Monday, July 25, 2011

Speaking of quilts...

My friend and Texas school librarian, Angela Sides, saw my post about the quilt for book lovers.

She shared with me these pics of an awesome quilt that her fellow librarians made for her adorable little cowboy (i.e., new baby). These are all their favorite picture books. (The quilt was made by librarian Dannette Jurgens.)

Of course, Angela won't let that little cowboy anywhere near her quilt. haha. Look but don't touch!

Friday, July 22, 2011

O'Connor air-conditioning

That's the temperature inside the house.

Edited: Temp went up to 90 after this post.

Edited again: Now up to 92 inside the house. Pant pant

Inside Out and Back Again

A sweet and important little book.

Inside Out and Back Again
Thanhha Lai

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lessons from Dead Matter

My editor always asks if I want the "dead matter" for my books or should they just toss it.

"Dead matter" is a great term for that mile-high stack of manuscripts, revisions, galleys.

I have a closet full of "dead matter."

But I always say, yes, I would like to have it.

It's fun to go back to some of the earlier versions of my work and see the revisions. I especially like to note how even the smallest revision sometimes makes a big difference. Writers are perfectionists and need the perfect word, phrase, rhythm.

I've shared Lessons from Dead Matter in the past.

Here are some of the revisions from The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester.

1. I'm particular about phrasing and the way words sound. I had written:

As soon as the words left his mouth, Owen's stomach clenched up into a ball of angry.

The copy editor suggested "a ball of anger."


2. I read this manuscript 5,438 times. Every time, I couldn't decide if it should be "train tracks" or "railroad tracks." I know, I know..... I opted for "train tracks." Sheesh.

3. Repetitious words are easy to miss. Also, "echoes" - the same words repeated or words that sound the same (like "side", "inside" and "outside").

I had written:

Then he scrambled up the side of the slope to the edge of the tracks. Viola was way off in the distance, running along the tracks toward home.

Changed to "running toward home."

4. Naturally, the copy editor questioned:

"I thought you said she wouldn't never go down to the pond."

But, then, that's how Travis would talk, right?

5. "high five" is two words

"lawn mower" is two words

"Weedwhacker" is one word

6. I originally had: "I'm allergic to pine," she said. "And ragweed and goldenrod, and . . . "

Copy editor notes: "I thought goldenrod itself was innocent; ragweed and others were the culprits."

I changed to "pigweed."

(Copy editors are such know-it-alls.)

7. I remember going round and round about:

He reached in and scooped up Tooley.


He reached in and scooped Tooley up.

(last one, of course)

8. Another repetition:

Owen picked up the biggest rock he could find and hurled it with all his might into the pond. It hit the water with a loud ploink, sending a spray of water into the air.

Changed to:

It hit with a loud ploink, sending a spray of water into the air.

9. On page 70, I wrote:

"You in or you out?"

On page 114, I wrote:

"Are you in or you out?"

Took out "are" in the second one.

10. Original version:
They were going to tell the reporter how Owen had found the submarine and how they had cleared the way to the pond and used the water pipes like the Egyptians had built the pyramids.

Revised to:

They were going to tell the reporter how Owen had found the submarine and how they had cleared the way to the pond. They were going to explain how they had used water pipes the way the Egyptians had used logs to move the stones when they built the pyramids.

So there you have it. Mostly little things. But to writers, they can be big things.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hot diggity dog

Me: Ruby and Matty O'Connor! Are y'all digging???

Ruby and Matty: Absolutely not. Why do you ask?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Writers group

My writers group at our annual summer potluck dinner:

(l to r) Mary Wisbach, Kim Marcus, me, Brian Lies, Leslie Guccione, Deanna Garland, Wiesy MacMillan, Carolyn DeCristofano, Delia Weikert, Valerie Kerzner

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another winner

I had such a nice response to the drawing for an audio copy of The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester....friends, writers, librarians, I decided to have another drawing. (I seriously wish I had enough to give to everyone.)

This is for an audio copy of The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis.

Since I can't depend on Matty and Ruby to help me, I just did it myself:

And the winner is:

Portia Pennington

(I will email you, Portia.)

(Don't give up y'all, I'll try to have more drawings when I get things to give away.)

Mark your calendar

January 1, 2012

Glory Be


Augusta Scattergood

I've read it.

I loved it.

You will love it, too.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

Galeo's Miso Caesar Dressing.

This is seriously good.

On salads, couscous, baked potatoes, fish, you name it.

14 calories per tablespoon

Available online or at Whole Foods.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Audio book give-away

Just a reminder that I'll be giving away the audio version of The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester.

Drawing on Friday.

Leave email in comments or email to me barbaraoconnor at mac dot com.

The Friendship Doll

Kirby Larson is a master at historical fiction.

I am in awe.

The Friendship Doll follows the journey of a Japanese doll as she makes her way from one owner to the next over the years.

The history is seamlessly woven throughout.

Each character's unique tale grabs you from the get-go.

Kirby isn't afraid to tell the tale the way it needs to be told. (See why I need an editor?)

She's not afraid to try something totally unique (i.e., the doll's point of view).

Loved this one.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Naughty Ruby

Me: Ruby O'Connor! Are you crushing my shrubs again?

Ruby: Absolutely not! Why do you ask?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Naughty Ruby

Me: Ruby O'Connor! Are you after that chipmunk under the step again?

Ruby: Absolutely not. Why do you ask?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The Big Apple

Some pics from last weekend, when I made a quick trip down to New York City to visit my son. (Having grown up in the South, I still find it very bizarre to say "DOWN to New York City.")

My parking spot at the Boston train station, because my memory has gotten so, um, wait....what was I saying?

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Alexander McQueen exhibit. (Notice my stupid thumb splint.)

The line was LONG, but moved fairly quickly. (Go early....)

Our reflections in a piece of art:

Scoping out the contemporary art:

Some Andy Warhol:

More Andy Warhol:

A picture perfect day in Central Park:

Notice my stupid thumb splint:

In my son's neighborhood. Love it.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge:

From my taxi:

Spotting a UFO from the train leaving New York: