Thursday, January 21, 2010


School's back in session and I have 3 book reviews waiting in the wings.  But first, please indulge me in some musing.
2010 (two thousand ten or twenty ten, your call) WILL be a good year!  That's not wishful thinking, it's fact.  2009 stunk worse than 3 day old fish.  I'll recap for you:

started year worn out from Brennan's Christmas pnuemonia, moving to NY, opps...not moving, hubby laid off instead, Brennan can't stop pooping (TMI I know), hubby out of work, assorted illness for Brennan,  part time job ended sooner than expected, lost 35 pounds, $2000 in dental work for Zac, landed really excellent job, had to wait to start really excellent job, part time job landed, have to stop feed Brennan food - formula only, Brennan bout 2 with pneumonia, hubby starts new 'temp' job, turn 35, finally start excellent job, feel like a middle schooler all over again trying to make friends at the excellent new job, Sam and Zac get swine flu, various financial difficulties, Brennan bout 3 with pneumonia, Breast Cancer 3 Day, asthma fall out, hubby decides 'temp' job is THE one, Brennan decides to eat and grow, freaking about holiday money, holiday money arrives just in time.

So, that's the short version.  Many ups but many many downs.  But Thanksgiving brought an amazing up.

For years, I have wanted to write.  I wrote as a young girl.  I won a poem contest in elementary school (my dog makes me smile, he makes me smile for a mile, he makes me grin until I'm ten, I love my dog).  Impressive since I remember writing it the morning it was due and had no dog at the time (did not have a dog until high school).  I won a Stuart Hall writing contest about the school of the future.  Honorable Mention, I think.  I remember writing the essay but not the subject matter.  Schools of the future, maybe?  Then I forgot about it until huge box of Stuart Hall school supplies arrived.  I hadn't told anyone I had entered the contest, didn't keep a copy of the essay, couldn't remember the contents of the essay.   But LOVED the free school supplies.  I wrote an entire series of books (or maybe short stories) about boy and girl twins - Fred and Rita.  They did the things I did but the outcomes were better.  I never showed them to anyone.  I wish I knew where those notebooks are.

I don't know why I gave up creative writing.  But I did.  Probably some crappy teacher hurt my feelings.  Who knows.  But, as you may have guessed, I enjoy it but I'm EXTREMELY shy about anyone reading what I write.

Two years ago I wrote 2 picture books.  I took a junk course about selling a book.  I followed all the instructions.  I spend a good deal of money to go to New York to Book Expo America to try to sell it (as instructed by the course - course was not related to BEA).  My instructions were to walk up to people and tell them about my books.  OMG - I cried everyday after a day at BEA.  My feet hurt, I was alone in NYC (see country mouse, city mouse story) and I was trying to do something foriegn to me.

So, again, I put writing away.  Until Thanksgiving 2009.  Before Thanksgiving I decided that I needed to read more.  And I decided to start this blog to review books out of our school library.  During this process, I stumbled upon the Young Adult Book Central website.  Somehow from there I ended up on Twitter following Kimberly Pauley and Myra McEntire.  I felt extremely stalker-ish.  Then, to up the stalker ante, I started reading Myra's blog.  She seems a lot like me.  I enjoy her humor and style of writing.  But what's been most helpful is her openness about her journey in writing.  It gave me hope. And something to do.

In the meantime the Friday before Thanksgiving, while in the shower (TMI again sorry) I got THE IDEA.  A sweet young girl named Caley started talking to me in my head.  I had been waiting for years for THE IDEA.  And here it was finally.  What the heck do I do with it now?  Well, I started writing down what was in my head.  And I remembered Myra. She blogged about reading about the craft of writing.

As usual around the holidays, time flew.  I thought of Caley often and wrote down what came up.  But I've never written anything long.   I wasn't sure what to do.  So, I put Caley up and headed back to Myra's blog to find the name of the books she recommended.  I had blown my 'play/me' money on new jeans so I turned to the library.  (the quest for this book in another story)

I checked out Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and How I Write by Janet Evanovich.  I read Evanovich first.  Very helpful.  Quick read. Good stuff.  Then last night after the kidlit chat on Twitter (another Myra recommendation), I started reading Plot and Structure.  WOW!  The first page was written directly to me.  How sweet of Mr. Bell.  I am excited to continue reading, learn the craft and give Caley the voice she needs.

So, there 2009. 2010 is gonna kick your tail.  And if all goes well, 2013 or 2014 or 2015 (or whenever) will see Caley in bookstores.  And maybe I'll be able to inspire a stranger to run out to a library at 5:30 p.m. on a Saturday (the library closes at 6) to get a book that changes his or her life.  Thanks Myra!

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