselves in a crazy, roller coaster, corkscrewing spiral of ups and downs, hopes and depression, determination and deflation. It can make a person physically ill.

And in the midst of it, no doubt every writer reads something which makes them think, "How in the world did this get published?"

Isn't there a better way to do this?

And yet... and yet I think in some ways the query process is the first and necessary step to prepare you for what lies beyond the agent.

Getting the agent is not the end of the line. It's not rainbows and puppy dogs after you get an agent. There is more rejections and harsh words possible in searching for an editor, and in that editor taking your book to a committee at their publisher, And then there's the public. Reviews. Bloggers. Readers who read, who may not love your baby of a project.

The tough skin, however thinly developed in the query process, is the first layer of a thicker skin you'll need down the line, for when you submit to editors and publishing committees and to reviewers and the public, for when you sit in a bookstore ready to sign books no one wants to buy, for when you face the blank computer screen to start a new book with a new journey ahead that is just as terrifying and breathtaking as the first.

It never ends.

There is always a new chance for rejection.

Queries are horrid, no doubt. But they teach life lessons.

It's American Idol time on TV here in the U.S., and every year starts with the audition process. As three or four judges, most of them qualified on some level in the music business, sit at a table, singer after singer enters the room, just them and the judges, to show their talent. These judges are not the ones who will produce the albums; they are the gate-keepers. These star-hopefuls get one shot - a measley little minute or two to sing one song - maybe not even a whole song - to impress them.

It's a query process.

And during the process there is always a group of people who are told they shouldn't quit their day jobs, or that they just don't have what it takes, or that they chose the wrong song, or that they're good, just not good enough. Sometimes they don't have the right look. Sometimes they don't command attention. Sometimes they just don't have "it." And "it" is something even the judges can't define; they just know it when they see it.

And in those people there are some who rant at the judges, swearing and cursing and making bold prophesies about how they will be someone some day and the judges don't know anything. Seriously, some of these folks go off the deep end with their crying and raging and hysteria.

And I think – every single time – those judges just saved that person from inevitable suicide because if they can't take decent but honest criticism in the quiet of a private room, how in the world are they going to face the Paris Hiltons and TMZs of modern day media? How are they going to deal with the trolls on Amazon who will trash their precious CDs or the booing crowds?

It's brutal out there, dear readers. But it's easier to cope when you've learned along the way that not everyone is going to love your book. That life is not always fair. That sometimes just because your book is fantastic doesn't mean it's going to connect with everyone. That every time you go into a bookstore you reject thousands of books, not because they aren't good stories but because there isn't enough of you to go around; because some just aren't your style or interest; because you love it, but you love the one next to it just a little more.

The query system may not be the perfect way to get a book onto a bookshelf, but it's the way we've got.

If you are on that part of the journey right now, remember this: if it kills your will to write, perhaps you weren't meant for this business after all, and you've saved yourself much pain. And if it doesn't, then let it teach you the sweet and sour of lessons that can only come from experience. Let it add to your thickening skin. Let it spur on your determination. Let it teach you not to take everything in the business personally.

And don't forget, each day, that this day could be the one.

Monday, February 22, 2010


What a fun contest!  It sure cheered up my days, which were mostly overcast and cold!

I considered putting the drawing on video, but that would have involved sneaking my husband's computer again (because my computer is WAY older than built in digital cameras!), and I already had to sneak his Austrian hat (der manhut), and then I passed a mirror and realized it's been three months since my last hair cut, so I opted for the much less fun, less public, and less humiliating pulling the name out of the hat in private.

I did have my son actually pull the piece of paper out so it would be completely unbiased. It seemed anti-climactic since it took so long to put all of your names on those little pieces of paper.

But without further ado....

the winner of my debut book Some Kind of Normal and a handful of bookmarks is....

Corey Schwartz of Thing 1 and Thing 2!!!!


The rest of you... thanks sooooo much for playing along with me!!  It meant so much to me that participated!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Contest and Book Giveaway Friday: Good things

It's Friday. How did that happen?

