Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Great Hero Passes the Baton

Today is my husband's last day as a firefighter. He's been on the job for about 32 years. He has loved every minute of it! He would argue that point saying that he loved fighting the fire, but hated the 3am rescues of people who called because they couldn't sleep.

I was invited to the fire station to join in the send off. The celebration was from 10am to 3pm. Engine after engine came through with all of the firefighters wishing him well. Each had something wonderful to say about him. I heard so many AJ stories, most of which had us laughing until our sides ached. I can't tell you how many took me aside to tell me about the positive effect he's had on  their careers. One guy said, "we've all heard of the man's man, well AJ is the firefighter's firefighter." Being in a room with so many who put their lives on the line every day was humbling. Listening to them attribute much of their skill to the time my husband spent training them was really over the top!

This has been an awesome brotherhood and I have been blessed to be able to see it in action. At the end of the day (mine, not his, he's still at work) we were taken to dinner by the guys in his station. It was hilarious driving up in the engine and watching the valet try to figure out if he should offer to park the big red thing. Of course he wasn't allowed to. So the engineer parked it on a side of the parking lot opposite rows of Bentleys and very high end Mercedes. Frankly, our ride cost just as much, if not more, than theirs. *smile*

Today has been wonderful. The best part of it is knowing that I will have the privilege of sharing his company for the rest of my life! Happy Retirement AJ. We all love you.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I am so frustrated right now, I could bite someone's head off. This writing thing is crazy. It's so very difficult to know what the truth is. How on earth do I find out the truth. No one in the writing profession commits to saying anything that is helpful. That's not completely true I had an agent tell me the writing was flat in places and of course he was right.

So I went through the ms with a fine-toothed comb. I find exactly what he's talking about and change it. The flat places came from trying to put too much information in places where it wasn't necessary or helpful in moving the story along.

I wish someone could tell me if I should continue to shop the ms around or move on to the next thing. Trying to look at things realistically, I haven't sent it around as much as "they" say you should, whoever 'they' are. How many times should it go out? How do I know when to quit?

This stuff is so subjective that agents are reluctant to say it's bad because it just may not be what they like. I understand what they mean because I've had friends recommend books that they loved and I just thought they were so-so or didn't like them at all.

How do I find the agent with the taste for what I write?

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Things

Yesterday I saw something brand new: Synchronized Treatmilling! First, I never new such a thing existed. Second, it happened at church, and third, it was a hoot and very clever.

Because yesterday was Father's Day our church celebrated with what they called ManDate. The campus was turned into an amusement park. There was rock climbing, motocross, four-wheeling (big trucks including a Hummer), hatchet throwing, bands, and meat - BBQ. There was more, but I can't remember it all. It was kicked of with the synched treadmilling. I wish I had brought a camera. By the time I remembered that my digital recorded video, it was over. I'll have to ask around to see if anyone recorded it.

It inspired lots of book ideas. I'm not quite sure how to put them together yet, but I have written them down. Later I'll sort through them and see which ones are viable, but I know something's there.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Writing and Loving It

I love to write and the whole writing process; my process, anyway. I start with an idea. They come from anywhere. Most of the time ideas happen when I'm sitting and people-watching. It isn't what they say or do, it's what they don't do and don't say.

For instance, I was at the store and a mother in line with me was trying to tell her child "no" about some candy. She told the child "no" several times and each time the child tried to explain why the mom should buy it. After a bit, the mother became frustrated and said, "I said you can't have that. What about that can't you understand." The child asked again. Then the mom shouted, "What? You didn't understand me? I used English. What language do you speak? Chinese?" She turned to the rest of the people in line and asked if any of us spoke Chinese."

After nearly choking to death on smothered laughter, I got an idea. The story idea that came from it was about a teen who suddenly speaks a strange language and can no longer understand English.

Having the storyline build in my head was awesome. Letting the characters unfold literally feels good in my mind. The best part is watching it take form on paper. I love it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I've Been Thinking

I've been thinking about where to go from here. My plan is to continue to query agents about Nubian Princess and see how things go. So far I might have two interested, but it's early yet and we'll see what shakes out.

It took me a moment to get back on track, but here I am. Friends and family have been very supportive. My husband is the best guy on the planet. Really. (You might think yours is, but it's really mine.) He encourages me constantly and helps in whatever way he can.

I've decided to work on the next NP book. It's my way of having a tantrum. I think this may be the longest running tantrum ever because it's going to take me a while to get the manuscript finished. The best part about it is that I'm enjoying revisiting Nubia and the characters. I will have to do more research, but that's part of the fun.

I've found out about a press that specializes in YA multicultural science fiction. What a prize! When I finish this manuscript, I'll get back to my other love. The stars are out there waiting for me and I plan to get there.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Not This Time

Thank you for your support of my entry into the Amazon contest and your paitience in my blogging about it at every opportunity. They didn't chose me. What a bummer. The day I found out was really difficult. It caused me to question my abilities as a writer and my choice of subject matter in my writing. I had to have a serious talk with myself.

I have decided that I have to truly listen to what professionals say about my writing and hold onto that. I have been told by several editors that my writing is 'very good' to 'excellent'. These editors are from major houses, so I have to believe they know what they're talking about. That means my writing is in the ballpark.

That takes me to the subject matter of my writing; therein lies the problem. Each time a major editor reviewed/critiqued my work, they were impressed with the writing but the story wasn't something that fit with what they were looking for. One even suggested something they'd love me to write which was a subject I'm not ready to work with.

Should I change and write what has been asked for or should I write what is within me? What is within me is much more positive and encouraging. What she asked for would take me to a very dark place. I'm not sure that if I visit that place I would be able to leave it. That would not be helpful to me of those around me.

Being a person of color requires that I keep some things locked away because there is no resolution to them. It is very difficult for someone who has not experienced this as a way of life to understand the impact
this has on everything one thinks, sees, and does. It is my hope that the things I choose to write about help change that for those who come after me.

Who knows? I may be fooling myself or even shooting myself in the foot. Only time will tell.