Thursday, June 30, 2011

Teeth

I didn't mean to torture my husband.  I swear I didn't.  It's funny how sometimes the best intentions can go completely haywire.  On Father's Day, we put the kids to bed and I asked him if he wanted to watch the new Netflix movie.

"Sure, what is it?" he asked.

"Something called Teeth.  I think it's nouveau artsy."  And I really did think that.  Last year we'd seen some other artsy movie and in a spate of good intentions I had put every single artsy preview on our Netflix Queue.  Of course the new seasons of Big Love, Entourage and Weeds push those movies down the list but every now and then one of the arthouse films slips through.  When they arrive I feel obligated to watch them.  They're like the indie publishers of the movie world. 

No teeth for Georgia O'Keefe.
We sat down to watch the movie.  "It's funny how all these previews are for horror films," I said.  The movie started and it didn't seem particularly artsy.  In fact, it seemed like a horror film.  It had the odd lighting, monster foreshadowing and teenagers going off by themselves in the wilderness to make out.  It wasn't until the inevitable sex scene that the true horror of this movie became clear.  It was about vagina dentata.  In case your Latin is a little rusty (or practically nonexistent like mine) let me translate.  It's a term for toothed vagina.

I don't think I need to explain the bloody gore that followed.  I'm sure your imaginations are up to the task but suffice it to say that my poor husband curled up in a ball and whimpered, "This is a horror film for men!"

Okay, so I might have been laughing a little bit.  It was the kind of ridiculous campy thing that always strikes my funny bone.  "Maybe it gets better," I said between giggles.  My husband grabbed the little envelope with the movie's description, the one I'd neglected to read and shook his head. 

"I can't watch this," he said as he stalked out of the T.V. room.  Before he left he turned back and said, "Honey, what kind of a movie is this to show me on Father's Day?" 

I felt a little bad, honestly I did.  But the scene where the pervey ob-gyn's fingers get bitten off and he holds them up screaming "Vagina Dentata is real, Vagina Dentata is real," totally made up for it.  Later that night I told my husband, "It's post-feminist comedy staged as horror." 

"How many other penises were bitten off?" he asked. 

"Just three or four."  He winced.   I'm still feeling a little guilty about showing it to him on Father's Day.  Maybe I'll whip up his favorite chocolate cake this week to make up for it.  I wonder if he'll think it's funny if I hide a pair of plastic teeth inside of it?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest Author Interview at The Bookworm

Good morning blogosphere.  I'm at The Bookworm this morning answering all kinds of great writerly questions about Losing Beauty and a fun one that involved a yoga mat!

Stop by Naida's great blog and say hello. http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

I'll be back tomorrow with some wonderful tips on how to inadvertently torture your husband and a recommendation (or maybe warning) for the movie that made it all possible.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Branding Your Blog

When I was first setting up this blog (way back when....a couple of months ago) Techno God Rob imparted some important wisdom about branding.  He told me I needed to figure out my product and then stick to that subject.  If the product was me than it didn't matter what I blogged about because I would still be selling myself (that didn't come out right but you know what I mean).  If the product was my book or writing I needed to stick to those subject matters or else I would risk alienating my core readers.

I gave his advice a lot of thought.  Other writer's blogs are all over the map.  Some of them focus exclusively on their books.  Some have developed a focus on the brave new world of publishing.  Some do author interviews or book reviews and some just talk about whatever is on the author's mind on any given day.  Even the big guys and girls, the celebs of writerland, don't follow a set formula.  After a couple months of informal research it's become clear to me that there is no rule of thumb apart from that of, "YOU MUST BLOG." 

Which leads me to the next question.  What is a writer's brand?  Is it our book, our writing skills or just our bright shiny faces coming to you from our RSS Feed each and every day (okay, in summer only three times a week). 

I think the answer is that it depends.  I know, I know, that's probably the least satisfying answer ever!  Anyway, here's my analysis. 

Does my blog reading audience want to hear about my book each and every day?  No, absolutely not!  I love Losing Beauty like a child, a fictional child, and even I don't want to hear about it every day.

