Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back to Writing

The end of the school year is fast approaching, and with it comes the opportunity for uninterrupted daily writing time.

I'm one of those people who need structure to remain productive. So before the first day of summer break arrives, I set goals and make a plan. Nothing super detailed, mind you. But each day has blocks of time for writing, gardening, house chores, activities with kids, etc. I have found if I don't do this, the summer slips by and my to-do list remains untouched. Before I know it, I'm back in school, and the list is stuffed in the drawer for another summer break.

My first writing goal this summer is to complete a 1st draft of my current novel. I'm a need-a-deadline kinda gal, so I'm entering "The 1st Annual Complete Your Draft Contest!!" The contest officially begins June 1st. The goal for novelists is to write at least 25k new words by the end of the month. Contest information is listed below. Thanks, Anne Marie, for posting this on Verla Kay!

My second writing goal is to submit a manuscript for an editor/agent critique at a writer's conference this September. SCBWI Mid-South has posted their conference brochure online. It will be held in Nashville, and the faculty list is:

Kaylan Adair, Associate Editor, Candlewick Press
Patrick Collins, Creative Director, Henry Holt
Caroline B. Cooney, Award-winning Author
Shelli Johannes-Wells, Marketing Expert
Cheryl Klein, Senior Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic imprint)
Michael Stearns, Agent, Firebrand Literary Agency

The Northern Ohio SCBWI group also holds a fall conference, usually in the Cleveland area, the 1st weekend of September. They have not posted conference information yet, but it should be coming soon.

If any of you know of any upcoming conferences within 5 hours of Cincinnati, please let me know!

The 1st Annual
Complete Your Draft Contest!!

Contest is brought to you by Les Trois Graces in association with Tuesday Night Chatters.

  1. Contest is open to any writer at any stage (first-timer, agented-but-not-yet-published, or published authors; also hobbyists, etc.) to encourage the completion of a first draft or writing project.
  2. Contest is open internationally.
  3. Contest officially begins June 1, 2009 and will end at 23:59 (your local time as time-stamped by your e-mail provider) June 30, 2009.
  4. Contest requires a .txt document be sent to LTGcontests [at] gmail [dot] com for word count confirmation. Once counted, the document will be deleted. This will be done twice. Once when you sign up and again on June 30th.
  5. To be included, please leave a comment on this post (let me know where you heard about it too). Everyone signed up on this post is in! Send your .txt document to the address above no more than 24 hours after commenting (or viewing this entry).
  6. Those who sign up as novelists must write at least 25k new words, which is half of what NaNoWriMo requires in a month. Those that sign up as poets must write at least 1k new words. Please feel free to contact me, as this is open to discussion based on your project!

* By signing up, you agree to these rules. Rules may be subject to change at any time, but notice will be given 24 hours in advance. No monetary compensation is required for joining the contest.

  1. Prizes will be awarded no later than July 14, 2009 (Bastille Day!).
  2. Prizes include†:
    • $10 iTunes gift card
    • $20 gift card
    • One chapter critique by on ANY project of winner's choosing
    • Custom designed web banner by the amazingly talented ! (Please visit her website and check out her soon-to-be released book, Harmonic Feedback!

  3. All winners will be entered into a random drawing for above prizes.
  4. Contest winners will be announced no later than July 4, 2009.

** Contest organizer is not responsible for lost or misdirected mail. Prizes will be sent by e-mail or ground mail, depending on item. Neither signing up, nor completing a draft will guarantee that a prize will be awarded.
† Contest organizer is still waiting to hear about a couple other possible prizes. Please check back throughout the month for details!

  1. Points will be awarded for the following:
    • Spreading the word on your blog, discussion board, or website.
    • Getting a friend to sign up and successfully complete their draft.
    • Donating a prize.

  2. Points can be traded in if word count is not met by June 30th.

Have fun! Write, write, write! Good luck. :D

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Confessions of a Talent Junkie

I can't believe this, but I'm a complete Britain's Got Talent junkie.

Me. Which is strange because I can barely tolerate television. I usually listen to the news on my tiny kitchen TV while I cook dinner, but you'll rarely catch me sitting down to watch a program. I always feel like there is so much else to do that is more productive. My daughter figured that out when she was four. "Mama, come and watch TV with me. We can fold laundry..."

I'm watching it, of course, online. Maybe that's why I like it. I can click on the segment I want to see, and I can view what I'm interested in without the interruption of commercials. Or maybe it's because some of the acts are so bizarre. I have to admit I'm drawn to the singing and dance acts the most. I'm so hooked that I even have the clock on my Mac set to London time so I don't miss anything. The semi-finals are this week, and the final is this Saturday. The shows begin at 8:30 p.m., and they start posting the acts online within an hour. Which is terrific because I can watch them when I get home from teaching and still have dinner on the table at the normal time.

Except tonight. I opted for frozen pizza while I wait for the Semi-final 3 Recap...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Good News!

Daughter and I went to see a pediatric sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon today (say that one 10 times fast!). Good news!! He disagreed with the ER doctor. He believes daughter will not have to give up gymnastics. The plan is surgery Tuesday for a pin in the bone, no cast, and therapy begins within 3 to 4 days after surgery. She can begin conditioning at the gym under the care of a sports therapist within 2 weeks, and may be back to full training within 6 to 8 weeks! Sounds great, but I'm getting a second (third?) opinion. Better safe than sorry.

Maybe now I can get my head back into writing/plotting my new novel. I haven't put down a single new word on the page. No inspiration. None at all. Just the desire for a good, long nap.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Not for the Faint of Heart...

I've decided orthopedics is not for the faint of heart.

Friday, my 11 year old daughter took a major spill at school during an obstacle course race for field day. There is nothing quite like the 11 A.M. phone call from your child's teacher letting you know the emergency squad is on it's way. When I arrived at the school she was already in an air cast and in the ambulance. When we got to the hospital the diagnosis was a complete dislocation of the left elbow and fracture of the proximal head of the radius. When the doctors put her bones back in place, the fractured part of the elbow broke off. We go to the orthopedic clinic this Wednesday. We'll find out then if they plan to put her in a hard cast or if she'll need surgery to secure the broken bone.

It's tough watching your kids go through the hard stuff. It's harder still knowing that they'll have to set aside a dream because of it. My girl is all about competitive gymnastics. She has some pretty lofty goals - a good many of which I believe were attainable. The doctor said gymnastics is probably out of the picture. When daughter visited the gym her coach told her that sometimes gymnasts with serious injuries switch to competitive diving - all the flips and fun without the impact. That seemed to brighten her day. In any case, we'll worry about that later. We have a possible surgery and a summer of physical therapy ahead of us first.

Long weekend. Expecting a long week. Summer of physical therapy... Here's hoping for waterproof casts so she can at least get in the pool this year!

Total dislocation

This piece broke off when they put the bones back in place.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Alive and Well and on the Planet Earth... again...

The end of the school year is fast approaching -and with it, all of the paperwork that comes with closing down two classrooms. This year I am also moving one room to another building. In short, blogging will be sporadic for the next few weeks - as will writing time and reading time. But I'll be back soon.

Keep reading and writing!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Book-a-holic Mantra

I'm not allowed to purchase The Last Olympian until I (start) finish reading Fablehaven. I'm not allowed to purchase The Last Olympian until I finish reading Fablehaven. I'm not allowed...