Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tough Girls

As far as I know, Vincent didn't paint any tough girls, so I decided to go with Manet this morning. I've always loved this piece because even though the barmaid looks like she can throw a good punch, if you study the painting closely, you can sense her vulnerability.

Actually, Tough Girls is the name of the panel I will be on this Sunday at the Texas Book Festival. I'm a little nervous because in real life I'm sort of a wimp. I hope I do all right. I'm also on a panel Saturday evening at the Alamo Drafthouse called Not for Required Reading. I'm a little nervous about that too, but also excited because I get to meet Sherman Alexie. I recently read his new YA novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and it was fabulous. That's one very cool thing about being a writer - occasionally you get to meet your literary idols.

Well, I got a call from my lovely editor last week, and she really likes the pages I sent her of my WIP, The Less-Dead. Very happy about that. The novel is not about zombies, but about a boy, Noah, who tracks down a serial killer who has been preying upon marginal teens in the Austin area - foster kids with no family or friends. When they are dead, they are less-dead. The book also explores the dynamics of Noah's family, and so the challenge is blending the two. It's an important story for me personally, so I hope I can do it. Better get back to work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Waiting for the Chill

I'm posting Vincent's Starry Night, hoping to hasten the cold front that is supposed to hit this weekend. I can't wait.

Some happy news: I just received the ARCs (advance reader copies) for Dylan. This is the step I love best in the whole process. It's very cool to finally see your story in print. Check out the UK based design company that illustrated the cover. They're called I Love Dust.

More happy news: Brothers got a Cybil nomination!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


This week I've been doing something completely new and different - stretching myself by reading poetry. Because the narrator of my WIP, 16-year-old Noah, is an aspiring poet/songwriter, and because I've basically been reading prose all my life and neglecting the lovely form of poetry, I've had to take sort of a crash course. Well, I still have a lot to learn, but so far I really like the imagists, who are similar to the impressionist painters in that they give us a glimpse of ordinary life and somehow make it extraordinary. So, here is a poem I like by William Carlos Williams:


a burst of iris so that
come down for
we searched through the
room for

sweetest odor and at
first could not
find its

source then a blue as
of the sea

startling us from among those trumpeting petals.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lying Around ... Thinking

Yes, it's true. That's what we writers have to do sometimes, especially if our WIP is, well, not working. Friday night, I asked my very supportive, very honest husband, Ed, to read a few chapters of my WIP. When he was finished he said, "Um, I like it but ..." Right away, I knew this was not a good thing. After all, I thought it was just fine. Quite good, in fact. "It's a little slow," he said. Okay, slow is definitely not a good thing, considering my WIP is a thriller.

My first reaction was, no, he's wrong, he's tired, he's in a bad mood, he wants to make me crazy. (I can totally understand how Vincent lost his mind.) But since I know Ed's instincts are generally right, I thought long and hard. And yes, it was slow. I realized I needed more tension in the first few chapters, more suspense, and guess what? After lying around thinking all day I came up with a solution. I think my story is going to be a lot stronger now. Thank you, Ed! xoxo