So what about writing?  I'm a writer, should my brand be writing advice?  In my case the answer is again no.  There are already so many amazing blogs that give great advice about writing.  I don't feel like I have much substance to add to the discussion that hasn't already been said by other people in more elegant ways than I could manage.  See here http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com/ and here http://www.waterytart23.blogspot.com/ for good examples of these blogs.

I think the previous two sentences can be equally applied to building a brand around publishing advice and author interviews.  There's no way I could compete with these amazing blogs http://www.jennymilchman.com/blog/ and http://landofnodtrilogy.blogspot.com/  And to tell the truth I love all of the aforementioned blogs so much I wouldn't want to compete.

Which leaves, well, me.  I think my bloggy brand is about the way I see life.  My goal is to entertain and distract for a few moments of your day in hopes that those moments will be enough to convince you I'm equally capable of entertaining and distracting for a whole book.  Some days that might mean an author interview or book review.  Sometimes it might mean a well-thought out discussion on a serious topic and every now and then it might just be a picture of me on an elephant.  Does your blog have a brand?  I'd love to hear about it.

Entertain and distract, kind of like protect and serve but more fun.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Losing Sanity

I thought it was just a cute name for a blog that went well with my books but no, now I'm really losing my sanity.  Ask Child 1 and 2, they'll be happy to confirm it for you. 


Good for craziness, bad for swimsuit season.

What's causing my current case of the crazies?  I've embarked on the book trailer making process.  To be honest, it's kind of fun when it's not causing me to bang my head against the desk and gobble copious amounts of yogurt covered pretzels in order to alleviate my complete and total frustration. 

My book trailer preoccupation is why Chapter Three of MoonStars is not posted today.  I feel compelled to point out that the delay is not due to any failing on the part of the writer.  If there is any blame to be had it all lies with the editor.  In any event, the unedited version is sitting here on my desk and, as any writer can tell you, first drafts are kind of like seeing someone standing naked on their bathroom scale.  You don't want to see it and we don't want to show it to you.


Naida's pretty blog!
 Friday is starting with a bang for me because Losing Beauty has a wonderful review at the Bookworm.  Naida, who writes the blog, confided in me that she now has a crush on one of the main characters.  I don't want to spill all the goods so, if you're interested, you'll have to stop by and see which one. http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/2011/06/losing-beauty.html

That's it for this week.  Have a lovely summer weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two and a Half Hours

Here I am.  It's 9:30 and about sixty-five degrees. Child 1 has already done five laps in the pool.  Thus begins my summer marathon.  My kids are swimmers which means things like swim team, specially fitted goggles, tantrums over swim caps pulling hair, warming up in the hot tub after practice, eating copious amounts of food and long afternoons in the sun.  That's what it means for them anyway.

Here's what it means for me.  Sitting by the pool and watching them swim for two and a half hours every morning.  Two and a half hours!  It's a long time.  I could be doing a lot of other things.  Two and a half hours is usually how long it takes me to reach my daily goal of 2000 words on the WIP.  It's also enough time to go for a run, get a shower, go the grocery store and make dinner.  In two and half hours I could research more of the fabulous book blogs that populate the internet, draft emails begging them to review Losing Beauty, write several blog posts and do some tweeting.

Here's some more of what it means to them.  Catching up with friends they only see in the summer, teasing their swim coaches, ice cream treats, reading books while they wait for their sibling to finish swimming, drinks from the water cooler with the little cups that look like they should hold snow cones, relay races across the pool, camaraderie, exercise, self esteem.


It's time well-spent.  Drop by and let me know how you are spending your summer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Beginners


Naked Bike Ride....Hart did you inspire this?
 This weekend I had a girl's night out with some of the Sista Wives.  Instead of throwing back a few margaritas and joining in the naked bike ride that was the talk of the town we went to see Beginners.  It's about a man whose father announces he's gay at the age of seventy-five and shortly thereafter develops terminal cancer.

Which is a great premise for a movie, except for two things.  One, I had no idea what it was about and two, I'm a cryer.  And when I say cryer I'm not talking about a few dainty sniffles.  Nope, I'm talking about the kind of person who watches Steel Magnolias and sobs until her face gets puffy, has to leave the room, cries for ten minutes in the bathroom and then returns to sob some more.  I'm talking about the kind of crying that has, more than once, prompted people to ask me if I'm going to be alright in the same way someone might suggest you seek mental counseling.  I cry at happy movies, sad movies, touching movies and, well, not horror movies but they may be the one exception to my sniffles.

