Monday, November 22, 2010

Firecrackers and Blue Jeans

Sorry for the delay in getting this blog up. I was kind of lost in the whirlwind of the funeral last week. But I promised you all tales of my gram, the firecracker.

She was a firecracker, which really is just a polite or more colorful way to say she had a temper, right? For instance, this one time, we were driving down the road when I was in high school, and she got angry at me. She slammed down her turn signal and broke the entire steering column.

Thus, her "firecracking" was sometimes directed towards me or inanimate objects. But other times it was directed to people who had done her family wrong.

When I was in elementary school playing basketball, she came down from the stands to scream at the referees and the coaches because when I was wrestling with another girl for the basketball, the girl punched me and knocked the wind out of me.

Gram was fired up that day, but her hardheadedness started long before I was born, long before my mom was born even.

When gram was a high school student in the mid-1950s, she walked into a girls' bathroom to see a couple white girls beating up a black girl in her class. She stepped in the middle and started swinging at the white girls. That was the end of her friendship with them, but she didn't care.

Right was right, and wrong was wrong.

Then again, even she blurred those lines from time to time. During those same high school years, she wanted nothing more than a new pair of Levi blue jeans. She asked her father for them again and again, but he said they were too expensive.

So, she chose not to eat lunch and instead saved her money until she could afford the jeans herself. She paid for the jeans, removed the tags, and wore them home from the store. Her father saw the red "Levi" tag sticking out from the seam and yelled at her, but she smugly knew she could not return them since they'd already been worn.

Eventually, though, she felt guilty for wearing expensive jeans when she saw other things in the family that needed replacing, her father's shoes that were worn thin for instance.

Still, when I was in high school 45 years later, she grabbed the little red tag on my jeans (I feel the need to point out that Levi's are now very affordable) every time I walked by her, and she told me that story.

She told me lots of stories I will treasure and always be thankful for. I'm thankful to you all for reading as well. Thanks for your comments and good wishes.

Have a great week, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bragging Grandparents

As I was growing up, I remember my grandmother bragging about me - a lot. She even submitted to a local newspaper column called "Bragging Grandparents." She would tell anyone who would listen - grocery store workers, high school friends she bumped into at Denny's, the servers at Denny's (and you get the point) - about my sports, my grades, and my travels.

It kind of embarrassed me then, but now it's a sweet memory and unequivocal proof she was proud of me. I wish I could be humble or nonchalant about it, but as a girl who has lost four "parents" before her 30th birthday, knowing I've made them proud matters.

Yes, my grandmother loved to brag, but now it's my turn to brag about her.

When I was in kindergarten, I had the coolest job in the world. After my morning classes, I would come to the cafeteria for lunch while all the other kids went home. I would eat with the big kids, and then when lunch was over, I was a special helper to the janitor.

He gave me a rag, and I wiped every table and chair in the place. I took my job seriously, making sure every crumb disappeared. My reward was a handful of candy from his office. I got this job because of my grandmother. She was in the kitchen volunteering - cooking and cleaning.

After we both finished our duties, I climbed into her car and drove away with her. When I had to stay in school for the afternoon in pesky first grade, I remember missing those times with my gram.

But we had other times.

She drove me to Girl Scouts and basketball practice. She came to school events like Grandparents Day, and she was there when I won the Geography Bee in third grade.

Each Christmas, she planned a massive holiday party for the whole family - her three children, seven step-children, their spouses, and 23 grandchildren. She even arranged it so Santa could visit. There are pictures from those parties somewhere, pictures of the 23 grandchildren piling on top of each other to squeeze into photographs in front of the Christmas tree.

She planned summer picnics, too. She let me climb the cherry tree in her backyard. She watched me score baskets and spike volleyballs. She watched me walk across the stage before Prom and give my speech at graduation.

When my mother passed away my freshman year of high school, Gram didn't give taking us in a second thought. She immediately sought a lawyer and made sure the adoption was finalized pronto. She struggled immensely in losing my mom, her baby girl. But she was still there for us - her kids and her grandkids.

She was also a firecracker. But more on that tomorrow...

Thanks for letting me share.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saying Goodbye is Not Final

In my book, THESE WALLS CAN TALK, which was originally titled THE DINER ON THIRD, my protagonist Leia Angeletti is very close with her grandmother. She visits Grandma Jack often at the nursing home and does her best to reach her grandmother through the fog of Alzheimer's.

