Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chasing Auguste

The weather report said rain all day, so at 8:30 am, when the sky was still clear blue, I put the dogs on their leashes and headed out for a long walk. When we got to the fields on the top of the ridge, I took the leashes off and let them run. Rusty, who never much liked running, stayed nearby and snuffled in the hedges and grass. Auguste took off in huge, delighted circles, staying always in sight, but as far away as he could without actually disappearing. We walked through the stone fields, crossed a stream in the bottom of a narrow ravine, and then headed across the big fields towards the back road to the village. We were alone. Auguste runs like a dachshund -with ears flying and butt bouncing because of his ridiculously short legs. He bounced up the path, then startled a meadow lark. Auguste loves to chase birds. It's absurd and futile, but he works himself into a frenzy over birds. The lark darted off to the side and Auguste launched himself off the slightly raised path and into a ploughed field. He landed in the mud and was stuck for a few moments, then managed to thrash over to a field of winter wheat and he was off - away, running with his ears flying and his tail whirling and his barks getting fainter as he headed over the rise.
"Auguste!" I cried, and of course started running across the field after him. "Auguste you silly dog, come back here! Leave the birds alone! You're supposed to hunt badgers! Come back here, you mustached wiener!" As I ran across the field, now sloping down so I was going quite fast, my yellow boots flashing in the morning sun, I vaguely noted we were approaching the dairy farm. I caught up with Auguste, still yelling things about birds, badgers, and wieners, (in French, of course - I would pick today to scream at my dog in French.) and put his leash on. And looked up.
The farmer, his son, and his two grandsons were standing in the doorway staring at me.
I straightened up, tried for a dignified expression, and waved. "Bonjour," I said.
A throat cleared. The two boys huddled to their grand dad, their eyes round. The father's mouth twitched, and he gave a half a nod.
I tromped out of their field, onto the road, and noted that I was covered in mud, Auguste was covered in mud, and Rusty was still about a hundred yards behind us, trotting in her loopy, floppy style, her tail wagging, her mouth open like she was laughing at me.
I waited up for her, put her leash on, and went back home where I hosed myself and the dogs off before going inside. (Why do dogs always wait until they are inside the house before shaking off?)
My husband says not to worry - the villagers already think I'm eccentric. I can just imagine what the dairy farmer and his family think now, after watching me fly down their hill after Auguste, calling him a mustached wiener.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Both Sides Now

I've been busy reading submissions.

Our new publishing company is developing nicely. We finished drawing up the contract and showed it to a few authors who pronounced it "very reasonable". The website is set up and the shopping cart is in order. We've ordered ISBNs for the books, and our editor is already excited about the books already on her list.
I'm looking for proofreaders now. Anyone interested in proofreading and getting not-yet published books for free can contact me.
It's funny being on the other side of the submissions process.
Usually I'm the one writing the query letters and submitting chapters. Every time I hit the "send" button and see my submission go, my heart flutters, so I know what the authors feel like when they send me their 'babies'.
Luckily I'm not in acquisitions, but I do read the YA submissions and I can read others if I want, although right now I'm in charge of the YA, fantasy, and science fiction part of the submissions.
Here is what I've learned so far:

You can tell a great deal from just the query letter.

You can't tell very much from the synopsis, and the first three pages are usually enough to go on.

I really, really don't like synopsies that don't tell the ending of the book. It's not a blurb, it's a synopsis. I need to have the whole story!

Out of ten queries:
I've requested the first three chapters for 4 out of the 10 queries I've read.
From these, I've requested 2 fulls.
I sent the 2 other 'first three chapters' to our editor to see if she's willing to work with the author. (One maybe, one no.)
I've rejected 4 out of 10 queries after just reading the synopsis and first three pages.
Out of 10 queries, we have 1 definite yes.
1 out of 10.
2 fulls pending.

This is another thing I've learned. You're not as excited about reading when you 'HAVE' to read. That's why finding a great book is such a thrill.
It's not easy to see the diamond in the rough. That's the hard part.
So far I hope I haven't missed any diamonds.

