Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Over-Saturation in the YA Market...

I ran across this blog post in Kindleboard's Writer's Cafe today:

At first I was just irritated, because ARGH, don't tell me that YA fiction isn't a genre but rather a gimmick.  No way, no how!   It doesn't help that about 75-80% of what I'm reading right now is YA.  I shot off my replying comment and felt better about the whole thing, but then I got to thinking.

Maybe the author didn't intend to label YA a gimmick as much as comment on the clutter and over-saturation of the young adult market since the advent of Twilight.  I know there are a lot of us who are sick to DEATH about hearing about the Twilight phenomenon (no matter what we think about the series itself).  I hear people describing books all the time as "the next Twilight".  Really?  That's how you want to promote that series??

Even though I believe strongly in the YA fiction market and obsess over the next great YA fantasy series... there is no lie that there are a lot more authors trying to break into the YA fiction market than there used to be.  When I read book bloggers now, or pour over booklists or haunt my library for reading fodder, I do notice the selection has changed.  It used to be that there were only a few names I didn't recognize.  Now there are more like hundreds!

So I guess, if you didn't read YA as much as I do, it could seem like YA fiction had merely become a big gateway for all the Twilight hopefuls out there.  Instead, I like to think of it as a renewal of interest in the genre.

Until Twilight came along, there were millions of teen girls out there who didn't read.  Believe me, I've asked them.  Our YA section in the library was pathetic.  There was no interest... not enough to warrant spending resources on it.  Instead, all the money went to the Juvenile section, where Harry Potter and the Rowling wannabes reigned.

Oh, yeah, that's right.  Harry Potter did for Juvenile fiction what Twilight did for YA fiction.  Let's take a looksy at the other example in Scott Roche's blog post.  Because of JK Rowling, hundreds of children and pre-teens (especially boys!) took an interest in books and started devouring anything in the market that they could get their hands on.  Publishers started taking chances on Juvenile fiction writers and we saw a flush and over-saturation in the market.  Some truly wonderful series came out of it: Children of the Lamp, Septimus Heap, Charlie Bone, Artemis Fowl, The Edge Chronicles, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Fablehaven, and the list goes on and on.

Am I saying these wonderful series never would have been published without Harry Potter... no.  But there certainly would not have been as many of them.  Maybe a third is my guess, judging by what I saw before Potter.  And believe me, there was a Juvenile fiction section before Potter.

So, what is my point?  It may seem to outsiders as though Twilight made YA fiction into a gimmick, but really, what it did is pave the way for some fantastic new series to come to readers.  Twilight is fading in power.  Pretty soon, all we'll hear about are The Hunger Games and City of Bones (especially since they will both have movies out).  There will be an influx of new readers again, publishers will buy more YA books and the rest of us, who love them, will benefit immensely.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Five AM and Deep Thoughts...

I don't have trouble falling asleep at night.  I lay down with my body pillow (in this case, not my husband, because he is so hard and muscle covered.  I like SOFT.) on my foam covered bed and pull the covers under my chin before I pass out.  I'm a side sleeper, most of the time.

And if I'm lucky, and my pregnant bladder is kind, I sleep all night without cares. (But very weird dreams. Thanks, pregnancy, for that gift.)

On the nights where I get up, however, or my sweet boy wakes up with a nightmare... that is when the troubles arise.

Take last night for instance:

