Friday, August 31, 2012

Fun Facts about September

I usually post on Mondays, but since next week is Labor Day, I decided to post today. I have an awesome Author Spotlight for you all on Tuesday, so I couldn't very well wait too long to do a post on September. I wouldn't want you all to miss out on some fun holidays!

Mums Stock Photos

September, the ninth month of the year, is one of four months that contain 30 days. September begins on the same day of the week as December, and no other month ends on the same day as September. 

In Latin, septem means 'seven.' September was the seventh month of the Roman calendar until 46 BC, when  the first month of the year was changed from March to January. 

September starts the academic year in many countries in the Northern Hemisphere, but I know a few states in the US that start in August. 

American Football starts the collegiate and professional seasons in September. (Go Steelers!)

Those born in early to mid-September are under the sign of Virgo, and those born in the later part of the month are born under Libra. 

September's birthstone is the sapphire, and the birth flowers are the forget-me-not, morning glory, and aster.

National Month for:

Better Breakfast
Emergency Care
Sight Saving
Women of Achievement
International Square Dance
Cable TV
Classical Music

September is also 'Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month.'

Famous Author Birthdates:

September 1, 1875--Edgar Rice Burroughs
September 2, 1820--Lucretia Hale
September 13, 1916--Roald Dahl
September 15, 1789--James Fenimore Cooper
                                  Tomie DePaola
September 21, 1866--HG Wells
September 29, 1923--Stan Berenstain

Bizarre Holidays: (There are so many this month, but these were some of my favorites.)

2nd--National Beheading Day (Thankfully, we don't celebrate this one.)
3rd--Skyscraper Day
        Labor Day in the US
5th--Choose Pizza Day
6th--Read a Book Day
        Fight Procrastination Day
7th--Neither Rain or Snow Day (We'll see, won't we?)
9th--Teddy Bear Day
        Grandparents Day (I'll be celebrating this year!)
10th--Sewing Machine Day
          Swap Ideas Day
11th--911 Remembrance Day
12th--Chocolate Milkshake Day
          Video Game Day
13th--Positive Thinking Day
14th--The day Francis Scott Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner
          Cream-filled Donut Day
16th--Stay away from Seattle Day
          Collect Rocks Day
          Step Family Day
          Women's Friendship Day
18th--Play-doh Day
19th--Talk Like a Pirate Day (Aaargh, Mateys!)
22nd--Hobbit Day
          Dear Diary Day
          Elephant Appreciation
23rd--Checkers Day
          Dogs in Politics Day
24th--Festival of Latest Novelties (this sounds like fun!)
25th--Comic Book Day
26th--Pancake Day
          Good Neighbor Day (Be a good neighbor and make pancakes for the lady next door.)
28th--Ask a Stupid Question Day
29th--Poisoned Blackberries Day (!)
30th--Mud Pack Day

There you have it. Lots of stuff going on this month!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and don't forget to stop by on Tuesday to view this month's Author Spotlight!

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Stolen Time

(Sundial in Hampton Court Garden, UK)

I swore I wouldn't do the conference this year--I didn't have time! But at the last minute, I posted my work, The Clover Key. For two days, I obsessed over the con--stalking agents, entering events, reading and critiquing other writer's work, all while pretending to work at the shop.I received only a few, but nonetheless great, comments that I'll put to good use when I revise again. I even met another writer from Madrid whose work-in-progress is patiently waiting in my e-mail inbox for a critique.

After putting everything on hold to write a synopsis, craft a query, and doing some last minute revisions, I felt a little deflated. Not everyone loved my work, and none of the Ninja Agents that attended asked for a partial. They didn't even make any comments! I didn't win a professional critique or even a door prize, but my skin is another layer thicker. That should help, right?

WriteOnCon is over, but there are still things going on over there. All of the events are archived, so if you sign up, you can read interviews by authors and agents.

