Monday, February 27, 2012

Agent Tweets #7: Got a plan?

Welcome to my weekly series that highlights and responds to 
publication-centric comments from agents and editors, gleaned from Twitter. 
As alwaysI do not name agents and editors quoted in these posts. The quotes 
listed here are indicative of the spectrum, and just happen to be 
the most compellingly worded variations.

This week's installment should be a "d'oh" kind of post for those of us who are looking to query for an agent, sooner or later. But now that I'm nearing my own self-imposed deadline to look for said agent, I am finding I need to review those "d'oh" memos. One can never assume that the obvious will dawn on an eager wanna-be-published writer when they're in the throes of querying. (I know that's true for me.)

Here's a scattering of agent tweets I've seen on this topic lately:

         Selling SF is different than selling literary fiction. Markets are different, editors are different 
Why shld you read from pub before sub'ing? To know if your story fits, to check out their quality, their editing, their formatting//What if you're submitting to a place you'd be horrified to have your book associated with or that doesn't do quality work?// Throwing it at the wall to see what sticks isn't a good publishing plan for any author. Do your research!
Why this matters: Let's put this in practical terms: If your desire is to teach, would you apply for a job as a deoderant tester? If you are gifted in mathematics, would you actively seek a job as a makeup artist? Would an experienced prison warden actively look for a way to work arranging choreography for the Bolshoi Ballet?

Of course not. (Not unless you're looking at one of those as the potential lead-in for a great fiction piece, in which case - be my guest.) 

Further, there's the point made in the second tweet: what if you show up for work to find you've landed with a bunch of prissy neatnicks when you're the tomboyish mountain girl, or a bunch of hard-nosed thugs when you're the prima donna? Remember that if you land a job with Agency X, then their website, and other workers associated with them, become part of your collective public image. You need to know before signing your contract whether you're OK being known as part of the Neatnick Wilderness Thug Girly-Girl Collective before you send those business cards to the printer.

The same applies with whom you query. Consider it as a job interview for your book. If that is so, then your query is your job application, so you want to make sure it goes to the right office, the best prospective employer. 

To help narrow down the possibilities of whom you should (and should not) query, I would highly recommend Chuck Sambuchino's 2012 Guide to Literary Agents. Not only is it full of great listings, but also contains a very informative FAQ section at the beginning that gives more clarity to submissions, what to reasonably expect from an agent (even after you get signed), the question of critique fees, and the rest. For those of you who have Kindles, this book is also available as an e-book for only $9, as opposed to the usual $20. (Nice deal if you ask me --- that's how I came by a copy.)

Of course, once you think you've narrowed down who you want to query, make sure you go to the next level of preparedness, and do the following:

     * Go to the agent's website. Again - if we're talking about potential employers, you'd want to know a little about who they are, what makes them tick, and the kind of books they have represented in the past. Also: If you've been "handed" a link to follow, doing your homework and finding a rather unprofessional website can be your first red flag that it isn't a reputable agency for your manuscript. (I've seen a few of those. They're creepy.)

     * Double check submission guidelines. Sometimes agents will tweak what they are looking for, which means certain genres can roll off or on the menu at different times. Don't assume that an agent always is looking for paranormal romance, or high fantasy, just because they have in the past. Publishing trends are constantly shifting, and unless an agent sees themselves as serving a very narrow and specific niche (I don't know of any like that - do you?), then they will generally close or open submissions to certain groupings of literature according to what they are certain they can sell.

     * Don't overlook "annoying" submission requirements*. You're sending your query to its first job interview. Make sure you tuck in its shirt, zip its fly, and wipe its nose nice and clean before you send it in. (Or, put more practically, make sure your query is in the correct format, and within the specified parameters. If the agent says "Send the first three pages in the email - no attachments" then do just that.)

*Topic of a future Agent Tweets post.

Do you have a favorite online source for writers wishing to narrow down the field of agents?
If so, let me know in the comments?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

6SS: Detour to another WIP

My last few offerings for Six Sentence Sunday has been from Castle 8. Today, however, I decided to post an excerpt from a completed manuscript that I am actively editing, currently entitled Karst. It is a fantasy story that follows a dwindling outpost of Dwarves, and the complex perils that besiege them from above and below, from without and within.

