?

Log in

Books Read - 2012

Currently Reading


Read

Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
Try Not to Breathe - Jennifer Hubbard
The Demon's Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan
Shadowed Summer - Saundra Mitchell
The Literary Handyman - Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Tags:

Thoughts and tears

I should just avoid the news and especially the comments. Obviously, there are many warm-hearted, generous people out there whose hearts are breaking but the amount of crude, rude, over-the-top remarks is just sickening. Personally, every time I read the news I start crying. It's just too horrible to contemplate the last moments of all those killed.

I know the world can be an uncertain and cruel place but that doesn't mean we should harden ourselves to what happens. I know that children all over the world die every day from guns, knives, bombs, drone strikes, hunger, and disease. When I see those stories, I cry for those children too. Some things are unavoidable, like natural disasters and illness, but it seems we are killing our future unnecessarily, too often.

Gun control and mental health care in the country. What can I say? Not much because I am not an expert in either. I think though we need to take these matters seriously and decide what's right and what makes sense. We need better, more comprehensive mental health care, that's a given. Gun control is another issue. It's touchy and it's not simplistic. Although I would never, at this point, own a gun, I can understand how some people may wish to own a handgun, a hunting gun, or a collectible. But we're not talking about those kind of guns - we're seeing people with weapons that NO ONE should own or have access to without a very good reason (I'm still trying to think of one).

Everyone wants their freedoms but too many people don't want to think about their responsibilities.

Days go By...

These past few weeks have been busy. Last weekend we had a kiddie party to attend for X. The family actually hired a petting zoo to come in. Sheep, goats, a pig, and a pony wandered in the yard all wearing party hats while indoors they had a small animal show. The house was about 3 times the size of our house and the yard about 4 times as large. It was an immense place but aside from the little boy and his parents, there’s a set of triplets and the grandparents living there so I guess the size is understandable.

Then X came down with pink eye on Monday night, which we caught early enough so that he could attend graduation on Thursday. The graduation was adorable but so very very hot. Even though the school rented a tent it was a sauna under there. Afterwards there was a small reception and my parents took us out to dinner at Bugaboo Creek. I'm so proud of my little man...I can't believe in two months it will be kindergarten time!

This past Saturday we had yet another kiddie party…this time a pool party which was nice. I made sure to take extra xanax so I was pretty chill the whole time.

And then finally Sunday we put up our pool!! It’s only an above ground 18’ x 4’ but it’s enough to cool off in. It took longer to fill that we thought so we didn’t go in it yet but tonight...after the gym...provided it doesn’t thunderstorm...

...
Last week, Shveta helped me put up my resume on Monster and already I've received several calls and emails. Discarding the sales jobs, I have 2 potential ones lined up for interviews for training/management positions. I just wish something would open up in PA instead of NJ!

...

I have a lot of writing "events" lined up over the next few weeks including deadlines, meetings, writing dates, author events to go to, and a writing retreat in Vermont. Can't wait for it all!

Hmmmm...

Having a hard time staying away...that I the fact that I accidently paid for another month of LJ.  Anyway I will be attending an event tonight at the Cherry Hill library here in lovely NJ hosted by the New Jersey Authors' Network called Writing for Young Readers - (at least I hope this is still a go?). 

This is the end, beautiful friends...

Hi all,

After much thought and consideration, it looks like I will be shutting down this LJ probably tonight or tomorrow. If you have a non-LJ blog, please let me know in the comments so I can follow (I already know a few of you have one so I will be subscribing through your other blog service).

Once I get back into blogging, I will be at my wordpress
http://kamagrowski.wordpress.com/

I am also on Facebook still so feel free to add me there also.
https://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=686738824

I joined LJ under a different name back in 2000/2001 and it's been a long, fun journey here but you know, all good things...

love and peace to you all.

EDIT:  ugh this is hard...i will miss so many people...i was just reading through my fl and i realized how hard it will be to voluntarily leave here...

So…here we are at the end of another week. The retreat last weekend was fruitful. We had some rainy weather but a lot of food and a ton of alcohol. Nothing helps writing more than mimosas at breakfast, bailey’s with coffee throughout the day, and sangria at dinner! 

All joking aside, I spent the entire time reading through Small Town Ghosts, making notes, and reviewing the edits made by a friend. As I said to a few people, it’s funny what you notice once you’ve had some time away from your writing. A few things I noted while reading:

  • My characters sigh and smile was too often, and raise a lot of eyebrows
  • I tend to use similar phrases too close to each other
  • I make a lot of typos when I’m anxious about the work (your/you’re issues, missing words etc)
  • I use too many pronouns, or vague pronoun reference

 I suppose the up side to this is, of course, that I (and my beta readers) noticed these things and I am correcting them, along with other story revisions. If any one would like to help me with my query letter (read it once written and provide feedback), I would appreciate it J

Getting Away From it All

With a full-time job and a 5-year old in preschool/daycare, I neither have the time nor the funds to go on expensive, week-long writing retreats. At the same time, there’s nothing like having several days to dedicate to writing. Luckily, fellow organizer of the South Jersey Writers group, Amy, is kind enough to organize semi-annual weekend writing retreats at cabins in local state parks.

This weekend, eight of us will gather at a Pennsylvania state park to write and reconnect with our creative selves.  It’s not glamourous but it does give several of us the time to get together, make food, enjoy some wine and dessert, and of course, write without the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Plus a cabin in the woods? What a wonderful way to connect with nature and take some time to meditate and recharge!

Off the top of my head, here are some of the benefits of getting away if you’ve never done so:

Downtime       Family and work life can be stressful and even a little break will help you recharge when you remove yourself from the routines and demands of daily life. Depending on where you go, you can recharge with nature or with a bustling city life.