The kids are finally in school today, although only half day. The roads are finally passable, even my road, which is notoriously icy in the winter.

I missed the contest posting yesterday, which means this is the last chance to enter to win a free copy of my debut book, Some Kind of Normal. I'll end the contest and draw a name sometime on Sunday. The time is random, so best get those entries in sooner rather than later. :)  You can still go back and enter anything you missed earlier if you want to up your chances.

As for today, it's Good Thing Friday. Here are a few of my favorite good things this week:

1. This guy.


Snow plow. Massive truck. Enough said.

2. Books that swallow you whole. You know the kind... the ones where you can't hardly even come up for air because you Must. Finish. It.  This was my guilty pleasure:

All four of them. I'm not going to get into the quality of writing debate that rages about these books. I'm not commenting on how many times Bella and Edward gaze into each others' eyes and how often Edward's cold, icy skin needed to be described. 
I am going to say I could not put the books down. And my family is thankful there were only four of them. And I was thankful I hadn't started them until they were all published. I liked downing them in one big gulp instead of having to read them doled out in smaller chunks.
3. People who appreciate grammar. Sigh. I love me some semi-colons. Oh yes I do. 
4.  Blogs. There are so many good ones out there. I could spend all day reading y'all and never have time to write myself. Sigh. It's so hard. Why must you all be so interesting??

If you want to enter one more time before the contest closes, tell us your favorite blog post you read this week. It's hard, I know. Okay, it doesn't even have to be you favorite. Just one good one. You don't have to leave a link either (I haven't figured out how to do that in the comment section yet without going through the process of tinyurl-ing it, so I don't require that of you!). But just tell me about it. And maybe who wrote it so I can go check it out.

:)  It's Friday, y'all!! Have a great weekend, and I'll see you back on Monday for the winner!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Contest/Give Away Day 3: Some Kind of Awesome!

Some Kind of Awesome was my favorite description of my debut book, Some Kind of Normal. It was so titled by fellow blogger and reviewer, Jessie Oliveros. Kristi, another fellow blogger and reviewer, told me she thought it would make me Some Kind of Profit.

Which led me to realizing how easy it is to turn my title into just about anything relevant to my life!

So here's the extra point possibilities for the book give away contest for today:

Turn my title into something fun and related to your life. You can add up to five for a total of five points.

BONUS: Five extra points if you can turn my title, like Jessie and Kristi did,  into something great about my book. You don't even have to have read it!

I'll start us off:

That was Some Kind of Snowstorm!!  The kids had Some Kind of Snowday off of it. I think I may be going Some Kind of Crazy!

Have at it, and have fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Contest/Give Away Day 2: The Olympics

I love the Olympics. Especially the winter Olympics. My family is ... tolerant.... of my addiction. It's just two weeks, my husband tells my kids. There are other TVs in the house, I tell them all. Yes - I have confiscated the best TV - the big one near the fire and the comfy couches. I cheer. I sometimes yell. I wear red white and blue and cry at the stories they tell of the athletes. I sometimes cry at the commercials.

I love the Olympics. Maybe part of it is the memories from childhood of sitting with my dad all winter watching Wide World of Sports, fascinated with the ski jumper who fell off the ski ramp every single week on the opening scene, a tribute to the Agony of Defeat –

and the slalom skiers who raced on trails with the sounds of their skis cutting through the ice faster than I'd ever gone in a car.

Back in the days when skiing was on TV, even when it wasn't the Olympics. Before snowboarding and moguls and short track skating. Yes, I'm that old.

Now, the only time I get to see those great winter sports is during the Olympics. Once every four years. You bet I'm taking over the TV for two weeks.

More than the sports, though, the Olympics is full of stories. Full of athletes with huge dreams and high hopes. People that have pushed their bodies farther and harder than I will ever even come close to.

And it's really hard to not make writing comparisons.

