Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I have never done this before, but what the hey.


1. Finish both my YA manuscripts!

2. Finish at least one of the titles in my middle-grade trilogy.

3. Blog five times per week.

4. Cover the windows over the couch in plastic. Soon.

5. Teach Sam to talk, walk, and eat solid foods.

6. Eliminate caffeine entirely. That is, from my diet, not the world in general.

7. Get an agent!

8. Stop buying coffees everywhere. Even decafs.

9. Get that pesky old cholesterol down where it belongs.

And, if I can do all that stuff, one final resolution:

10. Get my druid to level 80. What?! Not, like, next week, but eventually. Jeez.

Happy New Year!

If only December had been NaNoWriMo!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas is behind us. With it are also several dozen cookies, at least one turkey, three chickens, several imitation crabs, a bucket of mayo, five rolls, a quarter pound of sliced cheese, three portions of Grandma's potatoes, a liter of soda, two beers, six cups of decaf, and 6 hours of quality slick-road drive time. Woo!

Truth is, I made out like a bandit this season, with great eats and gifts and I should shut up. Also, the few gifts I either picked out on my own or had any amount of influence on were very well received, which is nice too.

In news more relevant to this forum, my writing for the last ten days has been fairly productive; it remains to be seen whether that productivity will prove useful to me in some way, namely monetarily! Ha. But seriously, I'm more than thirty-eight thousand words into YA MS 2 right now, and though I have already spotted a great many holes in its plot and timeline, which will need fixing in the revision stage, I'm still feeling pretty much good about it. The protagonist's voice feels fresh to me, and making her a gamer was huge fun. Plus, there's this really excellent feminist message . . . I think.

And speaking of gaming, I haven't played WoW in 46 days. But who's counting?

It's been a long time since the last update, so I won't try to cover every little thing, but I do want to add that Beth and I went to Good Earth for lunch again, and Chad was our waiter. AGAIN! It's starting to feel a little weird, to be honest. But I had the croque monsieur, which made me feel all oogy in a good way.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

The drifts of snow on windy nights like this, especially when the snow is dry and light, remind me of the dunes at Jones Beach on Long Island. In places, like on our own front lawn, tall perennials still stand, their tops reaching well above the reach of the accumulated seven inches, to deeper in the drifts, of snow, and look just like the thick-stalked grasses that managed to survive between the blacktop of the parking lot and the crowded flat sands closer to the breaking waves. Along the wood-plank path, on either side, where the sun made the sand too hot to walk, the dunes took whatever shape the wind gave them.

Tonight, I'm on the couch (what else is new?) and snacking on pickle chips, something of which I had never heard the last time I was at Jones Beach.

As my recent tweets and FB status updates have alluded to, I have begun a new MS. I am foolish in this respect, and have been for years. But sometimes some free writing has to happen to get my juices flowing again, and the YA MS had been running on fumes for a couple of days. So I free wrote. And free wrote. And free wrote some more. And now I'm 60 pages in and don't want to stop. It feels great that writing is fun again!

So far, it's still coming pretty easily, but this has happened before. Hopefully this time's a charm, and I'll get this title finished enough that I'll be able to go back and do some edits to bring it up to submission quality.

The real question is, when will I get back to YA MS? Ugh.

So, in future, YA MS is still YA MS, and this new one is, um, YA MS . . . 2?

WTB house in warm climate PST

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yesterday was a good day, in at least a few ways, but not so good in one way in particular.

On the plus side, I wrote a chapter and a little in Lily's section of the YA MS. It turns out she's a load of fun to write, and way smarter than I thought she was. Besides the productivity itself, I was able to do some writing during the day, while Sam was napping, which is always great. And all it took was a split-second decision*: I think I won't play Assassin's Creed right now. I think I'll open Word. Totally worked! Then Beth was nice enough to let me run out to DBC after supper and get even more done.

Sam was a pleasure to be with, too, for most of the day, and even let me shoot a couple of videos.

The negative side? Cold. SO COLD. PAIN COLD. I am so done with winter already, which is a huge shame, because (A) I live in Minnesota, and (B) WINTER HASN'T EVEN OFFICIALLY STARTED YET.

Today, Sam and I will very likely go to the MOA. You say, "MOA?! So close to Christmas? Are you MAD?!" Yes. But that's irrelevant. I don't think it will be too crowded during a weekday. Plus? Opa! for lunch. But we have some things we need to return to MOA-only stores, so it has to be done. And I could use a nice long errand to get out of the house.

*Anyone else remember the Split-Second Decision assembly in high school or maybe junior high? In that presentation, the split-second decision was of course saying NO to drugs! Yay, Nancy Reagan!

New favorite show

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A rare Saturday update! All right, a rare update in general.

Just got done with lunch at Good Earth. Yes, a late lunch. Anyway, our waiter was Chad* again, if you can believe that, and he convinced me easily enough to get the turkey sandwich special, which was on oat cranberry bread, with provolone cheese and granny smith apple slices. I recommend it. Not sure it was quite as good as the similar sandwich once served at St. Helen Cafe in Williamsburg, but hey, at least Good Earth is still in business.

