Thursday, March 31, 2005

Who's a Nerd?

So, I'm at Dragon's Lair, picking up my books and I notice a sign with Darth Vader on it, warning customers not to speak aloud any spoilers for the new Star Wars movie.

Me: "Um, is this an issue?"

Clerk: "Yep, it's dorks ruining things for nerds."

That said, I saw the original three movies more than 350 times in the theaters, Phantom Menace only once, and didn't bother to go to the last one. I have no plans to see Revenge of the Sith either.

Outsiders #22 appears to be the week's best comic.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Austin is in glorious bloom at the moment. There is simply no better week to be here, and for a change, I am here instead of on the road speaking somewhere north. Locals and visitors, be sure to sweep by 1110 Blanco, featuring a garden by the UT-botanist owner. Absolutely magnificient!

SP came by for wine and talk. He and his mss are fabu!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Day After

My CW editor says she is eager to sink her teeth into the revision, and I had some downtime today watching "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" (Storky is still better).

Hit some heavy to-dos, including LID for WFers. Dinner at Katz's with G.

Will embark on SP's mss in the a.m.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Bionic Manuscript

I have rebuilt it. I had the technology.
I had the capability to make the world's latest Bionic manuscript.
T is that manuscript. Better than it was before.
Better... Stronger... Faster.

This revision start date: Feb. 15, 2005. WC: 45,500.
End date: now. March 28, 2005. WC: 49,218.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Read Aloud II

Kept going. We started early and finished early. It's in fabu shape. I'm keying in changes tomorrow. May fuss with a dialogue pattern tonight, skewing more assertive. In post Easter dinner haze now. More later. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz...........

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Read Aloud

We're reading T aloud in the parlor. On page 101 now, breaking for dinner.


Friday, March 25, 2005


Dread is powerful. I've been watching "Six Feet Under," and for the most part, the death that leads the story to Fisher & Sons takes place at the beginning of the show. I'd been fast forwarding through that segment without thinking about it, telling myself that I knew what generally would happen and the specifics would reveal themselves contextually. Wimp, I know.

Crit group last night was as always a delight. AB, being the sweetest person ever, gave the boys Easter cookies and me a box of strawberries.

Reading today for the last time before handing over to G.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Bye, Bye S

My cuz is now back home in KS. Yesterday G and I took her to Waterloo Ice House for breakfast, then he cut out to work and the two of us sat on the terrace drinking iced tea. We went to the lake for lunch at Hula Hut, shopped at Dragon's Lair for her son (a Spidey fan), and then dropped her off at the airport before continuing to Houston's to celebrate G's recent state award nomination. Lots of dining out. I'm content to eat at home for a while.

While S was here, I fact checked my author's note, which was fine, but that was it. My current plan is to take today off to veg. Possibly watch a whole lot of eps of "Six Feet Under," hit crit group tonight, and then, refreshed, read the mss tomorrow. I'll give it to G to read this weekend, and then we'll do a read-aloud, probably Sunday. It's a good plan. There is nada wrong with the plan. We'll see how it goes though.

In other news, Miss Cecil wrote a nice note thanking me for the windchimes I sent her in thanks for syndicating cynsations.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Very Incredibly Sleepy Now

Spent the day showing off Austin to my cuz. We hit Katz's, BookPeople, the new Whole Foods, the south side of Lamar. Got our nails (hands and toes) done at Daya. My nails are now in ten different colors (hands and feet match). Then we went to Guerro's and the Four Seasons (she recs the choco martinis at the Four Seasons).

I Was Once Locked In A Ladies Bathroom Stall At The Driskill

Made my cuz breakfast tacos (ground turkey, peppers (yellow, red, green), low fat cheese, whole wheat tortillas), headed to South Congress to shop, then Magnolia South for lunch (me, Greek salad; her quesadillas), then to Lamar and Sixth for more shopping, followed by dinner at Hyde Park and drinks at the Driskill. (The Driskill is of course haunted.) Whew.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Shrimp Have Creepy Little Feet

Picked up my cuz, S, at the airport. Took her to Green Pastures for brunch and then to Central Market to grab some shrimp and veggies for dinner. Spent the afternoon on the terrace with her and G. My, she's charming (and (now) sunburned). G made us stir fry for dinner, and we talked all night. Told her about ghost. She seems not worried ("unless I see something").

