Friday, August 28, 2009

Easy Bake

One of the great things about having kids is the nostalgia for one’s own childhood that comes with the various phases that roll by. For instance, as a child I was the number-one fan of the Easy Bake Oven, which is saying a lot considering I didn’t even own one. My friend Holly had one and every time I went out for a sleepover I’d lay awake sending her a singular telepathic thought: Wake up and give Christy your Easy Bake Oven.

It never happened.

My joy in making tiny baked goods in tiny cookware has not diminished in the decades since I coveted Holly’s oven, so when my daughter’s Easy Bake phase was in full force I was all over it. We’ve had frog phases, fizzy experiment phases, and Lite Brite phases, all of which I’ve enjoyed. But this new phase was one I’d forgotten all about and it brought back waves of joy: the paint-by-numbers phase.

My sister is an artist and yet I have absolutely no skill when it comes to drawing or painting. I’m decent with visual design, but if you asked me to create any piece of fine art you’d assume I’d done it left handed. And blindfolded. I’m simply incapable of translating what I see to the page or canvas in pictures, which is why I found so much comfort in paint-by-number kits as a kid. It was pure magic, the way you could follow the formula and end up with something that, to my young eyes, looked completely professional.

Being able to produce a painting of a lighthouse or a fawn was like all of a sudden knowing how to perform surgery or fly an airplane – a skill that had been completely out of my grasp was now within reach. Of course, it was an illusion of skill but does that matter? I can’t decide if it does or not. I just knew it made me happy.

I think I’ll give it a try this weekend. And I might pull out the old Easy Bake while I’m at it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I am datum!

I am swooning, literally.

I'm actually physically dizzy because I just saw my name in the Library of Congress! I don't think anyone has ever been this excited to be datum! I know I must seem like a total dork to get so excited about this, but honestly getting my ISBN and being in the LOC database has been what I've looked forward to more than holding an actual book in my hands...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cover Tease....

I got to see my cover this week! After hearing many stories of disappointment from fellow authors who have hated their covers, I have been really, really dreading the moment when I got the cover art. So when I saw an email from my editor titled "POD Cover” I gasped. Then I yelled for Scott and the kids to come in with me while I opened the file.

First there was this:

Hi Christy, We had our cover meeting today and everyone fell in love with the cover that’s attached. It was done by Kevin Brown (did I mention he was the cover artist I was hoping would do this?) and I think it’s stunning.

I really love this. It incorporates a lot of different icons from the book (the Three Hares, the Fraternis tattoo, the Tzolkin sigils, the Scottish rings) and gives us a good look with which we can continue in the second book. It’s got that ominous quality to it which I think will work well to sell the more mysterious elements of the story. Thoughts?

And then I opened it. We all screamed, “Cool!” at the same time, which I think is a good sign. Plus, there’s foil involved. Shiny!

It’s probably not for everyone. I hope there are teen girls who will appreciate mysterious and ominous over light and pretty. I certainly do, but I am also quite odd.

I wish I could show you now but I’ve been instructed to wait two weeks for final art. What was revealed was just one of the concepts presented at the cover meeting so now it goes for polish and perfection.

Believe me, the minute I get a finished .jpg it will be all over the place!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm up in the cupboard, right behind the flakes...

I saw this on PR Newswire:

"Brain Injury Survivor Recovers, Releases Novel on 2012 and the Mayan Calendar"

I wonder how they'll position my release.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Inspiration v. Aspiration

I’m back. Arrived home late last night to a massive, low-slung moon and a clear sky full of stars. I’ve been away for almost two weeks; long enough to miss the summer scent of Oregon, miss seeing the mountains we’re tucked below, miss the soft cheeks of my kids.

The conference was exhausting but crucial. In years past I’ve always focused on the “craft” sessions, taking away loads of inspiration for writing. This year I attended the ProTrack (sessions for authors who are published or in the process of getting published) and the focus was different—it was all about the selling and marketing of a book. So instead of leaving inspired, I left with lists of things I need to do to have my books succeed. The list is long.

