the fourth of july arrives early

as i close in on a finished first draft of my MSS, i am looking for ways to get critiques. i stumble upon a contest for first lines of a novel. i enter. i don’t make it past the first round.


but then the writing community does what it does so well, it takes defeat and turns it into a WIN. and so, those of us that didn’t reach round two got a second chance. we were able to enter the first five lines of our novel for constructive criticism, because clearly, we need it.

after my five lines went up, four comments were given. four whole comments. that means there are four people who’ve read fives lines of my work. this may not sound like a lot to you dear reader, but in my secluded world, it’s a minor miracle. {editor’s note from 6.30.10, two more comments went up for a grand total of SIX comments. *grin*} and the feedback they left is super helpful because i’ve reached a point where i’m almost over saturated by this story. i know each word backwards and forwards and and i don’t know what parts make sense and what parts are unclear because it ALL sounds like gobbledegook to me.

in fact, their comments sparked a little something in my brain. something i’ve been pondering for awhile. i need to start my story at chapter 2 and work chapter 1 in as flashbacks. it’s scary (to say the least) and difficult (somewhere in the middle) and daunting (to say the most), but honestly? my brain is feeling a bit like this:

which is to say my creative juices are EN FEUGO! and life is good.


fathers and daughters

i have a father who is very patient. i mean, he waited through the terrible teenage years. he endured the raging hormones. he waded through the arguments about math. he bore the whims, whispers, and wisecracks of his third borne. he understood our brains worked on different levels but he never thought i wouldn’t succeed. he didn’t take it personally when i signed up with a tutor. when i decided to go to college far away from home.

sometimes, the best thing a father can do is let his daughter go.

he welcomed the lack of raised voices and tears and tension. he embraced the solitude. because he knew he had taught me how to be independent. while living under their roof. while away at college. he knew he’d be able to fund my reality. my dreams. he knew how to fuel my appetite for life. he knew he gave me what i needed to fly.

sometimes, the best thing a daughter can do is return home.

with gratitude, grace, acceptance, and clear eyes to see the value he brings to her life.

thank you, dad.


june 21, where are you (part deux)

it’s going to be a logistical mad house as we squish people into every nook and cranny of my parents’ house. but it’s sister E’s big day. it’s important we all show up. i called maga to discuss the latest arrangements, which include us potentially sharing a room.

me: i hear we’re going to be roommates.

maga: i know! won’t it be fun? you should know, i don’t snore. do you?

as adorable as that question was, it got me thinking because my dad snores. LOUDLY. it’s kind of unbelievable. and a lot unbearable. i don’t know how my mom does it.

actually, i do.

during one particular session where walls were vibrating and reverberating with his sleep, i asked her how she could handle being so close to something that is louder and more annoying than those vuvuzelas from the 2010 world cup. she smiled and said, “i read an article many years ago that detailed how a wife was dealing with the untimely death of her husband. the last line said something to the effect of  ‘and what i miss most is the sound of him snoring.’ i haven’t been bothered by his snoring since.”

it’s these conversations with maga that start out at one place (figuring out which posters we’ll hang up for the week, what PJs we’ll wear) and end up in another spot (a lesson on love) that make me grateful i have time to get to know her. and through her, my mother. and through my mother, me.

and no, i don’t snore.


membership accepted

even though i’m on the fringes of it, here are some reasons why i love the writing community.

@Trishryan Writing today feels an awful lot like wrestling, only without the benefit of calories burned.

and then we have @SaundraMitchell, author of SHADOWED SUMMER. i just discovered that she’s a full service author. she’s offered to buff her hands so they’re nice and soft for when i need a hand to hold while reading a book that is sure to freak me out. how do i know it’s scary? it’s got GHOSTS. which are creepy and transparent and always up to no good. and i’m a wimp.

we also have Kiersten White and Natalie Whipple. Kiersten (while on vacation, no less) has given us impatient fans a description from her upcoming novel, PARANORMALCY. and then, her friend (in life, talent, and writing) Natalie has drawn up a sexy photo from that description. don’t you love it when two talented people merge? and don’t you love it even more when cartoons are hot? (don’t lie, the dude from ANASTASIA is completely crush worthy.)

there’s hannah moskowitz telling it like it is.

veronica roth sponsored the most clever contest in which the winner won a copy of the highly coveted ARC of ally condie’s upcoming title MATCHED.

there’s THIS for a reality check/encouragement.

this girl is living by SEVENTEEN MAGAZINE’s “rules” and “regulations” for a month. it’s an honest and hilarious look at a 17yo’s reality and how ridiculous most of the mag’s suggestions are. though she’s not afraid to admit it when they got something right, even if it is 1 out of every 100 times. it’s good fodder for learning about what today’s adolescents think, feel, and have to deal with on a daily basis.

and the interwebs is host to this post by lauren miller. which i originally read on june 4 and haven’t stopped thinking about since.

today, YA Highway takes the time to explain the difference between dystopian and post-apocalyptic societies. cause it’s confusing. and many people didn’t fully understand the difference. including me. and it was apparent in a conversation i had with adriana yesterday about a book she’s reading (yay for her reading more YA) that was lent to her by a friend, miss lisa, who’s also in the publishing biz. i love how that came full circle. (that’s what she said.)

my words won’t do this justice. just click, read, and weep (with laughter).

and, of course, the queen of social media, maureen johnson, is always willing to share her opinions on what makes for proper social networking. it’s all about the conversation.

which is why, even though i am on the edge, i still feel included. writers (published or not) (26 books in or working on their 1st) (busy or busier) always welcome me to the conversation.

thanks y’all!