Slept peacefully until 4:36 AM, when my son woke up crying.  Went into his room and he insisted his knee hurt. Unzipped his jammies to check said knee.  Kissed knee.  Gave son his stuffed camel.  Put son back to bed.
Bladder was complaining, so went to the bathroom.  Laid back down in bed.
Thought about what I have to do today: call panasonic about broken toothbrush, finish making sourdough bread, clean out my car for my trip to my parents', remember that husband is fixing washing machine so I can't do laundry today, but I have to do it tomorrow for the trip, and I need to check my garden for new weeds and check my seedlings to see if ANY have sprouted.
I look at the clock, Five AM.  I need to fall asleep, dang it!  Close my eyes and try to focus on sleeping.  Then I start thinking about Compis.  Write the scene with Zyander and Nikka one more time, making sure to add details about the Ignis and the phoenix phenomenon.  Start to worry that my story is dumb.  Start to think that no one will buy it.  Five AM says that I should just quit writing altogether and I almost listen for a minute, thinking how much of my time that would free up.  But then what would happen to Nikka, Zyander, Luka, May, The Roaneu?  I know where their lives are going, but if I don't write it down, they will disappear.  They should at least have a chance to be chronicled.
I look at the clock, 5:15 AM.  I decide to just write out the story and keep it all to myself.  Then the characters will be loved and never hated.  Then I start to wonder if my seedlings will grow again.  I tried to plant them early, and greenhouse them, but I'm worried they won't sprout at all.

DO YOU SEE???  It's all circular!  The same things over and over and I can't. stop. my. brain.  ARGH!  By the time I fell asleep, it was 6:30 and my son was waking up for the day.  And by the way, his knee didn't hurt anymore.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Wanna Be a Book Blogger...

When I was a little girl, before the internet existed...  *GASP*  I know right?  I couldn't live without it either!  Anyway, back to my story about the stone age.

When I was a little girl, before the internet existed, I wanted to be a librarian.  I had no idea what librarians did.  I just knew they were happy all the time and they got to be around books all day.  I figured, if I could be a librarian, I could read, ALL THE TIME!!!  It would be great.  AND I'd get paid for it.  Heaven on earth, to a book addict like me.

Then I grew up, went to college and learned that librarians have to have MASTERS degrees, and learn about the Dewey Decimal system -which I admit, I STILL have no idea how it works.  They don't get to read all day.  Instead, they work very hard, and don't get paid a lot, and have their hours and wages and benefits cut continually by a tax paying system that doesn't understand their importance.  (This is also my rant about teachers, but that is a blog for another day.)

So, I decided to ditch that idea, take up Computer Science, which pays a lot better and read in my spare time.  It was a good decision and made me the person I am today.

But... then I got laid off and let me tell you, it's been tough finding a job where I live.  It's kind of a small town and there's not a lot of other places close enough to telecommute.  So, anyway, now I'm broke.  I'm broke and my library is not the best for getting new books because, well, budget cuts have commenced.

Then I go places like The Story Siren  or The Well-Read Wife  or Yzhabella's Bookshelf  and there are just stacks and stacks of books they are reading.  I'm sure they actually pay for some of their books.  I know they have cool book sharing clubs going around, but what interests me are the ARCs.

What, you may ask, are ARCs?  Advanced Reader Copies.  They get sent to various super cool book bloggers to be reviewed before anyone else has read them.  They are like those movie critics who get a pass to watch a movie and review it before it ever comes out.

Man, it would be SO COOL to have people sending ME ARCs.  I could read lots and lots of books and give my opinions and have people read them.

Of course, like librarians, book bloggers work super hard at what they do.  Most of them, like you and I, have day jobs.  And somehow, on top of that, they read and review a spectacular amount of literature.  It's amazing I tell you.  Without them, I can think of several books I never would have heard of.

Case in point:  The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa.  Never would have read and loved those books without a book blogger.  Or if I had eventually come upon them, it would have been years from now when my library finally started to carry them.  hahaha

I don't have time to be a book blogger and a writer.  So I guess for now, I'll just read, find books whatever way I can (if my library doesn't have them, I have friends and bookswaps to use, thank goodness!) and keep reading all the great blogs out there for more ideas on what to put on my to-read shelf next.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What My Mom Says...