At any rate, being on this side of the submissions process has made me look at agents, editors, and publishers differently. There is simply no way I can be on the internet all day, no way I can intercept mail all day, and no way I can read all the submissions at once. And you don't want me to! You want me to be relaxed, in a good mood, and in a quiet place before I open your query. Otherwise I can't give it the attention it deserves.
The query was sent with a fluttering heart and has hopes pinned to it, so unless the time is right and I HAVE time, I won't read it, even if it means letting it sit in my files for a week while I get other things out of the way. I want to be able to see the diamonds in the rough, as well as those that already sparkle.
I wonder if all agents, publishers, and editors feel like this?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rainy day news

I woke up to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. Gusts of wind made the shutters rattle. I grabbed a coffee and worked out with Gilad - my personal trainer.
I should add he's on a DVD and he works out on a beach with a steel drum band. A great way to start the day.
My daughter came down and criticised my style. Then my son came down, took one look at my red, sweaty face, and decided that he had work to do up in his room.
Afterward I took a shower, caught up with e-mails and news, and then took the day off. My daughter and I went out to lunch and went to a movie (Charlotte's Web - very sweet) and then we went shopping. Euro-Dif had a 60% off sale - I got flower-power curtains for my kitchen, a striped tablecloth to match, and my daughter got a tee-shirt and a jean skirt. The kitchen is now Kitch, as my daughter says, with the red, orange, pink and blue flowered curtains (daisies, of course!) and the same colored striped catch-all on the counter.

It is still dark and rainy out, and the curtains make the room look brighter.
Another bright spot is Auguste in his head scarf. My daughter put it on him, and I couldn't resist taking his picture!
Have a Great weekend!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What I miss most in winter

I miss summer nights - sitting in the garden with candles lit, talking with my sister and daughter, feeling the warm air growing cooler, and watching the sky turn electric blue.

The word is scrotum.

The word is scrotum. Not balls, not baby-bean bags, not nut bags, not nuts, not even the pope's figs. But according to the fuss about 'The Higher Power of Lucky', an author writing for children should not use such a word. OK, I can sort of see that if it were a rhyming book aimed at tiny tots. "Jack be nimble, Jack leapt over the totem. Jack misjudged its height and Jack banged his scrotum."
But for kids ages 7 and up, I can't imagine where the problem is, unless the children are raised by Puritan Victorians and tend to faint when confronted with words representing body parts or functions, such as thigh and burp. Librarians have been suggesting boycotting the book. Parents have been up in arms. Letters to the editor have been flooding the publisher.
I think that there is a serious disconnect in reality here.
By the age of 4, most children have witnessed at least two hundred and fifty murders on the television, some of which are in cartoon form. They have witnessed rape and drug abuse, alcoholism and prostitution. (And murders. Let's not forget how blasé TV is about portraying someone getting shot.) As a matter of fact, I don't think you can watch television and not see someone get killed.
So, children can watch murder but they can't read the word scrotum?
Where is reality in this?
What is this teaching kids?
It's teaching them that it's perfectly acceptable to take a gun and run rampage in the streets shooting other people. In fact, they will probably become famous and get a million dollar book deal if they don't shoot themselves first. It teaches them that the gangs are cool, and drive by shooting is all right. Murdering another human being does not raise eyebrows.
But it's teaching them that parts of their own bodies are something to be ashamed about. Fifty percent of the world's population has scrotum. Are they all going to be embarrassed about having scrotum but proud to own a gun, which kills other human beings?
Wouldn't it be nice to live in a world where having a gun is something horribly embarrassing and having scrotum was perfectly normal?
Where, on TV, children can watch shows without a single murder, and maybe hear the word scrotum mentioned a few times. Maybe even the words breast, solar plexis, clavicle, malleolus, and scapula while we're at it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

How to make a Splash at book conferences

Having been to many conferences, I have (from experience) seen with (my own eyes) what makes for a big Splash. So if you want to make a Big Splash (from herein known as BS) you should do as these authors have done:

1) Hassle agents in the bathroom about submissions - slide the darn thing right under the door of their stall if they insist on acting coy.

2) Carry a huge (800 page) manuscript around and beg people to read it. Better still if you can carry two of these around - put them in canvas bags and make sure the pages are all numbered correctly.

3) Make sure your clothes for the conference are eye-catching. Sequins, lots of bare skin, feather boas (all authors walk around with feather boas) and a huge hat and/or jewelry will set you apart.

