Highs and Lows

A writing life is full of its own highs and lows and this week, though it’s just beginning, has both.

How do I know?

I’ve already experienced the spectrum of emotions.

Good news first: I passed twenty-five thousand words on the first draft of FORTITUDE. Most days I’m making myself write first thing in the morning and then again at night. That helps me stay focused on the storyline and keeps the characters fresh in my head.

100_2563 Not so great news: my first rejection from a full manuscript submission. The publishing company gave me the opportunity to resubmit after the a few issues are beefed up and praised my quality of writing, but CORRODED is still looking for a home.

Also on the horizon this week is conducting my final meeting as president of Mobile Writers Guild. (I’ll let you decide where that scores on the spectrum.) Members vote for the new officers at the Thursday night meeting. It’s been a learning experience during the two terms I served and I’m ready to pass the mantel on to the next president.

Through it all, I’m working to keep my fortitude noncorrosive. And, yes, the fern on the oak is still alive.

What do things look like in your life?

Accounted For

Monday, December 5, 2011

Accounted For

Yes—I’m still here.
Seems like lots of people took a blog break but hopefully their reasons were productive ones, like National Novel Writing Month. Mine, not so glamorous. My computer froze/died. Rest in peace laptop motherboard… rest in peace.
While waiting almost 30 days (thanks to delayed shipping and then issues in customs) for my built-to-order computer to arrive, I had the not so lovely experience of using my son’s computer. Now, I’ve never had a brand new, factory sealed computer before (this new one is my very first!) but there is something entirely unbecoming about sharing a computer with my 13 year old.
For one thing, I felt guilty asking my son to stop working so I could check my e-mail (or Facebook or Twitter or fill-in-the-blank) so I didn’t disturb him while he was drawing on the paint program—which was often.
And that hand-me-down-hand-me-down-possibly-hand-me-down computer has no sound, which I take full responsibility for. When trying to speed up the computer by trashing “unused” programs a few months ago, I deleted the sound drive/card/whatever. Oops! The fact that my favorite singer, Mitch Malloy, was on tour in Europe last month and posting videos nearly every day was irritating since I couldn’t listen to them. Grrrr. The desktop computer my kids’ use sits about a foot away from the parakeet cage. Nick, Charlotte and I bonded more than I thought possible. Now, whenever I walk into the room, they fuss at me. I suppose they miss our quality time.

I couldn’t upload pictures from my camera or look out my window from the seat.
Syncing iTunes was impossible.
And did I mention I couldn’t listen to the new videos Mitch Malloy posted? Yeah, here’s one for your viewing/listening pleasure:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZO2XmBHRb8&feature=share
I’m back—and faster than ever! And thanks to the help from my IT friend, I didn’t lose any documents or information in the transferring of files from the old hard drive to the new.

Roctober

It’s been another whirlwind month. Mobile Writers Guild events and planning meetings, field trips and social outings for the kidlets, plus my own milestones.
Last week I sent the complete Corroded manuscript to Laurie Halse Anderson. It arrived at her address Saturday the 15th. So the waiting game is on to hear her critique.
In an attempt to keep from thinking about my story being in the hands of one of my writing heroes, I treated myself to a free concert at the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores Saturday evening.
And, of course, I had another experience! I was able to meet the members of Firehouse before and after the show. The other guys signed the “vintage” flier that C.J. Snare signed at the show on October 12, 1991 (the last time I saw them—20 years ago!) as well as a CD booklet I brought along and the new CD I bought at the show. C.J. still has his voice, Bill wailed on the guitar, Michael hammered the drums, and Allen played a mean bass. They rocked harder than ever!

Love music, love great people! Hang with me if you want to catch Fantabutitus!

September Madness

“The Month of Madness” is what September 2011 shall be known as in my life.
The month when this homebody was away as often as home during regular hours. The month that forced this shy lady into several public speaking events.
The month my kids cried because I left them so often. The month the grandparents were taken advantage of for free childcare. (Thanks, Nana and Grandpa!)
And right in the middle of the month the little princess celebrated her third birthday with a yard full of friends for an “Easter” party. Egg hunt, duckies, butterflies… and frilly dresses, too! I’d post pictures here, but, yeah, you know. I don’t do that at this point.
Reading has been a lifesaver, once again. You can tell how crazy my life is by how much reading I’m doing. The only way to escape and unwind. I have to read myself to sleep, otherwise I’d just think myself into a frenzy every night. Anxiety sucks but it is good for increasing my reading progress.

