I’m staying home from work tomorrow. i’m achey. Exhausted. Fighting a low-grade fever. Hoping it doesn’t turn into something terrible. So what’s a sick day look like for a teacher and author? Let’s see…first I’ll comment on some late informative essays. After breakfast, I’ll spend a couple of hours researching hotels and activities for a weekend field trip where I’ll help chaperone seventy sixth graders. A little more editing of the manuscript before lunch (because apparently I’ll never stop editing until the damned thing is published), and while I eat my sardines and Saltines (yes, this is delicious), I’ll send out a few query letters. Next, I’ll spend an hour or two drafting my Twitter pitches for the upcoming #SFFpit next week (a Twitter pitch event for science fiction/fantasy authors), after which I’ll pick up the kids from school and grab the spelling tests the sub will leave on my desk. Back home, we’ll all do homework (believe me…grading seventy spelling tests each week counts as homework), then I’ll record grades and make notes for next week’s mini-lectures. By then, it’ll be time to cook dinner, and once bath and bedtime routines are over, I’ll drag myself upstairs for a dose of Nyquil and work on the next book in the series until my sight starts to blur.
Maybe I’ll just go to work after all.
Last month, I entered the Nightmare on Query Street contest. And didn’t make the cut. It sucked. I was bummed. I reacted by sending my query to Naomi Hughes for two query critiques, and I was fortunate enough to win Wade Albert White’s raffle for a query + first 250 feedback, so Carrie DuBois critiqued my work, as well. Let me just say that these two women are phenomenal. Their feedback was spot on and much appreciated. So I went to work. In fact, I reworked my query, my logline, and a major plot line of the novel, then redacted several thousand words from the manuscript. And then I entered Authoress’s Baker’s Dozen. And made the cut.
It is awesome.
The twenty-five chosen adult entries will go live on the blog on November 28th, where they’ll be open to public critique. Please stop by and join in raking me over the coals. On December 2nd, the agents will stop by to bid on the entries they want to see more from. Please send good thoughts. Lord knows I’ll need them.
I’m always looking for evidence that the end of the world is upon us. It’s kind of my thing. Some people knit, whittle, paint. I spend time half-fantasizing about/half-dreading the apocalypse.
Today I found some new evidence. No, it’s not ebola. It’s this Lalaloopsy doll. It poops plastic charms, which kids then wear on bracelets. Magic shit bracelets. Brace yourselves, people. On Black Friday, people are going to be fighting over the last magic shit bracelet doll. The apocalypse will follow shortly thereafter. We have reached a new low. No way will Mother Nature allow us to continue much longer.
Note: The Amazon reviews for this product are pretty great. Maybe Mother Nature won’t kill us off if we counteract the effects of the Magic Poop Baby with reviews as ridiculous as the product.
So. Freaking. Sleepy.
Every day I get home from teaching around 4:30 or 5:00. I help the little one (and rarely the big one) with homework, answer a few parent emails, do a little class planning, maybe grade a few papers. I cook dinner for 6:30, get the little one in bed before 8:00, and then try to finish up my teacher-work by 9:00 (unless there are essays to grade, in which case this shifts to 10:00 or 11:00) so I can do a little writing or editing and still get to sleep by 10:00 so I can get eight hours in before the alarm goes off at 6:00. Pretty typical day for plenty of full-time workers in any number of positions, right? Right.
So why the hell am I so. freaking. sleepy?
I blame it on my father. Not only did I inherit his nocturnal nature, I inherited his need for massive amounts of sleep. And I’m really good at it. I can manage ten hours a night easily and still need a cat nap after lunch. On the weekends, this shifts much closer to twelve hours if my kids and yappy dogs allow it. I’m pretty sure that instead of evolving from apes, my family evolved from koalas. No…sloths. Definitely sloths.
I love sleeping, but I hate needing it so much. I have a coworker who’s the most active person I know. When he’s not teaching classes, he’s helping out around campus mowing the grass, weeding the garden, trimming the hedges. The man is full of energy. I asked him what his secret was, and he was happy to share it with me. Caffeine and nicotine.
Given that I’ve been editing this novel for half of forever and have written exactly three chapters of the sequel, I think maybe he’s on to something. Sign me up. Marlboro’s and Mountain Dew, please.
Or maybe I’ll just take a nap.
Most of the time, Christmas is my favorite holiday. Unless it’s October. Then I remember how much I love Halloween.
This is our first year in this house — a sweet peach and white Victorian that I was determined to decorate as the witch’s house from “Hansel and Gretel.” I had it all planned out. A kids’ cemetery in one corner of the yard, filled with creepy headstones and surrounded by a candy cane fence. I’d been scheming ways to get my husband to the top of the turret to hang giant hard candies wrapped in colored cellophane. I was going to dress as the witch, and I’d even coerced my kids into dressing as Hansel and Gretel. Crying. In a cage near the front door. Begging neighbors to help them escape. It was going to be epic.
Until I remembered I had a life. A job. The aforementioned house to clean and husband and kids to, you know, feed and stuff.
Maybe next year.
Because this year, not only am I busy with all of that stuff, but I’m busy plotting my second novel and shopping my first post-apocalypse romance to agents. In fact, a few days ago, I entered my first writer’s contest — the very awesome Nightmare on Query Street contest over on Michelle Hauck’s blog. A few days ago, I thought I had as decent chance as most new writers of making it to the mentor round. Until I caught that dropped preposition in my query. Until I read the mentor’s advice about how to differentiate your manuscript from all the rest in a market already saturated with your genre. Until I realized I’d done exactly the opposite of that. Until I read all their cryptic comments about novels they loved that clearly weren’t mine.
I’m a self-confident woman with what might be a tad too much ego, but I regularly laugh at my mistakes and affectionately reference myself as a freakazoid, a dweeb, whatever insult comes to mind at the time, just as I affectionately insult everyone else I love. I’ve added a new one now. When it comes to the world of writing, I’m such a noob.
Maybe I had time to decorate the damned house after all.