4) Wear a long neckace with clips and put all your cards and bookmarks on it. Pull them off and hand them to Everyone you meet. Make sure your nametag has flashy lights.

5) When you put your cards and bookmarks on the promo tables, make sure to sweep everyone else's promo shit aside. I mean, Really, the nerve of them.

6) Chase after the male models screaming 'I want your BABY!'

7) Don't forget to tell everyone that Your book is the only good one out there - the rest is just trash.

8) Hang out at the bar & drink cosmos until your see triple, and make sure you flirt with everyone. People go to conferences to flirt.

If you do all these things, I promise that people will be talking about your BS for years to come.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Book Blog

A Book Blog

2 reviewers give their impressions of books they've read in short blurbs. If you ever wanted to find a good book to read, but didn't know where to go to look, check this blog out. Books galore of every genre!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A funny little naked guy

I never really noticed him. He was on the side of an ancient building in a nearby village. He's been up on the wall, playing with himself, for about five centuries now.
There are lots of small details that, when you see them, suddenly cast things in a different light. This old house suddenly becomes mysterious. Why did someone put that carving there? Was he an imp? Something like a gargoyle, meant to keep the evil spirits away? The house becomes fixed in time. It's now the house built in the middle ages. The wood came from trees that grew in the fourteenth century. The man that carved that statue would never believe what sights the statue would see, perched up on the wall overlooking the church square.
Just below him is a bar / cafe, where people sit outside on sunny days and sip their coffee and their beer. To his right is the church, and although it hasn't changed much since it was built, the cars parked around it are nothing like the transportation the woodcarver knew. Airplanes fly overhead.
Will he still be there five hundred years from now? And if so, I wonder what he'll see?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Church in the Evening

Have a wonderful St. Valentine's Day!

Worst query letter bloopers

I've written many, many professional letters. Query letters are the hardest. They are hard to compose, and hard to hone, and hard to get just right. (Is there a perfect query letter?)
There may not be a perfect query letter - but we know that there are lots of imperfect ones.
Like the one I wrote stating...
"I'd like to send my novel for possible repersentation..."
Repersentation? I saw that after I hit the 'send' button, of course.
There are worse mistakes. Over at Miss Snark's blog a writer admitted to mispelling his first name. He said he'd carefully gone over the whole letter a hundred times....and mispelled his first name. (Sincerely yours, Boob)
Once I sent off a query and realized I hadn't put the title of the book anywhere, and another time I cheerfully wrote "Thank you for your kid attention."
Another person (again from Miss Snark's blog) wrote as his opening line: "I am sure you are very busty but hope you will..."
Or this one I sent off just recently: "It was perviously published..."
I would have thought spell check would have caught that one. LOL.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Groovy Tuesday

A Few Questions about my WIP, asked by Lolo and answered here:

What am I working on?
The road to Eternity. It's about a third of the way done, and I'm taking a break here and getting my thoughts together. Sometimes, when I run into a bit of a slow-down, I stop and write a quick blurb to get myself back into the story. Or I think about just the moment I'm trying to capture (like right now, with my hero.) A slow down is when I can see where the story has to go, but I'm not exactly sure how to get it there. Something is missing, and I need to find it. One of my characters is from the sixties - grew up on a commune - & is feeling a bit lost suddenly projected into 2001. Things have changed so quickly since then. He stepped from Woodstock, where he was dying from an overdose of heroin, into a troop of demi gods, nymphs, fauns, and humans, led by Zeus on the road to Eternity. Now Zeus is missing and he's in 2001 - and my character's mission is to find Zeus before the makhais (a bunch of low-life demons) find him and kill him.

How do I research my stories?
I'm a Greek Myth buff - I think (honest) I'm pretty knowledgable about them. My dad & mom gave me a huge book on Greek Myths for my birthday when I was 11, and I still have it. I've read the Illiad and the Odysee (do NOT mind my crappy spelling please. Dyslexics 'R US.) And I have the internet at my fingertips. I alos know a lot about the Nordic pantheon, and there are Nordic gods mixed in here too.
What about Woodstock? Well, I'm listening to Judy Blue Eyes performed by Crosby Stills Nash & Young in Woodstock. If you go onto the internet there is the whole program there, hour by hour, day by day, so I don't have the Who singing in the evening, when they actually started around 3 a.m. and continued until after sunrise. I'm writing a fantasy tale, but what's important are the details. I love mixing fact and fiction, walking that fine line between make-believe and reality. (Sometimes I feel like that's where I live, but that's another story, lol.)

