Monday, March 31, 2008

Scary Things and Exhibitionists

So I had the weirdest thing happen last night. You ever seen that movie TWINS from, like, ages ago? The basic premise is that these scientists wanted to make the perfect human through genetic mixing . . . or something. But when the blessed baby actually appeared, there was a small twin with it. (*koff,koff* Danny DeVito) The scientists concluded that the small twin had been created from all of the impurities that they pulled out of the perfect twin. Basically, he was made out of the garbage.

Well, I had this dream that I and a big group of people all managed to scientifically discover that we had been in a similar experiment and that we were--you got it--made out of the garbage.

I woke up in a cold sweat. Literally. I've never woken up in a cold sweat before. Not a pleasant experience.

In the light of day, it seems really silly (in the dark of night it seemed pretty silly, too) but something in my subconscious was scared spitless by that idea. Very odd . . . .

In other news, the first day of the Bologna Book Fair in Italy will be over in about an hour. Ever seen the Disney movie, Mulan? There's this point when Mulan goes off to her first day of training camp and Mushu runs after her because she has forgotten her sword. He sniffs and say, "My little baby, all grown up and off to destroy people."

That's how I feel. Except I'm like, "My little baby, all grown up and off exhibiting herself to people all over the world." Ah yes, I'm a proud parent.:)


Friday, March 28, 2008

Summer Plans!

Summer plans have been up in the air for . . . well, ever.:) But we have figured out what is going to be happening! This week Kenny accepted a summer externship clerking for one of the justices of the Utah Supreme Court! I am really excited about that. It is a fairly short externship which means that I will spend much of the summer doing a heck of a lot of writing while Kenny plays Mr. Mom. (Which our kids will love and adore!) It also means that we won't be moving . . . which means that I can plant flowers! Yay!

I didn't realize until I received several comments about it just how cryptic my language sounded the other day when I talked about some new decisions in our lives. So lest you all be worried, it's actually way good. Kenny has decided that rather than go into practice right after he graduates from law school, he will instead be entering a Ph.D. program to work on his Doctorate in Philosophy. He flirted with this idea a couple of months ago, but for various reasons, decided against it. But he revisited the idea two weeks ago and we've decided to jump in with both feet! The new role this gives me is that I will, for the first time in our marriage, be the main breadwinner. Which is cool, it just made me stress a little the other night. I am actually a professional author and now, instead of it being a second income, it will be our primary income. Makes this whole cool thing seem just a bit more serious. Very awesome though. I am really excited for Kenny to work on his Ph.D. in a field that he really loves and in a kind of school that is a bit less of a time suck than law school.:)

Plus I'm way excited to have most of the summer to write!:)

I am also totally bursting with the most exciting news ever, but it's not something I can share yet. So keep and eye out and in . . .mmm, probably about a week or two I can spill.:)


Monday, March 24, 2008

The Gala and Author Photos!

I had a wonderful, even fabulous, time at the awards gala on Saturday night. Lots of authors (Shannon Hale, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, James Dashner, Mette Ivie Harrison, and Jessica Day George, just to name a few), and lots of people who do stuff with authors. (And yes, that is an official position!:)) I did my first podcast interview (eek! when I find the business card she gave me, I'll do a link), and even ran into Angela, an editor I used to read slush for. All in all, a lovely night. I don't have pictures because it was a crazy day and I forgot my camera. And it appears my blog buddies don't have pictures up either, but I'll try to find some in the next couple of days.

I do, however have *drumroll please* pictures of me! (I know, that's what you all wanted *snort*) But I really would like to know what you think! My sister in law, Kati, did my author photos and I've narrowed it down to four. I would love and adore you forever if you would briefly comment and tell me which one you like the best! (I like them all, but, yanno, they're of me, so go figure.:))

Okay, Author Photo Option Number One!

And Number Two!

And Number Three . . .

And last but not least, Number Four.

We really did take a whole bunch of pictures against a bunch of different backgrounds . . . the ones against the light bricks just turned out really good. So, I'm leaning toward numbers three and four . . . but two days ago I was totally on board with One and Two . . . I can't decide. Help! Give me a vote please! (And later, when one of these pics is on the jacket cover you can either grin and tell whoever you're shopping with, "I helped her pick that picture." Or you can shrug and say, "Meh, I liked the other one better." Either way, you'll look cool in front of your friend(s). But you can't look cool if you don't vote!:)

Thanks for your help!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sick, Sick, Sick!

Our house should be quarantined! We are all in various states of sickness, except my son who seems to have gotten through the whole epidemic just fine. Kenny actually skipped school yesterday (which NEVER happens) and my daughter has been coughing all night for the last three nights. So what do I do?

I make chocolate cookies!

