two zero one four

Happy New Year! Okay, yeah, we're kinda at that point in the month where you're not really supposed to be saying that anymore, but hey, I want your new year to be happy so I'm saying it!

There's much to catch up on so this is going to be kind of a crazy mix of topics, but I wanted to get up to speed with the blog to get back into some good blogging habits :)

There are a lot of things I'm looking forward to in 2014 and as far as books and pop culture go, I will be doing a separate post sometime soon listing my top things to be excited about in 2014, but on a personal level, one of the biggest is that my family will be growing in July with the addition of another baby Studer. Yeah, anything else that's going on this year kinda can't compare to that news, but that's why it gets a mention here and everything else will get a separate post. I know it's no excuse, but this pregnancy has definitely contributed to my lack of posting. I've been pretty tired between work and chasing a toddler around, plus I've had a cold that materialized sometime in mid-December and still doesn't seem to want to leave completely. I blame the frigid weather. And the lowered immune system. It's kind of a perfect storm of badness. But I am trying to focus on the good things on the horizon. Like spring coming...eventually. Have winters always been this long? Or this cold? I miss the sun.

I've also been feeling like I'm in a huge holding pattern. Yes, I'm technically in a literal holding pattern as I wait for my internal tenant to be big enough to vacate the premises, but things on the submission front have been unsettlingly quiet. I think the entire publishing industry is going through a fairly slow phase right now where the rapid fire deals of the past are fewer and farther between than ever. But I remain optimistic and while I'm waiting for word on the books that are in the can, I'm settling into the first draft of my next book, a YA contemporary mystery. It's my first experience writing a contemporary novel so it's been a really interesting and educational experience so far. I hope to have something of that to share on the blog here soon. And maybe a bit more of the books I've finished, to give you guys a better taste of what they're all about too.

So that's almost all for now, except for one topic I want to touch on... my little PLLer heart is kinda broken right now, guys. With the new season of Pretty Little Liars already under way, I'm going to be doing a recap soon, but for now, I want to quickly address the fact that Hot Caleb is off in Ravenswood and the dreaded Haleb break-up has happened. I knew this was coming. But it still super sucks. I'll share my thoughts on Ravenswood in my recap too, but the topline is that this is like Angel and Buffy all over again. Except this time, I don't see the potential for the spin-off to get better. More on that soon.

I hope your January is off to a good start! I am hoping to incorporate a little more variety into this blog in 2014. Have you made any resolutions (unofficial or otherwise) for the new year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Until next time, bloggies!

sometimes you just need a break

I know I've been a terrible blogger this summer. I'm sorry for that and unfortunately, I don't see things changing dramatically anytime soon. I do want to try and post something every now and then, but as long as I'm in the middle of this enormous confusing question mark that is the query process, things are going to be slow. I'm finding it hard to share the ups, when a down is just around the corner. That said, I'm going to try and get back into the swing of things in the fall, and who knows, maybe I'll eventually have some really good news to share, and I do want to try and post more about my WIP, which I am actually pretty excited about.
For now, this blog's sporadic nature can be attributed to "summer vacation" (the quotes are due to the fact that I'm not really taking much of a summer vacation this year, with the exception of the trip boyfriend and I are taking to Halifax over the Labour Day weekend).

Speaking of taking a break, have you ever wondered what a hummingbird looks like when it's sleeping? Ok, you probably haven't, but if you have, wonder no longer! It looks like this:

For some reason, I was thinking about hummingbirds on the way to work this morning. It's nice to know the little guys aren't moving 100 miles an hour 24/7. Everybody needs a break sometimes.