What kind of story is this?
Well, it's probably close to an urban fantasy, and it's one of those 'for all ages' books. (I might push it more YA, come to think of it. But then again, I don't actually write FOR any age group - I'd rather write just for me right now. When the book is finished (probably after spring break if I can get enough writing days in) I'll look at it again and see what group of readers I'm aiming at. Right now I think that if you liked Ariel by Steven R. Boyett (and if you haven't read this book say to you, what are you waiting for?) or Kris Reisz's Tripping to Somewhere, you'll probably get a kick out of the one I'm writing. It's a mixture of myth and reality, a roadtrip theme through time and space...

Does it bother me to have books similar to mine?
Well, yes and no. Yes because we all want to be completely original, fresh, and new - and no, because I think it was Homer who said that all plots in literature had already been taken, and the only difference was the dressing. Was it Homer? Wouldn't he have said the toga? Maybe it was Shakespere.

Are you out of the slow-down yet?
Not quite. I'm jotting down ideas. On the pad next to me are:
Clio's Memory
A kidnapping
Loki's Choice
The question marks are the part I'm trying to work out.
Good thing I have yoga tonight. I will meditate with tying myself into a pretzel.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Wind and Rain

On top of the hill... The Washing Shed...

This past week has been a mixture of storms and sunny moments. Hailstorms, thunderstorms, windstorms and rainstorms washed upon us. In between there were bright spots of watery sunlight and the dogs ran about and splashed in the mud.
One blustery day we took a walk to the top of the hill and along the fields in the back of the village, then we went to the washing shed in the bottom of the valley to rinse the mud off the dogs and our boots. I can't tell you how muddy the house is - I have two mops, one standing by each door, so that when anyone comes in, I can clean up the footprints!
Since the workers are still doing the roof, the road just outside the house and the walkway to our front door is muddy, and the mess of tiles and boards and scafolding is not a pretty sight! You can see why I'd prefer to go on long walks than look out the window and see this all day!
This weekend I also discovered you can never put too much garlic in a dish. I baked chicken breasts with a massive amount of garlic, some soy sauce, some lemon juice, a dash of worsesteshire sauce (can's spell that lol!) , and about 2 cups of chicken bouillon. Had it over Chinese noodles and green beans. The kids & hubby LOVED it. It's now in my recipe book. Remember - LOTS of garlic.
The scaffolding mess outside. I can't wait 'till it's done!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happy Birthday Julie!

Happy Birthday to my Sister Julie!!

Julie is my little sister, and no matter how old we get, she'll always be fifteen months younger than me. I miss her SO much. We used to be this close (holds up hand with fingers twisted together.) We always shared a room. When I left home, it was like cutting off part of my body and leaving it behind. (Good thing she liked to travel, and she would come visit me in Europe).
She and I are completely different. She's very serious and I can't do serious unless I'm actually crying about something. She's nice - I'm really not nice. She's got a dimple, and I've always been really jealous of that dimple. She went as far as to give her dimple to her son - really it's the cutest dimple you ever saw. She's also the perfect person. As a child, she never got scolded and never got into trouble. I swear - she had this little halo above her head, and everyone saw it. (It's still there, honest. I bet Lee and Nick see it all the time, right?) She never got into trouble or did anything stupid...except this one time. (Big Grin Here.)

