Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How I Found An Agent...

I'm guest blogging over at Jenny Bent's website. Jenny is my agent and we've been working together for a couple of years. She has started a great series of blogs in which her clients recount how they got an agent and/or sold a novel. I had great fun recounting the experience. Click on over and take a look...

From Spreadsheet to Book Deal

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How Do You Say...I'm Sorry

I'm thinking today about the different ways a character I'm writing about might say..."I'm sorry."

This thought occurred to me while reading the newspaper over the last few days. As many of you will have seen or read, a devastating tornado recently hit Joplin, Missouri. In the aftermath of an event like this--where the death toll continues to rise, where homes have been shattered, where cars and trucks, crushed like tin cans, clutter the roadways and fields--a person might say..."I'm sorry this happened to you. I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am this happened to you."

Contrast this tragedy to an another event I recently read about in the paper. A young woman, after consuming a considerable amount of alcohol, climbed behind the wheel of a car and killed a 64 year old man. In the aftermath of this tragic event, she was quoted as having said, apparently to the gentleman's family, "I'm sorry this happened to you." And this is what got me thinking.

Does the young woman say ..."I'm sorry this happened to you"...because she's not brave enough to say..."I'm sorry I did this to you." The difference between these two statements is considerable. Or does she not say the latter because she can't or won't understand the difference?

I wonder, does she not connect her own hand to the death? There is no hand attached to a tornado-"I'm sorry this happened." There is a hand attached to a steering wheel-"I'm sorry I did this."

I'm not sure yet how my character will apologize, but he will choose one of these statements, and the choice will define him.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Boys of Spring Return

For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you will know I am, among other things, a baseball mom. And here we are again--post season is well underway. As such, I would like to re-run one of my favorite blogs in honor of the BOYS OF SPRING. Photo: Marty Heath

In the Majors, they are called the boys of summer. But for a mother of a high school baseball player, deeply embedded in post season play, they are the boys of spring. They are the boys, young men, who juggle school work, final exams, college applications for some, homework for most, jobs for a few and X-box for all. Once, twice, maybe three times a week, I sit on metal bleachers, the sun burning through the number silkscreened on the back of my gray team t-shirt, and cheer on the Chargers.

Hopefully, it is fair to say I am not a “crazy” baseball parent. But like the tree that falls in an empty forest, does a crazy parent know he or she is crazy? Perhaps not. But I try not to cheer an overthrow at first made by the opposing team, unless, of course, the game is close. I try not to yell at the umpire, unless he calls a ball that sails across my son’s collarbone a strike. After all, he is 6’5” and isn’t a ball that sails that high clearly and evidently outside the strike zone? Doesn’t a mother of such a son have an obligation, perhaps a deep seeded ancient right, to protest such a call? Under these specific circumstances, I’ll admit to yelling at the umpire, but by this point in the game, I am certainly too hoarse to be heard over all the other crazy parents yelling about the same call.

I am a parent who tries not to wince when a ground ball rolls under an infielder’s glove or when all the dads in the crowd yell “can of corn” as a pop fly sails into the outfield and the fielder runs in instead of out, allowing the ball to drop on the warning track with a thud. It’ll be mine making the error next time. Don’t they all make their fair share? No, I won’t wince, lest they all wince when it’s my son hanging his head and kicking at the dirt.

I try to be a parent who will text updates to my friend who can’t bear to watch a game that has taken a bad turn. I try to be a parent willing to change positions on the bleachers if that will mean a change in “mojo” so the team will start to hit. I try to be a parent who lets her daughter, who has been dragged to baseball games since she was one year old, have a hot dog from the concession stand, and…okay…an ice cream sundae, too. I try to be a parent who cheers until she is lightheaded from a lack of oxygen, who is brought to tears when her son hits a walk-off single, who takes pictures of another mother’s son hugging his father and then tossing that father aside when the sophomore girls appear, offering hugs of their own. I suppose all we parents try to do the same, and if one of us is crazy, we’re all crazy in our own due time.

Good luck to Chargers baseball as they advance to the regional finals