What can I say?  I deeply, deeply empathize with everyone, all the time!

Alright, so back to Beginners.  I went in cold, no idea what it was about.  It's safe to say I cried from beginning to end, prompting Sista Wife Georgie to ask me if I was having an allergy attack.  Nope, not allergies, just an amazing movie about passion, fear, lonliness and love.  I'd like to say more but unfortunately I can't.  Anything else and I might start crying again and I'm really trying to keep my keyboard dry.  If you haven't seen this movie yet, make it a priority.  And once you do stop by and tell me whether you were moved to cry bucketloads of tears too. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

MoonStars: Chapter Two

In case you missed the first two installments of Child #1's serialized summer story you can read the introduction here: http://www.johannagarth.com/2011_05_29_archive.html  and Chapter One is here: http://www.johannagarth.com/2011/06/moonstars-chapter-one.html.  It's officially summer vacation and we're already at Chapter Two.  Hope you enjoy today's installment!

Isleia slammed the door behind her and went off.  She left Parkside Ave. and went into this strange cave that had a sign that said, "Attic of Secrets.  Do not come in." 

Isleia paid no attention to the rule and went ahead and went in.  It was kind of weird.  There was a skull and dusty cloth.  She pulled out her wand and she closed her eyes and said the password.  "I (Isleia) solemnly swear I am up to no good.  I passed the shugamy shagamyhood.  I could not tell you that I am up to some good so I solemnly swear I am up to no good," she said in her head.

The door opened and she went inside.  She found herself in MoonStars.  A woman was standing right there in front of her.  "Take class with Sahiera and Halle," she said. 

"What class?" said Isleia.

"Oh," the woman gasped.  "The old man didn't tell you?  Your wand isn't just for getting here.  It's for doing magic."

"So we're going to learn magic?" said Isleia, very confused.

Want to find out what happens next?  Tune in next week for Chapter Three of MoonStars!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"I thrill when I drill a biscuspid."

So here's the thing, I've never had a cavity.  No cavities, no braces, no cold squeal of metal or dentist's sharp needle has ever touched my teeth.  It's ridiculous!  I know!  Even more ridiculous, I've always looked forward to my trips to the dentist's office.  Who wouldn't?  Every time I go I get to hear things like, "Beautiful teeth," or "Are you sure you're not an alien?"  It's absolute proof of the power of positive reinforcement. 

Everything changed last week.  All of a sudden I had a sensitive tooth.  Sometimes this happens and I thought it would go away but it didn't.  It didn't occur to me there was anything wrong until suddenly, like a load of bricks falling from the sky, it hit me.  I called my husband at work.

"Honey, I think I have a cavity."

"Then you should go to the dentist," he said. 

Honestly, why does he have to be so reasonable?

My dentist is Dr. Bob.  There are three things you need to know about Dr. Bob.  He is the nicest man ever, perpetually tan and drives a little porsche convertible.  Aside from the fact that he's a dentist, that is the sum total of my knowledge about Dr. Bob.  I made an appointment and sure enough, Dr. Bob discovered a cavity.

"It's just a little baby cavity.  We'll fix you up so quick you won't feel a thing," he told me.

"Will you use novacaine?" I asked.

"Only if you want it," he said but then quickly added.  "I don't think you'll need it at all."

"Will I need someone to drive me home?"

Dr. Bob started to laugh like he thought I was kidding.  Then he realized I was serious and managed to compose himself.  "Nope, it just numbs your mouth.  You'll be fine to drive."

For the next week I agonized about what was to come.  When I say agonized you should understand it was the kind where I wring my hands and wake my husband up in the middle of the night to remind him that I am in state of complete agony and terror.

Here are some examples of things not to say to someone who has just been diagnosed with a cavity and has no idea what it means to have it filled.

"Awww, your first cavity.  It's actually kind of cute."

"Honey, you've pushed out two babies.  I think you'll be able to handle a little cavity."

"It'll just be a little pain.  I'm sure you'll barely feel anything at all."

"Mom, do you think Dr. Bob will pull the tooth out?  Can I have it if he does?"