But today I am going to enjoy being home. I won’t think about niche markets or Bookscan or whether B&N will like my covers. Maybe we’ll go to the lake or the park or the ice cream shop. Maybe we’ll barbeque and have a picnic under the big Sweetgum tree that shades our patio.

Here, the possibilities for inspiration are endless.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

SCBWI Update!

I’m here! Arrived Thursday night and had drinks with Paul, Graeme, SarahFrances, Katie, Shelli, and Kimberly. Then got up at the crack of dawn to register right when it opened - I was dying to see which editor I have for my manuscript critique. I nearly fainted when I saw it was Wendy Loggia, Editorial Director of Delacorte Press at Random House, one of the biggest editors here. Now I’m terrified that I have to talk to Wendy Loggia at 8 AM...

But onward! Sherman Alexie gave one of the best speeches about writing and books that I’ve ever heard. We laughed, we cried...then we bought very book he’d ever written.

Then I went to Wendy Loggia’s talk – you know, sort of pre-critique stalking. Loved her. She’s very warm and charming and not too scary until you start to remember the massive number if bestsellers she’s edited.

Now for the best part of the day: Lunch with the YA Bloggers Khy, Catt, Alicia and Vania! All of the Tenners here at the conference met them at Pink Taco and as we were gathered around outside they were so into the authors that they did not even look twice when Magic Johnson and his entourage walked right by us into the restaurant. However, Lindsey Leavitt and I nearly peed ourselves.


These young women who review YA books online wield a lot of power, but they are the sweetest people you will ever meet. Khy even made personalized gift bags for everyone! We all nearly cried when we received them, and one author quipped that her husband wasn’t even this thoughtful. My gift bag included Mayan cacao powder, Mayan worry dolls, a castle that grows 600 times its size in water, a corn husk (because I love the smell of corn husks!), an amazingly cute monkey, and a mini book on origami (in my book, the monkey communicates through origami). Khy did this for every author there and we so appreciated how much time and energy she (and her beautiful mother) put in to researching us to put together just the right bags. Thanks again, Khy!

It was a blast to meet Catt, who gave me my first WoW review and also became the first person ever to ask for my autograph! Catt, you are amazing! Thanks to all of you who came to the lunch to talk with us.

The evening was great fun reconnecting with old friends. Today is a full day of sessions plus a luncheon for the “published authors” here. That’s a table I’ve always wanted to join and I’m pinching myself that the dream is coming true!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

No writing, but lots of fun!

We’ve been busy here in Estes Park – chasing Pikas, hiking, ghost hunting… My eyeballs are too fried from a day at the lake to type much, but I’ll post some pics.

Beginning our hike around Bear Lake

Juliet spotting a big Rainbow Trout

A Pika spotting us!

What started as a 1-mile hike tuned in to a 6-mile hike. The kids were troopers, but Hank did need a lift here and there.

Hitting the Stanley Hotel for some ghost hunting

Communing with the ghosts!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Edits, check! Ginko, check! Ghosts, Check!

I just finished my edits on Book One and hit the "send" button! I was able to shave off 10 more pages on this round, so now it's coming in at a positively svelte 298. It's amazing how unsentimental you get on the 3,456th reading of your own work; I was slashing and burning with abandon.

And now a quick shower and then to the airport. We fly to Colorado this afternoon for a Raedeke family reunion in Estes Park, elevation 7,522. Yes, there will be gasping. We’re loading up on ginko because the interwebz said to. It also says that regular Coke is an excellent remedy for altitude sickness and my kids are more than happy to test that one out. Sweet caffeine, what will you do to an excitable five year old?

I’m excited to poke around in Rocky Mountain National Park and to do some whitewater rafting. I’m also anxious to get to the haunted Stanley Hotel, the place that inspired the setting for Stephen King’s The Shining. Redrum!

Between caffeine, rambunctious counsins, and ghosts, this promises to be a sleepless vacation for the children. Ah, summer!