May 30, 2011

Bear Saga II - This Time It's Personal!

(First, if you haven't had a chance to check out the tension blogfest, check here for my entry and links to all the other really good ones!)

Now.

I have a bone to pick with our bear.

Remember how the he made off with our bird feeder?
(in the interest of full disclosure, this is not actually our bear -
he is far too sneaky to be seen stealing the feeder and too cagey to allow photographic evidence!)
Well, there's more...

See, it's been so wet that we left our garage open to air.  In the space of about 5 minutes, a pair of birds decided to set up housekeeping.  They built a nest in the garage rafters and laid some eggs.
Ergo, we could not close the garage - not unless we wanted an international reputation as baby bird murderers... which we certainly did not!

But we keep our trash in the garage until Saturday.  Usually it's safe from the bear because the garage is closed.  But, baby birds and whatnot (see above.)  So we closed the trash can lid tight, fastened it across the top with two (count them, 2!) sturdy black rubber bungee cords, and figured all would be well.

All was not.

The bear came in the night, removed the bungee cords and the trash can lid with ease, dragged both bags up the hill across from the mud room, and proceeded to go through every morsel of trash, strewing it through the woods for about an acre....

Which I then had to go pick up in the morning....

Not my top choice of activity pre- 6 AM and pre-coffee!

(P.S. Bears apparently love chocolate and will lick out the insides of candy wrappers... even tiny ones like the foil around easter eggs... and leave them in soggy little chewed-up pieces all over the place... ick.  They also think they like orange peels, but change their minds once they start chewing.  You have not known joy until you get to pick up orange peels that have been chewed by a bear and then spit back out!)

Suffice to say, I was not happy with the bear.  But it was kind of my fault for leaving trash in the garage with the door open.  And I get nature.  So I would have been willing to forgive.

Until last night.

10 PM.  Dark.  Quiet.

Suddenly, a small noise.  It could have been a squirrel or a deer.

I ignored it.

But the dogs did not.

They had been flat out asleep on the floor after their hectic, grueling day (you know the difficult kind of life they lead :)) but at the first hint of that noise, both heads went up, all four ears pricked attentively, and Scout growled, low in her throat, the universal dog Warning Growl.

(Given that the dogs consider themselves off duty from 8 PM to 5:30 AM and generally sleep with great devotion and no noise, if they react to something during those hours, it's usually for real.)

A moment later, the sound of screeching metal had the dogs on their feet and charging down the stairs, barking their ferocious little heads off.

Hmm... screeching metal.  I assumed the bear was in the garage again, messing with the trash can, and I felt very smug.  Being the quick learner that I am, I had stopped putting the trash in the garage.  Instead, it was safely stinking up the mud room.  Take that, bear!  No trash pick-up for me in the morning!

Except it turns out, that's not what he was doing.

Look what he did!

Bad bear!

Naughty bear!

Now I am personally affronted.  Hurt, even.

This time, it's personal!

Helping himself to take-away breakfast is one thing.  Breaking and entering my house is quite another.

That bear and I are going to have to have a serious talk!

Actually, I think this calls for drastic measures.  I'm going over his head.  I will be writing a letter to his mother to tell her exactly what I think of her parenting skills - teach him some manners please! - and recommend she take him to a therapist to discuss his boundary issues!

I mean REALLY!

Please feel free to write sample letters - because how do you reason with a bear? - and/or share you own stories of wild animal invasion :)

Meanwhile, looks like we're going to have to keep our trash in the basement...!
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May 27, 2011

The Power of Tension Blogfest

OK, Cally.  You've talked me into it :)
My friend Cally over at Cally Jackson Writes, has convinced me to enter the Power of Tension Blogfest that she and my friend Rachel over at Rachel Morgan Writes are running this week.  It ends in about 10 minutes, so talk about squeaking in under the wire... there's a bit of tension right there!

