My writing wish list.

This what I don't need.

~ I don't need to be a New York Times Bestseller. (although it would be nice)
~ I don't need to make tons of money. (not that I would turn it down)
~ I don't need to be hugely famous. (really, I don't.)

When I dream of being an established author, this is what I dream of.

Someday I want...

~ Kinuko Y. Craft to design one of my book covers. She is the cover artist for Wildwood Dancing and Cry of the Icemark
~ To attend a conference as a guest author
~ To catch a stranger reading my book
~ Enough of a money flow to pay off our debt.
~ A review in Publisher's Weekly
~ To get a letter from someone who was touched by my stories.
~ To have three books in print.
~ A year's salary in the bank.
~ To go to BEA as an author
~ A blurb from one of my favorite authors on the back of my book

That's my wish list. What's yours?

Reviews and an announcement...

In honor of my fabulous one-year blog-iversary, I'm taking a one week sabbatical. I'll still be popping in to make comments and twitter stuff, but the blog will be temporarily dark until Monday, July 27th.

I'm doing this primarily to give myself the time I need to tweak the blog a little. I want to add a couple of things, make sure everything is up-to-date, rearrange the blog tags and so forth.

HOWEVER. I will leave you with some lovely reading recommendations to sink your teeth into
(All of these books were during the move, so if the review seems a little sketchy, it's because my brain has fogged over that time period.)

Wake (Dream Catcher, #1) by Lisa McMann Wake (Dream Catcher, #1) McMann, Lisa

Holy. Cow. This is an amazingly well-paced book. I could not put it down. And the plot was full of awesomeness too. A book about a girl who gets sucked into other people's dreams? Sign me up. A tense relationship with a guy she likes, but isn't sure she can trust? Heck yeah. A dead person who pops in occasionally...

Well you'll just have to read the book. :-) 5 stars

A Curse Dark as Gold (Hardcover) by Elizabeth C. Bunce A Curse Dark as Gold Bunce, Elizabeth C.*

This book took me longer than expected to get through. But I think that was more me than the book. The writing in this wonderful Rumpelstiltskin retelling is engaging, the world of pre-industrial mills is utterly plausible and the characters are well-drawn. I think I was just in a mood for something less absorbing, if that makes any sense.

But it is a very good book. The only complaint I had was that the main character refuses to ask for help until a few pages from the end. I wanted to smack her. 4 stars.

We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished S... by Celia Rivenbark We're Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle Rivenbark, Celia

Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of... by Celia Rivenbark Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom Rivenbark, Celia

I'm going to review these two together. Basically, if Dave Barry and Clairee from the movie Steel Magnolias (played by the incomparable Olympia Dukakis) had a love child, it would be Celia Rivenbark. These books of humorous essays are a hoot.

If you like the South at all, or if you like practical, down-to-earth humor, you should read these. Hilarious. 5 stars.

Meet the Character: Tamas

Remember the character I hated? The one who refused to be written true?

Well, he's back.

Tamas is a nobleman from a very isolated, caste-based empire. Like all young nobleman, Tamas is putting in his three-to-five year service to the Emperor. In his case, it's as a royal courier, ferrying messages in and around the court.

He's also a huge pain to write.

After serious negotiation involving him and his agent--don't ask me how the character gets an agent before the writer does--we have come up with a compromise.

Tamas gets a much larger piece of the book, starring as the primary love interest, AND an introduction to you lovely folk. In return, I get a character who makes an effort to be consistent, realistic, and actually pulls his own weight.

(I'm not sure I got the better part of this deal.)

EDIT: There used to be an excerpt here, but I took it down to avoid spoilers.

So that's my most troublesome character. Thoughts, anyone?

Monday Snippits

Miriam's Writing and Publishing News.

~ Stories for Children online magazine accepted an article of mine about Chile, and it's in this month's issue! *does happy dance* To see it, click here.

~This is actually the second online article I've had published. The other one was on coffee tasting, and you can find it here.

