I'm suffering from Sporadic Internet Accesibility and the related Blog Withdrawl Syndromes. Very sad. I shall only be able to post every now and then for the next week as we try to get the old house saleable. So, no editing, only painting and carpet shampooing and packing and other delightful activities.

Oh, and as a follow-up to the Summer Shorts Contest, I have now notified my 1 Grand-Prize, 5 Winners and 9 Honorable Mentions. Everyone else, thank you so much for entering. I hope to see all of you again when my next contest roles around. I think we'll have to do something monumental when my picture book (actually written by me! comes out next year. I'm thinking something mind-blowing, never-been-done-in-the-history-of-book-contests kind of contest. I should start brain-storming now.


We came; we saw; we signed books.

We had a delightful Summer Shorts release party. It was fun getting to see local authors and illustrators - many who I've never even met before. I had a great time, and I hope everyone else did as well. Here are some pictures from the event. Unfortunately my digital camera is not real good these days. They come out all blurry. Fortunately, I took backups with a little disposable. But I haven't gotten those developed yet. So, you'll just have to endure these.

Here's the crowd settling in.

And here's the authors and illustrators (and me) with some of the contest winners.

And the best thing of all? I got my own book signed. I always try to get the books I edited signed. So far I'm only missing one in my collection.


Question of the Week September 8

I read in an article that tag line should be of the format 'said Jack.' rather than 'Jack said.' Here is the article. http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=271886. What are your thoughts?

Ridiculous. I’ve never heard anything like that before, and no one else here has either. Actually, this has provided us with a good laugh. No one is going to reject your manuscript because you put Jack said. I have never consciously noticed the order of tags before. Now that I think about it, I both write and edit using both ways. For instance:
“We’re going up there,” Jack said.
“But I don’t want to,” said Jill. “I don’t want to carry that stupid pail of water all the way home.”
Mary and her lamb rolled their eyes. The twins had this fight all of the time.
I feel varying the saids adds variety. But as a general rule don’t worry about word order like that. Write whatever comes naturally and flows best with the story. Personally, I would go with the said Jack if I had to choose, but putting Jack said does not show a lack of professionalism.

However, everything else in that article was spot on, dead right, the way to go. Use correct punctuation? You’d better. Don’t have to many strange tags (tags other than said and asked)? Check. Again, your manuscript probably won’t get rejected solely because you use lots of strange tags, but it will prolong your editing.

Of course, if someone has actually been told differently in the past I'd love to hear it. Also I'd love to know the reason for their side on the great "said Jack vs. Jack said" debate.


My Life of the X or maybe Y or even Z List

I am a fan of Kathy Griffin's Life on the D-List show. I especially like the part where something strange or depressing happens at an event and Kathy then points out that she can't imagine that sort of thing happening to Nicole Kidman or some other A-lister.

I'm having a Z list moment. Yes, Z. I can't even imagine a fourth tier publishing house having these kinds of problems much less a house like Harper Collins or and editor like Arthur Levine.

Here goes. As of yesterday, Summer Shorts no longer shows up in the Barnes & Noble system. Yep, it's gone. If you look online at like Amazon or bn.com, it appears to be out of print. Yes, my book that has been out 5 weeks is now apparently out of print. This happens because they haven't entered in our data into their system. It doesn't matter that we've sent the data twice now. But this kind of thing happens every now and then. Okay, every book, so I've gotten used to it. I still find it disheartening and depressing, but those are the kicks.

But what really gets me down is finding out that my wonderful fabulous Summer Shorts party that I've worked hard on, admittedly I haven't killed myself over it, but I have worked hard, has now been relegated to a half hour time slot. When I planned it, I very cunningly chose to schedule it right after the monthly local SCBWI meeting. This way all those folks can stay and mingle and up our attendance. So, my party is set for Saturday at 1. What wasn't set at the time was a tasting/book signing for the Fearless Food Critic's Austin book. That's now been scheduled for 2 (at least according to the store manager, who admittedly could have gotten the time wrong.) You know that with catering they are going to want at least a half hour to set up. And that leaves me 30 minutes. Well, we can certainly take pictures, sign books, and read our winning kid's essay in 30 minutes, but I have to admit that I had kind of hoped for, I don't know, at least 45. Oh well, we'll start the minute SCBWI is over, so if you plan on coming, you might want to arrive slightly early. And remember, feel free to bring the kiddies. After all it's a book for them. Oh, of course that's assuming the book arrives. That's up in the air too.

Somedays I wonder why I even bother.