I explained to Cally that moments of tension in picture books tend to be about 7 words long and not at quite the level of the novel entrants in this blogfest.  Her response was something akin to, "Pshaw!  Balderdash!" and she encouraged me to break out part of a NIP (that's my acronym for Novel In Progress because why refer to it as a WIP like everyone else when I'm just that daring-to-be-different?)

So here it is.  (Cally also promised no one would throw spit balls or laugh - and I WILL hear you!)

Oren and Beck, 2 12-year-old boys, are running from the evil King Feridon and his army.  They don't know why he's after them, but they know if he catches them they will, in all likelihood, be killed.  Racing through Dreadwood, they become separated.  Beck, with 50 soldiers behind him, struggles desperately to stay ahead of the war horses on his small farm pony....


Hating to ask for even more, Beck drove his heels into Cedric’s sides, urging him on again.  The generous pony tried courageously but he had little left to give.  His hooves pounded on relentlessly, but his chestnut coat was soaked with sweat and his breath came in great rhythmic gusts.  His ears lay back against his head, not pinned tightly as in anger, but as if he hadn’t the energy left to prick them forward.  In spite of his greathearted effort, as the ground before them rose again he began to slow.
The change in pace was almost imperceptible at first, but as he battled the continued incline it became more noticeable, and Coulter and his swift bay gained inexorably on the laboring pony.
Beck looked back.  The bay was only a few horse-lengths behind.  Hating himself, Beck reached back and slapped a hand across Cedric’s flank, hoping that deep down the pony had a reserve of energy, but Cedric’s pace didn’t change.
            Beck glanced back again and the bay was so close now he could see the crescent-shaped swirl of white hair on its forehead and the pink lining of its flaring nostrils.  But the proximity of the bay horse, who was tiring, too, was not nearly so frightening to Beck as the grim expression of the man who rode him.  That man, a total stranger who could not possibly have had anything personal against Beck, wore a mask of determination that made Beck shudder, as if his entire life depended on capturing a boy and a chestnut pony.


So there you have it...  I was limited to 300 words (there are 260 here.)  Did I manage any tension, or ...  Hey!  Wake up!

I forgot to add no falling asleep to no throwing spitballs or laughing!

Check out the other entrants here!
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May 25, 2011

BEA OMG TMI

If you've never been to BEA (Book Expo America) you should go if you get the chance.  Here's the picture I took:
Some might say it doesn't do BEA justice.  Personally, I think my photography skills are right up there with my fashion sense - one could call this art.  (One could also call it something else, but I'm sticking with art.)

Seriously, though, no picture could really do BEA justice.  It is 5 city blocks long!!!  Full of publishing houses and books of every kind.  It takes your breath away.  The sheer magnitude is overwhelming.

There are authors signing, and ARCs being given away by publishers, and agents and editors wandering the busy aisles alongside teachers and librarians and independent booksellers.

It is like book heaven.

One minute inside BEA would convince you (if you were wondering) that the publishing industry can't be in that much trouble  if this many houses and this many books exist!  It is at once inspiring and intimidating to see how much is out there.

I had the privilege of giving away signed copies of Not Yet, Rose yesterday.  I sat at a table at the Mom's Choice Award booth and people were literally LINED UP waiting for signed copies.  It was such an ego boost (even though I realize it was because they were free it was still fun!  Nobody ever lined up for one of my books before - at least, not a line of more than 2 people :))

Afterwards, I wandered the aisles and said hi to a couple of my editors who were there, and read lots of kids' books (I lost count, but a bunch of them will get added to my 100 Book Challenge list.)  It was totally fun.

Have any of you ever been to the big conferences?  ALA?  SCBWI New York or LA?  IRA?  What did you think?  Do you recommend going?
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May 23, 2011

Advice For The Fashion-Challenged

(Disclaimer: if you think you're going to GET fashion advice you've come to the wrong place!)

Now, then.

One of the many perks of being a writer is that there is no dress code.

I can wear blue jeans (my outfit of choice) every single day and no one cares because no one sees me.  For that matter, I could wear this

or this

and no one would even know!

(And I think I would look quite fetching.)

