Sunday, February 28, 2010

Go Canada!

So Canada takes 14 gold medals. That just rocks! The men's hockey game today was so exciting. I love win win scenarios. Good for Canada! Nicely done.

I love this pic of Gwen, Debbie and Hannah Kearney. Now that's star quality.

March will be a very busy month for me. Very busy. Not only will I wrap up my rewrites and queries, it's time to get back into the poker groove.

There may be a three-way tie for first place if I beat Steve in racquetball this week. I also play Ron D. for our ladder. I'm on a roll now and don't see myself stopping anytime soon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The last 10%

I heard the last 10% of a project takes 90% of the work. I'm in the last 10% phase of getting my book ready for the professionals. It's the final push to making sure the story reads well. I have 14 chapters in the book and over half have been revised. The middle section is actually pretty good. I read through chapters 8-11 last weekend through today. I'm happy with them. I skipped chapters 6-7. I'll do them later. I have to add a few pages to chapter 6. It only has three sections. It needs five. All my chapters are divided into five section. No reason for that -- it just worked out that way.

In querying agents, I'm finding myself second-guessing just about every line of my query. I'm not sure that's very productive. If they're interested, great, and if they're not, move on. Querying is a lot like online dating. It's all about letting the rejection slide off while still moving forward. This is a lot easier said than done. I've had a lot of practice in rejection. You'd think I'd get used to it. I don't know if I ever will.

I'm still reading a lot. Halfway through "Blue Angel." There's some great writing in that book.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm reading about 10 books right now. I can't seem to stop starting books. It's a sickness. What I'd love to catch is the illness that forces me to finish books. I'm reading Blue Angel right now. I checked it out of the library today. I've been wanting to read the novel ever since I heard the author Francine Prose interviewed on Fresh Air back in 2000. The cover is fantastic. So is the writing. I'll have this puppy finished in no time.

Chris's package arrived today. He bought me a book on internment camps ("A Tragedy of Democracy") which has totally motivated me to begin work on book 2, "Julia Milan and the House on Trestle Glen." After 15 pages, I'm loving this book. It's thorough and carefully written. Chris also included his Grand Gold award-winning handbook. It's brilliant. I'd love to create a marketing pamphlet similar to his for my book.

The days fly by, as always. There's too much to do. I joined Goodreads. I could spend days on that site. It's worse than Facebook.

I had a racquetball lesson yesterday with Angela Grisar. I was fantastic. I'm working on all sorts of ways to improve my game. I have six basic shots to practice, passing, pinch and wide-angle on both forehand and backhand. We'll see if the lesson improves my game. I think it will.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Busy Week

Kathryn and Tom visited this past weekend. They came over Sunday afternoon and stayed until yesterday morning. We ate lots of food, hung out on Lakeshore and Piedmont Aves, and veged at my place until around 10:30. It was great spending time with them. Rossana joined us Sunday and enjoyed their company.

Neal put some great pictures up on Facebook yesterday. This was after I put a few old orchestra pics up, including this one:

I'm revising chapters 4 and 5 this week, and sending out a few queries. I'd like to send ten queries out this week if that's possible. 2-3 per day. I also would like to meet with Cathryn regarding some training opportunities through CMC. Lots to do and not enough time to do it. I'm also reading several books right now.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Revisions and Cleaning

My revisions are going well, but they sure take a long time. I spent 90 minutes cleaning my room. I hadn't vacuumed in a while. I can be real lazy when it comes to chores, though I always do dishes. That's a must. With the Super Bowl last weekend and Kathryn & Tom coming over, I've been doing a lot of cleaning lately.

I'll send some queries out next week and meet with Catherine about doing some training for her. I'll enjoy that.

The Olympics are on and I haven't watched any of them. I'm just not into them this year.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Already?

Kathryn's in town, so Neal B. and I will have dinner with her in the City. Should be fun. I'm gathering my agent info for new queries next week. I have a list of ten, but before I query I would like to review the work of their clients. I did that yesterday and will continue to read more through the weekend. No wonder the days fly by...there's so much to do.