On the morning of the "procedure" I woke up at 4:00 and spent the next three hours trying not to hyperventilate and/or think about the remaining minutes until doomsday.  At 7:30 I was in the chair.  I looked up at Dr. Bob and said, "I'm terrified.  I don't think I can go through with this."

"You'll be fine," said Dr. Bob and guess what? 

I was.  It didn't hurt.  Not even a little bit.  What can I say.  Fear of the unknown is worse than giving birth to two children?  Maybe?  Let's just hope, for everybody's sake, I never have to have a root canal. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Last Day of School

It's here!  It's today!!  What with end of year sports parties and school happenings, it's sort of felt like the last day of school for a week.

I attended the Kindergarten graduation and picnic yesterday with Child #2.  The children were given their memory books.  I tried not to cry and was thankful for my sunglasses.  On our way home from school Child #2 had a secret he needed to tell me. 

"I hope I get Josie in my class again next year," he whispered.  Child #2 has had a yearlong, widely publicized crush on the lightly freckled and completely adorable Josie. 
"Me too," I said but all I could think is First Grade!  He's going to be a First Grader next year!  Again, I was thankful for my sunglasses.

Today I'll be going to the Third Grade "Coffee House".  I've quoted the words Coffee House because poetry, as opposed to coffee, will be served.  My invitation, prepared for me by Child #1, specified that I wear "Black Dress."  I'm pretty sure the teacher's vision is for the kids to come in beat 50's black.  I'm equally certain that Child #1 has her eye on a specific black dress in my closet so I may be a bit overdressed.


After today, the summer awaits us.  It might mean summer hours for me (I'm considering a MWF blog schedule).  It will definitely mean more popsicles and swimming for Child #1 and #2.  It will also be ten weeks to reconnect and forge memories of childhoods that are slipping by more quickly than I could have ever believed possible.  What's your favorite summer memory from childhood?  Quick tell me something before I get all teary again....and who knows, you might even inspire some of ours! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Sky is Not Falling, Chicken Little.

I recently attended a reading by several authors, one of them quite well-known.  The moderator announced that Anarchy would be the evening's theme, in homage to the current state of the publishing industry.  The readings were lovely, absolutely lovely, but it wasn't until the Q & A session afterwards that the theme truly emerged. 

The questions, every last one of them, were about the state of the publishing industry.  The authors panel were all anxious, even eager to talk about what's happening.  That didn't surprise me.  What I didn't expect were the contradictions that followed.  One the one hand, the panel expressed unanimous contempt for a publishing industry controlled by corporate greed.  One authors cited the example of a close friend with two mid-list books and another book on the way.  If this book doesn't achieve more success than the previous two, it will be the author's last with that publisher.  The fate of a modern day John Irving who didn't have a breakout hit until his fourth book, "The World According to Garp," was bemoaned.  In today's hungry market he would have been given the boot well before book four.
  
In the next breath the slew of self-published e-books currently available on line was referred to as the slush pile.  The readers and writers in the room were encouraged to support independent authors and bookstores  And yet, the authors panel expressed general concern about (and maybe a little contempt) for the  quality of writing encouraged by the e-publishing boom. 

As we left I couldn't help think that Anarchy was a spot-on theme.  The ebook revolution has opened the floodgates.  It's currently in the process of giving a hard shake to the big six publishers who have held the industry in a chokehold for the last twenty years.  Anarchy can be scary, even to the most practiced anarchists.  In the end, when the dust settles and order is restored I'm willing to bet there will be some winners.  Will there be some crap published in the meantime?  Absolutely, but just between you and me, that's not such a change from the status quo.  More importantly there's also the chance of finding an undiscovered John Irving in the digital wave headed our way.  Do you know who stands to benefit from that?  You, me and everyone who loves books.  We will be the true winners of the publishing revolution.               

Friday, June 10, 2011

Slippy Beaver

Beavers played a large role in Child #2's last year of preschool.  The kids built a beaver's den in the class with real sticks.  They learned about beaver teeth and tails and, most importantly for purposes of this blog post, they had a stuffed toy beaver they took turns taking home at the end of each school day.  This adorable class of four and five year olds put their heads together and decided the perfect name for their class beaver was Slippy.

