i don't think i could forget

when productivity attacks (aka epic blog fail)

Yes, I'm the worst blogger ever these days. Let's just get that out there. But I have good excuses (note the "s"! You know it's serious when there is more than one excuse!). Seriously blogriends, the last thing I remember was August. I have no idea what has been happening since then and now. Like, it's November? Seriously? This isn't some elaborate joke?

Between querying, working on my WIP, working my full time job, doing the family thing, and doing the friend thing, I feel like I don't even have time to think, but you don't come here to listen to me complain so how about we ignore what an inconsistent blogger I am at the moment and focus on something good...

Umm, well, I don't really have anything good to share except that my total requests for Chameleon is now 15! That sounds much better than it is though because many of those 15 have since passed on the project, citing it isn't quite right for them, but always with lots of positive comments and encouragement and I just want to pull them all in for a giant group hug! And maybe while we're hugging, one of them might change their mind....... Ok, maybe not, but a few truly excellent agents still have partials and there is still lots of hope that it will be just right for one of them. This whole processing is just so emotionally draining because you feel torn between disappointment over rejection and understanding that if the project isn't right for them, then they probably aren't right for you so it's all for the best.

So, since it's November and I'm sure that this month (and next month) will go by so quickly that I'll wake up tomorrow and people will be passed out on my couch, covered in booze and cheetos, mumbling something about "Hooray for 2010!" and I'll be all "Frak, I haven't blogged since early November", I wanted to take a moment to talk about 2009.

I don't recall if I've mentioned this on the blog before, but my birthday is September 9th (or 09/09). This year, my birthday was 09/09/09, which was not only cool cause, come on, it looks cool, it's also cool because 9 has always been a lucky number for me. Because of the whole 09/09 thing, I always pick 9 whenever I have to pick a number for a lottery ticket, or place a bet on roulette or whenever someone at my gamblers anonymous meeting asks me to pick a number between 1 and 10 (ok that last part isn't true. I don't even remotely have a gambling problem. I've been to a casino like twice. Ok maybe three times, but I kinda just go to stare at all the lights and make fun of people. And I hardly ever buy lottery tickets. I shouldn't have even made that joke to begin with because you probably don't believe me, do you? Gamblers always lie about stuff....)

Anyway, the point is that 9 has always been significant to me and it's often paid off. Maybe it's just that I notice 9s more, but I see them pop up all over the place. The floor I lived on in residence at universtiy was even called Could Nine. I don't want you to think I'm some crazy numerology chick or anything (cause you know, liking 9s probably doesn't have anything to do with real numerology, which I know nothing about), but yeah, 9s = lucky number for me.

That took way too long to explain. You're probably super bored now and the pay-off is so not going to be worth it, but here it is:
Since 9 is such a lucky number for me, I entered this year thinking something big would happen. Not "I found ten bucks in the couch big", but big, life-changing even. One could argue that the fact that I finished editing a book and have been querying it to moderate success (success is clearly not the right word here, but you know what I mean) is big, but there's no permanence to it. If none of these queries pan out, I'm back at square one with the next book. Not the big life change I was expecting. I'm starting to feel it isn't coming.

Maybe I'm stupid for putting pressue on a year that has no say in whether or not it contains a 9. Or maybe something big will still happen. It's impossible to say, but I'm still holding out hope that 2009 has something good in store for me. Otherwise, I might have to break-up with you #9. And then I'd have to find a way to change my birthday... Or maybe we can just stay friends?

you say banned, i say recommended

A few thoughts on Banned Books Week:

*Banning a book just draws attention to it, alerting us to the fact that the book contains some form of honest, gritty, human experience. Anything that stirs up that kind of passion and emotion has got to be an interesting read.

*If a child is old enough to go the library without parental guidance, said child is also old enough to decide what they want to read. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. They're going to pick something that interests them. Let them. Discovering what appeals to them will help them develop dreams and ambitions.

*Why anyone would want to discourage reading of any kind is completely beyond me. Reading questionable material is better than not reading at all.

*If a book's content is worth fighting, it's worth fighting for.

Conclusion: Read a banned book today! It will make you wiser, more worldly, and a whole lot more fun at parties!

hello fall

Fall is officially here. I love fall, but I hate winter so this is always a strange time. I guess all I can do is enjoy the fall weather as much as possible before the first snowflake falls (and truthfully, it's not the first snowflake I hate. In fact, I love the first day of snow. It's the months of snow that follow that I'm not too keen on).

Nothing much to report on the query front, which makes me anxious and sad. I thought September would bring more reponses, but so far it's been as quiet as August, only without the excuse of summer vacation. So I continue to wait and hope and hope and hope and, well, you get the idea...

I'm currently working on two story projects--one that I've been working on for a while, plus a new project I'm really excited about. So excited that WIP #1 might have to step aside so that WIP #2 can stretch out. WIP #2 is feeling good right now. It feels the way Chameleon did when I started writing it. More to come on that eventually...

things that are made of win, part 2

sometimes you just need a break

I know I've been a terrible blogger this summer. I'm sorry for that and unfortunately, I don't see things changing dramatically anytime soon. I do want to try and post something every now and then, but as long as I'm in the middle of this enormous confusing question mark that is the query process, things are going to be slow. I'm finding it hard to share the ups, when a down is just around the corner. That said, I'm going to try and get back into the swing of things in the fall, and who knows, maybe I'll eventually have some really good news to share, and I do want to try and post more about my WIP, which I am actually pretty excited about.
For now, this blog's sporadic nature can be attributed to "summer vacation" (the quotes are due to the fact that I'm not really taking much of a summer vacation this year, with the exception of the trip boyfriend and I are taking to Halifax over the Labour Day weekend).

Speaking of taking a break, have you ever wondered what a hummingbird looks like when it's sleeping? Ok, you probably haven't, but if you have, wonder no longer! It looks like this:

For some reason, I was thinking about hummingbirds on the way to work this morning. It's nice to know the little guys aren't moving 100 miles an hour 24/7. Everybody needs a break sometimes.

Quick QQ09 update:
I currently have 3 partials and 2 fulls out there (I somehow managed to go from no full requests to quite a few, with 2 more that have since been very encouragingly rejected--that is, the rejection letters were encouraging. The rejection itself was not.)
I also have 11 unanswered query letters.
I'm hoping to hear back from any of these 16 agents soon.
One truly amazing agent regretfully passed on a partial recently, citing the many things she loved about the manuscript. It was a little heartbreaking that she had to pass, but she made me feel pretty good about the story I'm telling and my chances for one day seeing Chameleon published. She also referred to it as "Spiderman for girls", which I love, and can't thank her enough for drawing the comparison. I'm going to have to keep that one in mind for future marketing of the book (you know, should I be lucky enough to be in such a position one day...)

I pretty much feel anxious all the time these days, waiting, and waiting. I'm still waiting to hear back on a partial from that very first agent I queried back in April. The wait may kill me, but from what I've heard, the agent is worth that kind of damage so I continue to wait.

I think that's all the news that's fit to print. Oh man, now my tea is cold :(

stats, romance in washington, and tossing the cookies

Good morning blogoblogs,

As promised, I'm going to post my updated QQ09 stats, though yes, they are a day later than I'd hoped.