But on occasion it is necessary to go out in public, and that is where I run into trouble.  Apparently blue jeans are not considered appropriate attire for graduations and weddings (who knew?), and I must attend several in the coming month.  As I am absolutely hopeless when it comes to fashion and have the figure of a dumpling, I am faced with quite the challenge.

What to do?

Being resourceful, (but not in the sense of having financial resources or I would hire a personal shopper... or possibly a model to go in my place...) I decided to consult Google: "How to dress for your shape."

Right away, I ran into problems.  Hourglass, rectangle, diamond, apple....  Hmm....  no dumpling.  What's with that?  My second shape choice, garden gnome, doesn't show up either...  I don't look exactly like any of the choices they offer.

Figures.  (I'm such a punster....)

Oh, well.  Picking one that seemed somewhat close, I looked at the clothing suggestions.

A line? Wedge heels?
Balance? Elongate the torso?

Wrap tops?  Belted jackets?  Are they serious?

There is absolutely no hope.

So I will be going to both graduations and the wedding in this:

Maybe I'll wear it to Book Expo tomorrow too.....

(Feel free to share your fashion advice.  I can use all the help I can get :))
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May 20, 2011

Tails From The Wild Side

As many of you know, I have two dogs.

They are high-strung, riled-up, frothing-at-the-mouth, snarling, razor-toothed, hair-on-end, exceptionally ferocious...

WHAT?

You don't believe me?

Fine.  I'll show you.  But remember, you were warned!

(WARNING: The following photographs may not be suitable for all audiences.  Please preview before allowing easily frightened individuals to view!)


See?

I beg your pardon!  Have you the temerity to suggest they are NOT ferocious?

Hmmpphh!  (Well, they do bark sometimes.  So there.)

ANYWAY, back to the point I was making before I was so rudely interrupted.  And as always, I do have one.

My ferocious dogs are being terrorized by a deer.

It's true.  You heard me right.  A sweet, dainty, doe-eyed little white-tailed deer.  Except she isn't.  She's like the hand-maiden of Satan.

Yesterday, I was about to leave for my daughter's lacrosse game (where we all got soaked for a change, but that's another story...)  I let the dogs out to take care of their dogly business, and next thing I knew, I heard Scout's Danger Bark!  Warning!  Warning!  Stay in the house!  Do not under any circumstances exit the premises!  Danger!

It was the wrong time of day for the UPS man, (who gives them cookies but is never allowed onto the property unchallenged as a matter of principal) but as I told you, the bear has been around.  So when I heard that bark I thought, Hmmm, maybe it's the bear.  (I hope you were able to follow that leap of logic.)

So out the door I rushed lest my fierce ones need assistance chasing off the bear, heedless of my own safety (I'm that brave... or stupid....) and what should I see but a Mexican stand off.

But not with the bear.

Nope, my dogs were nearly muzzle-to-muzzle with a doe.
Quelle horreur!

The doe had the advantage of higher ground, but the dogs had the advantage of superior numbers.  It was bound to be a fearsome struggle.  The three of them stood in a triangle, with the doe at the top, almost equidistant from each other (what's that called? not isosceles, the other one...) locked in mortal combat.  Really.

The doe snorted and threatened to step forward.

The dogs shrank back.

The dogs snarled and barked.

The doe shrank back.

Really, action this fast-paced was difficult to follow.  If only I'd had my video camera....

But seriously, we're just at the brink of fawn season, and though it's a little early, the only time I've ever seen a doe behave like this (and it's happened twice before) was when she had a very young fawn nearby.  Does may look sweet, but they can, in fact, be lethal.  (Truthfully.  I'm not making this up - you can check.  To protect their fawns they will go after threats (dogs or people) with their front hooves, and the results are most unpleasant for the attacked.)

So I really was worried about my little sweetums.

"Scout!  Jemma!" I called desperately.  "Come!"

Now, ordinarily my dogs are the definition of obedience and jump to my command (hahahahahahahaha sorry, I couldn't even say that with a straight face) but they were protecting me from the savage doe and would not be called off.  I was forced to use the age old ruse of opening the car door and calling sweetly, "Who wants to go for a ride in the car?"

