Friday, March 26, 2010

Percy, my dear character...

There will always be a place in my heart for the PERCY JACKSON series. It was one of the first series I really got into when I joined a middle grade team at a NY publishing house as an editorial assistant. Actually, I got so into it that I made one of my coworkers read it too, and later I caught her reading it in front of her computer one slow Friday afternoon. Then we ooooo'ed and awwww'ed and complained about having to waiting until The Last Olympian came out. Then it came out, and we ooooo'ed and awwww'ed again - and complained about how there weren't any more books in the PERCY JACKSON series and fretted over whether or not the Kane Chronicles and the new Camp Halfblood series could be as good.

Then I heard that the movie was happening.

(insert fan-girl squealing here)

Then my former coworkers went to the NYC premiere, and I was totally jealous.

Then my new agent invited me to go see it with her when I went to New York a few weeks later, and that made it lots better. :-D

The best part of the movie was watching it with Jo. Actually, I was very afraid that she would be one of those people who disliked talking during movies, or moviegoers being generally loud (once, I had a friend who wouldn't let me sit next to her during a Harry Potter movie opening night, because she said I laughed too loud - I was scarred. Obviously. Since I'm blogging about it now, five or six years later).

Luckily, Jo had no problem with us whispering back and forth about what was cut, who was funny, etc. After I ran to the bathroom, she even told me what I missed without me having to ask. (Is it wrong that this made me heart her forever?)

Other highlights include:

  • Grover. This guy is funny! PERFECT comedic timing. I feel like he's been in something else, but I have no idea what. He's a few years older, and a lot more into girls than the Grover of the books, but when I left the theater, I was still giggling over things he said.

  • Uma Thurman as Medusa. For some reason, I found this incredibly entertaining. It reminded me a lot of her work in My Super Ex-Girlfriend (which in my mind was a film with a great concept that was tragically executed). Uma does evil well, I must say.

  • The special effects. In particular, the rooftop scene with lots of water spewing around (see above) got my wow rating. It made me want to have some sort of epic power on top of Manhattan (or at least to give my main character an epic power).
What I wanted from the movie that I didn't get:
  • A more awesome Annabeth. LOVED Annabeth in the books. This one was snarky to the point of me thinking that she had PMS for the entire movie.

  • More from the gods. They were big, they were bad, and I think they only got 10 minutes total of screen time. I wanted them to be funny (like Hermes in the books!) and hang out with their kids. I wanted COSTUMES.

  • The Fates to get a shout-out. Who else thinks that Judi Dench would be an awesome Fate? She could have played all three, and I would have gone home singing the film's praises from Penn Station (NYC) to Big Sky (MT). Sigh.
All in all though, a very good film. It wasn't the books and didn't have the same level of characterization (or wit), but as my wise and illustrious agent said, "It's a completely different genre." I liked it immensely - much more than other films I've seen recently.

Too true.

Okay, in other news, soon I will alone again in a snowy cabin. My dad and sister are already gone. My mom leaves tomorrow, and my brother leaves on Sunday morning very early. I am sad to see them go, but the idea of being alone with my manuscripts and getting things knocked out is doing a good job of cheering me up/distracting me.

However, let me show you my younger brother, who is wonderfully funny, even when he doesn't mean to be:

Where is his left leg? Well, he stepped off his board into a bunch of fresh powder and thus sank hip deep in snow. Since this little brother happens to be 6'3" (or more), his leg is about three feet long. Which means the snow was really deep.

Obviously, I'm the sweetest big sister in the world - I laughed really hard, took a pic, and shared it on my blog. :-o

(Okay, okay - if my little sister (who reads this blog) thinks this is unkind, she will tell me and I will delete this part of the post. And no one will know except those lucky early readers...)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I know. I have not been blogging. I have been doing other things, such as:

(Note: none of these are essentially more important than blogging, but this is what going on.)
  1. Watching New Moon for the second night in a row. Yesterday, my brother and sister really wanted to watch it, but during the ending, my mom had to answer a phone call and thus missed the last 20 minutes. So, we watched it again tonight. Somehow, she fell asleep in her chair. Actually, I'm the only one still awake. Possibly because I was inputing my revision changes into the digital version of my ms. I will say that watching it makes me want to read something with steamy paranormal romance, ie. probably not middle grade.

