?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Good Day Despite Sleep Deprivation

 I have GOT to get to bed!

But just wanted to share some good news today.

My cell buzzed while i was in an exam room w/ my two youngest kids (Andrew, 11 and Kat, 9) during their annual physical with their pediatrician.   They were both trembling over thoughts of getting shots.  I decided to ignore the call because it's rude to blab on the phone when the doc is in the room AND my kids were about to yowl.  I did note, however, that it was a 212 number  . . . as in NYC.

We made it through the shots and doctor's visit, and then I checked my msg in the car.  It was from my editor; she had good news about my book, but didn't want to just leave it on my voicemail.

Well, long story short, AFTER got selected as Border's "Original Voices" Award for 2009.  Yay!  Borders's pick for 2009 in the children's book division.

Then Viking's publisher got on the line (Regina Hayes) to congratulate me.

Then my editor got back on and after a few more minutes of cheering about AFTER, she told me she was pregnant and due in May.  But -- thank God -- she won't be leaving publishing.  Whew!

The other exciting news for the day:  the paperback editor for the new Battle Dress release emailed me the concept picture for the new cover.  I really like it!  By far better than anything my *old* publisher came up with (unfortunately).  They are tweaking it, but they just wanted to make sure that they are on the right track.  They really want to get it right!    

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my *new* publisher?

I soon went to bed to take a short afternoon nap, which got interrupted about 10 times w/ my girls' text messages and phone calls.  Drama at school because their counselors there won't change their schedules for them -- dropping one class and taking another in its place, etc.

So, now I am really going to sign off and get some sleep.  I feel pretty close to being a corpse.

Wow -- over two months gone?!

 I really can't believe it's been this long. 

Guess I was busier than I thought!

Let's see . . . well, the holidays happened.  Got sick the day after Christmas, and that lasted for about a week, some days better than others.  THEN, when I was feeling like a human again, I got the stomach flu.  And that lasted about 2 days.  That one kept me from doing a book club talk.  Ugh.  Such a bummer, but I didn't want to infect a group of book readers OR barf on my friend's (the host) couch while there.  So, I opted out at very last minute.  Sorry!

What else?  Oh, yeah.  Andy and I celebrated our -- gulp -- 20th wedding anniversary on Dec 23rd.  We stayed at the Brown Palace (very cool place) and had a nice dinner and left the five kids duct-taped in various closets inside our house -- just kidding!

This past Sat afternoon, while my 11 yr old son, Andrew, was busy playing in a futsal tourney (indoor soccer, gym floor with weighted-ball), I had a book talk/signing at Boulder Public Library (partly sponsored by Boulder Book Store, which is a very cool indep. bookseller in Boulder, btw).  It was actually a good event, about 15 showed up.  I know that sounds pathetic, but it really isn't.  I signed exactly three books, though, and one of those, the person had previously bought it and brought it.  So, I felt badly for Boulder Book Store, which hauled along a nice box of books to sell.

It's funny; my audience was attentive, but as soon as Mandy from the bookstore mentioned "books for sale," it was amazing how fast those people slunk away!

Three in my audience was one of my West Point candidates (Carolynn) and her mom and dad, who all read BOTH my books!  So, that was very cool.

What else of note?  Well, my sister in law and husband (and two cutie kids) from FLA came to visit over the holidays, stayed w/ Andy's mom and dad.  Andy's side of the fam (including us), participated in a progressive dinner on New Year's Day, which was fun.  We walked between the 3 houses that hosted, so a little justification for the calorie consumption.

Alix was home for an entire month -- Dec 10- Jan 10.  We found out she didn't fare too well in Calc, so . . . hopefully she'll get her act together over the first term next semester or else she will not be part of the Long Gray Line any time soon.  We watched a truck load of Jane Austen movies.  So much fun!  Alix is good for that -- watching hours and hours of good movies.  It helped that I felt like crapola, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to sit (or in my case lie) for so many hours in one place.

As usual, I waited until the last week to Christmas shop, but somehow, I accomplished the mission.  And I've made new year resolutions, which include (drum roll, if you please) starting my new book!  Shocker, huh?