Quick QQ09 update:
I currently have 3 partials and 2 fulls out there (I somehow managed to go from no full requests to quite a few, with 2 more that have since been very encouragingly rejected--that is, the rejection letters were encouraging. The rejection itself was not.)
I also have 11 unanswered query letters.
I'm hoping to hear back from any of these 16 agents soon.
One truly amazing agent regretfully passed on a partial recently, citing the many things she loved about the manuscript. It was a little heartbreaking that she had to pass, but she made me feel pretty good about the story I'm telling and my chances for one day seeing Chameleon published. She also referred to it as "Spiderman for girls", which I love, and can't thank her enough for drawing the comparison. I'm going to have to keep that one in mind for future marketing of the book (you know, should I be lucky enough to be in such a position one day...)

I pretty much feel anxious all the time these days, waiting, and waiting. I'm still waiting to hear back on a partial from that very first agent I queried back in April. The wait may kill me, but from what I've heard, the agent is worth that kind of damage so I continue to wait.

I think that's all the news that's fit to print. Oh man, now my tea is cold :(

series monogamist

Whenever someone would ask me if I preferred movies or scripted television, I would always answer TV. Many would balk at this answer, certain that TV was the "mac and cheese" of the two art forms, but I loved the endless possibilities for plot and character development as well as the promise of near-weekly installments.
Film, though certainly admirable in its own way, involves a lot of waiting for very little viewing time and even if it's a film that has a sequel, that's just another long wait, often followed by disappointment. Plus, liking TV better doesn't mean I don't like movies, it just means if I had to live in a world with one or the other, I'd go with TV. Scripted TV that is--if it could only be reality TV, I'd probably have to go with movies. You can only take so much Speidi before your brain implodes.

As I've gotten older, it's become harder and harder to keep up with certain shows I enjoy, but the advent of TV on DVD has opened a wonderful new world where I can not only catch up on things, but watch episode after episode for hours on end, which let's face it, is OMG THE BEST WAY TO WATCH TV!

You see, when I like a show, it's not enough to tune in casually. I have to see every. single. episode. I think this compulsion started with my X-Files obsession back in the day, which lead to my All Things Whedon obsession, Veronica Mars obsession (I still cry over that show being cancelled. VM will live on in my heart FOREVER!) and, with the advent of TV on DVD, all of this has now culminated in me being able to obsessively watch back-to-back episodes of shows for which I didn't get in on the ground floor (Mad Men, Dexter, Big Love, The Tudors--I know. What's wrong with me, right?)

Anyway, lately boyfriend and I have been compulsively watching The West Wing, which we both missed the first time around. It's really fun to watch something uninhibited by week-long, or even season-long, waits (though it is occasionally inhibited by a need for sleep/work), but it's also dangerous. Watching a show that has fully run its course means there are easily-accessed spoilers online about exactly how it's all going to end. I'm sad enough just knowing that Sam Seaborn isn't going to stick around (I heart you Rob Lowe!), I don't need to stumble across an old review about how everyone is killed off in the last season (if you haven't watched The West Wing, I made that last part up... I think.)

Committing to a completed series on DVD means also committing to not cheating on it by looking anything up online and sometimes, when you have a boyfriend who is out of town on business on a regular basis, effectively putting the marathon on hold, you start to wonder if it would be so bad to just sneak a peek at what's coming up in the next episode or so....

Or maybe I can just start another series for when he's not around. I'm hearing True Blood is quite check-out worthy. The only problem is, what happens after I've devoured every episode of that? Do I wait for more on a weekly basis like the rest of the world? How can you expect me to wait when I've become so accustomed to just skipping to the next episode? How did anyone ever manage this? You've ruined me TV on DVD. I hope you're happy.

they should bottle this stuff and sell it

New post! (as promised)

First off, I am reaching ridiculous levels of uber-excitement because I just received a request for a partial from one of my absolute top agents! I pretty much read the email and then went off like a rocket, dancing around with joy. Then the small part of my brain that reminds me to not get my hopes up kicked in and composed myself enough to reply with said partial attached. Now I wait and no, I'm not going to get my hopes up, but yeah, I am going to cross my my fingers and daydream, and pray, and maybe sacrifice a virgin daiquiri (or maybe a non-virgin daiquiri... it is a long weekend after all).

