Sunday, August 31, 2008

Too Funny Not to Share...(not for those with a weak stomach)

My seven year old daughter and I were playing "Would you rather...", in which we ask each other silly questions like: "Would you rather go without food for a whole day or drink sour milk?", and then the other person has to choose one of the options.

So my daughter asks me, "Would you rather shoot a bird or eat dog poop?"

I have to add that my daughter is a HUGE animal lover, so to her the answer was simple. Dog poop.

Me, not so much. While I can honestly say that the killing a bird option is pretty horrific, I have to admit that eating dog poop is just...unacceptable.

Although in hindsight, I probably should have lied.

My daughter was so upset when I gave her my answer that she nearly cried. And then she got mad. Really mad. She tried to clarify her question several times, making it clear that she meant that by shooting the bird I would be killing it (as if I hadn't already considered this point). Unfortunately, I didn't change my answer.

As a result, she drew some (lovely) pictures of me:



(Disclaimer: No actual birds were harmed in the drawing of this picture)


The second one was even funnier than the first. This is me eating a big pile of elephant poop (her version of revenge):

(Yes, that's me on my hands and knees. I love the angry drawing!)

I know there are some of you out there who think it's terrible that I found this humorous, but I couldn't help it. It cracked me up!

But next time, I think I'll save the bird.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chaos Reigns

After five action-packed days, we dropped our two eleven year old nieces (who were visiting from Portland) off yesterday. The house is a mess, our schedules were off, and we ate way too much junk food. So it was the best kind of chaos, like a last minute party before heading back to school next week! One of the girls, while she was asking me about my book, tells me: "I want to be in your book. I want to be a dead girl."

You gotta love a girl with a sense of adventure, right? So it looks like I'll be renaming one of the characters (or rather, victims).

Also, we got the chance to meet our daughter's new 2nd grade teacher for the coming school year. I think she may actually be fourteen years old. Seriously. Sixteen tops. But young is good...lots of energy, new ideas, hasn't had her spirit broken by unruly children. Hopefully my girl won't be the one to crush her. Fingers crossed!

So now that our nieces are gone, it's back to the grindstone. This morning I've gotten as far as opening the Word document for the project I've been working on, and then ignoring it completely to blog. I'm not sure if that considered multi-tasking or procrastination. Or maybe just a touch of ADD (is that catchy?).

Whatever it is, I've got it bad.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Website is Live, People!

I'm very excited to say that the website is now available at www.kimberlyderting.com. The designer did an AMAZING job capturing exactly what I wanted it to be. It's the perfect amount of spooky! We're still working on all the content, and for some reason the links section has been challenging for me...trying to decide how much, or how little, to include.

I feel so...so...virtual!!!

It's Almost Back-to-School Time

As much as I hate to admit it, this year I'm really looking forward to the kids heading back to school. I should say that I'm just concerned for their education and socialization, but really I'm looking forward to the peace and quiet. It'll be nice to write without having to filter out arguments, TV, and interruptions all day long. Not that I mind the occassional "there's nothing to do" or "he's looking at me", but there's a time and place for it...preferably not here, and not ever! In less than two weeks they'll be the teachers' problems. Yeah, public schools!!!

I'm actually really excited for my son, who starts high school this year. I loved high school...I just hope he likes it for different reasons than I did (namely friends, boys, and parties). He can have the friends. That's it.

In other (exciting) news, we got a sneak peak of the new website this week...AND I LOVE IT! I can't wait to get it online. I'm also (barely) learning to navigate the MySpace thing and have even gotten a couple of new friends online. PJ Hoover was my first friend request that wasn't one of my kids. We share the same agent AND she has her first book coming out this fall. How cool is that?

Anyway, time for a coffee refill, my brain is feeling muddled and slow this morning. Maybe it's just me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Survived the Photo Shoot



Fortunately, my friend was patient, because besides being completely un-photogenic, I also feel stiff and awkward in front of the lens. She offered me wine, but I was afraid that might lead to...Come on, just one more button...

Anyway, she sent over two of the photos for me to check out, and (surprise!) I actually liked them. A lot. At least, I did once I got past the part where I critically picked myself apart.

She did a great job and I can't wait to see the rest!!!

I also began work on my MySpace page yesterday...with the help of my kids of course. Somehow they managed to work together without arguing, which makes me more than a little nervous. It's like they're up to something...

I'll be watching them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Working on my Website

This has been a daunting task, and one that I've railed against every step of the way. My husband encouraged (ie. pushed) me into getting on this long before I felt like I was ready, or that it was even necessary. I tend to be one of those people who embraces technology somewhat reluctantly (I didn't learn to text until I realized that it was the only way to communicate by cell phone with my kids). I'm not sure it's so much the technology as it is that I'm not a big fan of change. Kind of a creature of habit here.