Here is today's excerpt:

Turning a last corner, Gair saw the sagging sink-hole of fire-lit rock, and the swollen cauldrons squatting grimly over the vents. On the other side, several stout figures were dragging away the empty shells of a small millipede (only the length of about nine or ten dwarves) to a farther stretch of rock to break it apart for its valuable, stone-hard scales – yet another part of their worst enemy that the dwarves gladly put to good use. Gair himself wore a bristling tunic cobbled from such scales, as did Brenna. Her millipede armor chittered ominously as she clattered atop her perch.
            “Ho there, Brenna!” On the black scaffolding surrounding the nearest cauldron, a stubby hand waved as the dwarf broke into a rare smile – rare not for this dwarf to smile, but for dwarves in general to smile. Life in the Sighted City did not invite much cause for joy and celebration.

Comments? Questions? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Weekend Silliness: Silly Walks!

It's been kind of rough around here lately, so I've been relying on my students, and ye olde masters of wacky humor (aka Monty Python) to cheer me up; and this is one of my favorite clips.
(clip courtesy of YouTube)

Enjoy --- and then go out and refine your silly walk. National security depends on you! 

You Monty Python die-hards out there - what's your favorite Flying Circus clip?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

While You've Been Napping...

.....we've been busy.

By "we" I mean my set/prop students and I. Our school is putting on a spring performance of Midsummer Night's Dream by ye olde wordsmith Billy Shakespeare, and we're having a BLAST pulling together all the props and backdrops, and even some of the costumery involved.

Working on the donkey skull for Nick Bottom's transformation.

Right now, we're in the throes of some serious paper mache projects. Nick Bottom's transformation into a half-donkey is our main focus right now, as our actor playing Bottom needs to be able to practice with the oversized head and fine-tune his "transformation." Also on the agenda: making oversized mushrooms and toadstools with which to pepper the woodland side of the stage.

Trying some googly eyes for Nick Bottom. 

Last week we worked with some oddly shaped packing styrofoam to create the base or "skull" for Bottom's head, and made sure the interior was fitted for the specific actor, with attention to any padding or sizing that was needed to ensure the donkey's head does not go flying from the actor's noggin in the midst of their performance. (Our Nick Bottom is a very exuberant actor.)

Gathering supplies for tomorrow's class.

One of the great things about this class is that most of the materials we're using are old discarded items and recyclable items. A big plus for us was raiding the treasure trove of recyclable art materials at SCRAP Bin, where all sorts of "creative reuse" items are sold at amazingly cheap prices. We loaded our drama closets with a ton of goodies that have equipped us to bring our creative projects to life.

As my spring gets busier and busier with more creative projects - artistic, writing and otherwise - you can expect some more bragging from this proud teacher about the amazing things her students are doing. It's a small class, but all of are them well-suited for the task at hand, and I am always amazed at the sorts of things they can come out with. (I haven't even told you about their grandiose designs for the stage.)

So stay tuned....more creative mayhem on the way.....!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Q&A with Michel Vaillancourt

I originally posted this interview a week or so ago, at about the time when my own blogging efforts had to go on temporary hiatus; so I am reposting it today because I think it is so pertinent to writers today - especially if you're considering independent or self publishing.

Author of the well-received Sauder Dairies, Michel R Vallaincourt, found himself on the wrong side of a book cover snafu, out of no fault of his own; the full details of which can be found here: [[LINK]]

Many writers would have been tempted to just let things lie; but not Michel. He stepped up to the plate and voluntarily requested his publisher remove his book for purchase until the issue of cover art could be settled. What followed was a curious sequence of events with distinct consequences for all concerned.