1. Olympians and writers both start with a dream that seems often impossible.

2. Olympians and writers both face heartache.

3. It takes dedication and determination, especially when the road is hard.


4. Sometimes you feel on top of the world, like everything is falling into place exactly where it should be.

5. Sometimes you feel like you're barely hanging on.


6. Sometimes you have to take risks. The bigger the risk, the bigger the fall... or maybe the bigger the success.

I bet you think the second part of the contest today is making comparisons, but it's not.

The fact is, I always wanted to be in the Olympics. Not in that, Oh I love this sport and I think I'll work my butt off kind of way, but in the sitting on the couch watching thinking, that would be so cool kind of way.

And way back when, I wanted to luge.  You know - the thing where you fling yourself down a tube of ice on a tiny sled and hope to go as fast as possible and arrive at the bottom alive:


Even before the accident this past week, though, I'd decided maybe that wasn't in the best interest of living. You know - not that I had any hope of ever doing it, but in my head I dreamed.
But now I've found another dream to dream.

Snowboarding Cross.  Like a mix between skateboarding, skiing, and Mario Cart Wii. Only faster. And higher.

Like skiing and flying combined. They make it look so easy, this gliding and soaring thing they do.

So for another point in the book giveaway, or just for fun, what would you do if you got to go to the Olympics?

Monday, February 15, 2010


I've been snowed in for going on eleven days. During the last fourteen days we've had four snow storms – one of which was categorized as a blizzard – that dumped a total of 41 inches on us. More snow is expected tomorrow. My kids have been home eleven days. My husband has been home ten days. The power cord to my laptop spontaneously burst into (tiny) flames and my battery, fully charged, lasts only six minutes. I'm forced to sneak my husband's laptop, however inferior and lacking in my personal files, when he's shoveling snow. I'm down to my last gallon of milk and my last two nerves.

You know what that means...


It's about time, don't you think?

So in honor of the large amount of google alerts I've received this week on "some kind of normal" in relation to the snow storms in D.C., I'm giving away a signed copy of my debut book, Some Kind of Normal, along with some very modest swag - postcards and bookmarks. Clever, eh?

I'm going to run the contest all week - each day a way to earn more points (hopefully really fun and creative), so come back every day, and then one week from today, on Monday, I'll announce the winner. It's entirely possible I'll do it on a vlog if I can steal my husband's computer long enough to figure it out. I'm not sure if a video of me pulling a name from an Austrian hat is incentive to come back or a deterrent.

Today we'll start easy.

1. You get a point just for following me. For a lot of you that's already done! For the others, how much easier could I make it? It's that little button over there on the sidebar. And leave me a comment that you've done it!!!

2. You get a point for posting this link on Twitter or Facebook - two if you do it on both! Let me know in the comment section that you've done that, too.

3. FIVE points for mentioning this on your own blog. As for the comment section... you get the drift, right?

4. And THREE points for finishing this sentence: writing is like snow because... (You can vary it if you're feeling really creative... writing is like a blizzard, writing is like shoveling your driveway, writing is like cabin fever... see? I'm just soooooo flexible here!)

I'm no tech wiz, so I'll be literally writing your name down on a piece of paper for each point you earn. You put this contest on your blog? I'll write your name down five times on five pieces of paper. Unless I can find a better way to do it. I'll give two points to someone who can point me in a better direction. :)

In any case, I need to know!! So make sure you leave a comment and tell me what you've earned so I don't short change you!!

Unfortunately, while the blogosphere knows no bounds, I do. I'm limiting this to my U.S., Canadian and Germany dwelling friends. I just can't afford to send a book to Armenia or Uganda. You'll understand, I hope.

So enter! Comment! And spread the word!! I don't think I could stand it if no one even wanted a FREE copy!  :)  Then come back tomorrow to add to your points with some new wacky point adders!

This is so much more fun than shoveling snow!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Review, A Contest, and A Sweet Reward: Digging Myself Out of this Snowmaggedon Funk

The snow is done falling (at least until Monday), the sun has poked it's head out and the sky is brilliant blue. After hours upon hours of backbreaking shoveling, I can actually see the blacktop of my driveway today. And I've gotten some very encouraging comments and emails from some of you out there in the blogophere who understand what it's like to struggle with this journey in being an author.

