Friday, November 27, 2009


Just click on the title of this post to link to Kim's blog. Big thanks to Kimberly Sabatini for letting me raid her blog on Black Friday. Can't wait to see you in the Poconos...and on the book shelf!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Yes, strains of Carly Simon are beating against my brain right now... in fact, most of the time, lately.

Let me tell you, it is nothing like a fine wine and it definitely does not mellow with age. I thought it was bad when I finished my first book and sent out those initial queries, but I can hardly stand it these days. Sure, I'm hard at work on my next YA masterpiece, but it's also comforting to know that writers aren't the only ones who suffer through this process. Check out Agent Nathan Bransford's quandary. (of course, for some reason, when I read the title of his post, Tom Petty temporarily shoves Carly aside for strains of Waiting is the Hardest Part...)

I don't know about others, but in my case, the evolution of my particular mania is somewhat perplexing to a logical brain and frankly, the obsession is reaching epic proportions.

In the beginning...(cue the music)...I posted my little missive, dressed in its finest and tattooed with the perfect postage, in the box outside my door and immediately started fantasizing about the arrival of a shiny new contract...quickly followed by the inescapable Newbery or Printz or a plethora other book prizes, then the image of my tapping out one awesome book after another. Oh, and yes, my ravenous fingers were groping the mailbox the very next day...and the next...and the next... Mail and I definitely have a love/hate relationship. Even when I lived abroad, I hoped against hope for something exciting in the post. It never came.

So then the question arose in my spastic brain, "will it be a letter? or a contract in the mail? or a phone call?" (email hadn't quite overrun the universe, yet) No matter what, I could never unchain myself from my completely irrational faith in the postal option. (To this day, I still haven't managed that!)

Of course now it is a digital universe and email is far more the standard. So I have another mania to occupy my days. How many times do you check your email? If I could, I'd hook myself up to it like an IV drip! And holy crap! Don't forget to check the spam filter!

When it came to getting my agent, it was least for the introductions. Yes, the agent search can be as sphincter-clenching as the pursuit of the publishing contract...perhaps even more because you want to build a long-lasting relationship that will weather any publishing storm. After a lot of research, I would email a query. Then I would get a request for a partial or, in most cases, a full manuscript. (I was onto something!). And then there it was. AN EMAIL! Not an offer, mind you, but a request for a phone conversation. Perfect! Then it was the phone conversation...and then the offer. Followed by some end-zone dancing, spiking of pillows, a few squeals, and finally...breath. And the thing that made it great was that the phone call told me that this was a perfect match. We got each other. We shared the vision. We wanted the same things.

So, it's your turn. Make this little red-head dance like a Tazmanian Devil all around her house. I know you've had my manuscript for what, 2 weeks? I know that you saw that email come through. You know, the one with the amazing title and the pitch packet that you couldn't put down? Yeah...You've got the manuscript loaded on your kindle and can't put it down... You've read it twice already because you adore it, right? You're just stuck on whether to offer a basic contract or a multi-book deal...right? Am I right?

To answer Nathan's question...that's what I do when I'm waiting for a response on a submission.

Go stark, raving mad.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

A couple of weeks ago, my 12-year-old son's English class was asked to write an essay on what Veteran's Day is. I haven't asked his permission, but I hope he won't mind if I post it. It brought tears to my eyes, this amazing essay that he wrote completely on his own. He didn't ask for help. He just wrote from the heart:

Veteran’s Day

What is Veteran’s Day? Why do we celebrate this day? Veteran’s Day is a day to celebrate all the veterans that gave and risked their lives so that we could live ours. The point is, on Veteran’s Day, we honor those who fought in the war, no matter which war. Many lost their lives, and many families grieved. Veteran’s day is celebrated to insure that their passing was not in vain. This is where the mystery begins.

Many people may ask, “Why do we go to war?” Many think it’s terrible. Many think it’s just what’s right, like it or not. My view is just this: it is not necessarily right or wrong. Back when people were drafted and forced to be in the war, most of them didn’t want to. However, when people sign up, they are choosing to join the war. They want to fight for their country. Luckily we have enough people like this that we don’t have to draft anymore.

A veteran is someone who participated in a war and still sees this day. I have personally met many veterans. One thing I can say is that they all seemed proud to have served in the fight for our nation. Our nation’s freedom is something people seem to not think about enough. We may not want to wear school uniforms, but imagine if we couldn’t ride our bikes in Americus, or we couldn’t eat green apples. These ideas may be a little outlandish, but no one would want to be controlled by someone else. Would you? Veterans helped prevent this, and we all should be thankful.

War is always going on, and it seems like there is too much. I am always hearing things in the news about soldiers dying in the war. This breaks my heart. I see footage of president Obama at the soldiers’ funerals. I have always wondered what a veteran would think seeing this. I never want to find out about what it’s like being in the war, but I thank those who fought for their country, knowing their lives were on the line.

And that’s what Veteran’s Day is: thanks. We thank the men and women who played a part in the war. Soldiers do not get paid very much. They may wonder why they are even doing what they do. The least they could expect when they come home is some appreciation. Veteran’s Day is a day that all should celebrate. That is Veteran’s Day.

~Connor Scott

Lee County, GA

Thank you, dear veterans and active service men and women. Most humbly, thank you.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Time to Feed My Soul...

Tomorrow I hit the skies and head for Pennsylvania once again. A dear friend is showing her work as the Emerging Artist at the phenomenal Red Raven Art Gallery in Lancaster, PA. I have watched her hone her craft just as she has taken almost every step of my artistic journey with me (and read thousands of my pages) over the last 7 years. Together, we have walked through the fire and shared our little bits of heaven and hell as we grew our gifts. I don't know what I would have done without her. And her latest work is truly brilliant.

I've complained a lot about our recent move to the "arm pit of the South," and I stand by my words. Or at least one word—"desolate." However, there is a feast of sub-cultures down here, and plenty of regional flavor to inform my writing. As of yet, however, the South doesn't really fit into my WIP's setting or plot. I haven't given up or anything, but it's time to feed my writer's soul with some dear friends and a breath of metropolitan life. Okay, so Lancaster PA isn't exactly a teeming metropolis, but it is the East and only a breath away from Philly. There is plenty of artistic influence seeping over the county line and I can't wait to get up there and take it all in again.

But I wonder how other writers who live in small towns far away from a cultural center deal with such cultural quietude. It's not that I'm a cosmo girl or anything. I grew up on a small horse farm in Northern Indiana. But I was close to some Midwestern centers, including Chicago, and I did my fair share of traveling. At heart I am indeed a country girl and I miss my farm, but I really miss the proximity of a city where I can feast on diversity, progressive attitudes, culture. And it wouldn't hurt to go to a real museum or even a real book store! I'm not that I'm a city girl. That's absolutely not the issue. I need my quiet place to nest and cloister myself on my own terms. But I have to know that civilization is close at hand if I need it.

So what is it in me, a girl from northeastern Indiana, that hungers for such things? Maybe it's a past life intruding on the present. Or maybe it's a deep instinct for escapism. Perhaps it's just an innate sense that the world is bigger than me and I don't want to miss something. Whatever it is, I gotta have it. So I guess I am destined to be a traveler. Which is probably a good thing, because I plan to do some major book tours...when my time comes!