Friday, August 27, 2010

Hair and Legos

Hundreds of years from now, when archaeologists are digging around looking for clues about our society, this is the contribution that my family will have made:

There was a dog; two children who ate hydrogenated oil-filled snacks and played with Legos; a mother who shed worse than aforementioned dog. Also note, tech geek husband probable due to video camera apparatus piece discovery - need further assessment.

So, I haven't properly swept or mopped my house since, hmm, I think Bush was still in office. I think it's time. YES, I CAN.

Happy Friday, people. If you don't hear from me next week, it's probably because I was swallowed whole by a giant dust bunny.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Love It/Hate It Kindergarten Style

My son made it successfully through his first week of Kindergarten!!!

This further proves the fact that I really am quite the exemplary mother he really is the coolest kid on the planet. He did have one minor hiccup, the details of which I will not go into here on the Internet. Why? Because I don't want to get a call when he's, I don't know, middle aged and in therapy, telling me how he remembers the time when I embarrassed him on the Internet. And I'll have to be all, "Uh, which time was that again?" No. I don't need that on my conscience.

In lieu of this celebration, here are the things I love/hate about my child being in Kindergarten.

Love It:
- He wears uniforms! He might complain about not having the freedom to choose his own clothes down the road, but I never will. Uniforms are God's gifts to mothers like me, who have a hard enough time dressing themselves at 6 A.M., let alone their kids.

- That he has already made a ton of friends, and that he asks me on a daily basis if they can come over and play. A lot of them are girls, which has me practicing my stinkeye I think is adorable.

- That I get that one on one time with my youngest. There is a lot less screaming and fighting and a lot more laughter. He has such an awesome little personality, and I get to hang out with him all day and just marvel at the funny things he says and does. He's a lot like his Daddy.

Hate It:
- Holy Lord, the crafts have already started. I am not a crafty person. I don't scrapbook; I don't paint; I don't make my own jewelry or clothes. I am completely inept when it comes to gluing anything to anything else. Also, I HATE LEGOS, and I am convinced they are the bane of most mothers' existence. Sorry, it seemed relevant.

- The paperwork. In addition to not being crafty, I am not all that organized either. I know, it's a wonder my husband even married me. I have no idea how to stay on top of the sheer magnitude of paper that now comes home in my son's tote bag. I AM OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS!

- Missing him. I miss him so, so, SO MUCH.

Do you have something you LOVE/HATE about your child being in school (Kindergarten or otherwise)? 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Time for a Writer's Conference?

Last week, I put out the distress signal, calling all writerly friends to share any advice they had for a first time conference goer. I'm shaking in my flip-flops, people. I'm sure as the conference (which is in October) gets closer that adrenaline will replace anxiety (fingers crossed) and that I will be a lot more confident! In the meantime, I did a little research, and I'm here to share the wealth.

I now present, TIPS FOR FIRST TIME CONFERENCE GOERS by YOU, the readers. I took the liberty of only including the advice parts of your comments, which were LOVELY, by the way. Look for highlights in bold!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Only advice I have is prepare as much as possible and bring business cards, a one-sheet, your first chapter...think that's about it. And be yourself...they'll love you!!!

Jennifer Shirk said...  

Wear comfy shoes. Dress in layers--in case it's cold or hot in the speaking rooms. Bring a bag that has a folder with note paper for notes, pens, and cough drops or candy in case your throat gets dry from talking and meeting people.

Kay Richardson said...
I went to a conference once. Had too much to drink and made a pass at a senior publisher. My advice would be to avoid doing similar.
Karen said...
Tips-Bring notebook, things to write notes and names, if you have business cards, bring those (they are handy when talking to editors, agents...), and meet as many people as you can. We ( ) have several "evergreen" posts on attending conferences. You're gonna love it!!
Laura said...
So excited for you! Writers conferences were really the beginning for me. Check out this post:   It's got some great ideas. My suggestion? After you've packed everything on your list, stick some chocolate in your suitcase!

Diane J. said...

Advice? Smile. Attend any receptions (you meet quite a few people that way), if you have the chance to do a pitch do it (one of the workshops I'm attending this year is Pitch Party - how to deliver an in-person pitch, I'm planning on pitching next year at the bigger conference, so I'm thrilled I got in this class.) Don't bring too many books, you'll end up buying some while you're there and your bags will be heavy heading home.

Colleen, over at Fiction Flurry , had this to say in response to a comment I made on her post about Writers Conferences: "My best tip is number prepared. If you are meeting with agents, look up their website and be aware of what they are looking for. Also, it doesn't hurt to practice your "elevator pitch". The more at ease you are with it, the better chance you have of selling it!"

Now, for a few things I found just poking around:

  1. The Guide to Literary Agents blog has a WEALTH of information. Just go to the site , scroll down on the left and click on Writers' Conferences. 
  2. I found this article on Conference Etiquette and this list of 8 Things to Maximize Networking at Conferences at suite 101 .
  3. Here's an article with writers conference advice from an editorial director at Random House Children's Books (which is relevant, even if you aren't writing children's books).