I'm ready to tackle life again.  Who's with me? 

So in honor of this newfound energy and determination, I've got a few good things today to get things kicked off.

First off: A NEW REVIEW:

Okay, I posted a review yesterday, so this isn't like it's something taking me in a new direction, but what could be better than starting my day with great words about Some Kind of Normal?

Nicole O'Dell is a fellow Christian, a writer of books for teen girls, and an all-around great friend. I had the privilege of reviewing her debut books last summer, and she agreed to  read mine as well. I was nervous, as I always am when sending out my book, but more so because Nicole and I write such different kinds of books. I needn't have been nervous, though, because she wrote a beautiful and glowing review.

Secondly: A CONTEST:

Who doesn't like a contest? Who doesn't like a free book??  (Okay, I actually know people who don't like books that much, but they probably aren't the ones reading this blog, right?).

SO..... It's about time I do a give-away at this blog and offer up a signed copy of Some Kind of Normal. I've been stewing about this for some time but Kristi Faith and I batted some ideas around and I think I'm ready to dive in. Even if you already own a copy (thank you!!!!!!), you can enter and give it to someone you know.

I'll post the rules about the contest next Monday, so be sure to come back. Tell everyone you know to drop by, too.

Yay!! A contest!! Now I feel like a real author!  :)


Snow Ice Cream

Have you ever had it? It was my favorite thing about snow growing up, and so it's a tradition I'm passing down to my own kids.

We have great stories about it. I indoctrinated my California -raised-and-bred husband a year after marriage on a trip to Michigan. A sudden blizzard canceled our flight and we found ourself at a hotel with nothing to do and no where to go, and feet of snow piling up on the railing.

I raced around the hotel scrounging for the ingredients, settling for creamer packets and sugar from the restaurant, a shot of vanilla syrup from the bemused bartender, and an ice bucket. Don't even ask how many times I had to innocently ask the waitress for more creamer packets for my one cup of coffee. I'm sure she thought I was crazy.

But we made it. It was probably the best snow ice cream memory I have.

So here it is, the secret snow ice cream recipe passed down from generation to generation in my family.... just in case you too have piles of snow outside your door and kids whining that they have nothing to do:

Sow Ice Cream:

Milk, Cream, or Condensed Milk

That's it. There aren't any measurements. You just dump until it tastes right. I started off with condensed milk this time around, because that's always what I used growing up, but there wasn't enough so I supplemented with 1% milk until it was wet enough to mix. I used a mixing bowl full of snow and probably dumped 1/2 cup sugar in, and two teaspoons of vanilla. Just mix with a spoon (wooden or silverware works fine) until it's about the consistency of a milk shake.


Okay, I'm feeling better already! I'm off to get something done today, and get that contest ready.  Have a great one!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A New Review Is Up!

Yes, it's still snowing. Again. It's a blizzard, they say. Again.

But my day just got a lot brighter because Jessie Oliveros over at Louder than Noise just posted her review of my book, and she likes it!!  In fact, when she wrote me to tell me about it, she re-dubbed my book, Some Kind of Awesome. I love that!!!

She's so funny in her review, so go read it, laugh a little, and leave a comment for her. If you don't know what to say, you can just agree that you like me alive.  :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Brain Freeze

It's 9:00 am as I write this. The snow is still piled up outside, 23 inches in low places, the drifts and plowed areas nearly 50 inches. We are expecting another 14-20 inches today.

I've been up for two hours already. The fires are going and the house is starting to warm up. I've played with the puppy and worn him out and he has finally stopped running around like a tasmanian devil and curled on his blanket with a sleepy look in his eyes. I've drunk a cup of coffee and started on another. The kids, off school again (and for the foreseeable future, judging by the state of the roads and the new impending storm) are downstairs playing Wii. And I am at the computer. Doing nothing.