Ok, so here are the current stats:

Rejections: 7
Partial Requests: 2!!!!!
Partial Rejections: 1

Not a bad ratio if I do say so myself.

So anyway, this news is extra amazing because it came to me on my first half-Friday of the summer (ah, summer hours, how I love thee) and we got free hot breakfast and birthday cake at work this morning! Pretty good day all around, yeah? Yeah, and it only gets better because it's the beginning of what is going to be a great long weekend. Tomorrow both of my sisters and my brother-in-law are coming to visit (always a good time) and then on Sunday, boyfriend and I are headed up to the cottage until Monday. I'm was looking forward to this and the added happiness over this partial request just sweetens the pot.

I suppose I didn't get around to blogging about last weekend. Boyfriend and I had a wonderful time in Niagara Falls. We had gorgeous weather the day we went and there were rainbows all over the place (so girly and pretty!). We had a very nice dinner and then headed back home in time to visit the parents for mother's day/my dad's birthday (which always falls near mother's day weekend).

Work has been busy this week as I got back into the swing of things after my leisurely weekend, but I still took some time to make some revisions to Chameleon and start mapping out my WIP. (Gah, I hope those revisions pay off!)

Been watching finales of all my fav show this week- LOST left me a little heartbroken, but The Office healed said wounds with Jimtastic smiles. I didn't think that guy could act any more adorably. Sigh. What a great season ender.

Aright, that's enough of an update for now. The partial request excitement is flowing through my veins and I just can't sit still :) Also, my kitties are wrestling in the next room and from the sounds of it, things are getting knocked over. I should probably put an end to that...

queries, revisions and falls, oh my!

The week is off to a much slower start than last week, which is nice because I'm finally catching up on some work that had been put aside in the author summit insanity. I'm also happy to say it's only a four day work week for me because I'm taking Friday off to go to Niagara Falls for the fourth anniversary of boyfriend and I dating. (Actually, next week and the week after that are both four day weeks as well--hooray!) We'll be staying in a very swank room here:

Jealous? I know I am! Wait, what? Anyway, yeah, it's gonna be a blast as long as the weather holds up. Right now they're calling for sun and scattered showers. I can deal with that.

Query Quest 2009, as I've decided to dub it, has entered into its fourth week. I'm still sitting at four rejections, but now have about 7-8 queries out in the world waiting to be responded to. (Wait, four weeks of queries, four rejections, four day work week, and four years of dating with boyfriend....weird. Maybe I should buy four lottery tickets, each laced with 4s. Or maybe I should focus on finishing this post...)

I sent out two more little queries today and made an effort to revise my letter a bit in case it has something to do with the rejections I've received so far. I think the revisions help the query to represent the story a little better. At least, I hope so. I keep going back and forth between a calm reserved patience and a nervous bundle of anxiety attacks. I deal with this by telling myself that worrying or wondering won't cause anything to happen. I just have to keep going. Despite flip-flopping on the issue, I've restrained from sending out too many queries at one time. I want to have multiple requests out there, but not so many that I start to lose track or would have dozens of agents to get in touch with should an offer come my way (I also want the option to keep revising my letter if it isn't working). Originally, I was hoping to send out more queries every time I received a rejection, but since the replies, rejection or otherwise, are slow to arrive, I'm instead sending out a few more every week or so. I'm convinced that eventually the right agent for me will receive my letter and declare: "INGENIOUS! I MUST REQUEST A FULL FROM THIS A-MAZING YOUNG TALENT! HER STORY WILL CHANGE THE FACE OF YA AS WE KNOW IT!" Too much? :)

I hope to have more updates on the whole Query Quest 2009 soon, but for now, I wait, and you wait along with me, and I try my best to not blog about waiting over and over again. Man, something interesting had better happen soon or this blog is gonna get really boring, really fast... I apologize in advance if it comes to that :)

(must think of diversion from depressing turn this has taken...)

Hey, what's that over there?!

