Friday, July 30, 2010


1. All of my edits for SEE YOU AT HARRY'S have arrived.

I know I'm a dork, but I am really excited to get to work. There's just one change I don't want to make, but I know in the end I'll realize it's essential. For now though, I have the "But but but but..." feeling. Sometimes it's hard to let go.

2. The boy really is eleven.

Last night we went to my in-laws for dinner to celebrate and my mother-in-law had taken out E's baby album for us to ooh and aah over. E kept commenting on how YOUNG Peter and I looked in the pictures. At one point he said something like, "Wow, you two aged FAST."

We blame him.

3. I wish I was at SCBWI LA

That conference just looks like so much FUN! Have you ever been? Is it worth all that $$$$$? Maybe someday... But mostly I wish I was there this year to wish Julia Durango a HUGE congratulations for her Golden Kite Award for her wonderful book, SEA OF THE DEAD!!

4. Speaking of conferences, though...

Next week I'll be heading to West Palm Beach for my agent's annual retreat. I cannot WAIT to visit with old and new friends, talk about craft, work on my revision, and maybe maybe maybe fly on a TRAPEZE!

5. Today E and I have our 2nd guitar lesson!

We've been practicing our song nearly every day and we're pretty ok, though we sound a bit squawky. I think my guitar is too big for me because when I try E's, it seems much easier to handle. Would it be very wrong to play a child-size guitar??? Yeah. Probably.

5.5 Have a great weekend!
Really. Have a great one! :-)

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I can't believe he is eleven today.

Wasn't this just yesterday?

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And yet, he still has those moments of quiet looking.

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But today, it's all about the mini golf. ;-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A gift from Mette

If you are an aspiring author, please go read this. Hope!

Thank you, Mette!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why I haven't turned Google Alerts off yet :-)

Yesterday I had a Google alert for Jumping Off Swings. It took me to YouTube and this video:

This is why I haven't turned those dang alerts off yet. Because every so often, there is such surprising sweetness.

I love love love when teens care enough about a book to go to the trouble of writing a review. And videotaping one? That is over the top amazing. :-)

Monday, July 26, 2010

How I Talk Myself Off the Ledge (Or Tips on Facing Revision Notes)

Revising for an editor is always surprising. The manuscript you thought was perfect enough to submit to him or her is suddenly so full of holes and unanswered questions it looks like a crumpled map to nowhere fit only for making a paper mache pinata for your kid's birthday party. And yes, you will enjoy watching small children beat the tiny remains of life out of it.

How does this happen? And when did I become such an optimist?

I haven't even received my editorial letter but I've already conceived of my manuscript's sad demise. I even spent part of the weekend putting the text into Scrivener so I'd be ready to tackle what I am sure to be GARGANTUAN revisions as soon as my editorial letter arrives. It was set to come last week so of course now I believe that every day it doesn't come means my editor decided to write an additional page of changes. Maybe an additional two pages.

The funny thing is though, I say GOOD. No really. Revising with an editor? It is such a gift. It may be hard to see at first, but it is. A big one. Working with someone who honestly wants to help you produce your best work yet? That is priceless. It's a privilege. Yes, it can be truly agonizing and downright painful. But when you let go, I mean really let go, it is also a beautiful thing.

But how do you quiet the voice of doubt you hear as soon as you finish reading the letter telling you just how not perfect your manuscript is?

Here are some of my tips. :-)

First, let go of:

• "But I loved that line."

• "But that scene took me three weeks to write."

• "You must have missed something."

• "But I was trying to say..."

Second, take a deep breath. Then:

• Write a line you love more.

• Write a scene that takes you one moment to write because you are finally brave enough to write through it instead of around it like you've been doing for twofive years.

• Write with clarity not innuendos.

• Don't try to say something. Say it. Honestly.

I'm sure when I get my letter and tell myself these things, I'll laugh at myself for being so naive. And cry a little, because I won't think I can do it. Again. But then I'll take a deep breath. I'll remember my mantra for the year: Be brave! And I'll roll up my sleeves and get to work. :-)


Monday Morning Warm-Up:

Write to the prompt, "What I really wanted to tell you..."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Can We Talk? Friday 5 in Questions

Here are some things I've been wondering lately. :-)

1. What do you think about INCEPTION?

Have you seen it? If so, what did you think? I watched the preview and I'm afraid I'm going to have these weird dreams I used to have about the road suddenly going straight up as I was driving and I had to hang on to the steering wheel or fall out of the car. I know. I have weird dreams. Or maybe not!

