Looking for Beta Readers …

Okay, I think I’m ready to have my short story read. 

(Of course, just saying that makes me sort of hyperventilate. … Sheesh. … I never really seem to have the confidence you’d think I’d have after writing all these years.)

Anyway, a few of you have offered, but if you’re still up for it — and can read this weekend — hit me up in comments or send me an e-mail.

This is a short one (seven chapters of less than 2,000 words each), so it should go fast. It’s a historical western, set in 1870 in California, post-Gold Rush, but right ahead of the silver-mining boom towns. These characters are on their way to one of the biggest, baddest boom towns of all: Bodie, California. (Legend has it that one little girl — on the eve of her family’s trip to the legendary town — wrote in her diary, “Good bye, God. I’m going to Bodie. …”)

What I’ll be interested in are how you felt about the characters, their goals, and their resolution. Also need to know if it’s “hot” enough (like fanning-self hot!), since this publisher requests that. …

I worry that the short-story format was too short for me to do what I really wanted to do, so curious about other opinions.

Let me know if you’re up for a read!

Latest Reading List: Do You Notice a Theme, Here?

Updating my “Currently Reading” section with some books that are all on my nightstand right now. You might notice a theme, here:

  • The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West (1840 -1900), by Candy Moulton — Great reference for everything from that era, from professions and food storage, to clothing and furniture. It’s a tad dry (definitely a reference book!), but still so packed with info that I’m enjoying it anyway. Just reading about how refrigeration came into being, for instance, or how after 1865 condensed milk was available in cans. … (Really? huh. …)
  • Soiled Doves: Prostitution in the Early West, by Anne Seagraves — Another interesting reference book that covers madams, the various levels of “houses,” how much money prostitutes made, some of the rough towns like Dodge and Bodie, and even some famous “wild” women like Calamity Jane and Josephine Marcus (Wyatt Earp’s eventual wife). Great characters. …
  • Men to Match My Mountains, by Irving Stone — I’ve only been meaning to read this book for about 10 years! Honestly. Now it seems like a good time, while I’m looking for inspiration for wild-west characters and planning a summer trip to the Sierra Nevadas (where much of this historical novel takes place). My mom and my husband have each read this book about two or three times, and tell me it’s one of their all-time favorites (and then they throw in a plaintive wail: WHY oh WHY haven’t I read it yet! They insist I will absolutely adore it.) So here I go, Mom and Chris. …

Do you read books for reference? What is on your nightstand right now?

Art for Art’s Sake

Whew! So busy these days with kids’ activities — June is turning out to be about as crazy as September. We’ve got activities on campus, projects due, group study (to which Mom drives kids around), SATs, subject tests, dances, yearbook purchases, open houses, signing up for next year’s things, etc.

But we’re in the last two weeks now, though, so … home stretch. …

In the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with a little art for art’s sake. This is a drawing Rene did. I love this one:

Prom Success!

So I went to prom last weekend!

Well … okay, not exactly. … I went as a driver. And a photographer. But they told me the secret handshake, so that counts for something, right? 🙂

After the elaborate dance proposal, the prom turned out to be a great hit for my son and his girlfriend. They went with a billion other couples (I counted) and had a giant picnic dinner — complete with catered Italian food and candles on the table — in the park next to the event, which I thought was very cute and romantic.

I’ll just show off one picture, then I’ll put my photo album back in my purse and try not to be too annoying. …

Hope you had a great weekend!

Teens and Elaborate Dance Proposals

I’m pleased to say that romance is alive and well in the realm of teen-dom. And – when it comes to dances – it’s also a bit elaborate.

Gone are the days when a boy would just ask a girl “Will you go to prom with me?”

Now, things are WAY more complicated. Just to ask one another to prom (or homecoming or winter formal), there are now scavenger hunts, baked-goods deliveries, car-sponge-paint, balloon bouquets, or sky-writing.

(Okay, I’m kidding about the sky-writing, but I’m sure it’s not far behind.)

My son – alas – has fallen into this pressure.

He and his buddies loosen their collars with angst until they can think of a most-creative and most-romantic (and don’t forget original) way to ask their respective dates to prom or homecoming. The pressure is on about four weeks before the dance, and doesn’t let up until the asking has been done, because they’ll hear continuously what all the other boys have done, or will hear in the quad about what some clever boy at another school has done, or will hear from their girlfriends how so-and-so did this ultra-romantic thing. … Continue reading

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