Friday, December 15, 2017

Celebrate the Small Things

It's Friday! Christmas is coming, the goose is getting stressed. Put another chore on the old woman's chest. (That's me-gasp, gasp.) In other words, with all the stoof going on, this will be my last post until January 3, 2018. But first, let me thank our host, by Lexa Cain and her cohosts L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

I ventured out to my favorite walking place in Durand park last Sunday. We finally got some snow, but since it was just a dusting, I figured it would be safe to take one last walk through the trees.

It was beautiful. The snow was coming down like sifted flour, coating everything including this huge, willow tree.

My favorite part was seeing the snow on moss. The flakes were so tiny and the moss was still green. Together they made a beautiful pattern I would kill to capture in a painting. The photos don't really do it justice, but that's my fault for starting this walk an hour before sunset.

After taking quick Mother-may-I steps around the lake, I headed up some short, steep hills. The slippery snow hid a thick layer of dry leaves. Guess who fell and slid down one of those hills on her tush? That would be me. Yowch. I guess I'll be sticking to the paved road until spring.

This has been the year of outdoor mishaps for sure. After crashing my bike and capsizing my kayak, I guess a tumble down a snow-covered hill is a fitting way to end the year. Good thing I don't ski, or else this would be me: (Oh my. That was a total Pat Hatt sentence.)


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Love or hate snow? Have a favorite walking place? Taken any spectacular spills this year? 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IWSG and Celebrate the Small Things

Good December morning, everyone! Have you recovered from Thanksgiving? Gotten your Christmas shopping done? Writing anything during December? It's time to check in with the IWSG writing community and see what's up. A big shout-out to our fearless leader, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and his merry band of cohosts working harder than Santa's elves:  Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

Today's optional question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?


Okay, y'all. This is important, especially if you are thinking about participating in the January 18 IWSG Twitter Pitch Party.

As of last summer, I'd never Tweeted, but I wanted to enter the first IWSG Twitter Pitch Party. So I did and to my happy surprise, my pitches got a few likes. I thought this was a fantastic way to kick off querying my novel, so I sent out my query packages straightaway. After revising this novel for years, I was so excited to have people read it that I didn't think about who I was sending it to.


Now nothing horrible happened. In fact, something extraordinary happened. I got an offer of publication. Cue the high fives and pop the champagne, right? Well, not so fast. The offer was from a small publisher, not an agent. At the time of this offer, I had a few partials and a full out with various agents, and I knew it would be some time before I heard back from them. So I had to make a hard choice: accept the publisher's offer or pass and try for an agent.

What to do? Publishing offers do not come every day and this was a good match, but I had hardly begun my agent search. And that's where I wish I had handled things differently.

The right thing to do is decide what path of publication you want BEFORE submitting query materials and manuscripts.

If you really want an agent, query agents first. You can always query small publishers later if you change your mind. Research the pros and cons of getting an agent vs. signing with a small publisher before you participate in a Twitter pitch event. You may get likes from both agents and publishers, and you should know the difference.

Here's another pitfall. Suppose an author submits their work directly to a publisher and then receives a rejection. If they later get an agent, that agent can not submit a more polished version of that manuscript to any publishing house that has already rejected it. So an author can burn bridges without realizing the consequences.

My situation caused a lot of stress that could have been avoided, but in the end, I decided to try for an agent. There are days when this seems like an insane choice, since most agents say "yes" to about two projects a year after receiving 10,000 queries. So will I participate in the January IWSG Twitter event? Probably.


This is a weekly blog hop hosted by Lexa Cain with cohosts L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker.

1. I thrilled to celebrate the re-emergence of our host! Glad to hear things are on the mend.

2. I survived the death of my computer without suffering a mental breakdown.

It happened on a Thursday. I was browsing through various news stories on CNN (when I should have been writing) and the screen went wonky. Lots of horizontal lines and black and white pixels twitching hither and yon. I knew right away it was bad. 

Image: Shawn Allen

I didn't panic. I rebooted, got out a USB flash drive, and downloaded all my current writing projects. When my husband got home, he gave me a much larger drive, and I downloaded every file from Word, along with videos and images that date back to when our kids were babies.

He took the computer in to see if it could be repaired, but it was fried. I asked him nicely if he would pretty please pick up a new one at the university bookstore. (He's a math professor there.) A shiny new laptop came home.

Mac Book
Image: GB

We did have a problem with the password I chose. The computer refused to recognize it and my husband spent 40 minutes on the phone figuring out how to reset it. (Thirty of those minutes were spent on hold.) But after that, he was able to download my Word files, and I resumed working. Eventually. After Thanksgiving break. Not so much because we were traveling or I was slaving away in the kitchen, but because my youngest got sick.

So how's life with a new laptop? There are frustrations. I find when I'm typing fast, the curser will, without warning, skip back up in the text several lines and start adding letters in the middle of stuff I've already typed. And don't get me started on the new scrolling bar features. Whoever designed the disappearing scroll bar on the right of documents should be forced to watch nonstop episodes of  The Fresh Beat Band or some other suitable form of torture.
Fresh Beat Band by Boris Kravchenkowww.boriskravchenko.com347-341-9477
Image: MajesticEmpire


Have you ever screwed up your query process? Would you have taken the publication offer or gone for an agent? Ever lose important stuff with the demise of a computer? Have a most hated television show?