Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Fricassee

You'll have to forgive my lack of usual Friday spunk; my cat's gone missing.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a small sorrow.  It is not an act of terrorism; it is not a missing child; it is not a national catastrophe.  But it is a sorrow nonetheless, and I've had to give myself permission to feel sad for a little while.

Funny, though, how the small sorrows in life have the power to snap our perspective into place.  To reveal the many places of profound blessing in our lives.  If we're tuned in to all this, we end up feeling thankful instead of sad.

So it's okay.  I'm okay.  With each passing day, I'm more certain I'll never see Lucy again (there are woods--and coyotes--behind our house).  But I'm learning to rejoice in the season of her having been here.  I've truly never met such an affectionate, sweet, almost-doglike cat (she comes when you call her).  She's the fifth cat in my life (not including one-night stands), and I have loved her more deeply than any other.

I must have needed her, because she felt like a gift every day.  She still feels like a gift, even though she's not here.

Anyway.  That's the sad-heart-behind-the-blog-posts this week.

And so we move along.  My birthday was a string of delights (that sounds corny, but it really was), and as of yesterday my middle grade novel is officially on submission.  I hit 60,000 words on my WIP this week, and in ballet class I'm back at the barre.

Perspective, yes?

Some blog thoughts I'm tossing around (and would love your input on):

  • The response to Lauren MacLeod's drawing for a picture book critique from Helene Boudreau has made me realize that there are more PB authors among you than I realized.  So I'm planning to do something just for you -- a critique round.  Interested?
  • I'm thinking a summertime logline something-or-other would be a good way to get early practice for this year's Baker's Dozen, instead of waiting for the logline rounds that begin in October.  Thoughts?
  • Readership is always growing, but I'd like to see the blog's reach stretch even farther--especially before the Baker's Dozen (which tends to overwhelm anyone who happens upon the blog for the first time during the brouhaha).  I'd love to hear your ideas on how to share MSFV with all the fledgling writers out there who don't yet know we exist.

Please bomb my comment box with your creative ideas today!  And have a lovely weekend.


  1. I'm very sorry to hear about your cat. Losing a pet is a perfectly understandable reason to be upset, and it's certainly not an easy experience.

    I'm not a PB writer, but I imagine PB authors would be very happy to hear about a critique. The logline something-or-other sounds great, so I vote a great big YES for that. As for how to reach out...hmm. Maybe consider putting together a Twitter hashtag for future events? Or put together a Twitter? I've found quite a few contests through Twitter and hashtags can be a great way to get people involved, talking to each other and promoting an event as long as you get enough support. :)

    So that's my idea. And congrats on your MG submission and reaching 60k!

  2. Agh. I missed a word. Put together a Twitter EVENT. Heh heh, my bad.

  3. I am so, so sorry to hear about your cat. This sounds crazy -- but have tried burning catnip in your backyard? Or perhaps laying out a trail of tuna? The catnip fumes will surely lure many a four legged feline your way. I know how it feels to lose a furry friend.

  4. Poor kitty! I know how hard it is--I've had doglike kitties, too. They are so wonderful; the perfect pet. I hope she comes home!

  5. I'm so sorry to hear about Lucy. My heart goes out to you.

    Cat's become part of our families. One of the things I had to work through when I lost my cat was allowing myself to grieve. It's a loss, and regardless if anyone else understood it, I needed to grieve.

  6. Sorry to hear about Lucy. :(

    My cat went missing for almost a week once. Same situation--coyotes and all. Someone told me to put a bowl of her fave food (which you may have already tried) outside the house where I could watch for her. It worked for us--we got lucky.


  7. I so hope your kitty comes home to you. My sister's went missing just a weeks ago and came back. She'd just been on a walkabout. Hopefully your Lucy is doing the same.

  8. I am so sorry Lucy has gone missing. I hope by some miracle she returns home to you. Once, a sweet little kitty walked across the ice on our lake in the spring; by afternoon the lake had thawed and kitty couldn't get home. We fed her for a couple weeks and then called her owner when we saw the posters. They'd almost given up hope. All that just to say you never know.

    I am so touched that you take the attitude of gratitude. That's a beautiful thing and quite rare these days.

    Thank you for your your wonderful blog and HUGE thanks for all the fun contests you sponsor. I hope your week is filled with many more gifts. ♥

  9. So sorry about Lucy, but as other have said, sometimes cats just go walkabout - hopefully she'll turn up totally blase in a few days :) Fingers crossed for you. And congrats on going on sub! You have hundreds of us here rooting for your book deal.

