Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Double Ack!

Dorothy the Dog pooped on my bedroom floor!
At least it was by dh's side of the bed.


Off to pick up the pooch.

I have never been alone in a car with a dog before.
The video camera is charging.
All will be in place by 3:30: dog, charged camera with child #1 behind the viewfinder, Happy Birthday banner
Enter child #4.
But to pick up the pooch.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Can your personality change after thirty?

What do I say? Yes! Oui! Si! The proof is in the poodle.

Can your personality change after the age of thirty? No says, a website that maintains we can expect major personality changes after thirty only with big, scary events like a brain tumor or stroke or Alzheimers. Yes says the American Psychological Association, especially in the areas of conscientiousness and agreeableness. Also, men become more neurotic, women less so.

I stood firm on zero canines at our house. For fifteen solid-as-a-rock, not-budging, no-discussion years. Because I am SO not a pet person. I do not write with a dog at my feet. I do not take walks, a leash in one hand, a plastic bag in the other. I do not have "Small Bites Kibble" on my grocery list.

Today I searched craigslist for a poodle.

What caused the change in my personality? Child #4. My adorable, delightful soon-to-be-seven daughter who can't pass a pooch without falling to her knees and wrapping her arms around its possibly mangy neck. It's her birthday. She wants a dog.

Off to hang out at doggybloggy.

p.s. This is a secret until Wednesday. Do not tell Child #4.

p.p.s. Anything you so don't do? Feel free to share by clicking on "comments."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dead Flies Power Flesh-Eating Robot

In wacky news, scientists in Bristol, England invented robots who get their energy from munching gross things like dead flies and rotten apples. Why invent such a thing? So, you can get robots to run in places lacking electrical outlets. Like the ocean floor.

Here's the entire article.

This week marked my most expensive experience at the gas pumps. Just under $50 to fill up the van. Major ouch.

You can see where I'm heading...

I want someone to invent a car where I get to dump a business of dead flies (yes, business is the collective term for flies!) into my gas tank before taking off on a road trip. Would give a whole new meaning to the expression "doing it on the FLY"! Or getting somewhere on a WING and a prayer!

And in unwacky news, huge congratulations to my niece, Jocelyn, who was voted sixth grade valedictorian for her school!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How Smart Are You?

Ever taken an online IQ test? I've taken two over the years. On the first one, I scored amazingly high. Stratosphere high. I was very proud of my brain. Until my inbox overflowed with spam. For the second test, I had a squirming, wriggling baby on my lap. A baby pulling my hair, thumping the computer keys. So, after one question, I exited, figuring I'd return when I could take the test in peace. Instead...

I got an email informing me I was a "moron" with an intelligence quotient between 50 and 69. Which, when you think about it, isn't too, too bad considering I'd only answered one question.

Here's a link to a Multiple Intelligence Test for Children.

I took it.

It did not say I was a genius.

It did not say I was a moron.

It said I should be a novelist.

Ha! Finally. An IQ test that works.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

About Me

under construction

Friday, May 18, 2007

My First Blog Post Ever

A long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away (well, okay, in another country), a ten-year-old girl (that's me) fell in love with Nancy Drew. And her author(s), Carolyn Keene. She wanted desperately to meet Carolyn Keene. Then she wanted desperately to be Carolyn Keene.

And this is the story of how that sorta, kinda happened.

Only better. Because I'm getting to write middle-grade mysteries, but I get to stay myself. Turning into Carolyn Keene isn't so much a goal anymore. I mean, The Secret of the Old Clock was published in 1930 which would make me a little older than I'd like to be at this point in my life.

A couple of years ago, I trundled off to an out-of-town writing conference. To justify the hotel cost, I promised myself I’d actually talk to the agent/presenter. Which I eventually did. But only after wimping out enough times that I ended up being the absolute, last person in the room with him. Which I’m sure thrilled him after a long day of speaking. Not.