I'm such a good mom. *rolls eyes*

But hey, I also made a really good batch of curry and I think that cleared everyone's sinuses a little.;)

I was only sick for about a day and a half, but as the mom, when anyone is sick, it's like you're sick too. But we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Kenny and Audrey are both back in school today, and Gideon is definitely on the mend. That makes me happy.

I've been feeling rather somber of late . . . for a lot of reasons. I think it mostly settled upon me after Saturday when I signed my contract. I never intended to have a career. Even the writing I've done the last few years has always been on the side. Now I have a contract for four books. Which is really great, don't get me wrong! But the level of commitment I've signed myself into seems very real now. I just signed to basically work for Harper Collins for no less than the next five years. Awesome, but sobering, none the less.

My daughter is starting first grade in the fall. We are skipping her though kindergarten, seeing as how she's been reading since she was three. It's a little saddening to see my baby grow up though. And I worry about our decision sometimes. I don't worry that we are making the wrong decision for her, we thought long and hard about it. But I hope that she will agree that it was the best decision in the future. She's so tall and smart--she's not a baby anymore.

And, speaking of babies, I have a very special, though sadly estranged, friend who had a baby last week. I'm surprised at how sorry I am that I can't send a gift. I wish I could.

And lastly, Kenny and I have decided to change our plans for the future. I'll explain more when plans are more concrete, but suffice it to say, it's a big, big change that my husband got cold feet about a few weeks ago, but has now solidly committed to. I'm so, SO excited that we are doing it, but it puts me in a role in our marriage that I've never occupied before. And that's a little scary. I'm ready, but that doesn't mean I'm not a little anxious.:)

So having rather mixed feelings today, but I feel better sorting them out and writing them down . . . I guess that's why I'm a writer.:)


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pics, Banquets, and Contracts!

Well, I had an absolutely smashing weekend! On Friday Kenny and I attended the Barrister's Ball (nicknamed the law school prom :)) and had a very nice time. The best part? Check out where it was hosted.

This, by the way, is where I intend to live someday. *cough, cough* This is the Provo Public Library at Academy Square. This is the library, folks. Can we all say awesome? Oh, yeah.:)

We had a nice time other than the unfortunate running out of both salad and vegetables before they got to our table. *rolls eyes* So we looked like rather picky eaters, but that was made up for by our excellent company; Debbie and Tyler Snow, who are both students at the law school who met during their first year. (Legal romance, isn't is sweet? I haven't dared ask if they got a pre-nup.;))

I liked this picture so much I've switched it out for my profile picture. Thank you wandering anonymous photographer.:) Oh, and despite the fact that my hubby looks a little goofy in this particular picture, he really was quite dashing in his blacks.:)

You know, there's a funny thing abut getting ready for a formal event. Here's what I did: I took a long shower and deep-conditioned my hair, I painted my finger and toe nails, I put lots of mousse in my hair and blow-dried it, put my make-up on carefully, did my hair in a half up-do, and debated the value of about six different outfits. And if I do say so myself, when I was done, I looked lovely.

You want to know what my husband did? He waited till about forty-five minutes till time to go, showered in the normal way, combed his hair in the normal way, put on one outfit, donned his dress pocketwatch, and came into the closet--where I was still trying on different outfits--and helped me choose. And he looked great too!

Totally unfair.

Ah, well, I had fun getting all dressed up. And I get to do it again this next weekend. I am attending a gala dinner for the Whitney Awards next week and will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Shannon Hale and Jessica Day George, to name only two.:)

Saturday was a big day for me. Why?

Drumroll please . . . .

My contract arrived! And I signed it in all my post-formal-dance glory . . . meaning my fingernails were still red and I had eyeliner residue under my eyes.

So not glamorous, but I am signed now! Harper Collins cannot change their mind. They are stuck with me.:)

And, of course, the requisite picture.

Note the lovely fingernails. Oh, thank you, thank you.:)And I was so excited I even managed to put the wrong year for my birthdate . . . on ALL FOUR copies. *sigh* Why, yes, I am a professional author, why do you ask?

And just a note for new or aspiring authors, yes, it has been a full four months since my deal was struck, and yes, I have already finished the first round of revisions without having an actual contract. This is a slow-moving business . . . except when they want you to meet deadlines, of course.;) Really though, it takes a while to negotiate all the little parts of a contract so it can be months. My wait is just a touch on the long side of average.

So yeah, good couple of days. I certainly can't complain. And I will have more author-laden fabulous pictures of the gala dinner next weekend. Yay!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lame Comparisons

The title says it all; proceed at you own risk.:)

I've been Spring Cleaning for the last two days. And if you are anyone who has known me with any degree of intimacy, you will know that I don't love cleaning . . . to put it mildly. I do it, don't get me wrong, but I don't like it. So doing super-deep cleaning for two days in a row with one day left to finish tomorrow, is not my idea of a great time.

