What I plan to do in December (besides celebrating the holidays)

Now that I've done an initial submission of my manuscript to four editors and an agent, I am making plans for some serious R&R in December.

My critique group won't be critiquing the manuscript until January, and so I'm happy for a short writing break. I'm thinking about what project to do next, but I'm also just plain having fun in my newly reorganized scrapbooking room.

A year ago, I separated what'd been a combined writing and scrapbooking room, moving all scrapbooking materials to a vacant bedroom in the basement. Except for making ONE scrapbook during 2011, I haven't used the room, and that was making me seriously sad! I'd left it in a state of relative unpack, though I hadn't unpacked it enough to remember where I'd put everything. I now know.

 This table had been empty, but I bought a new laptop recently, and so I was able to move the old laptop, printer and scanner to this table. Below the table are some of my rubber stamps. A clipboard on the wall features my adult children and their spouses and a couple of grandkids.

I don't want to clutter the walls with too much, as I feel it's necessary to keep a room such as this as free of distractions as possible.
 To the right is my major layout area with a clean table top and about a dozen boxes of ribbons to the right. The information on the cork board all pertains to color, which is one of my life's passions. I mean that seriously. I am huge into Feng Shui and energy and all the implications of color energy.

To the left are my 36 drawers filled with cardstock and patterned papers in 24 hues plus black, white, blue-grays, green-grays, purple-grays and yellow-to-red beiges-to-browns.

All hues, all values and all intensities of everything. Yummy!

There are also a dozen crates filled with papers and memorabilia of that many subject themes. Because I am so into color, I have separate boxes for spring; high summer; Indian Summer; high autumn, and winter.

Another view of my color drawers. Under my work table, there are also two boxes of drawers on casters. The drawers contain a variety of embellishments in ... you guessed it ... 15 different colors.
 Here's another view of my work table with chair.
 Here's a view of the cutting, painting, inking, glittering, sewing and etc work area.

I can't wait to get started. What do you plan to do in December, besides all of the wonderful holiday fun?


Sending it Out

I had to snap this picture. It's a counter top in my kitchen, lunch bag, purse at the ready to head off to work. (Tea kettle and toaster oven accidentally getting into the mix. ;) ) On top of that white mess is reading material for my lunch hour. I like to sit in my car at the local mall and eat my sack lunch and sip McDonald's coffee. Oh, the reading material is Eric Maisel's Fearless Creating. I read this one several years ago. It was good enough that I want to take a second look at it, however I won't be reading it cover-to-cover.

The point of the picture is, however, the white mess that Maisel's book is sitting on top of. It's actually my  manuscript, 720-printed (total) pages of material in three submissions. I'll be sending them to editors I made contact with at various conferences. I'm also doing two electronic submissions. It's a start. When responses come back, I'll take the next step.

Two of the submissions had a November 30 deadline. The internal editor in me wanted to foil me. Wanted me to miss the deadline. Wanted me to think it still wasn't good enough to send out. I overcame the slave-driving internal editor! It was time to let go of the project, for now.

Interestingly, as I was formatting cover letters last night, I saw that it's been four years almost to the day since I sent out the manuscript I wrote before this one. The main character of this novel had been a secondary character in the other.

All of you who are sending out manuscripts, I wish you the best of luck!


Revising (Again)

So here we are; the year is about to end. My hope last January was to finish writing, revising and editing my YA manuscript. I had projected being done sometime in May. I missed that deadline, but did finish it to my satisfaction in July. Then I didn’t look at it for a month. When I looked at it again, I asked myself the following questions, “What can I do to make it more commercially appealing to teenage girls? What’s ordinary about the story, which I could boost to out-of-the-ordinary?”

With that in mind, I started a revision. Meanwhile, I finished not only Holly Lisle’s “How to Revise Your Novel,” but even her “How to Think Sideways” courses. As a bonus, she threw in her “How to Write a Series” course for free. I was never planning to write a series, but I read what she had to say about them. Should I ever change my mind, I now know what’s involved. Very interesting, indeed.

Holly’s courses were worth every penny to me. If the day ever comes that I am contracted, many of the things I learned from her, I have never read in any book. That says something, because I’ve read nearly every book on the craft of writing for the past 20 years. Much of what Holly covered wasn’t about craft; it was about career, and not only career, but career longevity.

She also gave me insight about the current state of the publishing industry. Food-for-thought as to what route might be best for me. The Legacy Publisher; Digital First; Self-Publishing, etc, debate. My personal conclusion is that I am still most interested in traditional publishing, whereas Holly Lisle has decided to abandon it entirely. She, however, is in a totally different place from me. Considering her audience and her substantial backlist, her choice for herself makes perfect sense to me.

Anyway, I am now on the verge of completing my manuscript again. What I did felt very much like the lead-in to the Showtime series, “Episodes,” where you see a script being thrown into the air and then shot by a gun, the shattered pieces falling to the ground. But now, my book is almost put back together and, hopefully, much stronger than it was before. I feel that in the course of writing it, I learned so much about writing, and myself, that I hadn't known before.   

During the past year, I attended FOUR writer’s conferences/retreats, and so I have the green light to send the full manuscript to four editors and one agent. The deadline is looming for three of the five. The other two, I have until the end of the year. My hope is to complete the revision in the next two weeks and then send it to everyone.

The intensely difficult work I’ve been doing on my manuscript has prevented me from paying much attention to my blog. I do hope that once I begin sending the manuscript out, time will open up for me again. Not only for more blogging, but for other creative pursuits such as scrapbooking. Except for putting together one obligatory scrapbook, and a Hawaii scrapbook, I haven’t scrapbooked since 2009.

The week after returning from the RWA convention, I took a week off from my writing, which turned out to be excellent brain R&R.

During that week, I sorted my patterned scrapbooking papers. I'd been collecting them for several years, but hadn't done anything with them, except to stack them on a shelf. I separated them into 24 colors, putting them into 24 separate color drawers. Plus, there are drawers for black and white, one for shades of gray, and drawers for beiges to browns. These range from (yellow/beige/brown) across the color wheel to (blue-red/beige/brown)—another 8 drawers’ worth of neutral colored patterned papers.

Being that I have well over 1000 different patterns, it took me something like 30 hours to decide which color drawer each pattern fit into. But it truly was a spirit-rejuvenating break from writing, and I am now so ready to begin scrapbooking again, as well as to begin thinking seriously about my next book.       


Wither by Lauren deStefano: Young Adult Book Review

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

In the first book of DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, sixteen-year-old Rhine lives in a world where it was thought that genetic engineering would abolish death. For the first genetically engineered generation, it was true. But then offspring began to live for shorter and shorter timespans. Now, women are dying when they’re 20 and men, 25. The world has become a barbaric place.

Girls now live in brothels or polygamous marriages for breeding purposes. Kidnapped to be one of wealthy Linden Ashby’s brides, Rhine evades consummation of the marriage throughout the book, although her two sister-wives do not.  

Though she lives in Florida, and surrounded by wealth and comfort, Rhine is essentially enslaved. More, she’s afraid Linden’s father is performing hideous science experiments on young women who have died and, indeed, might be hastening the deaths in order to find a cure for the virus that's killing everyone at such a young age.

All through the book, Rhine wants is to return to her twin brother in Manhattan. When she and servant Gabriel fall in love with each other, they devise a dangerous plan to escape their imprisonment.

This book was so beautifully written that I am in awe of Ms. deStefano's talent. I am also intensely curious as to how she plans to develop books two and three. Book 2, Fever, will be released on February 21, 2012. I cannot wait ...
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