Friday, April 30, 2010

How did I forget to post this?!?

I've decided I'm going to blame every bit of idiocy that I can on that fact that I've been a bit busy lately. (And believe me, there's been a lot of idiocy.)


Here goes. Our good friend (and chocolate lover) Steena Holmes is hosting a OMG blog contest with Stina. There are prizes including a query critique, a first pages critique (by Michelle and I) and ...


I apologize for the failing to point you towards the contest earlier, but hope I've mentioned it in time for you to still take advantage of it. You have till May 3.

First Page Friday, sort of....

Hi everyone! A while ago, I sent a submission to Nicola Morgan's Submission Spotlight.

Guess what posted today?

So if you have some time, run on over to her post and leave your feedback. It's going to be a crazy day at work, but I can't wait to read all the feedback when I get back...

In the meantime, if you want to contribute to our own little first page posts, see our rules here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Need a laugh?

You have to check these out. They're the 2009 winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

For those of you who don't know, Edward Bulwer-Lytton had a way with words. He coined the phrases "the pen is mightier than the sword" and "the great unwashed". He wrote The Last Days of Pompeii.*

He is probably most famous, though, for the first line in his novel, Paul Clifford:

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

Now isn't that proof that you can't win them all? You might write lines that linger in culture and novels that are still in libraries. Snoopy might plagiarize you!

And ... you might also write a first line so heinous that it spawns a contest where folks try to write equally heinous first lines.

First lines you should go read. Here. Now. And don't forget the grand prize winners from the past twenty-six years.

If you're feeling particularly cheerful, please come back and paste your favorite first line in the comments section.

*Facts lifted shamelessly from Wikipedia.)

Monday, April 26, 2010


Hear that? That's the sound of me taking a deeeeeeep breath.

It's been one of the those months. I've been crazy busy at work. I have some upcoming projects, and I've been worried that I might screw them up.

I haven't had time to write as much as I'd like, and I wanted to have all this work finished by Chautauqua.

And silly as it sounds, we lost a follower today.

I am all about discipline, pressing through, and being committed to one's goal. However, I think it's very, very easy to mistake uptightness for passion.

Uptightness leads to ulcers, deep disappointment with myself and my perceived lack of progress, fear about the future, and a feeling that somehow ... some way ... I should be doing more. A lot more.

It involves copious amounts of chocolate that one is too nervous to even enjoy.

Passion, on the other hand, allows me to pour myself into my writing and write with abandon. Not compulsion. Not fear. Not a need to prove myself. It reminds me that I started blogging because of the awesome folks out in cyberspace (and you are awesome!). Not because I was trying to win a popularity contest.

(Passion also involves lots of chocolate, but you're relaxed enough to taste it.)

It's pretty easy for me to be kind to others. With myself? Not so much, sometimes.

I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who struggles with this. So ... here's a reminder to all of us to be gracious towards ourselves.

I feel better already. : )

p.s. Please, please don't think I'm complaining about losing a follower! (I didn't even try to figure out who it might have been.) I only mentioned it because it made me realize how silly I'd been. I've been so worried that person might wander back and think I was ragging on him/her...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What do you hear?

I've been driving a lot lately. The school I work at is nearly 20 miles away- and then I've been providing homebound instruction after that. More driving!

Thank goodness for books on MP3 player. (Your local library might have a few Playaways. Check. Them. Out.)

But I digress.

You know how you're always told to read your manuscript aloud when editing? Well, listening to other books has been eye-opening as well. Here's what has stood out to me:

Passive verbs are boring. Really. A bunch of passive verbs* sounds boring. The language is vanilla, but it often goes hand in hand with similarly constructed sentences. They all have "he/she/they - is/was/were" pattern. It's mind-numbing to listen to sentence after sentence like that. After a while, I'd end up fixing the sentences.

Aloud. To an empty car: "'The water sparkled.' Okay? Not 'The water was sparkling.'"

Aren't I glad no one was watching me.

Don't spend too much time describing your character's internal state. In one story, the author would occasionally give a physical description that showed what the character felt. And then he'd tell us what the character felt. And tell us again. Of course, this much-described emotion occurred during tense parts of the novel. So instead of finding out what happened next, I had to listen through several more sentences about the character's inner state.