I've been a little swamped helping everyone prep for the RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference in Washington (which starts today, though most of my HQN people won't depart until tomorrow as we spend today putting the final touches on various presentations, etc) so yeah, my days have been busy as of late. "When are they not busy?" you ask? When everyone has finally left for Washinton, that's when! I plan to hit that slush pile hard.

In addition to being busy, I'm also very tired today. Last night, around 4am, I awoke to the sound of sweet little Oliver kitten retching in the living room (it wasn't very loud--I must just have an ear for kitty barf). I wonder what made him so sick?

Oh I see....

After cleaning up the multiple messes (he's a bit of a traveling cookie tosser) and steering him toward a large bowl of water, I headed back to bed only to find I was in that zone where I'd been awake just long enough that I was too awake to sleep and just hungry enough that my stomach began to growl. I'm not big on the idea of eating during the night. I'm convinced it will give me weird dreams or an upset stomach so I convinced myself to toss and turn through the growling stomach and around 5am, I finally fell back asleep only to find myself cursing at 6:45am when my alarm went off. On the upside, Oliver seemed to be back to his chipper snuggly self when I went to feed the kitties.

So yeah, Kate = tired, but still mildly glowing from her first FULL request!! Here are the stats:

Query Rejections: 20
Partial Requests: 6
Partial Rejections: 3
What's that? A new category, you say?
Full Requests: 1

Hooray! Let us all rejoice and dance and sing to celebrate this next milestone in my publishing journey! I know I will be celebrating with my family this weekend at the cottage.

One more thing before I sign off. Harlequin Teen has launched a new website to correspond with the imprint launch later this month. It's very shiny. Check it out.

fill er up!

Today I...received my very first FULL request! And it wasn't even from one of the partials I'm waiting on! More to come on this soon, but for now, can I just say YIIPPPEEEEEEEEEEEE! ? I can? Ok, then YIIPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! :)

Updated stats to come when I'm not exhausted from a crazy day at work followed by the extremely intense "I got a full request!" dance I did around the apartment tonight... Sorry folks, no pics of that :)

pom-pom hockey

Hello blogoverse,

Sorry for, yet again, taking too long a break between posts. I'm still in this waiting/holding pattern where I'm so anxious I want to chew my own hand off. Ok, maybe not (that would definitely involve an ick factor, plus I tend to need both my hands). Anyway, yeah, I'm somehow remaining somewhat patient as I wait and wait and have a heart attack every time there's new mail in my inbox. It's hard to remember the last time I ever wanted anything more than this.

Boyfriend has been in Germany for business over the past few days, which has been an odd experience--not because I'm on my own (boyfriend travels enough for work that I'm used to that), but because I kept thinking about how far away he was. When he's in Chicago for business, he doesn't feel that far away, but this felt different. I suppose it's probably due to the time zone thing. Either way, I'm not really a fan. I don't like to feel so out of touch. Happily, he comes home today! Yay!

Huntley and Oliver, les petites chats, will be turning two in a few weeks and their personalities seem to grow more and more endearing everyday (which seems impossible, but somehow, it happens). Here's Oliver taking a break from the mad, mad world:

And here's Huntley, enjoying the sink:

Those crazy kitties! Lately, Huntley has taken to a game I like to call pom-pom hockey. To understand how the game works, you have to know that Huntley is obsessed with the drawers in my dresser. I think the obsession began when she realized that whenever she loses a pom-pom (her toy of choice), it's because she's flicked it under the dresser and her mummy has to remove the drawers to get it back out. Now, whenever I open a drawer in my dresser (usually for the purpose of, you know, getting clothes out and NOT retrieving pom-poms), she comes running from wherever she is in the apartment and looks up at me expectantly, OR attempts to climb into the drawer I've opened (I'm not sure where this habit ties into the whole pom-pom thing. I think she just realized at some point that drawers, like boxes, are fun to sit in). Because of her fondness for the drawers being pulled out, I suspect she's taken to shooting the pom-poms under the dresser on purpose and now her favourite thing to do when I pull the drawers out is to climb into the empty space where the drawer was and knock the pom-poms back out herself. This is how pom-pom hockey was born.

The other day, Huntley was lying on her stomach pawing under the dresser, a sign that another pom-pom had gone missing. I pulled the drawer out and she instantly jumped into the empty space, flicking the pom-pom back at me. I flicked it back at her and she threw her paw out to block the shot and flick it back out at me. This continued on for about 10-15 minutes until Oliver woke up from his nap, came over to see what the commotion was all about, stole the pom-pom and ran into the living room with it, but Oliver's sneaky interception didn't put a damper on Huntley's playful spirit. The drawer thing has evolved into her wanting to play pom-pom hockey all the time, so when I pull the drawer out, she climbs in and sits, ready to play. I will get a picture of this eventually to share, but for now, you'll just have to imagine the cuteness.

If I could only get Oliver to join in the game somehow...they could take turns taking shots on goal while the other defends in true Canadian style :)

UPDATED to include pom-pom hockey action shots! (ok so not exactly "action", but you get the idea...)

series monogamist

Whenever someone would ask me if I preferred movies or scripted television, I would always answer TV. Many would balk at this answer, certain that TV was the "mac and cheese" of the two art forms, but I loved the endless possibilities for plot and character development as well as the promise of near-weekly installments.
Film, though certainly admirable in its own way, involves a lot of waiting for very little viewing time and even if it's a film that has a sequel, that's just another long wait, often followed by disappointment. Plus, liking TV better doesn't mean I don't like movies, it just means if I had to live in a world with one or the other, I'd go with TV. Scripted TV that is--if it could only be reality TV, I'd probably have to go with movies. You can only take so much Speidi before your brain implodes.

As I've gotten older, it's become harder and harder to keep up with certain shows I enjoy, but the advent of TV on DVD has opened a wonderful new world where I can not only catch up on things, but watch episode after episode for hours on end, which let's face it, is OMG THE BEST WAY TO WATCH TV!

You see, when I like a show, it's not enough to tune in casually. I have to see every. single. episode. I think this compulsion started with my X-Files obsession back in the day, which lead to my All Things Whedon obsession, Veronica Mars obsession (I still cry over that show being cancelled. VM will live on in my heart FOREVER!) and, with the advent of TV on DVD, all of this has now culminated in me being able to obsessively watch back-to-back episodes of shows for which I didn't get in on the ground floor (Mad Men, Dexter, Big Love, The Tudors--I know. What's wrong with me, right?)

Anyway, lately boyfriend and I have been compulsively watching The West Wing, which we both missed the first time around. It's really fun to watch something uninhibited by week-long, or even season-long, waits (though it is occasionally inhibited by a need for sleep/work), but it's also dangerous. Watching a show that has fully run its course means there are easily-accessed spoilers online about exactly how it's all going to end. I'm sad enough just knowing that Sam Seaborn isn't going to stick around (I heart you Rob Lowe!), I don't need to stumble across an old review about how everyone is killed off in the last season (if you haven't watched The West Wing, I made that last part up... I think.)

Committing to a completed series on DVD means also committing to not cheating on it by looking anything up online and sometimes, when you have a boyfriend who is out of town on business on a regular basis, effectively putting the marathon on hold, you start to wonder if it would be so bad to just sneak a peek at what's coming up in the next episode or so....

