30 September 2013

It's Coming...

What's coming? Why, National Novel Writing Month, of course! The best month of the year!
Every November, the Office of Letters and Light puts on a spectacular event, known in the writing community as NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words of original fiction in a month, which means you write 1,667 words a day. If that sounds easy to you, I dare you to try it.
This will be my fourth year participating in NaNoWriMo. Does that make me a seasoned veteran yet? I have a completely different method of approach this year, so I am confident that I will make my word goal yet again. I also plan on doing several blog posts throughout the month of October to help prepare and motivate people to participate, and then in November I will do my usual excerpt every 10,000 words or so.
I'm very excited.
Are you?
This is my excited face. In the photo, I am excited about my new hoodie that looks like (nerd alert) Princess Leia's ambassadorial robes from A New Hope. But it is the same face I make when I get excited about NaNoWriMo.

24 September 2013

An Impromptu Day

I thought I was going to donate plasma this morning, but there was a scheduling glitch and apparently I shouldn't have been able to make the appointment. And yet I was able to, so boo technology. They didn't inform me of the mistake until after I'd drunk 60 oz of water, dropped my kids off at the "supervised play area" and begun to answer the questionnaire. My kids were grumpy about leaving the playroom after only being there for five minutes, so I decided to give them a fun morning to make up for it.
We went to the library, which we haven't done in a couple months. Everyone found a book they liked (I got two), and Sammy asked for The Stinky Cheese Man by name, which made me proud. As I was buckling Sam back in his car seat, I had this thought that I should do something special for him. So I asked him if he wanted to go to the airport and look at planes.
Man, did he get excited! It was worth it just to see his eyes get wide at the mention of going to the airport. Both boys opened their books on their laps and looked at the pictures the whole way out there. They must not have inherited my reading-induced carsickness genes. At the airport, we got lucky: There were 6 planes out on the tarmac, and the guy at Cowboy Aviation said we could walk out and look at them as long as the boys didn't climb on them. Both boys had a blast getting up close and personal with the airplanes.
On the way home, we stopped by McDonalds for lunch (they do a special deal the day after the Broncos play). I might not have been able to donate plasma, but my canceled appointment sure made for a fun morning! I had a good time with my boys.
Future pilot?

14 September 2013

Just when you think you've got it...

I have read over the manuscript of my novel dozens of times, some parts a hundred times. I thought I had it as good as I could- free of grammatical and spelling errors, no issues with continuity, polished.
And then I was re-reading it yesterday and realized that I did something hugely dumb. Here's some insight into my writing process:
I had written a scene where Coy cuts his hand and has to go to the doctor to get it stitched up. I wanted some anxiety for Anna, so she went out to do laundry, and when she came back there would be no Coy, no Uncle Jack, and no van. So Coy had to get hurt, and then drive himself to the doctor. Simple, right?
I read it out loud to Ryan, and we both realized that if Coy had hurt his hand badly enough that he had to go to the doctor, he would hardly take the time to load Uncle Jack's wheelchair into the van. He would just drive off, leaving Uncle Jack there to explain things to Anna. Ryan also added that no self-respecting 21-year-old male would go to the doctor over a cut, no matter how much it was bleeding.
So I changed it up. Instead of going to the doctor, Coy and Uncle Jack would just go to the front desk of the hotel to use a first aid kit. Simple, right?
But I really wanted Anna to get worked up, and she wouldn't if she could look outside and see that the van was still in the parking lot. So I had the manager of the hotel ask Coy to move the van out of a handicapped parking spot while Anna was doing laundry. Simple, right?
Do you see the problem there? I rewrote this scene a couple months ago, and just noticed it yesterday. None of my beta readers noticed it either, so don't feel bad if you missed it. I, on the other hand, feel like an idiot (rightly so).
So I had to rewrite it. Again. I couldn't just cut it out, because Coy's injury was actually important to Anna's growth over the road trip.
Bah. I shudder to think that there might be more of these in there.

