Archive for September, 2009

feeling helpful?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

fairy2

…then vote for me here! I’m Entry #1 in case you’re wondering. :)

Examiner.com (i’m required to capitalize)

Monday, September 28th, 2009

examinerblogbkgrnd

I’ve got a new “gig”.

Have you ever wondered about the state of Fort Worth charter schools?

Curious about charter schools in general?

You’re in luck! I’ve signed on as the Fort Worth charter schools Examiner for Examiner.com! It’s a cool site with national as well as local folks providing information and educated opinions with the public at large. Check it out and see all the neat stuff you can find.

what i did on my flucation

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

sneeze

One member of my family escaped the virus that held the rest of us hostage this week. And boy, was he ever proud of it. I guess he deserved to sit this one out since he is the kid with asthma, and has already had shingles in his short 13 years. But it sure is grating when he has his smug “I feel fine” smirk and reminds us every hour on the hour that he’s so amazed that he’s the only one who hasn’t gotten sick.

Do I sound bitter?

What I didn’t do: read a book. Not even one! My only outings were picking the well child up from school…no libraries or bookstores for me. I did read Time magazine cover to cover. You wouldn’t believe all the crap going on in the world.

What I did do: Walk around with a can of Lysol every day spraying everything, including the couch. I don’t even know if that works. I did it anyway.

Wash every linen I could on HOT.

Broke hearts when I reminded the sickies that if you miss school you don’t play computer.

Pimp fluids like my life depended on it.

Remind everyone that coughs and sneezes go in the crook of your arm (or a kleenex–aka roll of tp). I am not amused by the light speed breaking force and sound of your most impressive spewage.

Make-up-school-work week–here I come!

bee leave

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

believe2The odds are stacked against you.

The market’s flooded.

It’s too hard.

You’re more likely to be struck by lightning.

You can’t make any money.

——-

It could happen.

Don’t give up.

Learn. Work hard. Adapt.

Be a duck and keep paddling.

Believe.

When I was a girl I wanted to be a famous actress. By the time I was 16 I’d started filling a glass jar with change to fund my move to L.A. I even got my little sister to contribute. 18 came fast and I’d let the “are you sure you want tos?” and the “yeah, rights” get the better of me and so I spent the money in the jar…most likely on cans of Franco-American Spaghetti from 7-11.

A contributing factor had to be the theater program I was in that regularly introduced the class to local actors. They were not famous, definitely not rich. Middle-aged, overweight graying men in black stretch pants were the norm.

Those guys never gave up. Acting, like writing is more need than occupation. Those men understood that.

I may have wasted my ingenue years, but I won’t waste my more mature years wondering what could have been if only I’d not given up.

Plus, I haven’t been able to find that FA canned spaghetti in years.

FAS

catching fire, writing odds and ends…necessarily in that order

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Whew! That was a long title, my goodness. Let me take a breath…

‘kay.

catching fire

catchingfire

On my fifteen last Friday I mentioned that I read Catching Fire. That wasn’t a lie. I did, and I loved it. It left me hanging more than The Hunger Games did, so now I’m angry  with Suzanne Collins until the next book comes out. BTW, READ THIS BOOK. But make sure you read The Hunger Games first, of course.

writing stuff

This is really cool – MIT’s (that’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology) FREE online writing course. No grades, but you get the syllabus, assignments and course materials (downloadable).

This is where I got that link. There are also free courses offered by Purdue University, UCLA, and the University of Utah to name a handful (minus two fingers).

I learned a lot about writing this weekend thanks to my pal Jenny Martin. She is the librarian who guest blogged for me last week, remember? I learned that one of those courses mentioned above would be a great idea for me. Passive voice, who knew! (It seems like everyone I know knew. ugh.) Also, this one space between sentences is going to take some getting used to. It was the only thing that stuck from 7th grade typing class.  There!  I did it again. oy.

fifteen for friday 9/18/09

Friday, September 18th, 2009

soggy Texas edition

These monsters range in size from 3 to 6 inches in diameter

These monsters range in size from 3 to 6 inches in diameter

1.  It has been raining/overcast/blah outside for a week…this is not normal and makes me feel that something more ominous than rain in Texas is afoot.

2.  I’m aware that these feelings are a product of an overactive imagination…but just LOOK at all the mushrooms!

3.  Hubby won’t quit saying “The phong is ringin’!  Is it Michael Trabtree?”

4.  Speaking of phongs, my new LG Xenon is due today! woo hoo!

5.  Read: Catching Fire…finally!  More on that later.

6.  Reading Dead Until Dark.

7.  Did I already tell everyone that I like this blog?  I think I did.  It’s been a soggy week.

8.  Cats are already fattening up for the winter.  You’d think they were getting ready to hibernate or something.

9.  #FF (follow friday feels so nice.)

10. @calistataylor is so helpful!  I know I mentioned her before, but seriously…she gave me a soup recipe for my angry stomach.

11. Thanks thanks thanks to Jenny Martin for being my first guest blogger.  You rocked it!

12. Completed my 500th tweet today…what an accomplishment.

13. Ugh.  Where’s that soup?

14. Oh yeah.  I have to actually make it.

15. I promise a better list next week. *doubling over queasy mid section*

guest blogger: jenny martin, librarian extrodinaire

Monday, September 14th, 2009

bookstack2When Jen asked me to post about advice I’ve gleaned from writers’ groups, I wasn’t sure what suggestions to give. After all, as a writer, I’m a novice. I have zero expertise to offer on the mechanics of writing.

