Sunday, January 31, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ~ Charles Dickens

In the final weeks of 2009, I wrote a blog post about my desire to make 2010 the year that I "burst out of my egg and shatter the shell." The very first day of 2010 was a burst and shatter kind of day. In a sense, I ate those words and found them difficult to swallow. At this point, good news is an ice cube in a raging bonfire. The cruel irony is that with pen in hand, I'm always eager to escape to my writing world--even if it is a burst and shatter world too.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fu Manchu (Fu) is becoming a regular on our deck lately. That's not actually his name, but the first thing that came to mind when I saw the cat.

I've decided I'm going to take half the chapter and call it an article and submit it that way to a contest. It has an action packed beginning and a powerful ending, but it doesn't lead into anything else because it's not the end of the chapter. What the heck, never hurts to put another iron in the fire. Currently, I'm reviewing it for accuracy.

The howling wind last night reminded me of the publishing industry being tossed around by technology. It will eventually settle down.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Today I received an email that for the first time, my course at the college has been canceled due to low enrollment most likely stemming from the bad economy. This year, it is actually a blessing in disguise. My sled is full from a lot going on so having this drop off the back is actually a relief. One of the things I wanted to get going this year is a school program so I'll move my efforts in that direction when time allows.

The page and a half I've been working on is in great shape. I think it's pretty awesome and I am amused thinking maybe I will enter it in a contest as a book chapter even though it's not the first chapter. It's got as much action as a first chapter would have, maybe more. But right now it's probably too short.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Today I was particularly pleased to receive the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Fun For Kidz. I have two articles in this issue, but one is more than a clip, it's a memory. In the article about hiking a glacier, there is a fairly big picture of my daughter Melanie wearing crampons. I emailed her the scanned pages (I only received one copy). She has no clue she's in the article. The other reason I'm real happy to get the article published is that I really like the writing in this one as I did the ChemMatters article that was published in December.

While in Boston earlier this month, I passed by the Grzimek's booth. I found out it's not "grzeemicks" as I have been pronouncing it, but it's more like "chermicks." Anyhow, passing the booth jarred my memory that back in 2005/2006 when I was working on an article about beavers I noticed an error in that encyclopedia. After talking with the very interested associate publisher, I emailed two pages of the 2004 version of this encyclopedia. I haven't heard a peep, but I'm fairly certain that what I found was indeed two small mistakes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I know I've posted sunrise and sunset pictures before, but I couldn't resist the blazing night sky. The sunset really looks like fire in the photograph. Last night our night wanderer returned looking for some scraps. I slowly walked down the deck stairs crunching on some snow and the opossum didn't even budge. I have to admit I was a bit leery when I took that last shot looking through the deck stairs into the darkness underneath. I was a bit afraid it might bite my feet. I'm sure the nocturnal creature really appreciated my flash in its sensitive eyes.

Today was a day of great accomplishment (Hallelujah!). Sometimes I get the feeling I'll never get it the way I want it. I'm almost there. On another piece of writing, I dug out last years mistakes and I'm working to fix those, spice up this manuscript and mail it out again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I caught another sunrise in the backyard this morning and thought I'd post it. I'm quite pleased with myself that I saved and was able to relocate the instructions to convert a word document to a PDF document. This morning, I followed the quick steps and shipped off my proposal. It feels good to have another iron rising with the sun.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Walt took these photographs while I was out one night this past week. It's good to see that someone likes the pumpkin pancakes that were not a hit with my kids. The birds have been eating them, but this past week we had a new guest on the deck. It was caught red-handed with the goods in its mouth. I thought the photographs were pretty entertaining. If you click on the top photograph you can really see those impressive toenails.