I'm ashamed to say that the double entendre completely escaped me until I casually mentioned to a friend over coffee that Child #2 had finally had his turn with Slippy Beaver.

She choked.  Literally, she choked on her coffee.  When she finished choking she said, "Honestly, there could not be a worse name for a stuffed beaver."

What made perfect sense to the preschool set, "Mom, it's because of the way they slip and slide all over everything," sounded absolutely pornographic to the grown ups.  But Slippy Beaver was the name they chose and Slippy Beaver it was....all year long.  To make matters worse Child #2 didn't call him Slippy or Beaver.  Nope, more often than not it was Slippy Beaver, whole name, no stops.  A shout out right here to the guy at Trader Joe's who, during my frantic hunt for a lost Slippy Beaver told me, "we used to carry Slippy Beavers in the frozen section but we're out of stock at the moment."

The year ended and Slippy Beaver was retired to the preschool wall where he hung on a peg next to all the other, more appropriately named Beavers from previous years (like Chip-Chip and Buzzy).  Life went on and, believe it or not I completely forgot about the existence of Slippy Beaver until this.



I pulled this lovingly labeled drawing out of Child #2's folder yesterday and said, "Oh, was this beaver sleepy?" 

Child #2 looked at me like I had lost my mind.  "No mom," he said.  "That's Slippy Beaver.  Don't you recognize him?"

At that moment I realized the words Slippy and Beaver had been irrevocably linked in my youngest child's mind.  I took a deep breath.  Nothing good can come from that, right?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

MoonStars: Chapter One

If you missed last week's big announcement Child # 1 is going to be my guest blogger for the summer.  You can read the full introduction here:  http://www.johannagarth.com/2011_05_29_archive.html   If you don't have time to click on the link the quick explanation is Child #1 is writing a serialized story called MoonStars.  Today is her first installment. 

How many worlds have you been to?  Well, there's more than earth.  Do you know that I come from MoonStars?  You may sit here reading this story but these choices depend on you.  Have you read a book before?  Well, what if you were reading a book that was scary and it was about a crab that was grabbing you?  Did you feel it?  Was it real?  Probably, it wasn't.  Those books are safe.  Now, when you read this story make sure not to go in monster lava.  Many people have died there.

This is how the story begins...

Islya (Ees lie a) Sickle was walking down Parkside Ave.  She was going to the library to return the book Mist Fog but soon this strange old man came out of the library. 
"Come here, Islya," he said. 
Islya didn't know how this old man knew her name or wanted to be with her.  But she did go to him.  "Keep this," he said handing her a wand.  "This is how you get to MoonStars." 
"What in the world is MoonStars?" said Islya.
"MoonStars is the planet you are from plus it's a whole 'nother world.  Everyone must visit the planet they are from."
"Well, how do I get there?" said Islya.
"You'll know the way and do not return that wand.  I have nothing more to say then you Must Go Now."

That's the first chapter.  It's short but, as Child #1 pointed out, so are the Chapters in Holes.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Writing Life

If you had asked me ten years ago what I thought it meant to be a writer I wouldn't have had a clue.  At that time I was going to work every day (including most weekends) and putting in long hours at my law firm.  My vision of the world was pretty simple.  You went to your office, you worked as hard as you could and you moved up through the ranks.  I still believe that's a basic formula for success, except now I don't think it's the ONLY formula for success.

Don't hate me because I heart Starbucks
But back to my initial question.  What would I have thought it meant to be a writer and why am I asking that question today?  I think the thought occurred/ocurred/occured    (why can't I spell that word and why doesn't blogger have autocorrect) to me because last weekend was beautiful and sunny.  Child #2 had a drop-off birthday party to attend.  I dropped him off and went to the local Starbucks, scored a table outside and began to write.  Do you know how many sunny Sundays I've spent sitting outside by myself, writing while drinking a ridiculously complicated and overpriced drink?  None!  Nada! Never!


