31 July 2015

  1. Saw Mr. Holmes! Finally!
  2. Got ALL the laundry done.
  3. Chatted with my parents on the phone.

30 July 2015

  1. A nice writers group meeting.
  2. Got some good writing done.
  3. A day off from the kids.

Bonus: "Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Last Line" was the #1 Sherlock Holmes story on the Amazon UK chart.

29 July 2015

  1. Got another commission to write a feature screenplay.
  2. The nanny was able to come take the kids after all (for a while there it looked like she might not).
  3. Even though one of my toenail's polish came off, I was able to get it fixed before we go on the cruise.

28 July 2015

  1. Fabulous new hair color that drew lots of attention from passers-by. And also great mani/pedi.
  2. Great response to my blog posts regarding DFW Con. (More of those to come!)
  3. Taco Bell for dinner and I don't even feel guilty about it because I did a great workout afterward.

27 July 2015

  1. A friend and fellow author was offered a contract with Tirgearr, the same publisher who will be publishing Peter in January.
  2. I took the kids to Pixels and it made them ridiculously happy, which in turn makes me ridiculously happy because I love to see them so happy.
  3. Meeting Susan Chang reminded me of how much I enjoyed The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, so I started reading it aloud to my 9-year-old son, and he's loving it. Plus, I'm loving re-reading it.

DFW Con!

So I've been away, which is why I've neglected to list all the wonderful things happening each day. Instead, I will now list all the good things that happened while I was in Dallas for DFW Writers Convention:

  1. I pitched to an editor from Tor and she requested the first three chapters of my book! Bonus: I really, really liked her and could totally see forming a working relationship with her. (But that's like proposing on a blind date, so . . .)
  2. I got to hang out with Kevin J. Anderson! Excuse me while I fangirl.
  3. I learned that the wording in all those rejection letters for Peter probably were code for "we really like your writing/voice but don't think we can sell this particular book; please do send something more marketable our way." Which makes sense given Peter's decidedly niche market. But when an agent puts in a rejection that he or she wants to see more by you, they mean it!
  4. Awesome keynotes by the aforementioned Mr. Anderson, Charlaine Harris, and Shilo Harris.
  5. A great cocktail reception during which I met amazing fellow writers and also had another agent request some pages.
  6. Workshops that helped me figure out how to write an effective synopsis and also helped me find a better opening line for my book.

In short, it was a great conference. I'll be posting more details over on my author site.

As for the trip to Dallas, additional good things:

  1. Great food.
  2. Getting to see old friends again.
  3. Time by the pool.
  4. The hotel service was fabulous all around.

Now it's back to normal life. Well, and sprucing up those pages for the editor and agent who requested them!

22 July 2015

  1. The kids set up a lemonade stand and very kind and generous neighbors ensured they made a tidy profit. They were so excited about their success!
  2. Was able to get in that last-minute spa appointment. And this place is much closer than my usual place, so there was less traffic on the whole to deal with.
  3. Supportive friends on Facebook.

21 July 2015

  1. Even though my spa let me down by calling and canceling my appointment at the last minute (my aesthetician is ill and the other one is on vacation, so apparently they have no one), I was able to find and book a substitute. We'll find out tomorrow how it goes . . .
  2. A good video conference call with my co-screenwriters.
  3. I didn't have to do any laundry.

20 July 2015

  1. Iced chai with two shots of white mocha.
  2. Traffic wasn't the worst it's ever been.
  3. Helping a friend prep a submission—that always makes me feel good.

19 July 2015

  1. Took Evie to her first ever stage musical: The King and I! I'm pretty sure she loved it; she came home singing "Getting to Know You" and was super excited that she got to meet the actress who played Anna.
  2. The workouts seem to be working, little by little. I don't weigh myself, but I do like the way my clothes are fitting better.
  3. Quiet time to myself in the morning.

18 July 2015

  1. Dairy Queen. I only go maybe once or twice a year. It was finally time for a Butterfinger Blizzard.
  2. New toys from Hot Topic, including a Tenth Doctor, a Mulder, and a TARDIS. There's definitely a story in there somewhere.
  3. The kind people at DFW Con were able to reassign me to a more suitable editor for my pitch session.

17 July 2015

  1. Yesterday one of my toenails came off. Well, not the actual toenail, but the polish. I looked down after a workout and realized one of my toes had lost its polish. But luckily I was going in for a manicure today anyway, so I was able to get my toenail fixed up too.
  2. New shutters for my office! The old blinds were awful, and the pull had broken besides, so it's nice to have functioning window coverings again.
  3. Saw a hummingbird in my little side garden. They make me stupid happy whenever I see them.