A Need so Beautiful was a loaner book from a good friend. It took me a while to get into the character/voice, which isn’t unusual for me—it just took over half the book instead of a few chapters this time. Loved the ending.

I reread Summer of the Swans, a classic Newbery winner. Loved it, once again. Most of my favorite novels are “middle readers”, usually the 10-14 age range.

And because I wanted to read more Joan Bauer books (see last post) I checked out Squashed and Close to Famous(her newest—still reading this one) from the local library.

I’ve also been reading Homeschool Your Child for Free (great purchase) and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (thank you Mobile Public Library) during the daytime, when I’m not running the roads. Which has been next to nothing this past week.

September 24 is the start of Banned Books Week. Search my blog for previous posts on this topic.

If you’re on Facebook, you can find a public fan page for me and my writing. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/pages/Carrie-Cox/182006808539156 But if you know me personally, I’ll accept you as a friend on my “private” page. And feel free to link to my blog whenever. I appreciate all 20 of the listed followers here!

A Month, Revisited

The past few weeks have been filled with home, family, friends, and literary adventures. Just like Mary Weber, the main character of Corroded, I’ve been expanding my comfort zone by participating in new experiences. And with each new merit badge of life I earn, the anxiety over the unknown lessens.
Examples—aren’t you curious to see what I consider adventurous? Probably second hand to most people, but for this anxiety-prone wallflower these things are a big deal:
My first belly flop! A diving board was NOT part of it, but it counts, right? And the fact that I was standing in an above-ground pool… but it was a big one… Hey, this is from the girl that could never do a Slip-N-Slide because I couldn’t make myself fall down!
Taking all three kids downtown for a field trip. Yes, I did meet a friend and her three kids at the museum, but I had to park and walk the block to the entrance alone with my kids. We even crossed streets twice—one of them Government Blvd—to look at cannons and read their historical markers.
Creating a public “fan” page on Facebook for me/my writing. Might be premature, but some of you out there care enough to “like” me. 🙂
Conducting my first public meeting for the Mobile Writers Guild. Me. Public. Speaking. Those that know me from church have witnessed my teaching and speaking engagements before. Get me in front of a group of kids and I’m fine. Add more than half a dozen adults to the mix and I turn blotchy red. I pace, wring my hands, and my nose sweats. But this went better than I expected. Yes, I fumbled over words, my eye-contact could have been better, and my nose still sweated. But I wasn’t red (or purple or splotchy) and no one ran from the room screaming. Not even me.
Sharing Corroded with family members. Yes, I’m finished! Just waiting for two more critique group sessions for the group to finish it before sending it off to Laurie Halse Anderson for a critique. I first offered the manuscript to my sister-in-law, then my eldest sister, and finally my mother. They are all avid readers. I’ve heard back form my s-i-l that the first two chapters already had her sucked in. And, of course my mother thought it was “really good” (she read it all yesterday afternoon) but she immediately wanted to know how much of it was true. Yes, it was inspired heavily by my own junior year in high school, but it is not an autobiography.
And, of course, I’ve been reading. This is my list from the past month:
A Joan Bauer kick. I read Hope was Here about a year ago and loved it. Found these books on the bargain tables at Books-A-Million over the past several months and decided to read them all back-to-back. Her books are thoughtful, beautifully simple coming of age novels. Everything I hope my own stories can be.

Then I moved on to a new writer friend’s debut novel. I met Israel through a neighbor of his who I’m friends with when she sent him in the direction of the Mobile Writers Guild. The Anne Marie is a great story for readers, especially dog-lovers, ages ten and up.

Yesterday I finished another MWG member’s book. It’s out of my normal reading genre—adult romantic comedy—but the characters were multidimensional and the information about trichotillomania was interesting. Joyceand I have been in critique groups together the past two years, so I’ve read her WIPs as well as one of her other published novels. Write on, Comma Queen!