My bridge to heaven would include a caffeinated beverage and my laptop.
 And what did I think of my two hour Sundy interlude?  It was HEAVEN!  It was PERFECT!  Umm, and it was exactly what I would have imagined the life of a writer to be like if you'd asked me ten years ago.  The intervening years have taught me a few things.  There is more than one direct path to success.  And more importantly, writers (at least this one) spend more time in their basement with their ears hunched up around their shoulders editing a mess of pages than they do basking in the sun at Starbucks.  Be that as it may, Child #2 has at least three birthday parties to attend in the next few weeks.  If the weather cooperates, I might have three more slices of heaven in store.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Obi Wan and Luke

Who would have ever thought I could harbor such resentment to the heros of the Galaxy.  Those two guys are the bane of my existence right now.  Obi Wan and Luke are water frogs that belong to Child #2.  He received them as a birthday present from his grandparents last year.  Like all birthday presents (and pets) the novelty was quick to wear off. 

The frogs came with a years supply of foul-smelling little froggy pellets and instructions to drop four pellets into the water every Wednesday and Sunday.  Simple, right?  At first it was.  We followed the instructions and I didn't give much thought to the two little frogs.  A couple months later my husband pointed out that Obi Wan was growing to gargantuan proportions and would attack Luke by the leg and pull him down to the bottom of the tank every time there was a food drop.  Child #2 wanted to change Obi Wan's name to "Dark Vader", as he calls him, in honor of the frogs evolving relationship.

I realized that more than a name change was needed.  Luke was starving to death.  It seemed as though Obi-Wan the frog was trying to give us the message of his better known counterpart and say, "This little one's not worth the effort."  Fortunately for froggy Luke, froggy Obi Wan is not very skilled with his use of the Force.  It was clear to me that some effort was needed because no one, not even a frog, is going to starve to death in my house.

They look deceptively peaceful
 I started by separating the frogs at mealtimes but other than that the food drop routine was unchanged.  A few weeks went by and Luke still seemed lethargic and pale.  I started to spend tens of minutes each Wednesday and Sunday observing Luke's attempts at feeding himself.  It turns out Luke is not the sharpest frog on the block.  He goes for the pellets and misses.  Even when he doesn't have to worry about Obi-Wan wrestling him back down to the bottom of the tank he still can't seem to make it to the top of the tank.  He tries to eat bubbles, dirt in the water, basically anything but the food.

After months of feeding duty I've figured out a system.  I drop the pellets in and gently blow on them until they are directly over Luke's head.  Then I wait until he notices.  About thirty percent of the time he gets the pellet.  The rest of the time it takes two or ten more tries.  The only good news I have to report about Obi Wan and Luke is it's clear they are both males.  I am, nothing, if not thankful there will be no froggy baby additions to this corner of the Galaxy.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Busytown

Did you see it?  I hope you didn't miss it! Yesterday I pulled up Google on my browser and was surprised to see the beloved icons of Richard Scarry's world forming Googlized letter shapes.  Lowly Worm, Huckle Cat and Officer Murphy were all there on display.
A childhood favorite.

Richard Scarry's amazing stories were as much a part of my childhood as they have been of my children's.  When I was a little girl I had several Richard Scarry books including What Do People Do All Day, Biggest Word Book Ever and Busy, Busy World.  Busy, Busy World still sits on the bookshelf in my childhood bedroom. 

Whenever we visit my parents Busy, Busy World is the favorite choice of Child #1 and 2.  If you're not familiar with the book, it tells stories, each about two pages long, from all over the world.  There's Patrick the Pig from Ireland, Professor Dig, a canine archeologist and Mario, a kitty gondolier from Venice, to name a few.  My kid's delight in these stories, in part because they are delightful, and in part because my husband reads them with the accent of whichever country is highlighted. 

Of course, my kids are not without their own miniature Richard Scarry library.  We have all the Busy Day books.  The Firefighters' Busy Day was directly responsible for Child #1 learning to say uh-oh when she was a baby-read it and you'll understand.

If Richard Scarry was still alive he would have celebrated his 92nd birthday yesterday.  Even though this homage comes a day late I don't think he would have minded.  In fact, I think he would be happy to know children are still learning their first words as they thumb through oversized volumes of his Best Word Book Ever and learn about the multitude of breakfast options that await Kenny Bear.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mystery Writer Revealed!

I am very excited to announce a special guest blogger.  This special guest has agreed to be regularly featured throughout the summer here on Losing Sanity.  I've already seen the first installment of this writer's work titled "MoonStars" and its, well, ummm, interesting.  Before you shake your head at my inability to play nice in the virtual sandbox I should disclose that my guest blogger will be none other than Child # 1. 