Or maybe I can just start another series for when he's not around. I'm hearing True Blood is quite check-out worthy. The only problem is, what happens after I've devoured every episode of that? Do I wait for more on a weekly basis like the rest of the world? How can you expect me to wait when I've become so accustomed to just skipping to the next episode? How did anyone ever manage this? You've ruined me TV on DVD. I hope you're happy.

fast and furious (without cars or lameness)

Quick QQ09 update because things have been moving. Since my last update I've received two more partial requests and a few more rejections so I wanted to update the stats! A more entertaining and informative post to come soon (possibly even later today, though I'm trying to avoid the computer screen today because my contact lenses are suffering from a severe case of wonk).

Query Rejections: 16
Partial Requests: 6
Partial Rejections: 3

So yes, assuming my math skills are correct, I currently have 3 partials out there awaiting judgement, and the agents who have them couldn't be more fantastic! I'm excited, but absolutely desperate for that coveted full request...

just like that

Yesterday, I was hoping that *something* (a full request from one of my partials maybe?) good would happen to put the wind back in my sails and sure enough, something did. I received my 4th partial request! Very exciting! I am still VERY anxiously waiting to hear back about my other two partials that are out there, but having my 4th partial request come in was a very nice treat.

So quickly, here are the latest standings:

Query Rejections: 14 (most encouraging!)
Partial Requests: 4
Partial Rejections: 1

Now am I just waiting for that elusive full request to add to the list.... (to be sung) Come on full request! I'm ready and waiting for yoooooouuuuuuuuu!


again, i'm not lazy, just waiting

...and yeah, ok, a little lazy. And busy- the last couple of weeks (including weekends) have been pretty packed. I think things are slowing down though.

Still waiting on both partials. I wasn't really sure what to do about sending queries out while waiting on two partials, but after a two week break (during which I at least researched a whole slew of new agents to query), I decided to go ahead and send out four more queries today and I think I'll continue to take it slow from there.

I'm sort of freaking out because I realized I didn't put "Requested Materials" in the subject line of my partial so I think I'm going to send out a little status query soon just to make sure it didn't get lost in the sea of other query letters.

Continuing to keep fingers crossed like you wouldn't believe (I'm losing all feeling in my fingers... ) I promise I'll blog more when all this (particular) waiting is overwith and I don't feel so anxious all the time :)

happy belated b-day TLNTHC!

Many milestones to blog about this week.

First of all, I must wish my dear Chameleon (aka The Little Novel That Hopefully Can), a happy belated 1st birthday. It was on May 28th, 2008, as I lounged poolside at a resort in Cuba that the idea for Chameleon first came thundering into my brain. I couldn't write fast enough that day, not wanting to miss a single character detail or line of dialogue as certain scenes fell into place. We've come a long way my dear and I hope we continue on quite a ways more.

Secondly, I'm VERY excited to say that I've received my third partial request! Since I'm still waiting to hear back from dream agent #1 about my previous partial request, I now officially have two partials out in the world, trying their hardest to shine for two amazing agents. You go little partials! You can do it!

So here are the current QQ09 rankings:
Rejections: 12
Partial Requests: 3!!!
Partial Rejections: 1

I'm quite happy with these stats and I have to say, I've also moved into sort of a zen place when it comes to rejections, which is why today, I want to talk about a bit about my take on them and how it's changed with every one I've received.

I knew going into this process that I would be rejected. And no, I don't mean I knew in the way the dorkiest kid in school knows he'll be rejected by the most popular girl, but secretly hopes that movies don't lie and she'll fall for him anyway. I mean I knew because I work in publishing and I know how it goes and I know that every single one of my favourite authors have experienced rejection. I knew. I was ready. To an extent.

You see, though I was ready for the rejection itself, I wasn't really ready for the ensuing uncertainty. I thought that knowing meant I'd endure unscathed, but knowing you'll be rejected doesn't mean you can convince yourself to not take it personally. Even if you know you shouldn't, you do. At least at first. And, like I said, for me, it wasn't a matter of "I can't believe they rejected me" as much as it was a matter of, "Oh man, was I crazy to think anyone else would like this? What if I'm delusional? What if no agent is going to feel the same way about Brynn and co. as I do?"

But then the first request for a partial came and it was like a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, the partial was (kindly and encouragingly) rejected the very next day and I felt like I was back at square one. It felt good that somebody took notice (and to know my query letter, on some level, worked), but it wasn't enough to stop me from questioning the worth of my writing.

And then more rejections came. Many were positive and kind, which made them easier to read, but nothing was calming my fears that the story I'd written just wasn't enough.

Then, when the second partial request came, things changed. Not only was the second partial request from one of the agents at the top of my list, it also served as a form of assurance that calmed me into a new way of thinking about rejection. That second partial request was like a second kiss. The first might have been impulsive, maybe even a fluke, but the second, oh, the second means something is right.

Since part of my job is to reject slush unfit for our imprints, I have a pretty good base knowledge of the varied reasons a manuscript might be rejected. Almost everything rejected at my level is either horrendously written or completely wrong for our programs. I think somewhere in my brain, I began to equate rejection with something that was completely off-target, a conclusion which couldn't have helped my uncertainty, but what I had to remember was that in my job, I send rejections on behalf of a major publisher to people who didn't bother to read submission guidelines and the stuff I reject is only a small fraction of what we receive so the reasons I reject projects don't really translate into the reasons why an agent rejects them.

If something in my slush pile looks decent, I can pass it along to an editor for a second opinion, and they can send it out to a freelancer for a reader's report, if it's positive, other editors will look at it, and eventually, it might work its way up the totem pole. If it's acquired, recognition doesn't really go to the person who found it in a slush pile. At that point, it sort of belongs to the publisher, a good find by the team, and if it fails, the publisher will endure.

While a publisher as large as the one I work for has a wide variety of editorial making its way through many editors and imprints, an agent is one person, who can and should only take on projects that really speak to them. At the end of the day, they have to put their personal reputation on the line for you and that's a huge favour to ask of anyone, let alone an essential stranger. Unlike the slush decisions I make, their rejections aren't based on "this doesn't work" or "this might work". Those two thoughts only mean rejection for an agent. "This might work" isn't enough. It has to be "This is brilliant. It speaks to me and I can't put it down!", which, let's face it, is really subjective. It's hard to feel bitter about a rejection when you start to understand that it's really not necessarily you, or your writing, it's the agent and his/her tastes, and availability/time, and whether or not they personally can go out on a limb for you, again, an essential stranger. Even if your book is amazing, they don't owe you anything. It's either there or it isn't and that has no influence over whether or not it will catch the eye of someone else.

So yeah, long story short, twelve query rejections (so far) don't have me down. If anything, they've brought me to this twelve rejection calm, where I'm over the initial uncertainties and I've settled in for the long haul. I have no plans to give up on something I've been working toward and dreaming of almost all my life. Sure, it's very likely that the rejection blues will drop by for a visit whenever a new rejection shows up in my inbox, but they won't be staying long. I won't let them. Feeling down is fine, but feeling bitter about rejection isn't fair to the book I've written, the agents I've queried, or me, and I have three partial requests to re-read if I need a reminder that my writing has worth.

Nobody said this would be easy and I've accepted that. I'm ready for whatever comes next.