I'm thirty-two.  I've been out of the house for... wait let me do the math... on my calculator... 14 years.  I'm married.  I have one child and one more on the way.
And yet, I will always care what my mom says.  It's one of those things you don't get over.
So let me back up the train.  My first memories of my mom highlight her with a book.  She is the lady who taught me the meaning of the word bibliophile.  Which is cool, because I think that is what got me going on the whole reading journey -her love of books.  I think I just wanted to know... what was so great about reading?
Then I tried it out, and I was hooked for life.
I introduced my mom to YA fantasy.  She was always curious about what her kids were reading (she still is, with two teenagers in the house).  I'd read Robin McKinley or whoever and pass it along to her when I was done.  She's read everyone on my top YA fantasy list and even passed stuff on to me, occasionally.  She loved Hunger Games as much as I did.
So I knew I had to pass along my newest draft of Compis to my mom.
I know people who get nervous about their first reviews or when they get a blog mention.  I get nervous when my mom reads something I've written, because I know she has great taste and she'll be honest.  OMG, I wish you could have seen my face when I had her read my first story with a SEX SCENE.  hahahaha
Yet I've never been as nervous as I was this time, because I LOVE this story and these characters like they are a part of me.  You know how authors talk about the book they had to write?  This is my book.  I dream about this book.  I obsess over it.  YA fantasy is my thing, my passion.  I've wanted to write a YA fantasy book for, well, forever.
I never thought I could be a writer at all, never finished a book until Six Keys, so I focused on other things.  Then I had this dream (Okay, this will sound funny, but I get pretty much all my story ideas from dreams) about being in a tribe and turning into a person who could fly.  Man did that stick in my head BIG TIME.  I was in the middle of doing a major revision on Six Keys, so I absolutely refused to let myself write it.
But I couldn't get rid of it.  I became obsessed with the plot in a big way, so I bought myself a notebook and starting jotting down my ideas about the world of my dreams.  I thought out the characters and the land and the laws and the way the world worked.  And when I finally finished Six Keys, AND fulfilled my work obligations, I went for it.  Working part time and as a mom, I wrote 15,000 in a week.  Unheard of for me.  I got about half the book, 30,000 written by the end of the month and then, in another month I finished it.
It was a breeze!  The easiest writing I've ever done.  I still can't believe how quickly it went. Okay, enough gushing.
She loved it.  I'm just so relieved.  Whew!  :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kindle is the iPod of Books

Sorry, I've been holding this in for a while, but man, I've gotta say something now.

The darling of the indies, Amanda Hocking, is about to sign a book series deal for at LEAST a million bucks with a major publishing company.

The blog article, as it was posted on Kindleboard's Writer's Cafe is here:

So now, I have to ask... does this make self-publishing a legitimate form of publishing yet?  Are they still the bastard children of the book world, relegated to Kindle Bestseller lists or will someone finally start talking about the fact that there are some great writers out there that are not getting published, that DO have an audience and ARE worth reading?

Sorry to sound snarky.  If it's a matter of me, well, I could care less.  I'm not the big seller here, no way no how(I've cleared about 500 total so far).  And unlike a lot of indie writers, I don't run around comparing the evil publishing companies with the brave, stalwart indies.  Let's face it, a lot of them aren't worth reading.  I've read them, I know.

But as a reader, I have to say, I resent the silence.  I do.  I've read some of Amanda Hocking's books (the .99 cent ones, since I'm on a tight budget) and they're great.  The kicker here is, I'm not the only one who thinks so.  Look at the woman's sales.  Holy Crap.  I think there are some NYT bestsellers who would kill for her numbers (not to mention the 70% royalty she rakes in, compared to the industry standard of 25%).

So now that she's going to be published by a "real" publisher, will the others who are doing well get some credit?

Look at John Locke, self-proclaimed .99 specialist.  His design is to never sell a book higher than .99.  Okay, that would never happen in the real world, I know.  But the guy is making it a big success and I think at last look they were ALL on Kindle's top 100 (I think they're even all in the top 50).  Are they worth reading?  They're cheap, but I certainly enjoyed Saving Rachel.

I guess it could be argued that he is selling so well because he's cheap.  Fine, okay, look at Karen McQuestion... totally self started, sells her books at a reasonable price, just got her book "A Scattered Life" optioned for film, and now she's been snatched up by Amazon Encore (their new publishing branch).  Wow.

