Thursday, March 31, 2011

Where Are We?

Sarah here, and here's my question: Where are we? (To be said in what I think of as the 'Lost' tone of voice.)

I really don't know where we are. Here's what I do know:

I know that I downloaded some photos my husband took on his recent business trip, and found a treasure trove of photos The Kid took . . . somewhere. At some point. Pictures like this:

Do you know where we are?

Where are we?

Because, clearly, we are somewhere. 

I'll say this, though--that boy of mine is really developing an eye for photography, considering especially that all of these photos were taken from the back of a moving vehicle . . .

Would ya look at that. Gas is only $2.86. How old are these photos?? Anyone? Anyone? (Bueller? Bueller?)

Tell you something else I know:

Wherever The Kid was, Pooh Bear was with him.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Introducing Authorial Mom Laurel Levy

Laurel Levy

         So I sit in the Boise airport, where the floor vibrates with every passing plane, and contemplate all the new things that are happening. First, and the reason you are being subjected to my ramblings, is that I somehow got picked up by some awesome ladies that wanted me to play in their sandbox. Now, I have the lucky task of explaining the bumps in the road the comes with being a writer and a mom.
            The second newness is that I even consider myself a writer (for real, like) and actually kinda-sorta believe I belong in the ranks of “real” writers. I sit, looking around at the other waiting passengers and am stunned that there are so many people reading rather than talking on the phone like they do in CA. It makes me excited to see the readers and have a secret thrill that maybe someday I will see one of my own titles in the MUST READ racks in the airport—if for no other reason than I would be making some sort of living at what I dedicate a crazy amount of time to.
I write Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. Only with the limitless support of my loyal reader and good friend, Sarah, would I have pushed myself last year to move past a project that I was married to and attempt three new books, two of which I am keeping my fingers crossed in the Golden Heart writing contest. Join me in jittery anticipation, won’t you?
            The biggest newness is that I achieve the rank that this pack of writers have already realized. Later this year, I will become a mother for the first time. Now, I’m a late bloomer to the whole motherhood thing, but what I have noticed is that, so far, pregnancy with all the fear, paranoia and anticipation, has caused my creative knackers to go on vacation. Sure, I had all the incredible pregnancy dreams, a few that even led to story ideas, but have I written anything? I’ve made attempts. I’ve outlined a new story. I’ve hemmed and hawed over paragraphs, perspectives, and locations. I’ve tossed around follow-ups to stories I’ve written. I’ve contemplated research for said stories.
            What have I really done? Surfed the web regarding the size and shape of my growing baby. Found out from those websites what I was to expect from my body. I have fought morning sickness, fatigue, and a sort of crankiness that would have otherwise had me incarcerated (we won’t discuss the two times at Christmas I almost divorced my husband for not being nice to a raving lunatic).
            I have been reassured by my cheerleading squad that, having written four manuscripts last year and being newly pregnant, I was entitled to have a break in maintaining my writing zeal. But see, the conundrum is that telling a pregnant woman not to worry is sort of like asking a wall for advice about your marriage. Of course I worry. I worry because I read stupid blogs by great, amazing writers that say junk like, “I write every day, no matter what.” Then I pull out my whip for a good dose of self-flagellation. I have been told that the distraction I feel now is nothing compared to what happens with a new baby and frankly, you might as well push me right over the Cliffs of Insanity... Oh wait. Already did that... Okay. The Canyon of Freak-the-H-Out. If I don’t write, then I’ll loose my muse and then I won’t ever, ever write again, right? Or, I’ll decide that I have managed to write books. Okay, books, if nothing else, and now I can move onto my next thing (see the filmmaking, jewelry making, quilting, and cooking that went before—though I still cook, ‘cause a girl’s gotta eat). I panic because I don’t really want to give up on writing like I have all those things before. I enjoy writing. I just wonder if this “new” distraction is gonna be the mother of all distractions—oh, poo! That’s a bad pun. Sorry.
            Ultimately, there is no real choice. I don’t anticipate giving up writing because of my need for it. I’m obviously not going to give up my child for the sake of writing. My only option is to muddle through, as best I can. With role models like the women that have invited me into their clan and the support of those around me, I might just be able to juggle this, work and all.
            Like my husband keeps reminding me about our impending parenthood—it’ll be an adventure. Are you up for an adventure?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Authorial Moms Interview with Therese Kinkaide

Authorial Mom: Welcome to the Authorial Moms blog, Therese! Tell us a little about yourself. How many kids do you have? How old are they? 

Therese Kinkaide
Therese Kinkaide: Thank you, Sarah.  I used to be a pre-kindergarten teacher. I love music and love to watch my kids play sports. I learned last year it is very cool to be a golf mom. And I love to read.  I have two kids: my daughter is 15 (very soon to be 16) and my son is 10.