Feel free to add any new tips in the comments. Thanks to everyone who responded. I hope this was helpful to you!

*** Absolutely NO IDEA why this post got all out of format, but hope it helps anyway!***

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jeopardy - Mommy Monday Edition

Player 1: I'll take Words That Make a Mother Burst into Tears for $200, Alex.

Alex: All right, for $200. Your child might say this his/her first day of Kindergarten.

Player 1: What is, "It's okay, Mommy, I don't need you to hold my hand."

Alex: That is correct!

Seriously. That's what my son said to me this morning on our way into his school for "Meet the Teacher". Break my heart, right? Go ahead, stomp all over it with your brand new school shoes. You don't want to hold my hand today? I get it, Big boy - you're excited. But hooooo buddy, if you don't think you're going to pay for that, just you wait. Wait until you bring home your first girlfriend - I have a picture of you in the tub with her name ALL OVER IT.

Take heart, mothers of new kindergartners - we can do this.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Does Not Play Well With Others

My mother loves to whip this story out from time to time, you know, to embarrass me in social situations. I'm pretty sure she told it at my graduation party, my wedding shower, and my baby shower.

It goes something like this:

Bethy (that's me) and her friend Jessica (my friend since we were in diapers) were playing in the backyard at Jessica's house. Jessica had this tiny play kitchen that she would play in for hours, making all manner of make believe goodies. Well, on this particular day, Jessica was playing "Chef" in her kitchen, and because no other suckers friends were around, the role of "Sous Chef" fell to Bethy.

So Jessica starts doling out responsibilities, telling Bethy, "Stir that (imaginary) stew in that (imaginary) pot, don't let it burn!" Bethy paid no attention to her, because she didn't like being told what to anyone. So Jessica starts to tell her again, "Stir the stew! Stir the stew! IT'S BURNING! YOU NEED TO -- " Bethy turns, holding up her chubby little hand and says, "There ain't no spoon, there ain't no stew, and I AIN'T stirring it."

Okay, so we've established I don't enjoy being told what to do. Fast forward, twenty-five years later: Husband comes home from work early, and brings lunch.

"Hey, thanks for bringing lunch home, babe," I say, kissing him on the cheek. "Um, where's my large drink?"

"We're sharing this one," he says, taking a big sip and then setting it on the table.

"But I specifically asked for you to bring me a drink."

"Yeah, but I thought we could share," he says nonchalantly.

I start to twitch a little. "Seriously? You didn't get me my own?" He's just joking. Yeah, this has to be just a cruel joke. I mean, he knows how much I love my Coke (and you can find out, too, just read here).

"Yeah, I'm serious. I only got us one," he says, tucking into his sandwich like it's no big deal.

I say nothing more, sitting down to eat because I'm in a hurry to get to a party. When I get up to leave, I pick up the Coke to take it with me.

"Are you seriously taking that with you?" he says, eyeing the drink in my hand.

"Yep, I am," I say, and walk out the door.

You'd have thought that my mother would've warned my future husband that I don't play well with others. Apparently, she didn't.

Hopefully, he's learned his lesson.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Foot in Front of the Other

Over the past few months, I've gained SO MUCH insight from reading into the world of writing and publishing thanks to many of you, dear readers/writers/agents/editors. I have learned so much from just being a part of this great big Blogosphere -- it has changed my life.


I'm taking it to the next level...

...wait for it...



My amazing husband surprised me yesterday and gave me the go ahead to book it, and for that he will be rewarded with...well, that's of a private nature and this is a family blog.

Anyhoo, if you're wondering, it's the South Carolina Annual Writers Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC.

I'm ready to meet people, face to face. People who are passionate about the same things I am. Who are confused about the same things I am. Oh, to brush up against other authors IN PERSON! To feel the frenzy in the room when, I don't know, Rachelle Gardner is standing there in the flesh. Or Suzie Townsend. Or Irene Goodman. Gah!!!

Hang on, I'm gonna be sick.

I'm freaking nervous. It's not until October, but still. Help me? Please?

Do you have tips for a first time conference goer?

I mean, I want to know everything. What do I wear? What is a MUST to bring? I'm definitely going to have queries, synopses and chapters on hand, but what else???

I'm going to do a post with your helpful tips, where you will be mentioned! By me! Does that sweeten it? No? Hmm, well maybe I could send you two tickets to that thing you love? Or diamonds (Thank you, Old Spice Guy, for that one)? Which reminds me, you totally need to check out agent Nathan Bransford's post yesterday about writing maladies...the guy is hilarious!)

So, any advice is greatly appreciated.

