Daily Archives: March 14, 2011


I had this strike back on the pregnant comments idea.I wanted to take all kinds of pictures of me doing unpregnant things.

Like playing football.

Rock climbing.

Moving couches.

Payback, baby. Payback to all those people who think it’s okay to rub my belly and say things like I discussed last week.

But then that’s not really payback when you think about it. And also, I can’t play football, rock climb or move a couch right now. Plus I’m not (seriously not) one of those cute pregnant girls who should pose naked on the front of magazines or wear tight pants or bikinis or talk about how they can run five miles at eight months pregnant. I’m regular. Huge regular.

But still.

I was thinking if I really did do that, I could maybe write a book to go with the shots. Like a picture book? But then that’d  scare kids. Or a memoir–about my belly. Or a coffee table book. Because you know you want a book of large pictures of an extremely pregnant woman laying out in your living room.

Anyway, that occurred to me. The other thing that I’ve been thinking about is books. Recently I read this article on the top 100 books by PW. (Yay to Ally for making the top childrens books). I was thinking how I hadn’t read very many of the books on the adult list so I decided to check some out. I picked one author in particular that I felt like I should read–like as a book person, I should have at least read one of their books. I went to the library and checked it out.

It was a fat book. A very fat book and I felt smart just holding it. I was excited to get home and start reading. So that night, after the kids were asleep, I dove in.

The writing was beautiful. So beautiful and I didn’t know a lot of the words–I should have been looking them up as I read but I didn’t. The book was about a family in the midwest that was fractured–the kind of stuff that I normally like. Normally. But something was missing. As I read, I was trying to figure out why I could not get attached to the story. I kept reading, hoping I would like it more. Hoping I would be more engaged in the action but it was not happening. Finally, by page 300 with 300 pages still to go, I closed the book.

I am not going to finish it.

I don’t usually do this. And it’s not for moral or ethical or whatever reasons that would make me seem noble. It’s just that, I did not care for one character in the entire novel. Not one. I mean they were well-written. and round.and full of flaws. But I didn’t like them. Or care what happened to them. How can that be? How can a book with such acclaim have characters that are so frustrating?

I normally would keep going. Keep reading for the sake of saying I read it. To feel good about having read it even if I don’t like the characters but can appreciate the writing. But lately I’ve grown impatient. Maybe more picky? More demanding? More what?

What is it?

There are a few things I know:

I know that I want to feel something when I read.  I want to feel a range of things when I read. I know I want the book to change me, to pull me into the world, to make me think about my own life when I read. I know these things. This book didn’t do that.

How do they judge the best books of 2010? How do you judge the best books? What do you want out of a book? Because really, an author is asking a lot of his/her readers. He’s asking them to spend hours with him. Hours. He’s asking them to put aside other things, other books, other people, other responsibilities and spend quality time with them.

How do you choose your books? What do you want out of the experience? Why do you read? Do you ever close a book? For what reasons?

And last of all, what books do you feel everyone should read?

Okay. That’s all.

I’ll post of picture of me skiing in a bikini next week. Because that is totally happening.


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First Things First–My Maybe Surprise

First–We found a house.

A house of our own. No more renting. Maybe (I won’t believe it till I have handed over a check and gotten the keys and picked out the paint and have slept there for a year or so).

I mean, I’m worried about that. That maybe this will be like other hopeful possibilities and won’t happen.

But I think it’s the real deal and the girls are super-duper excited.

(I am hardly ever excited anymore. Thank you, Mr. Depression!)

And my older girls who don’t live with me promised that they would find houses near mine.

So that’s good news, huh?


This is my my plan: Take tons of pictures–you know Before pictures. Of everything. Inside and outside and upside down, even.

And keep a log of what we do. If I can tie it into writing, maybe I’ll say something here.

But I want to write about this change and how the girls and I change with it.

And you know what?

I will wear the four-way sweatshirt only a few times because I am going to be in the pics, too.


Second–Here’s a little how my writing world looks right now. I thought you might want to know-ish how it kind of works when you have a book or two out or coming out. Skip this part if it sounds boring. Heck, I might skip it.


I sent the novel beginning to Cheri and she liked it. We laughed a long time about how Rick Walton has a starring role (I said roll at first, but that would be a sex book and I haven’t sold my soul to the devil quite yet) in the book.

When Pearlie and I discussed things–how the book might play out–we knew there’d be a character like our bestie fiend (and yes, I mean fiend. Have you ever noticed how close fiend and friend are? Probably not until right this moment!) and we also knew there’d be a true vampire twist (not a shiny vampire twist–though that’s mentioned),  so it’s great to think what will be funnest of all is making a 16-yr-old Rick Walton, who might not be that much different from the 80-yr-old guy we know. Cheri has started chapter two.

Laura and I sent in a book proposal that was turned down because it seemed too similar to something the house already had. We are now sending the idea to another wonderful publishing company. I’ll let you know what happens. This is a non-fiction proposal. Don’t you think working with Laura would be so much fun? I do!

I heard through the grapevine that my editor at Simon and Schuster likes the book I sent her and is taking it to acquisitions–or something. Not acquisitions. This is the dark and depressing novel. Since GLIMPSE didn’t do as well as it could have, what will S&S say to this book? I have a few thoughts. But just the other day I made a decision that I’m going to have to step up as a writer and be more of a marketer (I am so NOT that kind of girl) and let people know about this book GLIMPSE.  I’m hiring someone to help me get the word out. (Plus, I might have bought a house.)

Revisions on the DD are going slow but sure. I usually whip through revisions. But with this book, because it’s so important to me to get it right, I’m really trying hard to make sure that I write and rewrite and re-rewrite it properly. Now, that makes it sound like I don’t care if I didn’t get my other books right. Not true. There was just a more natural process with most of my other novels. This DD has been so very hard for me. Even during this revision process, I see that the book is shaped in a different way. I want to add more of me to the book–stronger characterization (my wonderful editor said that was missing) and we already talked about how I tried to have a plot and it sort of plopped. (I love revision. Perhaps I should post on that at some point.)

MILES FROM ORDINARY is getting some nice attention. Every once in a while my amazing editor (see DD paragraph) sends a review or a positive nod about the book. I got the hard back copies. That is always so cool. I can’t wait to have book shelves for these (and all my other googillion books).

On Saturday the nicest letter came from an older man asking a questions about my one of the checker games in my non-fiction book 25 GAMES YOU CAN PLAY ON A CHECKERBOARD. He’s from Missouri and he hearts checks so much. Getting that letter just made my day.



Being a writer is like being a juggler. You work on one book and then send it off and start something new or start the revision process or the marketing side of things or get a great letter or a cover or a box of books or go to a conference or run a conference (www.wifyr.com) or read someone else novel or or or. For me, writing isn’t dull. It’s hard and it makes me crazy, but I’m never bored.

Maybe that’s what being a new home owner will be like: painting a bit here, unpacking boxes, taking pictures, planting a garden, sanding the deck, opening the windows, dreaming about changes down the road and making the place your own.

Both jobs, works-in-progress with, hopefully, something beautiful at the end of it all.


Rick Walton, one of my beastie besties, is the Outstanding Achievement Award recipient for the 2010 Whitney Awards this year. I get to introduce him. Yes, he’s scared of what I will say, but he’s also excited. And so am I. He so totally deserves this a hundred thousand times over.


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