But I am a librarian. As such, it’s my job to read widely and well. I’d like to think I’m acquainted with the transaction between reader and book. Perhaps an examination of this exchange could be helpful. After mulling over the helpful hints offered at AQ and writer’s workshop, I’m struck by a single question.

What happens when I read a good story?

Reading is an interactive experience, an emotional communion between the reader and the tale. If a story reaches me, touching my intellect and psyche in a meaningful way, I consume the story.

Or does the story consume me?

After reading a really good book, I absorb the emotional core of the plot and carry it with me. Although I may never read it again, it never leaves my subconscious. Like a talisman, I examine the tale each time I devour something new. I compare its characters, its setting and its message against those inside the novel in my hands.

A good story haunts the outposts of the soul.

If this is true, what implications does it have for the writer?

Simply put, if the writer’s setting, characters, themes and plot do not spark an emotional connection, the story dies. It is not carried on, it is not absorbed, and it does not take root in the consciousness of the reader. The story slips away, a vapor. It’s lost.

If your story is does not yet live in the heart of its reader, do not lose faith. Return to your characters. Reach inside of them and extract the essence of that which makes them real and vibrant. Close your eyes and experience the story through their eyes. Transfigure this experience until it fits comfortably on the page.

Then, with any luck, your story will either break the reader’s heart or heal it.

About the blogger:

Jenny Martin is a school librarian in the DFW area. She holds a Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of North Texas. She also reviews books and writes YA.

blogman award!

Monday, September 14th, 2009

blogman

This is my first ever Blog award!  Jim Harrington posted it to me (and four others) on his blog last Friday.

Apparently, “It’s the result of a discussion about what the acronym BLOG stands for, and the creative responses to the question.”

As always there are rules to follow:

  1. Tell us your favorite superhero and why
  2. Copy the badge and post it to your blog
  3. Present the badge to five other worthy bloggers
  4. Post links to five people you nominate
  5. Comment on their pages to let them know they have been nominated

I bet you’re dying to know who my favorite super hero is.  Honestly, I’ve never really thought all that hard about who that might be.  Spiderman pops to mind first since he and I share a last name, but I don’t really care for spiders.  My husband mentioned Mal from Firefly, and if he had super powers I would definitely choose him.

I went on twitter for help with ideas.  First there was Mystic, then Catwoman…both villains.  Then the ideas got vague.  I like the idea of Stargirl, a petulant teen who eventually  shows growth, and since I’m a YA girl…I’m going with her.

And the nominees are:

Natalie @ Between Fact and Fiction

Danae @ Works In Progress

Martin @ F.O.R.C.E.

Amy @ amy sue nathan writer-editor-single mom

Debra @ Write on Target

fifteen for friday 9/11/09

Friday, September 11th, 2009

menofstone

During the first Gulf War I remember being safe in my parent’s home, watching eerie green missiles arch over a night sky on T.V.  I wasn’t worried.  I felt for the troops and wrote letters but I had no inkling of what it felt like to be the target of an aggression.  Some people might say that I still don’t know what it’s like, and that’s fair.  But when New York and Washington D.C. are attacked, aren’t all Americans?

It’s impossible to write today’s date and not be inundated with mental images.  I remember where I was, what I was wearing and the events of that morning.

It was a beautiful day here in DFW, just like it was in NY.  I was wearing my “Tuesday outfit” a black shift dress with a soft pink cardigan.  My family was riding together on our way to school and work in our little green Honda Civic on I-30 headed to Fort Worth from our home in Dallas.  We were just driving into the downtown Ft. Worth area when the local sports radio station that we were listening to broke in with the report that a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center in New York.  Again, I wasn’t too worried.

I stayed in the car listening to the radio as my husband dropped the kids off to kindergarten and daycare (nicely held in the same building).  This is when I realized that something was seriously wrong because they interrupted the show again to say that another plane had hit the other building of the World Trade Center.  This was obviously no coincidence.

We hurried to work, (at the same company) I was on the 36th floor, he was on the 38th of the Burnett Building.  Many of the people who had already arrived at work had no idea what was going on.  It didn’t take long before no one was working.

The 38th floor turned on a T.V. so I headed up there.  I arrived just in time to see the second building that was hit fall.  If I hadn’t seen it myself I never would have believed it.  How could such a huge building be there one minute and be gone the very next?  This was the image and the idea that stuck with me.  There.  Gone.  There.  Gone.

For me, that was the day when anything became possible.

There isn’t going to be a fifteen today.

punky mcpunkerton

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

If anyone has a specific question about writing queries, ask away and I’ll point you in the right direction…but for now I’m a little tired of the subject.  Yes, I know that I said that this week would be devoted to queries, but it’s my blog.  Most of the week was about queries anyway.

I ran across this link on Twitter.  It’s about the different sorts of “fill-in-the-blank punk” types there are.  How can there be so many sub-genres in a sub-genre?  It’s all speculative fiction anyway, right?  Why is it necessary to divide it up into so many pieces?  On the glass half full side, the article made for some pretty funny comments such as striker7770 who said, “you cant just take books and add punk to that, or else we would be living in earthpunk eating baconpunk while reading twlightpunk”.

Well said striker…well said.

On a completely unrelated note I’m a little freaked out right now that I’m enjoying a Jonas Bros. song on the Disney channel. **shuddering**