It was the last day of school, the day I graduated highschool, she and I went to a bar downtown and got PLASTERED. We honestly never drank. (I always get sick when I drink, and Julie is, well, serious, lol) But that was a Special day. No more School ever for me EVAH. So we hit Sparkys on the waterfront and ordered screwdrivers until we couldn't see straight. And then we had a problem - how to get home. Without our mom knowing just how PLASTERED we were. After discussing it very...seriously, we decided to ask our gym teacher to give us a lift home. (This is NOT something I'd suggest anyone do, because my gym teacher was celebrating the end of the year, and his fiancé had just dumped him, so he had been in the bar drinking for longer than Julie and I & he was really in bad shape.) But, he agreed to drive us home - whereverthehellthat was.
I ended up shifting for him, and since I was PLASTERED we drove home in Second gear all the way - which was probably the safest thing to do.
"Over there!" Julie yelled, when we saw our road. The gym teacher drove the car to the side of the road and let us out. Then he waved goodbye and drove on. Unfortunately he forgot to turn back to the road so he went into a ditch. It wasn't very deep, and the car stalled, so he just waved out the window and passed out. Julie and I started walking back to the house.
About halfway there, I thought I heard a car coming behind us. "Off the road sister!" I yelled, and shoved her into the grass. And I jumped after her. Unfortunately, it was a very small verge over a rather steep cliff, and we fell down it. About ten feet, I'd say. We landed in a heap. We looked up to the road where there were no cars passing. "Thanks a lot, Jenn," she said.
"Watch that last step!" I joked.
We managed to get back up and stagger to the house. Our back stairs were cement. They went straight then zigged to the right.
Just before we headed down, Julie said to me "Watch that last step!" in a really sarcastic voice. Well, I got going down them, missed the step and the zig to the right, and cracked my chin on the wall. Julie says the reason I don't remember the rest is because I was knocked out, just like a boxer who got an uppercut to the chin. I went down like a ton of...Bricks. I still have the scar on my chin.
She got me to bed and the next day we both had the worst headaches. I had to go to work & was in sheer misery all day long, and I haven't gotten Plastered since the day I graduated high school.
Julie was a good influence on me most of the time. She really did try to talk me out of all the idiotic things I did as a teenager. She was my Jimminy Cricket.
And I'm writing this story for her on her birthday! (It's the only one where she does something stupid - honest, the rest of the time she was PERFECT!)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Zee Best Creeps in the World!

My brother called crepes 'creeps', and that's how I always think of them. They're fun to eat, easy to make, and kids love them. (So do grown-ups, lol)

I have several crepe recipes - but this one tops them all.

Andrea's Splendiferous Crepe Recipe!

4 Eggs

2 Cups flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 whole lemon or orange rind, grated.

2 soup spoons of mazola oil (corn oil or any veggie oil without a strong taste - no peanut or olive oil, for example)

Enough milk to make the batter velvety. (not too thick, like pancake batter, but not watery either.)

Put eggs, vanilla, rind and milk in mixer, then add slowly flour & oil.

Pan has to be HOT!

A spray oil is handy to make crepes.

I can't tell you haw to cook them, because my husband or son does this. I cannot cook a crepe. t's easy - you pour in a bit of batter and swirl it around so that it covers the bottom of the pan. When the batter starts looking dry in the middle, flip it over. Serve with: (one at a time, lol)


Strawberry jam

butter and sugar

Maple syrup

Orange marmelade and Grand Marnier

Sliced bananas

Hot chocolate sauce

Cooked apples and Applejack brandy

Cinnamon and sugar

And here is the photo of me at the dinner party last week. I had my mouth full of desert, and of course, that's when the camera pops out and someone yells 'Cheese!'
Dinner was rack of lamb with truffle sauce, eggplant soufflées, porcini mushroom and foie gras terrine, and desert was a tiramisu! (recipe follows)

This, according to the great God of the Internet, is Sophia Lauren's very own Tiramisu recipe.

EGGS, 3 separated
SUGAR, 5 tablespoons
LADYFINGERS, 1 large package (approximately 36)
BITTER CHOCOLATE, 2 ounces, grated
UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER, 1/2 cup, or 2 ounces grated bittersweet chocolate
Combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized bowl and beat well.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
In a third, larger bowl, combine the egg yolk mixture with the mascarpone, then fold in the egg whites to produce a creamy mixture.
Arrange a tight layer of ladyfingers in a 9-by-12-inch serving dish.
Using a spoon, drizzle about half the liqueur and half the espresso over the ladyfingers.
Cover the ladyfingers with the mascarpone mixture and the grated chocolate, and dust it with a little more than half the cocoa.
Cover the filling with a second layer of ladyfingers and drizzle with the remaining liqueur and espresso.
Place the dish in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours (the Tiramisu can be made 24 hours in advance).
Top with the remaining cocoa before serving.