  2. Hanging out with my family. My brother, my father, my mother, and my sister all came up for spring break. It was fantastic. Right now, we're two down and two to go. I will be sad to see them go, so I'm trying to get as much quality time in as possible. (Quality time = my nineteen-year-old stripping off his shirt and drawing a circular tattoo on his arm and quoting the most ridiculous of Jacob Black's lines from the aforementioned movie until my sister laughed so hard that she almost fell down the stairs. Oh, college-age siblings.)

  3. Driving back and forth from the airport. It takes over an hour and a half to go each way, and to get back to work/school at a reasonable hour, my father and sister's flights took off at 7-something on Tuesday and 8-something today respectively. This means early wake-up times. (Technically, I didn't have to go with them to the airport, but I wanted to see them off.) This means that you go into that weird sleep-deprived daze. For example, I was asleep when we got pulled over for going 14 miles of the speed limit this morning at 7:15AM, and the lights confused me like whoa. It still seems like something that happened in a dream rather than reality. Especially since he let us off with a warning. (I was NOT driving, btw. The most responsible driver in the house was, and I will leave you to guess who that was.)

  4. Revising. Technically, I'm revising the revisions right now. It's epic. It's not going badly. Just slowly. The slow part bothers me, but it would be more bothersome if it wasn't going at all. Of course, I'm still on the top half of the novel, which is more problematic, because I'm adding more to it - and shuffling the new scenes around a lot. (Reminds me of shuffling a deck of cards - have I mentioned this yet?)

  5. Figured out how to reply to comments on Blogger. You start a whole new comment. I kept thinking that I could reply to each comment individually, but no, that's a livejournal thing.

  6. Making a huge mess of the kitchen table. I swear all those papers aren't mine. No, for serious. That's not even my laptop. (Okay, that is my printer.)

  7. Spending epic amounts of time on iTunes. Actually, this just happened today, but it was such an epic amount of time that it gets its own spot on the list. I mean, I was on it for hours, organizing my playlists (ie. deleting the ancient ones that I haven't listened to since August) and creating new ones. Specifically, creating new ones for the manuscript I'm working on. I mean, I had a few rough ones before, but they just got me through the first (and second) drafts. Now, I actually have thirteen separate ones for different sections, and a ton of Regina Spektor for some odd reason.

  8. Feeling guilty about not blogging. Sadly, I will have to break my 15-blogs-a-month New Year's resolution. :'-( I mean, I guess I could pull out all the stops and blog twice a day for the next few days and totally make it, but I feel my revisions need me more than my blog. And so I'm amending my New Year's resolution again: 15 posts on a normal month, but 10+ if I do lots of traveling that month. But hey! it took me all the way until late March for me to break this resolution which is much better than what happens with most of my resolutions. Hmm.
Whew. I am sooooo sleepy (have been awake since 5:30AM). I think I shall go crawl in bed...


Sunday, March 21, 2010

I don't mean to scare anyone, but...

One of the things I realized when I was in New York last week was that I know a lot about the publishing industry...and also that I haven't demonstrated a lot about my knowledge on this blog. I spent a year as an editorial assistant at one of New York's Big Five publishing houses, and this gives me a some knowledge about their inner workings. I feel like I should share a little of my knowledge. Maybe as not as much as other bloggers like Editorial Anonymous and Editorial Ass, but a tad.

I saw this post at the blog of the hilarious Alex Bracken, where she justifiably fumes over discovering an online forum where someone asked for a free digital copy of Alex's debut novel, Brightly Woven (which is out on Tuesday funnily enough - be like me and stalk bookstores until they shelve it. I haven't read it, but I am soooo excited to).

I totally agree with her fuming, by the way, but it occurred to me that most people wouldn't understand why it would be a problem to read a free digital copy rather than say, purchase the hardcover in a bookstore.

These are the two main reasons in my mind:

(And please, if you are not a publishing-related individual, like for example, my sister who does read my blog sometimes, or Ms. Lollipop from Baking and Blogging, feel free to skip the publishing-related posts...)

(Also, if you are a writer and get freaked out easily, you might not want to read this. I mean, I personally think it's important to understand the business as a writer, the good and the scary, but I don't want to be responsible for sleepless nights over digital piracy.)
  1. It does count as stealing. I have watched free movies online too, on Hulu and Youtube, but they don't really seem pirated when I know that I could've watched it on TV if I had cable. Also, it seems like they deal with epic amounts of money anyway, so I don't feel like the $3.99-4.99 I saved by not renting it from iTunes or Wilson's Video down the mountain is even needed (if I could even find the obscure, random movies I feel like watching this week to rent).

