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Want to Get Lucky?

Writer’s Digest is at it again, but this time they’re accepting entries for YA fiction of any genre. So, spiff up those MS, write a logline, and submit your own entry by April 9th. I know I am.

Click below for more details!

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/15th-free-dear-lucky-agent-contest-young-adult-fiction

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By Matteo Paciotti (Flickr: [52 Weeks • 6/52 Sweet.]) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Matteo Paciotti (Flickr: [52 Weeks • 6/52 Sweet.]) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Some people stick their hands down their pants to… well… scratch their butts. To put it nicely.

Be advised that no one wants you to do that when you have poop in your pants.

No one.

And don’t continue to eat a graham cracker with the tainted hand.

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In Defense

The writing world is full of haters.

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Author: Mohylek 16:38, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

Before I became serious about turning my writing into publishable works, I was one of many armchair critics. As I sat behind my glowing computer screen, writing reviews on Facebook and Goodreads (that – honestly – no one besides my two best friends would really ever read), I found it easy to dismiss a story as trite, pretentious, boring, vapid, or amateurish. The words would vomit into a hastily written post that would reiterate my own selfish belief that the consumer was the ultimate judge of literature.

And while I still believe that the reader is a key component to the complex relationships between author, agent, editor, publisher, and fan, I believe we all need to take a deep breath, step back, and learn when to shut up. Let’s reevaluate ourselves for a moment.

 1. Have you ever written a novel?

If no, shut up.

2. Have you ever edited your finished novel?

If no, shut up.

3. Have you ever rewritten entire sections of your novel?

If no, shut up.

4. Have you ever shared your novel with a group of friends?

If no, shut up.

5. Have you ever written a query letter?

If no, shut up.

6. Have you ever written a synopsis?

If no, shut up.

7. Have you had an agent invite you to be a client?

If no, shut up.

8. Has your agent managed to sign your book to a major publisher?

If no, shut up.

9. Has your novel survived the editing process and made it to the press?

If no, shut up.

10. Have you received an advance for your book series–an advance in the realm of $750,000?

If no, shut up.

11. Has your series appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list for 142 weeks? How about for even one week?

If no, shut up.

12. Have you signed a movie deal for your novels?

If no, shut up.

13. Have those movies based on your books made millions of dollars?

If no, shut up.

14. Is your estimated worth around $125 million?

If no, shut up.

 

Stephenie Meyer is constantly bashed on, ripped apart, and mocked for her success. And I have to admit that I have ridiculed her work from time to time, but I sometimes have to get my own reality check. I can’t answer yes to very many of those questions, but Mrs. Meyer can say yes to every single one.

Stephen King and other professional writers can critique all they wants – how many of the previous questions could those individuals answer with a resounding, “Yes”?

And before anyone jumps on me for making this about money and notoriety, it’s not. That’s not why most writers write. But let’s be honest. All of the money and notoriety helps. And it’s oftentimes how authors are judged.

Do I write despite not being able to answer yes to very many of those questions? Absolutely.

Do I still critique other writers’ works? Yes.

But I take those few seconds to take a breath, think of the person behind the words, and keep my reactions in perspective. There is no use adding more hate to the writing world. It’s a cutthroat enough industry as it is.

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I Don’t Think You Understand the Gravity of this… Kaleidoscope

I didn’t even have to finish the preview for Gravity to think about one of my favorite Ray Bradbury stories, “Kaleidoscope.” Yes, I’m probably not the first one to comment on the similarity of concepts, but let me be the first to say that I prefer Bradbury’s short story over this drawn-out movie.

Sure, there was some good acting from Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, but the themes, to me, were similar to the story – and even the imagery was similar.

Here’s a list of features…

– space accident

– lots of spinning out and away – like the pieces in a KALEIDOSCOPE

– humans communicating via their headsets

– facing inevitable death

– humans expressing the various stages of grieving (Kubler-Ross Theory) – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance

– main character plummeting back to earth

– images of “shooting stars” in the sky (from the earth perspective)

Now here is your assignment. Go read the story.

http://www.scaryforkids.com/kaleidoscope-by-ray-bradbury/

 

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Writing Fairies and Hobgoblins

Sometimes when I go back months later and read my stories I’m surprised by what I find.

At some moments I think,

“Good night. That’s some great material. Did someone break into my house and write a chapter to my novel when I wasn’t looking?”

And yet other times I think,

“Good night. That’s some crappy material. Did someone break into my house and write a chapter to my novel when I wasn’t looking?”

Sometimes the muse is a beautiful, sparkling fairy, and sometimes it’s a hairy, three-toed hobgoblin.

Illustration from book The Goblins’ Christmas by Elizabeth Anderson.