Bon Apetite!

Thursday, February 08, 2007


As I was driving home this evening I saw this beautiful rainbow.

I spent the day in Paris doing marketing research and then I had lunch with 2 American friends. We went to a sushi bar with the little plates going around on a conveyer belt. You sit and grab whatever you fancy. It's quite fun, but it's a good way to eat too much. I never thought I'd be stuffed with sushi, lol.

For tea we had crepes à la Andrea - she gave me the recipe and they are Fabulous. :-) Unfortunately I don't have time to post the recipe right now because I have to go pick up my son at the train station. But I'll post it tomorrow for my 'drool war' with Daisy Dexter Dobbs.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Racism in Publishing

Here is a post from Karen Scott - while reading her blog I discovered something that shocked me - in the US, books are separated by race. Yes, I'm afraid it's ture. Several people said that books in their bookstores (such as Borders) are segregated. Black authors and black characters on something called an AA shelf. Evern romance books are kept apart from 'white' romance books.
I will admit I never noticed this. Mostly because I buy my books from either Amazon or a very small bookstore near my mom's house in NY. I was really shocked when I heard this. My husband was shocked when he heard this. He's French. Does this shock anyone else?
At any rate, here is Karen's post - if anyone can help her out, please do!

Racism In Publishing, How Does It Affect You?

Are you an African American author who’s been published for at least one year? If so Karen Scott wants to hear from you.

She’s conducting a survey based on the racism within the publishing industry, and whether or not it’s as prevalent as some believe. She’s looking for black or African American authors who have been published for at least one year.

She would like to know about your specific experiences within the industry thus far. She wants to know how AA authors feel about the current shelving policies, and niche marketing. She wants to know who you feel is to blame for the problems that you face. She also wants your suggestions on how things can be improved upon.

In all, there are twenty questions in the survey, and all that she asks is that people be as honest as possible. Confidentiality is assured if requested, but for the findings to yield more weight, she would request that she be granted permission to directly quote from the answers given by the authors.

She’s hoping to poll at least 100 AA authors, in an effort to ensure that a fair representation is achieved.

If enough authors agree to partcipate, (and depending on the findings) the results may well be sent to representatives within media and press. No promises that Oprah will hear about it, but all efforts will be made to get the message out.

If there are AA authors out there interested in participating in this poll, please e-mail Karen at hairylemony @ gmail. com (without the spaces) with the subject header ‘Please send me the survey'.

The deadline for the survey to be completed and returned to Karen is March 1st 2007

Monday, February 05, 2007

Calderwood Books

Aspiring writers welcome - established writers too!
Submissions are open!

Confessions of a murder mystery writer

Day One
I finished the book yesterday. It looked pretty good for having been taken apart and put back together halfway through. I was afraid of holes, you know, holes in the plot.
But everything holds together.
I sent it to my beta reader. She'll probably tear it apart again. This is normal. She's a tough dame with a red pen and eyes like laser beams.
The story is about Rachel Martin, a woman who is a crime scene expert. When the story opens she's working with the F.B.I., with a guy who she's been in love with since she was a kid. She's a mess though. She has no confidence in herself anymore. See, she got married and moved to England, and then she lost her husband and infant son in a car accident. She's devestated. She thinks she could have saved them. After all, she's psychic. So how come she sees things that can help other people, but not herself? She tries to keep her psychic abilities a secret, because she doesn't believe in them. Even after the dreams, and even after finding the lost boy. She still doesn't trust her powers.
Stan Wheeler is her boss, and he has a couple secrets himself. He knows Rachel is special, so he creates a new division for her. She has this incredible talent - she can find lost children. But right after they start working together, a girl disappears. And they find out that she's the third in a series. Every year for three years now, a girl vanishes on the same date, at the same time.
So there's the premise.
Rachel finds out who the kidnapper is, but she has no proof - only her dreams. And she knows that the kidnapper has decided to destroy her completely. She has to find proof before it's too late. Because the people she loves are in danger.
There's a bunch of interesting secondary characters and I did something different for this book. I used the POV's of Rachel and of her partner, Chris Winter. But I didn't use Stan's POV. I have my reasons.
Anyhow, it's at my beta reader, and I sent out one query to one agent so far. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Just as I finished my blog post I must have hit a wrong key, and suddenly I'm looking at the log-in page, and my post (of course) had disappeared.
SO, I go to the kitchen, make a pot of boiling water for tea, and pretend my tea-bag is Blogger (or my keyboard - darn old thing) and I poured the water on the teabag and listened as it screamed.
Well, of course it didn't scream, but I have a wild imagination.
I suppose most writers...all writers...have a wild imagination. It can even be a syllogism.
All creative people have wild imaginations.
Writers are creative people.
Therefore, Writers have wild imaginations.

