May 2011

To all veterans and service men and women: thank you for your time, your service, and your protection. Thank you to your families. Thank you.

To my three grandfathers who served in World War II: thank you.

Happy Memorial Day everyone.


Is it Wednesday again already? Is it really almost Memorial Day weekend? So much going on!

First, Happy 100th Birthday to the New York Public Library! (enjoy these ten fun facts from mental_floss)

Author Janice Hardy has these great tips for copyediting your own work. And while you’re there, check out Alina Klein’s guest post on foreshadowing.

Author/agent Mandy Hubbard just finished an epic tour of New York publishers and has a fantastic round-up on trends and what editors are looking for.

If you’re having trouble writing a scene, check out PROJECT MAYHEM’s tips for a different perspective.

Pat Zietlow Miller is recommending reads for the students in GLEE’s New Directions. So far, there are books for Kurt and Rachel.

This week’s Link of Awesome: the Wodehouse Prize swag includes champagne and a pig named after the winning novel. Hello awesomeness! (via GalleyCat)

I was pretty discouraged this weekend and wrote a post about taking deep breaths and making time for dreams in busy lives, blah blah blah, kind of a downer. But then I came inside from chores on Saturday and found a wonderful, sparkling, adorable surprise:

That’s right, Nellie Sue is back in a new adventure from book club buddy Rebecca Janni! EVERY COWGIRL NEEDS DANCING BOOTS is available June 9, just in time for summer with your own cowgirl.

Nothing gets me out of a funk like a great book, and the fact that it’s from one of the nicest people I know is a major bonus. So do yourself a favor and let Nellie Sue brighten your day.

What books have raised your spirits lately?

Yup, you read that right. And it wasn’t even my idea, I swear. The plan for National Cow Week originated here and I learned about it from Beth Revis’ blog (can you imagine if I’d missed National Cow Week? Inconceivable!).

The girls

For those that are new to The Writing Cave, I live on a dairy farm. I’ve always loved cows, even growing up in the city, and went to Iowa State University for Dairy Science (yeah, it’s a real thing). Did you know that cows have no upper teeth? They have a hard plate that the lower teeth grind the feed against. Did you know they can change direction faster than flipping a switch? (this trait usually shows up when you’re trying to corner them) Did you know they’re flexible enough to bend around and lick their tail? True story. I love cows.

But I also love books, and luckily my in-laws do too, so we have plenty of literary figures running around the farm: Jane Austen; Nancy Drew; Lara

Baby Serafina

from Dr. Zhivago; Boo and Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird; Lyra and Serafina from The Golden Compass; Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, and Edna St. Vincent Millay (the poet family). It’d be awesome to have triplet heifers and name them after the Brontës, other than that whole cow-giving-birth-to-triplets thing.

The eldest stateswoman of the herd is Mary, who turned sweet sixteen in January. Sixteen is old for a cow. Really old. So Mary figures she can do whatever she wants and takes anything I say as a mere suggestion. Especially when I try and shoo her out of the milking parlor when she’d rather just stay and eat. And so, in honor of this being a writing blog, my ode to Mary:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
Why do your feet not go?
They stay there in place,
While you stuff your face,
And I scream and holler F&*%ing go!

I’ve never really gotten that last line right, so I need some National Cow Week help from you lovely readers.

  • Option 1: we’re running out of poet names and Edna is due next month, so leave us some female poet name suggestions in the comments
  • Option 2: if you have suggestions for any type of literary name, please leave in the comments
  • Option 3: re-write my Mary ode to suck less 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone and cows rock!

It’s a beautiful day here in Iowa and I hope where you are too. But in case you have some computer time, check out this week’s fantabulous links:

Sherrie Peterson shares her inspiring journey to publication. Hint: never give up! (via Adventures in Children’s Publishing)

And once you get through the query and revision process, you get an awesome official cover, like Anna Staniszewski’s! Can’t wait to see it in person.

Agent Jennifer Laughran lays out the ranges for word counts by genre.

Books & Such is doing a great series this week on simple marketing ideas. So far, they’ve addressed basics, mailings, and newsletters.

The undisputed Link of Awesome for this week is possibly the best thing I’ve seen this decade: the Periodic Table of Storytelling (via bookshelves of doom, of course).

Display of delicious

Most writers I know prefer to be caffeine-fueled, either with coffee or pop (that’s right, in the Midwest it’s “pop”). And most also have favorite writing snacks, like pretzel M&Ms, chocolate, bacon, and vegetables (it’s true).

But my absolute favorite writing snack is strawberry Kookaburra licorice twists from Licorice International and, thanks to a recent trip to Lincoln, Nebraska, I have a fresh supply! Pair them with Diet Coke and I’m good for hours.

Do you write with snacks? Any favorites to share?

There are some great links this week folks!

Joe Konrath posted these thoughts on publicity, which I found helpful whether you’re considering traditional publishing or self publishing. Especially loved the quotes at the end.

Jody Hedlund explores the balance between showing and telling.

Brief but important words from Shannon O’Donnell: is your story a story? (plus a cute cat picture, always worth a click-through!)

These tips on body language from Laura Pauling are timely reminders as I combat excessive eye rolling in my WIP.

This week’s Link of Awesome comes via bookshelves of doom: how your American Girl doll shaped your life. I’ll admit it, I got Felicity because I love the American Revolution and always wanted red hair. Anyone else care to weigh in?

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