Here is a quick introduction to Child # 1.  She says:


The young author, already angsty in black, and friend Sidney.
 "My name is Savannah and I'm nine years old.  I've been writing since the first grade.  I was born in New York City and I wrote this story because me and my best friend Sidney created this whole other world.  I thought it would be great to have it on a blog."

Her story will be written in a serialized fashion guaranteed to keep you hanging on the edge of your seats.  I know Savannah is hoping that it will be suspense, as opposed to laughter, that keeps you coming back for more.

Savannah also feels it important that you know:

"There will be no pictures that go along with this blog because the world of MoonStars is top secret.  You may find many different, strange creatures and you might not like the food on MoonStars.  That's okay, if you don't it's only because you're not from this world.  The ending will all depend on you.  If you give up too soon you will never know the password but if you keep reading you'll find out.  That is all I'm going to reveal right now.  You'll have to come back for my story if you want to find out more."

She is open to suggestions and questions about MoonStars and will have limited access to my computer in order to answer posted comments.  Her first installment is currently sitting on my desk but I am under strict instructions not to post it until she's read it one last time.  You know how tempermental those artsy writer types can be about their work!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Abandonment

I feel like this post is cheating a little bit because I finished this book last week and just didn't get around to posting about it until now which (train of thought much) reminds me I'm involved in a game of blog tag and haven't gotten around to tagging other people or passing on my blogger award but I will do all of those things, I promise.  They will all happen before 2012.  See how I believe in realistic goals. 

So, back to the book.  My Abandonment is written by Peter Rock, a local Portland author and details the life of a thirteen year old girl living in Forest Park with her father.  The book is told entirely from the viewpoint of thirteen year old Caroline.  As the book unfolds it becomes evident that the father suffers from paranoia, among other mental disorders, and *spoiler alert* the reader realizes, even if Caroline doesn't, that the man claiming to be her father may have kidnapped her.

I liked this book.  In no small part, because it's the first thing I've ever read written from the viewpoint of the ever-growing homeless population in our country.  The fact that it was told from Caroline's viewpoint kept me turning the pages.  I was worried about her.  I wanted to see what happened.  My only complaint was that at the end I wanted more.  The book stayed true to Caroline's viewpoint and, just as a child would not be a reliable witness to the events of their own childhood, this book made me guess without ever giving me hard and fast answers.  I looked at a couple of reviews on Amazon and saw I wasn't alone in feeling a frustrated at the lack of details.  

Even so, it's a book I'm happy to have read.  If you're in a book group I could see it germinating some interesting conversations. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Neverending To-Do List

Memorial Day Weekend, summer, bowling with buddies, early June birthdays, piano recital and the school sponsored Rose Show are just a few of the things that are making me hyperventilate this week.

We were out of town last weekend and spent some (long overdue) time catching up with family and overeating.  Isn't that what most families do when they get together?  Anyway, now I'm back and I'm trying not to stress.  There are groceries to be purchased, laundry to be done, Twitter feeds to be analyzed, blogs to visit, emails to write and respond to and OMG in the middle of writing this list I just remembered that I forgot to trim Child #1's fingernails and will now be made to suffer the consequences at the hands of her piano teacher! 

Oh yeah, and there's the book.  The second book in the Persey Campbell series is Losing Hope and, as of this morning, I've written 44,000 words of it which means I'm almost half done.  That's good but not good enough because I was really hoping to be a little farther along before summer vacation. 

Which is yet another thing to hyperventilate about.  All my progress is about to screech to a halt because in a little over two weeks (12 school days) the children will be back.  When am I going to write?  I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.  Yes, I'm a little panicky!  Here's my current plan.  Get up at 6:00 every morning and write until 7:30.  Answer emails, blog, tweet and everything else during the two hours I spend every morning while the kids attend swim team practice.  Will it work?  I'm not sure.  Have I mentioned I'm not much of a morning person, or a night owl?  I'm more of a 9:00-6:00 person...perfectly suited to a day job!

Ideas?  Would love to hear them.  How do you squeeze in your uninterrupted writing time?