Let’s talk about the weather

My favorite weather day of the year is coming. You all know the one. It’s the day when the sun shines brightly without giving off oppressive heat, and instead of the thick atmosphere of summer, the air is cool and zesty against your skin. It’s the day we know that fall is near.

For most people, that day happens in the next couple of weeks. In Texas, we’re lucky if it’s before Halloween.

Either way, it’s coming.

A beautiful thing happens on that day: People are happy. It’s because they didn’t break into a sweat between their car and the office door. They can open the windows at home and let fresh air in.

For me, happiness is also because I know spiced beverages will soon be served in coffee houses, and I can dig my cute boots out from under my pile of sandals. I’ll let myself think ahead to weekend mornings curled up with a book and mug of hot tea. My favorite pair of fuzzy socks will move to the front of my drawer; my leather jackets to the front of my closet. I’ll start thinking of things to bake so that my apartment always smells like cinnamon.

It’s a wonderful day. By the end of summer, everyone is ready for it.

Including literary agents.

I follow a bunch of agents, editors and publishers on Twitter, and more than once in the past few weeks I’ve seen many a gripe about summer. They’re ready for it to be over. One said she’s in such a foul mood about summer that she feels herself being impatient and quick to dismiss submissions.

I totally understand. And if this is true for most agents, I have excellent timing.

“There With You” is headed into final edits (on my part). By the time I’ve finished that, researched proper agents and drafted query letters, it’ll be late October, at the earliest. In fact, I’m giving myself a Halloween deadline to do all of those things. It’s perfect — I’ll be in a great mood because the Texas fall will be looming; they’ll be in great moods and want to cozy up to a new author’s manuscript.

Fall has always been my favorite season. I think this one is going to be the best yet. 🙂

May in Review

Well, y’all, I did it. My second draft readers – Dianna, Christiane and Jenni – all have their copies of “There With You” (my working title, in case you missed the last post) and are reading away. I’m trying really hard to not freak out about this, but the questions “What if it sucks?” and “What if everyone makes fun of me?” were groaned by me in a moment of panic. The answers are very simple: “I will fix it” and “Screw them, they didn’t write a book.” 😉 Still, it’s a scary/exciting thing.

Here’s what else happened in May:

Books

BBCE selected “The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett for May. It’s a short, funny novella. Queen Elizabeth’s dogs get loose and run into a mobile library. When the Queen goes to get them, she feels obligated to check out a book. Suddenly she finds herself obsessed with reading and devours every book she can get her hands on. Her new passion begins to have an effect on the decisions she makes, the way she interacts with people and even allows her to give herself a chance at a more creative life – something she’d never been allowed before.

I checked out “Sailing Alone Around the Room” by Billy Collins from the library at Dianna’s suggestion. Collins wrote the “Forgetfulness” poem that I love so much. The thing about poetry, though, is that for me it’s a leisurely read. There’s nothing super compelling about it to keep me turning the pages. I love it, but I need to be able to put it down and then pick it back up whenever I feel like it. Long story short, I only read about half of this before it was due back at the library.

My friend Jessica loaned me “The Old Maid: The ‘Fifties” by Edith Wharton, which was another quick read. It’s a novella that was originally published as a magazine series in the 1920s. The story centers around two cousins who are part of New York City high society in the 1870s. Delia marries into the proper family, has children and carries on the traditions of her upbringing. Her cousin Charlotte has a child outside of marriage that lives in an orphanage under Charlotte’s care until Charlotte confesses to Delia, who agrees to bring up the girl, Tina, as one of her own. So everyone lives together under one roof, but Tina doesn’t know her true parentage and considers Delia her mother and Charlotte her old maid aunt. It’s interesting to see the dynamic play out, which each woman feeling she has claim as Tina’s parent and feeling jealous of the other one’s role. Especially since Charlotte’s baby daddy is Delia’s first love whom she was not allowed to marry. DRAMA.

Movies

The San Antonio Botanical Garden hosted Slab Cinema‘s free outdoor movie screening, Starlight Movies in the Garden, at the beginning of the month. As soon as I heard the movie was “Singin’ in the Rain,” I was so there. God, I love that movie. I hadn’t watched it in ages and it made me so happy to see it again (I had to stop myself from quoting lines and singing along) and in such a cool setting! The series continues in the fall with “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Roman Holiday.” There and there!

Who wouldn’t want to see movies like this? Gorgeous.

Like everyone else on the planet, I saw “The Avengers.” Twice, actually. And I’d go a third time (but only during the cheap times) because it was very fun. And holy cow, is there a lot of man candy on that screen!

Internet Highlights

I already posted about it, but here it is again: My BFF Dianna’s site. She’s currently making a series of videos where she portrays Johanna Mason from the second and third Hunger Games books. Very cool stuff.

The Passion Series. A collection of short films, each about a different person and his/her creative passion. Also very cool stuff.

Lori Portka’s Spreading Happiness Through Art. Site and blog by a woman who became an artist in her 30s (after reading “The Artist’s Way” 🙂 ) and reinvented her life.

Flavorwire’s awesome bookshelf slideshow. I want!

Shakespearean insults. Now that’s how you class up an argument (and confuse the hell out of your opponent.)

Amazon’s list of Top 10 Well-Read Cities in the US of A, by way of Huffington Post Books. Not one of them is from TX, either. 😦 Start reading, y’all!

BookRiot’s flowchart on Dan Brown’s writing process. Hilarious. I would love to see one for Nicholas Sparks.

Jacqueline Novogratz’s advice to graduates. Beautiful.

Gretchen Rubin (of The Happiness Project) shares 7 tips on sparking creativity.

A list of the 10 best literary bars in Manhattan. Sam, Dianna… this is what we’re doing when I come visit.

Coming up in June

While my readers are plugging away, I’m going to do some research on writing conferences where I could get some face time with agents or editors. There’s one in Austin at the end of June that would be kind of perfect, except it’s crazy expensive since I missed the early bird deadline (even doing the one-day YA-focused thing would be like $400. Ouch.) I’m also going to see what contests are going on right now. I probably have some short stories or poems in me that are worth submitting. Who knows, I might just earn some extra cash and a chance at publication.