The character Grandma Jack was based on my grandmother, Anne Goerman Farneth. Yesterday, she passed away at the age of 73.

With my grandparents Anne and Clarence Farneth on the day I graduated from Valley High School in New Kensington. They adopted me and two of my siblings when our mother died in 1997.

My family and I spent the afternoon at the funeral home discussing arrangements, including the obituary. We toiled over how it would be worded. Would we list that she adopted three of her grandchildren, me included, when she lost her youngest daughter (their mother) to illness? In what order would we list the many relatives who preceded her in death? Should the grandchildren be listed by name?

The questions seemed silly. Did it really matter, I wondered? But I realized in a way, it did. The funeral director said, "This will be the last thing written about Anne." It would be the final record of her life.

Final record.

I don't mean this as a joke, but that sounds so final. And it shouldn't be.

Anne Goerman McSherry Farneth lived 73 years in a town called New Kensington. She had three children, seven step-children, 23 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. She worked as a bookkeeper, grocery story cashier, and volunteered in the cafeteria of her grandchildren's school. She was infinitely proud of her family's heritage of starting the first local newspaper and the first local fire company in the 1800s. She was beautiful, loving, and flawed. In her 73 years, she touched the lives' of thousands of people, and her life boils down to a one-column obituary?

She deserves more, and even if this humble blog is my only platform to deliver that, I will gladly do it. So all this week, I'll be sharing stories of my gram. And all my life, I'll be missing her.

Thanks for allowing me to share her with you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Backspace is around the corner

I've been such a slacker with the diner. Sorry about that. There really is good food here, and I should stop by more often!

So, in two weeks from today, I'm boarding a plane at Pittsburgh International and heading for the Backspace Conference in New York City. I've been revising my manuscript THESE WALLS CAN TALK for months now, and I'm so excited to get back out there and share it with agents and editors who will hopefully love it as much as I do.

I've had some first readers who've loved it, too, it should be noted.

In any case, I'm unagented, but hopefully that will change in the next couple months. Of course, I'll share good news as soon as there's any to share. And the good news I'm sharing now is that I will be the official Twitterer (Tweeter just sounds strange) at the Backspace Conference.

I'll share all the great quotes from agents, the success stories, and the faux pas writers should avoid (as per the agents' requests of course).

So check out the conference and follow my tweets: for all the dish.

Monday, August 30, 2010

What Happens in Vegas, Even if You're Not in Vegas

I feel like a movie set stalker. Today, I drove through Kittanning, a small river town north of Pittsburgh where Janet Evanovich's One for the Money is being filmed. I walked along the river and listened to the glorious calls.


"Background!" (And cars start moving along the bridge).

And finally, "Action!"

If I didn't have to drive up to Indiana University of Pennsylvania today to reserve a study space in the library, as they all go within hours of the first day of classes, I could have been driving one of those cars.


But instead, I listened from the sidelines as the cool breeze blew through the trees in the riverside park and the morning sun reflected off the water. For people who live in New York City or Los Angeles, movie sets may be common place. Pittsburgh has played host to several film crews, especially recently, but it's still fresh and exciting to see the trailers, actors, and cameras in town.

And seeing all of that in Kittanning this morning reminded me of last week. Point of information: production companies make background actors (aka extras) sign confidentiality agreements that specify the actors will not talk or publish pertinent information about shooting. This includes locations and plot points.

They might say something like what happens on the set stays on the set. But they might also say when the movie comes out, feel free to blog, tweet, and Facebook all you like.

If you're following me, good. If not, rewind, and read between the lines.

In other words, I've taken some notes about my experience in "Vegas", and when a certain movie hits theaters, I will post more details about filming.

In the meantime, it's back to IUP for me (classes start tomorrow) and more work on my revisions (which are going well) of THESE WALLS CAN TALK.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Very exciting Monday morning

After several emails, I have finally managed to get hired as an extra on a movie set.

I'm not saying much just yet because I want to be a good extra. But later, I will blog and let you know anything I can. Hopefully I'll have a few photos as well - not of the set. Cameras and phones are strictly prohibited on set. But I'll see what I can do!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jackie Evancho - wow

The city of Pittsburgh is a buzz over the 10-year-old singing sensation Jackie Evancho. Jackie wowed audiences on America's Got Talent, but she has been making a name for herself in the city for some time now, even being compared to another Pittsburgh native, Christina Aguilera.