Do you know what else helps? Having my daughter Amanda come home for 10 days in between semesters. It was a spontaneous visit and those kinds of visits are always fun. She was ecstatic when she got to finally meet and hold her new nephew Caleb Robert. I think she enjoyed her visit--we did some shopping for baby clothes, bedding for her new mattress in her first-ever apartment, school clothes, and of course, school supplies. She got to see one of her best friends, and also got some pampering from Mom and Grandma.
(Amanda and I)
Then, last week, Amanda, my mother, my sister, and I took a road trip down to Virginia to see my brother and sister-in-law's new home and to meet their first child--my niece Jane Alexandra! We spoke in high sing-songy voices and coohed and aahed for a few days.
(Jane Alexandra, Amanda, and I)
On Friday, I brought Amanda back to the airport and cried while she went toward security. Once she was out of view, I dashed home to prepare for the next day. On Saturday, John and I invited his two sisters and his two Buchanan (yup, just like the Buchanans in my YA novel!) cousins, along with their significant others, for a get-together at our home.

Now, it's Sunday afternoon. Piles of laundry and mountains of mail stare at me while I write this post. It will all get done eventually. I'm exhausted. I crammed so much into the last 10 days.  I drove over 1000 miles, across 4 states. I spent too much money on babies, my daughter, and food. I got zero writing accomplished and my e-mail inbox has grown to over 800 messages. I just know there's a ton of paperwork waiting for me at the shop.

The past 10 days wasn't always fun. Amanda's flight to New Jersey was delayed. Again. We hit so much traffic on the way to Virginia that a 5 hour trip turned into 8 hours. I slept on sofas and air mattresses and spent way too much time in the driver's seat of our Suburban. When we returned to New Jersey, Amanda's iPhone was stolen which prompted a trip to the Bayonne Police Department. Stress and lack of restful sleep caused frayed nerves and snippy attitudes.

But I also received and gave lots of hugs. I sat around the table with both families, eating big meals and exchanging stories. I laughed almost to the point of crying. I met new people and snuggled with babies. All of those memories, ALL of them will last a lifetime.

I always complain that I never have enough time, but last week, I made time--I snatched it from thin air, and there were a few moments when I stopped it in it's tracks. No, there's never enough time to do everything we want to do, but time with family is so precious, sometimes you just have to steal it.

We've all stolen time. What did you do with yours?

Friday, August 10, 2012

FREE Kid's Literature Writing Conference!

That's right, I said FREE!!! You can pitch your novel, have an agent read your query, and have peers critique your work, all for FREE while sitting at home or in your office.

WriteOnCon is an online writing conference for Children's literature writers that is taking place this coming Tuesday, August 14th and Wednesday, August 15th. There will be workshops, interviews, live events, and agent panels.And Ninja Agents will be lurking around and reading queries! Who knows, your query may spark an agent's interest. They just may ask for a sample!

Now, I know this doesn't give you much time, but if you write novels for YA or MG, or picture books, you should register and try to get your work posted. Even if you don't have a completed manuscript, there are so many awesome forums to use. You can get a critique, critique others, learn from published authors and learn what agents are looking for. At this price, you can't go wrong!

Visit WriteOnCon NOW and browse. Read their Full Schedule. Register and learn. Find and friend me (denise616) I'll see you there!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Idea of a Perfect Day

By the lake--Looking A Lake

Under the shade of a willow tree--Willow Tree

Reading a book--Reading An Old Book

Or writing a story--Practice Makes Perfect

Time is irrelevant.--Time Network

What would your perfect day be like?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Spreading The News--Another Contest...

I received an e-mail this morning from The First Line Literary Journal. They are running a contest and I just had to pass it along to all my wonderful followers. Here you go:

The First Line First Line Contest
To celebrate our 15th year, we’re giving you a chance to inspire the world. Send us your best (original and unpublished) starter sentences, and we’ll pick four to use for next year’s first lines.
You have until August 31st to submit. The winners will receive $50 and five copies of the issue that was inspired by your first line.
The rules:
1. Sentences must be your ORIGINAL, previously unpublished creations.
2. You may submit up to two (2) sentences for consideration.
3. Send entries in the body of an email to: Do not send attachments.
4. Include your email or mailing address for notification.
5. All entries must be received by 6 p.m. (EST) on August 31, 2012.

Oh yeah, there’s NO entry fee.

Good luck!