Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

© 2006-2018 All rights reserved

My Photo
Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

2009 Resolutions, er, Suggestions

I don’t make actual New Year’s resolutions. I make a list of suggestions to myself. Here’s my list for 2009:

•Find a publisher for my Appalachian folktale, “Ferradiddledumday.” I wrote my Blue Ridge version of Rumpelstiltskin a decade ago as an oral presentation on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then children’s lit professor Tina Hanlon posted an early written version on the Ferrum College AppLit website. She will reference it in a book she’s writing about Appalachian folktales. The Surlalune Fairy Tales site mentions it (It’s the only one of many Rumpelstiltskin versions that isn’t a book!) and many teachers use it in their classrooms. Finding a publisher for “Ferradiddledumday” was one of my 2007 goals, too.

“Ferradiddledumday” already has a platform. What it needs is to be published as a book. I've been through about ten rejections in the last couple of years; I gotta keep looking for the right publisher.

Find an agent for Stuck, my 40,300-word middle-grade paranormal novel, in which an eleven-year-old girl—stuck in grief over her mother’s death—helps a ghost who’s searching for her daughter. Stuck will appeal to girls (ages 8-12) who’ve lost a parent or gained a step-parent, who’ve moved away from home and friends, who love horses, who’ve dealt with a bully, who are fascinated with ghosts and mysteries, or who’ve ever been stuck.

The above was my elevator pitch! Last July, when Chuck Sambuchino asked me about my pitch (we were riding in Claudia's Hummer at the time and were en route to a Lake Writers group), I didn't have a pitch. Now I do. I also have a copy of the 2009 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market that I'm searching.

I’ve queried agents for a couple of months and received only four rejections. Writers more experienced than I tell me at least 30 rejections is normal. I tend to query one agent at a time, too, and I’ve granted two exclusives on fulls, one right after the other. I'm still waiting to hear from the last exclusive. Maybe I should switch to the shotgun approach.

Finish my YA novel about a high school outcast who can communicate with animals. Now that I’m no longer writing “Peevish Advice’ for the Eagle, I should have more time to devote to finishing this book.

Mentor more young writers. I usually do this anyway. Maybe do more school presentations.

Get new kitchen counter tops. The old ones are so 1978. And they’re showing their age.

•Replace the deck. This is a biggie—the darn thing is 89 feet long. It’s gonna cost plenty—but not as much as if someone falls through and decides to sue.

•Replace the electric fence. Melody really leans into the woven wire now that the old electric tape that used to be across the tops is frayed and broken. One of these day’s she’s going to lean it all the way to the ground if the tape isn’t replaced.

•Stop referring to Eddie-Puss and Dylan as “the kittens.” They’re seven and eight years old now—middle-aged, as cats go. (And I refer to ten-year-old Camilla and Foxie as “old lady cats.”)

•Buy myself a replacement tombstone. The one stolen from my family cemetery on November 10, 2007, isn’t likely to come back.

•Attend the spring SCBWI meeting in Richmond. I’ve been to the past two, and they were wonderful. Because Amy T and I went last year, we started a kid-lit crit group which has been sooooo helpful.

•Take care of some health issues. Lately, I’ve been plagued with fatigue, muscle cramps, and aches. Actually, I’ve already started on this—I have a doctor’s appointment for tomorrow.

•Clean the house. At least once during 2009. My housekeeping skills are miniscule; my standards are low. Stuff piles up.

•Enter the Bulwer-Lytton contest again. Having won the “Vile Pun” division last year and the “Worst Western” division in 1996, I have a reputation to uphold. I’m currently working on a pun-filled entry with so many vague poetry references that only a select few Ph.D’s in English lit will have the ghost of a chance of understanding it.

I've wondered—when querying about my kid lit stuff, will mentioning that I'm an internationally ranked bad writer help or hurt?

•Attend the 2009 Festival of the Book in Charlottesville. It’s always wonderful!

•Read faster. I have about ten feet of books that I haven’t read. I’m a sucker for buying books, and I keep adding to the shelf space.

•Bring Maggie into the house more often. She tends to micro-manage the other dogs in the kennel. They need a break.

•Plant more stuff—forsythias, trees, herbs.

•And whatever else I think of.


Blogger CountryDew said...

That is a long list. I hope you get the health issues taken care of in particular.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

I've never been one for resolutions, so I like your title -suggestions. I just finished reading Psalm 90:12. Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Now there's something I could use. Wisdom!

9:23 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home