English: Goblin 19th illustration

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Toddler Troubles and Treasures #2: Butting the Table

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Toddler Trouble:

Even if my fat butt could fit, I don’t think I would push myself backwards while sitting in my walker. I would also see the table looming overhead before the stand up, bonk, and cry. But I’m not a fearless toddler. 

C.G. Thomas

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Toddler Troubles and Treasures #1: Tiny Bubbles… and Butt Cheeks.

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Toddler Treasure:

After I’m done taking a long, relaxing bubble bath, why isn’t it acceptable for me to run around the house naked and cackle like a mad-woman while everyone chases me across the family room and behind the couches?

Also, I don’t think anyone would laugh when I left a pee puddle on the linoleum.

– C.G. Thomas 

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The elusive albino m&m… has been spotted.

The elusive albino m&m... has been spotted.

I found her lost, surrounded by colors of the rainbow + dirt; the albino m&m and I are long-lost twins of sweetness and bumpy, pale skin.

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December 22, 2013 · 8:26 pm

Good Times & The First Snowfall

When I am not writing, I am a high school Language Arts teacher in Kuna, Idaho. It is a job that requires balance–and it is worth it every single day (even when I grumble and act cynical). It’s been rough out at my school the past few weeks. I know, it’s the holidays and a time to be grateful, but it seems that just when the community is pulling itself out of one event and seeing some light, there is something else.

Even though there have been several Kuna community tragedies in the past month, I am consistently reminded to let go of my pessimism and hold to those I love and the many positive events that remind me why life is beautiful.

I hold my kids a little tighter. I am blessed with a warm house filled with love and Christmas joy. I consider the snow as that powdered and cursed beauty.

This is why the book release party on Thursday was such a needed escape. My thanks to all who support me as a writer and support the written word. 

I’ll leave this post with a poem by Mr. James Russell Lowell. Its words keep coming back to me lately (my students read it in class several weeks ago) and it returned to my mind this morning.

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The First Snowfall

THE snow had begun in the gloaming, 
And busily all the night 
Had been heaping field and highway 
With a silence deep and white. 

Every pine and fir and hemlock 
Wore ermine too dear for an earl, 
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree 
Was ridged inch deep with pearl. 

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara 
Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow, 
The stiff rails were softened to swan’s-down, 
And still fluttered down the snow. 

I stood and watched by the window 
The noiseless work of the sky, 
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds, 
Like brown leaves whirling by. 

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn 
Where a little headstone stood; 
How the flakes were folding it gently, 
As did robins the babes in the wood. 

Up spoke our own little Mabel, 
Saying, ‘Father, who makes it snow?’ 
And I told of the good All-father 
Who cares for us here below. 

Again I looked at the snowfall, 
And thought of the leaden sky 
That arched o’er our first great sorrow, 
When that mound was heaped so high. 

I remembered the gradual patience 
That fell from that cloud like snow, 
Flake by flake, healing and hiding 
The scar of our deep-plunged woe. 

And again to the child I whispered, 
‘The snow that husheth all, 
Darling, the merciful Father 
Alone can make it fall! ‘ 

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her; 
And she, kissing back, could not know 
That my kiss was given to her sister, 
Folded close under deepening snow.

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Whew!

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50,000 words. A novella. And my marriage survived it.

In celebration of the (early) end to my NaNo novel (yes, I beat the 11/30 deadline), here is the final excerpt you will be able to see of my latest work. Enjoy it, you ravenous reading fools!

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from Unbought Stuffed Dogs and Other Pretty Thoughts

 

“There they are.”

I pull the black storage case out from under my bed, from behind a pair of dirty shorts, hand weights, and my yoga mat. And as I brush away the dust bunnies and dirt, it’s as though I can smell the new plastic of years past.

Their artificial expressions stare back at me from their twelve slotted spaces. Ever since I turned twelve, I’ve kept them under my bed for safe-keeping, but at least once a year I pull them back out to reminisce. To line them up and wait for the magic. Hoping that Cobra rises once more to bring the Joes back into active duty.

“Why can’t it feel the same?” I ask Crazylegs.

He has nothing to say.

“Why does everything have to turn into a steaming pile of crap?” I ask the mute figures. The poster-covered walls–Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, and the Detroit Red Wings–stand watch in silence.

I line them up on the rust shag carpet.

Flint.

Storm Shadow.

Jinx.

Cobra Commander.

Mutt and Junkyard.

Knockdown.

Snow Job.

Sgt. Slaughter.

Sneak Peek.

Charbroil.

Snake Eyes and Timber.

Crazylegs.

Me. Their fear-filled leader.

I place each back in the box, one by one. Slide the box back under my bed and crawl under the covers.

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