Nothing is scarier than a blank Word doc

Friday, October 31, 2008

Beth's working from home today, which is nice. My cold, however, is no better, and maybe slightly worse. I was up a couple of hours in the middle of the night coughing.

The bright side? I think I may have figured out where to go with this YA MS, and if it's not completely a rip-off of As I Lay Dying and/or Shortcuts, I think it might work. And of course the solution came to me in the middle of the night. I hastened to my laptop to get down a quick outline.

Now, in the clear light of day, the real work begins. And staring back at yet another blank Word document always makes me run right to Facebook. Or Or Jacketflap. Or anywhere I can alt-tab real easy.

Oh, also happy Halloween.

Sam's up from his nap. I'll see what His Lordship needs.

Home Alone 4: Pig in the City

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not much to report, as usual.

Today was the Fourth Day Alone with Sam. It went fairly well, I think. It was a long day, certainly, but I am getting better at picking up Sam's signals; I can identify hungry, tired, and post-evacuation pretty easily--almost always before the deafening high-pitched streaking begins. It doesn't usually last long, though, if it does start; my throat starts to hurt, you see.

I'll be alone with Sam again tomorrow, and Thursday. Beginning in two weeks, it will be every day when B starts her normal work-at-the-office-every-day schedule. Shame. Why aren't we more Canadianesque?

I haven't touched my YA MS since the meeting last Friday. I just don't know where to start fixing this thing. I mean, I can pad it; padding I know. But I don't feel like that's what it wants. A few ideas I've had include an opening passage that completely breaks the fourth wall and sets up the piece a little better; opening with a poem is fine, but the scene at the clothing store feels a little in-the-middle of things. B suggested adding another, shorter novella, connected but not, a la Franny and Zooey. I don't know what to do!

Also we went to BN last night and I picked up two books by John Green: Finding Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines. I'll read them in my normal slow fashion and get back to you.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Well, I had my meeting (over Two-Hearted Ales, I'm happy to say) with the aforementioned editor last night. I wish I had something concrete to report, but I really don't. Not that I expected to walk out of there with a book deal, contract in hand, whistling my way home. But I guess I was hoping for something along the lines of an if-then statement.

Instead, I learned he definitely loved the book as it is, but thinks of it as not quite a novel . . . yet. He gave me some of his notes, and promises to follow up with a full editor letter next week. I'll look forward to that, and hopefully I'll have a better idea of where he'd like to see this book go. Generally, it was pretty cool to hear that a rising star YA editor liked my YA MS. That's the biggest thing I got out of the night.

He also recommended I send the MS off to another editor, who he is sure would also love it, so I'll most likely to do that on Monday morning. I'll probably also read the book again and see if anything comes to me.

Sam the man, bein' Sam, doin' things without a plan

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sam's been a little harder to please ever since he got his shots on Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon is noted in a previous entry. Yesterday, Sam was sort of on the verge of crying or crying pretty much all day. We didn't see many smiles from him.

This morning has been a little better, but the last hour, hour and a half has been on the rough side. I think he's feeling overtired. Hopefully I can get him to sleep.

Over all, though, I'm starting to think that getting any writing done when Beth isn't home might be a pipe dream.

Today, Idaho; tomorrow, Wyoming!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Okay, it ain't the New York Times, but at least for this book I used my real name.

(Scroll down a short way.)


Interesting article in today's Times, and it mentions my original home town in paragraph one.

Shots and hopes

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First, some Sam news.

His two-month birthday was yesterday, which means two-month well visit. Sam had his at 10:30 this morning, and now he is one very unhappy little boy. Three shots in his two legs, and now the violent fits of crying come every 2 minutes or so and last about ten or twenty seconds each. Shrill, painful crying. Truly difficult to be around. My heart is breaking constantly. But the reaction is normal, unless it goes on for three hours in a row. So for now I'll just be glad that he hasn't had a severe reaction.

I can't wait for next month for some more shots!

The stats: 23 inches long (nearly two feet!) and 11 pounds.

In other news, one of the editors to whom I sent my YA MS yesterday has already read the whole thing. Apparently he just couldn't put it down. Naturally, I'm buggin'. We're meeting Friday to discuss the book. I might not sleep until then. Which will be fine, since Sam, it feels like right now, might be crying until then.


Monday, October 20, 2008

I finished my first full-length (if you can call it that at under 35k words) young adult novel this morning. This is a project that began as a 7-page short story in my college Creative Writing for Children class. I was inspired to augment it years later, and finally feel like it's a finished book now, 14 years after first sitting down to bang out a final project. Even more ironic is how many books I've started and finished since then. What, like twenty, twenty-five?

Right, so, I've sent it off to two editors, one who enjoyed a draft a couple of years back, and one I met recently and who must have been impressed enough with my resume and a summary of the MS to ask for it.

Now I guess I'll wait six months and continue to toil away at my chapter books.

In Sam news, he's a regular smiler the last week or so, which is nice. Caring for an infant before he can give you any real reactions -- smiles, gurgly attempts at speech -- can be a little frustrating. Now that I can pretty much always get a smile if I try, it's still frustrating, but less so.

Discrimination is A-OK, as long as it's good, clean, Christian discrimination

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Bush administration has decided that taxpayers' money can go to groups that practice discriminatory hiring.

What have we got left, like 3 months of this clown?


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today is my first day as a full-time stay-at-home dad. It's so far not very difficult. As a matter of fact, most of the stress I'm feeling comes not from Sam, but from this sense of foreboding in my chest: Things might get very difficult any second now.

Like when Harry wakes up and needs to go for a walk. That might be complicated.

Or there's the writing deadlines I set for myself; one to finish by end of day Friday, the other to finish by end of day next Friday.

But mostly Sam's been a picture of easy baby. Right now he's asleep. The two fusses he's busted today were easy fixes: eat, and change. That's easy. It's not like he's screaming in my ear and exploding diapers.

For now, I'll just be thankful he can't walk yet.

Which reminds me. The Times says I better stop forgetting to add the vitamin D to his bottle.

Good morning.

Monday, October 13, 2008

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending my first ever SCBWI conference; it was only about two miles away at the U of M St. Paul campus, so excuses were hard to come by. But it was definitely a good experience. I met some good people and was socially not too terribly uncomfortable.

And they served lunch! With cookies!

I mention this because it inspired me to finally post something on this cobweb-covered blog, which I opened who knows how long ago and, after creating a few images in the sidebar, never posted on.

Now I've done things like this before, and then never showed up again. You should see the journal I kept after college. And, with my still fairly new son at my side, it may be harder than I think to update this thing--while caring for the boy and keeping up with house work and my writing contracts. But I maintain hope.

The focus here will be writing, of course, and reading, but I tend to ramble and digress, so expect some personal beeswax, ranting about the state of the nation, and complaining that the best we can do is Al Franken.