2. What do you think of Blogger?
Look away, Blogger, this question is just for my friends over on LiveJournal. :-)

3. Did you hear about the new Avatar the Last Airbender series?

It's called The Legend of Korra and my son and I are SOOOOOO excited. I thought the first series was truly brilliant (smart, funny, thought-provoking).

4. Do you use Scrivener?

My revisions for SEE YOU AT HARRY'S haven't arrived yet, but I'm fairly certain this is going to be a big revision. The document is currently in Word, but I'm wondering if it would make sense to put this in a Scrivener document to make revision more manageable. Have any of you Scrivener users done this before? Is transferring a file difficult? Do you just cut and paste from chapter to chapter? Thanks for your help.

5. What are you doing this weekend?
I hope whatever it is, you find some time to stop and take a long, slow breath and look around you. Look at the people and things you love, even if they are in a picture frame. Remember what's really important. :-) And have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Skype visits are pretty dang cool

My big thankful Thursday today is that I survived my very first SKYPE visit! Not only that, I actually enjoyed it!

I had no idea this was happening during my visit, but Diana Tixier Herald, aka "genrelibrarian" on Twitter, was Tweeting my visit! I saw these updates after my talk, while I was sitting in my office wondering if it went OK:

@joknowles is doing Skype program at Mesa Co Library. She is fabulous taking to teens and looks gorgeous, too.

@jo knowles likes to read YA fiction, fantasy and Holly Black.

@jo knowles is awesome. She is talking about the books that made her a reader and subsequently a writer. Robert Cormier-CHOCOLATE WAR

So, after my head swelled up so hugely I couldn't get out of my office door, I relaxed. Thank you SO MUCH Diana, for saying such sweet things. You really made my night.

A long time ago, I bragged on Twitter that I'd made a delicious flourless chocolate cake. Diana messaged me and asked for the recipe. Last night, Shanna, the librarian who ran the Skype visit, had borrowed the recipe from Diana and served the cake to the teens who came to the event! She even held it up to the camera so I could see. She added a brilliant-looking caramel drizzle over the top which I must try next time. Anyway, when Shanna signed me up I had no idea she knew Diana, or that Diana would be in the room! Small, sweet world. :-)

If you have questions about how Skype worked, please feel free to ask in the comments. This was my first visit and I definitely feel like I learned a few important things about being prepared and what to expect. And thanks so much to Kate Messner for her wonderful Skype workshop at NESCBWI and also her wonderful posts about it on her blog. They really helped!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Skype, Beavers and Revision

Today I am participating in my very first Skype event.
This thrills me (yay! love Q & A and talking to teens) and terrifies me (eek! technology always fails me and so do cameras). But mostly, I think it's so incredibly cool that today I am going to talk to a bunch of teens in Colorado without even leaving my house. :-)

The dam beavers are at it again.

Unfortunately, they are not this friendly. Instead, they've decided that the dam that broke should be rebuilt in a new fashion. Their new construction has cut the water supply to our pond so now it's drying up. I saw a mama duck and her new ducklings trying to swim around on it and that made me very sad. We talked to the town manager and pointed out how much damage had been done to the road the last time the dam broke, and he said they would put in a siphon for free! He also said trapping was an option. But trapping=death, so no. Last night, we had a meeting with our neighbors (who own the land on which the dam is built) on our front lawn. They agreed the siphon was the best option and are all for saving the beavers for now. So, beavers and ducks are saved!

Possibly today, I will be getting edits for SEE YOU AT HARRY'S.
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This is a picture of me (sitting on the counter) and my sister (with the awesome peppermint stick ice-cream cone) and a bunch of my brother's friends at my brother's birthday party. We're at my parent's restaurant/ice-cream factory, which is the inspiration for the book. I know this is going to be a big revision so I've stocked up on tea and put on my armor. My husband is also working on a big revision for his agent so I have a feeling this house is going to be buzzing with stress. But it's exciting to be revising together and to be able to commiserate celebrate this exciting time! We are both so glad to have gone to Holly Black's amazing talk just as these revision notes came in.

Life has finally settled down here and it's so nice to spend quiet days with my son, reading, practicing guitar, and just chilling. He will be eleven in eight days and I know these moments together will soon be replaced by cooler opportunities, so I'm trying to enjoy these days of just "doing nothing" while they last.

Have a great day, everyone!