I confess that such mistakes led to excessive eye rolling, an occasional pound on the steering wheel, and loud pleas to the author to just tell me what happened next, already.

Repeated words. I don't always notice if I read the same word in a paragraph.** But I sure notice when I hear it again and again. This also applies if only one word is used in a specific situation. Someone might always be referred to as foreboding, or mysterious, for instance. Time for a thesaurus, folks. If I know the word the author is going to use before I hear it, that word is waaaaaaayyy overused.

I've loved listening to books while I drive. If you're curious, I never stopped listening because of the above mistakes. I think it was partially because the plots were interesting, and partly because I was a captive audience.

None of the mistakes are new to me (or you, I imagine). However, it's one thing to tell or be told about those mistakes. It's different when you experience them. I don't want anyone who reads my story to have a similar reaction.

I'd love to know whether you read your manuscripts aloud and if that helps you. What do you notice? And if you do listen to books, are there any aspects of the writing that rub you the wrong way?

* any form of "to be": is, are, was, were, etc.

** My fellow Slushies would point out that I don't notice if I write the same word repeatedly.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Alot of laughs

I found this link over at the Pub Rants blog. Enjoy the much needed humor- and the introduction to the Alot.

And if you feel like it, come back here and share your language/ grammar peeves in the comments section. Extra points if you provide an explanation that allows you to be civil when you come across the mistake. (I like the eagle/no caps explanation myself.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SCBWI on Sunday

Alison, Steph and I went up to the Fairfax area to the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI New Member Welcome on Sunday. This is a smallish event, but one worth going to. After all, three years ago, I met our very own Sarah at one of these events. She overheard me talking about my critique group with the woman sitting next to me. I had only been in the group a few weeks, but we were small then, and needed more members. She tapped my shoulder, said, "Excuse me, did I hear you say you were in a critique group in Charlottesville?" and the rest is history.

Sunday's event featured a panel of authors Amy Thomas, Caroline Hickey, Laura Nielsen, and Paulis Waber. SCBWI Regional Director Ellen Braaf moderated. The discussion topic was The "Bunny Eat Bunny" World of Children's Publishing. Authors and illustrators will share their inspiration, motivation,and expectations and help you find yours.

One of the things that stood out to me about expectations was when Caroline said that she expected it to get easier once her book was published, but it gets harder. You have to sell your book and continue improving.

Ellen asked about mistakes the authors had made. Amy mentioned that she had to do a major rewrite because she didn't know all the questions she should be asking her editor. In the end, the book was better for it. Lisa said you have to be able to pitch "of the moment" with a hook, even if you don't necessarily write that way. Laura's mistakes were primarily private ones, except once when she was lost on the way to a school visit, arrived just before her presentation was to begin, and met with a hysterical librarian. Paulis said her mistake was not starting as an author earlier in life. Ellen mentioned going through all the work of making up a dummy of a picture book to show she understood pacing. While that's a good exercise for yourself, an editor doesn't need it.

Ellen asked the panel what motivates them, what do they see as the rewards of writing. Amy loves to see her work in print. Caroline likes getting emails from readers who related to her character and felt the story was about them in some way. Laura got to speak at the school where she went to second through fourth grade. Paulis is motivated by her own improvement. Ellen enjoys beginning with a huge amount of information and finding a way to boil it down into an article or a book kids will want to read.

Among the do's and don'ts the authors mentioned, Caroline said she makes sure she's wearing either her writing hat or her editing hat. She even does each task in different places so she can write without self-editing, and edit with fresh eyes. Paulis said to not look over your shoulder too much to see what others are doing.

In addition to the discussion, we had some time to meet new people and catch up with some we already know. I've been following the Longstockings blog for some time, so I was glad to meet Caroline in person. And the volunteers served delicious cake and strawberries. What's not to love about an afternoon talking about books and eating cake? Oh, and I almost forgot, Steph won an SCBWI tote bag as a door prize. Congratulations, Steph!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We're going to Chautauqua!

Exciting news!

Michelle and I both applied for scholarships to the Highlights Writers Foundation Workshop in Chautauqua, New York.

We found out this week that we're both going! There was a bit of drama in the whole process. I found out a while ago that I'd been awarded a scholarship. But Michelle didn't hear anything for weeks.

And weeks.

She discovered Friday that her e-mail notification had been sent 12 days ago; she just never got it.