Speaking of what comes next, I've been working on my WIP a lot lately and I'm pleased with the way things are going. Unlike Chameleon, my WIP is intended to stand alone (I don't want to start on Chameleon II until I know what's happening with it). I realize it's a bit odd to post an excerpt from my WIP when I haven't posted boo from Chameleon, but here's a little something from the openining (tentatively titled All That Comes After):

Lying in the freshly cut grass, he doesn't look like himself. His eyes are all wrong. The usual dark brown is clouded like a stream of milk trying to find its way through unstirred black coffee.
And they're so still, so peaceful; unmoving, unseeing, but somehow staring at the brilliant sun in a way the eyes of the living never could.
If we left him here, would the grass grow tall around him, covering his pale blue skin in brambles as it drinks up the water trailing from the corner of his mouth? Would he become one with the lawn, enabling him to stay forever near? I can't bear the thought of someone moving him. Can't fathom a world where we'd ever allow tall men in respectful suits to carry him away, while we return to a life without him. He isn't theirs to take.
I reach out a hand to trace two lines down his pallid face, my trembling fingers drawing across his eyelids, closing them, and he's transformed. Only sleeping. But no, he isn't sleeping. This isn't even him.
Here lies my brother's body, yet, he's nowhere to be seen.

i know, i know, i know

Yeah, I totally should have blogged by now, but I've been in this holding pattern, waiting to hear back about my latest partial request. This one is a big deal to me so I'm sort of pulling a radio-silence while I wait. Unfortunately, I feel it's going to be a long wait what with BEA coming up...I can't decide whether long waits make the rejection sting more or less.

I'm scared to even think about the outcome of this one. I know my heart will burst with excitement if the agent asks for a full, but I somehow have to put that hope aside and prepare myself for the far more likely possibility that she'll reject me. So anyway, yeah, I don't want to say too much while I wait, lest I ramble myself into a too-hopeful corner.

That said, I should update my QQ09 stats since I'm now at 10 query rejections (11 if you include my first partial rejection, which I suppose I should, though I see it as an accomplishment so it feels wrong to count it in my rejection tally.)

I've started mapping, re-writing my current WIP, which is something I'd started a few years ago, but I've only recently decided how to breathe new life into it. The approach I'm currently taking feels much better than how I'd gone at it before. I'm hoping this one will keep me distracted as I wait and try to remember that how this agent responds to Chameleon is out of my hands now. I just have to hope she likes it and not worry myself. I can't do anything to force it. All I can do is hope, pray, make deals with the devil...ok, maybe not.

I'll hopefully update again soon. This waiting will undoutedly make me squirrely.

they should bottle this stuff and sell it

New post! (as promised)

First off, I am reaching ridiculous levels of uber-excitement because I just received a request for a partial from one of my absolute top agents! I pretty much read the email and then went off like a rocket, dancing around with joy. Then the small part of my brain that reminds me to not get my hopes up kicked in and composed myself enough to reply with said partial attached. Now I wait and no, I'm not going to get my hopes up, but yeah, I am going to cross my my fingers and daydream, and pray, and maybe sacrifice a virgin daiquiri (or maybe a non-virgin daiquiri... it is a long weekend after all).

Ok, so here are the current stats:

Rejections: 7
Partial Requests: 2!!!!!
Partial Rejections: 1

Not a bad ratio if I do say so myself.

So anyway, this news is extra amazing because it came to me on my first half-Friday of the summer (ah, summer hours, how I love thee) and we got free hot breakfast and birthday cake at work this morning! Pretty good day all around, yeah? Yeah, and it only gets better because it's the beginning of what is going to be a great long weekend. Tomorrow both of my sisters and my brother-in-law are coming to visit (always a good time) and then on Sunday, boyfriend and I are headed up to the cottage until Monday. I'm was looking forward to this and the added happiness over this partial request just sweetens the pot.

I suppose I didn't get around to blogging about last weekend. Boyfriend and I had a wonderful time in Niagara Falls. We had gorgeous weather the day we went and there were rainbows all over the place (so girly and pretty!). We had a very nice dinner and then headed back home in time to visit the parents for mother's day/my dad's birthday (which always falls near mother's day weekend).

Work has been busy this week as I got back into the swing of things after my leisurely weekend, but I still took some time to make some revisions to Chameleon and start mapping out my WIP. (Gah, I hope those revisions pay off!)

Been watching finales of all my fav show this week- LOST left me a little heartbroken, but The Office healed said wounds with Jimtastic smiles. I didn't think that guy could act any more adorably. Sigh. What a great season ender.

Aright, that's enough of an update for now. The partial request excitement is flowing through my veins and I just can't sit still :) Also, my kitties are wrestling in the next room and from the sounds of it, things are getting knocked over. I should probably put an end to that...

bad blogger!

I know, I know. I need to blog again soon and I will! I promise! I've been so busy catching up after my anniversary long weekend that I haven't had the time to ogranize my bloggy thoughts, but I promise something soon- hopefully tomorrow if not Friday.

I suppose the least I can do is a QQ09 update:
Rejections: 7
Partial Requests: 1
Partial Rejections: 1

That's right, all of my current hopes are resting on the shoulders of the 6 agents who still haven't responded to my initial query (including 2 agents from my first round of queries! *CROSSES FINGERS*)

More to come...

QQ09 downdate

I decided to call it a downdate instead of an update because it's bad news. Well, it's not bad, it's just disappointing, but it's not unexpected and it's not the end of the world.

My partial was rejected. Yes, almost as quickly as it came, my hopeful happy dance has left me. It's ok though, I know that like the flat-out query rejections before it, this is all part of the process.

And I now know I'm on the right track. My query letter got an agent's attention and even as I continue to receive rejections, nobody can take that away from me. I can hang onto it and reread that request for a partial whenever I need to be reminded that I WILL get Chameleon published, it's just a matter of time.

Here's hoping one of the other eight queries I currently have out there comes back with positive news.

As a positive PS to this post, agent Rachelle Gardner held a little writing contest recently on her blog and she chose my 150 word piece about how the publishing journey is like LOST as one of her seven favourites. After that, readers voted on the winner and well, when reader participation is involved, you never know what will happen. I ended up in third place, which is totally cool with me. I was just happy to be nominated :)

happy milestone time!

Quick Query Quest 2009 Update!

Rejections: 5
Partial Requests: 1!!!!

That's right! A real, honest to God agent requested a partial!!! I'm beyond thrilled to know an agent (and one of my top picks at that!) is reading about Brynn and co. and their various adventures.

Must not get hopes up. Must not get hopes up. Hopes up or not, my first partial is a serious milestone and I think that's worth smiling about :)

queries, revisions and falls, oh my!

The week is off to a much slower start than last week, which is nice because I'm finally catching up on some work that had been put aside in the author summit insanity. I'm also happy to say it's only a four day work week for me because I'm taking Friday off to go to Niagara Falls for the fourth anniversary of boyfriend and I dating. (Actually, next week and the week after that are both four day weeks as well--hooray!) We'll be staying in a very swank room here:

Jealous? I know I am! Wait, what? Anyway, yeah, it's gonna be a blast as long as the weather holds up. Right now they're calling for sun and scattered showers. I can deal with that.