So . . . I've yet again switched topics -- result of a sudden inspiration brought on by a discussion Andy and I had about a YA book that I had just read -- but my editor at Viking really likes the idea and seems to be totally on board (but she's so positive that she always seems to be 100 percent on board with almost every idea I float her.  But this one she seems EXTRA ESPECIALLY excited and on board about).  I'm plunging into the research.  Did I ever mention how much I enjoy the research side of it?  Why, you ask?  Because I can justify my procrastination of the actual writing part!  I AM very fearful that I won't be able to do it again (re. write the next one).  Do I have enough fresh, new characters in my head to write another book?

But back to the research -- I get to talk to cops and doctors and probably lawyers and visit a school (setting for the book, partially) and the list goes on and on!  I get to pull articles off Google and read!  I get to check out what's already out there (there's nothing . . . yet.  I really think I've stumbled upon a topic not yet written!  Now watch, I totally jinxed myself), an excuse to buy lots of new YA novels from my fav book stores.  I get to stare blankly into space because I'll now be "working."  I get to leave my house a trash pit and not feel too guilty about it!

Let's just hope it doesn't take another 7-8 years to do this thing.  I may be dead at that elderly age!

Okay, it's, like 3:01 AM (Andy's out of town).  I am insane.  I'll have to be up in, like, 3-ish hours or less.

Smart move.

Zoomies rule and other stuff

 Today was the Army v. Air Force game down at Air Force, and for the first time since we've lived in CO, we attended it.  We took the kids.  And Army lost (no big surprise), but it was fun.

Also this week, Andy and I went to a fund-raiser for Home Front Cares, a nonprofit that helps soldiers' families while the soldiers are deployed.  Gen. Petraeus was the key note speaker, and Andy and I got our pic taken w/ him (on my Facebook page).  He was awesome!

I also learned this week that I sold the Complex Chinese (Taiwanese) foreign rights for AFTER.  So cool!  I can't tell you how exciting it is to know that AFTER will be read in other languages!

Got the BATTLE DRESS changes in . . . finally!

Missed my allergy shots this week (just had too much stuff going on and didn't get to it) -- my doc will be disappointed!

I also got a Facebook msg from a reader who is a librarian but also a science person.  She really liked the book, but informed me that I had made an inaccurate statement within the book about bleeding during pregnancy, and she's absolutely right.  It happened while I was in the revision stage and cutting.  I trimmed down a particular scene, and in trimming, messed things up a little.  It's only like part of a sentence, but it totally bugs me!  So, I'm going to make sure it's corrected for the paperback version and hopefully for the foreign versions.

Other than that, just a normal hectic week.  Soccer is pretty much wrapping up -- at least the outdoor soccer stuff.  Now to indoor training and basket ball and Ari starting high school swim team.  Life is going to get crazy busy, but in a different sort of way.  But if I'm really lucky, I just might get part of a night off from shuttling kids!

Okay, now to clean the house.  Gotta get a little headstart on the week.
 It is snowing like crazy today!  All the kids are home from school . . . and bored.  But I think that's mostly due to me coming up with tasks for them to do, like, cleaning their rooms.  Oh, that's sooooo boring!

Last night was my book signing and online streaming author event (simultaneous) at Borders.  It was a lot of fun, and many of my friends and family showed up, so they definitely filled out the crowd.  I was thinking attendance would be low because of the forecast -- snow moving in last night (which is was starting when I left Borders last night around 8:30 PM).

I got a lot of thoughtful questions from the audience and the people viewing online.  And I think I did a pretty good job answering them EXCEPT that I was doing that rocking back and forth thing.  I was standing, and I don't stand still very well.  So, that's something I'll need to practice, I guess, not rocking back and forth.

Well, I have 2 strong contenders for the next book.  I could go either way.  My editor, though, I'm pretty sure would prefer I do one particular idea much more than the other.  And I'm leaning the opposite, I think, slightly.  Hopefully, she'll give my book a chance, even though it's not really up her alley.  But I think I can make it so she'll like it.   We'll see . . .  The other, I definitely want to write, just not yet.   It's a much more intense book, and I think I just need a little break from intense.  I just can't take 8 years to finish either!