    In the publishing world, it's a little more direct. Let's say you really want to read the book The World Is Ending and All I Want Is Chocolate, by Lila Cart. (I made that up, by the way. Pretend it's a YA post-apocalypse thriller spoof in manner of Shaun of the Dead). You do a little googling, find a free digital copy, and feel incredibly relieved that you don't have to pay the $17.99 that the bookstores charge for most YA hardcovers these days.

    You start reading. It's hilarious. So funny in fact that you're still reading at 3AM and accidentally wake up your little brother since you're laughing so hard with your laptop on your pillow. You're so excited about it that you send the link to all your friends, and because you have impeccable taste, they all read it. Actually, your bff gets ten kinds of into it during free/study period and ends up reading it on her iPhone under her desk during French class. This wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that M. Lours is kind of strict, so when your bff starts laughing really hard, he confiscates her iPhone and gives her detention. Being a kind-hearted soul, your bff doesn't hold it against Lila Cart or The World is Ending and All I Want is Chocolate, so she posts a link to the free copy on her blog, along with a funny anecdote about how much detention sucks, especially since she was just ten pages to the end and couldn't WAIT to find out what happens. It's almost as funny as Lila Cart's novel, and it gets emailed to your bff's college-age sister, who emails it to all of her friends, and then they send it all across that world wide web...along with the link to the free digital copy. (We call this "viral marketing," but that is another lesson.)

    So, here's how the math works. If Lila Cart receives standard royalties for The World is Ending and All I Want is Chocolate (ie. 10% of the hardcover list price of $17.99), then you stole $1.80 from her when you read it online instead of purchasing the book. (I know I am rounding up a little bit. Be nice. It makes my math easier.)

    That doesn't sound so bad. I mean, it's less than $2. What can by you buy for less than $2? Not even a soy chai latte at Starbucks (which are delicious like whoa). But then you emailed the link to the free digital copy to 80-some friends, and all of them read it online for free instead of purchasing their own hardcover. That's $150 that has been stolen from poor Lila Cart, because of you. Not the hugest amount of the world, but enough for an iPod nano, which Lila is actually really eager to get, because she broke hers during a moment of despair while revising The World is Ending and All I Want is Chocolate before it pubbed and hasn't replaced it yet since she's a starving artist and can't afford it.

    Also, your bff sent it to her college-age sis, who sent it to her friends, who giggled so hard that they made it their fall semester anthem at KIP University. No, really. And they were in charge of organizing the pep rally for KIP's homecoming football game that October, and they get all the cheerleaders to dress up as zombies and do a hilarious skit based on a scene from the book, which gets a bunch of the students (and some alumni) reading the free digital copy instead of buying the book.

    So, let's say that's 20,000 people (including the alumni) who found the link on the KIP cheerleaders' blog. The original link to that free digital copy has over 20,000 hits. My calculator says, over $36,000 has been stolen from poor Lila Cart. She could buy more than just a iPod nano with that kind of money. She could buy a CAR. She could buy two (used) cars.

    I think you see the point I'm trying to make. $1.80 a book doesn't seem like a big deal, but it definitely adds up.

  2. Hits to the website of the pirated copy is not how the publishing house measure popularity...or profitability. If a lot of people read the book online without purchasing it, then it can seriously damage the writer's career.

    Let's say that the house that published Lila Cart's The World is Ending and All I Want is Chocolate only signed up the one book (typically, debut authors' contracts can sign one book to maybe four, depending on if the author is writing a series or not). But Lila Cart's editor Susie Quinn really loves Lila - her work is fantabulous, and Lila is a joy to work with, quick with revisions and happy to self-promote.

    So, when Lila Cart's second novel arrives from Lila's agent, Susie Quinn is so excited that she jumps up and down in her cubicle by the end of chapter three. Cart's sophomore effort, We're Rebuilding the World and I Think It Should Be Pink, blows her debut novel out of the water. Not only is it even funnier, it's brilliant and heartbreaking and full of the same poignant hope as the post-apocalypse novels that are currently clinging to the bestseller list. This one is going to BIG. Editor Susie Quinn can feel it.

    So, she brings We're Rebuilding the World and I Think It Should Be Pink to her publishing house's Acquisitions meeting. Susie Quinn introduces Lila Cart's next book, talks about it, and says that the house should really sign Lila for three more books. She reminds the meeting attendees of the phenomenon at KIP University. The Powers That Be that decide these things looks to the Sales team. (The sales team are the guys in the publishing house that go to the bookstore chains like Barnes and Noble and Borders and many others and try to convince them to sell xx number of copies to sell in xx number of stores.) The Sales team inspects a list of numbers that comes from Nielsen Bookscan (or the publishing house's in house equivalent).