Leaving one important duty (guard dogs!) for another (copilot and navigator!) they leapt aboard the Dog Mobile (that's my 2002 Toyota Siena, for the uninitiated) and the doe went on her merry way, crisis averted without loss of face.

Phew!

Really, I'm exhausted just telling you about it.  I think it's time for lunch.

And if you're wondering how this relates to writing, well.... hang on...  I'll think of something....  Ah, yes!  Get ready for a pearl of wisdom:  If you find yourself locked in the mortal combat of writer's block, go for a drive in the car, hang your head out the window and let the wind blow your ears back.  Sound advice, no?  Very refreshing.

Feel free to share your own stories from Wild Kingdom, compliment Scout and Jemma's excessive bravery (they always like to be told what good dogs they are!), or tell me what the heck that triangle with equal sides is called :)
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May 18, 2011

Staying Afloat

I think it's time to brush off my ark-building skills.

It's been pouring for 5 solid days, and the forecast shows nothing but rain for the foreseeable future (which in weather forecasting terms is 5 to 10 days.)  Every pair of shoes I own (all 2 of them) is wet because, rain or no rain, you've just got to get outside for at least a few minutes every day, don't you think?

So, while I try to figure out what a cubit is so I can stay afloat, I will share a little tidbit I found on Monday evening when I was finishing Sarah Dessen's new book, What Happened To Goodbye (an excellent read that I recommend.)

As a writer, it sometimes feels hard to keep your head above water
(you like how neatly I segued from the ark to writing?  That was pretty smooth...)  There are days when the words won't come, and other days when the words that come aren't right, or aren't good enough, and still other days when you send off a ms you think you really nailed to your agent and she replies five minutes later that it's "cute" but a one-time read better suited for a magazine.  Or that you'd be better off using that one as hamster bedding....

Writing is tough.

But here's what makes it better: every writer feels the same way.  Really, we're all in this together.  It's wonderful to have writer friends, both those you actually see in real life and those who have become friends via blogging, because we all get it and we can all toss each other a life-saver (the boat kind, not the candy, although the candy is good too...) when we need it.
(Really, I've got this boat metaphor thing going strong, don'cha think?)

So anyway, here's what I found in the back of Sarah's book.  In the acknowledgments she wrote, "Many thanks to my agent, Leigh Feldman, and editor, Regina Hayes, for their support, wisdom, and willingness to be aboard the crazy train that is my writing process."  I find it so incredibly comforting that a writer of Sarah Dessen's talent and success refers to her writing process as a "crazy train."  It makes me feel like I'm in good company, and if she can create such wonderful books from aboard her crazy train, maybe I can create something good from my ark :)

What's your writing process like?  What do you find comforting/helpful?

P.S.  As I don't usually post on Tuesday, and was away at a school visit all day yesterday, I missed the chance to link to Catherine Johnson's wonderful blog where I was interviewed.  If you're interested in reading it, please visit Catherine Johnson.
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May 16, 2011

Books Journey

I went to a very good, highly regarded all girls private school (back in ancient times) but two things they never did were bring in authors or teach us much about the creative writing process.  (My father also feels they neglected geography, but that's another story...)

I thought authors were akin to gods - certainly not real people - and to me, a life of writing didn't seem like an option.  Journalism, OK - but not creative writing.  People from my school became doctors, lawyers, and senators.  Those that became stay-at-home moms tried not to attract too much attention because with an education like ours you were supposed to be out there doing something with it (as if using it to raise happy, well-adjusted, good kids isn't important... but that's also another story!)

Anyway, the point is, I visit a lot of public schools whose reputations probably can't hold a candle to my alma mater, but they do invite authors and illustrators and put a lot more effort into showing kids first hand that the creative life is an option.