Okay, gotta monitor the kids . . . and def go for a run in the snow!  Can't wait!

Snow, snow go away . . .

 It is snowing like crazy today!  All the kids are home from school . . . and bored.  But I think that's mostly due to me coming up with tasks for them to do, like, cleaning their rooms.  Oh, that's sooooo boring!

Last night was my book signing and online streaming author event (simultaneous) at Borders.  It was a lot of fun, and many of my friends and family showed up, so they definitely filled out the crowd.  I was thinking attendance would be low because of the forecast -- snow moving in last night (which it was starting when I left Borders last night around 8:30 PM).

I got a lot of thoughtful questions from the audience and the people viewing online.  And I think I did a pretty good job answering them EXCEPT that I was doing that rocking back and forth thing.  I was standing, and I don't stand still very well.  So, that's something I'll need to practice, I guess, not rocking back and forth.

Well, I have 2 strong contenders for the next book.  I could go either way.  My editor, though, I'm pretty sure would prefer I do one particular idea much more than the other.  And I'm leaning the opposite, I think, slightly.  Hopefully, she'll give my book a chance, even though it's not really up her alley.  But I think I can make it so she'll like it.   We'll see . . .  The other, I definitely want to write, just not yet.   It's a much more intense book, and I think I just need a little break from intense.  I just can't take 8 years to finish either!

Okay, gotta monitor the kids . . . and def go for a run in the snow!  Can't wait!

Can you say "Hooray" in Indonesian?

 I got an email today from my agent.  Looks like I got an offer for my book, AFTER, for selling foreign rights to Indonesia of all places!  I get a very small, teensy weensy advance and royalty percentage.  It's an Indonesian book publishing company (their second largest) that's buying the rights, and it'll take them about 18 months to produce it.  Also, it looks like by the end of the week, I'll be getting an offer from the Netherlands!  Supposedly, 6 publishing houses there are submitting offers.  How exciting!  Nothing like this happened to BATTLE DRESS, so I'm just figuring out how this all works.

The very cool thing about this is that I can collect various foreign covers for my book!  I've seen some of the various foreign covers for THIRTEEN REASONS WHY (Jay Asher), and they are all very different and cool. Imagine framing them and hanging them up!  That might seem a little strange, but it could make some interesting art for an office (if I had one besides my kitchen table.).  So, forget that idea!

The reason for all this excitement is the Frankfurt Book Fair that went on last week.  Apparently, AFTER was well-received there.

Other news:  there's some weird freak who is sort of review "stalking" me on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders.  Okay, "stalking" is a strong word, but still.  Andy discovered this since I rarely check out the reviews on those sites.  This same person is giving me "1 stars," and the tone of each review is very similar (the writing is so bad it's embarrassing, etc).  PLUS this stalker has only registered recently (like this week), obviously under different usernames so he or she (I'm betting it's a "she") can spread the wealth w/ their reviews, and each name has only reviewed one book . . .  mine.  AND that person clicks to say the review was helpful to them so it rises to the top of the review heap.  Can you say, "Loser?"  That person should find another hobby.  Like, maybe writing a book of his or her own.  I'm very flattered that this person is so obsessed with my book, though.  "One stars" can be as golden as "five stars."  Kind of analogous to getting your book labeled as a "banned book" -- you're guaranteed to sell double the amount.

So, review away, my stalker friend!  I can hear the melodious ka-ching ka-ching all the way from here (my messy kitchen table) as you dutifully tip-tap away. 

Nothing much else is new.  Didn't make too much headway on the few changes of BATTLE DRESS.  Made no progress on the loan search for the house reconstruction.  Made absolutely zero positive movement toward cleaning the house.  But I did help out w/ reading group at Andrew's school (his 5th grade class) and ran about 5 miles (all the time I had today) and got my allergy shots and hauled my kids to soccer and basket ball practices (yep -- this week and next I'm going to have some practice overlap.  Fun, fun.).

Oh, well, as Scarlett O' Hara said, "After all, tomorrow is another day!"


Another Weekend, done and gone

 This wknd Andy had his annual firm retreat at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.  What an AMAZING resort!

Unfortunately, I spent only a little more than 12 hours there.