That and it's exhausting. I'm very tired. But you could officially eat of any surface in my kitchen and laundry room, even the floor. . . . even the corners.:)

On top of that, my entire walk-in closet which I share with my kids (my husband and I joke that out clothes are divorced) is completely organized and everything is where it belongs. Why is that such an accomplishment? Ready for confessions of an author? I have been so busy the last couple of months that weekly organizing has . . . well . . . been relegated to the back burner. So every time we've had company--and we've had a lot of company the last couple of weeks--every other room gets cleaned, and the leftovers . . . well, they've been set in the closet for "later." Yanno, the kind of later you hope never really comes around.

Well, it's later.:)

So I dragged everything that was on the floor (except the dressers . . . yes, I have a very big walk-in closet in my very small house) out into the master bedroom . . . which is now the kid's room (long story) and sorted through every little thing. (I actually found a bottle of nail polish I've been looking for since we moved in! Yay!:))

The result? My closet looks gorgeous! And since I decided to move my cedar chest somewhere else in the house, it also has more clear floorspace than ever. An excellent job, if I do say so myself.

So . . . you ready for the lame comparison?

Spring cleaning is like revisions. In a lot of ways. There are a lot of little details in a book that 90% of your readers will never notice. But your editor will have you tighten them up for that ten percent. And like my kitchen, even though 90% of you (and hopefully closer to 100%) have no desire to eat off of my floor, I have still made sure that you could should you strange little heart desire it. And all those little plot holes you know are there that you just hope no one will notice? Kind of like my mess shut away in the closet. Well, open that door and clean them out. Because unlike regular guests, a good editor will not stay out of that closet. She will go snooping around in all the proverbial nooks and crannies of your story and find all the problems and make you clean them up.

And it's a good thing.

And like Spring Cleaning, it's tiring, and it will wear you out. But, also like Spring Cleaning, it will feel SO good when you're done.:)

*End of Lame Comparison*


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Apparently Welcomes Caitlin Kittredge!

Welcome Caitlin! I’m so excited to have you here. Caitlin has actually been an inspiration to me for almost two years and you’ll find me touting her praises on occasion in my blog. Her debut novel Night Life was released earlier this week and I was lucky enough to get a spot on her blog tour!

So without further ado, here’s Caitlin!

Me: Okay, first off, we all know you adore your agent, Rachel Vater, could

you give us an abbreviated version of how you hooked up with her?

Caitlin: A friend suggested I query Rachel, and I sent her my full manuscript
after she read my query and requested it (and she blogged about it,
which was quite exciting!) About a week later she called me and said
that she loved the book, and wanted to represent me. I knew I was
pretty much going to say yes, but I let all the other agents reading the
book know, and then the next day I accepted Rachel's offer. About a
month later, she sold the Nocturne City series at auction, in a
three-book deal. I definitely made the right choice.

Me: And speaking of Rachel, she switched agencies recently. This is

something that a lot of authors dread, but it seems to have worked out
beautifully for you. Could you share how you and Rachel handled this

Caitin: Rachel is my agent and where she goes, I go for the forseeable future,
because she's fabulous. She cares about her clients above all and I
never felt like my career was precarious while she was transitioning,
which is a huge thing.

Me: You were a contributor to an anthology that actually hit the NYT

bestseller's list it first week out . . . a couple of months before your
debut novel came out! How did that feel to be a NYT Bestseller before
your book came out?

Caitlin: It felt insane! My editor called to let me know that /My Big Fat
Supernatural Honeymoon/ had gone on the NYT list and I was all, "WHAT
DID YOU SAY?" It was amazing to be a part of something that just
skyrocketed like that, and to be included with fabulous authors like Jim
Butcher, P.N. Elrod and Lilith Saintcrow. I had a huge grin on my face
all day.

Me: And on to your book, could you give us a short summary of your book,
Night Life?

Caitlin: Night Life is the story of Luna Wilder, a homicide detective who's
also a werewolf. She struggles with the two halves of herself, and then
gets thrust into the center of a series of ritualistic murders. When
things can't get any worse, she starts to think the werewolf she's
falling for might be the killer, and then uncovers a huge conspiracy
involving demons that costs her her job and almost her life. But if I
told you how she got out of it all, that'd be cheating!

Me: And how about your heroine, Luna? Love her? Wish you were like her?

Caitlin: Luna is driven, aggressive, and very flawed emotionally from being
turned into a werewolf and nearly date-raped by her boyfriend when she
was fifteen. She has a hard time trusting anyone and doesn't allow for
much gray in her morality, which makes her difficult, to say the least!
So no, I don't really wish I was like her...she's very prickly! I do
love her, though. She's like the kickass best friend every girl should
have in their corner. She also has a deep sense of justice and a soft
heart she doesn't want you to see. Luna has a lot of work to do on
herself, and when Night Life starts out, she doesn't realize the
consequences of her pushing everyone around her away. Over the course
of the story, though, she meets a few people who help her change her mind.