Query Quest 2009, as I've decided to dub it, has entered into its fourth week. I'm still sitting at four rejections, but now have about 7-8 queries out in the world waiting to be responded to. (Wait, four weeks of queries, four rejections, four day work week, and four years of dating with boyfriend....weird. Maybe I should buy four lottery tickets, each laced with 4s. Or maybe I should focus on finishing this post...)

I sent out two more little queries today and made an effort to revise my letter a bit in case it has something to do with the rejections I've received so far. I think the revisions help the query to represent the story a little better. At least, I hope so. I keep going back and forth between a calm reserved patience and a nervous bundle of anxiety attacks. I deal with this by telling myself that worrying or wondering won't cause anything to happen. I just have to keep going. Despite flip-flopping on the issue, I've restrained from sending out too many queries at one time. I want to have multiple requests out there, but not so many that I start to lose track or would have dozens of agents to get in touch with should an offer come my way (I also want the option to keep revising my letter if it isn't working). Originally, I was hoping to send out more queries every time I received a rejection, but since the replies, rejection or otherwise, are slow to arrive, I'm instead sending out a few more every week or so. I'm convinced that eventually the right agent for me will receive my letter and declare: "INGENIOUS! I MUST REQUEST A FULL FROM THIS A-MAZING YOUNG TALENT! HER STORY WILL CHANGE THE FACE OF YA AS WE KNOW IT!" Too much? :)

I hope to have more updates on the whole Query Quest 2009 soon, but for now, I wait, and you wait along with me, and I try my best to not blog about waiting over and over again. Man, something interesting had better happen soon or this blog is gonna get really boring, really fast... I apologize in advance if it comes to that :)

(must think of diversion from depressing turn this has taken...)

Hey, what's that over there?!

Yeah, I dunno. This is what happens when you google "adorable yorkie". I have NO idea what that frog has to do with this, and upon further inspection of the website this came from, I see that this pup isn't even a true yorkie. It's a yorkie poo, which also according to the site, ISN'T a yorkie that has an unfortunate need for frequent trips to the little puppies' room.

What happened to this blog post? I swear it started out somewhere respectable, didn't it?


Fine, I give up.

parchment? i'll stick to my stone tablet thank you.

A longer blog post was promised and here it is!

This week got off to a hectic start with an author summit taking place here in the Toronto headquarters of Harlequin. When one of our top authors comes to visit, it's a pretty big deal so there's a lot of work to be done both in preparation for the author's arrival as well as on the day of the actual summit. For assistants like myself, that means decorating boardrooms, making reservations, organizing catering, book signings, running errands for editors and top execs, serving, cleaning up and pretty much doing everything else in between. Oh, plus all of my usual work. It all adds up to a couple of really exhausting days that at least fly by pretty quickly and at the end of it all, I can't really complain because it usually means I get to meet some very cool people and add to my collection of autographed books. At any rate, I'm happy to announce that things have slowed down, which means I can catch up on some work and ease myself into the weekend.

Boyfriend and I recently purchased a wii fit, which I've been using on a daily basis despite my aforementioned exhaustion. I have to say, Nintendo have really done a good job with the wii fit. I'm amazed by how far "video games" have come (mostly due to the inventiveness of companies like Nintendo). The combination of exercise and games makes working out sooo much more enjoyable for people like me who hate going to the gym, but need some sort of routine along with someone (the wii fit itself in this case) to hold them accountable when they get lazy. I highly recommend it to anyone who knows they should exercise more, but just can't find the motivation.

The main topic of today's post is something I've wanted to comment on for a while, but I didn't quite have my thoughts organized on the subject until now (if even now). Every now and then, someone in the editorial department will forward along an article of interest regarding the publishing industry (usually focusing on some trend that's hot at the moment). Lately, a lot of articles about e-readers have been making the rounds and they've got me thinking about the pros and cons of e-readers and whether or not I should put any stock into the fear that books as we know them will one day be a thing of the past.

The article that finally inspired me to blog about this can be found here. It's a good read.

As for me, I still haven't completely made up my mind about e-readers, but here are some of the thoughts that occurred to me as I was reading this article:

E-readers are convenient--that can't be denied, and convenience has a long history of extinguishing older forms of media. The other benefits are obvious: e-readers save paper, you can carry your entire library around when you travel, and you can get your hands on the latest book by your favourite author at the click of a button, but are those benefits enough to eventually wipe out books completely?

I personally don't think so. At least not yet. I think that books still have a lot to offer that e-readers can't quite replace, which ironically leads me to my first point: replaceability.

Say you're on vacation, somewhere warm with a gorgeous white sandy beach. I love reading on the beach as do many people (they don't call them "beach reads" for nothing). It's relaxing and enjoyable and I can get lost in a wonderful story while working on my tan. But what happens when I get the urge to cool off by taking a dip in the water? Normally, I'd toss my reasonably priced paperback in my beach bag, and run for the waves, but I'm not sure I'd be so eager to leave my $300+ e-reader lying around. If some beach-klepto came along and swiped my copy of Twilight, I'd be pretty annoyed, but it wouldn't be too costly to replace. If I returned from my salty frolic to find my uber-expensive e-reader missing...well, I think you can figure it out. Long story short, books, for the most part, are easily replaceable, e-readers are costly and until they can produce an e-reader that costs around $50, books will continue to be the safe alternative for public reading.

Furthermore, I don't want to lose things like gorgeous book covers, that wonderful book smell, or the silent book club that is being able to identify what someone else is reading on the subway (a natural form of book marketing many authors benefit from). These things are an important part of my experience as an avid reader. I don't want to have to rely on a battery to keep reading and I really don't want to think about the impact e-readers could have on the public library system.

I do think that e-readers have their applications. They're very handy for things like reference books, travel guides, news media and other subscriptions. At my work, they're used for reading manuscripts that aren't in book form yet and as I mentioned above, it saves a lot of paper. But what about art books, coffee table books, children's books, or anything that benefits from the glory of full-colour illustrations? What about the connection between the reader and the page? Will an electronic medium distance us too much to fall in love with books the way we have in the past? Can anything be classified a classic on a technologically advanced screen?

Maybe I'm delusional for thinking e-readers can't replace books (I'm sure there was a time when nobody believed the use of stone tablets would be eclipsed), but as far as the near future goes, I only see them becoming a compliment to the way things are currently. An option. Like audio books (which I'm a fan of by the way, though I should note that I own physical copies of almost all of the audio books on my ipod--I see the book price as the cost of the story and the audio book price as the cost of having someone as enthralling as Stephen Fry read it to me on the subway). I don't know what will happen down the road as the e-reader market expands, the units themselves become undoubtedly cheaper and the available options become more appealing (full-colour screen to display gorgeous covers plus week-long battery life?), but I do know that even if I make the decision to purchase an e-reader for myself one day, I will always still want books and lots of them.


It's been an insanely busy week at work (and it's only... Wednesday? That can't be right...). I've wanted to blog, but probably won't have time for a real, actual, worth-your-time post until tomorrow. So for now, I'll leave you with the following, potentially empty promise: Super interesting blog to come soon!

