Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon

The early commercials I saw advertising this movie left me not wanting to see it. But when I read a good review in the paper last Friday, and then my daughter came home from seeing it with her boyfriend and gushed about it, I decided to give it a try.

Wow! I would recommend it to anyone. I've only seen it in 3D, but I've heard that you won't be disappointed if you don't see it in 3D. The animation is wonderful, and the flying sequences actually take your breath away - not just because it's a whopper of a ride, but because it's actually downright beautiful. No kidding. And I liked the story too, mostly because Hiccup - the boy hero - is so wonderful, his story, his predicament, his expressions, the whole thing.

And we have a little gray cat that has big, green eyes just like the dragon : )

I know this is a kid's movie, but this was one of the best movies I've seen, visually and story-wise, in a long time. Probably since Julie and Julia.

I'm terrible at summing things up, so what I will say is that the animation was absolutely stunning, and the story was terrific, and it actually touched me.

The 3D ticket is pricey, so try to catch a matinee and save a few bucks. Even if you pay full price, though, you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Not a novel, or even an evil plan to take over the world. Plotting, as in a garden plot. I now have a 10 x 20 plot in the community gardens!

I have to get busy plotting what to put on my plot. Although planting season is still pretty far off around these parts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

At my daughter's request...

Here are a couple of pictures that my daughter took and wanted me to put on my blog.

First, here is our dog, Strider with a bow on his head. My daughter put it there and he was oblivious until I finally took it off before we ventured out for our walk:

And this is how I had to prepare for a walk only last month:

With temperatures in the single digits from the wind chill, and snow nearly up to the knees, I dressed in layers: long johns, jeans, fleece pants over the jeans, sweater, two sweatjackets with both hoods up, extra-long scarf wrapped twice around the head, two layers of mittens, and sunglasses only becuase it was a rare sunny day and I didn't want to go snow blind, and gaiters over the boots to keep the snow out.

We've had much better walking weather lately - I've been out many times already with no jacket of any kind at all! What a change a month can make.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Signs of spring!

The Bees are out:

And the crocus are blooming:

In purple:

And white:

And yellow:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Banner Photo

The new banner photo was actually taken last year in April. I know, I'm looking ahead, but I'm excited about spring.

The photo is of a garden in the Amish country.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I have my computer back! It was a minor trouble that brought it down, but it took a few days to set it right.

I will have to work on a new banner picture. The snow is gone now - hurray! Spring is really here. We may get a little bit of snow next week, but I've seen the crocuses, so spring is here.

It's been very mucky with the snow melting slowly over the past two weeks, and rain today. Mucky, mucky, mucky.

We had been planning (although not very hard) to tap into our maples and try our hand at maple syrup this year. This is the time of year to do it, but, alas, we sat on our hands too long and didn't order the equipment. So no maple syrup this year : (

Maybe we won't procrastinate next year.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is Spring here already?? And, no, I didn't sign the contract.

The weather has been gorgeous here lately, sunny, warming temperatures. Our blanket of snow is looking rather tattered now. A couple more days like this and it'll probably be gone. Wow. It's unusual, we're usually looking at cold and snow through March and sometimes into April. I wonder if it'll stay this way, or if we'll have one last winter hurrah before all is said and done.

In publishing news, I didn't sign the contract, so I remain unpublished. There were a couple of big things in the contract that really made me uncomfortable.
  1. They wanted me to assign all of my rights to them in perpetuity. It's recommended to license your rights, not assign them. Assigning rights is generally unrevertible - the rights now belong to the publisher and don't revert back to you. Rights are revertible in a licensing agreement, they revert back to you when the term of the agreement ends. And there are many kinds of rights, not just for printing. They wanted the rights for, "any and all media and forms of expression now known or hereafter devised."
  2. They wanted the rights of first and last refusal for, "the Author's next published work in this series or subject matter and the Author's next published work." This means that any similar story and my next published work would be theirs unless they didn't want it. And even if they didn't want it, if I found someone else who did, I would have to take it back to them for a second look to see if they wanted it now that someone else was interested in it.

This is a very small, niche publisher with limited reach. This contract would lock me into them without hope of escape.

Why would anyone sign with them? They are a Mormon publisher, and if you are writing specifically for a Mormon audience, this contract wouldn't be all that bad. Your work would be published and would be distributed to Mormon bookstores (there are Mormon bookstores, just like there are Christian bookstores), and you would have a guaranteed publisher for any future works, as long as they wanted to publish them.

I, however, am not writing specifically for a Mormon audience. How and why did I even come to submit something to them? My brother-in-law is Mormon. He is something of a Mormon apologist - a defender of the faith (you know, like C.S. Lewis). Over the past few years he has published a couple of books on the subject that have been very well received in the Mormon community. This is his publisher, and when they sent out an email to their authors looking for a short Christmas story, he forwarded it to me, knowing that I had one.

It would have been a nice way to break into the publishing world, except for that darned contract. The funny thing is, I actually do have an idea for a book that would target a Mormon audience. The title would be, In Search of the Stray Elder and other Adventures in Jelly Making. You see, an Elder is what a male Mormon missionary is called. The elder in my title refers to elderberry bushes - so the title is a play on words. It would be a recounting of the adventures I've had in finding and collecting fruit for jelly making over the years. So they could have had two books out of me if they had been willing to negotiate.

Oh well. On to bigger and better things, I say : )

Monday, March 8, 2010

More computer problems, and still unpublished

My computer is down temporarily. Son's computer suddenly quit. Daughter's computer occupied. I am currently typing this entry on my daughter's boyfriend's laptop.

Not a good time to be without technology while trying to negotiate a book contract through email.

Found out, however, when I finally accessed my email through the laptop, that the small publishing company won't negotiate the terms of their contract at all. I'm not thrilled with the contract as it stands, so I am considering not signing. Which is disappointing, but I don't want to sign away more than I'm comfortable with (way more than I'm comfortable with).

So as of now, I am still unpublished, and likely to remain so for the time being. But hopefully my computer will be up again soon and I'll get back to the story I'm working on now - which I literally left mid-sentence when lots of things started happening all at once just over a week ago.

I'm itching to get back to that sentence : )

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yikes! I might become a published author!

I was offered a book contract the yesterday by a small publisher for a short Christmas story that I wrote. Yea!

I don't have an agent, so poring over the contract is up to me. I don't want to sign away my firstborn, so I'm trying to make sense of everything. I've caught a few things that need changing, so hopefully this publisher is willing to negotiate.

I have 30 days to sign the thing. Hopefully everything works out in the end. It'd be nice to have something published!