Me: What is your favorite part about being a published Novelist?

Caitlin: Getting paid to write the books I'd be writing anyway! Just kidding.
Knowing that people are reading my stories, and that my words are out
there in the world. It's an enormously satisfying feeling. I love my

Me: What surprised you about the publishing world?

Caitlin: Two things: the speed of my deal (I'd heard it could take months or
years), and how willing most people in the UF/paranormal romance
community are to help each other out. I've met so many authors who
offered advice or support, blurbs or promotional opportunities. It
bowled me over. We write in a great genre that has a wonderful sense of

Me: And last but not least, something really crazy about yourself that has
nothing to do with writing.:)*

Caitlin: Well...the craziest thing I ever ATE was a boiled chicken heart in
Japan. I like food, so that's important to me. I've had some crazy
jobs, too...I worked as a psychic reader at one point, and also as a Hot
Dog on a Stick girl (if you've never seen one of them, they wear
teeny-tiny shorts and humiliating hats. I lasted about two weeks.)

Me: *snicker* I’m sure we’d all love to have seen that . . . and taken blackmail photos! Thanks for stopping by, Caitlin, and Caitlin’s books, Night Life, and the anthology, My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon can be purchase at Amazon or a bookstore near you.;)


Friday, March 07, 2008

I Told You It Was Coming!

Okay, news time.:)

You ready?

It's really cool.

All right.:) Autumn Wings will be going to the Bologna Book Fair as one of Writers House's feature titles! And they will be presenting the book as part one of the series, so hopefully a few companies will snatch up two to four of the books. *squee*

I do have to write up a synopsis for the whole series this weekend. Guess how much space I have? Half to three-quarters of a page for all four books. And you thought 250 words for one books was bad! There will be much condensing being done this weekend.

But hey, I'm not complaining. *grin*


ETA: In other exciting news, I will be hosting diva authoress extraordinaire Caitlin Kittredge tomorrow!! You won't want to miss this!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

*Sniff* I Am Jack's Complete Lack of Health . . .

The cold has finally caught me. Bleh. My head aches, my throat hurts, and I sense sitting on the couch with a carton of ice cream in my future. It may not be healthy, but it will make feel better.

I am also Jack's complete lack of news, so I'm sorry to hold you guys in suspense.

*sniff* I'm going to go crawl back into my hole now. :(


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Happy Birthday to Brennan!

Today is my son, Brennan's third birthday. Yay!

It's also kind of interesting to think about the last three years since he was born. Almost all of my serious writing endeavors have happened within Brennan's lifetime. It's been quite an adventure. Both with him and my books!;)

I wanted to update people who have been waiting; I don't yet have confirmation on my good news, so I can't share yet, but I'll let you know as soon as I can.

So I'm signing out for the day. I have a daughter to get on the bus, eight miles to run, a monster truck cake to pick up, spaghetti to make, and a rockin' party to host, complete with Dora the Explorer ice cream that can't possibly actually taste good. *rolls eyes*


Saturday, March 01, 2008

Warm Fuzzies

It's been a warm fuzzies week for me. One of those weeks when I am reminded again that I have the best job in the whole world.

First, as you know, I turned in my revisions this week. Well a couple of days later I got an e-mail from Jodi. Jodi had passed my manuscript on to Writers Houses's Foreign Rights department and forwarded me their response. Let's just say they have apparently been waiting with bated breath for this revision to be done and and the head of FR was very, very excited. Her e-mail made me smile all day.

Second, if you don't read the comments( on Blogger if you're reading on LJ), you missed this little gem. Someone name Bracken (sorry, I don't have anymore information than that) left me this comment. (And I'm going to post it out here for one and all to see because . . . well, it's my blog and I'll brag if I want to.;))

"Okay, this is totally off topic, but I wanted to thank you so much for your little mini-workshops on queries. I'm pretty much convinced that your lessons are what snagged me an agent. So THANK YOU for sharing your genius!!"

Hooray!! I am so exceptionally excited. The fact of the matter is, sometimes your query is not getting any attention because the book behind it is broken. But sometimes, the book is wonderful and it's the query that's broken. In such cases, I think it's only fair that with a little tweaking, the book gets it's time in the sun. The best query in the world will not sell a broken book, so really the kudos here go to Bracken, but it's like the old Shake and Bake commercials; "It's Shake and Query, and I helped." This news absolutely made my day. So congrats Bracken and good luck! May you never have to write another query again . . . unless, yanno, you want to.;)

And last, but certainly not least, Saundra Mitchell sent me a tiger on Facebook. Rahr!

Note: Stay tuned next week, I am expecting some very exciting news.