Monthly Archives: September 2016

So which one would you buy?

Much love to the loves-to-be-incognito artist Alice Moore for these designs.

jbcoversHere’s my latest update: “Jaybird’s Song” is in another round of edits — looking for those unclosed quote marks, missing words, typos and comma splices.

I attended the Broadleaf Writer’s Conference last weekend and learned quite a bit more about the publishing world, including more pros and cons between self-publishing vs. finding an agent and publisher for the book. I pitched the book to two agents at the conference and both have asked for pages, so now I guess I wait a little while to see if I get a positive response.

But the truth is, I’m really ready to let her fly, so I’m only going to give it another week or 10 days, I think. If neither responds by then, I’m going to make this happen on my own.

Here’s a little bit about the story; an early draft of what might be the back cover description:

Affectionately called “Jaybird” by the father she adores, Josie Flint’s idyllic childhood in 1960s Atlanta is defined by her role as the oldest of the three Flint sisters and crowned with the presence of her grandmother, Annie Jo— the maypole that centers the Flint family. 

Surrounding their world, however, is the turbulent South as Jim Crow laws come to an end. As Josie’s school desegregates and the country meanders through new ideas brought about by the Civil Rights movement, a personal tragedy shatters — and embarrasses — that perfect childhood.

Josie’s story is told from her early teenage years and 35 years later when her beloved grandmother dies. And when a long-kept secret unfolds for the Flint family, a new kind of heartache begins.

Would you read it based on that?

Which cover would you be most inclined to pick up?

 

Dropped.

Looking for health insurance (again.)

Seriously, Humana?

Got a notification that our uber-expensive, high-deductible insurance plan that we avoid tapping into at all costs because of that second adjective is no longer available in our area.

What? In our area? As in, our address is not 2778 Moon. Or, is the moon the only area they can now service?

We just went through this 15 months ago. The Affordable Care Act is mis-named, so we settled on this personal policy. Now we’ve been dropped. I understand Aetna customers are getting the same notification this week.

What a messed up system. #venting

 

Girl crush.

I made a new friend today.

We drove around for an afternoon in search of a new home for her and her fiance as they embark on new jobs and a cross-country move.

We didn’t find their house, but we did find about 4 million things we had in common. And just like with all my best girlfriends, we got each other whirling with excitement for both the passions we share and the new ones we introduced one another to.

It’s my favorite thing about being a woman: Fueling my soul with the energy of other smart, exuberant, savvy, impassioned, creative women.

I am uber-fortunate. I am surrounded by lots of smart, exuberant, savvy, impassioned, creative women. More, I have built-in fortune with a mother, mother-in-law, two daughters, two sisters and three sisters-in-law that also fit in that category.

It’s the best lift ever.

Thank you, my girl crushes. You know who you are.

 

 

 

Another novel idea.

unknownA Dream Team to focus on the story.

So, I put a beginning, middle and ending to my story, “Jaybird’s Song,” and liked it. But I found it really hard to sense whether or not my story was compelling, whether the “reveals” happened at the right times, if the storyline was predictable or just the opposite — too far fetched for a reader to guess the unfolding story to the point of frustration.

So, I put together my Dream Team: Six wonderful ladies who love to read, have tons of smarts and are fun to be around — Erin, Wendy, Melanie, Shelbe, Paige and Eleanor. I sent each of them the first 35 pages of the book with the assignment to read, and if they were up for the challenge, to join me for a 24-hour focus group at the LeMeridian Hotel on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

After the first 35 pages, all six commited to the rest. (Phew. How many books have I flung to the side because they didn’t capture me in the first few pages? I took that as a good sign.) I gave each a list of questions with a Strongly Agree/Strongly Disagree type of scale and then asked specific questions about the first section. Once satisfied, I handed out the next 85 or 90 pages and sent them poolside, or to the hotel’s fabulous lobby with wonderful little reading niches. After sunning and some lunch, we met again in the hotel’s Analysis conference room (Perfect. A triangualar table and two giant walls of windows.) at 3 p.m. where I had each rate more questions and issues and we discussed the progression of the story to that point. Two more rounds of this and we finished the novel and discussions at 7:30 or so and we walked over to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. After that, we all retired to one of the lovely suites connected to the rooms I’d reserved and enjoyed a 4-hour chatfest with wine in our PJs.

