It never rains but it pours, right?
The last few weeks of summer and first couple weeks of school have been a whirlwind. It’s always a bit of a transition going into the school year. Not only does the family have to adapt to the decrease in the amount of time I have to do things, but this week there was my back-to-school night and my daughter’s back-to-school night, so the evenings were busy. I have a student teacher, but it takes a while before I feel that in the work load, because of course I stay in the classroom, observe, and take notes the first week or so, then slowly phase out while she’s getting a handle on classroom management. I don’t write lesson plans, but I go over hers before she teaches them and talk with her about what was and wasn’t effective in that day’s lesson. The good news is I’m already really impressed with her. She’s going to make a good teacher. She did one lesson plan this week I fully intend to steal for the future. (Is it stealing if I told her so up front?) The kids like her, but they are quickly learning not to mess with her. She intrinsically understands so many of the really important things that are almost impossible to teach a new teacher.
I just cranked out a chapter for someone else’s textbook giving practical advice for how to teach in a traumatized school—what kinds of lessons are most successful, how to differentiate instruction for kids with PTSD, how to take care of yourself, that kind of thing. This wasn’t a moneymaker for me; I don’t get a cut. I just figured I had this rather unfortunate expertise—might as well put it to good use. That and the bent my blog comments have taken since I posted about Dave Cullen’s book have taken their toll. I’m getting chronic headaches again. Time to get back into something healthier.
My agent’s publicist has been talking to the publicist at SMP (St. Martin’s Press) about the paperback release of Hester in January, and she gave me summer homework. Unfortunately, by the time she got around to it, summer was almost over and my daughter was so sick, so I didn’t get around to it until recently. Basically I’ve been hunting down blogs that discuss Hester so that my publisher can set up giveaways on blogs that do them. Then I spent hours online looking up Unitarian Universalist churches that had book clubs with the idea that SMP will send a promo copy to the club coordinator. Then if the club chooses the book, I can set up a teleconference or videoconference with the group to discuss it from our shared faith perspective. I’d love to be able to do this. I met with a group of women from our church and it was so much fun. By the way, if you’re part of a UU church or book club that would like to do this, contact me and I’ll hook you up. Heck, if you’re part of any book club that wants to tele- or videoconference, click on the contact button at the top of this blog and let me know.
On top of this, as I’ve mentioned, Kristin, my agent, gave the nod to my latest book concept but nixed the sample chapters, so I’ve been writing several new starts. It can take a while to really get a book off and running. Yesterday she sent me an email saying that she went ahead and sent my last manuscript to my editor, not as my option book, but just for feedback. Nichole was her usual generous, wonderful self and sent back lots of notes. She confirmed what Kristin said (and I knew as I wrote it); it has no clear genre, but she likes the story. She wasn’t talking about buying it, but thinks it has potential. I thought Kristin didn’t like the story (too didactic) but she said she keeps thinking about it, which was why she sent it to Nichole. Anyway, the consensus between those two is that I need to cut about 100 pages from the 500 page ms. That’s a first for me. Usually editors and Kristin ask me to add. That’s a whole lot of cutting. Anyway, I’m going to call Kristin next week and we’ll talk about it. I do like the book and would like to sell it, so if we can tweak (and cut) and make it marketable (most likely to a fantasy publisher, though it’s not strictly fantasy), I’d like to do it.
In short, I think I have enough on my plate to keep me out of trouble.