(Also, I've received my 4th rejection- again a positive one. I feel like I'm on the right track, just haven't found the right person. Plus, I still haven't heard back from some of my top picks! There's still hope... right? RIGHT?)

quick query update

Received my second rejection last night, but this one was less form-like and more "you're a strong writer and I enjoyed your pages, but...". This is a positive thing I think. Rejection is natural, all part of the process, but positive rejection is, well, encouraging. Despite the fact that I couldn't get to sleep last night because I was thinking about how I was going to compile a list of the hundreds of agents I'm beginning to fear I'll have to go through before anyone hops on board, I do feel that I'm on the right track and am keeping my fingers crossed that the right agent for me is just around the corner.

I'm still waiting to hear back from a few of my top top picks, but in the meantime, four more query letters are on their way out into the world today. Got to keep moving forward.

Positive vibes, thoughts and prayers are ALWAYS welcome :)

don't fret lil novey, your mom thinks you're cool

So I just received my first official rejection letter. I have to admit, I feel kind of proud. It's like a badge of honour. Ok, it's more like a participation ribbon, but it's a participation ribbon that says "I put myself out there and I'm part of this crazy system now!" or something like that... In all honesty, the first rejection, while disappointing, wasn't at all unexpected (I'm not dellusional) and the agent who penned it is an agent for whom I have such immense respect that the whole thing hasn't got me down. It's just left me hungry for more replies! I'm getting close to the point where I can enter phase two of my querying (the phase where I begin to query more widely), but I'm still anxiously awaiting for more replies from phase one (my fantasy league agent picks).

In honour of Lil Novey's first official rejection, I want to share a little more about her with you. For starters, her working title, which is Chameleon. (*gasp!* Does this revelation mean I can no longer call her Lil Novey?). As I said in a previous post, the idea for Chameleon struck me like a bolt from the blue while I was on vacation and the title struck me pretty immediately as well.

Here's the gist:

The overwhelming pressures of high school are enough to leave anybody feeling lost, but sixteen-year-old Brynn Davis knows what it feels like to actually disappear. When a chameleon bite leaves Brynn with the uncanny ability to camouflage herself at will (rendering her completely invisible), she finds herself fumbling to grasp at the responsibility demanded by her unfamiliar and temptingly powerful new gift, a struggle that is only heightened as she unwittingly becomes aware of its dark origins.

Ok, so that was just a little taste, clipped and pruned from my query. As you can imagine, sixteen-year-old-girl + invisibility = wacky hijinks ensue. Throw in a hot guy or two, some hilariously colourful BFFs and you've got yourself 102,000 words of YA fun. At least, I think it's fun and I really hope some lucky agent out there thinks so too :) More than fun, I think the story has a lot of heart. Having grown up in a small town (well, small city), I wanted all of the quirks and charms that go along with that existance to shine through in Brynn's world and I feel the story is that much richer for it.

I think I'll leave it at that for now. I really hope there comes a day when Brynn and my other darling characters (who, let's face it, are practically real people to me now) will get to have their day in the sun, but for now, it's back to the query-grindstone as I remind myself, it'll only take one "yes" to make my publishing dreams come true. *sigh*

mother mother, can you hear me? i'm just calling to say hello

Happy Earth Day Blogonians! (yeah yeah, I'm working on it...Blogonians, Blogophiles, Bligabloogs... hmmm, I kinda like that one...)

In honor of our dear, sweet mother earth, who has nothing but unconditional love for we, her unappreciative tenants (ok, she has unconditional love aside from the odd natural disaster... mama's gotta lay the smack down every now and then), I hope everyone takes a little time out of their day to think about what they can do to help care for and sustain our ailing mother earth. Putting her in a retirement home is not an option.

If I didn't have to be at work today, I know I'd want to be out there planting trees (I hope there comes a day when my schedule is flexible enough that I can do stuff like that on earth day). Trees are amazing and here's a few reasons why:
-that oxygen thing
-fun to climb
-home to birdies
-provide excellent shade on hot summer days
-atmospheric around Hallowe'en
-they make books, which I'm clearly a huge fan of
-that cool rustling sound they make when there's a breeze

Another thing I like to do on earth day is spend a little time with my good pal David Suzuki:

Let's face it, the guy could not be more awesome. If you want to spend a little time with DS too, I HIGHLY recommend checking out his website , which is full of useful tips and information for how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

I hope everybody has an educational earth day! Post dedicated to Lil Novey still to come!

what's good for the gander is good for the gander a second time

Canada geese update! I overheard someone describing how they'd witnessed the male Canada goose attacking a car in the parking lot. Will the madness ever end? The most entertaining part of this follow up story was that apparently the goose spent a good long while checking out his own reflection in the shiny door of the light blue sedan before pecking the crap out of it. Are these vehicular attacks maybe just a symptom of the Canada goose's poor self image? ....maybe.

The weekend went by FAR too quickly. Boyfriend and I had a little gathering at our apartment on Friday night and many drinks were consummed, leaving me in a weakened state on Saturday. After a late breakfast/lunch/it-didn't-sit-very-well-either-way, we decided to hit up the theatre in our building for a matinee showing of I LOVE YOU, MAN. It was just about right for the kind of relaxation I was in the mood for. I've always enjoyed both Paul Rudd and Jason Segal (since seeing the former in CLUELESS about a million times back in highschool and seeing the latter in the still-mourning-over-it revelation that was FREAKS AND GEEKS) and neither was disappointing in I LOVE YOU, MAN. Good fun all around.

Sunday was far more productive. Finally got around to purchasing an air purifier thing so that I can breathe a little more easily at night when sneaky kitties try (and often succeed) to have a good night's sleep on my head. Girl kitty Huntley (on the left of sidebar kitty pic) will often settle for sleeping at the foot of the bed, but boy kitty Oliver (on the right of sidebar kitty pic) stakes his claim on my pillow every night, only leaving a tiny corner of the pillow for me to rest the top of my head on (to be fair, I've never been one to use the whole pillow anyway). This is how it's been for well over a year now, since they were kittens. When we first brought them home back in the fall of 2007, I'd wanted to lock them out of the bedroom, but boyfriend was all, "They're so tiny and cute and oh, look, they can't even jump up on the the bed they're so small." That changed rather quickly and now I don't have the heart to lock them out despite the fact that I have a mild kitty allergy.

Wow. I really didn't mean for this blog post to turn into a such a long tirade about kitty-related business. I guess sometimes these things just can't be controlled.

No news on the query front, but I'm hoping I'll have something to report before too long as I start to send out more letters. I'm also planning to do a blog post soon that does Lil Novey a little more justice in terms of what the heck she's all about.

For now, I must get back to work...I'm proofing a ms that somehow got severely screwed up at some point in the editing process. We're talking ZOMG YELLOW POST-IT FLAGS ALL OVER THE PLACE! I wish that were an exageration. It's not.

ganking the pick-up

The long Easter weekend was a much needed break, right up until I came down with some sort of unfortunate flu (actually, I guess it was still a much needed break). Illness aside, it was a productive weekend with me getting lots of feedback about Lil Novey from the family and I managed to enter all of my "final" changes into the manuscript, finally putting me in the position to begin the query process.
A few days into that and I haven't heard anything back. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but you can drive yourself crazy thinking of all the reasons it could be good or could be bad. I think I'll be safest to just distract myself and wait. I feel ready for anything, even crushing defeat (yeah, we'll see about that...). Seriously, my heart pounds uncontrollably every time I check my email.