Soccer games.  Need I say more?

So, once again, I missed out on the free massage.  In the 8 years that Andy has been either an associate or partner in this firm, I have had to miss out on the free activities that the firm provides for spouses.  Why?  Because of my kid obligations!  Ugh!  What [soccer] moms sacrifice for their kids!  I'm counting up all the massages I've missed; those kids are going to make up for those lost hours of bliss when they start making their own money one day!

The firm dinner/auction was looonnnggg.  I got to talk to a bunch of people though, and my and some of other lawyers' and spouses' antics from the summer party (i.e. partying in the pool) were on display in living (and embarrassing) color.  Andy and I also got to spend some time w/ good friends, Joelle and Brett Margolin -- Joelle is a Penn Law classmate w/ Andy.  They just so happened to be doing a separate event at the Broadmoor that same wknd, too, w/ Joelle's firm!  And they live in Wilmington, DE!  What are the chances of that happening?

SUNDAY
We had to wake up much too early to get Ari up to Ft. Collins for State Cup finals (that's over a 2 hour drive to get up there from the Springs).  Well, Nike (Ari's team) lost 0-1 to Real National.  It was as windy as a tornado and bitter cold up there.  I had a hard time watching from the sidelines; I can't imagine what it felt like to be playing in it! 

What else?  Well, I've received lots of emails and made new friends since the Scott Simon interviews -- that's def been the gift that keeps on giving!  I've also been asked to do my first blurb for a YA novel (one from New Zealand) about a boy in some sort of juvenile detention center.  I'm nervous, though, because I sort of have a policy of no blurbs (not that I've been asked that often!).  But my publisher is going to be releasing it here in the US, so I'm at least going to read it and see what I think.

This wknd I really needed to finish up my corrections for BATTLE DRESS, but I'm behind.  It's taking a lot more time than I thought (checking on the nitty gritty details that have changed since the book was initially published in 2000).  If I take too long, tho, my publisher may just say, "Let's just publish it as it was."  So, I better get the lead out!

Almost midnight, so I better sign off . . .

Weary on Wednesday

 I had about 3 hours of sleep last night.  I was basically just messing around on the computer.  It's amazing how much time you can waste doing email and Facebook and other stuff!  

I was supposed to be working on some teaser-like blurbs for "Kid Buzz"  AND working on changes I'd like to make to BATTLE DRESS since my new publisher, Penguin, is going to put out a reprint of it next fall (2010).  They are so cool; they are letting me make some minor changes to sort of update the book/take away some references that might date it.  How often does that happen with fiction?!

But both these things were due at the end of LAST week, and here I am still working on them.

It didn't help that I was groggy all day long today!  I wasn't very productive.

It snowed today, too.  Well, more like thick spitting snow.  That caused all but one soccer practice to be canceled (as an aside, I learned two spellings exist for the word "canceled."  With one "l"  -- canceled -- is the American spelling.  And two "l's" -- cancelled -- is the British spelling. The reason that I finally looked the spelling up on Google is because I put cancelled in the subject line to the two kid soccer teams I manage, and there's nothing worse than announcing to the world that you are illiterate and can't spell!).

Other than that, I feel like a total slug because I didn't exercise today.  I was too tired after the little sleep I had last night PLUS I just couldn't motivate myself to get out there with the nasty weather dripping from the sky.  And yesterday all I did was lift weights for an hour.  I didn't do any cardio.  So tomorrow, I'd better do something or I just might kill someone!

Oh, and one last piece of news.  Well, I've written in past entries about the war I've been waging w/ Valley Forge (re. Alix's Calculus class placement).  Well, I get this call today as I'm on my way to Andrew and Kat's school.  It's this woman from Valley Forge.  The first thing she says is, "Don't worry; this isn't about your daughter."  And then she proceeded to tell me that Valley Forge would like to have me come out and be a chapel speaker one Sunday!  But that it would have to be in 2010, and could they email me some dates to choose from?

I was speechless.  ME?!  Chapel speaker?  Like, um, what in the world do I have to say to a church full of faculty, staff, and cadets of Valley Forge?  And, um, don't you guys just totally hate me?  So very surreal.  Of course, it's a great honor to be asked, so I couldn't say no.  But after I hung up, still driving to pick up the kids, I just shook my head and laughed out loud!  And then called Andy.  (He laughed, too).
 

