Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bird by Bird

I'm working it, "bird by bird," as author Anne Lamott once coined that phrase.

At my day job, I am almost through editing and formatting a scholarly book manuscript about Africa. (The client is a faculty author, one of my fave people, but I don't know any of the contributors.) The acquisitions editor at the publisher has been a huge help with tips and advice to get the manuscript completely camera ready. I await ONE graphic to place--our in-house artist is creating the figure--and then I need to print out chapters 7-11 and the About the Contributors section. (The publisher likes sample chapters as hard copy first.) I like it when I can see the pages after they're printed. The IRL version always seems to reveal anomalies that I might not catch on the screen. I'm tinkering here and there with the ms., trying to get it perfect.

It's monsoon season in Flagstaff so every laser printer in the office is misfeeding the curling, damp sheets of paper. We don't have air conditioning in our office, so it is rather like a sauna. Our admin associate ordered another box of paper and I'm going to try that workaround tomorrow. If that doesn't work, I'll ask our art department downstairs to print them out on their state-of-the-art printer.

Editing requests continue to stack up and I'm already booking jobs for October. It's going to be a very busy fall. I have some new faculty clients which always brings me new topics to absorb. One of my new clients is a researcher on lowering body temperature for heart attack victims. I'm sure that will be a challenge. Another author wants to submit to the IEEE journal; I think the guidelines are longer than the journal article.


In my other life, the literary agent who requested and received the resubmission of my novel wants a three-week exclusive to read it and decide if she wants to represent me. Her editorial group liked it at 109,000+ words; the words "great potential" were used. Wow! I hope she and her group LOVE it at a slimmed down 89,000-ish words. When she first asked me to drastically reduce the word count to 90,000, I didn't think I could do it. It did take a couple of weeks to nail it but I did it! As you can imagine, I'm very excited to have such serious consideration of representation. A bestselling author read the "phat" version of my novel manuscript and gave me a book blurb, which I also submitted to the agent. Whee!

In other news, the hubby gets laid off from his temp job on Sept. 12th. He'll be programming again, returning to HIS real life, but he's switching from Windows application development to Android phone application development. We've brainstormed a couple of ideas, but he has plenty of his own and doesn't need me.

Our four-year-old granddaughter jumped off the diving board at the end of weeks of swim lessons; she swam to the ladder. I just had to throw that into the mix. :-)

Monday, July 26, 2010

So, the news

At work: Multiple and simultaneous editing projects are in progress. By fall, there will be four book manuscripts edited, two of them formatted as camera-ready, and six journal articles. I also have two grant proposals to edit in the next six weeks. It's a little too much for one person, but I enjoy seeing the finished publications.

An annual department retreat at work was interesting. Four hours of team-building games were a blast. A very funny young man and I tied each other up at the wrists and crossed the ropes as ordered -- we were also tied TO each other. We then attempted to get loose without cutting the ropes. This required a bit of physics which we eventually figured out after getting ourselves all tangled up together. I felt myself getting a little flushed because he was young and cute and I'm a grandmother and married. It might be the first time I've giggled in a decade. Sheesh. The things I do for the U.

It was the first game event of the day and quite an ice-breaker, as you can imagine. I'm sure I knew everyone's name by the end of the four hours of games, which also included word-games, a get-to-know-you session that was like speed dating, and lots of walking around saying "mingle, mingle" and cracking up. We played a game like musical chairs that was done with hula hoops -- a hoop was removed each time the music stopped. Too much excitement. I won't bore you with the three-hour work-related session after lunch, which was definitely not as fun.

In my other life, a publisher has the full manuscript and I haven't heard a peep. An agent asked me to cut 20,000 words from my novel manuscript. I did it over a period of two weeks. I sent it on July 20th and am singing that Carly Simon song in my head, "Anticipation." If she doesn't reply by this Friday, I doubt I will hear anything until after the Romance Writers of America national conference. Last week she was at the PNWA Conference (per her blog) so I know she's busy. I'm not sure if she's going to the RWA Conference, but if she does, that adds another week to my wait time. This is all theoretical of course, in my head. If I was an agent, and I got a requested resubmission, I would put it on top of my To-Do list. She's pretty much had a 5-week exclusive so I'm getting a little antsy. Really want her for my agent, so I hope that pans out. What did happen in the last five weeks is that I have a much better novel now. Because of the new 90,000 word length, it now fits almost any publisher's length guidelines instead of only the big single title imprints. Big single title is still my preference (mo' money), but if this streamlined version of my novel manuscript results in a category romance sale, I'll still be thrilled. The pacing is much improved.

Over the weekend, I read L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais and loved it, despite a problem with the book design where flashbacks were in italics for pages and pages. Not the author's fault. I found just one misspelled word that was missed by the editor. You can read my mini-review on Amazon at:

For the weekend, the hubster and I went to our enchanted cottage 125 miles away from our work city. We nested in with our Netbooks, an old VCR, and some fun MST3K movies (The Beginning of the End starring Peter Graves, notoriously bad and campy to boot), popcorn, and a little footsie in the inflatable queen-sized bed. We're planning to move our king-sized bed down there in about three weeks. We did yard work and I was chomped on by a praying mantis. I have the jaw marks on my ankle to prove it. So happy to see it wasn't a scorpion nailing me. Our 5-year-old refrigerator in our house there bit the dust so we were forced to eat out!

We signed a short-term lease on a rental house in our work city and move to it on August 21st.

The hubby gets laid off on August 30th from his temp job in our work city. I think he's looking forward to going back to self-employment and is going to be programming apps for the Android phone whilst I keep on trucking at my editing job and work on my major comeback into the print world under my own name.

Over at, my e-press, I'm open for submissions for three e-anthologies to be published as soon as I fill all of the slots. I've already written several contracts. There is pay. See more at: