Monday, May 24, 2010

Do Something New

Me as my lawyer self. . .
I'VE BEEN A LOT OF THINGS, and done a lot of things, in my life, if not nearly as much as I wished to (in somewhat chronological order): gymnast, actress, special events coordinator, tv production assistant, flower seller, paralegal, lawyer, wife, mother, mediator, writer.

I've piloted a hot air balloon as part of a the crew, I've flown over the Bermuda triangle to Bimini for lunch with my uncle in a two-seater plane. I've been up the side of Mt. Blanc in a gondola. And, I've skied off the side of a black diamond ski slope. Er.

I'M STILL WAITING FOR MY WETSUIT TO TURN ME INTO A SUPERHERO. Having said that, I've never been a huge risk taker (never bungee jumped or sky dived or did half the things I thought I would), and the older I get -- and especially once I became a mother with two amazing boys that depend on me -- the less of a daredevil/adventurer I've become. If truth be told, my life has become pretty staid.

NEW THINGS. So, it's been interesting and exhilarating, if sometimes scary, after years and years of trying, to have a brand new career as a "real" published author ahead of me. It means all sorts of ways of putting myself out there (if not of the sky jumping variety). It means public appearances and readings, including ones across country alone. I have not travelled alone since I was a young adult. It means getting reviewed and putting myself out there for the ultimate success or the fall. Or the "dreaded" somewhere in between.

At the same time, I still want new ways, if slightly safer, to put myself out there. I've joined an open-water swim group, that starts out in the Long Island Sound this weekend. I've got my wetsuit, and my beanie cap and my booties and my gloves. But the email I just got from the group leader says, water temps are still in the mid-fifties. This means numb face, which may just be too tough for me to bear. Do I wait a few weeks till the water chugs up to 60 degrees? Or do I bite the buoy and put myself out there?

WHAT DO YOU DO to keep your world from getting old?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Floating or sinking?

So, I'm trying to keep up: writing, revising, kids, house, gardens, and lawyering/mediating, plus, and this is the big time-suck: beginning to strategize on how to market my debut novel, The Pull of Gravity.

This means everything from taking author photos (endless kudos to Rick Kopstein) and trying to choose one (thanks to all who chimed in!), to brainstorming with a group of debut authors I belong to, to trying to assist my editor with catalogue keynotes and copy (still in the works), to writing my own marketing plan (which I hope to present as a complimentary boost to FSG's own marketing plan (*crosses fingers*) which I will learn more about in June or July).

It also means sending out emails to all sorts of people I hope to read, review or somehow otherwise enlist to help make TPOG a bestseller. Okay, would you believe a good-seller?

So, am I sinking or floating?

One of the things that's hardest to keep up with are blog posts - and interesting ones at that. I try to blog once or twice a week only, but I have two blogs -- a YA blog and a regular grown-up blog here where I'd like to, at times, misbehave. Because it's my favorite thing.

So, for my 30+ loyal(ish) followers here, until I get back to the misbehaving (yes, I'm missing it just as much as you are...), please note that if I'm not here on Staying Afloat, you can find me on That Wee Bit Heap, usually talking about YA writing, and the things that drive a story like themes and voice, but sometimes giving you a sneak peak of a work-in-progress, or just talking about silly things, like feeding soap to my mother.

In the meantime, if you've been misbehaving while I'm gone, you know I want to hear about it. So, please (come on! pretty please, cherry on top...) fill me in.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why is this a theme for me?

So, a few weeks ago, I blogged about the repeat imagery that crops up in my writing (tuna fish and mayonnaise, paper umbrellas, and, of course, water, to name a few).

Yesterday, while I was swimming, I was noticing the themes that repeat themselves in my writing. Themes I seem not to tire of exploring, that creep in, even when I'm not expecting them to -- in both my women's and my young adult novels:

Friendship, and particularly, the betrayal of friends, especially female friends;

Surface beauty vs. inner beauty, and whether you must give up the effort to maintain one to achieve the other;

Marriage and infidelity, and how the latter affects the family unit.

Of course, these themes are universal, so not hugely surprising for me to write about, but still interesting how they always pop up. The first personally affected me -- in h.s. my closest girlfriend betrayed me in a swift, cruel act (that was borne of a moment of weakness on her part rather than sincere, and I long ago forgave, but which certainly shaped me and my trust toward women at that time); the second played itself out over and over in my family growing up; and the third not only is a common issue for anyone in a long-term marriage (mine is going on 17 years...), but is a focus of my "paid job" as a divorce mediator, and before that, a divorce attorney, so permeates my waking life.

What are the themes that drive your novels? Do they crop up time and time again?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Feeling Like the REAL DEAL

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

IT TOOK ME NEARLY TEN YEARS from the day I decided to really write a novel to the day I got a book deal, the book deal not being for the novel I initially wrote, OR the one after that, but for my Young Adult novel, The Pull of Gravity, I started (and finished) in between.

Maybe the length (and intensity) of the journey, and the fact that I still have eleven months before the book comes out, both make the fact of my book deal still feel unreal.

Which is why it is nice, along the way, to have those moments where I say, "okay, yes, this is really happening... finally."

Of course, the first was sitting in my editor, Frances Foster's, small office in the flatiron building surrounded by "her" books, notably the fantastic Holes (!) by Louis Sachar and so many gorgeous and amazing picture books by Peter Sis.

Another, of course, was receiving a check in the mail from MacMillan (the umbrella publisher that my imprint, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, is under.

Another recent one was receiving some questions from copyediting about some of the smaller details in my book.

And, today, a new milestone, my author website is up, coordinated with the new look of my blog, all done by the really wonderful and amazing Kitty Meade of Ink2Art

So, one step at a time, I'm becoming the real deal. Whatever the real deal is.