Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thanksgiving Abroad

As you probably know, we celebrated Thanksgiving here in the States last Thursday. Now that the holiday has passed, I am reminded of the Thanksgiving I spent in France when I was in college. Our school put on a special lunch for us at a fancy-pants restaurant in Paris. And it was fine.

But my roommate (let’s call her Mary, for the sake of protecting the innocent) and I had other plans for the holiday. The weekend before, we had met two French guys, one of whom was half-American (we’ll call him John, to protect myself), and they invited us to have Thanksgiving with them and the family of the whole-French guy (I’ll call him Pierre). So, yeah, we cooked a Thanksgiving meal in the kitchen of a family we’d never met before. Did I mention I was in college?

In between classes, because Thanksgiving is not a holiday in France, and that lunch the college planned, Mary and I shopped for obscure ingredients like cranberries. That’s not an obscure ingredient here in the States – especially here in the Northeast. But it sure was hard to find in Paris. And we had to come up with recipes from our heads. Luckily, Pierre took care of the turkey. It was just a turkey breast, and I think it might have already been stuffed with something really frou-frou French like spinach and herbs. But it was at least one thing we didn’t have to worry about.

We had a lovely meal. Mary did an awesome job – she did most of the cooking and I helped where I could. Pierre’s family was welcoming and appreciative. John kept looking at me a certain way and putting his arm across the back of my chair – but that’s for another story and I think that we just won’t go there. Our French Thanksgiving was memorable.

This year, RocketMan made a Turducken and it came out great. We had a lot of food, but leftovers are part of the holiday.

What was your most memorable holiday?

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NaNo Update 3

So I had an interesting weekend. First I conquered Nano and then I finished my manuscript. Uh, yeah.

I CONQUERED NANOWRIMO!!

I have a complete draft of Rachel, which has already been shoved in a drawer until about February. Now I have so much else to catch up on, like revising Tzohar.

And of course there’s Thanksgiving. RocketMan is making a Turducken. That’s where you stuff a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey with 3 different layers of stuffing. Yes, he’s crazy that way.

I’m also looking forward to the long weekend with family and taking a tiny break from writing. I just started reading Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, which I won from Julie Musil, Lisa Gail Green, and Leslie Sulli Rose. Thanks, Ladies! You rock!

And because Libba is one of the coolest cats and wittiest writers around, my book is signed thusly:

For the Illustrious Contest Winner –
(so very personal)
Clearly, you are superior. Congrats.
❤ Libba Bray

Clearly, I will cherish this book always. Last night I actually laughed out loud in bed (LOLIB?) when the Teen Dream contestant from Mississippi started spelling her state and had to give up. And then another character described the Vietnam War as the time “When the Vietnamese got kids hooked on drugs and we had to fight a war to stop it.” OMG, too funny. Okay, clearly, I think everyone should read this book. But only if you like to laugh. And read.

Whose signature are you most proud to have?

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NaNo Update 2

As of last night, day 13 of NaNoWriMo, I have 35,032 words. I’m very pleased to be way more than halfway through the word count by this point in the month. The words continued to flow fast and furious until last Wednesday, at which time I had less time to write and a bit less inclination. Some of the inclination has come back, but my plot doesn’t make as much sense now as it did when I started. Sigh.

I think this is a fairly common occurrence in NaNo. And fairly common while writing any first draft. I will push through. I can always fix my structure later, during revisions. But I have to write what makes sense to me now, even if it isn’t what I plotted out several weeks ago.

Another complication is my head cold. Ugh. I just want to stay in bed all day and read. So today I will surround myself with tissues, tea, and soup, and push those words out, while also preparing myself (mentally, more than anything) for a French class this afternoon.

How is your month going? Have you had to change plans midway through?

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A-Read’s Recs

This is a new series based on the Book Talks my 8-year-old son writes for school. As you’ll see, he is not ready for publication, but he knows what he likes.

Me Oh Maya by Jon Scieszka (The Time Warp Trio).

I was inspired to read this book because I’ve read the books in this series before this one.

The story takes place in Maya.

The main character in the book is Joe.

Here is how I would describe the main character: funny and kind of a magician.

Another important character is Sam.

Here is how I would describe this character: very smart, a little scared, and knows a lot. (Notice his use  of the Oxford comma!)

The story is about Joe, Sam, and Fred who time warp travel to Maya.

The main problem is they have to find the book to get back.

I liked this book because I learned some of the Maya counting system.

A connection I made while reading this book was that I wouldn’t want my head to be cut off.*

I would recommend this book to people who like this series, because they are really funny books.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

*His teacher asks them to take notes while reading, about anything that occurs to them. He told me she calls it thinking about the book. So now all his books have multiple yellow sticky notes sticking out of them with notes like, “Because Joe thinks the book is in the tree.” (Except that I made this one up. From now on, I’ll copy some of his yellow notes.)

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NaNo Update

Last night I reached 20,067 words. Woohoo! I am lucky to have the time right now to write, which will not always be the case. Especially now that I have a new job with a foreign language center (we teach several languages to children and adults).

Writing a sequel has been an interesting experience. Obviously, I have never done this before. On purpose, I always avoided writing a sequel in case the first book did not sell. And if it weren’t for NaNoWriMo, I wouldn’t be writing Rachel right now, I’d be revising a middle-grade manuscript (now my December task).

When I first came up with the idea of a trilogy in which each of the three books had a different protagonist, I was actually going to try to do it all in one book. But I had too much to say. And now, the similarities and differences are really becoming evident.

Sophie travels back in time, Rachel travels forward. They each have experience with the same year in the past, however, 1895. Sophie had the good fortune of knowing a little bit about the past, as most of us do, to some degree. Rachel had never imagined our own time. So their reactions to the time periods in which they end up are quite different.

And while it has been fun to revisit the characters each book has in common, I’ve been enjoying the new characters the most. I can’t wait for my readers to meet Renard, for example. He has been the most fun to write, possibly of any character I’ve ever created.

So how is your November going? What’s new, my friends? Please share in the comments.

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