As an artist and writer, I appreciated the moral stance Michel took on this issue, for multiple reasons. I have seen other friends misrepresented, and their professional reputations tarnished, through similar circumstances. So I asked if Michel would be willing to answer a few questions about this unfortunate turn of events. Here is the interview in full:


How did it come to your attention that the book cover was used without the artist's permission?
A fan and active member of the Steampunk community sent me an email containing the link to a website with "free for personal use" copy of the artwork.   In the comments section, people were talking about the piece and someone gave the artists name.  From there, I found the original piece on the original artist's web gallery; the internationally recognized Mr. Tomasz Jedruszek (AKA Morano).

Many people, I think, would have been tempted to let "well enough alone", especially if - as with The Sauder Diaries - it was their debut novel, receiving high reviews and gaining a gradual but loyal fan base. What prompted you to take the "hard road" and pull the book until the cover issue could be resolved?
It was stolen goods.  Really, it's that simple.  My publisher was being paid a share of the sales revenue stream to provide cover art;  as a publishing company, I sort of expected them to understand and honor copyright.  Instead they gave me stolen goods. 
As a story teller, I'm an artist of a kind.  My wife is an artist, in her own right.  Many of my friends are artists -- singers, song writers, story tellers, painters, costumers, leather workers -- and their creative process is part of what makes them who they are.  Keeping Morano's work to profit from it without proper restitution to him would have been wrong.  Plain and simple.  I can't afford Morano's work, so that means I can't use it. 
If someone makes something, and you take it without permission and then make a profit in selling it, that's uncool and unfair.  I won't knowingly be a part of that.
Was the artist him/herself already aware of the infraction when you contacted him/her?  What was his/her general response when you said that you would insist on the book cover being withdrawn?
He had no idea.  When I was first made aware of the problem, I ordered my publisher to immediately contact Mr.Jedruszek via his website -- I even gave them the link -- and told them to arrange either permission or compensation on their dime.  I waited about two weeks, following up regularly with them;  they had tried a couple of times, but weren't getting answers back. 
As a result of an related chain of events with another author, I opted to contact Mr.Jedruszek myself via the email address on his website.  So I am the one who contacted Mr. Jedruszek to get this set right. 
I had contacted him with a message of "look, this is what my publisher did without my permission, I'm sorry, can you either give permission for use or tell me how you want to deal with this".  Mr.Jedruszek was furious and he had some pretty harsh things to say about me as a person for letting this happen.  I immediately replied to him, CC'd my publisher, explained the entire situation all over again and gave him the contact information to my publisher. 
I then emailed my publisher, CC'd to Mr.Jedruszek, and told them to pull the book and work with Mr.Jedruszek to clean up the mess they had made.  My exact words to them were "you broke it, you fix it".
How has the handling of this matter affected your relationship with your publisher? 
It amounts to a breach of trust and a breach of ethics.  I asked them to do a few simple things to restore my trust in them and they ignored the requests.  I can't work with them, and as of the 7th of February, they were served notice that they no longer have the right to represent me or any of my creative works.
You hit on a creative solution by hosting a "new and original" book cover contest on your blog. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Certainly.  Essentially, I'm looking for someone who wants to show off in an art contest to send me something cool.  As a result of a donation from a Sauder fan, the total prize pot is $300, with $150 going to first place.  The first-place winner has to agree that I'm allowed to use the artwork for a book cover, and in exchange I'll ensure they get full attribution on the book and in the notes. 
Everyone who enters, winner or not, gets their art up in a gallery on my site with links and contact information, so it's a good chance to promote themselves. 
I know this sort of thing tends to get abused by folks who don't want to pay the $350 - $500+ for a real piece of cover art.  However, in my case, I'm trying to use this as a way to make something good come out of the debacle.  I want to give a starting artist a shot in exchange for helping me get "The Sauder Diaries - By Any Other Name" back out there in a positive way.  By letting the fans have a say in which piece gets chosen, it means everyone has a bit of themselves tied up in the outcome.  I think it will be a very positive thing.   
Anyone interested in participating should swing by my website for all the information. (
Now that you have severed ties with your publisher, what is your next step as an author?
I'm doing a re-edit of the book based on feedback from fans to fix a couple things that some how didn't get into the version that I sent the publisher.  Stuff happens, but again, I might as well make an opportunity from the misfortune.  At the same time, of course, I'm sourcing cover art via the contest.  I'm also planning out my re-release promotional actions.  I'm also in the process of getting an ISBN and the like for the book.
When will The Sauder Diaries be available again, and through what website(s)?
The planned re-release date is April 1, 2012.  It will be available via in Kindle format.  I am also aiming to get it up on Chapters/Indigo for all the Canadian's with a Nook e-reader.  Shortly there-after, I'll be getting it onto Barnes and Noble as well.
Have any thoughts on this? Let me know in the comment section!

