Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers - Part I

It was early. Dewdrops balanced atop the grass blades, sparkling in the morning sun that would soon be heating up the aptly-named resort town.

“Are you going biking today?” my husband asked, as he quickly took a final inventory of his fishing gear. He and a friend, whom we were vacationing with, were embarking on a remote fly-fishing trip along the Deschutes River. They would be out-of-range and unreachable all day.

“Yes!” I could hardly wait. I was a fairly avid biker and was thrilled to be taking advantage of the 35 miles of paved biking trails weaving in and through Sun River, some of it along the Deschutes.

My dear friend was 8 months pregnant. We were staying in her aunt’s stunning vacation home. They had a relaxing walk planned for their morning.

I grabbed a bottle of water, stuffed my I.D., some cash, and a snack into my small bike pack, and attached them to my bike’s front frame. I was off!

Or, maybe not. I had a flat tire. I pumped it. It immediately went flat. It was the inner tube. Dejected, I returned to the house.

“No problem,” said my friend’s aunt, “just take my bike!”

I was both excited and hesitant to ride her gleaming, new bike. Really, though, why was I worrying? I had never been in a bike accident before.

Odd, the power of suggestion. Not that it was even a suggestion, really. More like a passing thought.

To be continued ...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dreaming ...

This is another of my favorite pictures from our recent beach trip. Do you see what's happening here? My two little people - faces plastered against the window, mouths salivating - as they watch the good folks from Bruce's Candy Kitchen make their tasty creations and dream that - somehow, someway - they'll either be offered a tasty treat or their parents will decide to go inside and make a purchase! What a riot!

It's quite similar to how many of us feel, I'm sure ... though I can only speak for myself. Maybe it comes in the form of an announcement that a publisher is now seeking and accepting the exact type of work you create. The butterflies start rumbling about your tummy, your excitement starts to build as you dare to imagine the possibility of getting your work published. You can hardly wait to get your manuscript into their hands.

I'm quite certain that if any of the publishers I submitted manuscripts to lived within a 100-mile radius of my town and had a window where I could watch them work through their slush pile ... I'd be standing at that very window, in a fashion quite similar to my children in the above picture. Nose smooshed against the glass; mouth salivating at the possibility of my work getting chosen!

Impossible concept, I know ... those piles of 'to be read' are never going to be open to public viewing ... but, fun to dream about nonetheless!

Have a great week of writing ... and dreaming!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Bella Sinclair Award

Thank you, thank you to the ever-so-talented, thoughtful, and always kind Sherry Rogers, of Sherry Rogers Illustrations for treating me to the Bella Sinclair Award! Sherry, herself, epitomizes this award!!

I am a huge fan of Sherry ... she is the talented illustrator of numerous children's picture books (many through awesome publisher Sylvan Dell), she can grow tomatoes like nobody's business, and she always has encouraging words to share!

You can read about the history of this award on Ces's blog. It was created by Ces in honor of her friend, Bella Sinclair. Here is what Ces says about the award:

"I designed this award to celebrate art in the blogs and to honor the value of friendship, sisterhood, sharing and caring. It is to be awarded to the gifted, accomplished, eloquent and talented blogger whose friendship and influence inspire us to do our best. That I named it after Bella Sinclair is because she epitomizes all of these things. She is an inspiration to many of us."

I am passing the award along to Serenity, of Serenity Now (such a fun title ... I can't help but think of Seinfeld every time I visit her blog!). Serenity was one of my very first followers ... before I knew it was even possible to have followers! She encouraged me, from the beginning, as a blogger and a writer. Through our posts, we discovered numerous similarities ... it was like finding a kindred spirit in the blogosphere! And, her blog/website is always filled with thought-provoking, insightful, and humorous posts!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Eating Sand ... or, The Ups and Downs of the Writing Life :-)

This past weekend, we visited the always-stunning Oregon Coast. The roar of the ocean and the warmth of the velvety sand has the immediate effect of relaxing all the tensed-up muscles in my neck and shoulders. I love it.

And, so does the rest of the family. The kids are as content as can be digging in the sand, constructing sand buildings and bridges, and running alongside the frigid water. Jeff perfected a new sand-building technique I'd just read about in a magazine ... combining water and sand, and letting it drip from your hand into little sculptures. Witness here ... a mountain of sand trees!

What amused me most, however, was our attempt at flying the Blue Angel's jet kite. The wind was just this side of a little too calm and it refused to stay aloft. At one point, as Jeff held the string and Braden tossed the kite up in the air for one last attempt at flight, I grabbed my camera ... and shot this sequence:

Oh, yes ... we've got it ... we're heading up .....

no ... wait ... we're going down ...

oh dear ... yep, we're eating sand.

For some reason, as I watched this all happen over the course of mere seconds, my last rejection popped into my head. Usually, I'm waiting for a response from a children's book publisher. This time, however, I was thrilled to be waiting for a response from a magazine editor. It was the first magazine article I had submitted. I was branching out, expanding my horizon ... and I was quite excited by the prospect.

When the editor e-mailed back, I had the standard, "Do I really want to open this?" feeling in the pit of my stomach. But, of course, I did.

The first line was good ... "this is terrific", it read. I was soaring up, up in the air.

But, then I read the word, "unfortunately" ... oh dear ... I think we're going down.

"We can't find the right place for it in our line-up." And, there I was ... eating sand again!

I actually chuckled as I stood there, in the warm sand, silently connecting my rejection to the failure of the kite to fly on this particular day. Because ... on a different day - when the wind is just right - that kite will soar up in the air (and, yes, it will eat sand again too!!). It was a great reminder to me that someday - when the timing is just right - something I've written will find its place and get its chance to soar. In the mean time, I'll just have to learn to appreciate the sand!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Love Awards! :-)

A gazillion thanks to Sheri, at the fabulous Diary of a Children's Book Writer blog, for awarding me the lovely

Superior Scribbler Award!

I am so honored and excited. Sheri is fabulous ... if you haven't already gotten to know her, you must stop by her blog. She is smart, funny, honest, helpful, and just as kind as can be. And, I adore the other blogs she chose as well, including PJ Hoover at Roots in Myth, and Rebecca at Rebecca's Writing Journey.

OK, now for following the award rules! :-)
  1. Each Superior Scribbler must, in turn, pass the Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy buds.
  2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to this post, which explains The Award.
  4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List (!?) at the Scholastic-Scribe's blog. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives this prestigious honor!
  5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Seriously, I adore every single blog I follow, otherwise I wouldn't be following them. But, being the good rule-follower that I am, here are my five Superior Scribbler award recipients ....

  1. Rebecca Ramsey at Wonders Never Cease
  2. Beth Kephart at Beth Kephart Books
  3. Sherrie at Write About Now

Oh ... and there's also ... wait, is that my five already?! There are also a few blogs I adore that are on 'vacation' for the summer ... maybe I'll get the opportunity to pass an award along to them sometime in the future!

Congrats! And, happy writing (and illustrating! :-)).