One local school in particular has been running a terrific program for 4 or 5 years now.  They call it Books Journey, and it's a program for fourth graders.  It is kicked off by local authors and illustrators (and we are lucky - there are a lot of us in the Hudson Valley!) coming in to talk about their creative process and the creative spark - how they generate ideas.

The kids are then each given a journal, and during dedicated class time, they begin writing their own books.  After a couple of weeks, I come in - and that's what I'm doing today and tomorrow!  My job is to help them keep going after the initial spark has worn off and they are stuck.  We talk about characters, setting, obstacles, raising the stakes, crafting a satisfying ending etc., and how to keep going when you're not sure what to do.

The kids then go back and finish their stories.  Then the school has a couple of professional editors come in and talk about editing, followed by a book cover designer who teaches the kids about the importance of cover design.  Finally, they have a marketing specialist come in and teach them about how professional authors market their books.

At the very end, they have a book fair, where all 100 or so of the books are on display for students, teachers and parents to look at.

It's an amazing program, one I wish more schools could do.  It does take a lot of organization, but it is so worthwhile for the kids.  You should see how proud they are of their finished books!

So today and tomorrow, I'm off to teach fourth graders.  Wish me luck and good communications skills so I can be really helpful to them - who knows?  A future great novelist may be among them :)

Do you know of schools who do a particularly good job of teaching writing?  What do they do?
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May 11, 2011

Book Talk

I love books.

I love reading books and writing books.  I love buying books for myself and for other people.  I love getting books as gifts.

As far as I'm concerned, there are few things as lovely as a stack of books you can't wait to read.  What worlds await?  What characters will there be to get to know?  What experiences will there be to imagine yourself in?

The only hard part is deciding what to read first, because I never have as much time to read as I'd like!

My current stack includes What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (I love Sarah Dessen), The A Circuit by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka (I love books about horses), Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks (I loved A Year Down Yonder and if you haven't read it I highly recommend it), Secret Of The Night Ponies by Joan Harlow (never read anything by her before), and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (which has gotten great reviews.)

What great books have you read recently, and what's in your to-read stack now?  Please share!
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May 10, 2011

Breakfast To Go

Taking a little break from my mother-in-law (with whom I've spent so much time lately that her senior confusion in rubbing off on me to the point that I'm not sure what day we're on, only that my posting schedule is completely off!) I have a funny story to share.

Those of you who have spent any time around this blog know that I live in the middle of nowhere, on a mountain which is known to the locals as Blueberry Hill.

It is like Wild Kingdom up here.  We have all the usual species - deer, turkeys, squirrels, raccoons, possums, woodchucks :), skunks etc,. but we also have coyotes, bobcats (very elusive, but spotted now and then) and black bears.

Our bear wakes up around the second week of April but usually doesn't make his first appearance until the third week - maybe he needs time to straighten his bed head before being seen in public :)


We have actual video footage of him playing with the swing set - if I could figure out how to get it off the ancient video tape and onto the internet I would show you, but alas, that will have to wait for another day and someone more technologically savvy...

So anyway, we keep a bird feeder up in the winter.  We put it up around Thanksgiving, after the bears have gone to bed, and take it down at the beginning of the third week of April when we know the bears are likely to be back.

A couple times, our bear has beaten us to it - knocked the pole that holds the feeder flat and dented and emptied the feeder.  He sits on the ground while eating and leaves a giant, unmistakable butt print.

But this time, he took it to a whole new level.

When I went out to fill the feeder, it was gone.  Clean gone!

He had taken it off the pole and carried it away with him - breakfast to go!

Apparently, we will have to buy a new feeder for next year...

Meanwhile, we seem to be running breakfast take-out for the Wild Kingdom.

You may place your orders below :)
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May 6, 2011

Stand Up Comedy

As it happens. the saga continues...  If you haven't read the beginning, feel free to check out Making A Break For It!

Okay.

So today, my mother-in-law has bullied negotiated her way into a chair like this:

"I'm getting out of this bed!"

"You're staying in this bed," the nurse replies calmly.

"I am getting out of this bed!" insists my mother-in-law.  "I'm going to sit in a chair like a normal person."

