The dust is settling on the summer around here–both for our family and the guest house we run. “Mindy” and “Slinky” are happily ensconced in their new apartment at the University of Arkansas. The horrified kitty made the 90 minute drive in the family truck with me, and she had something to say about it the whole ride there. Book 4 in the Cats in the Mirror series has been set as “Slinky Steps Out” since the beginning because I always knew this day would come. When we arrived at the apartments, cats were watching us from several nearby windows. Could they be agents? The notes are already flowing as the story starts to write itself!
I had hoped that being away from the other cats would bolster her courage, but she is still spending significant amounts of time under the sofa and behind the washing machine. Maybe she will get more comfortable over time and once the routine of the school year gets going in a week or so.
“Leia” starts back to school on Monday, so the meetings and subbing work and life-of-fall will be rolling from then on. I’m already on the sub schedule for Wednesday afternoon. I have some author event or a wedding here nearly every weekend until the end of November, so “Slinky Steps Out” will have to wait for any serious writing until then. You can always see most of what I’m up to at my events & activities page.
My writing in August has focused on getting some projects ready for the annual contests for two groups in the area that I love: The Ozark Writer’s League (OWL) and the Ozark Creative Writer’s Conference (OCW). Both have September 1 deadlines, but I turned in all of my OWL materials at the meeting on Saturday. Doing some specific short stories for contests like this is a great writing exercise, but it also ends up providing me with material to submit to magazines and anthologies. A first place winning piece from the OCW contests last year (“In Sonya’s Steps”) has been expanded and sent to The Missouri Review. Getting published in that way is great for the “street-cred.” One contest category even got me to start working on adapting “The Brave, Frail, and Delicate Princess” into a middle grade book–like I’ve been meaning to do for nearly a year. I’ve developed it up to the 5,000 words for the contest, so that’s a start!
The OWL quarterly meeting yesterday was fantastic. A big bonus for me was that they brought in a children’s book writer, Christine Taylor-Butler, to talk twice, and she knew what she was talking about. It wasn’t necessarily that she said anything I didn’t know after decades of following kidlit and writing some myself, it was just nice to be talking about a topic so close to my heart. The second speaker was Heather Davis, author and blogger at Minivan Momma. If you check her blog out today, she has a new one about talking to us. Her books look super fun, and if they are half as full of humor as she is they are well worth the read. I had the opportunity for long chats with both Duke and Kimberly Pennell from Pen-L Publishing. Besides being interesting individuals and knowledgeable about the industry, they have “At the Corner of Magnetic and Main” in their pile. Fingers crossed. I also got to talk shop with Velda Brotherton and peek at her upcoming, very substantial novel, “Beyond The Moon.” I’ll have to block out a big chunk of time to read that one!
Speaking of reading, I just finished a good YA book called Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, by Elise Stokes. If you are looking for a clean read with just enough violence and drama to keep a tweenager happy, this is a great choice, and it is the first book in a series that looks promising. For me it was a free kindle download, and I love to grab those up to keep an eye on what’s on the market. The kindle version had some minor hard-hyphen errors (my first book versions did as well), but it’s not that big a deal. Highly Recommend.
Since any ebook involves getting my husband’s kindle away from him (which usually means he is asleep), I always have a “real” book going as well. I just finished “Wild Storm” by Richard Castle. Yes, I’m a fan of the show. I saw it on display at the Berryville Library and couldn’t resist, but it was actually a silly and fun read. There were some glaring errors to fans of the show–like adding Ryan and Javier, who he would not have met when he wrote that book–but the plot was solid and ridiculous enough to have been written by the Castle fans love. I have “Heat Wave” waiting for me on hold at the library right now. On a more realistic note, I’m also reading “The Wildwater Walking Club” by Claire Cook. Thoroughly delightful so far. You can always check out what books I have on my radar and am currently reading (and my reviews) at my Goodreads.com page.
September looms on the horizon, but I’m well prepared for my events that month. Here’s the ad I’m running in the brochure at the Cat Fancier’s Show/Event in Joplin, Missouri on the 20th-21st.
If you are in the area, come check out the show. I’ve been to dog agility events and shows before, but never one for cats. How do they possibly get them all to behave??!! “Daddy” has to stay here to keep things on task at the guest house, but “Leia” will join me. I think she’s wondering about the cat control as much as I am. I’ve been told I have to go where the cat fans are, so we shall see if they are book fans as well.
I hope each of you have a wonderful end to your summer. What do you miss the most when the leaves start changing? With so many years as a teacher, the school schedule has pretty much run every year of my life–with many more ahead.
And, unofficially, you can get “Miss Fatty Cat’s Revenge” any time you want. Sshhh. The official launch will be on her birthday, September 12, but ebook, paperback, and signed copies are already flowing freely (see the shopping cart on the right to get signed copies directly from me). Great reviews so far! Here’s one that just posted from the Styling Librarian. 5 stars. No writer can ask for more.