13 September 2013


I joined Twitter.
I swore I would never, ever, get into Twitter, but guess what? When you're trying to get a book published, you will do whatever it takes to get your foot in the door. While researching agents I noticed that a LOT of them are on Twitter, and I decided I might glean valuable knowledge from following them.
It has been amazing what Twitter has done for me so far. So many writers and agents put up links for interviews with agents, or information on query letters, or how to define genres. Thursday the 12th was my introduction to a fun event called #PitMad (short for pitch madness).
For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter... You get to write these short little notes (140 characters) called tweets. If you include something with a # (which is no longer a pound sign, it is a hash tag), then your tweet is compiled with all the other tweets that include that hash tag. So the goal for #PitMad was to describe your book in the space of a tweet. Agents and editors would check in periodically, and if they liked your pitch, they favorited your tweet. That was a signal that you were invited to send them your query, but you got to include that they favorited your tweet- which would hopefully mean they paid a little more attention to you.
This is what I mean by doing whatever it takes to get your foot in the door.
I spent the whole day on Twitter on my phone, scrolling through other peoples' pitches, posting mine a couple of times an hour, hoping that someone would take notice of me in the THOUSANDS (not an exaggeration- go scroll through #PitMad for the 12th of September if you don't believe me) of pitches that day.
I got lucky. Two people favorited my pitch- an agent who was already on my list of people that I wanted to query (so that was awesome) and an editor at a new imprint of Bloomsbury that is launching this fall, but only publishing e-books (not as awesome, but still cool).
Here was my pitch:
Anna's ready to grow up. It'll take a death, a proposal, and The Sound of Music to help her make her own choices. #PitMad NA contemp rom
The letters at the end mean New Adult contemporary romance, which is what I like to write.
So that was it. I'm still waiting to hear from that agent. It's agonizing, having requests out to agents. I check my e-mail more frequently than any sane person should, and I hold my breath while my inbox updates on my phone. It's nerve wracking. And exhilarating.
Next Twitter event is on September 24th- #MSWL. It either stands for My Secret Wish List, or Manuscript Wish List, depending on who you ask. I'll be there, heart pounding and hands shaking.

Oh, and if you'd like to follow me on Twitter, I'm @reynoldstribe

10 September 2013

Because I Said So

Sammy is a typical four-year-old: He likes to ask the same questions over and over again. Like:
S: What are we going to do after lunch?
K: Ben's going to take a nap and we're going to paint.
S: What are we going to do after that?
K: Quiet time.
S: What are we going to do after that?
K: Eat dinner.
S: What are we going to do after that?
K: Go to bed.
S: What are we going to do after that?
K: Wake up tomorrow morning.
S: What are we going to do after that?
K: ...

Another one of his favorites is "Where does ______ come from?" Everything, from cereal to buildings, he wants to know where it comes from. Good thing he hasn't asked yet where babies come from.
Finally, Sam likes to challenge everything I ask him to do with "Why?" I used to give him real reasons, but he didn't listen to me anyway, and that got really old. I've decided to embrace "Because I said so," because I am the rule maker and he doesn't need to listen because I have a good reason behind my rules. He just needs to listen because if he doesn't I may strangle him BECAUSE I SAID SO.
It's been working well so far; every time I pull out B.I.S.S. he doesn't ask me a million questions before complying. However, it has also led to some funny conversations, like the one we had this afternoon:
K: Hey bud, let's watch Rescue Bots together before I make dinner. (which was very bloody generous of me, as Sam only ever wants to watch the same episode over and over again)
S: Get off the couch, Mommy.
K: Uh, no.
S: No, you're supposed to ask why.
K: Okay. Why?
S: Because I said so.

I love this kid.

09 September 2013

I'm sorry, I'm so sorry

I feel guilty when I think of the fact that I haven't updated my blog since January. And then I think to myself, why would I bother feeling guilty? So there.
Our life has been pretty good the past eight months. Ryan got accepted to grad school, and started the American Studies program this semester. He is very busy now, which is an understatement.
The boys are becoming better friends as Benjy has gotten more mobile. The funny thing is, during the day they frequently bicker and mess with each other, but when they go to bed they don't do anything but laugh and play together. I'll take what I can get, I suppose.
My big excuse for not blogging is that I finally decided to take my novel writing up a notch. All of my free time has been going into editing my novel and getting it ready to do more than just be a file on my computer. I got it to a place where I felt comfortable with it, and then sent it out to "beta readers." I was the alpha reader, obviously. The beta readers were asked to give honest feedback so I could see where the novel was weak. Ryan, Cassi, and Mia gave me some great ideas of what needed to improve, so I worked on that for a while. Now, I've started querying literary agents trying to get one to take interest in my work.
Querying is hard work. It is also soul crushing to get rejected many times, which brings me to today. No one has rejected me yet (and it's 7pm in New York, so I figure most agents have stopped working), so instead of writing a new letter to send out I'm spending some time on the ole blog. I missed it.
Things coming up:
Family photos: It was hard to find a photographer in Laramie. Just kidding, one of my best friends here is a photographer. I'm excited that the weather is cooperating and that it will be cool outside for our photos.
Halloween: Sam and Ben want to be Daleks. Well, Sam does, and Ben will just have to go along with it unless I can find the perfect stripey shirt for him to be the Doctor.
Steamboat Springs: My parents are letting us use their timeshare points for a mini-vacation. Hurray!

That's all, folks. See you again in June. (Just kidding.)