  10. I've had cats that are dog-like too and have one now. She chews shoes, fetches, drinks out of the toliet (and glares at you if you are on her water bowl), sleeps on my bed and is generally obnoxious but has personality galore and I love her. Both of my cats are indoor cats, I've had too many lost to cars or whatever. I hope Lucy comes home soon. Yes, a PB critique sounds good and something in the summer to get ready for Baker's Dozen, maybe a Baker's Half-Dozen? Excited that your MG is on submission!!!!Let us know when it gets sold. Notice I said when and not if....hugs.

  11. Lucy may still return. My childhood cat was gone, and after a month my mother took me to the pound for a birthday puppy. Pitty was there in the shelter and had been found less than two miles from my home. Needless to say I brought home a cat and not a puppy.

    Congrats on your submissions. I know it is hard to be happy when you are worried about a family member (YES pets are family).

    As for PB critique....Please, please, please. I write PB and MG and I swear PB is usually harder for me.

  12. I'm so sorry about your cat. You are right about perspective, though, and I needed the reminder today. There are so many things to be grateful for.

    Yes, Yes, YES to the picture book critique round. And I agree with what others have said about twitter for promoting your blog. I found you recently through a comment someone made there.

    Thanks for all you do!

  13. So sorry about your cat - It's good to put it in perspective, but I understand the loss and it's good you can let yourself feel sorrow for something you loved that is lost.

    I LOVE your ideas. Helene just sent me a critique of my PB and WOW, it was so helpful. I would definitely like to see more PB posts. I really needed someone professional to look at it, but never knew who to ask. This was a dream for me - so thank you! I'm fairly new to this blog, but it has been one of the best things for my writing. Thank you!

  14. I'm sorry to hear about your cat. I have twice had cats show back up long after I thought I would never see them again. And we lived in a wooded area at the time, too. I hope yours is still able to make it back to you. :)

  15. AmyMak
    Are you a member of the SCBWI Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators? I found a critique group through them and they are very helpful.

    But a prof. looking at the work would be great!

  16. Meow! Lucy must be purrfectly happy to know that you are thinking of her so fondly. Hope she comes home soon.

    So VERY excited that you are contemplating more for PB writer - that's my wheelhouse and I think it is terrific to have more opportunities to share our work. Thank you!

  17. So sorry to hear about your kitty! I know how much that hurts. I'll hope that she is just out there exploring and returns to you soon.

    YES, please, on the picture book idea! Like another commenter, I also write PBs and MG and find it's so hard to break in so any extra help would be most welcome. Summer logline is a great idea too!
    Thank you for all you do!

  18. We have a duo of kitties and one has decided to escape the house everyday this week. He comes back every evening, but its driving my children to tears, worrying that Tiger will never return. So, so sorry!

  19. So sorry for your loss, I lost my cat a couple of weeks ago. I still have that empty spot that reminds me of him. I am so sorry for you:)

    A critique round sounds awesome! I'm always being bombarded with characters and ideas, so I always have something that needs critiqued!

  20. It feels greedy to reply to your blog and just say, "Yes, please -- a round of PB critiques would be wonderful!" But others have expressed sympathy and hope for your lost Lucy in stronger ways than I have words for. I hope all our good wishes and hopes help in some small way.

  21. Sorry about Lucy, I hope she will find her way home.

    Yes please to PB critiques.

    Thank you for all you do for us, and good luck with your submission!

  22. Please don't give up on Lucy! As someone who has reunited many beloved furry friends with their families, I urge you to continue trying. She may still be out there waiting for you. Put up posters and call animal control and nearby shelters. There are lots of loving people who want to help. We have coyotes in our woods too, but that doesn't stop the same strays from continuing to outsmart them.

    My prayers are with you both!

  23. So sorry about your cat. Our pets really do become family. Hope you find your kitty soon!
    I don't have much of an opinion on picture books, but I do think that might be fun to read. I always tell everyone about the fun contests. Thanks again for all you do!

  24. As a cat lover, I'm so sorry to hear that your Lucy is missing. They do have the ability to twine themselves around our hearts. As a cat owner, I can say that I have one who disappears for days at a time on a regular basis, and coyotes abound in my area. I also had one who disappeared for a month in the middle of winter, and returned to me. He was only a shadow of his former self, but he healed and remained with us for many years to come. I hope Lucy's story has a happy ending for both of you. Thank you for sharing your sorrow with us. And thank you for the poem.

  25. Losing a pet is heartbreaking! For about 13 years, we had a follow-the-kids-to-the-school-bus-stop kind of kitty. She once disappeared, and we did all the right things--went door to door asking people to check their garages and tool sheds; put up signs; checked incoming cats at animal control; registered her loss with local veterinarians; put an ad in the paper--everything, everything we could think of. On the thirteenth night, while I was cooking, she jumped up on the kitchen window ledge and meowed for service. She never would tell us what she'd been up to. You know how cats are.

    Your kitty may still show up. But she may not. In either case, writing her story is a help. Thank you for telling us about her. You can tell we would love to hear her purr.

