Friday, March 11, 2011

Awards and Aardvarks

A writer friend just nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Isn't that great?  And what a nice compliment!  Thank you, Allyn Stotz.  Please check out her blog at for all kinds of neat stuff.

The award carries with it some rules, which are:
1.  Accept the award and post it on your blog with the name of the person who nominated you, and give their link.
2.  Pass the award on to 15 others you have discovered recently.
3.  Notify the bloggers that they have been selected for this award.

So here are my nominees:

Do you know what an aardvark is?  Seriously.  You probably know that he eats ants and termites.  You probably know he lives in South Africa.  But did you know that an aardvark is a living fossil, because he is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata, which was a prehistoric animal species?  Did you know that he has no known relatives, or that there is no other animal even close to him, other than possibly the very rare elephant shrew?

Hmm, you are saying.  So what does an aardvark have to do with writing?  Well, think about if for a moment.  There are two ways to look at an aardcvark from a writer's point of view.  The first is that in many ways, an aardvark is an obscure creature:  aren't there times when we, as writers, feel very obscure?  We look at some of the "big" names in children't literature...Stephanie Meyer, JK Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson, Ellen Hopkins...and we wonder if we will ever be on equal footing with them, or will we be forever obscure in our own little corner of the writing world?  I don't know about you, but there are many times when I feel very obscure, very much out of the mainstream of writing and publishing, and wonder if I will ever wallk through that portal that separates those who are known in the writing world and those who are not.

The other way to look at the aardvark is that he is an unique animal.  Unique in appearance, in method of operation in so far as his hunting and burrowing rites are concerned, and certainly unique in that there is no other animal like him.  So...are we not also unique in our writing?  In what we write, how we approach writing, the twist we put on our stories, the sometimes strange ideas we come up with, which,  when put on the printed page, turn into marvelous works of literary art?   Is it not to our advantage to consider ourselves as kin to the unique aardvark, who has no equal in the animal universe?

Hmm...well, as you can see, I'm, melancholy,  or maybe...just off the wall in my introspection this morning.  Maybe it's the tsunami that is threatening to destroy our beautiful Central Coast.

Until next time,
Thats a wrap.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Miscellany

Today is Monday, time for miscellany, since my thoughts today are not focused on any one thing. Indeed, they're really not focused at all!

First off is the fact that I've just received my second novel diploma from the Institute of Children's Literature, which means that my historical novel is finished.  Along with that accomplishment, however, came the realization that the first five chapters of the novel needed to be condensed into two, so what was chapter six could become chapter three.  That whole thing is a long story I'm not going to get into here, but at least I was finally able to do it.

This, of course, means I have to get my posterior in gear and start sending out queries.  That brings up a question:  no matter if you're querying an agent or a publisher, you know how the submission guidelines always give you a time limit for them to respond to you?  ONLY if they're interested, that is.  But for example, a lot of the publishers say they will respond in 3 months.  How do they know that?  How do they know it's going to be 3 months, or 2 months, or 6 months?  When a query comes in, and is read by the first reader (editor, assistant editor, or who knows who), and it supposedly goes to the "real" editor, then what...if the editor gets it on the 7th of March ( today), do they put it into a pile that says "7th of June?"  On the 7th of June, do they go through the pile and pick out the ones they want to respond to, or do they do it earlier?  Later, maybe?  How do they know they are responding within the time frame they give in the guidelines?  I'd like to know the answer to that, wouldn't you?

There are days when I have so many ideas running around in my head that I can't get them all sorted out and written down.  Then there are other days when I try to think of something interesting or unique or at least different to write about, and my brain is as dry as a cotton field in mid-summer.  Do you ever have days like that?  In case you do, here are a few tidbits that you might make something out of:

1.  Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antartica, but this is the driest continent on the planet, having an annual percipitation of about 2 inches a year and an absolute humidity lower than that of the Gobi Desert.

2. The Great Pyramids of Egypt have shifted 3 miles south due to the shift in the Earth's surface over the last 4,500 years.

3. Babies are born without kneecaps. ( Did you know that??) Their knee caps are fully formed between the ages of 2 and 4 years.

4. In the 1600, thermometers were filled with brandy rather than mercury. ( People probably weren't too careful about not breaking them, either ! )

5. Emus can't walk backwards.  They are the second largest member of the flightless bird family called ratites.  They are 5 to 7 feet tall, and can run 40 mph with single strides over 9 feet.

6.  A poison arrow frog contains enough poison to kill 2,200 people.  They are indigenous to rain forests, are only about 1/2 inch in length, and have bright, distinctive colors.  ( I wonder how they figured out that one frog could kill 2,200 you suppose they had a test group ? )
              These facts are courtesy of Marni McNiff.

Did anyone watch The Apprentice last night?  That's one of the better reality shows on TV, if you can get past The Donald's hair.  But seriously, I like both him and the show.  Last night was a bummer, however, when it came to who got fired.  David Cassidy bit the dust, when it should have been Richard Hatch.  Remember him from the first season of Survivor ?  Well, he's still the same old arrogant a...well, you know.  I guess 4 years of prison didn't teach him anything.  I like the show because of the challenges they have to sure brings out the best in some, and the worst in others, but it's always interesting.

Last, but most definitely not least, I've just received the One Lovely Blog Award from a fellow writer.  How great!  Now I have to come up with a number of newly found blogs that I've read, and can provide links to.  Hmm...that's going to take some thought, but I'll do it!

Until next time,
That's a wrap.