Friday, December 28, 2007

New novel, new job, new year!

Well, whaddya know? I have a job! Not this crazy writing thing that brings in maybe $100 a year (which I LOVE and will probably never give up). But an actual day job with an actual pay check!

I think I mentioned before that I have been volunteering in the library at my kids' school. Well, one day, about a week before Thanksgiving, the librarian asked me if I had ever considered working part time. "Sure," I said. "I've thought about it." She then proceeded to tell me about a job opening right in that school.

I was intrigued.

I applied.

And I was hired a week before Christmas!

I am now a "para professional" at my kids' elementary school. I started my new job last week and so far I really like it! What better job for a children's writer than one that allows her to be around children all day? Not to mention that I get to be home when my kids are home. Works for me!

Now, about my writing, I'm certain it won't suffer, at least not once I get used to my new schedule. My darling hubby assured me that he will help out a little more around here now that I'm working so that I'll still get plenty of time to write.

And that's definitely a necessity now, because I've been going full speed ahead with my novel in verse! I'm so excited about this new project. It's going great so far!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Now, to make the most of the remainder of winter break. :-)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! I'm looking forward to a couple of days of celebrating and then spending the next week-and-a-half doing almost nothing but enjoying the rest of winter break. It looks to be a white Christmas for us. Yay! That hasn't happened in a few years, so I'm excited about having snow on the ground on Christmas day. Even if it is old and crusty. Makes the sleds go faster that way, anyway.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Books that make me cry

Have you ever read a book that is so moving that, when you finished it, you had to close it slowly, place it gently on the table nearest you, and just sit quietly for the next several moments? That's what makes me fall in love with a book.

A lot of books are great for their entertainment value. I like exciting stories with fascinating characters and lots of action. But a truly great book goes a little further, making me feel invested in the characters' lives. Great books almost always have something in them that make me want to shake their author and say, "How could you do this? How could you make this happen to the character I've grown to love?" But every great book I read has this in common: When I reach the end, whether the ending is sad, happy, or a little of both, I just have to sit and let it all soak in.

And that is the book I want to write. I want to write a powerful, gripping story that will have its readers crying, or sighing, or both.

Here are a few books that have affected me that way:

The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse
Enna Burning, by Shannon Hale
The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau
The Clan of the Cave Bear, by Jean M. Auel

So that is my goal for my newest novel-in-progress, my novel in verse (which has about seven pages so far, by the way). It starts out rather tragic, yet hopeful. I showed the first four lines to my twelve-year old and she said that those lines alone make her want to read the rest of the story.

Maybe I'm onto something.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

sticky ideas

I lay in bed at around 11:00pm, my mind racing as it often does when I'm trying to get to sleep. I was thinking about the novel in verse that I have been reading, and how I've always wanted to write one myself. Then this image popped into my mind. A girl, running--escaping--from something terrible. A visual story unfolded in my mind almost as if I were watching it with my very eyes. I thought to myself, "I should write this down."

But my husband lay sleeping next to me, and I knew that if I turned on the light and rummaged through the drawer to find a pen and notebook, he'd wake up. That, and it was darn cold in my room! So I offered a silent prayer: "God, help me remember this when I wake up."

I knew that if the idea was worth pursuing, it would be there when I woke.

And it was.

And it has stuck with me all day.

I even jotted down the first four lines while chatting with Corey about our next collaboration.

So, I guess I have my next big project. Thalen's Mirror will have to wait.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tag! I'm it.

Okay, for the first time in my blogging life, I have been "tagged." I'm supposed to write five random things about myself and then tag someone else (up to five people, I guess, but I don't know many bloggers yet). So, here goes. Oh, and thanks to Sheri for tagging me!

1. I LOVE snow! To me, the snow brings some cheer to an otherwise dull, cold, dreary day. Winter would be so boring without the snow.

2. I got married when I was 18, much to the dismay of several of my highschool teachers. But we're still going strong after 13 years.