    My SCBWI crit group surprised me by being heavy on the PB end, so I would be glad to pass along info about a PB crit round. As I am sort of new to MSFV. I'm not sure what to say about Baker's Dozen. As far as promoting the site--you provide a wonderful resource, and I'm happy to recommend you to my writing groups. In an age of infobombardment, I believe personal recommendation is one of the strongest promotional tools we have.

  26. I hope you find your cat soon. I'll say a little prayer.

  27. You are so very entitled to feel sadness and loss over your cat, without having to compare it on a scale to other losses. Losses hurt. Period. How wonderful that you realize how much of an impact she made on your heart.


  28. I'm so sorry to hear about Lucy. But I will keep my hopes for a good outcome for you and her. My neighbor last year lost his cat for four weeks. We all thought he was gone. But he came home so I will hope for the same outcome for you and Lucy.

    And yes, I would be so so interested in more logline critiques. I'm just not great at them

  29. Participating in the fake logline contest opened my eyes to the work I need in that area. I would love to have another chance to practice!

  30. A #MissSnarkParty on twitter! Maybe we could share hooks from our story? You could have a giveaway for new participants with the best hooks. Though you probably won't know who's new and who's old...

    I would be interested in logline critiques!

    I really hope you find your cat. I'm sure she'll miss you so much that she will have to come back. :)

  31. Oh! Heart Pain! Four years ago I lost my beloved cat, and often still grieve. She, also, was an unusual personality and I grieved her more than other pets I had known. I think BECAUSE it is not a terrorist attack or the loss of a human we get confused about our overwhelming feelings of pain and loss, because we know it does not match the loss of a child or loved one. YET, we have made such a deep connection to an animal that cannot talk or share in physical ways that we humans often connect with TRUE love (sex) we feel guilty that we feel such an overwhelming sense of loss. I say wallow in your pain. Inspect and touch it and accept it as a total, real loss. I am sorry to hear that Lucy has left you. :(

  32. I hope that Lucy comes back. My in-laws' cat was missing for a while and showed back up. She sounds smart, and I hope she's safe and finds her way back. I really feel for you. A missing animal is the worst kind of terrible. :(

  33. Please keep us updated on Lucy! My friends think I was an Egyptian in a former life, because of my close connection with cats. :) I have been through the wringer myself in the last week because it looked like my feline soul mate was at the end, to the point where I even made the appointment at the vet for "last rites". But on THE day, Dorsey rallied, started eating again and is back to healthy. Or as healthy as a 21-year-old cat can be. =^..^=

    Spring is when outside cats wander, fixed or not. My vet said there is literally something in the air that cats can smell and lures them into the kitty single bars. I'd contact the humane society, craigslist L &F and put up posters, but she may come back on her own when the party's over.

    As for PB critiques, I would love that! This is a new genre for me (did one as a gift) and it got rave reviews from people who aren't my mother. But I'm hesitant to do much more with it until I get some educated input.

    Then again, if I submit it and I get rejected, it's really no big deal. But I enjoyed the writing and artwork so much I'd like to do more with it in the future.

    My neighbor's outdoor senior cat moved to my house when they got a big new (and untrained) dog. But there is competition for my porch, as I give visitors kitty beds and quality food, even though they're not my cats, and he disappeared. I found him a couple blocks away via the Humane Society website. The house he moved to not only had the most amazing yard overlooking a wetland area, the owner didn't have cat food, so she was feeding him tuna fish! No wonder he decided to stay there!

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  35. I'm sorry about Lucy. I admire how you are able to feel gratitude when you also feel a pang of sadness.

    As to an idea for reaching new readers - how about if you have a contest just for them? The only writers who can enter are ones who have never entered anything on the blog before.

    Maybe a - "Greatest line you ever wrote" type of contest?

  36. Hi Authoress,
    I found your blog about a year ago and occasionally check in. I thought my perspective might be helpful here.
    This is actually one of the writing blog I check less frequently, and it's because it seems to be dedicated to wonderful contests, contests which I can't enter yet. I can't help but find a little disheartening.
    I'm 70k into a predicted 90k SciFi novel. I don't qualify as having a 'finished MS'.
    Maybe that's your target audience? Querying writers? If so that's fine. But maybe you could do something to draw in writers like me, who are serious (I didn't write 70k for nothing) but not quite there yet.

  37. Anon -- Thanks for visiting the blog!

    Actually, you should check in more often, because you're missing all the in-house critique sessions that are for finished and unfinished manuscripts. The Secret Agent contests, which are the ones for querying writers, only occur 9 times a year. We've got Drop the Needles, What's Broken?, logline critique rounds, etc., that occur randomly. So checking in more frequently would probably be a good idea. :)