I'm working on a proposal with a maximum word count of 1,000 words. It's coming together pretty fast, but I'm hoping to enhance it with a few more details before emailing it. Essentially, it could be considered done at this point.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Yesterday, I went to Boston for the ALA Midwinter Conference. It was my first time at one of these events and hopefully I'll get the opportunity to go again. I haven't been to Boston in so long I was delighted that I was flawless driving and taking the T. I would have loved the opportunity to see Al Gore speak, but not for over $200.

As you can see from the photograph, I picked up a "few" things. If not for the weight of eighteen books, a mug and a bunch of other stuff, I might have stayed longer than the 5 1/2 hours I was there. I met some folks in the publishing industry and browsed booths brimming with new books. It felt like I was in a candy store.

I learned some new words. A blad (I have no idea what the spelling is) is a short thin summary book of the real thing. An ARC is an advanced reading copy and may contain errors. A whole pile of ARCs can get quite heavy. It seemed to me, quite a bit of money to spend on an imperfect copy of a book for the sake of reviews. Like everything else, I'm probably not fully understanding why they do it this way.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Today, in the "writing" section of this website, I added back the links to two published articles (ChemMatters 12/08 and Highlights 12/06) so they can be read online. I also found a third article about tiger cubs that is now available online.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I am grateful that another nonfiction writer pointed out a problem with the "writing" portion of my website. Since I view it using Firefox, it looked fine to me. But when viewed using Internet Explorer, the HTML code shows up. Ugh. Not a pretty sight. I am currently working to fix this problem.

I have been reviewing maps of Boston, T-maps, and the ALA conference exhibitor list. All systems go for a Saturday trip into writing land.

Today I reviewed three thrilling videos that really helped me to turn actions into words. I watched each several times and wrote down descriptive words that I will work into the paragraphs I'm writing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sometimes things don't work out the way they are planned. The intent was to feed the birds, NOT the cat. Thankfully, the cat has not achieved her goal.

It's looking good for the mid-winter conference, but at this precarious time, those plans could change at a moment's notice. There is a lot going on and I'm trying hard to immerse myself in research and writing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I am happily headed out the door to hole up in a university library for several hours today. There are a number of research papers that I'm interested in obtaining. Later this month, I had planned to go to the mid-winter conference. It's been on my writing calendar for several months now, but ever since the new year (and the tsunami hit), I'm taking it day by day. I will consider myself fortunate if I get the opportunity. We'll see.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Although I am pleased to add two more clips to the collection I did find one little thing that could be misleading. The article about ice carving, namely a competition, was submitted with a number of photographs. Since the editors had difficulty reading the disc (I know it worked before I sent it), they used their own photograph. The photograph was of an impressive ornately carved chariot. Quite showy. I wondered if anyone who read the article might think this intricately carved chariot was created in an ice carving competition. I highly doubt it was. Aside from that, I am happy about the two clips, especially the glacier article.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This morning, I was delighted to discover two more of my articles have been published in the January "ice" issue of Fun For Kidz. One article about ice sculptures was written in 2006 and the other in 2007. The second article about hiking a glacier in Alaska was modified and shipped out in 2009. What a huge difference a couple of years makes--or is it the difference between third and first person? I have yet to tell my daughter that her picture is in the magazine. I'm waiting for my contributor's copies to pop open the surprise.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I posted a photograph of a bird that has been feasting on pumpkin pancakes in the the planter on my deck. Obviously, the pancakes were not a hit. At least someone likes them.

Today, I started writing the first three action-packed paragraphs of a new chapter. I still need to make a trip to the library for more research papers and more details, but it's been a hectic week. For now, stepping into a different time and place is a good thing.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A snowshoe trek through the woods behind my house was a breath of fresh air on this snowy day. This time I made my own path instead of following the trail. I can't get lost in my woods, but you can in life. Next to the sledding hill, the community garden is dressed in winter whites.

Friday, January 1, 2010

This evening, I read an interview that featured National Book Award winner, Phillip Hoose. It took him six years to complete one project. Quite frankly, I'd rather take a longer time and write it well than take a shorter time and write it often.