The thing that cracks me up  about these examples... there are so many more!  I mean, when I wrote Six Keys and started my own accidental indie journey, I thought I was one of a few.  I was totally mistaken.  And not only that, but I was shocked to find out how many authors are selling well enough to make a living.  I was shocked to find out how GOOD their books were.

I think, as a reader, that it SUCKS that I didn't know about the good stuff sooner.  I resent it, I do.  I've read plenty of crap in the "real" publishing world.  There are several books I stopped reading, or didn't enjoy or thought, "How in the hell did they ever sell this?"  So why do we act like indies have nothing to offer?  Why do we act like ALL of them are crap, with typos and bad plotlines?

I want to be able to read indies at the library.  I want to open up the NYT bestsellers list and see ALL the authors who are selling well.  I want to read NYT Sunday Book Review and see indies get praised or slammed, based on the quality of their work, and not on whether they are part of a publishing house.  I want to read about indies on book blogs.  I want to hear about them being picked by Oprah's book club or others.

The only other thing I want to add, and then I will probably shut up about this FOREVER...

Let's remember back a few years... I'm going to pick 2003, because that is when I first noticed, really paid attention to, the iPod.  Does anyone remember when the iPod came out?  Before the iPod, when you wanted music, you went to Music Warehouse or wherever and that was the ONLY way you could access  music.  Unless you were really really trying, you never heard about the indie bands.  They weren't in major stores.  Walmart certainly didn't carry them.  Maybe you could listen to them on public access radio or whatever.  And if you were an indie artist, you just had to keep playing and PRAY a record company would love your demo.

Then iPod came out, and with it iTunes.  iPod did for indie music what no one else could.  It gave them legitimacy and a voice.  Because of iTunes (and other mp3 companies that came along and then Pandora) I know about Regina Spektor, Rilo Kiley, The Ditty Bops, Tegan and Sara, Butterfly Boucher, Keren Ann, and the list goes on and on.

I can't think of a world where we don't have instant access to indie music.  It would be so boring if all we had were what the major music companies considered marketable, don't you think?  All we'd have is Justin Beiber wannabes and Katie Perry lookalikes.  (Not to slam Katie.  Love her music.)  We'd have 3 kinds of music and everything else would be waiting around, hoping to get noticed and be the next big thing.  Instead, we can have whatever style we want and find whatever new music we like and BOY can we be specific.  There are music groups and artists out there to fill every niche.

This is what Kindle is doing for indie writers.  It's true and it's happening and ignoring it is silly.  I just can't WAIT for the rest of the world to get on board.  I want more variety in what I read and seriously, LESS VAMPIRES.  Because to me, vampires are the Justin Beibers of the writing world.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

MY favorite YA Fantasy Authors

This list has not been an easy one to write, which is why instead of trying to write a general fantasy list, I decided to hone it down a wee bit to teen fantasy.  And believe me, it will still be hard work then.  :)

So let's begin, shall we?  Oh, I should say, these aren't in order, because, my God, that would be impossible for me to do.  Oh, and if you haven't read most of these novels... Well... chances are you weren't born until after 1995.