Here's a fun spring story for ya:

Yesterday I was cutting across the back parking lot behind the office and had a little encounter with our resident Canada goose couple. Apparently these guys have been using the back lot as their spawning grounds for years. Having had my share of terrifying experiences being chased across campus by a Canada goose or two when I was at university (those geese were EVERYWHERE! I think one even sat beside me in first year psych. Damn those Canada geese and their mindgames!)

So I'm cutting across the lot and Mama Canada goose is all, "You'd better not come near me. I'm protecting my nest!" so I give her a wide berth, not wanting to find myself in a situation where I'm forced to run screaming from the parking lot when there are other people around (if there hadn't been other people around, the running/screaming probably would have happened the moment I spotted said geese). Anyway, my eyes dart around on the look out for Papa Canada goose, knowing he can't be far. I catch him a few meters away, getting completely medieval on this big black pick-up truck. That's right, the goose was fighting the pick-up truck because it was parked too close to the future birthing place of his young (at least, I assume said young haven't been born yet). It was a full-on beak to bumper brawl so intense, Papa Canada goose didn't even seem to notice I was there. I guess the moral of the story is, you're safe from nature as long as there is something nearby that is pissing it off more than you are. I solute you Papa Canada goose, for the lengths you'll go to keep your young safe from something that was not only far bigger than you, but also probably would have lured your daughters into the extended cab's backseat with empty promises of love and forever.

april snow brings may...?

Oh April, why do you hate me? Every year you come around, briefly teasing your tantalizing sunshiney wares only to throw on a terry-cloth robe and dump more snow on us. Can't you just cut us a break for once? I'm really not a big fan of this whole winter turns to spring for a splitsecond before it turns to blazing hot summer thing we have going on in Southern Ontario. I like spring! I want to experience spring! Stop bogarting all the spring weather, April!

Today I want to blog about the sometimes difficult need to act (at least somewhat) professional in a professional environment. You know how when you were a kid you could get away with pretty much anything? I mean sure, your parents would lay out a set of rules for you to follow (be kind, share, don't lie, stop throwing stale gingerbread cookies at your sister), but in general, if you instictively reacted to something in a certain way, it wouldn't stand out as odd or unacceptable because you're just a kid. In fact, anything weird you did would likely end up being seen as adorable or funny.

As you get older, this starts to change. You have to start acting like an adult. You have to suppress any childish thoughts or reactions you might have. If you're in the middle of a lively debate, you're not allowed to resort to "So's your face!" or "Sucks to your asmar!" and if you're in a meeting where one collegue debunks another colleague's presentation, you're not allowed to point out that the presenter "got served".

Have you ever been in an office environment and gone to the washroom throughout the day only to run into the same other person every time you go? The few times that's happened to me, my brain always flashes to this scene where we stand side by side at the sinks and I jokingly point out that we must be on the same pee schedule and they look at me as though I just told them I have the plague. You just can't say stuff like that, funny as the situation might be. It makes me kind of sad.

Another one I experienced recently was my childish instinct to freak myself out when I'm going up or down the stairs (worried that someone is chasing me.. something I thank my sisters for). Sometimes I'll be going down the stairs at work and I'll hear someone heading down the stairs a few floors up. Convinced it's some "scary man" who somehow got into the building, I have to keep myself from running down the stairs like a crazy person to get away from them. You know how once you think of something stupid like that, it sort of compounds and extreme silliness ensues? Thankfully, I'm yet to actually flee in terror. A lively imagination can be a dangerous thing.

TLNTHC part 2

So here we go! Part 2 of my riveting tale of The Little Novel That Hopefully Can aka Lil Novey.

Upon our return from Cuba, I was a little worried that Lil Novey, so precious and precarious in its infantile stages, would not survive my return to work schedule, but Lil Novey proved to be strong (she was, as it turned out, the story I'd been waiting for) and I not only found time to work on her every day during my lunch break, but absolutely relished in the opportunity to see her so often, even on those days when I started to wonder where she was headed (though I did have a very trusty outline, which I'll probably talk about in a future post on my writing process). Then the biggest help of all came along: Summer hours.

Summer hours in the publishing biz undoubtedly vary from company to company, but here at HQN Ent, it means working a little later from Monday-Thursday and getting every Friday afternoon off. Friday afternoon swiftly became a time for me to polish up that week's worth of lunch-break writing. Things were moving and the excitment inside me was building as I came to realize that Lil Novey had a lot of potential to be Lil Book One in a Lil Trilogy. I sat back and crafted rough outlines for Lil Book Two and Lil Book Three and that helped me to better shape my character development in Lil Novey.

Anyway, 2008 passed as years tend to do and before I knew it, it was December and Lil Novey's first draft was nearing completion. I cannot explain to you the feeling of pride and accomplishment that comes from realizing that you've written a complete manuscript. As you're writing it, you start to lose track of how many words/pages it is, how much work has gone into it, but when you write that last sentence and finally step back to look at it as a whole, you can't help but be overwhelmed by the enormity of it. Many authors refer to their manuscripts as their babies and though I'm yet to birth a human baby (I don't mean for this to sound as though I've birthed a non-human baby...I consider my cats to be my babies. I just didn't birth them), I think I understand where that reference comes from. Here lies this thing that couldn't exist with you. It's such an extension of who you are.

At the end of 2008 and into the new year, I started my first and second round of revisions, working feverishly to correct this and tighten that. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself actually laughing at some of my own dialogue (this probably makes me sounds like a bit of a loser, but I tend to see it as my characters who are being funny, not me, so it doesn't feel like I'm some lame-o laughing at my own jokes. Ok it kind of feels like that). Anyway, much anguish was put into these first few rounds of editing as I found myself suspended between the joy of having finished it and the impatience of knowing it still had a long way to go before I could send it out for agent consideration. There was nothing I could do, but keep working on it.

After my own editing was finished, I promptly sent it out to my family (I'm very lucky to have a family of teachers with a keen eye for typos, grammar and continuity errors) and that's sort of where Lil Novey currently sits. Though Lil Novey is a YA novel, typically aimed at 14-18 year old girls, my Dad was the first to finish it and provide me with three typed pages of edits and feedback, all of which I was extremely greatful for and have dutifully applied to Lil Novey.

With Easter weekend only a few days away, we plan to gather as a family and discuss Lil Novey. My parents have refered to it as a book club discussion and I have to say, I'm very excited to be able to talk about all these characters I've grown to love with the most important people in my life (who I also love). I'm hoping to take the feedback from that session and make my final (are they ever truly final?) revisions to Lil Novey before sending her out into the world to be seen by important agenty-type people and the like. It sort of feels like I'm preparing her for her first day of school. I really hope she shines.

TLNTHC part 1

So in my first post (hi little post down there!) I said I wanted this blog to be more of a record of my writing ambitions so I might as well write a little introduction to explain where my writing has been and where it's hopefully headed. I've decided to call this post "part 1" because it's getting latish and I'm quite sleepy, which I know is going to mean either a condensed version or a two-parter and since I really suck at condensed versions...