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Six Feet Under

Watched discs three and four of "Six Feet Under" season one this a.m. It's interesting how Brenda's family makes the Fishers seem so much more normal, plausible.

Spent most of the day cleaning house with G for the upcoming arrival of my cousin, S. FYI, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a thing of beauty. Well, not really. Actually, it sort of crumbles apart. But the results are the thing.

While cleaning, I noticed that somebody (ghost or G?) spilled a not insignificant amount of red wine on the kitchen island, which stained the white cabinets beneath the granite. Hence my need for Mr. Clean.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Scary To-Do List

A sort of frantically busy day here, trying to clear my desk for my cousin's upcoming visit.

I backed up T all over the place, corresponded with a half dozen people, set up an upcoming chat for the YA Authors Cafe, talked to AS on the phone about TLA, skimmed the Harper fall 05 catalogs, sent in requests for review copies, talked to my vet, subscribed to YALSA-BK digest, brainstormed a bit with TB, packaged up some books and promo materials for Houston SCBWI to display at IRA, and filled out an interview questionaire for a Fulbright research project. I still need to update my bio and sent it along with G's and a copy of my Cicada story to JB for an upcoming interview and go grocery shopping. Whew.

On the writing front, I need to double check my T author's note, key in my thank yous, write a cover letter. I think I'll probably wait until next week to work on that, though I do have every factoid in the AN underlined and sitting on my desk staring at me.

Spooky News & Links

Noticed in the Harper catalog that 'tweener Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber has inspired a soon-to-be released companion book, Vampire Kisses: Kissing Coffins.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wet Ink

Had a small meltdown in the past two days. Sometimes the requests come too fast and at the wrong time (AKA the same time).

That said, the universe simultaneously sent me glad tidings from new friends, and I'm grateful. Heroes are rising. Heroes untested. I'm rooting for them.

I did get through the T read and key in. I'm a pretty good writer but a champion rewriter--fast and true. I can click in with feedback and reform the puzzle again. Or rebuild the temple. Or whatever analogy works for us both. Basically, I can make it, myself whole. Again. And fast.

The new draft is printed and multiply backed up and will stay so until my cousin leaves next Wednesday at which time I'll ask G to read, read again myself, and send in.

I believe what I've done is of the good. I'm close to having written the book I always wanted to read. How wonderful is that?!


Writing this novel has, at different times, felt like wading, swimming, surfing, drowning, waiting for the tidal wave...

Yesterday, I was mostly waterlogged, weighed down not by the story itself but every small thing preventing me from working on it. I got about halfway through the read, incorporating line notes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Power Lunch

SP rules! He did a wonderful job of reading T, catching some of the same things I did on the last sweep and more. Logic Brain Is He! Mostly easy clarification stuff but all good to address it. Am convinced that he used check marks and smiley faces for happiness so I would not be tempted to reproduce a sampling of such comments here. Sneaky man. Not that I mind in exchange for such fangtastic feedback. For those who care, we lunched at ZTejas on 6th (recommending chicken/black bean salad).

Monday, March 14, 2005

Fur Face

I resolved not to write at all all day (except blog and email) so that the mss could chill a little until I have lunch with SP tomorrow. This is what happens when a writer doesn't write:
answered email;
had leftover soup from last night;
preblogged cynsations in anticipation of busy-ness over next few days;
updated my site;
sent reminder to my WFers about their 5/1 deadline;
sent cry to League and Texas SCBWI RAs to support library rally at Cap Building;
received ARC of MT in the mail (features story by me, set in same neighborhood as T; nifty);
received thank you note from LW;
talked to Grandma Dorothy (top of QTip got caught in her ear; may have hearing damage; most fretful);
contemplated need for back-up expert to double check a couple of things;
chopped asparagus and made green bean casserole;
settled in to watch Netflix; realized Netflix envelopes were missing; searched through chicken-juicy trash to see if I'd accidentally tossed them; had to shower post search; grabbed nearest towel coming out of shower only to discover it is towel that cats had appropriated; had wet cat fur on face; washed again;
came to blog this spookycyn post.
Tomorrow will be better.

Rebel Angels

I notice that the cover at for Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (Delacorte, August 2005) is now beginning to appear online. It's the second book in the trilogy that began with A Great And Terrible Beauty (Delacorte, 2003). Looking good, Libba! Happy belated birthday!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Ghost Update

Yesterday morning when we woke up, the protective pads on the dining room table were wildly askew. All the doors to the room were shut. No possibility of kitty tampering. Even G seems to be more seriously considering the matter.