Such fun and so helpful to me. The Dream Team validated the ‘was it compelling issue?,’ pointed out a couple of inconsistencies that I’d missed, marked some areas that needed work and confirmed that one component of the ending was just a little too far fetched and weird, and gave me lots of ideas to where I re-wrote it and am much happier.

I reviewed all of their notes and made re-writes in places throughout. Then I sent it to Wayne, my writing coach for a full read. Loved his ideas, too, and made more re-writes in more places. My sister read it last week and gave me a few spots for changes. And Tom got a personal read in audio by the author to and from our trip to Hilton Head last week. Reading it outloud pointed out still more areas I wanted to polish. Now it’s with yet another talented friend who will do a line-by-line read looking for missing words, missing quote marks, grammar issues, etc.

It’s almost ready for prime time and I’m so excited!

“Jaybird’s Song.” More to come…

How to write a novel in 3000 days or less

jstitle2

 

1. Write the first sentence.

2. Erase the first sentence.

3. Write a chapter and convince yourself you’ll win a Pulitzer.

4. Re-read it and throw into trash.

5. Dig through the trash after it’s covered with greasy leftovers to think about it some more.

6. Think about it for a couple of years.

7. Resurrect the idea and drop all other commitments and interests.

8. Convince yourself that it’s total crap.

9. Give it a middle and ending and rewrite the beginning.

10. Send it into the universe.

I’m almost to #10!

Sliced through the heart.

The perfect microcosm of community I have happily whirled myself around in for 20 years is no more.

A giant butcher knife just cut through an entire section of prime+ and flung it to the scraps pile.

It was the best part: The part with dreams and means, courage and perseverance. The part that pored out its freakin’ soul for nothing more than the time to make something amazing happen.

Instead, we’ll implode with nary a look back. With nary a care.

RIP Brook Run Theater

brt

Never forget?

So how does that work?

If you’re watching the commemoration ceremonies happening this morning in New York and Washington, D.C., the emotions of that September day 15 years ago are bubbling again. The profound prophecy of someone’s  “We will never be the same… this is terrorism” comment is a sobering, ugly reality.

imagesBut, what if you weren’t born yet? Or young enough to have been sheltered from the horror of that day? Or, God forbid, you have cold, dark soul like some people in this world evidently do.

Will it feel as distant, disconnected  and impersonal to the Ys, Zs and whatever the next generations are called as moments like D-Day and Pearl Harbor do to me? Will the chronicles of 9-11 get shorter and more compact with each edition of the US Social Studies books? Will there even be Social Studies books that will authenticate the horrors wrought on thousands of innocent Americans and spread to every single American soul on that day? Will terrorism itself be lumped into a subject that becomes as benign or commonplace that it’s covered in the same category as economics or world literature?

No doubt, ‘Never forget’ is the right plan. Will it work that way?

Side note: I’ve upgraded my WordPress account so I can add videos and more things to my new blog. Here are a couple pages from my book ” You’ve Got a Wedgie Cha Cha Cha” — a column I wrote in September 2001.  busyhands   And here’s a video I think works for today, too.

I’m glad you’re okay, Sly.

slySylvester is alive and well.

The sicko that unloaded the news of his death is plotting the next load of crap.

And the universe becomes more and more immune to the ever-blurring lines between truth, fiction and total B.S.

I didn’t share the post — at least not intentionally. First of all, I wouldn’t (it’s and old-school journalism thing) and second of all, isn’t that a two-step process? But it landed on my FB page and I feel bad about that.

I blame Robin Thicke. He recorded that “Blurred Lines” song and it made everybody dance. Ever since, the lines between factual journalism, opinion, made-up hooey and every day manners have been all blurred up.

So how about that, Robin? Let’s see if that goes viral too.

Rockin’ the white tights.

I’m guessing you never thought the buttoned-to-the-neck shirt dress and white tights look could work, but here I am rockin’ it.

14195223_10154046686323752_3148448795429443969_oThis is some of the Danbury gang – photo sent to me by Julia Rodgers (and I’m guessing JuJu wasn’t even born yet when this pic was taken.)

It’s the Danbury gang that will recognize a few things when “Jaybird’s Song “comes out, but just some silly things — the dirt hill’s in there and so is our Bloody Tiger game, and Trudy (far left in the red) might recognize one other scene (Think: The time we got in big trouble for our paring knife creation.) I made the rest up, but see those woods right behind Johnny and Leah? That’s where some serious Bloody Tiger games happened.

Missing Brady Clark, he’s the one leaning against the tree. He was my favorite Bloody Tiger.