I was teaching my daughter about syllogisms. It's a reasoning presented in three parts: major, minor, and conclusion. It can be true or false. It was her vocabulary word of the day yesterday.
Syllogism: A kind of logical argument in which one proposition (the conclusion) is inferred from two others (the premises) of a certain form.

Every syllogism is a sequence of three propositions such that the first two imply the third, the conclusion.
Here is an example of a true syllogism:
All men are mortal.
All philosophers are men.
Therefore, all philosophers are mortal.
Easy, right?
Well, what about:

The more Swiss cheese you have, the more holes you have.
The more holes you have, the less Swiss cheese you have.
The more Swiss cheese you have, the less Swiss cheese you have.

This is the syllogism the French love to quote to kids just learning about this logic. It's kind of funny. And has nothing to do with the post I lost or wild imagination. Unless you want to imagine that syllogims have been around for ages. Aristotle is thought to have developed the concept. The word syllogism comes from the Greek words 'sun' and 'talk'. Was this because the ancient Greeks would stand in the marketplace and discuss philosophy? Or does it come from the three phases of the sun: dawn, noon, dusk?
If you want to get a little complicated, Aristotle noted five basic rules governing the validity of categorical syllogisms: The middle term must be distributed at least once (a term is said to be distributed when it refers to all members of the denoted class, as in all x are y and no x is y); a term distributed in the conclusion must be distributed in the premise in which it occurs; two negative premises imply no valid conclusion; if one premise is negative, then the conclusion must be negative; and two affirmatives imply an affirmative. Phew!

I have come across blog posts said to be written by dogs. From this I can create a syllogism:

All blog posters are people. (major premise - I think we can all agree here...)
Some blogs are posted by dogs. (minor premise. Haven't you ever come across a blog written by a dog?)
Therefore, some dogs are people. (Logical conclusion, right?)
If you want to have some more brain twisters, go here to read about the paradox of the heap of sand. It's quite interesting.

Friday, February 02, 2007

confessions of a chocoholic

OK, I confess. I'm addicted to chocolate.
I went shopping to buy a pizza for my son, to take it to the firehouse where he's on duty today. While in the store I walked past the chocolate aisle.

(Important: Don't read any further if, like me, you love chocolate. Or at least put something over your keyboard so you don't ruin it with drool...)

I usually avoid the chocolate section in my store, but today, a woman was blocking the aisle and I had to use the next one over, and before I knew it, I was in front of a whole shelf of chocolate. My eyes immediately found the familiar red and gold package from Cote d'Or, my favorite brand. And, oh no; they had the one I love...Milk chocolate with toasted pecans caramalized with with sea-salted butter.
My hand reached of its own accord, and then I saw the white chocolate with the whole hazelnuts, and then a dark chocolate bar with wild cherry caught my eye. I hesitated. White chocolate with hazelnuts and nougatine? Milk chocolate with caramelized pecans and a touch of sea-salt? Dark chocolate with wild cherry bits? There was also the classic dark chocolate and marmelade orange peel, or, no! It had to be the milk chocolate and pecan.
I snatched it off the shelf and, before I could swipe more bars into my shopping cart, I dashed to the check-out counter.

Then I went to the firehouse to deliver the pizza to my son.
He saw my shopping bag. "You have some chocolate," he said, his eyes shining.
What can I say? I love my son more than chocolate. I smiled bravely and took it out of the bag. "For you," I said.
He gave me a crooked grin and broke it in half. "We can share," he said.
Now that's a nice kid.
And guess what I'm eating right now?
I love chocolate!