Monthly Archives: November 2010

Now is the time

Following up on last week’s motto, I will share some of my latest writing-related good news. Please join in the crowfest – share whatever is making you smile today, writing-related or not.

One set of short stories is complete and has now been published as an ebook. Working with an editor taught me a lot. I have started writing a new collection of stories set in Paris. It has been a lot of fun to write something so different (short stories for young readers instead of novels for teens), yet so familiar (my favorite exotic settings).

I have finished revising Kwizera and look forward to querying agents in the near future, although perhaps not until after the Winter SCBWI conference. And I’m happy to announce that my logline and 250-word excerpt were chosen to be part of the MSFV Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction next week.

Now I’m getting antsy to get back to Sophie. That manuscript has been sitting since June or July and my revising fingers are getting twitchy. I can’t wait to dig into it again!

Okay, your turn. Share some good news in the comments. Typing congrats will help my twitchy fingers!



Filed under Getting Published, writing


I have so much to be thankful for this November.  I have a happy and healthy family.  Our puppy is still crazy, but also sweet and loveable.  My French students add fun and fulfillment to each week.  I have read so many awesome books this year.  (Check out the link at right for the most recent.)  My older son has become as much of an intense reader as his parents.  My younger son is recognizing more and more letters of the alphabet.

As for writing, I am thankful for many things, too.  My awesome friends/critique partners have been helping me for several years.  I have a new critique partner I hope will also become a life-long friend.  Amazing editor and agent feedback on Kwizera has already helped improve that manuscript.  I’ve developed some great relationships with other writers online.  I’ve read many great books that have taught me to be a better writer.

I look forward to more of the same in the coming year.  And I’m really excited for the SCBWI Winter conference in New York City in January.  I have waited years to attend this conference – and now is the time.

Let that be our motto:  Now Is The Time.

What are you looking forward to accomplishing in 2011?  Please share in the comments.


Filed under The rest of my life


I’m sure my regular readers will be happy to know that I am no longer overwhelmed. 

It would seem that I do not YET have the following to do a pitchfest, as attempted last week.  That’s okay.  My ever-faithful non-writer friends and family were probably bored anyway.  This week, the usual me is back.

An update:

Surprise party for Mom:  check.

Halloween costumes appropriately sewed and decorated:  check.

First collection of short stories written and sent to epublisher:  check.

Latest draft of Kwizera revised, steeping and sent out to beta readers:  check.

First story in new short story collection drafted:  check.

Other stories plotted to at least some degree:  check.

Thanksgiving menu planned:  um…not yet.

Chanukah gifts purchased:  some.

Okay, I can take normal breaths again.

It would be easy to call last week’s pitchfest a failure.  But I will resist the temptation to wallow in my unknownness.  The road to publication is long and winding – no surprise there.  Along the way I pick up new ideas.  Some work, some might work someday, some don’t.  Along the way I pick up new friends.  I hope we will stick by each other through the many bumps, dips, valleys and potholes.

If you’re a new follower – welcome!  I hope you will learn something from my journey.  And maybe you can teach me something, too.

To my old followers (hmm, I don’t really mean to call you old.  Seasoned?  Mature?  Loyal?) – thanks for riding with me.


Filed under The rest of my life

After the Blogfest

Last week’s logline blogfest was awesome. So many comments, so much feedback, so many versions. I’d love to keep that momentum going. How about a one-line pitchfest?

Two lines was great practice for the MSFV contest next month and for query letters, but sometimes you just need to write one sentence for a contest, or to pitch an agent in person, or to start off a query letter. And our non-writing friends and family will listen to one sentence with much more patience (and less of the glazing-over eyes) than two. Am I right?

So let’s give it a try. I can’t promise the same turnout as last week, or the participation of an awesome author like Michelle McLean, but maybe someone will see what we’re doing and offer some help.

To start the ball rolling, here’s mine:

Sixteen-year-old Rwandan Cecile Kwizera survived the genocide that killed her father and classmates, and now she must put the past and the guilt behind her long enough to keep her housekeeping job and provide for her family.

Please offer feedback in the comments, as well as links to your own posts with one-line pitches.

Thanks again to Steena Holmes for giving me the –fest bug and helping me link in to her awesome community!


Filed under Getting Published, writing

Logline Blogfest!

This week I’m doing something different – I’m participating in a Logline Blogfest. I will post my logline for my YA novel, Kwizera Means Hope, below and people will comment on it to help me make it better. And I will comment on the loglines of others.

Click here to read all about it and to get the links to the other participating blogs. Thanks to Steena Holmes of Chocolate Reality for getting us started!  Thanks to author Michelle McLean for generously offering to critique the winner!

For anyone new to this, a logline is a 1 or 2 sentence description of a novel that gives you the basics and, hopefully, a taste for more.  It should give us info on the main character, the inciting event, the conflict, the goal of the MC and the stakes.

Okay, here is the original:

After 16 year old Cecile Kwizera survived the Rwandan genocide, she had to give up her dream of becoming a nurse in order to take care of her family. And she thinks that if she can’t earn enough money for food and school fees, she’ll never break free from the guilt that steals her appetite, keeps her awake at night, and threatens her life.

Here is a revised one based on comments (as of 7:30 pm EDT 11/1):

Having survived the Rwandan genocide, 16 year old Cecile Kwizera now suffers from survivor’s guilt that steals her appetite and keeps her awake at night. If she can’t overcome the symptoms and keep her job, she won’t be able to feed her family or pay her sisters’ school fees, let alone save enough money to go back to school and eventually become a nurse.

Here is the third version:

Having survived the Rwandan genocide in which her father and many Tutsi schoolmates died, 16 year old Cecile Kwizera, a Hutu, now suffers from survivor’s guilt that affects every aspect of her life. If she can’t overcome the symptoms and keep her job, she won’t be able to protect and provide the basic necessities for her family, let alone save enough money to go back to school and eventually fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse.

Here is the latest version:

Having survived the Rwandan genocide in which her father and many schoolmates died, guilt now causes sixteen-year-old Cecile Kwizera loss of appetite, migraines, and nightmares. If she can’t overcome the symptoms, she won’t be able to keep her housekeeping job with a humanitarian organization, which allows her to provide for her family, let alone save enough money to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse.

And thanks again to Steena, Michelle, all the participating writers, and all of our awesome readers/commenters!


Filed under Getting Published, writing