"You're going to stay in the bed until we get you a chair alarm," replies the nurse, unruffled.

"I don't need an alarm to sit in a chair!"

"We need an alarm so we know if you try to get out of the chair without help," says the nurse, wise to my mother-in-law's tendency toward high jinx and shenanigans.

"Hmmpphhh!"

Now, repeat this interchange ad nauseum over the course of the next five hours....

At last, the chair alarm arrives and, with great ceremony, my mother-in-law is installed in the longed-for chair.

She is happy.

For about 14 seconds.

"I don't like the way this room is arranged," she tells me.  "Move that walker over here."

I was not born yesterday.

"No," I say.

"It doesn't look right over there," continues my mother-in-law as if I hadn't spoken.  (The folded walker is currently tucked neatly between the table and the wall, out of the way, and out of reach.)  "Put it right here," she instructs, indicating a placement inches to her right, which totally blocks the bathroom door, leaves the walker in danger of being knocked over by anyone who should happen to enter the room, and puts it squarely within her reach.

"No!" I say firmly.

She pouts.

"I'm not going to use it," she bargains.

"Not while I'm here," I agree.

She is quiet for a moment.  Then,

"Move that walker over here!"

"Not gonna happen," I say apologetically.  "I know you too well.  If I put the walker over here, you'll be hoofing it down the hallway with your hospital gown a-flappin', sprinting for the elevator at the first opportunity."

She chuckles at the idea.

"I promise, I won't," she says, but she can't keep a straight face or look me in the eye.


One minute passes.

"I'm tired," she announces.  "I want to get back in bed."  She rings for the nurse before I can intercept the call button.

"What do you need?" asks the nurse.

"I'm getting back in bed," says my mother-in-law.

The nurse just barely manages not to roll her eyes.  "Mrs. Hill," she says, "you spent all morning wanting to sit in that chair.  You've barely been out of bed 10 minutes.  We really need you to sit up for an hour."

"An hour?" my mother-in-law is aghast.  "What is this, a torture chamber?  An hour!"

"An hour," says the nurse, and turns on her heel.

"I can't do it," my mother-in-law tells me.

"Yes, you can," I assure her.

"I can't," she says stubbornly.

"We could play cards," I say.

"I hate cards," she grumbles.

"Then tell me amusing anecdotes from your childhood," I suggest.

The corner of her mouth turns up.  "Amusing anecdotes?" she says.  "I didn't have an amusing childhood."

"Okay," I say, ever agreeable, "then tell me depressing anecdotes."

Instead, she elects to push herself to a standing position.

Bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep!  The chair alarm goes nuts!

The nurse comes running.

My mother-in-law sits back down.

"Mrs. Hill!" admonishes the nurse, oozing disapproval.  "You are to stay in that chair!"

After she leaves I look at my mother-in-law.  "Stand-up comedian," I say with a grin.

And she laughs!  She may not be in the best shape, but she totally got that!

But I'm afraid I've encouraged her.  Now it's only a matter of time before she tries it again!

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May 5, 2011

Making A Break For It

So I'm sitting next to my mother-in-law in the hospital.

"I'd like to go outside," she announces.

"And I'd like to take you," I tell her.  "But you're not allowed out of bed.  Doctor's orders.  Besides," I try to make it better.  "It's cold and rainy."

"Hmm..."  She takes this in.

A minute later, "Maybe I'll just go for a walk in the hall."

"Sorry, you can't," I tell her.  "You have to stay in bed."

"I don't need to get dressed," she bulldozes over my objection.  "I can go like this."  She pushes the covers back and prepares to sit up in her hospital gown.

"As lovely a fashion statement as that gown is," I say, encouraging her to lie back down, "you cannot go out in the hall like that."  (Seriously.  There would be emotional scarring.)

"Hmm...."  She subsides again.

A minute later her face brightens.  "I need to go to the bathroom,"she says.

"Not by yourself," I remind her.  "The nurses have to help."  I ring for the nurse.

