June 2011

Hello out there! Thanks for sticking with me through the silence, wonderful readers. I’m uncurling from the fetal position that follows the week of Day Job’s national convention and catching up on Google Reader. Some star-worthy stuff I found:

Roni Loren gives a much-needed list of contrived coincidences.

Social Times has this awesome infographic studying the best time to post on Twitter and Facebook (via Alice Pope’s SCBWI Children’s Market Blog).

The wonderful Kristen Lamb combines two of my favorite things (writing and Star Wars) in this post analyzing why the prequels didn’t work.

Link of Awesome: Leila at bookshelves of doom brings the awesome again with the surname meaning website. Enjoy looking up both your name and your characters’.

What else have I missed, folks?


Due to Day Job Convention insanity, no Linkfest this week. But to tide you over to next week, another adorable baby animal from the farm:

Ohhhhhh look at the piggy


I’m off working a board meeting and annual convention for the Day Job this week, which has me thinking about family vacations. For many of our attendees, this convention is their chance to get off the farm as a family and see friends from across the country.

My most scarring vacation memory was a 20-hour drive from Minnesota to North Carolina. I was stuck in the backseat with my younger sister and her birthday present: a cat. Now Tumbler (yes, she named him Tumbler) spent the first year of his life as a farm cat and didn’t take too well to car travel or the small kennel. The Parentals figured they’d have him neutered right before the trip and then he’d be under for most of the drive. Know how long that cat was under anesthesia for the 20-hour drive? 45 minutes. Not exaggerating.

So for 19 hours and 15 minutes this farm cat is banging his head against the front of his carrier and mewing, my sister is freaking out, my Mom is trying to calm everyone down, and Dad is driving like his life depends on it. Good times.

Vacations are milestones in childhood and can be great ways to illustrate character. Because, let me tell you, you learn a lot about other people when stuck in a car with a feral animal.

What was your most memorable vacation? Can anyone think of some good examples from literature?

Sometimes, when work is hard and the weather is hot and you’re feeling discouraged, you take a break and walk out to the pasture and see a miracle. Introducing Boo and her new daughter Atticus (Atty for short):

Happy Friday everyone 🙂

A late-in-the-day but quality list of links:

First, when I typed “stress” into the image search for Monday’s post, this picture was among the top results:


Who can’t smile looking at that? I feel less stressed already. Now, on to actual publishing-related links:

Jess Haines has some great tips on promotion posted on the Guide to Literary Agents blog.

Whenever I need inspiration, Shannon O’Donnell is my go-to gal. And this post is a lovely reminder about beginning.

Adventures in Children’s Publishing brought the awesome again with this post on 40 questions for a stronger manuscript.

This week’s Link of Awesome: this chart from Indexed reminds me how to measure how long I’ve been on the farm.

And with that, I’m off to milk! What links of awesome have I missed?

Should writing be fun? I saw some other posts about this around the blogosphere and contemplated it this weekend. I had a rare block of three hours on Saturday to focus on my WIP and, let me tell you, writing is work.

Part of the process should absolutely be fun. The creative spark should be fun. Getting to know characters and developing relationships should be fun. And the most fun part of being a writer: hanging out with other writers. Critique group meetings, book clubs, book launches, and conferences; I could do it everyday.

But sitting down to that computer screen, notebook page, or typewriter, that is work. Finding the exact words to represent your character while moving the plot forward and establishing themes is work. Taking critique and incorporating suggestions is work. Revising and revising and revising is work.

It’s the balance between work and fun that is present in any job. Parts of writing should absolutely be fun, but it’s the work that you put in late at night, early in the morning, when it’s just you and your words that make you a writer. Please leave thoughts in the comments; I’m off to book club to hang out with other writers 🙂

Haaaaappy Wednesday everyone! I’ve got revisions to do, a garden to weed, and cows to milk, so right to the links:

I’ve always wondered about sending a “test group” of queries and now agent Jennifer Laughran has provided the answer.

Author Jody Hedlund keeps the gems of wisdom coming with this post: which is more important, the first page or the last page?

PROJECT MAYHEM outlines the basics of a marketing plan for your book.

Be sure to save this post from Livia Blackburne that examines different ways to connect your main character to their best friend.

And this week’s Link of Awesome: A Parody from Sarah Ockler. Have you had enough of the WSJ kerfuffle? I thought I had too (although I’m always up for an excuse to use “kerfuffle”). Then I saw this response from author and fellow-Sarah-with-an-h Sarah Ockler. Enjoy.

What are you busy with this week?

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