3. I wrote my first "book" when I was five (or six?). It was a staple bound book of poems and pictures done on yellow lined paper. Okay, I'll really go all-out here and include one of the poems from that book.

Trees

Trees, trees
beautiful trees,
on which I climb
and then scrape my knees.

Ha! Isn't that cute?

4. I have four brothers and two sisters.

5. I would love to be able to be a "tourist" on the moon some day. Think that will happen in my lifetime?

Okay, the people I am going to tag are Kristy, who is a talented writer and a member of my online critique group; Angie , who is a missionary in Bolivia and a dear friend from my teen years; and Lizann, a fellow children's writer. I don't know her personally, but I like her blog. Hope she doesn't mind me tagging her.

Monday, December 10, 2007

an unexpected holiday

This post may not have much to do with writing, but I need to write something. Gotta stop mourning about the rejection of Mosey and think about something positive. Here's something that brightened my spirits.

Who says wishes don't come true? This evening my children, in an effort to bring about the much desired snow day tomorrow, donned their pj's inside-out and backwards. This, according to school-yard legend, is a sure way to secure an unscheduled day off from the doldrums of school.

Not five minutes after sending them upstairs to get ready for bed, the phone rang. I answered and listened, smiling, as a recorded message informed me that the district had cancelled school for tomorrow because of bad weather.

I immediately informed my hubby, who immediately yelled upstairs for anyone listening, "NO SCHOOL!"

My son answered with an excited squeal: "YYYESSS!" and came rushing back to the kitchen proudly displaying his oddly arranged sleepwear. There was no mistaking the delight on his broadly smiling face.

My two girls were no less delighted than their younger brother, each asking to call their best friends to make sure they had heard the good news.

So tomorrow we will sleep in, stay in our pj's all or most of the day, make cocoa, watch a movie, maybe even go out and play in the snow. I'm looking forward to a great day.

Who knew PJ's held such power?

:-)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Third time is NOT the charm

BTP has rejected Mosey.

They said they "enjoyed reading it and it is very cute," but that doesn't really make me feel better.

:::::sigh::::::

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Another "no" from Blooming Tree

Two down, one to go, as they say. Blooming Tree Press has rejected my picture book, Grillo's Song. The rejection note went so far as to say, "Rebecca, we liked this a lot, but we didn't fall in love." That seems to be something I'm pretty good at--getting people to like my writing. But what I'm looking for is an editor who will fall head-over-heals for one of my stories! Is the problem with my stories? Or have I just not found the right editor?

BTP still has Mosey, the Speedy Turtle. I think, of the three that I sent them during the submissions window (along with hundreds of other authors, I'm sure!), Mosey is the most likely to win their hearts. We'll see.

In the mean time, I've been working on polishing Nip. It is so cute! The rhyme scheme has given me a little trouble, but it will be worth it in the end.

No matter how many rejections come my way, as long as I can keep writing great stories, I'll be happy.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Blooming Tree says "no" to Lillian

Blooming tree is not interested in reading the complete manuscript of Lillian and the Shadows of Krahd. :-( But that's okay. Keep moving on. Actually, I'm not surprised because their guidelines did say that they are looking for "quirky" novels. And, though Lillian is great (naturally!), I wouldn't call it quirky. But given their limited submissions window, I thought it was worth the shot anyway.

But not all is lost. Blooming Tree still has Mosey (which is quirky and humorous) and Grillo (which is charming and fun and sweet), so there is still hope. I would love to try a novel with Blooming Tree again some day, though.

What's next for Lillian? I'm trying to get an agent to look at it. Still no word from THE AGENT concerning Glint, so I'm pressing on. I don't want to just sit on my duff waiting.

Depending on what THE AGENT says about Glint, I may give it another look and see if there is anything it needs. It's been a while since I've given it an objective read-through. But for now I'll work on polishing up that rhyming rattlesnake story.