There are several YouTube videos of Jackie, including this one:

Monday, August 16, 2010

How very (and depressingly) true...

Hard at work today, so it won't take years...

"It can take years. With the first draft, I just write everything. With the second draft, it becomes so depressing for me, because I realize that I was fooled into thinking I’d written the story. I hadn’t—I had just typed for a long time. So then I have to carve out a story from the 25 or so pages. It’s in there somewhere—but I have to find it. I’ll then write a third, fourth, and fifth draft, and so on."


Get more Advice for Writers.
P.S. This is definitely not a Rainy Days and Mondays post!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Survived Summer School

I hate to be such a drama queen, but I did, in fact, survive summer school. Good to hear, right?

Although the reading and writing seemed tortuous at times, I actually enjoyed my classes and especially enjoyed the company. I'm on a break now until Aug. 30, but a break from school is not a break from work.

In the fall, I have an amazing opportunity waiting for me. I will be the graduate assistant to Dr. Lynne Alvine who teaches a Literature for Adolescents course. My assignment will be to read YA literature and discuss it with the students in the class among other duties assisting Dr. Alvine. I've already started reading the books on the list.

The first was Chris Lynch's Inexcusable in which a teenage girl makes an allegation against a teenage boy. Unlike so many YA books on the shelves, this story is told through the perspective of the boy. His view of the world could be considered naive and/or twisted. I won't divulge the surprises, but I would recommend the book. I think it will make for some great class discussion this fall.

Now, I'm rereading Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. It's been years since I read it the first time. The voice is surprisingly funny, especially the way Melinda names the people around her. The voice is so candid and surprisingly aware. This book is one of the top recommendations in YA literature. If you haven't read it, you really should.

Other than reading ahead for the Literature for Adolescents course, I am back to revising my manuscript, THESE WALLS CAN TALK. I've been hoping to submit it to agents since July, but it's not ready. I want to send them my best work, so I've found a way to be patient. Hopefully, I will have it ready soon.

Hope everyone's enjoying the last days of summer...

Monday, June 14, 2010

On hiatus. . . again

If only there were more hours in the day.

But there aren't. So, something's got to go, and it's going to be the diner for a while.

The PhD program is intense. I'm working on a presentation featuring using YouTube to teach argumentative theory and a paper on the value of Twitter in classroom instruction. If you want to keep an eye on my studies, check out my student blog (I know! Another blog? It's a requirement) or my student web page where we post most of our assignments in my Literacy and Technology class.
Other than that, here are a few videos I go to when I need a smile or a break:



Monday, June 7, 2010

Plum Lovin'

Yes, I'm still in awe at the fact Stephanie Plum is coming to Pittsburgh. If you're thinking, "Stephanie Plum is fictional, Tamara. You do realize that, right?"

No. I don't. In fact, you're wrong. She exists.

So does Lula and Grandma Mazur and (if there is a God) Ranger and Morelli. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, pull your credit card from your wallet, and click here pronto.

Janet Evanovich, if you come across this posting by some grace of all things tasty, I offer myself up to you as a tour guide. I'm a good tour guide. I promise to keep you away from Pittsburgh's "Stark" streets.

Or, hey, we can drive down them if you prefer!

In honor of my future feature film debut, here are some recent tweets from Janet (we are so on a first name basis. Sort of. Not really, but I mean, there's still time for that to change). They are always bright spots in my Twitter feed, so if you're a tweep, follow Janet. Like now.

“That's the second CR-V you've burned up this week.” - Vincent Plum, Hard Eight

“I'll throw in a bucket of chicken and an ice cream cake from Carvel. That's my final offer.” - Morelli, Finger Lickin' Fifteen

“I always thought I'd make a good detective, on account of I'm so nosy.” - Grandma Mazur, Hard Eight

“He mess with a big woman like me, and he be nothin' more than a smelly spot on the carpet.” - Lula, Two for the Dough

“You've got a helluva gene pool, babe.” - Ranger, Two for the Dough

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stephanie Plum's Shadow

I love, love, love Stephanie Plum. And I just might be able to star (or, you know, appear in the corner of a room or walking down a street or something) in "One for the Money."

The film is being made in Pittsburgh!!! This calls for a celebration!
Anyone else up for being an extra with me?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 1 - What I Learned

What did I learn the first day of my PhD program?