    Nielsen Bookscan is a database that counts how many copies of each book are sold. It can track how many hardcovers are sold versus paperbacks. It can track how many books are sold in the Northeast as opposed to the Southwest, and how many Barnes and Noble sold versus Books-A-Million, and much much more. (And editorial assistants are frequently told to click around and collect all these numbers.)

    So, without ever reading either book, the sales team looks at the numbers for Lila Cart's The World is Ending and All I Want is Chocolate. They're not promising. Sure, over twenty thousand people (from KIP University and elsewhere) read the book (for free online), but only 9,281 bought it in its first eleven months. (Yes, Nielsen Bookscan can be that specific.) And it's the buying that counts. After all, publishing houses need to make money too.

    The sales team shakes their heads. The Powers That Be Shake their heads. Editor Susie Quinn bows her head, sighs deeply, and leaves the meeting to go tell Lila's agent that that house won't be able to publish We're Rebuilding the World and I Think It Should Be Pink.

    Lila Cart and her agent are both really disappointed, but the agent submits We're Rebuilding the World and I Think It Should Be Pink to other editors at other publishing houses. Unfortunately, they get the same response. You know why? Because ALL sales teams have access to Nielsen Bookscan numbers. They ALL know how well or how badly a book sold in stores. And it ALWAYS matters.

    Because people chose to read a pirated copy instead of purchasing Lila Cart's The World is Ending and All I Want is Chocolate, the world is forever deprived of We're Rebuilding the World and I Think It Should Be Pink. Worse than that, since the whole publishing world is looking at these numbers and shaking their head, Lila Cart - a talent writer/starving artist just a few years out of college - might never get published again. (Even though she's fictional, I actually do feel bad for poor Lila Cart.)

    Yes, this does happen. (Okay, maybe not the homecoming skit, but the part about the viral marketing and the meeting decision, definitely.) I mean, authors do get published again after their debut novels only sell 9K, but it is much, much harder. Either you have to write under a pseudonym or you have to wait a few years or decades, hone your craft, and write such an exemplary book that the whole publishing world freaks out as soon as they read your manuscript.
Moral of the story: buy your books instead of stealing them online. Sales at used books stores sadly don't count on Nielsen Bookscan and similar databases, but coupons and gift cards still do count.

Or if you really want to read the book for free, go check it out from the library (they're struggling too).

(I am writing from my own personal experience and understanding. If you work in the publishing industry and you see a fallacy in this post, please let me know in the comments!! Thanks!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Epic NY March Trip

(I know. I've been MIA again. I actually got back late on Friday, but I spent a few days recovering/procrastinating on blogging since I knew that this would be an epicly long post. I meant to blog while I was there, but I never got the chance.)

In no particular order, here are a few...

Awesome Things That Happened in New York Last Week
  • I met my agent. She is even more cool and incredible in person - so cool in fact that I completely forgot to ask her if she would mind if I used her real name on my blog. Shall email her in a bit. (I also got to see her office and meet the head of her agency, an older woman so sharp and dignified that I aspire to be as awesome as she is someday.) We went to lunch and chatted about my manuscript (and revisions), query decisions, our families, and of course, about books. Especially about middle grade books, which we both heart like whoa.

    When we finished eating, it was a little too early to go to the movie, so we headed over to Borders to kill time. Have I mentioned yet how much I love bookstores? It's even more fun to go to a bookstore with someone who loves books and knows the business like I do. (In fact, I'm pretty sure it's one of my favorite things to do.) We couldn't resist buying something. My agent extraordinaire purchased Diane Zahler's The Thirteenth Princess, and I grabbed Frances Dowell's Falling In, which I promised to send when I finished so that my agent could read it (it was so good that I almost didn't want to let it go - book hoarder that I am). Afterwards, we went to see Percy Jackson, which was so interesting that it warrants its own blog post (so, stay tuned), and she even gave me a book to take home with me. (She gives me books!! Swoon.)

    It was really fantastic to meet her in person. I'm even more sure that our tastes are totally in sync as far as middle grade goes and that we have the same vision for my manuscript, and I'm even more excited to be working with her. (I know. I didn't think that was possible either.)