I've complained on and off for the last five days that I'm getting nothing done. Nothing. Okay, I've kept my family of five fed. I've dried the gloves and mittens and hats countless times. I've shoveled, in small amounts, areas for the puppy to go out and do his business.

But really, I've had hours and hours of awake time, luckily with the power on, and I've not written a single word on my book. My husband, who also has had the time off because this snow has shut down all of Washington D.C., has taken the kids out to sled while I've stayed in nice and warm, and words written.

I've thought about it.

But I haven't done it.

I haven't even opened the document. I haven't scribbled in my notebook.

I had a huge breakthrough in plotting, one which takes care of most of my niggling doubts about the plausibility of the book, and ignites the passion for it that I had with Some Kind of Normal, and yet...


It's like I have a mental block. The kids are off. The husband is off. The snow is all consuming. How can I think about anything else?

To top it off I'm frustrated with the marketing aspects of selling my book, and feeling more pessimistic about a writing career than hopeful.

Do you have days like that? And what helps you get back into the swing of thing?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Weekend...

 I know this blog is starting to resemble the National Weather Service. Frankly, my life is starting to feel like it revolves around weather. In particular, snow.  But with three snow storms in one week, one of which has effectively shut down the entire state of Virginia for the conceivable future, it's hard to focus on anything else.

I had this brilliant idea of chronicling our record-breaking snow this weekend with a play-by-play here one the blog... you know: adding photos and updates every hour so you too could enjoy our "crippling storm," only without being crippled. I thought that might be fun on Friday to watch it pile up here, like your own private window from my house.

Like most things in my life, it didn't work out the way I planned. I took the pictures... I just didn't get around to posting them in real time. So here's the play by play – 36 hours late.

An hour before the snow was supposed to hit, I took a "before" photo of the driveway, thinking it would be a good gauge to follow.

It's not a pretty sight. The harsh winter has left the blacktop cracked and ugly, but it's beautiful to me because I SHOVELED that thing. That whole stinking thing. All 300 feet of it, along with the sister circle that curves around the front of the house to the left. By the time I took this picture a lot of the snow on the grass had begun to melt from the last two storms.

In fact, as the snow came down, I realized I didn't want to walk out in the blizzard to take the same angle, so I switched my position to a view from the front porch:

The crazy thing here is that this is actually a few hours after the snow started. It stuck to the snow already on the grass, but the pavement... not so much. I began thinking this was going to be a really lame snow after all. Surely a few hours of steady snow should net a bit more snow than this, right?

It's starting to build up on the trees, though, and if you look closely at our snowman in the corner, he's getting a little fluffier as well. Now we're talking pretty.

Except an hour or so after that I realize this idea isn't going to work very well, because the driveway... well, once it disappears it's really hard to tell how much is there. It's just all white. See?

So I switched tactics again and decided to use the fire pit in our backyard as a gauge. Of course, since I didn't get it from the beginning, it doesn't work exactly the same. This is after a few hours of snow. I think there's about six inches of snow on the ground (and a little less than that on the stone). The wall is about 18 inches high.

It started snowing at nine-thirty in the morning. It was still going strong after dark. In fact, late afternoon is when it became officially blizzard conditions. Can you tell?

It snowed all night like that, coming down at about 1-2 inches an hour, and when I woke up it was STILL snowing.  And the fire pit was gone.

Remember the snowman? Yesterday he looked like this:

Today, he turned into the Easter SnowEgg:

Isn't that hilarious?? My son thought the head fell off, but it didn't. It's under there somewhere. Notice where his stick arms are in both pictures and that will give you an idea of how high the snow got. The snowpuppy? Gone. Buried under a drift over three feet high.

The thing is, that picture is taken in the morning. The morning when it is still snowing like crazy, when I shoveled the porch and then shoveled a section in the bushes for the real puppy, then came back to the porch and couldn't tell where I'd shoveled. It was snowing that hard.

In fact, I'm not sure that photo above isn't a picture of me.