AM: What do you write? How many books have you written/published? How old are they?

TK: I write women’s fiction and young adult fiction.  I have three women’s fiction novels published: Betrayal (1998) Luther’s Cross (2008) and Fairytale (2011.)  I also have three young adult books: Crush (a collection of short stories from 2009) Vocab. 101 and Gun Metal Gray (both 2010.) I’ve written others, some of which I hope to publish someday and some of which will never see the light of day.

AM: Tell me about a typical day. How do you write with kids around? Or do you have to ship them off to school or grandparents’ houses to get anything done?

TK: My typical writing day is their school day.  My husband takes my daughter to school, and I take my son.  I drop him off around 8:10 and then come back home and make coffee and park in my office.  I spend twenty to thirty minutes checking email and checking in on Facebook.  Some days I write up until the moment I leave to pick the kids up from school, and sometimes, I have to stop and do real life things, like laundry or grocery shopping.  If the kids are home, and I want to write, I close my office doors, turn on my iTunes playlist and use my earbuds and write.  If I’m far enough into a manuscript, nothing bothers me.

AM: Did you write before you had kids, or after? What changed with your writing when you had kids?

TK: I have been writing since I was in 5th grade.  I wrote several books by hand from eighth grade all the way through high school.  I didn’t write as much or as often when the kids were little.  But now that they’re a little older, I find it easier to make time for writing.  Also, with each book that comes out, the kids tend to take my writing a little more seriously, so they do try to give me time to work, especially when the manuscript is working well.

AM: How old will one or more of your children have to be before they’re allowed to read your books?

TK: My daughter has read all of my young adult work, both published and not.  My young adult books are available at my son’s school library, but he has only read Crush, the short story collection.  My daughter just read a women’s fiction novel by an author I like, therefore, I guess she’s old enough to read my women’s fiction.  However, she wasn't enthralled with that book, and I think that’s partly because she’s not interested in reading about an adult’s life and worries and stress and job.  I’d guess she wouldn't care for my books yet either, and I think it might feel a little awkward for her at this point.

      AM: Becoming an author means having a public persona. How do you combine motherhood with the demands of a public life? Do you feature your kids, keep them shielded under pseudonyms, or leave them out of the equation entirely? Have they asserted their opinion(s) on this matter?

TK: I write women’s fiction under a pen name.  I made that decision when I first wrote Betrayal.  My daughter was very young, and I was teaching in a pre-kindergarten program.  I felt it was best to keep my personal life separate from writing.  I’ve stuck with that decision, and I do like keeping it separate.  I write young adult under my real name, and I’ve dedicated those books to my kids.  Other than that, I don’t feature my kids, and no, they don’t really seem to have an opinion on any of it.

AM: Most Moms I know have a limited amount of free time. Give me a few reasons why they should dedicate some of that time to your characters. What’s in it for us?

TK: I write character-driven fiction.  My characters are always a mix of women I really admire and respect, women I know, who inspire me.  I love my characters like they are my children, though I put them through hell.  I am fascinated by relationships of all sorts, and I focus on those relationships in my books.  My characters are very real, very much like you and me, and they love and give and laugh and cry and hurt just like you and me.  I want you to meet my characters and love them as much as I do.

     AM: Let’s have a little fun with fill-in-the-blanks.“The floor of my kitchen is so ___ you can ___ it.”

TK: “The floor of my dining room is so dusty you can write a book in it.”

AM: In what way have you turned into your mother? How are you coping with it?

TK: My mom is a very giving, very compassionate person.  I believe I’m a giving, compassionate person, and I thank her for raising me that way. She was also involved in my life and somewhat strict.  I like to think I am that involved in my kids’ lives.  I’m my kids’ mom, not their friend.

AM: What’s up next for you?

TK: I just finished a women’s fiction Christmas novel called Small Hours.  And I am currently writing a women’s fiction novel that is…nameless.  I keep changing my mind on the title.  But I can tell you I love it.  I love these characters so, so much, it pains me to be away from writing them for any length of time.  I also have 3 other WIPs: a disco time travel romance (very different for me, but so much fun, ) a light-hearted young adult romance, and a sequel to the Gun Metal Gray.

AM: Where can we find you online?

TK: I'm on Facebook and Myspace. Readers can find my books at Wings Press and at L & L Dreamspell. And, of course, please visit my website. Soon, I'll also have Broemmer Books up and running, so be sure to check back for that!

AM: Therese, thanks so much for stopping by the Authorial Moms blog today. I enjoyed chatting with you (but then, I usually do anyway) and I hope you'll come back soon!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kid with Camera

Warning! The following post has nothing to do with anything. Proceed at your own risk.

So, we went to a shower last weekend. As my wonderful husband had to work, I took The Kid with me, and I put him to work. Is it normal for a five-going-on-six-year-old-boy to be so darned handy with a centerpiece?