  • My good friend Maria Gomez and her boyfriend Josh had their first Alice's Tea Cup visit ever...and I got to see Maria's face when she realized how huge the scones are. Pumpkin is the best kind, just fyi. (We had an epic sushi dinner in Astoria afterwards. I was sooo full that I couldn't walk, and we had to take the bus back. But Maria and I agreed that it was totally worth it.)

  • My dear friend Arielle (once, my roommate during our freshman year of high school) let me pick whatever I wanted to do on her day off Wednesday. So, we visited the Brooklyn Public Library and two bookstores (I know - the book-related theme shocks you), including...The Strand, which I actually missed like whoa. As far as organization and variety goes, other used bookstores have a hard time competing. They say 18 miles of books, which is kind of hard to believe until you go there and walk around. I bought so many books that I had to visit UPS before I went to JFK so that I could still carry my carry-on without any trouble... :-p

  • Arielle and I stalked dog parks. Not to actually dog-nap anyone's puppy, but to daydream about how awesome it would be to have a dog of our own. Someday. When we stop moving around and traveling so much... :-o

  • Arielle and her boyfriend Zack introduced me to L'asso, a fantastic pizza place about a block away from the more famous Lombardi's, and shockingly enough, we ran into one of Arielle's friends/another Vassar grad sitting at the very next table. Sometimes, it is a small city after all.

  • Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall hit the New York Times bestseller list in its first week!!! (insert squealing here) I'm so happy for her! Let everyone witness that I blogged about it before it was famous. (Yes, I do keep track of these things. I also read Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me before it won the Newbery, but I wasn't quick enough to blog about it before the annoucement. Sigh.)

  • At Wine and Roses, I had an abbreviated drinks with old co-workers, including the other editorial assistant who used to be on my team and has since left New York but took a train into the city a day early to see me. Yay!! (She was coming in to the City to go to Lauren Oliver's book release party on Friday.) I was so glad to see them and soooo sorry that I had to leave early to rush over to a dinner engagement.

  • Kirsten - my fellow CPC graduate and an editorial assistant at MacMillan - had tea twice at Argo Tea under the flatiron, and I basked in her loveliness. She has to be one of the nicest people I've met ever. Every time she asks "How are you?", she really wants to know.

  • Lunch with author/editorial assistant Alexandra Bracken and our mutual friend Maria Gomez turned into an epic quest for Red Mango in the Rockefeller Center. For those who are curious, it is above NBC Studios's gift shop and probably only intended for tourists, not for determined publishing peeps. Discussion topics included random whatnot that editorial assistants are forced to do, how working as an editorial assistant while aspiring to write can drive you batty, and the upcoming publication of Alex's debut novel, Brightly Woven, next week!! I haven't read it yet, but I'm totally buying it when it comes out. :-D!!!

  • Thursday night, five of my friends from college jumped through hoops to have dinner with me in L'Annam, a nice little Vietnamese restaurant at Union Square, and I was really touched that they all came. Also, amazed that we changed so little. We were possibly a little calmer, but whether that was because it was near the end of the workweek or because we're older and wiser (haha), we'll never know for sure.

  • The weather was awesome for most of the trip, but on Thursday, the sky turned gray and the wind blew cold. It was also the day when I had five appointments on my calendar. In the lull between people to see and places to be, I took a thirty minute rest in one of my favorite spots for downtime in New York, Central Park Lake.
I cannot count how many times I have walked over this bridge.

Um, once, right in front of those rocks you can see in the distance, I fell into the lake.
Shh, don't tell the Park Service peeps...

A couple geese also swam by to make friends.
Sadly, I had no food to offer them, and they swam away...

All in all, an incredibly fantastic, very busy trip. I am so glad I went, and I am still recovering.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm Still Alive, I Promise.

I know, I know. I haven't been as full of digital chatter as I usually am. I have a good reason: a sinus infection. It kicked my butt and gave me fever. :'-(

I got antibiotics and kicked its butt back. (insert evil laugh here.) I am feeling much better.

(For those of you who are now worried about my health, since I was sick twice in one month, I promise you that I'm fine. Sinus infections are routine for me at this point. I've gotten them at least twice a year since college. I think it's the cold climes I choose to live in. Must move to California, place of sunshine and warmth and coastal breezes...sigh...someday, ie. after revisions...)

While I've been MIA, things have been happening in the publishing world:

1. Harper Teen Pays Seven Figures for Debut YA Trilogy:

Rachel Deahl -- Publishers Weekly, 3/5/2010 9:44:42 AM

In a major pre-Bologna acquisition, Laura Arnold at Harper Teen pre-empted North American rights to a debut YA trilogy by Josephine Angelini. Mollie Glick at Foundry sold the series--the first book is called Starcrossed--and said she pitched it as "a Percy Jackson for teenage girls." Foundry's Stephanie Abou and Hannah Brown Gordon will be handling foreign rights at the Bologna Book Fair, and film rights are being handled by Angelini's manager, Rachel Miller at Tom Sawyer Entertainment.

