Friday, December 21, 2012

Baby Update and a Merry Christmas to All!

First of all, I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all the well wishes, thoughts and prayers for my sister and niece. Baby Kendall made it through the initial operation beautifully and they were able to remove the whole mass. This is my little sister’s facebook announcement from Wednesday:

‘I can't even begin to tell everyone how thankful I am for all of the prayers this week. They worked! Kendall is 100% healthy. God is good. We are also so thankful for my parents who have been with the big girls for a week now. I don't know what we would do without them! Thankful for my inlaws that they were able to come here and give us some family support that we very much needed at the beginning of all of this. Thankful for the Ronald McDonald house and all of the wonderful things they provided for us this week. And last but certainly not least, I am so thankful for the amazing staff at NC Children's Hospital. The nurses and doctors of the NCCC and ENT teams were absolutely amazing. I am so relieved to close this chapter in our lives and begin our lives as a family of five!! God bless you all. This will certainly be a Merry Christmas for this family.’

The whole family is at home resting now and getting ready for the holidays, which is a huge relief and the best present I could have this holiday.

As for me- after nearly four months, fifteen rewritten chapters, 20k of new material, a changed ending and several rounds of beta notes incorporated, I’m happy to announce that I have finally FINALLY sent off the revision of FOSSEGRIM to the agent. And before the end of the world, at that!:) Whether she offers representation or not, this has been one hell of an experience!

That said, I’m happy to finally have #projectrevise&resubmit behind me for a little while so I can focus on the holidays and my family. I know my blogging presence has been sparse these last few months, to say the least, and I’m looking forward to finally being able to take up a normal schedule after the new year!

Until then, here’s wishing all of you a fantastic holiday! 

Merry Chrismas, Happy New Year and God Bless!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Just Katie

I don’t usually make a habit of talking about personal stuff on my blog, give-or-take a few anecdotes or life-changing events. But ever since Friday morning, the Creepy Query Girl hasn’t really been able to concentrate on anything other than the recent national tragedy and a personal struggle my younger sister and week-old niece are up against in the hospital right now. This weekend has left me drained of tears and energy, leaving behind a very tired, very fragile, me

Just Katie.

My younger sister gave birth by c-section to a beautiful 8lb 2oz baby girl, Kendall Reese on Tuesday morning. But in the night between Thursday and Friday, she informed everyone through facebook that a growth had been diagnosed in Kendall’s throat, which was making breathing and eating uncomfortable for her. She was taken by emergency-helicopter to a different hospital while my sister and her husband followed by ambulance. An ENT showed the tumor was a continuation of her tongue tissue and is wrapped around some of her vocal cords and esophagus. The first (and hopefully last) surgery is scheduled for today.

Then Friday night, France time, I read the very first facebook comment about the tragedies befalling Sandy Hook Elementary and began following coverage. I was born and raised in Connecticut, just visited there this summer, and the majority of friends and family on my personal facebook page live there. Some of them just minutes away from Newtown. Some of them knowing or having frequented the older victims in passing. It is a small world, after all. And I watched and cried with the rest of the nation as the details grew more devastating and unimaginable. 

The story made the headlining news here in France, as well. The sorrow in losing such young lives so senselessly is universal and many of my French friends and family are asking me difficult questions about how I feel: about the tragedy in my state, and our president, and especially about gun control in the U.S.- the 2nd amendment seeming forever foreign and unnecessary to the French. 

And the truth is, while I’m not sure what measures will be most effective or what the true debate here should be, I understand that all of the uprising of opinions and the pointing of fingers are coming from the same place

The cry for less guns, more guns, better mental health care, better preparation for schools and teachers...I know that all of these people raising their voices in debate, no matter what their stands, are reacting to the same deep, universal pain, sorrow, anger, and incomprehension residing in each and every one of us. We all feel the same things. And we all have different ways of showing it. Of coping. And seated even deeper than the pain and outrage, is compassion, empathy, and a desire to help others- in short, it’s love.  

And as long as it’s coming from a place of love, I will try to understand. I will not judge how others choose to cope during this difficult time, even if it differs greatly from my own. I’m choosing to stay tolerant and open and compassionate to every person on each side of the spectrum because I know that everyone is struggling to make sense of it all, in their own way. 