The kids wanted to get out and see how high it was, too, so we bundled up to walk down to the end of the road and see what our neighborhood looked like.

This isn't so bad, they said as we walked out of the garage.

Then we walked a few more feet away from the shelter of the house.

Not so easy, is it?

That's my eleven year old son, standing in the thigh high snow near the end of the drive.

And here's the others when they made it down, too.

We're not exactly on the highest snow-plow priority, which I think our mailbox is thankful for:

I can't imagine what it will look like when the plows come through. We may not get mail for another three months.

We all were tired by the time we got to the end and sat on a drift to watch the snow fall.

The puppy had his own issues. It's a good thing he doesn't weigh enough to sink all the way.

He loves the snow, though, and bounds through it with exuberance.

Until it wears him out.

The snow bending the trees around here like a giant hand pushing down on them is a bit scary. It's beautiful, but it worries me. I spent all night glancing at the clock making sure the electricity was still on, and scheduling the day around the very good possibility that any moment we could lose lights, heat, computers, water, etc.

Still, it is gorgeous, isn't it?



It's not supposed to get above freezing for the next week, and in three days it's supposed to snow again. I don't imagine the kids will be back in school until May at the rate we're going.

Good thing we're stocked up on books.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dear Snow: You're cramping my style (and my arm, and my back...)

Two days ago I wrote an open letter to the snow. Either mother nature didn't get it... or she decided to ignore it, because when I woke up yesterday, this is what I saw out my window:


You know, before this winter – before the record breaking 20 inches of snow that fell in December – a snow like this would have been talked about for a week. There would have been a run on snow shovels and milk and children would have been doing the inside-out-jammie dance and throwing ice cubes down the toilet for luck, and everything would have shut down. That's what 6 inches of snow would do to this small town south of the Mason Dixon Line. And let's not even forget that this 6 inches fell on top of the 5 inches we got just days before.

Any other year, this would have been major stuff. After all, we've exceeded our yearly average snowfall by 400%. I kid you not. That one 20-inch snow pretty much set us up for snow totals for the next two years, and that was only one of 5 times it's already snowed this season.

So you can imagine my concern when this snow "storm" barely hit the radar with local weathermen, as they were skipping ahead to what they are calling the new "major storm" that's going to hit tomorrow.

So I ask you, if 6 inches on top of 5 inches isn't major snow now, what is???

Turns out, I really didn't want to hear the answer to that.

The answer is between 15 and 24 inches. That's right. Another two feet of the fluffy white stuff, on top of the about eight inches we still have left. That's 1800 square feet of driveway to clear with approximately 3600 square feet of snow. 

That's right, I did the math.

And you know what?  With the 54,000 square feet of snow I've already shoveled, that is my own personal inconvenient truth. Where the heck is global warming when you need it??

Someone at the grocery store said she was just going to let it melt, because the temperature is supposed to get up to 40 degrees (F) today before the next snow wallops us, but I stood looking at my driveway and thought this:

I could let it try to melt, and have three inches of slush I could easily drive over today, which overnight would turn to ice in the below-20 degree (F) cold front, which then would be 3 inches of ice under two feet of snow, which would pretty much preclude hiring someone to plow the driveway (I know your phone number Sean... I know you have a plow... don't think you're getting out of it this time!) and would sock us in for quite possibly the next two months. 

(Don't ask how I know this. Experience is a painful teacher.) 

So even though yesterday I could have been lazy and let the sun do it's thing, I shoveled. I shoveled because I knew in three days it would make the biggest difference in the world to us, and I was willing to do the extra work to spare the pain later on.

And if you're looking for a writing analogy here, the lesson might be to stop and work out the problems you're having with your WIP before just ploddding ahead and thinking you'll go back and clean it up later. Except, I've decided I'm plodding ahead because I can't keep going back to fix stuff or I'll never finish. So I'm not sure if that analogy actually works. 

BUT: on the lighter side, we did have fun too. 

We had a massive snowball fight.