In Starcrossed, which brings Greek tragedy to high school, a shy Nantucket teenager named Helen Hamilton attempts to kill the most attractive boy on the island, Lucas Delos, in front of her entire class. The incident proves more than a bit inconvenient for Helen, who's already concerned that she's going insane--whenever she's sees Lucas (or any of his family members) the image of three crying women appear to her.

The murder attempt does have an upside though, as it ultimately leads to Helen's revelation that she and the local heartthrob are, in fact, playing out some version of a weighty ancient love affair. (Said female apparitions are, in fact, the Three Fates.) So Helen, like her namesake, Helen of Troy isn't going crazy, she's destined to start a Trojan War-like battle by being with Lucas. This then begs the unfortunate question: should she be with the boy she loves even if it means endangering the rest of the world?

The second book in the trilogy, Persephone's Garden, follows Helen's journey to the Underworld, and the third book, Ilium, chronicles the final battle between mortals and the gods. Harper Teen is planning to publish Starcrossed in summer 2011.
This totally blew my mind. I mean, I know some of the players involved. I even follow them on Twitter. I saw the excitement even before I knew what the excitement was about.

I have mixed feelings about advances that are high enough to be newsworthy, but I think this one will definitely earn out. I mean, Did you read description of the book? Does it not sound awesome?? I'm already plotting on how to pull strings and snag a galley..... :-P

Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall was released in stores everywhere...

...even in Bozeman, Montana.

I know I said this in my last post too, but it's true here too - You have to read it. I admit, I'm not the biggest fan of this genre. I haven't read other teen weepies like If I Stay or Th1rteen R3asons Why (I have this thing against sad endings), but the pre-pub buzz for Ms. Oliver's novel was so good that I begged a galley off a friend.

Before I Fall deserves every nice thing that anyone has said about it. It totally changed my mind about the weepy genre. It is destined to become the favorite book of multitudes of teens. In five years, all the
copies in the picture above will be battered and dog-eared, the tell-tale signs of many reads and re-reads.

Do yourself a favor, and read it now - that way, you can say you read it before it became a bestseller/won such-and-such awards/got so famous that everybody knew about it.

3. On the same day she emailed me to make sure that the bears hadn't eaten me, my awesome agent J. invited me to go see The Lightning Thief with her after our lunch on Tuesday. Eeeeeekkk!!! I know - I can't believe I haven't seen it yet either, but I want to. Desperately. It totally made my week.

A few things have happened here in Montana too:

1. Spring has begun to crawl up the mountain. This means that the weather has moved away from sub-zero temps and started to look more like this:

This means that mud season is upon us. At the base, the landscape has turned from white to brown, and on either side of the road, rivulets of melted run-off thread their way to the Gallatin River.

I'm crossing my fingers that the snow lasts long enough for my little brother to get here and snowboard to his heart's content. He's spending his Spring Break here, and if he can't get out to snowboard, he's going to be bored out of his mind.

2. Also, I'm off to NYC tomorrow to see my editor, my agent, and oodles of friends. The excitement abounds like whoa.

Of course, my little brother will arrive at the airport an hour before I return. That means that I must clean the cabin unless I want him to see how I've been living and thus be teased/blackmailed until the end of time. I spent a significant part of yesterday and today cleaning. I even vacuumed and made his bed. It was epic.

3. Revisions are everywhere. I still haven't received my editorial letter from my editor, but I've been plowing ahead with revisions for J., agent extraordinaire. Earlier this week, I went into a mild panic, thinking that a month had been wasted since I hadn't finished my revisions in the three weeks since the arrival of J.'s letter. (Note: when I'm sick, everything tends to look like the end of the world.)

Then I started typing up all the new scenes...and realized I had written 20K. Not all of that 20K will make it into this manuscript, of course (one scene has three different beginnings I need to wade through so that's 6K cut right there), but it did make me realize February was actually productive, not just full of illness.

I have maybe three more new scenes to write, and then I revise my revisions. I'll be cutting and pasting the chronology of these new scenes the way a dealer shuffles cars. Then a line-by-line edit or two.... (starting to feel mildly stressed)

But first...laundry! And packing! :-D