The main reason for my post is a new obsession: The Guild! It's one of these Internet-only sitcoms, with episodes 3 to 6 minutes long; Beth sent me the link for it earlier today and I watched every episode available, which is exactly 14, I believe. The awesomeness, besides being usually genuinely hilarious, is made up of two things, as far as I'm concerned:

1. It was written by and stars one of the Potentials. 50 points.
2. It is about the members of a guild in an MMO. 50 points.

For extra credit, one of the guild members is beginning to think, Hey, I should probably quit--or anyway cut down. 10 points.

That is a total of 110 points, which is an A+ on any scale.

Sure, you will need to "get" MMOs to "get" many of the jokes, but most of the humor is pretty clear, even if you're not a recovering druid.

*Chad was our waiter during our first and only previous visit to Good Earth, well over a year ago. He is noteworthy for his muscles, tattoos, loquaciousness, and shorts, which he wears all winter.

Remembering Picture Books

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Internet feels kind of slow today, so I thought I'd better do my part.

The sky is blue here in Saint Paul, and the three or so inches of snow on the ground are light, fluffy, and generally pleasant under one's feet. This is the easiest snow to shovel, but if the sun has its way, soon some little melting will begin, and then the snow will become wet, and heavy. This is how heart attacks happen.

I've been giving the YA MS some additional thought. Not on purpose, you understand. These ridiculous thoughts come to me in the shower or in the middle of the night, when I'm completely unprepared for them. At any rate, I have a brilliant (ha!) idea for a middle section, and -- get this! -- a PART TWO! oh good.

What this means, to sum up, is a final MS, in the who-knows-how-distant future, nearly six times the size of the original draft, which was, I'll admit, quite short.

All that said, Dr. James Orbinski of Medecins Sans Frontieres was on MPR this noontime, and it made me feel like writing about any topic other than genocide is pretty much a waste of time.

I suppose I'll get over it.

Bought a copy of The Snowy Day for Sam today. It was one of my favorites as a child. Which reminds me: I need help finding a book! When I was a child, I had a few favorite picture books. One was The Snowy Day, one was Whose Mouse Are You?, one was Make Way for Ducklings. However, there was another. I cannot recall the title, nor the author, nor the illustrator. But I can remember what it was about:

A boy recalls a trip to the park, sometime around dusk. Shadows fall over everything, and the boy's recollections are skewed. He saw, for example, a man walking with a grizzly bear! But, maybe, that was just a big dog, after all.

Any bells ringing for anyone from that description? Any tips are appreciated, as I'd like to get a copy of that one for my boy (and, yes, for myself, too).

In other news, I managed to stuff a huge lunch into my gaping maw (shout out to Tom Sniegoski!), and now I feel like crap. Salad for dinner is definitely in order.


Monday, December 8, 2008

I've got a bad cold. I think Sam might have it too. He's had a fitful morning of sleep since his mom left. He wakes every 5 or 15 minutes and cries for a few seconds, then turns over and falls back asleep. This is pretty much how I slept most of the night, so I'm assuming it's a symptom of the cold.

In other news, my first-ever graphic novel manuscript is . . . late! But not by much, and I hope to get it done by lunchtime, or during lunchtime, depending mainly on Sam. I have 6 spreads left to go, and then I can spend the remainder of December concentrating on my YA MS, and pitching new ideas to my editors over at SAB.

Sam is having a fuss right now, so I better check on him. Not much else to report right now, anyway.


'Tis the season

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time for more.

It's Thursday, which means in a few hours begins my evening to work seriously on the YA MS. In related news, I pushed through about 2000 words of that sucker yesterday. I'm not sure how many of those 2000 were actually any good, however.

It snowed today quite hard for maybe 5 minutes. Of course, I was in the car, driving, during those 5 minutes. But it was very pretty, and Sam was out in a real snowfall for the first time, albeit briefly as we walked through the parking lot when the snow began.

By the way, despite the name of this blog, or perhaps owing to the scenario to which the name of this blog alludes, our Christmas tree is up, as is a wreath on our front door. I'll post a photo of the former soon, I hope; we're planning on having it in our holiday photo. Think we'll get a card printed up to send out this year? I have my doubts. We never seem to get quite around to it.

Your opinion, please: When I was on my way out earlier, I spotted a woman, very bundled up, with her toddler son (presumably) wandering from house to house. At first, it appeared she was collecting recyclables for their deposit value (do they do that in Minnesota? I don't even know), but upon closer inspection, I realized they were in fact going through the numerous bags and boxes my generous neighbors have left out for today's charity pickup (by the Epilepsy Foundation, I believe; they want your new or gently used clothing or household items). This woman's infraction made me angry, and a little confused as to whether I was right to be angry.

A mention in the blogosphere

Many thanks to "Get Johnny Reading" for this mention. The Mummy at Midnight is one of my favorites* I've done for SAB, so this is especially cool.

More later. . . .

*Due in no small part to the awesomeness of the art. Look at that cover!