Yeah, I dunno. This is what happens when you google "adorable yorkie". I have NO idea what that frog has to do with this, and upon further inspection of the website this came from, I see that this pup isn't even a true yorkie. It's a yorkie poo, which also according to the site, ISN'T a yorkie that has an unfortunate need for frequent trips to the little puppies' room.

What happened to this blog post? I swear it started out somewhere respectable, didn't it?


Fine, I give up.

parchment? i'll stick to my stone tablet thank you.

A longer blog post was promised and here it is!

This week got off to a hectic start with an author summit taking place here in the Toronto headquarters of Harlequin. When one of our top authors comes to visit, it's a pretty big deal so there's a lot of work to be done both in preparation for the author's arrival as well as on the day of the actual summit. For assistants like myself, that means decorating boardrooms, making reservations, organizing catering, book signings, running errands for editors and top execs, serving, cleaning up and pretty much doing everything else in between. Oh, plus all of my usual work. It all adds up to a couple of really exhausting days that at least fly by pretty quickly and at the end of it all, I can't really complain because it usually means I get to meet some very cool people and add to my collection of autographed books. At any rate, I'm happy to announce that things have slowed down, which means I can catch up on some work and ease myself into the weekend.

Boyfriend and I recently purchased a wii fit, which I've been using on a daily basis despite my aforementioned exhaustion. I have to say, Nintendo have really done a good job with the wii fit. I'm amazed by how far "video games" have come (mostly due to the inventiveness of companies like Nintendo). The combination of exercise and games makes working out sooo much more enjoyable for people like me who hate going to the gym, but need some sort of routine along with someone (the wii fit itself in this case) to hold them accountable when they get lazy. I highly recommend it to anyone who knows they should exercise more, but just can't find the motivation.

The main topic of today's post is something I've wanted to comment on for a while, but I didn't quite have my thoughts organized on the subject until now (if even now). Every now and then, someone in the editorial department will forward along an article of interest regarding the publishing industry (usually focusing on some trend that's hot at the moment). Lately, a lot of articles about e-readers have been making the rounds and they've got me thinking about the pros and cons of e-readers and whether or not I should put any stock into the fear that books as we know them will one day be a thing of the past.

The article that finally inspired me to blog about this can be found here. It's a good read.

As for me, I still haven't completely made up my mind about e-readers, but here are some of the thoughts that occurred to me as I was reading this article:

E-readers are convenient--that can't be denied, and convenience has a long history of extinguishing older forms of media. The other benefits are obvious: e-readers save paper, you can carry your entire library around when you travel, and you can get your hands on the latest book by your favourite author at the click of a button, but are those benefits enough to eventually wipe out books completely?

I personally don't think so. At least not yet. I think that books still have a lot to offer that e-readers can't quite replace, which ironically leads me to my first point: replaceability.

Say you're on vacation, somewhere warm with a gorgeous white sandy beach. I love reading on the beach as do many people (they don't call them "beach reads" for nothing). It's relaxing and enjoyable and I can get lost in a wonderful story while working on my tan. But what happens when I get the urge to cool off by taking a dip in the water? Normally, I'd toss my reasonably priced paperback in my beach bag, and run for the waves, but I'm not sure I'd be so eager to leave my $300+ e-reader lying around. If some beach-klepto came along and swiped my copy of Twilight, I'd be pretty annoyed, but it wouldn't be too costly to replace. If I returned from my salty frolic to find my uber-expensive e-reader missing...well, I think you can figure it out. Long story short, books, for the most part, are easily replaceable, e-readers are costly and until they can produce an e-reader that costs around $50, books will continue to be the safe alternative for public reading.

Furthermore, I don't want to lose things like gorgeous book covers, that wonderful book smell, or the silent book club that is being able to identify what someone else is reading on the subway (a natural form of book marketing many authors benefit from). These things are an important part of my experience as an avid reader. I don't want to have to rely on a battery to keep reading and I really don't want to think about the impact e-readers could have on the public library system.