 Camaraderie   Getting away with a few friends helps you grow or reinforce your friendships with other like-minded people (in this case, writers).

 Focus  As anyone with family obligations knows, anticipating uninterrupted writing time is like waiting for Christmas or your birthday. It may seem like it will never come but once it arrives, you want to slow down and enjoy every minute. Having the time to focus solely on writing or editing your writing is a gift – no need to wait for the muse!

Have you ever taken the opportunity to get away? What has it been like for you?

(x-posted to Wordpress)

Thank you all again for your well wishes and support. I saw my mom last night and she as awake and in better spirits. Still annoyed that she was in the hospital in the first place for what was supposed to be a same-day procedure at the surgical center, but feeling better. She even wanted ice cream so my sister and I went out for that and we all had ice cream together J

 I’m hoping that she will be released tonight or tomorrow morning but I havent heard from anyone today, and no one is answering their phones (not unusual in my family) so I don’t know what the deal is as yet.

 

Some of you know that I drive to work, which can be a real pain. Unlike my public transportation-bound co-workers, I have no time to read or sleep on the way to or from work so I do a lot of thinking and making stories up in my head while Im driving (I mean, I could pay attention more but I live in NJ, work in PA – no one actually pays attention when driving) and I had a *great* idea yesterday on the drive home (great as in maybe not so great but I like it for now). While writing and revising Small Town Ghosts I obviously discarded a lot of material about minor characters. I really want to work on a series of stories related to the novel’s setting called The Wychwood Ghosts series. I have no idea whether any of them will sell individually or if I should compile them and then try self-pubbing them just for fun but I think it would be a really cool idea to explore, especially as I may get stuck from time to time on Novel #2.

Does anyone have any experience with a similar project?



We have a winner!

Congratulations to ladysaotome!  who is the randomly picked winner (courtesy of random.org) of an autographed copy of Fur-Face by Jon Gibbs jongibbs  :)


Thanks to everyone who entered !





Jon's website



...
Author and blogger, Jon Gibbs,jongibbs, was kind enough to allow me to interview him about his life in America; his first published novel, Fur-Face, and its sequel; as well as upcoming projects.


Jon's middle-grade novel, Fur-Face, an exciting and funny read was originally released as an e-book but is now available in paperbook, and Kindle, from Amazon.

As an Englishman in New Jersey, what do you like best about being here in America?
I love driving on the right-hand side of the road, especially at night. Whenever I do that back home, oncoming drivers flash their lights at me or honk their horns as they swerve out of the way, but over here, nobody seems to mind at all.

What do you miss the most about England?
International travel’s an expensive luxury. I haven’t been back since we moved here in 2004. The three things I miss most are: seeing my family and friends, steak & kidney pie, and proper chips (ie: thick wedges of deep fried potatoes).

What inspired you to write your middle-grade novel, Fur-Face?
Honestly? I don’t remember a particular inspiration. It started out with me just wondering if I could write a book. I began work on Fur-Face shortly before my 43rd birthday. Up until then, I hadn’t written a word of fiction since leaving school at 16 – unless you count tax returns, of course.
I do remember liking the idea of a character who saw and/or heard someone no one else could. I thought it offered plenty of potential for embarrassment and conflict, especially when other people were around. A cat was a natural choice because, as any cat-lover will tell you, they all have unique personalities.

What has been the most surprising thing about the publishing process for you?
I honestly thought that when your book got accepted, that was the end of it as far as editing was concerned. Boy was I wrong!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Fur-Face or about your writing journey?
I’d have taken the time to come up with some sort of outline, rather than making everything up as I went along. Fur-Face clocks in at about 53K, but at one point it was over 70K. I must have done at least another 30K in rewrites, revisions and subsequently deleted chapters.
As for the writing journey, if I had a time machine, I’d send myself a video of my 10 Things Every Writer Should Know presentation. Not because my talks are that great, but because when I first started out, there was so much I didn’t even realize I needed to know. If I could go back and tell my past self about those things, I could have started working on all of them in 2003, and (I believe) gotten Fur-Face accepted several years earlier. Also, the sight of my portly, future self, waddling about in front of an audience like a pregnant penguin, might have encouraged me to cut back on the snacks a little.

I hear a sequel is on the horizon. How is that progressing?
The sequel’s called Barnum’s Revenge. I expect to get it to Jennifer Turner, my excellent editor at Echelon Press, in January of next year.[2012]

What else can we expect from you?
I have two middle grade novels to work on in 2012, Abraham Lincoln Stole my Homework and Dead Doris. It’s going to be hard work, but if I can get those done in time, I’ll reward myself by giving my science thriller, Waking up Jack Thunder, a good shave and a haircut before sending it out agents.

...
ABOUT JON

Born in England, Jon Gibbs now lives in New Jersey, where he’s ‘Author in Residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School.

A member of several writing groups, including SCBWI, he’s the founder of NJAN (The New Jersey Authors Network) and FindAWritingGroup.com.

Jon’s debut novel, Fur-Face (Echelon Press), a middle grade fantasy for boys, was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award. His popular blog, An Englishman in New Jersey (http://jongibbs.livejournal.com), gets over 300,000
page-hits a year and is read in more than thirty countries.

When he’s not chasing around after his children, Jon can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.


...
NOW THE CONTEST DETAILS


To celebrate and promote the release of Fur-Face, I have a paperback copy of the book to give away. All you need to do is comment for a chance to win. This is a really fun read for adults, as well as children.  Tell your friends about it!

Deadline is January 31st!