 We built not only a snowMAN but a snow PUPPY!

Isn't that puppy awesome?? Here he is closer up:


Tell me if he doesn't look like our Scout?


Well, color nothwithstanding, of course! 

We made chocolate chip cookies, sledded down the steep hill in the back yard (while I closed my eyes and prayed no one would hit a tree), played Wii, read by the fire... 

In short, I took a day off, like all the other working moms around here had to do when school was canceled. I have a niggling feeling it won't be my last.

Because tomorrow the "major storm" hits, and is supposed to last on into Sunday. And you know what? There's another snow storm headed this way for Tuesday.

The good news never stops.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go stock up on milk and snow shovels.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Love Relationship that's turned Love-Hate


Dear snow... I don't want you to think I'm fickle. I think you're beautiful. It's true that every winter I complain there isn't enough of you. You come only once or twice a year, and you disappear too quickly. I love to sit by the fire and watch you fall outside my window. You are quiet. I don't have enough quiet in my life. You make the ugly brown clean and white. You cover the dying grass and crinkled leaves. The world seems more peaceful for a little while when you are here. You are truly beautiful.


You are so fun, too. We can throw you, roll you, slide down you. We can make angels out of you and catch you on our tongues.


This is just the bottom of the snowman we made with you. How much fun was that??  He was bigger than all of us! We find so much joy in you!

When we flattened our backyard we actually considered making a huge toboggan run just for you. It would have been perfect. We have this very large hill down the back yard that would have made for some high speed racing. Sadly, it leads directly into the trees, and despite the begging of my husband and children, I opted for less trips to the hospital. So now we sled here:


And herein, dear snow, lies the problem. Do you know where this is?


This is my driveway. My 300-foot long (football field length) driveway. With a gigantic hill right in the middle. 

Perfect for sledding, yes. Perfect for getting the cars out? NO!  It's prone to your evil twin, ice, and  I can't tell you how many times I have slipped and slided, spun out my tires, burned rubber, fishtailed the back end of the truck into a tree, missed busses, carried groceries from the street to the house, climbed - literally - on my hands and knees up you. I have shoveled. I have taken a pick ax to your inches-thick frozen base. I have acquired blisters. I have fallen on my butt. I have screamed. I have laughed, but bitterly, because I refused to cry. And sometimes I have cried.

And this year... this year you have decided to take up frequent visiting, so that I think I've only seen the ground five days since the beginning of December. 

Don't get me wrong. I still love you.

But I would love you a whole lot more if you could fall everywhere but on the driveway.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Blogging Fatigue

I read Jessica Faust's post this morning over at BookEnds about re-evaluating how much time she wants to put into blogging. I can really sympathize with this, and I wonder if agents in general all will get to this point after some amount of time, the way Miss Snark one day woke up and said, "I think I've covered about everything about agenting I feel like I need to cover." If new writers would peruse through the archives of agent blogs like BookEnds and Miss Snark and Nathan Bransford, they would find just about everything they need to get their publishing career started without looking like an idiot, so even though writers like the immediacy and feedback of the live blog, I can imagine agents feel like they are constantly going over the same things.

Maybe it's not the same for writers, but it sure feels that way to me. How many times can I post about voice and queries and marketing techniques and POV without feeling like I'm a broken record? While I throw in family posts every now and then, I try to keep this blog mostly about writing, and I'm getting to the point where I feel like I've said it all before. Also, writing the first draft of a WIP is not always particularly interesting to blog about. How many days do you want to read about me wrestling to get down 500 words so I can call it a day?

I'm thinking of coming up with a schedule - something specific to blog about every day (or three times a week maybe). Like family/personal stuff one day, writing stuff one day, etc. That way, instead of floundering for something to write about, I have a guideline. And you as readers can know to skip the days you aren't interested in in case you don't want to hear about my writing, marketing, or personal stuff. Of course, the worry in that is that it won't feel fresh.

What is it that keeps you going back to certain blogs every day? And how do you keep your own feeling fresh?