Today I’m praying hard for my baby niece, my sister and her family- praying that this first operation is successful so that baby Kendall won’t need anymore.  And I’m praying for the souls lost, the families and community left broken in the wake of this tragedy. And for the parents, children, and teachers of my nation who are facing a most difficult Monday morning- filled with grief and questions that may never have answers. 

God bless.


Monday, December 10, 2012

The Best Characters

It has begun, that most wonderful, magical time. The Christmas tree is up, favorite holiday movies out, and classic carols prepped on the Bluetooth from now until the long-awaited holiday. 
Of course, with all the Christmas cheer often comes the good, bad and the crazy of trying to put together the perfect holiday. Which is why, while watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation last night, the writer in me couldn’t help analysing the character of Clark W. Griswold. 

Some of the best characters, I think, are ones that a lot of us can identify with. And never has there been a more authentic or genuine portrayal of your stereotypical American over the holidays. With a high regard for all that is tradition and family, Clark holds an idealistic and morally sound vision of what the holidays should be, and does his best to make that vision a reality. 

However, when things don’t go his way, we catch unfiltered glimpses into his many facets; 

His deep distain for injustice.

Unwavering determination to finish what he started. 

Impulsive no-holds-barred language

And an inability to think straight when presented with a fine specimen of the opposite sex.

I like to think there's a little Clark W. Griswold in us all. In any case, Christmas Vacation definitely reminds me of my family Christmases growing up in the 80's.

Tell me, what are your favorite Christmas characters of all time? Are you more of a Grinch/Scrooge fan?  A Ralphie?  A Charlie Brown? ;)

Monday, December 3, 2012

The End of the Story

‘As for me,when I was finally back where I belonged, and as I looked into my husband’s smiling eyes, I finally understood what happily ever after could really mean.’

Me: *rolls eyes* ugh. Too sappy.

‘There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore. I am thawing.’

Me: Realistic resolution. But a little depressing.

‘His lips finally sear mine, more powerful than ever before. Wow. The solar system is finally in alignment, and I got my Do Over without even asking for it.’

Me: Not bad. Happily-ever-after with just the right amount of voice. Hmn...

‘In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.’

Me: Nice. But a little too philosophical for my taste.

See, I’m facing kind of a dilemma. One of the agent’s requests is that the ending of my story reflect the book’s ‘stand alone’ status. And, while I wrapped up all  the questions I could think of for my initial MC, the very last scene and the very last sentence of my book leaves the future of the secondary MC hanging.

Now, even though I do intend to present this back to the agent as a stand-alone novel, the truth is, I really, really don’t want to change that scene. Not because I envision writing more novels with these characters. But because I enjoy the excitement of letting the readers fill in the gap with their own imagination when it comes to this. Maybe our secondary character will turn Fossegrim. Maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll only turn long enough to heal from his injuries and then he’ll take measures to regain his humanity and go back to life as he knew it. We don’t really need to know. But it doesn’t hurt to wonder. And I feel like leaving those possibilities open will incite the reader to think about the book after they’ve put it down.  


Leaving a raging question at the end of a book does lead one to believe that others will follow. So, technically, it really should be changed. But no matter what I came up with during revisions, the ending just felt wrong. So I looked to my bookshelf to inspiration and was disgruntled to find very few books that were stand-alones. Today’s YA market is inundated with series (thus why the agent prefers an author try their hand at a stand-alone first).  

But finding that perfect balance of resolution, characterisation, and satisfaction has proved, well, absolutely flupping frustrating.

So, I ask you, my friends. When are some of the endings that leave you feeling satisfied as a reader? Do you prefer when everything is all wrapped up right down to how many kids the MC’s will have and what their dog is named, leaving no room for questions about their future?  Do you prefer vague endings, leaving some things open to the imagination? Realistic or happily-ever-after? And how do you think the ending of a book should change in regard to the genre? 

(The above quotes were taken from Kristan Higgan’s ‘One and Only’, Laurie Halse Anderson’s ‘Wintergirls’, Simone Elkeles ‘Perfect Chemistry’ and Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ respectively.) 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...