As you can imagine, there was rejoicing all round, as the picture clearly shows.*

Now I know there are some Highlights alumni (hi, Tess and Fran!) out there- and perhaps even some folks who will be attending this year. Please identify yourselves! And I'd love to hear any comments you have about the whole experience.

*I'm the tall one, and Michelle (like all grammar experts) is the cool one with shades.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

First Page Friday, #5

Yay! We have more first pages! Many thanks to Steena of Chocolate Reality for contributing them. We do ask, given the name of her blog, that you eat chocolate while working on your critique. (Or at least think chocolately thoughts.)

It's a rough, I know, but sometimes you just gotta do what needs to be done.

And on that note, here are Steena's first pages.

Megan's hand rested against the closed door. The silence coming from inside the room cried out to her, calling her with its lonely song. Today she would give in to its haunting melody, embrace it and pray she would never hear it again.

As she twisted the handle, she closed her eyes knowing the sight would break her heart. Tendrils of light spread along the carpet and crept up towards the ceiling. The soft pink curtains were open, the sunlight engulfing the room with its welcoming warmth. I keep them closed. She eased her way into the room, one step at a time, her toes sinking deep into the Berber carpet while keeping her gaze fixed on the open window ahead of her.

Princess decals decorated the rose colored walls, pictures of Cinderella, Ariel and Belle intertwined with stickers of sparkling crowns, steeple castles and framed crayon drawings. A sad smile settled on Megan’s face as she viewed the pictures her four year old drew with loving detail. Her favorite frame held a picture of a castle, complete with a queen and king, both wearing extra large crowns over their poufy hair while they held hands with three tiny little princesses. The last picture her daughter had drawn, right here in this very room.

Megan reached the bed and set her hand upon the wood frame as she closed her eyes. She could hear Emily's squeals of delight when, at the age of two, she found her princess bed in her very own princess room. Soft white sheers hung over a handmade wood frame. They draped across the top, where tiny little stars had been ironed onto the sheers, and they hung over the ends, and down the sides. Soft pink fabric encircled the side pieces, creating an opening on either side of the bed for the little princess to enter at will. In the evenings Emily would ask for the curtains to be drawn. She felt safe inside her bed. Megan wished she were there now.

Her hand caressed the white coverlet as a single tear wounds its way past her cheek. Megan climbed onto the bed, her body weary and curled in a ball, wishing the pillow still smelled of baby powder. She closed her eyes, wishing she could imagine her daughter lying beside her, but the image seemed distant. She pictured Emily's tiny body snuggled up against her chest. Megan's arm ached to hold her, her hand wanting to smooth her baby's soft blond hair. The curly hair of a stuffed lamb met her fingers instead. Megan pulled it close, bringing it to her face. Her tears soaked its fur as silent sobs shook her body.

It's National Library Week!

This year's theme for National Library Week is "Communities Thrive @ Your Library." That's certainly true at my library. I think of all the mini-communities we have that meet within our doors: adult and children's book clubs, viewers of independent films, home school groups, Girl Scouts, moms, teens, volunteers. All of us are part of the larger community, but the library has helped us find people with similar interests.

In the digital age, the library is so much more than just books. I have mixed feelings about technology. I dislike technology that is isolating, putting one more machine in between myself and real people. I hate calling a customer service number, for example, and pushing button after button in search of a live person. On the other hand, technology that unites us makes me happy: social networking, blogging, Skype. I love that we now have the ability to share ideas, information, photos and even real-time video with people halfway across the world.

For many people the library is the only place they have access to these technologies. Not to mention the infinite access to information. Want to learn to play banjo or knit or set up your own website? Not only do we have a book for you, but we can show you how to view an instructional video online. Need more? We've got a DVD you can borrow. I love finding out how people were helped by resources we've shown them, whether they're as traditional as books or something more twenty-first century.

If you haven't visited your library recently, this is the week to do it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Process and Emotion

I’ve been thinking about the role that my emotion plays in writing.

Now I’m not the overly emotional type when it comes to writing. I’m horribly pragmatic about it. So pragmatic that few things irritate me more than folks asking about Process with a capital P.

(This is different from
process, which just means, how do you get your thoughts on paper?)

But there are those who mean Process. And that irritates me because Process implies glamour, genius, and weekly dates with your Muse who gushes about your prose and how you surprise even her.

