Friday, January 30, 2015

OMG, January's almost over!

I don't know how that happened.

Well, really, I do.

It happens every year. December is crazy busy with school programs and parties and holiday gatherings and Christmas vacation and Christmas Day and New Year's celebrations...and finally the kids go back to school and I spend the first month of the new year trying to get back into some kind of a normal pattern of life and work. And when I finally manage it, January is just about over.

Phew. I can breathe now.

To be honest, this January has been particularly hard for me. I've been more stressed out than usual thanks in part to a minor (yet annoying) health issue, and I've felt more than a little overwhelmed on more than one occasion in recent weeks. But I seem to be getting a handle on it, thanks to my ever faithful God, my knowledgable doctor, and my patient and supportive hubby.

So January is almost done.

I'm in one piece.

And...I have some good news to share! But not yet.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

My Favorites of 2014

As I've mentioned before, I'm not good at picking favorites. But looking back at 2014, there are some things that stand out as THE BEST, at least to me.

My favorite movie of 2014 is The Guardians of the Galaxy. The way I see it, this is movie perfection. It is fun, smart, visually stunning, funny, exciting, and full of feels. I love the characters, love the story, love the action. It is an all around great movie. So great that I saw it TWICE in the theaters. I haven't done that since Jurassic Park came out back in 1993!

Speaking of Jurassic Park...I think my favorite movie trailer of 2014 would have to be the one for the new Jurassic Park movie, Jurassic World. Can't wait to see it. I mean, can you go wrong with Chris Pratt and dinosaurs? I don't think so.

I read some great books in 2014 too. My favorite young adult book is CRESS by Marissa Meyer. For middle grade, I would have to pick THE MAGIC THIEF by Sarah Prineas. And for picture books, I think my favorite is THE MOUSE MANSION by Karina Schaapman because of its astonishingly detailed photographs of the actual mouse mansion built by the author herself!

Miniatures have been a thing for me for the past year. I've spent hours and hours making furniture and accents for my daughters' doll houses. So making miniatures definitely held the place of honor as my favorite creative thing to do during 2014. I am very proud of some of my tiny creations!

I am also very proud of a particular picture book manuscript I wrote over the past year. It's a rhyming mash-up of several fairy tales and nursery rhymes, inspired primarily by the rhyme Old Mother Hubbard. It is now in the hands of my wonderful agent, so I hope to have good news regarding that story in the year to come!

Another thing I spent time creating in 2014 has been bread. I've been working my way through a book of bread recipes that my dad gave me years ago. My favorite recipe so far is Cuban Bread because it is simple, quick and delicious! That adventure will continue into 2015 and beyond.

2014 was also a big year for me as an author, with all that has been happening with my forthcoming book. My favorite part of the process has been receiving the F&Gs of WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? in the mail!

Of course, a big favorite from 2014 was celebrating 20 years of marriage to my darling hubby!

Here are a few other favorites from 2014:

-watching a baby robin hatch from its egg
-making a new art journal
-reading 45 books (5 short of my goal)
-watching my daughter perform in her first opera
-making a scrap quilt with my girls
-watching my son run with the track team
-my parents being here for Thanksgiving
-becoming a great-aunt
-making new friends
-experimenting with Easter egg dyeing methods

I'm hopeful that there will be just as much, if not more, to love about the 2015!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Like the lamppost in Narnia, may the light of Christmas always help you find your way home.

The Lamppost by Rebecca J. Gomez, mixed media

Monday, December 01, 2014

Post PiBoIdMo: A List Poem

PiBoIdMo came and went.
My brainstorm juice is all but spent!
But I have quite a lengthy list
of new ideas, names and twists:
tales of dogs, a cat, a fox,
a barn, a dream, a bear that talks,
doodles, Spanish, ABCs,
rescues, grumps, catastrophes,
a bus, a knight, a dinosaur,
the moon, some gum, the number four,
babies, owls, a spook or two.
FORTY concepts, bright and new!
I guess I now have work to do...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PiBoIdMo Ain't Over Yet!

It is November 19th. There are 11 more days left in the month. And I have 26 ideas so far in my PiBoIdMo list.

I can come up with 4 more ideas this month. No problem.

I am, therefore, amending my personal PiBoIdMo goal to 40 ideas. That's 14 more ideas in the next 11 days. No problem.

Maybe I'll even go beyond that.

And when November's over? What then?

I think I'll take December to sit back and relax and enjoy the Christmas season. Maybe I'll work on that picture book project I started in October. Maybe I'll write a rough draft or two from the ideas on my list.

But there will be no pressure.

Unless I get editorial feedback. Like on that one manuscript that Corey and I sent to that one editor...

Friday, November 07, 2014

Why We Need Disability in Fiction

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
Out of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper
Petey, by Ben Mikaelsen
Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry
Dangerous, by Shannon Hale
The Schwa was Here, by Neal Shusterman

All of these books have one thing in common: characters with disabilities. In some cases it is the driving force of the story. In others, the disability plays a role, but it isn't the main point. But in all of these books a specific truth surfaces: a person's disability--no matter how severe--does not diminish his or her value as a person.

In Petey and Out of My Mind, we learn that a person can lead a life with meaning despite not having the ability to walk, speak, or even control their own muscles.

In Wonder, we learn that a person's facial deformity doesn't define them, and that the suffering caused by such a disability doesn't make life less worth living.

In Gathering Blue, the main character proves that her life is valuable despite having a twisted leg that hinders her ability to walk.

In Dangerous, the heroine doesn't let her missing arm prevent her from saving the world.

And in The Schwa was Here, the main character befriends a blind girl, who doesn't let her lack of vision define who she is.

This is an important issue in the world today because people--especially kids--need to understand the humanity of those with disabilities and be able to empathize with them. But also, there seems to be a growing number of people who see the severely disabled as a drain on society, or who see their lives as so tragic as to not be worth living. Consider the amount of abortions performed because of disability and the rising acceptance of euthenasia and assisted suicide. Do these statistics reflect the value we place on life? Do they show that a person is worth more than his or her disability?

Sadly, I believe the answer is no. We live in a world where a parent, judge, caretaker or doctor can legally decide when someone's life is no longer worth living. We live in a world where "compassion" is displayed in the form of ending someone's life, whether before birth or after. But do we really want to head down a road that will lead us to a place like the community in The Giver, where the weak, unwanted, and elderly are humanely "released" from society?

The books I've listed here, and others like them, have a powerful message for their readers. Every person has a place in this world. Every life, no matter how painful or difficult, can be a full life that has a profound impact on the world around it. The severely disabled baby that lives for only a few hours after birth. The brain-damaged boy who never learns to walk or speak. The young woman with Down's Syndrome who smiles at everyone she meets. They are why we need books about people with disabilities, to show our children that all life is valuable and beautiful and worthy of protection.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Moosey Monday: A MOOSE acrostic

Meandering across the meadow, this
Oversized mammal,
Oblivious to the camera,
Steps, stops, looks,
Eats. Repeats.

This poem was inspired by this video of a moose in the wild.