Also of course, continued tinkering--cutting, pruning, rearranging on T. Seem to have hit a groove. SP writes that he'll have comments soon. Am also printing now.

Happy Thoughts: (1) the new Whole Foods has done wonders for 6th and Lamar as a pedestrian crossway, (2) my cousin arrives from Lawrence one week from today.

Vexation: regarding the Mulan DVD sequel, all well and good about the marrying for love, but what about China and the alliance anyway?

Books on my nightstand include: Got Fangs? Confessions of a Vampire's Girlfriend by Katie Maxwell (Smooch, 2005).

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Ah-Ha! Moment

I was just saying that I enjoyed the journey of novel.

This morning, I had one of its best moments, an ah-ha! moment.

I'd been wrestling with the integration of a fantasy element. I'd really just noticed lately that it was probably important to spell out; go figure.

Anyway, tried it in dialogue with another fantasy element revelation, which just made the scene too long and forced.

Tried it in dialogue during another scene, which was better, but messed with the pacing.

Condensed it from about eight lines to two and tried it at the end as part of a series that had been a little too short and--hold on tight--twisted it to pick up a parallel backstory element.

Ah ha!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Fast Friday

Enjoyed a social lunch with DT and his lovely honey TT at Katz's.

Went ahead and started reading T again since the clock's ticking on my cute cuz's arrival. Got up to the last section with smoothing, cutting some additions from last time around (always a sign that stopping imminently is a good idea), and catching one huge temporal snafu (revision carnage).

Dinner tonight at Suzi's; I highly recommend the shrimp in pepper sauce with brown rice.

Has been a phenomenal week in publishing for me and G; will say more once the ink dries. Suffice it for now to report: Yahoo!

Now You See It by Vivian Vande Velde

A Chat With Author Vivian Vande Velde on Now You See It (Harcourt, 2005) from Debbi Michiko Florence's online journal. Surf over to her March 11, 2005 Post.

See also Debbi's previous interviews with Vivian and my interviews with Vivian about Companions of the Night (Harcourt, 1995) and Being Dead (Harcourt, 2001).

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Lunch, Science, and Saving China

Enjoyed lunch today with DD, who clued me in on VC. Also keyed in changes and printed. Watching the Mulan sequel DVD with G tonight. Actually, G's blog is funnier today. Keyed in changes on T and printed out. Again.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Forest Looks Good, But Trees Need Love

Yet another read through on T. Did a lot of line editing, smoothing--mostly ripple effects of the latest, more major revisions. Came up with a clever reminder hook. Split up two different but related mythology elements so readers won't get impatient. I think it'll also read as less forced that way. What can I say? Seamless integration is me.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Slow And Steady...

I would hate to write a novel fast. I mean, sure, there would be that euphoria, but to me, the appeal of the novel is in the revelations along the way. And, for what it's worth, I seem to like my euphoria in stingy, little spurts. That said, I'll be four, five years between my last book and my next.* But the writer I was then and the writer I am now are different. Not just in subject matter and approach but also psychologically. If I hadn't taken time to stop and think and try new things in a non-sales-oriented way, that never would've happened.

On the front lines, I received an e from SP--my last new prepub reader--who said he'd start on T this afternoon. I'm hugely grateful as he's whip smart, a fan of the genre, and will be able to apply that brill mind and insider's eye.

*though four short stories will have found their way into the world via various anthologies, and G has published two novels of his own.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Scribbles In The Margin

Sounds like an interesting book on editing, doesn't it? It should. I'm inspired by my recent comments from TC. This is the first time I've had him read an entire mss for me, and I'm just blown away by his ability to juggle the trees and forest simultaneously. (Yes, I realize that's an odd visual image).

Very attentive line edits, and I'd just spent most of the afternoon re-reading, too. Missed all but a couple of them. Some of what he mentioned existed in past drafts, which means I'm going to take care of them with quick nods. A couple of points were things I'd already fixed since giving him the mss to read. And then there's the question/praise aspect of the margins.