  1. CS Lewis  -This is the first fantasy I ever read, as I think with most people my age.  Yes, I admit it, I was born before the age of Harry Potter.  I am officially old, because let's face it, that will be the first fantasy book most kids read now.  Anyway, my mom read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe when I was about 9, I think.  Up until then I'd read a lot of Nancy Drew and Louisa May Alcott.  I hadn't even read Alice and Wonderland.  That book is still one of my best memories.  It's not the same, reading it now, but there is a special place in my heart for Lewis.  He is one of the reasons I fell in love with reading.  Favorites of his books: LLW, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Horse and His Boy, and The Magician's Nephew
  2. Tamora Pierce -She was the second fantasy author I'd ever read.  I can't say enough good things about her, especially as a woman.  Her character in the Alanna series taught me, as a young girl, that I could do anything and break any boundary.  It sounds sappy, but those type of books, combined with parents who were the supportive people they were, led me to go on and major (and succeed) in a field that was less than 10% women.  Favorites: Alanna series, The Immortals series, and Trickster's Choice series.
  3. JK Rowling -Yes, yes, of course.  Fabulous, imaginative.  I read these as a 22 year old and I was still enchanted enough to buy the whole series.  Rowling is the reason both of my brothers read now, and I bless her for it!  I am excited to introduce my son to the series when he gets old enough (Alas, it won't happy for several years yet.  *sigh*).  Favorite: Order of the Phoenix  I always come under fire for that one, but really, it's the first time that Harry realizes that he is ready to fight Voldemort and his Death Eaters.  It's when the DA is founded.  It's when Harry starts to realize that this will be a battle he ultimately fights alone.  
  4. Anne McCaffrey -A classic writer whose work is found mostly in the adult section, but many of her books feature teenagers.  The Pern series has several teenagers featured as main characters. True, many of them grow up, but it doesn't change the fact that they are all about finding yourself and overcoming hardships.  Side note: When I was a teenager and my parents went through their whole, "Let's take a road trip to see Mt. Rushmore" phase, I packed a TUB full of her books and I read them from California to South Dakota while my siblings watched Aristocats over and over on the little TV in our van. Good times.  Favorites: Dragonsinger, Dragonsong, Dragon Drums, Dragons Dawn, The White Dragon.  Excellent, all.
  5. Robin McKinley -You can't tell from some of her new books, yes, I think she has faltered, but she did for fairy tales, what Gail Carson Levine has tried to do.  I can't remember the first time I read Beauty.  It might have been the third or fourth fantasy book (or series) I've read.  I was enchanted.  I devoured every other book she wrote, with mixed results.  Not of a fan of The Outlaws of Sherwood.  And even though I enjoyed Rose Daughter, I still wonder what the heck she was thinking.  Favorites: Beauty, The Blue Sword, The Hero and The Crown, The Door in The Hedge, A Knot in The Grain.
  6. Philip Pullman -I didn't read these until I was an adult, but wow.  The story is so wide in scope, reaching across worlds and beliefs and at the center is this poor little girl who's been abandoned by both of her selfish parents and then used brutally by them, as well.  I also loved the idea of a soul that could be seen.  I wish it were like that here and you'd know what people are like when you meet them.  Favorites: probably the first in the series, The Gold Compass
  7. Diana Wynn Jones -I can't remember how I stumbled across these books.  I think it must have been when I was working as a nanny for two little boys.  I was in the children's section a lot, and read The Christomanci Quartet.  Then I found out that her books were in the YA section and I was thrilled!  Favorites: I think my favorites would be Howl's Moving Castle (also one of my favorite Animes of all time) and The Game -which is a novella she wrote that uses Greek Mythology. 
  8. Piers Anthony -Another adult writer whose books feature mostly adolescents.  To read these books, you must like puns and you can't mind some goofiness.  I think he was the first writer I read and realized, fantasy can be funny!  That's a big deal.  Favorites: A Spell for Chameleon, Heaven Scent, and The Color of Her Panties
  9. Christopher Paolini - I was blown away when I first read Eragon.  I couldn't believe it was written by a 16 year old, although I was less surprised after I found out he was homeschooled.  (Shout-out to my fellow house prisoners!)  Though it is obvious to me that he was strongly influenced by Tolkien, there is no denying that his story and characters follow their own design.  The first two especially, I could not stop reading.  Very good.  I wish I could say the same for Brisingr.  *sigh*  That book DID remind me of Tolkien, in that I would have liked to trim about 300 pages out of it.  Seriously, the dwarf wedding? A waste of paper!  I'm hoping for redemption in the next book.  Favorites: I'm still quite partial to the first, Eragon.  It was so nice meeting Sapphira.  
  10. Stephenie Meyer -I debated whether or not to include Meyer, especially when I'm not including Cassandra Clare.  But in the end, I couldn't help myself.  You can hate vampires, you can hate teen fantasy, heck, you can even hate Meyer's writing, but you can't deny her story grabs you.  That is why I put her here.  Even though I thought her books were badly written (editors, where are you??), her story had me buying book after book, and let me tell you, I don't spend money on new books.  I'm the cheapest reader on the planet.  :)  Favorite:  New Moon, hands down, because Edward is such an asshat in most of the books.  If a man ever tried to "protect" me like that, I'd kick him in the balls.
How I decided on what to include.  Well, I picked authors that have a large body of work, because I think that's how you can properly judge how good they are.  That is why there are a lot of "older" authors on the list.  
Why I didn't choose some of the obvious... well, Tolkien bored the crap out of me.  Those books were written for boys, no question.  I think there are girl characters in about 4% of those books, compared to all the men warriors and travelers.  That's fine.  They were written for boys.  They didn't do it for me, and this is MY list after all.  Cassandra Clare... ah, Cassandra, I have a whole entry about her and some others (entitled "Where are all the Writers???")  First of all, the whole, "I might be sexually attracted to my brother" thing is just gross.  And your writing is subpar.  The story was interesting enough to carry me through to the end, but then the ending was SOOOO predictable.  The Bartimaeous Trilogy... well, read that entry I just listed.  The Lightning Thief... I just couldn't get past the first chapter.  I can't give a personal opinion about that series, but I obviously can't include them in my favorite books.  
I have a lot of new authors that I would love to include, but they have only 1 or 2 books out as now, so I'm going to give it some time and see how they end up.
The inevitable question comes up... why don't I have any indies on my list?  Even Amanda Hocking has 2 series out.  They cost money and right now, I'm unemployed, so I've only read a couple of them(the super cheapies).  The only books I read come from the library.  I could pirate her books, I'm sure, but how is that supportive of an industry I'm involved in?  So, until the library has her books or my book starts raking in the dough, it's not going to happen yet.
That being said, if ANY indie author wants to send me a digital file of their work to read, I'll do it, for sure!
Hope you enjoyed my list. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fantasy Snobs...

