MasterCard Priceless

I present my MasterCard commercial version, for the efforts of those in nasty divorces, and especially in honor of a someone close to me who is now going through one (who shall go nameless). I mean no offense to those who are awesome Exes, including mine.

  Cardboard boxes: $79, Packing Tape: $12.75

Cardboard boxes: $79, Packing Tape: $12.75

  Getting rid of soon-to-be-EX's stuff: PRICELESS

Getting rid of soon-to-be-EX's stuff: PRICELESS

Not Zombie Apocalypse

Short Short Story contest at Writer's Digest closes Nov. 15.

I just entered a their Horror and YA story contest with a story called Not Zombies, where a teen is preparing for the zombie apocalypse, but then it's not zombies that attack, instead a horseman arrives spreading pestilence, and then another with fire... 

 By Olympia Memes https://www.facebook.com/olymemes

By Olympia Memes https://www.facebook.com/olymemes

YA Books Selling Strong

I love this quote in Publishers Weekly, Children's Bookshelf: 

"Books we sold five or 10 years ago would have difficulty selling now because the market has become more sophisticated,” says Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management. “Everybody involved takes YA literature very seriously these days.” Agent Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc. agrees: “I actually think manuscripts have gotten stronger,” she says.

As a writer, this tells me to work harder and smarter, to do my research, to be dedicated. Read the rest of the article to learn more and how to, by clicking here.

Chief Special Agent

 At a popular tourist spot, where the train doesn't even stop.

At a popular tourist spot, where the train doesn't even stop.

Why does the Alaska Railroad need a Chief Special Agent? Does this have something to do with communist spies? As the illustrious Sarah Palin said, "we" can see Alaska. Well not really unless you travel a good 1000 miles west out the Aleutian chain of islands. And the railroad does not go out there. But maybe the government just wants to make sure that there are no double agents lurking in the bushes off of Beluga Point, a popular tourist stop south of Anchorage. 

Snow Marching Down

 From Ballfield looking down on Williwaws

From Ballfield looking down on Williwaws

The winter snow is marching down the mountains and will soon lay siege to Anchorage. Just last weekend, I went on the 12.6 mile Willawaw loop. The trailhead is just 15 minutes from my house, and even though I've had my eye on it for years, the timing came together (no work, no kids, sunshine, felt strong). 

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But today when I stepped out of work, the clouds parted–and Voilá ! The "termination" (as in the end of summer) snow had set in. 

 

Do I Lie where I Lay?

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Lie vs Lay vs Laid and do you ever use Lain? I got a chapter back from someone who bravely edited it. She suggested a correction for lie and lay, saying one was for only used for humans. Not sure about this, I consulted my friend, Grammar Girl. I recommend you become her friend too. Her wit about grammar keeps me from wanting to cut my ear off. (Did you here about the new Van Gogh?) I digress, that's how much I hate thinking about grammar. She calls her tips "Quick and Dirty," and she delivers on that promise by admitting lie, lay, laid, and lain are confusing, and offers a CHART (on her website). Luckily, her tips are quick, and in this case she doesn't get dirty by suggesting anything improper about laid.

Literary Agent Crush

My new crushes are keeping me writing until my eyes blur. I have 4 projects I'm working on. Not that I've ever tried it, but I would not Ritalin away this ADHD creativity.

I'm still coming down after pulling together my first conference for The Society of Children Book Writers And Illustrators in Alaska. We brought up Deborah Warren and Rubin Pfeffer of East West Literary Agency. These two are giants (in the industry) with hearts. And they've stolen mine. They treated everyone at the conference with respect, talking with attendees at lunch, in between workshops, and into the evening.

 Right to left: Rubin Pfeffer, Deborah Warren, Stefanie Tatalias (me), Brooke Hartman conference co-chair, and Cynthia Monroe volunteer extraordinaire.

Right to left: Rubin Pfeffer, Deborah Warren, Stefanie Tatalias (me), Brooke Hartman conference co-chair, and Cynthia Monroe volunteer extraordinaire.

After the conference, they and their spouses were headed off to explore Alaska. I felt like I was saying goodbye to good friends. And I suppose I was! I hope we stay in touch...and that they like my manuscript. I'd love love love to have a mutually successful (business) relationship with these two. 

Too Domestic?

After blueberry picking, my daughter is now baking a blueberry rhubarb pie. She's making it gluten free for me. I am content to write on the couch...not actually on the couch, but to sit on it and write on my computer...not on computer, with it. Grammar girl where are you? My son sits next to me re-designing my website (coming soon). Is this way too domestic? Where has my party girl gone? 

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Blue berry log: Day one, hike into mountains behind house. Weather: sunny with flies. Get gross red welts on neck, like a vampire tried to give me a hicky. Also get two quarts of berries. Day two, rain kept the flies away, so did a strong bug spray. It's the only major toxin I indulge in. PIck three quarts of berries. 

 

SCBWI Kirby Larsen

Kirby Larsen's Keynote speech made me cry. Okay, I cry easily: sappy songs, stories, even commercials. But Kirby truly touched a deep chord. Writing in lonely, and generally thankless. We dream (and sweat blood) to get it right, to bring about a resonance in someone else. Kirby infused the audience with respect for our craft and ourselves. Go Write! Draw! Dance! Sing! Be Creative! Take the risk, cry your own tears or joy...or risk the pain. But feel your life. Be inpsired. Do whatever it takes. Do it now.

A friend of mine has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She is an incredible woman who lives, who hikes, mothers, wives, works with a passion. For her, let's live our lives to the fullest.

SCBWI LA 2013

Woowhoo. Made it to LA for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators 2013 International Conference. As Regional Advisor for Alaska, I came a day and half early for trainings and socializing with other RAs. Awesome crowd. So many great ideas about events to share with our members...if I only had another 40 hours a week for this volunteer job. Does anyone know how to clow the earth's rotation to give us a few more hours every day?

Caught Mouse

The mouse trap worked; I caught a mouse in my car. I didn't have the heart, stomach, or guts to take a pic of the mouse, neck broken, rigamortis and all.   My snake is a snob. He wouldn't eat the dead mouse. Back at the store, the salesman laughed when I told him my story of woe. Snake gave the new mouse a big hug and gobbled him all up.

Mice in Car

The mice are loose in my new car, a car I had total buyers remorse over, the car I might not even keep. Don't get me wrong, my new Rav4 is absolutely amazing, especially the heated leather seats, espcially compared to the grotty old car. Those mice are probably burrowing into the new car seats right now, their little mice brains venting their revenge on the wiring. I have ways to deal with that. Did you notice the mouse trap on the floor? And I call myself a yogi who practices non-harming (Ahimsa in Sanskrit). Egad, I feel guilty.

Feeding New Snake

I wanted a snake, but I didn't want to take the time to buy one. Craigs List provided an easy solution: call, make an offer, ball python delivered. Snake people even carried the tank in. They went over its care, saying it needed two mice-not to pet, to eat. Off we, my daughter and I, go to the store. Pet store guy asks if I want to pick out the mice. I declined. He hands me a cardboard box that says "travel safely with your new pet". Feeling guilty, we put the box on the back seat and stop at the grocery store. When we come back, the box is empty. The mice nibbled their way to freedom...in my new car. Will the mice nibble at the wires for revenge? Will they attack my achilles heal when I'm on the freeway? Will the store provide free mice for having such stupid boxes?