Allow me to ramble and whine about T-shirts, please

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I have several favorite T-shirts. Shall I name them? I shall:

Helmet (Meantime-era logo)
01000100 01000001 01000100
Space Invaders
Strong Bad I
Strong Bad II
Four Gregs
Rockford Spelling Bowl

That's all of them, in no particular order. But here's the thing: Helmet, due to intense wear, and Strong Bad I, due to my having worn it while painting Sam's bedroom, are no longer public appropriate. Clearly, I need to replace those shirts. But meanwhile, I haven't had the extreme pleasure of wearing my Helmet T-shirt in months.

I know!

I wear T-shirts all day, every day (writer lifestyle FTW!), barring some kind of fancy-shmancy social engagement, like a wedding, for which I obviously need to wear a shirt with a collar so the tie won't look silly. But meanwhile, I live in constant fear that my favorite shirts -- the ones still presentable -- will soon become worn and unwearable!

The solution is clearly to right now buy an extra of each of my favorite shirts. Does this sound like a good idea?

But more relevant: why am I wasting blog space and your time with this issue? Who knows.

Today, beginning at noonish, I will enjoy a surprise WYAOD. An hour or so of it will be for SAB work. But after that, I intend to attack YA MS the Third with a vengeance. Much revising needs to be done, and I'm the man for the job.

Ooh! And some friends have lent to Sam a cool little car thingy that lets him practice walking! Enjoy this video.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It occurred to me that I finish that WIP draft and didn't drop a Wordle of it on y'all. So here it is!

Sunday in the house with Sam

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yesterday afternoon I finished the first draft of YA MS the Third. It turned out about half as long as I think it will be, with one entire plot missing, a plot which is yet to be determined but that will save this thing once I figure out what it is.

Beth read the whole thing last night, and had some very helpful notes for me. I think overall she enjoyed it, and her biggest concerns were the same as mine: "What the hell is going on?"

In other news, I haven't updated in over a week now, which is actually fairly embarrassing. But like I mentioned in the last update: still waiting for the final title of YA Novel the First to be officially final, and for a few other things, that will help to make an update a little more worth reading than, say, this one is.

Right now, I'm hanging out with Sam, letting Beth sleep in a little longer. But I do hope she wakes soon so the three of us can get to our Sunday morning tradition: the Saint Paul Farmers Market. Have I ever raved about the market here? It's truly wonderful. It's fairly small, but every farm represented is local and organic. Throughout the summer, I'd say beginning in early May or so, the stuff for sale changes with the months and weeks; we begin with perennials and annuals for sale to the hobby gardener, and soon asparagus and strawberries show up. The corn appears soon, along with peppers and cucumbers and broccoli, and zucchini, et cetera. Eventually the apple-orchard people come out, with sample slices and fresh-pressed cider. It's really one of the best things Saint Paul has to offer.

So that's where we're headed, once Beth gets up. We'll get everything we need for salads, our traditional Sunday night dinner, plus a couple of coffees to enjoy as we stroll the aisles. And I promise that this week, I'll update twice more, very likely with nothing interesting to report, but a promise is a promise, after all.

It's the July WYAOD

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I know. It's been almost a week. If you're tracking my resolutions, you're no doubt as disappointed in me as I am in myself. Here's the thing: I spent much of the week, when not working on a new FTM title, or simply doing the best job ever (watching Sam, that is), simply waiting for word on a couple of things.

First, Aforementioned Editor (how long will I keep up this pseudoanonymity of various people and projects?) and I have been discussing final titles for YA Novel the First. It's down to a few real contenders, one of which I'm favoring especially. It was Beth's idea, that one. In fact, nearly all of my favorites were Beth's idea. ENIV is also favoring that one. I suspect it will be the final title. Meanwhile, though, I wait for word from designers and salespeople and marketers, who are no doubt holding hours upon hours of meetings to discuss the issue, I assume, via AE. I know we're all anxious to settle on something, so I'm sure I'll hear next week.

Next, I mentioned very briefly that a writer whom I admire had agreed to blurb YA Novel the First. The exact wording of said blurb is still TK (I think the acronym list will be growing after this entry, by the way), and I'd love to simply just paste the entirety of her email below, but I think that would be in poor taste. For now, since she already made this public news on Twitter, I can reveal that the blurber is Sara Zarr. Yes! That Sara Zarr. And regarding the email, suffice it to say that when I read it to my mom, she cried.