~ Remember this book? Well I gave it a rest while I moved, and then armed with advice from my writer's group (hi, Amy and Neysa!), a reminder about scaffolding from Rachel's blog and some stellar input from the lovely PJ, I started revising it.

Hardcore revising. Shuffling scenes around, adding new ones, reworking several characters. It is So Much Work. :-( But paradoxically, I'm having more fun with the story than I've had in months. I'm about half done--hopefully that was the hard half--and it's coming together really well.

~ Oh, and BEFORE I FORGET: Amy has been hosting a fundraiser for 826 Valencia, an organization that helps kids who want to write. All you have to do is click on the link above and go follow her blog or leave a comment on her page, stating your favorite flavor of jelly. There's only a day left, so you should check in out!

~ Remember this character? Well he's been to counseling, and he wants to try again. I'll introduce you to him on Wednesday!

No one ever told me that nothing is ever wasted.

Okay, I'm sure someone told me this. But I didn't believe them. (I wasn't the most open-minded person when I was younger.)

It's true though. A couple of examples:

1. My husband is going back to school to finish his degree. He had three years of college and then took a break to play in a local band. To some people, the three to four years he spent out of college might be considered wasted time. But he's coming back to it with an energy and a focus that he didn't have before.

Because of the things he learned and the growing he did in the last few years, he's happier going back to school then he was the few semesters before he left. (And I'm terribly proud of him, in case you couldn't tell)

2. I'm rewriting my polished book. At least I thought it was polished. And when I started to see the problems I still had to fix I was frustrated.

"This is going to take forever," I thought to myself. "I want to get this manuscript back out to agents. And what if I rewrite it and no one wants it anyway?"

But I buckled down and started. And you know what? I've learned more about writing in the last few weeks than I ever expected. Even if this book doesn't go anywhere, my writing quality has improved immensely. Was it wasted time? Not in the least.

I read somewhere that it takes about 10,000 hours for someone to become a master at their craft. So every hour I write/rewrite is another hour closer to mastery. Even if it doesn't bring an immediate return.

So how about you? Do you have any "wasted time"that turned out to be valuable?

My last 48 hours...

Seven adults, three children under five, one bedroom, one hallway, one large living room. Moving, lifting, hauling. Steaming scraping, dissolving, priming, painting, trimming.

The ugliest wallpaper in the world, several dead spiders, a tall, rickety ladder. Two doctor's visits, one feeding tube, an overdrawn checking account, seven trips to Home Depot, three major screaming tantrums and a partridge in a pear tree.

We just got home. I need a nap.


At the last minute!!

Sorry about that, but there's no Monday Snippets post today. I blame wallpaper. Specifically I blame the people who paint over wallpaper and then put wallpaper on top of that.

See, I'm up visiting my parents, helping with a major move. And the project for today was to strip the living room wallpaper.

Except under the light blue paper was this...

Ugliest. Wallpaper. Ever. Also, it appears to be stuck on with superglue.

Six hours later, we're only half done. I've got paper in my hair and goo on my fingers and no blog post.


But all is not lost. I'd love to hear from you! You can vote for your favorite post here, or give me a suggestion to improve the blog here.

Thanks all! See you Wednesday!

More opinions pleez...

Thanks for the great suggestions on Wednesday! (If you didn't get a chance to air your opinion, feel free.)

One more question. I'd like to put up a Best Of/Most Popular list on the sidebar. But again I need advice.

What are YOUR favorite posts from the last year?

Happy Fourth!

Opinions! I need opinions!

Welcome to July!

Aside from being a great time to buy/shoot off fireworks, and a very hot month, July is also the month that I started this little blogging adventure. The 29th will be its one-year anniversary!

*pauses for cheers and applause to die down* *snorts at own ridiculousness*

Anyway, I've been thinking about what else I can do to make the blog more interesting and user-friendly, and I would appreciate some suggestions. Anything you'd like me to put in the sidebar? Write in my bio? Or just topics you think I should write about more?

Anything you can think of, feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

After all, without my blog friends, I'd just be rambling to myself. Constantly. And no one wants that!
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Fabric art in the header by Carol Riggs.