Capital-P Process is a horrible concept because writing is really just ... writing. It isn’t glamorous and you rarely feel like a genius. In fact, you learn all the ways in which you are far from genius. Your Muse arrives only after you’ve been pounding out dreck for quite some time, hoping to discover the heart of a scene.

Even then, she’s a little tetchy and asks for a cup of coffee because you can’t expect her to look at your work until she’s had a bit of caffeine.

The process (lowercase p, mind you!) of writing isn’t always euphoric. As Nathan Bransford blogged, it's often more about
willpower than anything else.

And yet...

I’m learning that the best part of my stories are the ones that engaged me on a deep emotional level. I know I’m on the right track when I’ve gone over a scene a million times, and hit the point where I care.

We all have those scenes that wrote themselves and just
sing. But I also have just as many scenes- scenes necessary to the story- that are easy to leave at good enough, at merely well-written. I’m learning to do some unglamorous digging until I find that one aspect that moves me to curiosity, anger, or compassion.

Because, really, if I was bored writing the scene, why won’t a reader be bored reading it? Yes, writing is about the process of getting (and keeping!) your butt in a chair. But the point of that work is capturing scenes that speak to the heart and mind.

Writing should never be an choice between work or emotion. It should always be about both.

So what about you? What role does emotion play in your writing? How do you keep at it day after day until things are just right? I’d love to know how you do it. It’s amazing all the different ways we get our stories on the page.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kathy Erskine Author Interview

Today we want to welcome Kathy Erskine. Kathy's newest book, Mockingbird, is coming out this week. Some of us are fortunate to have met Kathy through our local SCBWI, and we saw her recently at the Virginia Festival of the Book. I asked Kathy a few questions about her writing.

Your new book, Mockingbird, deals with some very emotional issues, such as a school shooting, and a character who has Aspberger's coping with her brother's death. How did you choose to write about these characters in this situation?

I wanted to write a novel told through the eyes of a child with Asperger's because of my daughter. I'd written bits and pieces but didn't really have a framework for it. In trying to process the horrible Virginia Tech shootings, I knew I had to write something about it, but nothing too direct, just the feeling of what it might be like dealing with the aftermath. I thought about how hard it was for anyone to deal with, and yet how much more difficult it would be if the person you lost was the person you relied on to navigate your world. That's how the idea of Caitlin's losing her brother in a school shooting came about. It was a middle school, not university, but the idea of dealing with senseless violence is the same.

Do you outline, or are you more of a seat-of-your-pants writer? How do you go about organizing your story?

I wish I could be more organized but characters and scenes just come to me, completely out of order, and the hardest part of writing for me is putting everything in sequence. Sometimes I make an outline after the fact to try figure out where things are now and where they should go. Other times I write an abbreviated version of every scene on a sticky note and go down the hall posting them, then start moving them around until they make sense. It's not a particularly efficient process but it helps having the entire story visible in one place.

How different is the final book from your original idea of it? Who influenced the differences?

Mockingbird is not particularly different from the way it came out, and any differences were influenced first by my critique group (pointing out scenes that weren't really necessary for the story), next by my editors (who have a very light touch). In Quaking, there was much more revision and reorganizing to be done. Again, my critique group helped a lot, and my editors were great about pointing out places were the manuscript had problems, but also great about not telling me what to do, instead telling me that it needed work and I should think about how to resolve the issue. It's amazing what you can fix if you think about it long enough!

How does critique fit into your writing process? Do you prefer to get feedback as you go along, or would you rather take your manuscript as far as you can on your own before showing it to others?

In my earlier manuscripts, I really felt like I needed feedback all along the way. Now I'd rather write a whole draft and let people look at it. If I get stuck, of course, then I definitely ask for help.

Was there one piece of advice along your journey as a writer that you found most helpful?

Yes. Don't give up! Seriously, I was ready to give up early on because I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere. In reality, I was (incrementally) improving my writing ability and my knowledge of the craft and the industry. The overnight success experience is rare and even when it happens the person who looks like a success can have a very hard time getting a second book written and published. So try not to get discouraged--just work on your craft and do get to know the industry and the players by attending writing conferences.

Mockingbird is your third book. How has the publishing process changed for you since your first book?