I do think that e-readers have their applications. They're very handy for things like reference books, travel guides, news media and other subscriptions. At my work, they're used for reading manuscripts that aren't in book form yet and as I mentioned above, it saves a lot of paper. But what about art books, coffee table books, children's books, or anything that benefits from the glory of full-colour illustrations? What about the connection between the reader and the page? Will an electronic medium distance us too much to fall in love with books the way we have in the past? Can anything be classified a classic on a technologically advanced screen?

Maybe I'm delusional for thinking e-readers can't replace books (I'm sure there was a time when nobody believed the use of stone tablets would be eclipsed), but as far as the near future goes, I only see them becoming a compliment to the way things are currently. An option. Like audio books (which I'm a fan of by the way, though I should note that I own physical copies of almost all of the audio books on my ipod--I see the book price as the cost of the story and the audio book price as the cost of having someone as enthralling as Stephen Fry read it to me on the subway). I don't know what will happen down the road as the e-reader market expands, the units themselves become undoubtedly cheaper and the available options become more appealing (full-colour screen to display gorgeous covers plus week-long battery life?), but I do know that even if I make the decision to purchase an e-reader for myself one day, I will always still want books and lots of them.

what's good for the gander is good for the gander a second time

Canada geese update! I overheard someone describing how they'd witnessed the male Canada goose attacking a car in the parking lot. Will the madness ever end? The most entertaining part of this follow up story was that apparently the goose spent a good long while checking out his own reflection in the shiny door of the light blue sedan before pecking the crap out of it. Are these vehicular attacks maybe just a symptom of the Canada goose's poor self image? ....maybe.

The weekend went by FAR too quickly. Boyfriend and I had a little gathering at our apartment on Friday night and many drinks were consummed, leaving me in a weakened state on Saturday. After a late breakfast/lunch/it-didn't-sit-very-well-either-way, we decided to hit up the theatre in our building for a matinee showing of I LOVE YOU, MAN. It was just about right for the kind of relaxation I was in the mood for. I've always enjoyed both Paul Rudd and Jason Segal (since seeing the former in CLUELESS about a million times back in highschool and seeing the latter in the still-mourning-over-it revelation that was FREAKS AND GEEKS) and neither was disappointing in I LOVE YOU, MAN. Good fun all around.

Sunday was far more productive. Finally got around to purchasing an air purifier thing so that I can breathe a little more easily at night when sneaky kitties try (and often succeed) to have a good night's sleep on my head. Girl kitty Huntley (on the left of sidebar kitty pic) will often settle for sleeping at the foot of the bed, but boy kitty Oliver (on the right of sidebar kitty pic) stakes his claim on my pillow every night, only leaving a tiny corner of the pillow for me to rest the top of my head on (to be fair, I've never been one to use the whole pillow anyway). This is how it's been for well over a year now, since they were kittens. When we first brought them home back in the fall of 2007, I'd wanted to lock them out of the bedroom, but boyfriend was all, "They're so tiny and cute and oh, look, they can't even jump up on the the bed they're so small." That changed rather quickly and now I don't have the heart to lock them out despite the fact that I have a mild kitty allergy.

Wow. I really didn't mean for this blog post to turn into a such a long tirade about kitty-related business. I guess sometimes these things just can't be controlled.

No news on the query front, but I'm hoping I'll have something to report before too long as I start to send out more letters. I'm also planning to do a blog post soon that does Lil Novey a little more justice in terms of what the heck she's all about.

