Friday, October 29, 2010

A Halloween Public Service Announcement

This is a repeat post from last year, but I think it will serve you well. Stay safe out there this weekend!

*My Buzz and Woody - Halloween 2009*

1. You CAN get a hangover from candy. The remedy? MORE CANDY.
2. Your child COULD be allergic to his costume. But since you paid $40 for it, you WILL give him Benadryl and tell him to buck up.
3. Carving three pumpkins = insanity.
4. Use old Christmas lights to light your pumpkin instead of an actual candle if you're going to be leaving your house on Halloween. That way, your house doesn't burn down and everyone can still enjoy the stenciled-on ghost face that your husband painstakingly carved out of your enormous pumpkin. Everyone wins.
5. Buy a smaller pumpkin next year.
6. Trick or treating in the cold and rain is still fun for kids. For adults...not so much.
7. Make sure you're invited to a friend's house where this recipe is being served. Trust me.
8. Make sure that friend is a great photographer, because you might get just about the cutest picture you've ever seen of your kid in a costume.

And now a word about the Fall Back time change: When you think it's a good idea to stay over at your friend's house and keep your kids up later so that they'll "sleep in" the next morning instead of waking up an hour earlier? IT'S NOT.
That is all.
You're welcome.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lessons Learned from My First Writer's Conference - Part 1

To sum up what I learned at the South Carolina Writer's Workshop annual conference would be that this? This business? Of writing? Yeah, it's TOTALLY subjective. What one person might LOVE another person might HATE.

I sat through one particular class called a slush-fest, which basically boils down to a real-time critique of the first 2 pages of your manuscript (or some people chose their query letter and first page of their ms). They collected everyone's submissions as they walked through the door and then placed them up on an overhead projector to rip them to shreds. Or at least, that's what I THOUGHT would happen, seeing as how that's what I had heard happened in those sorts of situations.


Not so with this one. The editor* was totally gracious to her audience, saying mostly what she liked about everyone's work with a small suggestion here or there about what could improve. There was no yelling, no "What were they thinking?", no "Wow, that was awful." None of that. That is, until she got to the very last submission, and guess whose it was?


She read it aloud, as she did the twenty or so before it, and when she got to the end (we were running short on time) she said, "I like the voice, good idea, but THESE BOOKS AREN'T SELLING."

I'm sorry, WHAT? Could you repeat that?

Needless to say, I was a little bit depressed. I didn't have time to ask her if she could expound on the subject, because I was late for a pitch session. Ha. Yeah, I was supposed to go pitch a book that WILL NOT SELL to a literary agent after that. That pitch session did not go well.


My mama raised me to get back on the horse after I've been thrown, and gosh darn it, I did. I marched into my next pitch session (which was literally ten minutes after I bombed the first) and I nailed it. Said exactly what I wanted to say and got a full manuscript request.

*On a side note, I was able to pull that editor aside after dinner to ask her for a little more info (prettyprettyplease) about what she had said earlier. And what I got was a chance to send her some of my pages to get some feedback. Feedback. From an editor. At a huge publishing company. It pays to get back on the horse!!!

What has been your experience? Have some loved your work? Some hated? Do you agree that the industry is subjective?

Come back next Wednesday for Part 2.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What A Difference A Day Makes

So, as you may know (since I've been beating you over the head with it for the last two weeks), I got to go to the South Carolina Writer's Conference this past weekend. And while I learned A TON about the craft of writing and the publishing business (all of which I will tell you about on Wednesday when my brain stops hurting), what I really wanted to say is...I MISSED MY KIDS.

And THAT, my friends, is the conclusion a mother comes to after TWO WHOLE NIGHTS of uninterrupted sleep.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Out of Office

Well...not technically :)

I won't be blogging this week, as I am preparing for my VERY FIRST WRITER'S CONFERENCE EVER!!!

Come back and see me next Monday, won't you?

*Cartoon courtesy of Google Images

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just Because

I just wanted to drop in real quick and say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have encouraged me over the last couple of weeks with regard to my upcoming conference and my writing in general. I'm still freaking out, but have a peace (God-given to be sure) that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. I'm not going to be blogging next week, as it will be THE WEEK (I leave next Friday morning!), but I wanted to leave you with a little gift (an intangible one, but a gift nonetheless).

Girls, these are for you...

Boys, this one's for you...
Happy Friday everyone, and I'll see you all back on Monday, the 25th, with plenty of stories and stuff I learned from the conference.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me...Well, It's A Little You

I apologize for my lack of post-age (say it like Pauly Shore). I'm not intentionally ignoring you, dear Internet. I'm just really trying to get my stuff together for this conference that is NEXT WEEK! 

*grabs a bag* *hyperventilates for a moment* *puts bag down* *smooths hair*

I finally polished up the synopsis to an agreeable level, that level being one where I don't want to kill msyelf after I've read it (score one for Team Beth) and am currently working on my one-sheet. Business cards have been ordered (and they are SUPER cute thanks to my good friend Jodi at Leapfrog Creations) and outfits have been chosen.

I'm also trying really hard not to re-read my manuscript over and over to the point of insanity, because this girl? She likes to edit things into non-existence. If I were an actress, I would NEVER watch my own movies because I am way too critical. Okay, maybe I would, but only because in MY movies (the ones in my head) I would always be co-starring with...well, you don't need to hear that now do you? Maybe someday I'll tell, like if my book gets published and then made into a movie, because then it will be OBVIOUS!