Waging War and Making Friends

 What a week.

Okay, so I'm over the small-minded commenters on the NPR site.  

I've made a lot of new friends this week!  I've learned that Terri Clark, YA author of sort of the paranormal lit, lives here in the Denver area!  I had no idea!  And I've made a librarian friend in upstate NY who is very cool and very supportive of AFTER (and is infuriated w/ the aforementioned small-minds who write on NPR comment boards).  She reads very few book each year despite being a librarian because she just reads too much at work.  But she is reading AFTER after hearing it on NPR last Sat.

And I got the most amazing Facebook msg from a 61 year old woman who has recently reunited with her daughter that she had given up for adoption 35 years ago.  She's been living over half her life in utter agony trying to come to terms with giving her up.

All that makes a handful of ignorant comments pale to invisible!  I feel so good today, I'll . . . . well, I'll probably do something to make my kids say, "You are sooo embarrassing, Mom!"  What's new?

Other than that, I had to wage war with the yahoos at the Valley Forge Military Academy where my daughter is a prep school cadet preparing for West Point next year.  It's such a long, weary story that I don't have the energy to reiterate here, but it's been harrowing trying to discover the truth out of all the finger pointing and butt covering that's been going on for the 2 weeks thus far that we've raised the issue.  I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, though.  And hopefully, when it's over, Alix won't be standing with the short end of the stick (to use an awful cliche).

I have not made any head way whatsoever on tidying up my pigsty.  It's worse than ever. 

So, I'm going to spend a few minutes vacuuming before I head upstairs to beddy bye.  I splurged today and bought a bunch of book at Barnes and Noble (I really should've gotten them at Borders since Borders is a huge supporter of AFTER, but Borders wasn't anywhere near the kids' soccer fields and I'm so impulsive.  I wanted new books NOW NOW NOW!

I'm reading COFFEE SHOP ANGEL and LIAR -- a book that I have been wanting to read ever since I heard about it back in the summer.

What do I say?

 Well.

Thank God I have some pretty tough skin due to my West Point/Army training from years ago -- I knew it would come in handy (and that I have 5 kids who keep me humble on a daily basis AND that I'm married to a litigator whose talent is cross-examining and generally whittling people down to nubs).

Wow.

The comments on the NPR article have been absolutely brutal.  I learned in the past couple of days that I am totally artless when it comes to writing.  I also learned from one particular commenter that I look to be at least 50 years old with a lopsided face and beady eyes -- Andy and Anastasia got a huge guffaw out of that description and tease me about it every chance they get.  See what I mean about keeping me humble?

I am no great literary talent.  My prose is laughably bad, embarrassing and pathetic.

I can't say that I'm, like, totally immune to the comments.  But I'm also not running to my bed to cry into my pillow, either.

It is what it is.

You can't go into this writing thing w/out expecting to get beat up a little.  You can't go into this writing thing and think that everyone will be in love with you, your words, and your vision of things.  I do wonder, however, what it is that I've done that has sparked such a negative chord with those people?  Is it my background (West Point and five kids) that bugs them so intensely?  That inspires them to assume that I am writing with a particular agenda in mind, an agenda (right-wing, of course) with which they just know they'll disagree?  Tolerance, eh?  Open-mindedness?  Me thinks not!

But a positive!  The interview was the 2nd most read/listened to interview that day on the site!  AND, as I noted in my last post, my Amazon ranking has risen massively!  So, it mustn't be all that bad!  

So, I might suck as a writer, but I'll at least make some money while I do it!  And . . . I'll be in good company!  Lots of sucky writers make mega bucks.  So, maybe my goal should be cranking out the books and care not at all about whether my writing flies off the page or not.

Maybe School Library Journal will think again, and strip me of my starred review.  I mean, they have a rep to protect, right?

Okay, time to get to bed.  Got a 6-7 mile to run tomorrow morning.  Then off to my asthma doc in the afternoon!  Been blowing that off for over a year.

Hasta!