I have my first racquetball lesson with Angela next Wednesday at 1. I can't wait. I played well this week and have focused on hitting the ball more accurately. It really showed today as I beat Steve B. 15-4. Nice. Keep it up. I play to challenge next week on the ladder and win, plus I have some match games to play. A busy week of racquetball. I take on Byron Tuesday night. I have three words for him: Come to papa. I love B., but I do plan to destroy him on Tuesday.

I'm revising ch. 4 of Chapel and the revisions are a great improvement I think.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Oaklandish Place

I like this video:

Oakland is such a cool place. I liked being part of the message machine.

Had lunch with Catherine today and we're going to talk next week about signing on with her as a trainer. This will be perfect for me, as it will give me some flexibility and allow me to teach. Also, I'll be forced to improve my computer skills. A win-win, I believe.

Sending out more queries and reading more blogs and writing sites. Lots of excellent stuff out there!

Calf is better today, thank goodness. I played Rod G. this morning at 10 and beat him in two games, 15-7, 15-8. I played well, making a few mistakes here and there, but really focusing on playing one point at a time and not getting to angry when I missed an opportunity to put the ball away. I was down 1-8 in the second game and really focused on playing one point at a time. Once I worked out the issue with my first serve, I rallied and came back strong. When it was 8-8, Rod was now the player making mistakes and I closed out the match quickly. I hope to do the same with Byron next week.

Now that I've learned how to include YouTube videos on my blog, I'm going to be ridiculous.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sore Calf

Woke up at 4:15 a.m. this morning, even though I'd gone to bed a little before midnight. I was excited to play racquetball this morning. I warmed up from 5-5:15 and practiced a few backhands and ceiling balls. Steve arrived around 5:20 and we played a quick game at 5:30. At 5-7, he ran into me, his knee hitting my left calf as followed through on a forehand passing shot, and let me tell you my calf muscle is still really sore. Damn, I hate getting injured! I hope it's better by tomorrow because I have a challenge match with Rod G. at 10 a.m. I was planning to call Angela G. and schedule a lesson, but I'll wait until I know the extent of my injury. I hope it heals soon because I'm so ready to terrorize my opponents on the racquetball court this month. I am so tired of losing games that should be won. Today, Steve and I were up 14-6 against Mark and another Steve, and we ended up losing 14-16. What the f&#K? It makes me want to destroy things.

I'm reading through Pub Rants, a blog by lit agent Kristin N., and it's a fabulous excuse to keep from revising the book. Yesterday, she posted a request for queries from guys, so I guess I'm sending her mine today. I've been holding off because once I send the query to one agent, I'll start the entire query process, and that means the inevitable string of no thank you's. It only takes one yes, and I've done what I needed to do to deal with this stage of the process, but still, I'm concerned no one will see the potential in Julia Milan. I guess there's only one way to find out.

Man, my calf is sore.

Last night, Chris and I talked about his Grand Gold UBC handbook. It's a marketing marvel, and pure Chris P. I have to remind myself that the ultimate goal is getting one of our scripts sold. I look forward to that day.

I'm firing up the poker skills once again, ready for all the pain and suffering that comes with the endless bad beats I seem to suffer. Will my new, improved attitude withstand the two-, three-, and four-outers just waiting to unravel me, or will I break a whole new set of computer mice this month? Inquiring minds want to know.

I've been reading several blogs this month, which is why I'm writing more on mine. I like blogs.

Here's a picture of my Super Bowl party. It was great! Biff won 1st place. Congrats, Biff!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Yesterday, I wrote for five hours, studied poker for the first time in a month (four hours), and cleaned. Today I'm doing more of the same. I've revised chapter 3 so that it's now a bit more gripping than it was. I'll send out my first batch of queries this week. I've been at home now for over 15 months. I've grown accustomed to this wonderful lifestyle. There's nothing out that that can replace what I used to have, so I'm determined to create something new, something better.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Saints

So the Saints finally won a Super Bowl. It was a great game up until the 4th quarter interception. I was hoping for something a little closer toward the end, but all-in-all I was entertained. The Doritos ads were strong. The rest, so-so. The Megan Fox commercial was funny. I had the ususal suspects over and we had a great time. Biff won the Super Bowl contest and an Urban Indigo Oakland desk calendar for his efforts. The next party is a month from now...the Oscars.

