Sunday, October 31, 2010

Photo-Exploration No. 3 - All Hallow's Eve!

Happy Halloween!

This might count as my first vlog. (Emphases on might, though. :-P)

Disclaimer: I don't own the music. It's Peer Gynt: "In the Hall of the Mountain King," composed by Edvard Grieg, performed by BBC Scottish Symphony & Jerzy Maksymiuk.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Five - Adventures in Babysitting*

(*Wasn't that a movie, or am I making that up?)

Disclaimer: Blogging via phone here. Please disregard any typos.

1. I have just reached my tenth straight hour of babysitting my cousins. The baby is napping (2nd nap of the day - victory!). The 2.5 year old is watching the Baby Noah DVD (of the Baby Einstein collection) for the third time in a row. Oh, wait - no, she just left the TV and went to go play house.

I have lost count of how many diapers I've changed today. And how many bottles I feed the baby. Hopefully, their parents won't ask...

2. It took me a few days, but I re-read EVER AFTER SCHOOL this week!! Yes, I know that I'm not supposed to get the editorial letter until early next month. Of course, the last time I read it was back in JULY. I want to have it fresh in my mind, and I, uh, also took pages and pages of revision possibilities. **geek alert**

3. I have been in major plotting mode. My cute little plot notes notebook is filling up, and during an hour long walk on Tuesday, the first few chapters clicked into place in my head. Muahahahahahaha (ie. evil laughter). Exciting things are in store for Rory.

4. Yesterday, Mom and I drove up to Hendersonville in the North Carolina mountains. GORGEOUS!! Even the highway traffic was pretty (see above). We had a top secret *cough - Christmas shopping - cough* purpose to our trip. I was so tempted to buy this early edition of Charlotte's web, but then I couldn't think of anyone who would want it for Xmas. If you do, or know someone who does, it's at Jane Asher Antiques & Fine Traditions - they said that they ship!!

5. I think the baby's awake... Must run!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The JOURNEY, or Photo-Exploration No. 2

Let's pretend for a moment that you're me, and you're in a really bad mood.

It happens sometimes, even when things are going stupendously well.

Sometimes, the weather is just crummy. Sometimes, you get stuck doing tax-related stuff on a day when you planned to devour a sumptuous book. Sometimes, you're sitting at your writing desk, pen in one hand, notebook under the other, waiting impatiently for brilliant solutions to plot problems to land in your brain. Sometimes, you start thinking that if you have to stare at the page for just one more second, you'll pick it up and tear it into a million little pieces.

(I'll let you guess which one was going on today.)

You decide that there's only one way to cheer yourself up. You put on your sneakers, track down your iPod, and go for a walk.

You plan to go to this really pretty - ahem, soothing - place, where you've been before.

But because it's maybe five minutes away from your front door, you decide to go the long way.

Turns out that the long way turns into the longer way, because you forgot that you don't have sidewalk on your side of the highway. You cross the highway.

It's a nice one (a.k.a. Providence Road), but there are so many cars. They're so loud. Almost louder than your iPod blasting through your earphones.

You turn away from the cars, and...

Is that a dirt road in the middle of the city? Like fifty meters away from KinderCare? Really?

And what is that glimmer in the distance?

Obviously, you only have one choice.

Maybe you've even got Robert Frost beating out a rhythm in your mind: "Two roads diverged in a wood, but I--/I took the one less traveled by..." (Maybe there's even an English major voice telling your mind how cliché that is, and your mind tells that English major voice to mind its own business.)

Oooo, it's pretty back here.

Really pretty.

Of course, it might be a good idea to get back to the road before you get lost...

...but oops, the guys who are building back here (and probably opened the gate) are off their lunch break. They've gotten back to work. Maybe it's better to keep walking and not interfere with construction progress (ahem, and not walk by a supervisor who might tell me off for trespassing).

Carry on, then. Wow, there's a huge field back here. A little muddy though. And look! a creek!

Uh, how do you get over the creek? There's no bridge...

You cross the creek the old fashioned way - kicking the roads to scare away potential snakes and clambering down. You smear your sneakers with mud in the dry(ish) creek bed, and you start climbing back up.

And is that a random chimney on the bank? Well, that's not surreal at all.

Okay, you cross another field. You can see another road through the trees. You walk a little closer, and you realize you've arrived in someone's backyard. You can't figure out how to reach that road without walking down this house's driveway. sneak past the house and down the driveway, breaking into a trot in case anyone is home.