I don't have time to post this blog right now. Lots of reading and a bit of writing to do tonight before I head off to bed (this blog was written Tuesday night but posted Wednesday morning). So I'll keep this short and sweet.

I left my house at 6:30 a.m. for class. I returned at 6:30 p.m. Ouch. People around the country do this every day. If you're one of them, you have my utmost respect. I work from home. I roll out of bed, cross the hallway and plop down at the computer.

But it's also kind of exciting. Both of my professors are great. I already have ideas flowing for the assigned essays. None of the food places on campus are open in the summer (I know!), so I'll be snacking on fruits and veggies that I bring every day and lose a few pounds.

Can't beat that. Now, it's off to work I go!

P.S. Check out my blog (I wrote it before I started my classes) at Working Stiffs today.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back to School

The day has finally arrived.

While most students are exhaling sighs of relief and closing their textbooks to the joy of summer vacation, I am dusting off the backpack that has been hanging on a hook in the basement since college.

Yep, it's back to school time.

The family has been supportive. They've asked if I have my Trapper Keeper packed, what Disney character is on my lunch box, and when the bus is coming to pick me up.

The jokes took me back to the days of Trapper Keepers and every-color-of-the-rainbow Lisa Frank folders. Unicorns. I always went for the unicorns.

Of course, Lisa Frank folders won't really fit in with my PhD studies. Although if I could find one, I'd probably still rock it. I mean, really. Did you look at the picture?

And I'm sure I could find a Trapper Keeper on eBay. I could use a lunch box, too. Maybe Hannah Montana.
I digress. The point is I've considered doing a PhD for years, and today is the day it all begins. I'm a student of the Composition and TESOL program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I've had my head in one book or another for the last 23 years, so that won't be new.

As for what will be new, I'll let you know soon.

Stay tuned...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Today, I'm celebrating my two-year wedding anniversary. And I thank the men and women who have fought to give me the right to do that.

Happy Memorial Day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays #20

Oh happy day.

The weather in Pittsburgh is gorgeous. I've spent the past week revising, revising, revising, and it's all going very well.

AND Literary Agent Extraordinaire Janet Reid posted amazing comments on her blog regarding the PennWriters conference. I can't tell you how much fun it was meeting Janet in person.

But perhaps the better deal was hanging out with Octopussy.

Those glasses to the upper right of the photo belong to the mysterious, rarely photographed Janet Reid.

By the end of the night, Octopussy (who is in desperate need of a worthy first name and perhaps a middle initial) and I were old pals.

Finally, it's been a whole week since my little puppy boy had his surgery. He's still hopping around on three legs, rather pathetically, but he's definitely on the mend. He's spending more time hanging outside than being wrapped up in a blanket like he was last week.

Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cool, Collected Links #1

Nothing like finding a great article on how to write a query letter the day after you've sent 50 out to agents.

That particular situation did not happen to me, but I find great resources online maybe not at the greatest time to find them. So I'm going to start compiling them here, on the blog, for your benefit as well.

Here are this week's Cool, Collected Links:

Advice from Literary Agents: Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary Agency, and Edward Necarsulmer IV of McIntosh and Otis at the NESCBWI Conference

A Look at Free, Online Writing Communities

Tempting package from AS King and worth checking into future auctions on this site

Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner always has something interesting to say

Really funny Comics

Three Steps to Writing a Breakout Story

Things to Consider When Offered a Publishing Contract

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Debut Blog on Working Stiffs

Today, I'm debuting as a contributor to Working Stiffs, where crime writers talk about life, work and murder.

After attending Janet Reid's Social Media workshop at PennWriters this weekend, I'm excited to become active again in the blogosphere.

My first blog post will be The Difference a Year Makes to inspire writers who like me thought an agent and a publishing contract was going to come along much sooner than reality provides.

Check it out.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Volunteer at Conferences

The PennWriters Conference was brilliant this weekend. I learned a lot and met some really great people, which I will continue talking about on this blog and on Working Stiffs tomorrow.

But today, it's about a tip. When you attend conferences, which you absolutely should if you can, get more out of them by volunteering. Working the registration table ensures you meet everyone, including agents, editors, and published authors, as they walk in the door.

Introducing presenters gives you more face time with them. Offering to timekeep pitch sessions gives you face time with agents.

PennWriters has a great opportunity to PennPal with presenters, agents and editors. I was PennPal to Alex Glass of Trident Media Group. It was a pleasure. Alex is very funny, and he boosted my ego by needing me more than some other PennPals needed their counterparts. I found myself wandering the hotel by his side to try and get him in the right place.