I only got one hour of writing done today. Not good. Tomorrow will be better.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Revisions & Pinball

I have 80+ sequences in Chapel book 1, each around 3-4 pages each. I'm going through the book one last time before sending out queries to agents. The first few chapters are in good shape. The story's in good shape, too, though I need to develop Julia's healing powers a bit more, setting things up more thoroughly so that the beginning of chapter 13 makes sense. The connection from Max to Julia is a bit vague and may stay that way in book 1. No need explaining everything right away. Anyway, I'm in the middle of chapter 3. I probably have another 60-70 hours left before I can move onto something else.

I'm almost done with Damages, season 2. I'm enjoying this season a lot. They're adding more plot-twist layers into the mix, but doing it effectively. I'm on episode 10. I can't wait to get into season 3, which is dvr'ed.

Last night I took Trey, Miles and Sophie to the Pacific Pinball Museum. What a wonderful time. We were there from 5:30 until 9:45. Trey was the adult in the group who said it was time for bed. I could have stayed until midnight. Neil joined us, too. Richard was out of town for the weekend so he couldn't make it. I played about five or six games of King of Diamonds, but didn't get the special for hitting all the cards. Next time. I like that place. Alameda is a fun place to hang out.

Aside from revising, I spent the day cleaning, making beef stew and shopping for the Super Bowl party tomorrow. People come over at 3. I'm trying out my new seltzer bottle tonight, making my first Italian soda in years.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Somewhere between 3 and 4

When I was a kid, two weeks felt like an eternity. Now, an hour feels like five minutes. Two weeks feels like a day. What the hell is up with that?

I made the grave mistake of watching Lady Gaga videos on YouTube. I can't get "Bad Romance" out of my head. Time for a Bartok string quartet to clear the tracks – No. 4, 5th mov't, that usually does the trick.

Ten nominees for Best Picture? Why not 100. I mean, come on.

I read somewhere that the best $70 investment ever made went toward a heated mattress pad. I concur. It's 5:53 p.m. and I'm seriously considering slipping into bed with a few chapters to revise, the heat dials set somewhere between 3 and 4.

I'm still pissed that Favre threw that int with 9 seconds left. I know, let it go.

I'm rewriting Jonas's concluding speech to Julia and it's interesting what's coming up. Goodbye Mr. Burns, hello embittered Citizen Kane.

This morning I had the privilege of playing older brother/therapist to my youngest sister, a role I enjoy almost as much as offering friendly advice to strangers about things I know nothing about. It's the co-dependent in me. I just can't help offering my take on things when asked. Friends kid me that I never answer "yes" or "no" to yes-and-no questions.

Okay, time to revise...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's Out There

I'm reading through my posts and and reminding myself of all the nonsense I've written these past three years. I used to play poker once upon a time. Lately, I've been preparing my young adult novel for its coming out party into the literary world. That means crafting a query letter, tweaking the latest draft so that all the scenes make sense, and establishing some kind of internet presence. I've been reading the blogs of a few agents and have been impressed with the level of information they're willing to share with strangers. I can learn from that kind of generosity.

Monday, February 1, 2010

No Time

Up: 4:00 a.m.
Bed: 10:30 p.m.
Racquetball: Played my match with Tyrone today and couldn't make a shot to save my life. Lost 15-9, 15-8. Really sad. He didn't play all that well, either. I wasn't focused and lacked energy. I'll be ready for him next time.

Blogs: I read two agent blogs today and really enjoyed them. I'm amazed how much information folks provide in their blogs. It's like reading a 600-word essay in a magazine. I was impressed. I'm learning a lot about the publishing world from these blogs. They're great.

Joined SCBWI. Joined LaLa. Played with Google Books. It's truly unreal what we're able to do online these days.

No poker! Ahh! I'm going through withdrawls. Must play Wednesday or Thursday. This is ridiculous.

Took Sandy to the vet today to deal with her limping. Poor thing. More back issues. She's been out of it all day.

24 is dvr'ed and I'm on it now. More tomorrow.