Monday, February 20, 2012

(Do You Have a) Life Novel?

I've been very busy lately. VERY busy. What with traveling, teaching, and other work obligations, I've hardly had time to turn around and look at my shadow. Pile on that the added complication that several family members have been racking up frequent flier miles (so to speak) at various hospitals lately, making the past six weeks especially rocky.  Funnily enough, it's at times like this that I feel the strongest urge to write.

Writing is a long-standing habit for me. I started my first journal in second grade* entirely on a whim - I'm not even sure where I got the idea to do such a thing (maybe from my teacher?) - but it certainly marks a major turning point for me. Looking back, I'm inclined to think of that moment as when I truly became a Writer.

I haven't journaled faithfully over the years, though during certain seasons of life I have journaled religiously, and in large quantities. What's interesting to see is the steady trajectory of my life that has been mapped out over the years, in the hodge-podge of notebooks, fancy journals and oddments of typed paper stuck together in old report folders.

This past weekend I was home all day on Saturday, with the hours to call entirely my own. It was such a luxury, I wanted to spend it well. Some of that time I spent rereading old journal entries.

Talk about being transported to another place entirely! If I am never published for the public to read, at least I have the novel of my life written - or it will be, by my journey's end.

Here is a short sample of some of those entries:
December 27, 1983: Today was icy cold. There were even icicles on the volkswagon. Thursday is to be even COLDER. Maybe even SNOW!(**) 
October 16, 1989: Mondays are always kind of looney, but this one was really strange. I don't really know why. Maybe it was because everyone was in a good mood today. That almost NEVER happens. Anyway, I had a pretty good day, except for lunch. _____________ wasn't at school today, so Annual Staff was sort of depressing. We seem to get this kick out of harassing each other. 
September 3, 1994:  Today we went traipsing about in Papa's gardens, picking whatever was ripe. Tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers - we wrenched them off their dewy bushes by the handfuls. We inspected the fig tree, but Papa said those fig-buds wouldn't be ripe for another three weeks. We then loaded ourselves down with baskets and grocery bags, and went to the back yard to pick pears. The tree was so heavy-laden with fruit that two large branches had broken from the weight. 
February 17, 2011: Today went by the used book house...and purchased six books. One is a beautifully illustrated 1946 version of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The other is a 1980 compilation of the correspondence of F Scott Fitzgerald. Apart from my propensity to gravitate toward obscure books (the Correspondence, not the Rubaiyat), the Fitzgerald purchase was a real guilty pleasure...I've decided that between [reading] Mornings on Horseback, Mary Chestnut's Civil War Diary, and now Fitzgerald's Correspondence book, that I am being fairly chased back into journaling again. And it's about time.

(*) The big topic of importance that started my very first journal entry? I had a glass of Five Alive with my afternoon snack. Big news, folks!!
(**) Big news for central Alabama, folks. Trust me.

NOTE: I didn't go a whole fifteen years without journaling...but even so I can see a distinct and sheer drop in my journaling once I had steady and increasing access to the internet....

Ugh. Internet vs "old school" journaling.

Knowing how journaling has defined me over the years really makes this one of my snarky little soapboxes. Obviously I love the internet --- I wouldn't have a blog if I didn't --- but I've got to keep my boundaries clear and well-defined.

I can't give up my old-school journaling. I can't be unfaithful to my original Self.

Do you journal, even sometimes? Is it s safety valve, a creative outlet, 
or a natural extension of your love of writing?