Tip of the Week September 6

Tip of the Week: Keep track of all of your submissions.

And by track, I mean in something like a spreadsheet even if it's a handwritten one in a columnar ledger. You need to remember who you sent a manuscript to, when you sent it, and their response. Part of this is so that one of your manuscripts won't languish for years in someone's slush pile. We won't name names. Okay, probably mine. You have no idea how easy it is for a manuscript to slip through a crack. Literally. Yesterday while packing for the Great Move, I found a 17 month-old manuscript hiding between my file cabinet and a book case. Also, you need to know where you've sent the stuff. Unless an editor or agent specifically asks to see a rewrite of that particular manuscript, you don't get to send it to them again. Nothing is more annoying than getting an unasked for rewrite of a suspense manuscript when the main reason you rejected it was because you already had acquired 12 suspense manuscripts for the next 3 years. And finally, the nice little chart of your submissions will help you to visualize your submission process. Do you always submit to the same places but only recieve form letters? Try somewhere else. You get the picture.

Viral Marketing at its Best

Yesterday, I send out a plea for contest entrants, and I must say that my fellow bloggers have done a great job responding. Through my stat tracker I was able to see how one person would pick up my post, and then another would, etc. This is the very definition of viral marketing where like a virus, an idea is spread from one person to the next. I know. I know. Awful imagery, but then again I'm not the businessman who came up with the term.

And that leads me to my Viral Marketing Award of the Day. One person posted about the contest only to have it show up on no less than 13 other blogs. And the honor of being most Viral goes to . . . (insert drumroll) . . . K. Pluta! Yeah, K! K is one of my authors, a Blooming Tree assistant editor, and a general all around great gal. You can find her on the web at her blog here. Apparently on Livejournal, when you post all of your friends can duplicate your post on their blog as well. Tricky. Anyway, thank you K.

And thank you to everyone else who's been spreading the word. But, please, please don't stop. I would love to see more entries.


Update on contest

I just checked my email, and I have so far had zero, zilch, rien, nada, no one enter the Summer Shorts contest. I'm feeling unloved. So, if you know any child at all who can string together 4 sentences, their chances of winning right now are really good. And hey, they'll get a free book. It's good. It's worth having. I swear.

I'm reposting the info. For a printable pdf, click here.

Let the games begin

I officially started to move today. Yippee. In the past this would have meant that a bunch of burly movers would have come over, cleared the old house, dumped it in the new house, and Tadah! we would have been done. But, oh no, we're not being that simple. For starters, we still haven't bothered to turn the gas back on, so no one is actually going to live at the new house quite yet. What should be going over there now are things like books, my slush pile, things I don't need everyday or right this minute. What's actually there are things like all my shoes, my backup discs for my computer that I needed when my external hard drive decided to not work, etc. Life is a bit of a mess.

But not as big of a mess as the explosive, and I mean Explosive, diarrhea one of my dogs had all over the utility room. And of course they walked in it and then left tracks all the way to the back door when my fiance let them out. Disgusting does not begin to cover it. It has been a spectacular day. I've been up 2 hours.

However, you are probably wondering what all this has to do with writing. Admittedly, not much, but my reading of the slush pile has been affected. Since you may have noticed that I moved most of it to the other house, my slush is officially on hold until life has calmed down somewhat - and when it is accessible again. I would therefore reccommend holding off sending me stuff for about a month. Also, if you haven't heard from me yet, you probably won't for another 3 weeks. And (I'm crossing my fingers that this doesn't happen) there is always the possibility with any move that something is going to be misplaced. Although I've taken great pains to round everything up, there's always the chance something isn't where I expected and will get thrown in a box willy-nilly. If after a few months you fear this has happened to you, send me a note to let me know.

On an amusing note, I stacked my slush up in its boxes and my two piles combined are half as tall as me. I'm average height. So, you can see that I will have some intensive reading to do when all this over. I'll just be glad that it's all over.


Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Specifically, they were wondering where yesterday's Question of the Week was. It's very simple. I didn't have a question; therefore, no question of the week. Mystery solved. I also spent the morning run around like a madman and the afternoon/evening working at the bookstore. The glamour that is my life never ends. I'm just now opening my laptop to do things like type here, check email, etc. And one of the things I discovered that I missed was BlogDay 2006. It was remiss of me, but I plan to make up for it next year. Until then, I must thank Jen Robinson for alerting me to the event and for the nice little blurb she gave the blog. If you have never discovered her before, now would be an excellent time to mosey on over to her page and have a little look-see. You won't regret it.