For now, I must get back to work...I'm proofing a ms that somehow got severely screwed up at some point in the editing process. We're talking ZOMG YELLOW POST-IT FLAGS ALL OVER THE PLACE! I wish that were an exageration. It's not.

ganking the pick-up

The long Easter weekend was a much needed break, right up until I came down with some sort of unfortunate flu (actually, I guess it was still a much needed break). Illness aside, it was a productive weekend with me getting lots of feedback about Lil Novey from the family and I managed to enter all of my "final" changes into the manuscript, finally putting me in the position to begin the query process.
A few days into that and I haven't heard anything back. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but you can drive yourself crazy thinking of all the reasons it could be good or could be bad. I think I'll be safest to just distract myself and wait. I feel ready for anything, even crushing defeat (yeah, we'll see about that...). Seriously, my heart pounds uncontrollably every time I check my email.

Here's a fun spring story for ya:

Yesterday I was cutting across the back parking lot behind the office and had a little encounter with our resident Canada goose couple. Apparently these guys have been using the back lot as their spawning grounds for years. Having had my share of terrifying experiences being chased across campus by a Canada goose or two when I was at university (those geese were EVERYWHERE! I think one even sat beside me in first year psych. Damn those Canada geese and their mindgames!)

So I'm cutting across the lot and Mama Canada goose is all, "You'd better not come near me. I'm protecting my nest!" so I give her a wide berth, not wanting to find myself in a situation where I'm forced to run screaming from the parking lot when there are other people around (if there hadn't been other people around, the running/screaming probably would have happened the moment I spotted said geese). Anyway, my eyes dart around on the look out for Papa Canada goose, knowing he can't be far. I catch him a few meters away, getting completely medieval on this big black pick-up truck. That's right, the goose was fighting the pick-up truck because it was parked too close to the future birthing place of his young (at least, I assume said young haven't been born yet). It was a full-on beak to bumper brawl so intense, Papa Canada goose didn't even seem to notice I was there. I guess the moral of the story is, you're safe from nature as long as there is something nearby that is pissing it off more than you are. I solute you Papa Canada goose, for the lengths you'll go to keep your young safe from something that was not only far bigger than you, but also probably would have lured your daughters into the extended cab's backseat with empty promises of love and forever.

april snow brings may...?

Oh April, why do you hate me? Every year you come around, briefly teasing your tantalizing sunshiney wares only to throw on a terry-cloth robe and dump more snow on us. Can't you just cut us a break for once? I'm really not a big fan of this whole winter turns to spring for a splitsecond before it turns to blazing hot summer thing we have going on in Southern Ontario. I like spring! I want to experience spring! Stop bogarting all the spring weather, April!

Today I want to blog about the sometimes difficult need to act (at least somewhat) professional in a professional environment. You know how when you were a kid you could get away with pretty much anything? I mean sure, your parents would lay out a set of rules for you to follow (be kind, share, don't lie, stop throwing stale gingerbread cookies at your sister), but in general, if you instictively reacted to something in a certain way, it wouldn't stand out as odd or unacceptable because you're just a kid. In fact, anything weird you did would likely end up being seen as adorable or funny.

As you get older, this starts to change. You have to start acting like an adult. You have to suppress any childish thoughts or reactions you might have. If you're in the middle of a lively debate, you're not allowed to resort to "So's your face!" or "Sucks to your asmar!" and if you're in a meeting where one collegue debunks another colleague's presentation, you're not allowed to point out that the presenter "got served".

Have you ever been in an office environment and gone to the washroom throughout the day only to run into the same other person every time you go? The few times that's happened to me, my brain always flashes to this scene where we stand side by side at the sinks and I jokingly point out that we must be on the same pee schedule and they look at me as though I just told them I have the plague. You just can't say stuff like that, funny as the situation might be. It makes me kind of sad.

Another one I experienced recently was my childish instinct to freak myself out when I'm going up or down the stairs (worried that someone is chasing me.. something I thank my sisters for). Sometimes I'll be going down the stairs at work and I'll hear someone heading down the stairs a few floors up. Convinced it's some "scary man" who somehow got into the building, I have to keep myself from running down the stairs like a crazy person to get away from them. You know how once you think of something stupid like that, it sort of compounds and extreme silliness ensues? Thankfully, I'm yet to actually flee in terror. A lively imagination can be a dangerous thing.