How do you journal - with pen and paper, into a computer file, 
scrapbooking, or something else? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekend Fun - with Muppets

Lately I've been working with my set/prop construction class to make an oversized 
donkey mask for our upcoming school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. 
If you're familiar with the story, you know that one character, Nick Bottom, is partially
transformed into a man with a donkey's head for the middle third of the play.

I don't know if you've ever tried to make an oversized mask of any sort out of styrofoam
and paper mache, but even with red duct tape it ain't easy. The more we work on it, the 
more our maskmaking endeavors put me in mind of the fabulous Jim Henson and his 
magnificent muppets.

Below is the song clip from the original Muppet Show that not only made me a believer
in Jim Henson's magical abilities, but caught my attention simply with his approach to what 
I call "living masks." Call it inspiration, or homage - either way, this clip somehow figures into
a formative moment in my creative process that I am only just now realizing.

Also: Harry Belafonte is superb in this song as well. 


"Turn the World Around" by Harry Belafonte and the Muppets
Link courtesy of YouTube

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fairy Fiction: She-Between-Rivers

NOTE: The usual weekend silly link will go up on Sunday, February 19th.

For now, I must post an entry for Anna Meade's beautimous blog contest. Check out the details at her blog, Yearning for Wonderland. (Short version of the details shown below, along with a glowing roster of participants.) Don't forget to read the other magnificent entries!


Considering the conditions, it is not surprising I crashed. A twilight patrol through the farthest reserves of Yellowstone in winter is asking for trouble and, ranger or not, I should never have gone alone. 

All I remember is the frozen floor of the valley rising to meet me at an alarming angle, and at a speed that suggests I crashed the snowmobile spectacularly - a death-inducing maneuver from which I should never have awakened as I did: sprawled upon the ice, shivering and blinking at the stars above me. 

I shivered again, and sat up. In the near distance, a herd of bison watched from an exposed hillock, near a wind-blown tribe of arthritic conifers. I thought I remembered seeing them just before my world-tilting crash - just as they were now: waiting, silent, alert.

Has no time passed? I wondered. I shifted on the ice, tried to ignore my chattering teeth - and nearly swallowed them in the next moment. 

A body lay on the ice beside me, pinned by the upturned snowmobile.  Even before I stared into the ice-purpled face, I knew who it was.

I can't be dead. I'm freezing cold, I told myself. 

My death-self was blue and stiff. I shivered again. Ghost or not, I was cold - and naked, I realized with bleak humor. Worse and worse. 

A dark shadow moved near me, and I jumped. One of the bison had moved away from its herd and stood before me, gilded in frost, questioning me with its fathomless eyes. Then it lowered its great horned head and spoke.

"Welcome, She-Between-Rivers," he said. "We have waited long for you."

I blinked.

" is Holly," I squeaked.

The bison stamped a heavy fore-hoof. "You are She-Between-Rivers," he repeated. "We know who you are. Do you?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Contest Details and Delightful Participants ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thursday, February 16, 2012

FSF: Exquisite

Still need time to get some Real Life things in order before returning to the regular blog posts. BUT.....couldn't resist this week's Five Sentence Fiction prompt from the lovely Lillie McFerrin:


Notre Dame surrounded me, swallowed me whole into her sacred depths, the bones of her old pillars holding up centuries-old flesh with strength undaunted. I journeyed into her hushed darkness, her vaulted chest soaring above me while the rustling breath of other souls eddied around me: joyous, worshipful, attentive, their whispers inhaling and exhaling with the pulse of The Lady as she drew us farther in.

Glorious arches lifted in silent ranks on either side, capillaries drawing soul-whispers into candle-lit niches where prayers swirled and sighed, and fed the watchful shadows of countless patient years. But I was drawn deeper into her echoing chest, pulled toward the far end where a magnificent rosetta window - richly crafted with vivid stained glass - pulsed with the flicker of heavy afternoon light.

I stood before the altar, basking in the streaming colors, and let The Lady's Heart bleed over me.

Love Notre Dame Cathedral.....I'd give anything to go back.
You can keep the rest of Paris. I want to go see My Lady again.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Commercial Break

Life, travel, various obligations, and work have all merged into one chaotic confluence at the moment. So it may be a few days before normal postings resume.