Some highlights: "excellent first words for the reader;" "great first paragraph to draw reader in and set up story;" "excellent setting of tone;" "this was a little awkward for me;" "gives idea credibility in the readers' mind; now it all seems possible;" "great character development;" "good word choice;" "chilling!;" "part of me wonders why she still wants him after he...;" "this rings true; I remember attending a child's funeral where...;" "nice touch;" "this is really good; I'd like to get this woven into a scene where we see it again;" "the other students still react this way--after so long ago?;" "I don't think school administration would be so quick to suggest...;" "while I like this, it might be better without it;" "had he noticed earlier something might be between...?;" "this is a surprise;" "excellent;" "another strong [chapter] ending;" "though startled at first, she doesn't seem too overwhelmed...;" "boys will be boys;" "seems like she would know something about this many....;" "this doesn't sounds like...; oh I see; impressive!;" "sounds like a younger character;" "nice twist;" "yes, it all makes sense;" "doesn't seem to fit;" "how does Q feel about...?;" "makes sense;" "how does she know this?"

Thanks, TC! You rule!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Ghost? II

G is Scully-ing me about the ghost. He thinks it was a trick of the light, Blizzard's shadow as the sun moves down to the West. Probable, I think, though that does nothing to explain how the lightbulb in the ceiling fixture keeps getting unscrewed.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Fandom Weekend Wrap-Up

Watched and loved the "Monk" season finale; Natalie has officially grown on me, though I still miss Sharona. It's heartening that there is still some character-driven writing on television.

Received "Six Feet Under" season 1, first three eps, via Netflix. Will be ordering the rest of season one. It's set at a funeral home, centered around the family. Great cult appeal.

Also went to the theater to see "Constantine" with His Maj. It's slightly better than "Van Helsing," though Keanu is a cutie as is Hugh Jackman.

Having let my mss sit and (mostly) cool for a week as of yesterday, I'm going back in loaded for bear. Not that I would ever shoot a bear, but you know what I mean.

Friday, March 04, 2005


I caught a glimpse of someone coming out of the library into the hall leading to the guest room. But no one was there. And then, as I turned my head, I caught a glimpse of someone going down the back stairs. Again, no one.

Maybe I should pick up the manuscript again tomorrow.

Sea Dogs & Sea Food

His Maj took me out to fancy sashimi (Uchi) tonight to celebrate the publication of my Cicada story. Went post LW's booksigning at BookPeople. Nifty authors there included: JL, JP, and LG.

Spooky Links

Your table, Austin: Best Restaurant Tables from the Chronicle. Researching Vivo (best patio table), which according to AB has healthy Mexican food and offers roses to ladies.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Mr. Monk And The Classics

One of my fave online author journals is LHA (don't miss Prom). Her site has some information on connecting young adult novels to the classics. Much of this would also apply to T and D.

That said, not working (AKA "letting cool" and/or "gathering," as DMF called it in a recent LJ post), is almost physically painful.

Things I forced myself to do today instead of working on T: laundry, dishes, bed making, cleaning shower tile grout in a most Mr. Monk-like fashion, getting my hair cut, picking up comic books, filling out a radio listener survey.

Speaking of "Monk," there are "Monk" mysteries for viewers to solve online so we too can be obsessive-compulsive detectives. Also available online are "Monk" follow-the-clues exercises.

Oh wait, I just figured out what I'll be doing for the rest of the day....

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Whispering Words

TC, one of my brill readers, wrote late last night, saying how much he was enjoying the mss and that he'd have it back to me soon. Very kind, soothing to my fragile author ego (and then of course will come the very helpful concerns/suggestions).

Have been doing an admirable job of not messing with the mss, though it is sitting on my nightstand, whispering to me in the darkness.

Full disclosure: Scribbled out a couple of Post-It notes and stuck them to the cover page.

Fuller disclosure: Figured out a major internal issue Q and my age 17 self share.

Note: keeping busy today reading an mss for a beginning writer.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Hands Off

I hate letting my mss sit to cool, even knowing that good feedback is forthcoming, even knowing that if I work on it today--as shot as my brain is--it would do more harm that good.

I'm reading a 'tweener novel, surfing around the net, doing laundry, just started on reading a manuscript for a beginning writer. My friend LW is coming to Austin to speak this weekend, and I look forward to seeing her. Can't pick up either of the two mss I have rough drafted. One isn't cool enough yet, and I haven't decided between them which is next anyway. Grumble, grumble.

Bad news: came down wrong on my heel and injured it somehow.

Good news: plumber came today; my kitchen sink works and looks beautiful. New faucet!