Friday, January 27, 2012

Silent One is on the Clock!

It's official

 Silent One is really going to happen! Novel number two in print! It never quite seems real until I get that official email saying, "Hi, I'm going to be your editor." It's really going to be published!

My release date is June 13. (Why does that sound like due date? Babies, novels, they have a lot in common. I could make comments about conception being the last fun bit, but I won't.) I enjoy editing -- I always learn a lot -- and the excitement and anticipation and attention is exhilarating. But editing also comes with deadlines and pressure and panic, and a heap of forms for the artist and for marketing. Synopsis, short blurbs, long blurbs, acknowledgements, and excerpts. And it all has to be perfect, and on time. Still, it's easier in some ways because the words are already there; it's just matter of kneading them like bread dough back and forth between the punctuation marks until they're the right consistency. It's a very different feeling than finding them in the first place.

(My characters are looking at me as though I've lost my mind. They think they're alive, thank you very much. And they're telling me to just give this up and get back to work.)

Monday, January 23, 2012


I just needed to look at something other than winter tonight. This is the time of year to just go easy on yourself. Keep it simple, don't judge, and savor hot chocolate.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dance Part Two

My students vs. my daughter

She's a Catamount. We're the Lakers. My school's colors are blue and green. Hers are blue and white.

I wore blue.

Gym class was not my thing in high school, so that room was not my favorite place. To see her out there, so calm and cool and graceful, was pretty amazing. She says she slipped once, but I didn't see it. To me, she owned the floor. I had no idea when I was a kid that I'd ever have a daughter out there on that floor where I'd been such a great non-athlete. Time does strange things.

I cheered for everybody, because I think everybody in high school deserves a cheer.

The score?  My daughter's team took second to my school's first place. Of course, I was a supportive parent first and foremost.

(Yeah, Lakers! The best! Totally awesome!)

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I know, two entries in one day, but this is too good a story not to tell. I can brag about my offspring on my blog, right?

My youngest daughter has been doing ballet since she was three, so my husband and I are seasoned dance parents, or so we thought. This year, for the first time, her schedule permitted her to try out for her high school's varsity dance team, and it was no shocker that she made it. This afternoon, we went to her first competition, hosted by her own school.

Okay, we were expecting a few differences. It would be in a gym, not a theater. The music would be popular, not classical. The costumes would not exactly be demure. She warned us that the audience would be enthusiastic, not well-mannered. This is a sport, not the arts. Okay, we got it.

So we thought.

We arrived there in time, went to the gym, not the auditorium, paid at the door (no tickets or reserved seats) got our hands stamped with a black cougar paw print (really?) and found places on the bleachers. (When did they get so hard? Did I mention this is a three hour competition? No backs. And leg room? You've got to be kidding me.) But we sat down, and my husband says, "Did I bring my phone in?"

How should I know?

Well it's not hanging on his belt. Hmm.

The judges take their places. Some of them definitely don't look like Vermonters. Well, Vermonters might try for that look, but we'll never quite get it. It's just too cold up here, especially in the winter. It's two degrees above zero right now. I hope this guy has a car starter, or he's going to be an icicle before he hits Route 15 when he leaves.

The first dance starts. Well, I work in a high school, so I know the music kids listen to, and my husband has a band, so I know what loud sounds like, but this is LOUD!!!!! and then it got LOUDER!!!!!!!

My oldest daughter, next to me, asks for my little traveling camera, which I hand her. She takes it out of the case and promptly drops the case. I try to catch it and promptly knock it through the crack by our feet. (Did I mention we were way up at the top of the bleachers? Like right below the gym ceiling?) My case is a hundred feet below us now, and I'm not sure there's any way to get under there, and I'm not about to try it any time soon. We're packed in like sardines. (Did I mention the lack of leg room? And that I had knee surgery a year ago, and that my right knee doesn't bend much any longer?)

After the first dance is over, someone announces over a microphone,"A cell phone in a leather case has just been found. It can be picked up at the DJ's station."

My husband looks at me. I look at him.

My daughter says,"Who could lose a cell phone five minutes into the competition?"

I answer, "Your father."

The DJ's station is ten miles and ten thousand people away.

The next group dances.

After it, the DJ says, "We still have that cell phone, and it's in a really nice leather case. Oh, and we now have an empty cell phone case, too."

My husband, as red as your average lobster, mumbles, "Be right back," and begins his descent through the throng. 

I follow him with my eyes, just about the same time my daughter says, "Isn't that your camera case on the DJ's stand?"

Yeah, it was. Yup, my camera case. Not an empty cell phone case.

My daughter says, "Is Daddy going to get it?"

"No, he's going after his phone," I said. "He doesn't know I dropped the case."

(Did I mention how LOUD!!!!!!! the music was? Not exactly conversation inducing.)

We watch my husband make his way over to the DJ, who gives him the phone with a smile. Nope, my husband didn't recognise my camera case sitting there right in front of him.

My daughter and I have one of those intense and fast conversations that goes something like:

"It's your camera!"

"You asked to use it!"

"To do you a favor!"

"You dropped the case!"

"You knocked it down!"

"My knee hurts!"

"I'm not going to make a fool of myself!"

"This is your old school!"

"She's your daughter!"

"Go get that camera case RIGHT NOW!"

My daughter gives me one of those looks like she can't believe I somehow got a license to be a mother twenty-two years ago and starts her descent. She meets her father halfway. I can't hear the conversation, but I think it went something like:

"Where are you going?"

"To get Mom's camera case that you didn't see!"

"What are you talking about?"

"Mom's camera case that's sitting on the DJ stand!"

"Why is Mom's camera case sitting on the DJ stand?"

"OMG Dad, get out of my way!"

So about ten minutes later, we're all sitting in our spots again, not really speaking to each other, when our youngest daughter's group comes out and dances. And she was totally amazing, all graceful and lithe and just eats up the floor, and we yell and scream like we've been at hundreds of these competitions before. And two hours later, after all the groups have performed and the shivering judges hand in their final decisions, the DJ announces that our daughter's team has won first place!

Next time, we'll leave the cell phone in the car, put the camera case in my pocket, get there earlier to get a spot with leg room, and bring a pillow and foam ear plugs. Oh, and money to buy a PROUD DANCE TEAM PARENT T-Shirt.

And you know what? The next competition is next weekend. And guess where it is? That's right. My school. Where I work. Where I graduated from.

Stay tuned for "My daughter vs. My Students."

It's going to be... intense.


We got some fresh snow yesterday and last night, about six or seven inches. One of our biggest snowfalls so far this year, and in the middle of January, that's saying a lot. An unusual year, but then, in Vermont, the usual weather is unusual. It was enough to make my drive home from school yesterday a bit slippy, especially in the untreated lot at my daughter's high school where the hockey team could have happily practiced (not that I'm complaining or anything!) It's bringing the birds into my feeders which have been a bit lonely this season. Shoveling is good exercise, I tell myself.

Long weekend, lots of writing, I hope. I'm getting excited to start working with an editor on my second novel, Silent One. Don't have a release date yet, but I suspect I will soon.