In the meantime, I would like to point all my lovely readers toward the five top-read posts ever (so far) on this blog:

Didn't see your favorite listed here? 
What's your favorite blog post so far?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wimpy Braille Burgers

Welcome back for weekend fun!

Today: just a little something...another caveat of sorts, I guess.

I know it's essentially a commercial, but the Special Education Teacher in me LOVES this.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Other Side

I'm always touting the same three notes in my personal symphony on this blog: that I am a history teacher, a literature teacher, and a writer.

But there's a lot more to me than that.

I am also a potter, an art teacher, a set/prop instructor for the school drama class. I'm an avid hiker and world traveler. I love to cook.

But first and foremost, I am a special education teacher.

(Inside my goodie bag for the kiddos.)

I taught Special Ed in a public school system (preschool, elementary, middle and high school - all four) over fourteen years, before changing gears in 2008 to do strictly contract work. My work with the private academy (where I teach Lit and History) is only one side of my contract work. The other half keeps my feet firmly grounded in my first love, which is working with those who have sensory impairments: deaf, blind, and deafblind.

Only now I get to work with BABIES. Babies and toddlers. I sit on the floor and play pattycake and peekaboo and sing "Head, and Shoulders, Knees and Toes!" to my heart's content. I get drooled on. I fight chubby fingers who want to pull hearing aids out of tiny ears and stuff them in tiny mouths. (Ear molds make excellent chew toys, apparently. Unfortunately, they're also a classic choking hazzard.)

I get to pull out my bag of tricks (see photo above) and play with stuffed animals, and egg timers, and alarm clocks, and basically indulge in making all manner of sounds that, in any other setting, would have people scooting their chairs away from me or quietly pointing me out to the management.

I get to take my dulcimer to my deafblind child's house, and put it on his lap, and strum out basic melodies (I'm a horrible musician) while he feels the vibrations and strains to hear the chords that go with them.

Yes, I sew these on really REALLY tightly to something else before letting 
little fingers touch them. But if you're visually impaired, these bright colors 
and textures are so much FUN.

Sometimes I make my own books, to teach pre-braille skills. I even make many of my own toys, from all sorts of oddments: paper plates and plastic spoons, Easter eggs and whiffle balls, matchbox cars and bandannas, oversized buttons and socks, old bits of textured clothing and cardboard.

And duct tape, of course. Duct tape is a necessity in any wizard's wizarding kit. (Red is the best.)

Most of all I love playing with the kids, and drawing them out, bit by bit. There's capacity for language in each one of them, regardless of whether they're deafblind, or have cerebral palsy, or are tube-fed, or deal with all three. (That would be my dulcimer kid.) I love seeing their curiosity peeking out at me when no one expects it. I love to see how one single response from a disabled child can light up a whole household.

Every writer, it is said, has their wellspring of creativity. My wellspring has been, and always will be, my students - whether they sit through my lectures on American History, or fight me for hearing-aid-snacking rights.

Either way - my students rock. Period.

What gives creative energy to what you do?
Any other writing teachers out there?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

FSF: Shiver

Posting Wednesday's entry for Five Sentence Fiction a little bit early. Not sure that it holds up that well against some other entries I've read (like this one, or this one, or especially this one), but seeing as how it sums up most of last week for me...we're rolling with the following five sentences.


My skin comes alive on its own, rippling inward, backward, up my neck with a suddenness that makes me stop and pinch my eyes shut.  I breathe through my nose and hold my wrist to my forehead, feeling for the feverish warmth I know is there.

Can’t get sick - not now, I tell myself (knowing there never is a good time to be sick.) Three jobs, two tutoring students – and when am I ever going to be able to make more pottery, at this rate?

 I wait till my skin recoils to its usual state of affairs, and make a beeline for the medicine cabinet.


Oh, how I wish we could have picked more than five. Do you know how unbelievably difficult it was to choose finalists from such an amazing line-up of entries for our Blog Hop Contest?

Of course you don't. Unless you took the time to read all of the entries, in which case...of course you do!