Anyway, he told me to send my ms when it was done. So, I went home to write and write and write. I finished the ms, then mailed the partial to him in NY. I have it from a reliable source that the agent/presenter opened my envelope, read a few pages, then pushed it across the shiny, conference table, saying, “This one has your name written all over it, Rachel.”

Enter UberAgent Rachel Vater. Who phoned me, said all kinds of nice things, then gently suggested I watch hours and hours of Law and Order and Murder She Wrote. Which I did. Until I realized the mystery part of my book was pretty sucky. So, I beefed it up and sent it back to her. Rachel phoned me again, said all kinds of nice things, then gently suggested I cut 10,000 words and change it from a YA to a MG novel and lower the age of my protagonist. Ouch. Which I did. I sent it back to her. Rachel phoned me again. She said all kinds of nice things. I waited for the suggestion(s). She said more nice things. I waited for the suggestion(s). Then she said the book was ready for submission. Wow.

A month went by. Rachel phoned. We had an offer. A really great offer. For two books. I’m starting to really like these phone calls. Another phone call and she filled me in on the details of the final negotiated offer. It's even better. Now I'm totally loving these phone calls. Yesterday, we accepted a "very nice" deal from Wendy Loggia at Delacorte Press. I'm going to be a published author!

And that is the story of how a geeky girl grew up and got her dream.

Thank you for believing in me, UberAgent, UberNegotiator, UberNicePerson. Thank you for being part of my dream.


Under Construction

To be honest, I don't even know what I'm going to put in this section.

Something, uh, miscellaneous.

Like you couldn't see that coming!

Criminal Opportunities: Dramatic License by Kathy Krevat

Criminal Opportunities:
Dramatic License

By Kathy Krevat 

All the world’s a stage. And readers are fascinated by what happens behind the velvet curtain of the theater.

Researching children’s theater for my work-in-progress Stage Moms Are Murder was easy. With two teenage girls in many productions over the last few years, I had plenty of hands-on experience. I questioned professionals who have worked in children’s theater for many years, along with volunteer parents who dedicate lots of time and money to making sure the show goes on.
Being a mystery writer, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if any of the important players―the director, manager, fundraiser, board members, tech people―were targeted for murder. To tell the truth, it was difficult to find strong enough motivation for murder in a children’s theater group regardless of what people say about stage moms.
But adult theater seemed rife with possibilities. In my research, I learned that while fame and fortune is the goal for many actors, and the threat of losing it creates a strong motive for murder, plenty of people are in the business for other reasons―love of the art form, self-glorification, power, control over others, an exciting lifestyle―and the opportunities for criminal behavior abound.

Finding Focus

The concept of theater is huge, giving authors a lot of rich material. Theater has existed since the dawn of man, from storytelling around the campfire through the passion plays of ancient Egypt, the theater of the ancient Greeks (who formalized theater as an art form), the theater of ancient China and India, the early Christian theater in Europe, the folk theater of minstrels, fairs, and festivals, Renaissance theater, Shakespeare, French classicism, Italian opera, the circus, avant-garde theater, puppet theater, today’s Broadway, and so much more. Many of these periods have been the setting of mysteries, such as Simon Hawke’s series about a young William Shakespeare and Edward Marston’s Elizabethan Theater Mysteries.
Contemporary theater is integral to every culture throughout the world and encompasses everything from a one-man show in a church attic to a multimillion-dollar production in New York or London. Every city has a rich history of theater, ready to be drawn on as the base for a mystery with a little research in the right places, including local libraries, historical societies, and newspapers.
Plays have been written that expose just about every imaginable human condition, and the play a writer chooses to be the centerpiece of the mystery is the most important decision. Famous or unknown, or even fictional, plays can be exploited by the writer to emphasize the main theme, provide important clues about characters, and illustrate the message the writer wants to get across.

(Reprinted with permission from First Draft, a publication of the Guppies, Sisters in Crime)

Saturday, May 12, 2007