He offered great advice to writers in his presentation, and it was a pleasure getting to know him even a little better.

The only guarantee you have to selling your writing is by making it shine. Work on your craft and polish your pages. But, volunteering at conferences adds value to your overall experience. There are usually several opportunities, so next time you attend a conference, reach out to those in charge and offer to help in some way.

For more on the value of interacting with agents in person, check out this great blog post from Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays #19

It's a rainy Monday.

But it's a good day. The PennWriters conference this weekend has inspired me to return to my blogging. So, here's to a fun video for Rainy Days and Mondays.

Intellectually, I can't possibly buy it, but it's still pretty entertaining. And it's dedicated to Hero, my little pup who's in surgery today.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Deferring to my students. . .

I won't be blogging for a while (big surprise, right?).

But my students will. I'd like to defer to them. Please take a peek at what they've been working on for the past few months, and offer a comment or two when you see things you like. I know they'll appreciate it.

The blog is:

Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

If Writers Were Hockey Players

If writers were hockey players, several New York City literary agents would be missing a few teeth.

More specifically, if I were an Ottawa Senator, I would throw a childish tantrum any time I don't get my way, or even when I do.

Disclaimer #1: I'm a Pittsburgh Penguins fan.
Disclaimer #2: I get that fighting is a part of hockey.

Still, there's a difference between starting a fight to create a momentum shift in a game and pushing, slapping, and punching the nearest Penguin every time the referee blows the whistle.

Maybe I'm just sensitive to athlete behavior with two Pittsburgh Steelers, who will go unnamed here because they don't deserve any more media attention for their transgressions, in the news lately for misbehavior. Let's be honest, these are grown men. They should know how to behave themselves.

Why is such behavior of smacking around the closest human being to you when you get excited acceptable?

I have absolutely no idea.

But I do know if I were a hockey player, my husband would have black eyes on a regular basis. He's a great guy. We have a good marriage, but what I'm saying is this isn't rational anger. It's frequent and unbridled.

If I were a hockey player, I would have to put rubber bumbers on my Jeep to protect myself from all the drivers who are in a rush to pull out in front of me but in no rush to go anywhere. If I were a hockey player, I would plow right through their little Chevy Cavaliers, leaving them on the side of the road to wonder what the heck just happened.

If I were a hockey player, the woman at the grocery store who chit chats about all the wrongs committed by her boyfriend, best friend, and in-laws as she bags my groceries would be covered in egg yolk.

If writers in general were hockey players, the literary world would be quite different. Agents would attend writing conferences wearing pads, helmets, and mouth guards. They would have to.

Critics would write reviews undercover. Their faces and identities would be more protected than governmental witnesses to gang violence.

And when authors make the New York Times Bestseller List? Look out. Nothing can contain that excitement. Well, human rationale can. But apparently, that's lacking if you're a hockey player (i.e. an Ottawa Senator).

Am I the only one who sees this? Just today, my brother said he doesn't care that above-alluded-to Pittsburgh Steeler cannot behave himself off the field, as along as he keeps winning on it.

I'd like to see a man behave like a man. I wonder if these guys let their kids watch them play hockey. I really hope not.

The little ones might be sitting at home thinking, "If I were a hockey player..."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In Living Color

After chatting with some friends today, I realized Fire Marshall Bill actually graced the screen of In Living Color.

Oh, In Living Color.

Talk about a blast from the past.

No rain, and it's going on Friday. Yet, why not another fun video?

If you loved the show, this will bring a smile to your lips.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays #23

When I was killing time I don't have to kill on YouTube, I found a blast from the past. One of the best characters ever on Saturday Night Live is the ever-safe Fire Marshall Bill.

If you're ready for school to be out for summer, maybe you can invite Fire Marshall Bill for a lesson.

Let me show you something...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays #22

My day is jam-packed with revisions, edits, and catching up on grades for my patient students who are anxiously awaiting news on their first essays.

So, I'm going to make this short and sweet. It doesn't evoke laughter, but if you're in the publishing world in any way, this should brighten your gloomy, rainy (in Pittsburgh) Monday.

I can't embed it, but it's certainly worth the trip. Take a look.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Be Smart not Stupid

I attended the Write Stuff Conference sponsored by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group this weekend and learned a lot. I'm not the kind of student who sits in the corner and never speaks. When I have something to say, I open my mouth.