She bustles in to see what's needed.  When I explain, she goes off in search of another nurse.  This is a two person job.

Together, the nurses help my mother-in-law swing her feet over the edge of the bed.  Then, with one on either side, they get her to her feet.

Right away, she dives for the walker parked near the bed.  "I'm just going for a walk in the hall," she says breezily.

"Oh, no, you're not!" say the nurses.  "You said you needed the bathroom."

"I don't," says my mother-in-law with what can only be described as a mischievous glint in her eye.  "But since I'm up, I do need a walk."

There is a brief argument over hall-walking and whether the bathroom will be used or not, ending with my mother-in-law back in bed.

But you've got to hand it to her.  She's a woman with a plan.  I can only wonder what she'll come up with next :)

Apologies for the chaos of my posting schedule this week.  Someone's got to keep an eye on the old bird!
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May 3, 2011

Buns Afire

Yes, I know Tuesday is not a usual posting day for me, and yes, given my cooking skills, "buns afire"  could be referring to a catastrophic kitchen incident - that would not be at all out of the realm of possibility... or even probability...

But actually, it's all about the fact that today, I will be in THE HOT SEAT on Cally Jackson's fabulous blog, Cally Jackson Writes.

And, yowza! the stars must be aligned or something because 3 of my books are also being reviewed on Catherine Johnson's poetically perfect blog, Catherine Johnson, Writer!

Please take a moment to click over to these lovely ladies' blogs, since they were so kind as to write about moi, and see how awesome they are!

And then, if you haven't read my actual post from yesterday, please feel free to read that too and share your organizational insights (or nightmares :))!
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May 2, 2011

A Little Help From My Friends

I wonder if there is a gene for organization?

If so, I don't have it.

I WANT to be organized.  But I think, when it comes to organizing, I have ADHD.

Here's what happens: I walk into my office.  I look around.  I take in the books piled on every available surface, the reams of papers waiting to be filed, the Christmas wrapping paper still lying on the floor by the closet, the school supplies that I was told were crucial to this year's learning efforts (yet are somehow still in a Staples bag in the corner - and it appears the kids may be learning without them), and a whole lot of other stuff that I'd be hard-pressed to even identify.  Truth be told, I feel a mite panicky.

But I plunge bravely in.  I start on the books.  Onto the shelf they go.  But should they be alphabetized?  Or organized by genre?  Or topic?  Or size?  Or paperback vs. hardcover?

Hmm...

While I decide, maybe I should file some of the papers.  There's a pile of royalty statements (don't confuse this with actual royalties - these are just pages that say how many books have sold - not usually as many as the pages of paper they use up writing about it!)  But should I file them by the book they're related to?  Because if I do that, I'll have to make copies of some because all the books from Little Simon, for example, are on the same statement.  Or maybe I should file them by publishing house?  But then I'll need some new file folders...

Hmm...

While I decide, maybe I'll put the wrapping paper away in the closet.  So I open the door....

Do you see what I'm up against?

So I go to the cookie cupboard to fortify myself and decide maybe I should blog about organizing instead of actually doing it!

Oh, and I didn't even mention organizing time!  I appear to be missing the gene for that, too.  Although not in the same way.  When it comes to time, it's not a matter of ADHD, but of BTE (I'm a Bad Time Estimator!)

I am convinced that I can do anything, or get anywhere, in 5 minutes.  This has turned out not to be true.

I know.  It boggles the mind.

Is there anyone else out there who feels that organization should be an Olympic sport?  Or anyone who has advice for the terminally disorganized?

Please share.  Feel free to comment with schedules, lists, useful categories for filing, and/or organizational tips of any kind.  I need all the help I can get.  Or you can commiserate with your own organizational woes and then, even if I'm still disorganized I will feel better for knowing I'm not alone :)

P.S.  Speaking of organization, those of you who have visited before may notice some new tabs across the top.  As yet, they are blank, but as soon as my organizational ADHD alights here for a moment, they will be extremely useful in the organization of this blog :)
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