So, the bibliophile is back and rendering opinions. This time on genre. I love books of all sorts: mysteries, romance, horror, children's books, westerns, sci-fi, fantasy and that deep adult literature. 

And don't tell me paranormal is a genre, sorry, it's fantasy, people. 

Anywho... my favorite genre is fantasy. I am crazy about fantasy. I almost hate to say it, because there are people out there who don't give you the time of day when they find out you read fantasy or sci-fi. Why is that? Why are those genres associated with geekdom or I don't know... being less worthy. 

As though somehow, Toni Morrison is more worthy than George R. R. Martin. As though a book picked by Oprah has more merit for culture or learning or entertainment than fantasy. (Although, I must admit, Oprah did choose Harry Potter for book club once, but I don't think anyone took that seriously.) 

I've read Toni Morrison: Sula, The Bluest Eye. I've read The Reader and Anna Karenina and Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and Gone With the Wind and many, many other works of literature. And believe me, they are WORK. Rewarding, ultimately, but not the easiest. 

Fantasy, is easy because even if there is deep writing there is always something there, drawing you in deeper to the story. For me, I love fantasy because it reminds me of being a child. It reminds me of that magic of believing in Santa or fairies. Fantasy reminds me of how I used to prance around in my dress up clothes playing make believe. 

Fantasy is a true escape. It's transportation to another world that may be similar to our own or so completely different that there is no hope for comparison. 

It's worth reading and incidentally, worth writing. Both books that I've written are fantasy, Six Keys is "urban" and I don't know what to call Compis. It's not high fantasy -no elves or wizards. 

I digress. My point is, read fantasy! Don't be a snob! :) 

Soon to Follow: A list of my favorite fantasy authors. That is an entry in itself.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Super Obsession...