Like most who enjoy writing, I've been writing since I was very young. I can still remember these little stories I'd write in elementary school (fully illustrated in 16-colour pencil crayon glory... side note: boyfriend's mom tried to convince boyfriend and I that "pencil crayon" isn't a real thing. They're apparently called "coloured pencils". I remain unconvinced.) Anyway, my teacher would bind the stories we wrote in these flaps of cardboard covered in old wallpaper scraps to give them nice sturdy covers and they were THE COOLEST THINGS EVER! I'm not certain about this next part, but I think it was a bit of a "If you keep writing em, I'll keep binding em" deal and I somehow ended up with like ten of these puppies by the end of the year even though the original assignment was probably for us to write one.

While stories were clearly a big part of my life at school, they were an even bigger part of my life at home with my sisters and I always coming up with extremely in-depth plots surrounding our many stuffed animals, our Barbies, or ourselves playing the parts of characters from Jem, Saved by the Bell, Ghostwriter, you name it. Some of the Barbie-related storylines got pretty intense with the children (the skipper dolls) always throwing wild parties, getting involved in games of chicken (the pink Barbie jeep managed to withstand a lot, including many trips down the stairs) and a completely hilarious plot line wherein the Ken doll father of my family (each sister had a family of dolls and they were all neighbours) would go batshit crazy every time he ate this certain type of chili pepper and would enter some trance where he would kidnap the Barbie wife of my older sister's family and then take off with her (in the pink Barbie Jeep, which almost always ended up rolling off a "cliff" otherwise known as another trip down the stairs). This plot line got so involved that my Barbie wife eventually hung a poster of "chili peppers to avoid" in my dollhouse kitchen so that she'd remember to never cook with them again. Thinking back about this both makes me laugh uncontrollably and wonder if nine-year-old me was just a little bit certifiable. I'm going to stick with the excuse that I was just extremely creative :) We had a lot of fun.

As I got older, I continued to write in school and won both of the only writing contests I ever entered (one was a poetry contest for the Royal Canadian Legion and the other a Ghostwriter short story contest for TVO). Writing was in my blood. So much so that after finding myself extremely bored after the very first session of OAC (what used to be senior year in Ontario high schools) Physics, I marched right into the guidance counselor's office and dropped it. "How can you be sure you won't need this for university?" he'd asked me. "I don't see how Physics is going to help me study English, you foolish man of guidance!" I said, then laughed maniacally. Ok, I made that part up, but the point is I knew I wanted to study writing and that's exactly what I went on to do, graduating five years later from the University of Waterloo with an honors degree in Rhetoric and Professional Writing.

I have about fifteen or so ideas for novels floating around inside my head. The hardest thing to do over the years has been to focus on any given one for more than a month or two at a time. At one point, I was getting pretty far with this one story idea, but then the third person narrative started to feel all wrong. I realized I needed to rewrite it in first person, but it suddenly felt like such a pain and I couldn't bring myself to do it so I shelved that story, convinced I'd go back to it after a few weeks apart. What I didn't realize at the time was that it just wasn't that story's time yet. I had another story in me that needed to be told first.

A year later, the story that needed to be told still hadn't reared its head, but I was working on another story idea all together. This one was for a children's chapter book, a mystery about a kid detective (which I'm still excited about and still plan to write one day). Everything for that felt like it was coming together, but again, the excitement to pound it out just wasn't there.

Fast-forward to May 2008. Boyfriend and I are on vacation in Cuba and while floating around in the resort's pool, I'm struck by this idea that pierces my brain so sharply that I have to fling myself from the pool's warm embrace and feverishly search my bag for the notebook I take everywhere. I start writing, the words flowing from me as though they're being dictated from some part of my brain I didn't know was there. Those lines of dialogue were the beginning of what would turn out to be the first novel I ever passionately finished writing, TLNTHC (The Little Novel That Hopefully Can), which I'm going to call Lil Novey for short (actual title along with description surely to come in a future post when I feel more confident about putting it all out there...)

I think that's all for now because I really do need to go to bed, but stay tuned for TLNTHC part 2: Lil Novey's journey from Cuba to 102,000 words.

things that are made of win

The following things are made of win (and puppies and rainbows and warm gooey chocolate chip cookies which I can't eat at the moment because I, in a moment of befuddlement, gave up chocolate for Lent):

1] My eee PC. Yes, there are currently better models of this pc out there (there's a lot to be said for not buying the first model to come out), but mine is small, and cute, and oh yes, it's PINK! This puppy has come in oh-so-handy for writing on the go and I recommend it to anyone who wants a light cheap laptop or enjoys pretty pink electronics.

2] This video. I cannot tell you how many times I've watched this. It is essential viewing if you're breathing. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to go out and buy a Roomba and adopt a litter of kittens.

3] Guilty pleasure songs. Everybody has a few and I think people should dance about to them in their pjs with pride (in the privacy of their own homes of course). It's entirely likely I'll randomly mention a few of my own guilty pleasure songs in future blog posts so I'm hoping this "made of win" post will give said future mentions an edgy coolness :)

4] Feel good songs. These are sort of like guilty pleasure songs except you're not embarrassed to tell the world about them. My current happy song is You and I by Ingrid Michaelson. I'm starting to think it's impossible for this song to NOT put me in a good mood.

5] English word definitions quiz site with a twist. For every word you define correctly, they donate 10 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger. Literary nerdiness + charity = big win.

6] Cadbury Mini Eggs. These little delights are absolutely what I'll be eating like they're going out of style as soon as this whole Lent debacle is over with. Cadbury = pure yum.

7] Mike's cover song blog. Whether you're a fan of cover songs or not, you gotta respect the topical categorization and witty post titles. Cover songs are pretty fun on their own, but they're more fun when Mike has done all the work of finding them for you :)

april skillz (to pay the foolhardy bills)

A sampling of the pranks I've most enjoyed this April 1st:

Fox Cancels Joss Whedon

Blizzard #1

Blizzard #2

Blizzard #3

(while we're on this, Blizz has done some HI-larious stuff in the past. Check it out!)

Also worth mentioning: YouTube (I suppose this link will only last so long...)

there's a blog in my soup!

I've blogged before, but it's always felt too personal to really put out there. This time, well, it's still going to be personal, but it's going to be a little more, oh shall we say, polished? That doesn't mean I don't expect quirky stream-of-consciousness posts to sneak their way onto this blog, but it does mean I'm going to try and keep it a bit more topical.

Let's compare:

Blogs of the past: ramblings of a somewhat-still-angsty-despite-her-age twenty-something girl
Blog of today: ramblings of a somewhat-still-angsty-despite-her-age-though-certainly-not-as-angsty-as-before twenty-something woman, who after many years of honing her craft has finally finished writing a novel and wants to keep a record of her journey toward (all fingers crossed) publication (one can dream and oh yes, she dreams)

Blogs of the past: infrequent meaningful posts scattered amongst too-frequent bursts of rediculousness
Blog of today: more consistent journal-style entries that contain a varied mix of life stuff, work stuff and writing stuff

Blogs of the past: pretty floral backgrounds with coordinating fonts
Blog of today: hey, I never said this blog would be completely different...

So that's my goal: to maintain a regular blog that will be a little less personal than blogs of the past and will hopefully one day be something I can look back on as a record of the time, effort, blood, sweat, tears, and cookies (yes, cookies) I put into writing my first novel.