Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Say Tomato. You Should Write Tomato.

I used to think my students were not paying attention to my lectures. Now, I suspect that maybe my northern Appalachia accent is too foreign for my southern Appalachia kids. Hysterically horrible answers on quizzes and study guides lead me to believe I should practice my enunciation.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight question:
Where does the Green Knight live?
Correct Answer: The Green Chapel
Student answer: The Grinch Apple

Beowulf question:
What kind of place is Herot?
Correct Answer : A mead hall
Student Answer: A meat hole
What?!?!?! … and yuck! haha

My accent can’t explain this wrong answer.
The Canterbury Tales question:
Did the prioress behave appropriately for a nun? 
Student Answer:  No, because he was a fat greedy man.

Or this one from my AP kids:
Odyssey question:
Give me one clue that demonstrates the cyclop's lack of civility.
Student Answer: He drank wine from a can.
Sigh.... What does it say about me if I have enjoyed a glass of wine from a solo cup?

Someday I’ll write a book about my teaching experiences. It will be called “Diary of a Lunatic,” or maybe, “Did I Just Have to Say That Out Loud?”

I so wish I could post my daily stories without risk of a lawsuit because this material is fantastic, and you know what? I can’t make this stuff up. Gotta love these kids.

I might as well start squirreling stories away before teaching induced dementia or academia amnesia sets in.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Good Riddance 2013. You Weren't All Bad.

Cheep, cheep!

Time for my end of the year, round-up blog. Sadly, I have not made a complete transition from anonymity to book deal, but I have kept my publishing goals in check and seen some success. Woot!

I received my first request for a partial. This is huge for anyone who is unfamiliar with the process. This means that someone liked my query. Whew... The partial was read, but a there was no immediate request for a full. I did, however, get fantastic feedback from the author who requested the partial (it was Megan Whitmer , btw).  Impartial feedback has been the one thing I have craved so much since starting this process. My mom, friends and other readers are just too kind to offer analysis, or they can’t really pinpoint what it is that they dislike in particular. Megan’s critique offered specific advice on how to improve the story keeping the genre and audience in mind. She also told me what was good about the work which is the type of thing that keeps me going. Thank you, Megan!

Cluck, Cluck!

My request for the partial came from a contest hosted by Brenda Drake. My participation resulted in more helpful query and page critiques from Natalie Knaub and Monica Bustamante, Stephanie Funk. Thanks, thanks, and thanks! If you are a writer, this contest is invaluable for newbies. You can build your Twitter crew, find support and learn, learn, learn. It’ll come around again, so check it out!

Balk, balk!  

Now, I suppose it’s time to set my goals for 2014. I have always been quite good at fulfilling my goals, but truthfully they have never been very bold and are usually easy to achieve with only the slightest amount of commitment and time. Weight loss is never on the list. Still isn’t… So, ha!

Last year, my goal was to query agents. I have done that, and done that, and done that. I’m not ready to replace my nail of rejections with a spike like Stephen King, but it’s only because I’ve only sent around 15 queries. I should have sent out more. I’ve learned a mega-ton since I sent out my first queries in April, and I wish I had known then what I know now.  I learned so much via trial, and for me this is the best way. I’m a hands-on, learn from my flops, kind of girl.

For anyone curious about the publishing process for new writers, I saw this fantastic diagram floating around Twitter this morning. I’m 3/4ths of the way down the chart. Progress!

My goals for 2014 need to be bold, if not a little risky.   
  •          I will revise my novel.
  •          I will complete another WIP.
  •          I will find representation. I used to think that landing an agent was largely out of my hands due to the subjective nature of the industry, but now I see that there is more I can do to facilitate this process with revisions and self promotion.
You may argue that goals aren’t risky if there is no consequence for failure other than self-loathing. I have set a very risky goal for this year but it’s not blogable.

Other non-risky goals:
  • ·            Buy more fancy cheese and buy less wine.
  • ·            Get better at saying “no.”
  • ·            Be a little selfish.
  • ·            Discover a new insect species in my backyard.
  • ·            Snake proof my kitchen. (for real)
  • ·            Oh and chickens!!! I will get chickens this year! Now that I’ve written the goal, I’m certain to have a backyard gaggle of fat friendly hens. My strategy involves first destroying husband’s trust of grocery store eggs.  Muahahahaaaaa!

Doodle doo! (I won’ t be getting a rooster).

I tried to make my kids to write New Year’s Eve haikus but they refused chanting, “You can’t make me!” Boo to them!

So, while I plug away at next year’s goals, enjoy this picture of something that really happened in my kitchen 2013.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fundraiser for Bridget

Today would have been Bridget's 38th birthday, but she inexplicably died of lung cancer last February. It’s still hard to fathom how this could have happened to one of my very best friends because she was so healthy and vibrant until a couple of months before she passed away. Bridget’s sister Laura has started a yoga-thon team in her honor and I have joined the fundraising team. Please consider donating on the fundraising page to help researchers figure out how this could happen to someone who never smoked and to find a cure.

Free to Breath Yoga-thon

Bridget and I after our alligator cruise in New Orleans, just before I ate some alligator tail. Bridget didn't try the alligator because it would have been a violation of her vow to not eat anything that had parents.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Synopsis Hope and Help

I just wanted to take a moment to give another shout out to one who has been tremendously supportive and helpful. David Rozansky of Flying Pen Press just guided me through the process of writing a synopsis, live on Twitter. He even waited, with patience, while I attended to a needy child.

Visit hashtags #AskEditor #AskPub on Twitter to see the details. Other writers participated as well, and I think we all benefited from his advice and expertise.