Besides reading (my top obsession, I admit it without embarrassment) and writing (second obsession, closely linked with the first), I have this thing for gardening. 
Maybe it's because growing something is an easy accomplishment. I mean, really, have you ever grown a radish? Try to kill it, I dare you. It takes minimal water and all it asks for is a space. The best part is, their leaves are kind of spicy, so bugs tend to stay away from them. 
So when spring starts calling, which if you live in Cali is NOW, I start getting antsy to be out in the earth, up to my elbows in mud and weeds and seeds, soaking up the sun. (No I don't wear sunblock, yes I am aware of the impending doom of skin cancer looming over me.) 
Yesterday my kidlet and I put on our big boots and overalls and spent the morning pulling the copious amounts of weeds that are trying to keep me from planting my seeds. 
I think my son gets his passion for gardening from a simple love of dirt, because by the time we made our way to the house for lunch, he was covered from head to toe in rich earthy loam. Bless that boy. 
I saved my seeds from last year's harvest, since I bought all those cool heritage seeds that you can reuse over and over. They may cost about $3 more per package, but it pays off when harvest comes. 

Oh boy, isn't this exciting stuff. I know you were hoping I'd say that Jersey Shore or the new season of American Idol are my super obsessions. hahaha

Keeping Up Appearances

Why is it so important to us, as humans to look good -in our social circles, to our families? Why do we crave approval? What biological impulse calls us to do things that we perceive will make us look more favorable to others? 

It's hard to make the right choice if you only take the views of others into account. You have to think about yourself, what your gut is telling you and work off of that, too. 

Example: When I revise I get a lot of different, varied feedback. When I wrote Six Keys, it was everything from "You need more Paul" to "you need more stuff with Sibilant as a palm reader". Well, okay. I considered all of it. I want to please my readers. So after some major consideration, I added more Paul. 

It was hard to know what would be good for the story, versus what was a personal preference. 

Man, is my life like that. It's worse if you're pregnant. Nice, well-meaning people coming up to you and asking many things that are none of their business. 

"Who is your doctor?" "Are you having an epidural?" "Are you going to breastfeed?" 

There is no good answer to these questions!!! If I say yes to epidural, I'm a horrible mother who wants to drug up my baby. If I say no to epidural, I'm a crazy hippy woman who enjoys lording her strength over regular human women. 

If I say yes to breastfeed, the question then becomes how long. It seems like 6 mths to a year is optimal, but if you nurse longer than 2 years, you are a crazy person who plans on nursing her baby through high school! 

To my mind, I always wonder... "Why can't we all just get along???"

Revising My Life

I've been thinking a lot about second chances at this point in my life, because of this, my second pregnancy. I think about how I did things the first time around and how I did things the second time around and I think..."What do I want to do differently this time?" 

Thankfully, I think most of the things I want to repeat. Most of the decisions I made as a pregnant woman, nursing mother, and now as the mother of a toddler, I'm happy with. 

But I am human. There are things I wish I did differently. And it has me thinking about my life. 

We don't get a lot of second tries or do overs. But tomorrow I start revising Compis and so I can't help thinking about Six Keys. 

I love Six Keys. I think it's a great story (I'm biased, please forgive me.) Is there anything I would change? 

Well, I've been thinking, maybe that it's the process I've been having trouble with. 
1) have an idea -never a problem for a scatterbrained dreamer with her head constantly in the clouds and not on the 2 year old saying, "Mama, watch this!" 
2) Write out an outline and cram a notebook full of ideas until... 
3) Write out the first draft. For Six Keys it took years. This time around it took about 2 mths. Sure, I'm no Amanda Hocking. I have a full time job -running after my kidlet. 2 mths was pretty fast for me. 
5)Print out a proof. 
6)Pass it around to friends and family. 
7)Take Feedback. 
8)Revise again. 
9)Revise again. 
10)Pass around to a few people who are English freaks and like to nitpick (thanks, Mom!) 
11)Revise again. 

Is this how I want to do things this time around? I'm in the process of trying to figure it out. Thank goodness I have the opportunity to do so.