So. The point is, I was hoping to update the Exile with some final word on either of the above issues. It wasn't to be. Instead, I'll let you know that today is a WYAOD for me. Like a giant doof, however, I biked to the coffee shop, ready to work, and forgot the excellent Father's Day gift cards I'm supposed to be using, per Beth's most excellent gift to me. Anyway, I'll be slaving away on YA MS the Third (poor the Second; why have I abandoned you?), and occasionally embarrassing myself publicly by playing air guitar along with "Aqualung," as I am right now. Don't judge; be glad there's no flute solo in this song.

Not for the squeamish

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I didn't want to blog about this. Frankly, the whole episode would be better forgotten. Of course, if facebook statuses mean any posterity, it's far too late for that.

This was my facebook update yesterday morning:

I was out walking Harry, our faithful if irritating terrier, when about two blocks from home I was accosted and chosen as host organism for a horrible beast. Its new domicile was of course my left ear.

The two block walk was difficult. Every so often, the little expletive would flap its tiny wings, presumably to remind me it was in there and that it essentially owned me. Upon feeling and hearing these flaps ("The calls are coming from inside the house!" has never been so poignant), I would -- I believe quite understandably -- freak the hell out somewhat. Which is to say, I'd scream and slap myself in the ear.

I can only imagine what my neighbors must think of me.

Upon reaching our house, I (can you guess?) googled "a bug is stuck in my ear." One suggestion included "stick a blade of grass in your ear." I suppose that sounds . . . reasonable? But in my panicked state, I read "stick a blade OR grass in your ear." That sounded downright insane, so I tried a different site. Before I had a chance, however, my new little ear friend decided to do some serious flapping of wings. I screamed in a very manly way, and then woke up Beth and the baby to explain very calmly what was going on.

A few things we tried, thanks to Beth's clear head, helped. Among them: flushing the ear with water. This helped the little expletive get one . . . ugh . . . wing out of the ear canal. Beth, coyly, spotted the wing but did not fully let on that the creature living inside me was indeed a moth. She knew this would upset me. She did, however, suggest I stand next to a light.

That's when I knew.

"Ohmygod it's a freakin' moth!"

I won't get into the hoary details of my screaming and flailing and insisting everyone back away, no sudden moves, et cetera. Suffice it to say, just as I was getting ready to head to the ER for a mothectomy, the thing crawled out and fell to the bathroom floor.

I then killed it with tremendous passion and loathing. I think even Roo will understand.

It was a complicated day after that. That is, despite this unquestionable low point in the early morning, it turned out to be a good day (we bought Beth her new laptop), then a very good evening (we had supper at the Lakeside with many a Bracken), and then a freakin' amazing night (an author whom I respect and admire has agreed to blurb YA Novel the First, and sent me an amazing email telling me so).

FTM, revealed!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Finally, if you'll glance slightly to your right, the classified acronym has been revealed. Stone Arch Books newest series of chapter books, the Field Trip Mysteries, authored by yours truly, was so fun to write, so well designed and illustrated, I can hardly bear it. In fact, I'm in the middle of submitting the next four in the series!

Seriously, I just love the art by C.B. Canga. Get a load of these covers.

In other news, edits on YA Novel the First are done! The manuscript, still untitled, is now being sent around for blurbs. My heart is inside out with apprehension and excitement. Aforementioned Editor and I will now discuss titles and cover ideas. I also want to note that the best titles that will come from my end of that conversation were thought up by Beth. She is much better at this than I am.

Oh, also we took this little trip out to New York to see fam and friends, so there was that. Boy, did I eat. Seriously. I can hardly remember anything else. Eddie's pizza, of course (twice actually), plenty of the more typical New York-style pizza, one hot dog from Papaya King, a burger and shake from COZY Soup and Burger (best shakes in the city, hands down), loads of bagels, and plenty of other great, great food. I don't want to think about it, because I'm pretty sure I gained twenty pounds over seven days. The airline should have charged me for an extra carry-on, I kid you not.