You have no idea where you are. Well, the name of the street seems a little familiar, but less than a mile from your house, you're kinda lost.

How fantastic!

This is the best walk ever!!!

And check it out - What pretty trees! :-)

This is a really nice street too.

Hey, that house looks just like a castle.

OMG, no one needs to tell [your MC] how to get there! [Your MC] just needs to find a castle during her quest and sneak inside!


The events of this post are based on a true story. I really did get a little bit of writer's block and go for a walk, which helped me get unstuck. I recommend taking a break for anyone who feels like they're (metaphorically) ramming their head against a wall. (Well, literally too.)

In case you were worried, I found myself in front of Queens University, which is a couple miles from my house, and I knew exactly how to get home.

I took the scenic route, happily plotting all the way...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

GUESS WHAT?!? (Hint: It's totally SQUEE-worthy.)

Gah, I can't believe that I get to write this post.

(I can't believe I get to write this post so quickly.)

But look what Jo did! Ahem, I mean, what Publisher's Marketplace posted at some point while we were all sleeping:

Children's: Fantasy
Shelby Bach's EVER AFTER SCHOOL series, about how an eleven-year-old discovers her destiny in a world of magic and fairy tales, pitched as Percy Jackson meets The Sisters Grimm, to Courtney Bongiolatti at Simon & Schuster Children's, in a two-book deal, by Joanna Volpe at Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation (World English).

I kind of still can't believe it!!! My first book-baby! Jo found EVER AFTER SCHOOL a home!!

In case you were wondering...

The offer came a week and a day ago - on my great-grandmother's ninety-sixth birthday.

Morin (that's my great-grandmother) and I were just hanging out at the time, waiting to go to her b-day dinner party, and then Jo called.

I really wish I could tell you more about the call, but I actually don't remember much. My brain stopped processing. Actually, a lot of things stopped processing. All I remember is Jo talking really fast and me trying to take notes, which really didn't work, because my mind was screaming, "OMG! OMG! OMG!"

It was all surreal like whoa. I was sure that I would wake up and discover I had dreamed it all.

Then I started dancing around after I hung up the phone and told Morin (who sweetly said, "What great news! Now my birthday's really special"). I started tearing up when I told my mom and she said she was crying. Then Morin started telling everybody who called to wish her a happy birthday before I got the chance.

And every day since then, I've been freaking out more and MORE as it gets more REAL.

I mean, I've got an editor. Named Courtney. She's real - I know, because I got to talk to her on the phone. And she really loves my book. She said so. And she said that I should know that it's not an empty compliment, because she bought that book (plus the sequel!).

And that publishing house - Simon and Schuster? I know it's real. I used to walk by it all the time when I lived in New York (it's right beside Magnolia Bakery).

And deadlines! That will go in a contract! (Actually, the deadlines are what makes this feel the most real. Because I probably wouldn't imagine deadlines if I was dreaming. :-P)

Also, I've got this pretty new announcement that makes the news public. Ready to see it again? Ready? (Because I don't think that I'll ever get tired of looking at it.)

Children's: Fantasy
Shelby Bach's EVER AFTER SCHOOL series, about how an eleven-year-old discovers her destiny in a world of magic and fairy tales, pitched as Percy Jackson meets The Sisters Grimm, to Courtney Bongiolatti at Simon & Schuster Children's, in a two-book deal, by Joanna Volpe at Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation (World English).


But seriously, y'all - the more it sinks in, the more I realize how incredibly lucky I am, and how many people I have to thank.

Like my parents, who - when I told them that I wanted to quit my steady job in New York and write for real - told me to "go for broke," as Mom says. And definitely, Joanna at NC Lit, my lovely sweet talented agent, who pulled EVER AFTER SCHOOL out of the e-slush pile and loved it like whoa, who believed in it and me, who helped me polish it to submission-worthy shape with the patience of a sage. And Courtney at S&S, who loved it too and worked hard to get it to the right meetings, despite having lots of other things going on last month. And Maria, who let me brainstorm in her office last year and then laughed in all the right places, who read it this summer and still loved it. And Colby and Clint (my siblings), who never made fun of their big sister, even though I made it easy plenty of times. And Team JoSVolpe for just being a wonderful, warm, supportive bunch of writers.
And a great group of friends, some fellow writers and some not, who read either this manuscript or past ones, and asked, Cool, can I read another one you wrote? (Always always a great compliment.)

I am truly lucky and truly blessed.

And so SO excited!!!! :-D