Anyway, at one point during the festivities, my mom's camera (hi, Mom!) had a technical issue, and I handed her mine. The next thing I knew, The Kid was darting hither and yon, snapping off some truly great* pictures like these:

Apparently Ansel Adams down there decided that one photo of carpeting wasn't enough, so he also took this one:

In case I needed to remember the different carpet styles the hotel was sporting. He's awesome like that.

But there was much more to this shower that *just* carpeting. Oh, yes. There were also windows:

And I quote: "Ooh, pretty!" Yes, he's quite the tasteful young chap.

That potted plant sure knew how to strike a pose.

Yes, it was a day of documenting every surface:

Even the reflective ones. I named this one "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Goofball."

Seriously, he took this picture of the ceiling;

and said, "Oh, that's a good one." He's a little off, that boy of mine. As you can see, The Kid should stick to stills.

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, But Authorial Mom, didn't he take any pictures of people? And the answer is yes. Yes, he did. But in at least one sister's opinion, they are the kind of blackmail shots that will get one or more of my kneecaps broken if I post them. After all, The Kid is only 4 feet tall--you have to look down at him. Not the most flattering camera angle. Toss in blurry, like this:

and, well, you get the idea. This shot is entitled, "Run Away, Mommy Wants Her Camera Back." A three-minute chase ensued. This is what I get for encouraging the boy's artistic tendencies.

*not really

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Eleanore Gray Update

Before we get to today's blog, I want to let everyone know (who doesn't already) that my book Indian Princess will be released in March of 2012--just one year away! It'll have a new title by then, but the countdown has officially begun!

Now, back to this blog in progress.

Remember this blog from last April on my grandmother Goldie's book, Eleanore Gray? Well, it's almost done!

Here's what's been happening. I expanded the ending. When I got to the original ending, it glossed over the happily ever after in favor of a recap of the local townsfolk. To me, it felt like it was not only cheating the readers out of closure, but that Eleanore deserved better. The poor woman had suffered a great deal--she deserved a little happiness, too. Upon conferring with my Uncle Jim, Mom, and Dad, we also added a section about how Eleanore's children were a vital part of the happily ever after, too.

I made some editing changes, too. I am one of those obnoxious people who believes you need a comma before the 'and' in a list of three things. I believe it's called an Oxford comma. Goldie did not subscribe to the Oxford comma theory. I added a lot of commas before Dad also told me he didn't like those commas, to which I told him, 'It's too late. I'm not taking them back out." We're in a tense, comma-based d├ętente.

I also took out a few 'historical' terms for African Americans. Times have changed since Goldie was working on this book. Let's just leave it at that.

Beyond that, though, the major addition to this book is what I'm calling "The Collective Biography of Goldie Lucas." You see, people who remember important things about Goldie, like where she was born and how old she was when she married my grandfather, are harder and harder to come by. I asked Dad to do an 'About the Author' for me, and he only had so much to work with. And with three of Goldie's children already passed on, tracking down stories was a challenge, to say the least.

So we dug deeper. Mom found a folder labelled 'Reminisces' that my Uncle Luke, the oldest of the nine kids, had typed up four months before he died. Mom and I emailed various cousins in an attempt to find other memories. It took months to track something for everyone, but in the end, we had each of Goldie's nine children represented. I added my own part about working on this book, too.

After that, it went through line edits, where the Lovely Mary, Grammar Goddess, read the whole thing with a red pen in hand. I missed a lot of commas, and while I don't mess up 'which' and 'that' in my own writing too much, I missed it in this book entirely. Plus, I will never, ever get the hang of 'toward' versus 'towards.' The Lovely Mary has explained this to me several times--with increasing levels of firmness--and I still blow it. Every time.

Up to now, this has been a project where I've been familiar with all the steps. But with the text now edited and finished, I'm about to head right on over to 'clueless.' Yes. It's time to actually publish this baby!

I've got a cover image picked out, and the back cover text ready to go. I'm hiring my dear friend Leah Hanlin of Blue Sky Design to format the book into trade paperback size and get the cover set up for me. One of the problems I've seen with self-published books is that the 8 1/2 x 11 inch Word Document page gets shrunk down to fit whatever page size the author chooses, leading to a 7 point font. Needless to say, 7 point fonts are not going to win the hearts and minds of seniors, who would be my target audience (esp. those to whom I am related).

After we get the formatting done and the cover finalized, I'm going to run Eleanore Gray through Amazon's self-publishing arm, CreateSpace. I'll also have it up as a Kindle e-book, so any time you want to get a copy of it, it'll be there.

In a few weeks, I'll tell you more about the actual book--who these people are, who would enjoy reading it, etc. But, like all good things, you have to wait for it!