I think a publishing house is a little readier to accept you if your previous book has done well or garnered some recognition (state reading lists, ALA lists, etc.). But even if you don't have that, it helps if you can show that you're connected with the reading community via blogs, etc. because publishers can't advertise every book equally. If you're willing to do some advertising yourself, that's a plus for both you and the publisher.

Of all the possible readers in the world, who would you most like to know had read and loved your book?

Whichever kid (or adult) needed it the most at that point in time. After I wrote Quaking, a Muslim mom wrote to me about how her preteen and teen girls read it, along with her, and she was so grateful because they (and she) felt like someone finally understood what it was like for them after 9/11 (when they were ostracized and even attacked because of their religion). If they were the only 3 people in the world who read my book, it would've been worth it.

Are there any questions you wish you'd been asked and are dying to answer?

Just for fun (but also I'm serious):

1. Where do I get my best ideas? In the shower! Or on a walk.2. What gets you through the roughest times? Coffee and chocolate.3. What do you do when you get stuck? Take a break (see #1 or #2, above). If you can afford it, get a massage! It's absolutely amazing for freeing up your creative ideas.
Thanks for having me! Hope to meet you all in person!Kathy

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Searching for a good read?

I just joined our longtime follower BJ Anderson, along with Christine Fonseca, and Jana Warnell on a new project. We're going to review middle grade and YA books on a new blog, Searching for a good read?

The blog is up and running, and BJ is still adding some finishing touches, such as our bios and pictures. She's already written a few book reviews, and I promise there are more to come! I'll be posting a middle grade review this coming week. I hope to see your comments over there too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Editing Opportunity from Dear Editor

Dear Editor is a website that aims to answer questions about writing. The editor in charge is Deborah Halverson, author of two books for teens. Deborah spent two decades as an editor at Harcourt Children's, but now works freelance, teaching authors how to improve their craft. She is offering a contest to her readers. To celebrate the one month anniversary of the website, she will edit a middle grade or YA manuscript.

Pop on over to Dear Editor to read the rules of the contest. The deadline is April 14. Good luck!

Oh, and it is Friday. We don't have a submission to critique for First Page Fridays today. If you'd like to send something, we'd be happy to post it next week. See the rules here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review of Ferradiddledumday by Becky Mushko

Ferradiddledumday: An Appalachian Version of Rumpelstiltskin by Becky Mushko, copyright 2010, folklore, ISBN 978-0-9842449-1-1

Becky Mushko’s Ferradiddledumday is a delightful variation of the Grimm’s fairy tale of a young girl spinning straw into gold. Becky has taken this European story and given it an authentic Appalachian flavor.

Throughout her story one learns about the plants and animals common to the Appalachian Mountain ecosystem, as well as the farming practices and culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains of the 19th century.

Unlike the original version where the father’s boasting puts the young girl’s life in jeopardy, here the economic struggles common to this era and place threaten the family homestead. Like the Grimm’s version, the young daughter must give her first born to the leprechaun-like creature unless she can solve the mystery of his name.

The illustrations by Bruce Rae are as rough hewn as the hard scrabble life of the Appalachian people.

Becky includes a study and discussion guide for teachers who are studying folk tales. This guide covers multiple disciplines: literature, geography, history and science.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this tale because of its authenticity to the life and times of Appalachia. Also there are sufficient differences between this and the Grimm’s version that makes it an interesting read.

The author provided a copy of the book for this review.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Nicola Morgan's new book!

I think many of you know Nicola Morgan's website. (For those of you who don't, you need to visit now. It's a great resource for writers. And she loves chocolate and wears amazing boots.)

Nicola's new book, Wasted, is being released May 3rd. She just started a blog dedicated to Wasted with all sorts of giveaways and other good stuff. So, run on over and visit.

I know Nicola won't need it, but we wish her all sorts of luck with this new release!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Author Interview with Jame Richards

Jame Richards is a member of the Class of 2K10. Her debut YA novel, Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood is historical fiction. Here is a synopsis of the book, which will be released April 13, followed by the author’s interview.

