Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

I'm ba-a-ack! And I'm happy to be! It was a great break, but I'm ready to return to blogland. I appreciate how supportive all of you were when I needed to take a step back to focus on my manuscript. Thank you! is everyone?! Do each of you have a cup of hot cocoa to sip while we sit and catch up? I'm looking forward to finding out what's been going on, how everyone is progressing, and what good news my bloggy friends may have!

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays! We did! The kids go back to school this week, but I wish they had another week of vacation. We didn't travel or anything, but it's been super nice having them around and staying up way too late together.

My latest? As planned, I kept my head down and focused on my WIP. I like getting to that point when I'm so immersed in the story, it simmers under everything I do. It's when I'll occasionally dream I'm working on my book, and I'll even cut and tweak pages in my sleep. Those edits aren't real--I never remember the cuts and tweaks--but I can feel the story with me, and it's ready to be jumped into at any given moment. This is when, while drifting to sleep or waking up, I sometimes resolve issues or discover problems in my plot.

I've made a ton of progress, but I can't say it's been "straight line progress," as in
the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Even with an outline, I've made and am continuing to make my share of wrong turns. Thus, my progress has been somewhat serpentine. That's okay, though. I really do believe no writing is wasted, and sometimes you have to go the wrong way to figure out the right way. Overall, I'm quite pleased with how things have been going.

Other news (chronologically):

1. I'm in a new critique group, and I'm super excited about it. My new partners are
Margaret Nevinski and Jennifer Mann. They're both SCBWI Western Washington friends, and they're both very talented.

My original critique group is coming to an end in February. Author
Sheila Roberts, who has generously led us for almost six years, is stepping aside as our mentor. Our group has had an excellent run. Together we've grown as writers, and we've also grown lifelong friendships. Thank you, Sheila,
Martha Schoemaker, Bev Young, and Sarah Shepard. It's been incredible learning with you and from you.

2. Our dog
Thistle got his neck stuck in the fence while trying to rid our yard of squirrels. There were no injuries, though his pride may have been slightly dented.

3. Agent
Anna Olswanger of
Liza Dawson Associates spoke at SCBWI Western Washington's October Professional Series meeting. She really impressed me. Her talk, "The Psychology of Being Published and Staying Published," was full of wisdom and inspiration. I was fortunate because, in addition to hearing her speak at the meeting, I had a manuscript consultation with her. Ms. Olswanger is also a writer, and it showed in a great way. The consultation was very helpful--and fun!

4. As you all know,
Nathan Bransford is no longer an agent. As Velma from
Scooby-Doo might say, "Jinkies!" I'm happy he's continuing to blog and he's keeping his old posts up for us as a resource. I wish him the best with his new career.

Jennifer Mann was one of the speakers at SCBWI Western Washington's November Professional Series meeting. Jen is a writer and an illustrator, and her talk was fascinating. She blogged about it after the presentation. That Jen...she's a smarty-pants. (She's also a great roomie. We roomed together at the SCBWI conference in NYC last January.)

Pepper and Thistle turned six! Here they are on their birthday, watching our first snowfall this winter. (Actually, it was November, but snow = winter to me.)

Chester and friends had a population explosion, pretty much leaving us with a squirrel infestation (see #2). They are sooo cute! Here's a pic showing three squirrels on our squirrel feeder. That's a record for us, by the way.

8. Sheila Roberts's ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS was made into a
movie for the Lifetime Movie Network. How cool is that?!

9. I got a Nook Color for Christmas! Wee-ha!

Shawn Goodman (interview here) is now in bookstores. I'm buying my copy this week!

Now tell me your news!


Michelle said...

Welcome back!
So good that you've progressed with your WIP
Happy New Year!!!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Good to hear you got lots done on the ms! Way to go. Love that pic of your dogs looking out the window!
Hope you enjoy Shawn Goodman's book. I've also ordered it!
We also have a squirrel infestation on our feeders! And I also got an ereader! A Kobo! I love it!

Jemi Fraser said...

Welcome back! Glad you got a lot done on the ms - that's SUCH a good feeling :)

Love the pic of your dogs - they are so cute :)

Hema P. said...

Happy New Year to you, too, Dawn! And welcome back! I totally agree with you about breaks -- I came back just today (to the bloggerland, I mean) from a two-month long one myself.

Thanks for sharing all your news; it always feels good to catch up with friends! :)

Catherine Ensley said...

Happy New Year. My blogging goal for 2011 is to get to know other aspiring writers ... I'll be back to see you soon!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Congrats on the progress on your wip. I bet it feels great! I'm not sure I've ever resolved issues while drifting off to sleep or while waking up. It usually happens when I running . . . and when I don't have pen and paper with me to write down notes. ;)

Patti said...

Sounds like you've made great progress on your WIP that's a great way to start off the new year.

Dawn Simon said...

Thank you, Michelle! Happy New Year to you too!

Terry Lynn, we have so much in common: dog love, ordered books by Shawn Goodman, squirrel infestations, and new e-readers! My book is supposed to arrive at our local indie today! Yay!

Hi, Jemi! Yeah, manuscript progress always feels awesome. The dogs got a kick out of the snow--at first. Then not so much. They crack me up.

Hema, sounds like we both came back recharged! It is great to catch up with friends again. :)

Catherine, that's a great blogging goal. I get so much inspiration and information from other writers, aspiring and published. Thanks for visiting!

Thanks, Stina! I get ideas running too! And in the shower! But there's also something about that foggy time before and after sleep...I don't know what it is.

Hi, Patti! Now to keep pushing forward! :)

Paul Greci said...

Welcome Back, Dawn :-) I'm glad you had a productive blogging break!

Tara said...

Poor Thistle! Glad all but his ego is okay.

Best of luck with your new crit group.

Terri Tiffany said...

Wow! You had some good news! I have nothing at all like that. So glad you have a critique group to get together with there.
My news--getting ready to speak in Spokane! Finished rough draft of my book! And excited about the new year too.

Slamdunk said...

Welcome back Dawn and happy 2011.

Poor Thistle, those squirrels are busy here as well.

KLM said...

Welcome back! I think you'll find the online world has changed dramatically while you were away. We now all blog via thought waves and wear silver jumpsuits. :)


Meghan Ward said...

Dawn - welcome back! So glad Thistle is okay, and congrats on the new critique group. Looking forward to more updates!

Dawn Simon said...

Thank you, Paul!

Tara, thank you on Thistle's behalf. Also, thanks regarding the crit group! Jen and Margaret are awesome. I've been super lucky with critique groups!

Terri, congrats on finishing your first draft! That's big news! I hope you have a nice time in Spokane.

Hi, Slamdunk! Those squirrels... ;)

Kristen, where's the change? I always blogged that way. Hee! You are so funny! :)

Hi, Meghan! Thank you!

Kjersten said...

Welcome back, Dawn! Congrats on your new critique group and on all the writing you accomplished while on break.

Dawn Maria said...

Welcome back Dawn! I really admire you for the blog break and am glad that it was time well spent on your WIP. Nothing beats showing up on the page everyday.

Happy New Year!