So many fantabulous writers, so few prizes.....

But we DO have five amazing finalists -- at last!!! Here is the full roster, with their magnificent prizes:

1st PLACE:  Ruth Long ~ "Between the Lines" ~ 50 pg edit from Lillie McFerrin

2nd PLACE:  Donna McNicol ~ "Forest Flowers" ~ 25 pg edit from Angie Richmond

3rd PLACE: Jo Ann Teal ~ "Out of the Dark" ~ 15 pg edit from ME!!!!!!!!

4th PLACE:  Brewed Bohemian ~ "A Beautiful Place to Die" ~ 10 pg edit from Daniel Swensen

5th PLACE:  Gwen Tolios ~ "Extinguishing Souls" ~ a copy of Stephen King's On Writing

Aren't you splendiferously proud of all these writers? You should be! Drop by their blogs and tell them so! 
Follow them on Twitter! And then join their blogs. And read their contest entries. 
And encourage them to write MORE.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Congratulations to all our winners!
Thanks also to Lillie, Angie and Daniel for hosting the blog hop and making all this possible.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ooo, shiny!!

I adore Goodreads.

Truth be told, however, I signed up for it almost by accident. I was looking for a replacement to the Visual Bookshelf that went defunct on Facebook last summer, and wanted a place where I could organize my virtual bookshelf with links to those books on Amazon, if I so needed additional information. What I did not realize when I signed up for Goodreads was that it was, in its own way, a social network.

Having kicked Facebook to the curb (permanently) last September (happy birthday to me!) I was determined that I would not involve myself with any other social networks outside of Twitter. So when I started getting friend requests on Goodreads, I was irritated at first. Then I realized it wasn't an invasive network - it really was all about the books.

And you know how we bibliophiles are. We like to show off.

Of course, if you follow me on Goodreads, you may or may not have noticed how my "current reading" list yo-yos wildly from week to week, or freezes in time for small millennia now and then.

I can rationalize all this, of course, by simply stating that I am a history and literature teacher, and it is in my contract to be as obscure and irrelevant as possible. But the answer is really much more basic.

I have severe ADHD. And unfortunately, that can spill over into my reading habits.

Especially when the internet is involved.

Let's dig a little deeper and get a proper confession out of this:

Angela's Typical Neurotic Reading Habits
Step One: Pick several esoteric books that couldn't possibly interest anyone but me. 
Step Two: Read at least the first chapter in each one, then hurry to list them on Goodreads. 
Step Three: Watch my "currently reading" list grow to the length of a large anaconda
Step Three-and-a-Half: Tweet diligently about all these impressive titles that no one cares about.  
Step Four: Get busy with life or - better yet - get distracted by other books (which may or may not be nerdy enough for me to show off on my Goodreads lists).
Step Five: Forget to update the books I am reading, and forget other "current reading" books altogether. 
Step Six: Forget about Goodreads for about two weeks 
Step Seven: Peruse Goodreads to see what other people are reading 
Step Eight: Add 18279 books to my "to read" list. 
Step Nine: Remove books from my "current reading" list that I haven't cracked open in about three centuries. 
Step Ten: Go back to Step One. Start over.

See - that's how it's done. If you're a professional (read: ADHD bibliophile with too many demands on her time), this is how you slice and dice your time. know....I could just sit down and READ.


Is it just me? Or does anyone else find themselves trying to read 50 books at once?

PS Don't forget - tomorrow we announce the winners of the Blog Hop Contest!

Tune in tomorrow to see who scored the book and editing prizes!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

6SS: Introducing March

Six Sentence Sunday

Another six sentences from my work-in-progress, Castle 8 (more or less continued from last week).

“Until then,” said Finn, “I’m buying us time – unless you want to leave now,” he added in a mocking voice. 
“Oh please, Greg,” said a small voice. “Let’s do it - please?”
March stood in the door of the kitchen, half naked in hand-me-down pajamas that had once belonged to Finn. It was the only way to keep March in clothes since the earthquake, by giving him Finn’s old castoffs. Thankfully, Finn was the hoarding sort who never discarded anything, even when he ought.