16 July 2015

  1. Weekly writers group meeting.
  2. Was able to avoid the bad highway traffic by taking back roads this morning.
  3. Another mystery writer (someone I don't know) shared my about.me page on Twitter. Such a small thing, but nice. Small things add up after all.

15 July 2015

  1. A week or so ago, we noticed very small spots of oil on the garage floor. I slipped a white trash bag under where I park my car, and yup: a little oil leak. So today I took the car to the place around the corner, and it was an easy fix (new gasket) AND they didn't charge me.
  2. A small publisher has asked to read the first chapter of Changers.
  3. Fatburger for dinner, followed by a grueling workout and a eucalyptus bath. (You notice how many of my good things revolve around food?)

14 July 2015

  1. Got some writing done. (Every little bit . . .)
  2. The kids were mostly very well behaved.
  3. Avoided unnecessary snacking, which makes me feel better about myself.
Bonus: My newest Sherlock Holmes story was released and did moderately well.

13 July 2015

  1. Scott stayed home today, and we had a productive morning that included a walk, some necessary clothes shopping, lunch out, and groceries.
  2. Fellow writer Christine Rains hosted me on her blog today.
  3. Yummy dinner of homemade squash bisque and baked fish.

12 July 2015

  1. Early morning swim. Even though it was kind of chilly for it, I'm glad I got the exercise. And I do love to swim.
  2. My Sherlock Holmes book had a massive uptick on Amazon. (It's free through Wednesday! And the new one releases tomorrow!)
  3. John Oliver was back. He really is the best way to cap off the week.

11 July 2015

  1. Sleeping in.
  2. Pizza for dinner.
  3. Lots of downloads of one of my books (currently free on Amazon) and more pre-orders for my other one.

10 July 2015

  1. Though the sprinklers went haywire this morning, the repairman was able to come first thing and it was a quick and easy fix covered by the 90-day guarantee.
  2. The kids were out for a large chunk of the day, allowing me to relax. I didn't even have to leave the house to run any errands!
  3. Snickerdoodles!
Bonus: More pre-orders for my forthcoming Sherlock Holmes story!

Changing It Up

This was originally a blog about how books and authors have impacted me over the course of my life, and I might still sometimes blog on that topic. But I also want to get back to a daily gratitude mindset. I used to do this on my personal blog, and then I sort of fell off. But here, in public, I might feel more accountable.

For those who don't know, psychologists recommend making a list of three good things that happen each day. The idea is that this trains your mind to look for the positive in your life, and eventually you become happier in general. Back when I was doing this regularly, I do believe I was feeling better about things. I don't feel bad now, either, which is all the more reason to give thanks.

It doesn't matter how small the good thing is. I recall one day having one of my good things be that I'd found an empty pocket in traffic. You know, where there are cars way ahead and cars way behind, but you're on your own, no pressure from drivers around you? A tiny thing, but I'll take what I can get.

So starting now, every evening I will strive to post three good things that happen. (Exceptions include being away on vacation, during which times I often don't have regular access to a computer or Internet.) I hope you'll be inspired to make your own gratitude lists, or maybe share some good things that happen to you by commenting here.


07 July 2015

Animal Stories

Does every kid go through the animal books phase?

From ages three to ten, we lived in a little two-bedroom place. My room had a big, beautiful oak tree outside the window, but my parents' room had no such obstructions to light, so I would go lay on their bed to read. And somewhere in those years, I really got into animal stories.

Lassie Come Home, The Trouble with Tuck, Lad: A Dog, Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, Socks, The Cat That Overcame, The Cat Who Came for Christmas, The Cat Who Went to HeavenMisty of Chincoteague (yet for some reason I never could get into Black Beauty) . . . There were dozens of these books, and I read many of them two and three times over.

In fact, I was reading Old Yeller in church one Wednesday night. My mom required me to go Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights, but on Wednesdays I was allowed to bring homework or a book to read. That particular night we had a guest preacher, and he saw me reading and threw a fit. My mother and our regular pastor had it out over that one. She told him, "That's my daughter and I'll decide whether she can read in church or not!" Pastor Morrow was a big guy, but he backed up quick when Mom got in his face. He apologized to me, which was kinda weird for a seven-year-old. But after that I didn't have to go on Wednesdays any more either.

That was a bit of a digression, but it's funny the memories we attach to some books, and that's my singular memory of Old Yeller.

Animal books often have sad endings, or happy-sad endings. Either way, I seemed to always end up blubbering over them. Even when I'd read them before and knew what was coming. Which is, I suppose, a testament to great writing.

And yet animal books are also something we eventually leave behind. They seem to be the purvey of childhood (Marley and Me notwithstanding). Thinking about it now, I'd like to maybe go back and read a couple of these again, see if they still impact me the same way.