Anyway, we hired a great web designer, and I spent HOURS pouring through images at gettyimages.com, itstockphoto.com, and literally hundreds of web sites and templates to decide what I like and what I don't. The what I don't like was easy. Nothing pink, girlie, flowery...nothing that says romance writer (not that there's anything wrong with that). What I want is dark, creepy, possibly foresty (if that's even a word)...something that conveys the sense of my YA paranormal thriller. Tough to capture in just an image, but I think we've finally done it! I sent the info over to the designer, along with the tabs I want, some content, and a bio that was much harder to write than I thought it would (or should) have been. And tonight a photog friend of mine is taking some pics for said BIO page...that should be fun, assuming she's providing wine/booze/jello shots!

So, what's next?

You guessed it! A foray into the teen world of MySpace. Something I've more than railed against up until now, mostly because as an adult woman with three kids it makes me feel more creepy-stalkery than hip. (For those of you under thirty, "hip" means cool). Yet another reason I should not be allowed to grace the pages of MySpace.

Maybe I should have said "groovy".

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Meeting Laura Rennert

So, as I was saying before...there we were, waiting for our drinks at Starbucks, and it's pretty much now or never. If I wait, then I'll be kicking myself all day for not just doing it. It's go-time!

I turn to her and introduce myself.

She is completely polite, shaking my hand as I introduce myself, with absolutely no recognition of who I am as she says hello. (I feel like I'm sliding my manuscript beneath the bathroom stall to her. She probably feels the same way.) And then she hears my name...really hears it. As she realizes that I'm one of her clients, she repeats her hello again, but in a completely different (and probably relieved) way. She's enthusiastic to meet me and she talks about my project, making me feel better about infringing on her personal space. It was a great meeting, and the perfect ice breaker before the big agent-client soiree that night.

WHEW!

Besides that fantastic first meeting with my agent, my first class was also great. It was "Up Close at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers" by editor Nancy Conescu.

She was a great speaker, but the part that really got me, was when she talked about the Acquistions process, something I knew very little about.

So here it is in a nutshell from Nancy Conescu:

An editor receives your manuscript and loves it (at least that's what we hope happens). She then takes your manuscript to the editorial meeting, which happens once a week and has 3-5 fellow editors read it. If they all feel the same way as she does, then they have the executive editor/editorial director/publisher read it. If it passes that litmus test, then it goes on to the Acquisitions Board, a meeting that happens generally once a month.

A proposal is prepared in advance for everyone who will attend that meeting, which includes people from finance and budget, marketing, publicity, publishers, etc...basically about 20 (yes, T-W-E-N-T-Y) people involved in the decision making process. Everyone has to be behind the project for them to take it on. If they love it, then they decide whether or not an offer will be made.

I was a little overwhelmed. I'm amazed that anything ever makes it through this process at all.

At the party that night, I had a chance to meet Laura's other clients (who were all fantastic!), including Jay Asher, one-third of the Disco Mermaids, who wrote Thirteen Reasons Why.

Sidenote: I picked up his book this week for vacation, and absolutely LOVE it!!!

Another third of their Terrific Trio represented by Laura, Eve Porinchak (hopefully I got that spelling right), was a lot of fun to hang out with. I wish I could have been there Saturday night to see their costumes!

Friday, August 8, 2008

BACK FROM THE SCBWI IN LA...

And let me start by saying that the conference was nearly nearly ruined by a poorly placed can of hairspray (thanks to our friendly neighborhood airport security screeners). Okay, so accidentally putting my (not so small) can of hairspray in my carry-on was my mistake, but come on...have any commercial airliners actually been taken down by a can of ultra-hold hairspray? Forget that it's a discontinued brand that I had to outbid a little old lady in Topeka, Kansas for on eBay (and at the rate I've had to pay for it, it's like liquid gold in a can). Apparently it would have been okay if it was under 4 ounces, but anything over that is, what...lethal?

So, I get to LA and head to the SCBWI conference at the Hyatt Regency downtown sans hairspray (at this point I figure I'll buy some in the hotel gift shop). After all, this was my big chance to meet my agent, Laura Rennert (who I'm sure couldn't pick me out of a crowd, since we'd only met once at this point for three minutes at the Pitch Slam session at the Book Expo of America conference in May. That was when she first requested to see my manuscript). She had arranged a private cocktail get together at the hotel bar that first night for all of her clients attending the conference.

I was more than a little excited for the party. That would be my chance to make a great first impression, since I'd have plenty of time after the day's classes to get freshened up after my early (did I mention EARLY?) morning flight.

But before I registered, I decided to grab a cup of coffee at the lobby Starbucks. Haggard and exhausted, I waited in line and eavesdropped on the conversation starting up in front of me. A man in the line introduced himself to the woman directly in front of me. As she starts talking, I think, is this her? Is this my agent?

Of course it was.

Well, crap. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen. This wasn't supposed to be my great first impression. I decided, almost immediately, not to say anything to her. I'm going to wait until I can check in to my room, get a bite to eat...and hopefully, buy some hairspray.

Unfortunately, she ends up having to wait for the Starbucks people to refill the half-and-half for her drinks while I'm waiting for my latte to arrive. We were suddenly side by side. I turned to her and...

(Check back later to see how this plays out)