Celestia is the vacationing sixteen year-old daughter of a wealthy Pittsburgh businessman, and Peter is a local teen from the opposite end of the social strata. Peter has temporarily escaped the start of what will likely be a life in the coal mines -- like his father -- by finding work at the resort for the fabulously wealthy of Pittsburgh which is situated on the edge of man-made Lake Conemaugh. We know from history that the dam creating the lake -- perched 450 feet above Johnstown, Pennsylvania -- will fail on May 31, 1889, and that over 2,200 people will perish thanks to the destruction caused by the sudden release of 20 million tons of water. Nearly a year before that fateful event, while Celestia is summering with her family at the resort on the lake, she meets Peter. These two teens are among the characters who narrate in prose poetry this tale of the filthy rich and exceptionally poor as the clock ticks down to the day of disaster.

You mentioned that all your vacations as a child were spent visiting museums and historical sites. Did you visit the site of the Johnstown flood as a child with your family? If so, did it leave a lasting impression on you? Can you describe that impression? No, we didn't visit Johnstown in ye olde browne station wagon, which means it may very well be the only national monument, park, tomb or museum that we missed. But I do think that, in general, all the historical sites we visited prepared me to be a writer of historical fiction. They definitely made a lasting impression: for example, I often dreamed at night that I was fighting in the Revolutionary or Civil War, or that I was hiding from soldiers in a false cupboard. The past felt very real and alive to me---still does. I could walk into any restoration or living history museum and start carding wool or something.

Was there something in your background/education that made you such a good writer of verse? This answer also goes back to my childhood and my parents. Both my parents are extremely creative, they have extensive vocabularies and they are always reading. So I had access to as many books as I could consume and my mother often read the same book at the same time. Everyday was book group in our house: at the breakfast table, we'd analyze our dreams and see how our nightly reading seeped into them, then we'd try to predict where we thought the book was going, etc. We still do this, just over the phone now. And I mention dreams because I think the language of dreams is similar to that of poetry (and literature, in general). Symbolism. Emotion. Transformation. Don't you wake up sometimes and say, "What a dream! That would make a great book!" As far as my education, I think I probably had the same exposure to poetry that most folks get in a public school and liberal arts college. For some reason I didn't shut down when I heard the word "poetry" the way others seemed to do. I love stories and I'll take them in any form. I didn't really plan to be a poet, but when I decided to try writing, poetry came naturally.

Other than the genre that you already write, what other sort of book would you like to attempt? A picture book would be ideal for my poetic style---I hope---but I haven't crossed paths with the right story idea yet. I'm trying my hand at a middle grade historical fiction work in progress, but usually when I try to write MG, it gets older and older until its YA by about page three. Contemporary YA sounds good, too. I love to make people laugh, so I'd like to try humor, or humorous elements. I guess I'm open to any genre.

At what point in the writing process do you prefer to have other people read your work? Do you want feedback at the first draft stage, or once you’ve done all you can with it and don’t know where to go next? In the past, I've always tried to make everything as perfect as possible before showing anyone, but I don't think I'll have time for that going into the future. I write very slowly! So, I'll need to know if something's not working far sooner now. I'm getting much more comfortable with showing early versions to my critique group or mentor. My word of caution to other writers: don't spill the whole story to your group before you write it! Save the energy for the page.

What is the question you never get asked but are always dying to answer? Q: What's your super power and what's your Kryptonite? A: My super power is telling apart all kinds of diet cola. My Kryptonite is artificial cherry flavor (shudder).

Thanks, Jame, for visiting with us! We wish you great success with your book.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A low grade fever?

I think I have a touch of spring fever. I know the dog does. He's out on the deck, watching squirrels flirt with each other in the trees in the backyard.

I have been kicking around a great idea for a blog post for about a week now. Have I written it? Nope. I'm in revision of a pretty intense section of my book. The next chapter is one of my favorites because of the frustrations of the MC. Am I working on that? Nope. I have a stack of books out from the library, many of which were written by the authors I saw at the Virginia Festival of the Book. They read excerpts, and I really do want to read more. Am I reading? Nope.

This morning, I am sitting here with all the windows open, listening to squirrels chattering and the occasional caw of a bluejay against the background noise of chirping songbirds. I'm a little chilly, but in that good springtime way that is not enough to make me want to put on a sweater. All I really want to do is tactile, sensory stuff. I want to knit and bake bread. So I'm giving myself permission to do that. The bread is rising on the counter. I started a small knitting project last night, which I plan to work on for a while before I go to the library today.

I guess I'm taking a kind of sick day. Spring fever counts, right?