Where are you in your journey? Drafting? Editing? Querying? Hyperventilating? Waiting?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pumpkin Stuff - It'll Change Your Life

This is a repost, but I thought it was appropriate for the time of year. This recipe is TO DIE go out, get your ingredients, and get to it!

Happy (almost) Halloween!!

My sweet friend, Jodi, shared this AMAZING recipe, and I thought that all of you beautiful people deserved to have it, too. Speaking of amazing things, Jodi is an incredibly talented photographer and graphic designer, so you should also hop on over to Leapfrog Creations and check out her site. Thanks, Jodi, for the delicious recipe!

Pumpkin Stuff

1 15 oz. of canned pumpkin
1 can of evaporated milk
1 cup of sugar, regular white
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 Eggs (slightly beaten)

Mix all of that in a bowl, pour in a greased 9 X 13 pan

On top of that spread the following 3 ingredients below: Do not make the cake as directed, just crumble the whole cake mix, just powder stuff, on top of the pumpkin mixture. You can add the pecans if you want. I didn't and it was still awesome. But I am sure it would be great with them, because they would be on the top and they would get all toasted up YUM!! Yes, I said just the powder stuff, just trust me, it will work. On top of the cake mix and nuts, as evenly as you can, pour on the 2 sticks of butter. If there are some areas that are still powdery, it works out, so don't worry.

1 Yellow Butter Cake Mix
1 cup chopped Pecans (optional)
2 sticks of butter, melted

Bake in a 350 oven for 50 - 60 minutes

Frosting: Make while the pumpkin stuff is baking

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese (softened)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups of Cool Whip (thawed)

Mix these 3 ingredients together. I got out the electric mixer to make it smooth, but the recipe didn't call for that. After the Pumpkin Stuff has cooled, smear the frosting all over. Quite delicious still warm, but I think even better cold, the next day. Store in the fridge, if there is anything left.

*Photo courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Conference Jitters

I'll be attending the South Carolina Writers Workshop Conference in just about two weeks, and I have MUCH to do. I'm putting the final touches on my synopsis, one-sheet, and ordering my business cards. 

I have to be feels a little surreal. I'm not just talking to family and blog friends about being a writer - I'm actually going to be talking to agents (I have a pitch session with THE Rachelle Gardner - this is my happy dance *I apologize for the H-word*) and editors and authors (people who have actually PUBLISHED something!) about my being a writer. *deep breath*

I'm trying not to let myself get psyched out. I've done the work, I've done the research - now all I have to do is put myself out there and see what happens. Hopefully, it won't be a train wreck. Hopefully, I won't make any embarrassing mistakes. HOPEFULLY someone will like my idea.

If not? Well, at least I'll have two nights of uninterrupted sleep and I'll get to eat at least 4 meals without my kids asking if they can have some (and by "some" they mean "ALL" of it).

There's always a silver lining, right? :)

Are you nervous about anything right now? Can you find the silver lining?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Whistle While You Work

I woke up smiling today, and that is NOT something that happens very frequently, trust me (or just ask my husband, remember he got me this shirt?). It could be the gorgeous weather outside, which is sunny and cold enough to drink a caramel apple cider (my favorite!) without sweating to death.  However, I'm pretty sure it's because we're all healthy again, having put the terror that is the stomach virus behind us.

TANGENT ALERT: Why on earth is it referred to as a stomach bug? A bug is something small (unless you live in Florida - then I get it. Those palmetto bugs are HUGE!) that can be easily squashed. Calling the heinous and destructive virus that went through our house a "bug" just doesn't seem to do it justice - stomach ninja or stomach assassin seems more appropriate, don't you think?

I'm off to clean up some of the aftermath of last week. Wish I had some furry forest creatures like the lucky, er, girl up there in the picture to help me do it - WHY CAN'T FAIRY TALES BE TRUE??? But before I go, I want to say THANK YOU to all of you who sent prayers and well wishes our way this last week...I appreciated them so very much. 

Whose fairy tale would you like to live?
a) Snow White
b) Sleeping Beauty
c) Cinderella
d) Belle (Beauty and the Beast)

(My answer is D - she might live with a beast, but he's got a GREAT library!)

Friday, October 1, 2010

What Day Is It?

*Photo courtesy of Google Images

I've just recovered from a vicious stomach bug, which attacked 3 of the 4 people in this house. I can honestly say I have never loved my husband (the only one spared from this horrifying virus - you'll see why in a moment) more than I do right now. He is my hero, my knight in shining armor, wielding his can of Lysol like a sword and slaying the invisible germs of death with ease.

Internet, I can do colds. I can do sore throats, stuffy heads, coughing, and sneezing. What I CANNOT do is puking. And OHHHH THE PUKING that happened in this house two nights ago. Oh, I'm sorry. Does the word "puke" make you uncomfortable? PUUUUUUKE.* At one point, I'm pretty sure I asked the Good Lord to take me home, and I'm almost sure I meant it. I wanted to die. I thought I was dying.

Every once in a while I would see a strange Avatar-like creature with a blue face and blue hands. I thought it could be an angel, only the angels I'd read about in the Bible weren't blue. Only after the fever broke did I realize it was my sweet husband wearing a blue medical mask and blue latex gloves on his hands, deftly avoiding the plague that was upon us. I married a smarty, Internet.

Today is the first day I'm actually able to get out of bed without feeling like I'm going to fall over, what with all the dehydration and lack of food and all. And it feels GLORIOUS. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the weather is lovely. I'm going to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air this weekend, and I hope you all can do the same.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

*I apologize for my rudeness. I blame the virus. I believe the adorable cat picture makes up for it? No? I'll try again next week.