Sunday, June 24, 2012

dishes 101

My kids are always whining that they don't know what to do when it's their turn to do the dishes.  So I made a little chart for them to help clear things up. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Candy Cane Queen cover reveal!!!

I am so excited to reveal the cover of my Christmas pamphlet, The Candy Cane Queen, to the world! (Drum roll please!)

Isn't it cute?  I'm so excited for the Candy Cane Queen to come out.  It goes to press in August.  I'll post the release date when I get it.  Woot!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dancing Dead Rats and Query Letters

A few years ago a restaurant used singing dead rats in their commercial.  I found it on YouTube.  Watch at your own risk.

They were ugly, deformed, and wore festive hats.  I still remember my horror.  I also still avoid the restaurant.  Someone truly believed that using dead rats in a commercial for food was a good idea.  They might have thought it was funny.  They might have thought it was memorable.  They probably weren't thinking very hard.

Query letters are like commercials.  There are query letters we think are brilliant, funny, and sure to make the agents come flocking to us.  In reality, the letter is just a dead rat in a fancy hat.  I'm not an agent.  I don't have an agent, but I would like to get one some day, so I've been working hard to make sure that once my manuscript is ready I won't be sending dead rats to the agents I'd like to work with.

How can we make sure we aren't sending out dead rats?  I'm still working on figuring that out.

1- Submit your query for review on an online forum like Absolute Write.  You will get a lot of conflicting suggestions, and occasionally a troll will try to hurt your feelings.  Get thick skin.

2- Writeoncon is also coming up! WriteOnCon is a forum based writer's conference.  Plus there are agents involved.

3- Submit your query to online contests. I'm taking part in a superintern contest right now.  The intern hasn't commented on my query as of yet.  I'm really hoping it isn't a dead rat. It's hard to know since I'm so close to it. will resume contests in September, I think.

4- Follow the submission guidelines.  Most agents will stress what they like and dislike in a query. It's not too hard to find if you Google their name.

5- Follow agents through Twitter.

6- Read and see some dead rats for yourself.

7- Go to writer's conferences and take query classes. I had the opportunity of having my dead rat shredded by Holly Root at a writer's conference last month. I learned that my dead rat was too fat and should lose the hat. (This is starting to sound like an early reader.)

The main point here is that you have to do some research and you have to let someone else see your work.  If you want to work with an agent, don't send them a dead rat.

Friday, June 8, 2012

My rose garden

We didn't have a yard when we first bought our house.  We had dirt and weeds.  Maybe more weeds than dirt.  Oh, yeah and gophers, voles, mice, wasps, and squirrels.  I think one of my neighbors poisoned the squirrels.  I haven't seen them in years.  They were the one pest I didn't mind.  Ever seen a squirrel trying to run with a tomato in its mouth?  Hilarious. Those neighbors are moving.  (Please someone nice buy their house.)

Anyway, I bought a bunch of specialty roses from a catalog. (That's where the real gardeners get their plants.)  I've since stopped buying plants from catalogs. The gophers and voles showed their appreciation of all my expensive plants by turning them into salad.  Yum.  (I guess that means I'm not a real gardener.) They left the roses in the front alone.  Gophers love roses.  They're in the backyard.  Voles are in the front yard.  They prefer highly expensive tulip bulbs. (sob)

Back to my special roses.  I am deliriously happy about these first couple of pictures.  For one, this is the only special rose that is the color it's supposed to be.  It's a green rose.  It has a touch of pink and yellow, but it's green.  Pretty, isn't it?

Two winters ago I thought this rose bush had died.  I was very sad.  So I cut back the dead stuff.  I was brutal.  (And I added weird warm wet winters to my list of enemy pests) Then, joy of joys! A little green shoot appeared in what I left of the roots.  I ran around my front yard yelling, "IT'S ALIVE!" (A few neighbors moved that year.)

Anywho, this year it's blooming again! 

 Here's the peach rose that is yellow.

This is the blue rose that is purple. And also aphids.  I don't like aphids.  This is after I tried to squirt them off the plants.  They have an incredible grip for creatures so tiny.  I bet they hang on with their nasty little aphid mouths.

This is the black rose.  (To be fair, it looks black at night.) They might not be the color the catalog claimed they would be, but they're still pretty.  I still want a black rose.  How cool would that be?

These are my miniature roses.  My sister made use of my yard for a few years to get rid of plants she didn't have room for. I didn't mind. Aren't they cute? It's nice to have a sister with a plant addiction.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Baby Shower!

A few months ago we found out that my brother and his wife were expecting.  This was amazing news because they'd been trying for about 15 years to have kids.  They were told it wasn't going to happen.  Then about a week later we found out that they were actually 6 months along. My sisters and I scrambled to get a baby shower planned and my brother and his wife scrambled to get the nursery ready.  Then the baby decided to come 5 weeks early. They had about 2 months to get used to the idea of being parents.  lol.  The baby is in the NICU and My sister-in-law has had a lot of complications but she wanted to go ahead with the shower anyway.  I thought I'd post my part of the shower.

The activity:

Tye dye onesies! I've done this with my kids for an off-track activity several times and thought it would make a cute activity for the shower.  The onesies turned out pretty cute.  The tweenagers loved it the most.  

I bought onesie packs in every size so they will always have some from the shower for as long as she's wearing onesies.

We colored them with permanent markers and then dripped rubbing alcohol on them to swirl the colors.  I found some Sharpie Stain markers that don't swirl.  They were great for making patterns and writing words.

Put the cups inside the onesie and attach a rubber band.  This keeps the color from soaking through to the other side.  The picture above shows my daughter with her onesie attached to a cup and my brother aka. Proud Papa.

Not everyone used the cups.  It just colored both sides of the onesie.  All in all it was a fun activity.  I took all the onesies home and they're in the dryer right now so the colors can set.  Then I'll wash them and take them to my brother.

The drink:
I volunteered to do the punch because I saw the cutest little baby shower punch on Pinterest and then I realized I didn't pin it.  Dang.  It was pretty simple so I did it anyway.

It's rainbow sherbet and Sprite.  I scooped the sherbet in the punch bowl and poured the Sprite over the top to make the bubble effect.  It's like a little baby bath.  Awwww

I hand washed the rubber duckies before I put them in the bowl.  I should have covered the holes on the bottom of the duckies but I forgot.

All in all, my brother and his wife got some nice things for their cute little surprise.  I love seeing his face when he shows people her picture on his camera.  ♥ I dare say she was worth the wait.