Now, if you see anyone on the news for breaking a hip while doing cartwheels, that'd be me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

Do you remember the LifeCall commercial from the 80's? The one where the little, old lady has fallen in her bathroom and can't get up? I remember my brother and I rolling on the floor laughing (or ROFL, for my teen readers. What? I can't talk like the cool kids?) watching this commercial when we were kids - oh, and The Clapper, remember that one (yeah, that'll be stuck in your head all day!)?

What's my point, you ask? 

I cleaned my ENTIRE house yesterday. I'm talking closets, corners, beneath bathroom sinks - THE WORKS. My mother would be so proud. I even redecorated a little, meaning I finally got the diaper changing table out of my 3 YEAR OLD'S bedroom. He'll thank me someday. 

But today? Today, I can't get out of my bed. No, I'm serious. I CAN'T MOVE. Why are you laughing? This isn't a joke. I'm glad I keep my computer by my bed, otherwise you WOULD NEVER KNOW! 

I don't believe in karma, but I know that somewhere in heaven that little old lady is pointing directly at me and (between fits of maniacal laughter) is saying, "Who's laughing now whippersnapper?" 

You win, LifeCall lady. You win.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Who Doesn't Love a Good Contest?

It's Fun Friday, kids. Today was spent having...FUN. My son starts Kindergarten in a week, so we're soaking up the last few bits of fun before he leaves me FOOOORREEEVVVVEEERRR. I'm not going to cry...I'm not.

Moving on...with happy thoughts! What makes me happy?
- Puppies
- Rainbows
- Bubble baths...

...and RONI AND JULIE'S TOTALLY EPIC SUMMER CONTEST! Seriously, if you're not following Roni over at Fiction Groupie and the equally wonderful Julie (who just sold her YA book Tempest and signed a three-book deal with Thomas Dunne Publishers!) at Diary of an Unpublished Wanna-be Writer then you are MISSING OUT. Not just because of the contest (they've been interviewing agents all week and it is some invaluable information), but because they are two very talented women. 

SO writers, it would behoove you to get over there and take advantage of the amazing giveaways...query critiques! 5 page manuscript critiques! book giveaways!

Non-writers, Happy Friday. Um, yeah, that's all for you. Maybe I'll have something epic for you NEXT Friday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Are You Made Of?

I'm no coin collector, but I've never seen a silver penny before, have you? 

This is a 1943 penny. Wait. What? Aren't most pennies made of copper? Yes, most are. However, 1943 pennies (also known as a silver pennies, because they look as though they're made from silver, as seen in the picture above) were made of steel, because the U.S. was elbow deep into World War II and copper supplies were scarce. What's interesting, is that silver pennies are actually more common than these 1943 copper pennies, seen here:

These particular copper pennies are rare. They're collector's items. 

As a writer, I want to be a 1943 copper penny. Of course I want to be a rare treasure amongst all the other common pennies out there. But the depth of it? Copper is more malleable than steel - hot or cold, it has a greater ability to be bent and shaped without cracking. It's unique because of what it's made of.

I want to bend easily - to be capable of being shaped without cracking. I don't think I'm there yet, but hopefully someday.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Bumper Cars!

Friday night, I had the divine pleasure of having a night out with some of my girlfriends. We went to an awesome Mexican restaurant and stuffed ourselves with soft tacos before heading out to see a movie. We decided to see Charlie St. Cloud, even though my better judgement told me that I really shouldn't see it. It really was a GREAT movie (despite it being SO SAD!) and I was pleasantly surprised by Zac Efron's performance.

In case you haven't watched the trailer or haven't seen the movie and are planning to, do not read any further! 


There's a car crash, and the little boy dies. Yeah, after my weepy, emotional week last week, I saw a movie where the little boy dies. Ugh.

Flash forward to Saturday morning. The hubby and I decide to take the boys out and get some breakfast and maybe pick up some new Legos (my oldest is OBSESSED). We had just pulled out of the shopping center, stifled in our search (the place where we stopped didn't have them), and were stopped at a red light. Our light turns green, we start to turn. My husband slams on his breaks, and INSSLLLLOOOOWWWWMOOOTTTTIOOON, this girl in a pick up truck slams into us. 


She saw us in time to slam on her breaks, and gratefully, my husband had the presence of mind to turn the wheel toward her so that the brunt of the impact hit our front left tire and bumper*. The boys immediately started crying, so I took them into the Burger King (whose parking lot we pulled into after the accident) to try and calm them down. How do you explain a car accident to a five year old? "Oh, well...erm, remember the other day when we were doing bumper cars at the amusement park? That's kind of what happened, mkay?" He sniffed, and then skipped off to play in the playground. Crisis averted...again.

After the police report was taken and we had all settled down a bit, my husband turned to me over his french fries and said (while giggling to himself), "Do you know that you were speaking in tongues right after she hit us?" And I was all, "No, I didn't, but even if I did, who cares? I was in shock." To which, he said, "Yeah, you totally did." And I was all, "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT MOVIE I SAW LAST NIGHT!?"

*Our truck is not driveable, but thank the Lord for insurance!