Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Catching Up

It's been a long time since I've done a post, so let's catch up! Where in the world have I been and what have I been up to?

One reason I've been online less is that at the beginning of April I woke up with pain from my upper back to my hand that was so bad, the only comfortable position I could find was flat on my back with my arm raised. Not super-conducive to productivity. I'd had similar pain in the fall, but it came on more gradually then. Each time, it's happened after extended periods of writing, like if I'm really trying to get a project done. Which backfires, of course, if I'm then sidelined for weeks at a time with the nerd's version of a sports injury.

Thankfully it's gotten better, a little at a time, with rest, muscle relaxers, massage therapy, stretching, and seeing the chiropractor more often than my family. I have to remember now when I'm writing to take breaks more often, and it helps a lot to keep the computer at eye level. I think the worst thing I did was sit on the couch while looking down at the laptop for hours on end. So now I elevate it with a lap desk, and for times I'm working at my actual desk, I got this fancypants chair that has adjustable everything and costs a lot less than other ergonomic chairs. Also I'm using the dictation feature on the iPhone and the laptop when I can, especially for composing emails and texting. I'd love to be able to use it for drafting a story, but it's hard for me to dictate a story instead of typing or writing it by hand. I hope to get used to it with some practice so I can use it more often and give the arm a rest.

But the good news is I've finally finished drafting the next midgrade novel! It needs revising before it's editor-ready, but it feels great to have a good draft from beginning to end.

On to more happy news...

This little girl now lives at my house.

Not sure about these new people yet, but they seem nice

Her name is Holly and she's from Houston Cocker Spaniel Rescue. We took her in to foster her at first, but last time we said we'd "foster" a dog we kept her for the rest of her life, so I was pretty sure she was here to stay.

I mean, just look how she sleeps.

I even finalized the adoption after she chewed my MacBook cord in two. I'd say that's love.

She's very sweet, but quite the escape artist, so we do have to keep an eye on her. She got from our fenced-in back yard to the neighbors', squeezes through the cat door to get to the garage, and got from the enclosed play yard at doggie day care into the staff office. What could possibly be of interest in the office? I would love to know.

And in CHAINED news, I have some shiny new awards! The book received a South Asia Book Award honor, and the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for the Texas/Oklahoma region. I'm so honored about the recognition and to be in such amazing company with the other recipients.

Also, I have a new curriculum guide! Something I'd always thought I would get around to doing myself, but never did, so I decided to get the fabulous Debbie Gonzales to make one for me, and I'm so happy with the results.

Finally, I did some traveling recently, to the Kindling Words West retreat in Taos, New Mexico. It's a magical place where authors get a week to just focus on their work and talk to other authors about books and such. (And maybe a little shopping). We did have short workshops in the mornings, led by the awesome Nikki Grimes, but had the rest of the days to ourselves. Nikki's workshops were about poetry, which I've never really ventured into, but I know that what we learned from her will help my novel writing. I'd like to write a separate post about some of what I learned, so I'll save more of that for later this week.

Holly was really happy to see me when I got back, but she might have been happier about this bone o' bacon I gave her.

The bacon smile. I think a lot of us can relate.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Robin! She is adorable, and quite the snuggler too.

  2. I'd love to hear more about Nikki Grimes and poetry.

    1. Yes, she was great! I plan on posting about found poems tomorrow, probably my favorite lesson from her.

  3. You went to Taos! I love Taos! It is my 4th favorite place in the entire world. :) I'm so glad you had fun.

    Congratulations on the awards, and for the adorable new member of your family.

    1. Yes, Taos is gorgeous! That was my first time there and we did have a great time.

      Thanks, Jess!

  4. The bacon smile. :) Congrats on the awards and the retreat!

    1. Thank you, Shelli! Go to a Kindling Words retreat if at all possible. I hope to go again next year.

  5. What an achievement to draft despite the pain. pat-on-the-back. And congratulations for all the rest of the also-spectacular happenings... WOOF!

    1. Thank you, Mirka! Thankful for all there is to celebrate.