Home From the Reunion

It might seem odd to some, that I went to a high school reunion this weekend for a school from which I didn’t technically graduate. However, I moved there for the last bit of third grade and stayed to the end of tenth grade, and we were more well-known to each other than I could manage from any other school I attended K-12. (There were six others. It’s probably a wonder I managed to stay in one place so long.)

It was disappointing that more of my classmates couldn’t make it, but I was pleased to see some of our elementary school teachers. One fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teacher were in attendance, only one of them still a full-time teacher. I suppose that ought to remind me how long ago elementary school was. While I wasn’t in that particular fourth grade section, I had both the others.

When I saw them (and it took a little bit for us to recognize each other), I remembered how many stories I made them sit and read through in my journal at the time. I always wanted to be a writer. It wasn’t understood to me at the time that I was a writer – one who writes. I filled the journal even then at different paces, some days filling in pages with my messy scrawl and others barely the minimum requirement. I don’t think they watched me too much on the minimum. I’m glad I got the chance to thank them for reading all that stuff I was so intent on spinning out.

Have you thanked a teacher lately? Especially one who took the time to encourage you when you were younger and make sure you weren’t so overwhelmed or lost that you gave up entirely? I know a lot of people think about teachers not as people but as little units of things that ought to get done. Perhaps it just seems that way during union talks or when there are cuts or something like No Child Left Behind. (Don’t get me started on that one.) Are there teachers out there you remember who helped you out? Who gave you something interesting to look forward to?

They hadn’t heard I was a published author now. Sometimes word travels slow, even in the small towns where I once attended a school that only seems familiar to the locals. Perhaps they’ll carry the word onward to the others who might have taught me. My former classmates got to see The Art of Science, too. Some of them have kids that age already, which is hard for me to imagine, since mine are 2.5 and forthcoming.

I’m really glad I went to the reunion. Despite my missing classmates, I did get to catch up with a few I really wanted to see. And here’s to all the rest who perhaps missed me there, and maybe I’ll catch them in another five years or more.

Digging Into Plot

Yesterday I pulled out my synopsis and I started making notes. Finally!

I’m really glad I wrote the synopsis now. It makes it easier to figure out where to change things. My notes are in dark blue, littering the typed pages.

Today I think I’ll add green or purple, whichever I can find first. I like adding a different color to show different kinds of work, and today I’ll be making a new line for the plot. It might take two or three times to get where I need to go and changing colors in the notes helps me see which direction I’m going.

As opposed to all black and white- then I’ll forever be scratching things out that don’t work.

Makes me think I should’ve done all this work before I wrote the book, but I didn’t develop the synopsis first.

Why oh why didn’t I do the synopsis first?

Well, I suppose I haven’t yet outlined a book before I’ve written it. The Art of Science might have been the exception because I had a chapter guide before I wrote it – but that one changed away from the outline version completely, too.

Do any of those writing books out there mention the people who have to write the rough draft before being able to look at the plot structure and make it better? I wonder if I might be one of those people.

Meeting the Readers

Okay, not all of them. But I went to a local mother-daughter book club and I had a wonderful time tonight. They read my book!

I think I had as good of a time as they did. They had so many questions about the writing and rewriting and publishing and even the naming of the characters. I loved listening to their discussion of the book and I could even ask my own questions of them. (And did, once or twice.)

I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of their discussion. They were great girls and their moms seemed awesome. The girls yelled ‘Thank you!’ as I left. And I smiled. Very big!

Thank you to Amber, Dahlia, Izzy, Gracie, Kylie, McKenna, and Sophie and to their mothers for letting me join them at their meeting.

Comments on My Book

Somehow, it always amazes me when the themes from my book touched my friends who read it. It shouldn’t, I’m sure, but it does.

I wrote a book about a thirteen year old girl who wanted to be popular and smart. I gave her issues with her family and her friends and in her classes.

The more the book is out there, the more I hear from people about something where they relate to Janie. It makes me smile inside (and outside) and I want to share more of my stories with more people.

Guess I’d better dig into the next project to make it ready.

Preditors and Editors Reader Poll 2009

The results are in! The Art of Science placed 4th in the reader poll.

I’m really happy my book did so well. Thank you for all the votes! It really makes my day when someone loves my stories, and this even more so since it’s my first novel published.

I’m still working on the next project, and I’m hoping good things come of it.

… not self-published

Really, I’m not. Which is why I was so surprised to read this: http://www.thonline.com/article.cfm?id=262529

Most of the information is no surprise. I do reside in Des Moines, I am going to be reading from my novel on Saturday, but my publisher would be shocked to hear she doesn’t exist! (Right, Vivian?)

I sent a note to the paper, and I think I’ll also contact the bookstore. Just so my readers know: I won a contest at a small press publisher. I entered my manuscript in January 2008, and I found out in March that it won.

Since then, my small-press publishing company has editors who helped me improve the novel, and it was published in March of 2009.

It’s available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and through my publisher’s website. And if you don’t want to order online, I believe you can walk into any Barnes and Noble and ask them to order it for you.

Meanwhile, I’m contacting the paper and the bookstore. I’m even thinking about writing a letter to the editor about self-published vs small press authors.

I’m also gearing up for a reading at River Lights 2nd Edition. I’m really excited to make an appearance at another bookstore!


When I’m asked about The Art of Science, inevitably the idea of a sequel comes up. I haven’t given a lot of thought to sequels, but then, on my way home from my reading, a couple ideas surfaced.

So I suppose as I make notes for the next reading, the next appearance – I’ll also make notes about the next novel, the possible sequel(s). So many things circling in my head now, between the rewrite of the other one and possible sequels and the stories I’ve been working on here and there.

Prairie Lights

It’s so hard to believe it’s already tomorrow! I think I’m ready. How do you prepare for something you’ve never done before? I haven’t seen many authors do readings.

It’s on the website for the bookstore. I’ve informed as many people as I could get to listen to me (which is always fun). It’s great to be able to say that I’ve done what I could to pull this together.

And tonight, I’ll practice. I know what I want to read, but I don’t want to stumble in front of family, friends, and strangers!

Hope to see you there, if you’re in Iowa City.

Prairie Lights!

has accepted to let me make an author appearance on September 26th.

I’m especially excited about this because it’s not a football Saturday – those are sacred events that I don’t think I could pull my friends away from, and the traffic would be awful anyway.

Maybe there will be football in the next book. That’s always a fun activity to watch or play. Until I get to writing that, though, I’ll be working toward advertising this event!

Father’s Day

What do we expect out of a father character? Probably much the same we do in life – someone who lays down the law and is the disciplinarian in our family.

Not all fathers fit this bill. I’m not sure even most do today, but we still carry over the expectation from before.

I didn’t have one of those fathers in my book, The Art of Science. I opted instead to make the mother into the ‘bad guy’ parent, and the father the one who stayed home and nurtured the children more. It didn’t make him less of a parent or a man; it changed his style.

I’m thinking about the next book already. (what author doesn’t?) Maybe this time it’ll be someone more conventional who fills the father’s role.

Happy Father’s Day to the traditional – and not so traditional – fathers out there.