But when I don't, I listen.

Under the guidance of an internationally acclaimed writing teacher James N. Frey, a class of about 60 plotted out a book from beginning to end in two days, his Plotting Like the Pros workshop. Jim, as he calls himself, took suggestions from those in the room, and at times the debate became intense.

One writer insisted our character, a tech sergeant in the Air Force, would live off base. Another demanded we drop her in the barracks. Still a third won everyone over in saying she lives in a little cottage on base.

And so the two days went with arguments and demands until we finally had a good story. I could never write it. Too much science, but it was a good story.

Some writers in the room, myself included, sat back and wondered why these small details mattered at the moment, but when Jim excitedly said the words, "That's a great idea!" to someone, we knew.

People love it when they're right and even more when they're recognized for it. I'm no exception. Yet, as I sat in the windowless room learning about plotting from a pro, I thought of the quote that's scribbled in purple dry erase marker on the corkboard next to me.

And it's today's tip.

"Anyone who loves knowledge wants to be told when he is wrong. It is stupid to hate being corrected." -Proverbs 12:1

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays #21

A whole week has passed, and no other posts. Sorry about that.

I attended the Write Stuff Conference sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Writers Group in eastern Pennsylvania, and it was fantastic. I'll have more to say about that in the future, but today, it's rainy outside, and it's Monday.

I love watching a few minutes of Ellen when my day isn't going so well. It makes me laugh and refreshes me. So, here's one of my favorite Ellen moments. By the way, Dennis Quaid is even handsomer in person!

Here you go:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays #20

It's a two-for kinda day. It's Monday and it's raining in the Pittsburgh area.

So here are a couple laughs. I love these videos. You may have seen this first one before.

However, this one might be new to you. Pay attention when Mom comes into the room. It's hilarious.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Missed You!

How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December's bareness everywhere!
~William Shakespeare, "Sonnet XCVII"

Hey, everyone...everyone who has not been paying attention to my blog as there hasn't been much to read.

I'm back.

Maybe it's the gorgeous sunshine, the feeling of spring. Not quite sure, but I miss the diner. Time to open the doors again.

I'm still writing a lot, revising two manuscripts, and trying to keep up with my online students who have just submitted their first essay, expository essays featuring their hometowns in some way. I look forward to reading them. Some of the topics are great.

But I miss all of you.

So, I'm back to blogging. I'll have something fresh and fantastic for you on Monday for the revival of Rainy Days and Mondays.

But today, it's all about returning after a long hiatus. So, what have you missed? I received several rejections for THESE WALLS CAN TALK (previously titled THE DINER ON THIRD, and the impetus for starting this virtual diner). I still have a few submissions floating around the literary agenting world, but I'm not too hopeful. The manuscript needs work, so that's what it is getting.

While I let THESE WALLS CAN TALK sit for a few months, I drafted another YA manuscript, BROKEN. I promise to tell you more about BROKEN in coming months, but it's a lot of fun and incorporates prom, summer camp, growing up fast, and a love square (not a triangle, but a square!).

I spent last weekend at the Sisters in Crime Writing Retreat and survived the flood of the Youghiogheny River in Confluence, PA. For proof, check out our president Annette Dashofy's blog.

This weekend is the New Kensington Rotary's annual fundraiser, Rotarama. Speaking of prom, I'll be wearing my junior prom dress. So glad it still fits.

Next weekend, I'll be driving east for the Lehigh Valley Write Stuff Conference. So I'll have a lot to blog about in coming days.

Check back for it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great web site, bad book?


What's this?

Tamara has actually posted something new on her blog!?

You're impressed, aren't you?

As I realize I've neglected this blog for nearly four months, I find it interesting that one of my Yahoo groups recently discussed whether an unpublished author needs a web site, a blog, a twitter account, a facebook page (we could go on...).

The most common opinion seems to be that unpublished writers should spend their time, news flash, writing. Other writers higher up the publishing food chain insist a web site won't sell a book that isn't any good.

That sounds logical to me.

So, I've been working on my writing. I hope you don't mind. I'm sure your lives have completely stopped without my thrilling posts here, but I'm writing to ask you to breathe again. Please. I will be writing more here because I miss you, but only when I really feel like I can, when my writing is done and I have a few minutes to spare.

Until then...