When Did I Get So Old?

So I went up to the university to discuss the possibility of getting a PhD on Tuesday.

And there was something I noticed. Something different about the University.

Not the building, because that’s still the same (although a ton of new buildings have been built, the clinic is still the same). The clinic rooms are largely similar. Shoot, most of the professors are the same.

The main difference? The grad students.

They’re…. They’re babies.

I swear, I’m not an old lady. Right?

My kids are still little, at seven and five. I’m young, right? (Though given my health of late, I’m like an old lady. If I start describing in detail my latest trip to Hof’s Hut, I will dye my hair blue and order you to fetch my teeth, youngster)

Only, when I look at the grad students, they’re so young. Impossibly young. At the lecture I sat in on yesterday (yes, I went back), we watched a video from October of 1993.

Dated, yes. Did I think it was old? Not really. Instead, I started singing Pearl Jam in my head.

Behind me, a girl giggled, “Wow. I was three when this came out.”

What? I was in college.

Okay, so I’ve been out of grad school for 12 years (don’t you judge me! Everyone spends seven years in college, right? Sure, they’re called lawyers, but whatever). I guess I should have anticipated the clinicians would be a little younger than me.

But not THAT young. Not “I taught your preschool class and changed your diapers” young.

Sheesh. When did I get old?


My Next Big Thing

My friend, a wonderful story-teller, Tracy Hewett Meyer, has invited me to share details of my next big thing–or, what I’m working on now! I’m actually in first edits of Jessie’s War, and thought, hey, I’ll talk about that!

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This is a good question. I’d been toying with the idea of writing a steampunk for quite some time, and had the thought I’d write something western, since I’ve been enthralled with that particular genre for a while. One day, I was looking at a map of the  mines underneath Virginia City, Nevada. Suddenly, an entire scene popped into my head, and I started writing what I would eventually call my “western steampunk romance.”

Incidentally, that first kernel of an idea? It’s chapter nine. And, to this day, one of my favorite scenes in the entire book.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The actress to play Jessie would be Julia Jones, from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (a movie I’ve never seen–gasp!). i like the almost haunted way she looks at the camera in this picture; let’s face it, Jessie is pretty haunted, for a number of reasons.
As for who would play Luke? I needed someone with the gravitas to be able to pull off a secret agent during the Civil War. Someone who can play tough and menacing and brooding. Because, like Jessie, Luke has been through a lot in his years at war. And he’s missed our Jessie like crazy, but she’s having none of it!

So, while it’s  not a perfect fit, I picked Christian Bale.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Jessie’s War is due out from Musa Publishing in January of 2013. I have another work I’m thinking of self-publishing, a paranormal YA I’ve tentatively titled The Grey Witch. But I guess we’ll see how everything pans out! I’ve been very happy with my experience with small presses so far (Soul Mate Publishing and Musa Publishing), so while I wouldn’t say no to an agent or a New York Publisher, I’m not unhappy with where I am!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took about three months, for 120,000 words. I wrote like a crazy person. And then I tweaked that draft for another six months, and completely re-wrote the thing twice, changing from third person to first person and back again. It was an interesting experiment. You guys will have to tell me what you think of the final draft!

What other books would you compare this story to with the genre?

I’d say there are elements in it that are similar to Native Star by M.K. Hobson, other elements are similar to Alchemy of Desire by Christa McHugh, and other elements are similar to The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. I think in terms of writing style and setting, it’s probably most similar to Native Star, though Jessie’s world isn’t magic based. Necessarily. 🙂

Before I tag fellow authors so they can write about their next big thing, I’d like to thank Tracy for tagging me. Her books, Wren’s Fantasy and Trust of the Heart are super fun reads! (Trust me, I’ve read them!)

And so, I’d like to tag Brooke Moss, author of The What If Guy, The Carny, and Bittersweet. I’m really hoping she’ll tell you about her YA project, which, I can tell you, is absolutely stellar!

Also, I’d like to take Roberta J. Gordon, author of Gemini WitchingElements 101.

Both ladies are talented authors!

Meggan Connors is the author of The Marker and Wandering Heart, a western novella due out from Soul Mate Publishing next month. Check them out when you get a chance!

What I’m Up To

Listening to: Lincoln Park. A mix of Hybrid Theory, Living Things and A Thousand Suns.

Reading: The Tower, a history of the Tower of London. Weirdly, nonfiction. Stranger still, I’m loving it.

Watching: The Science Channel, something on Mendeleev. Been watching a lot of The Science Channel lately. Not all of it is Ancient Aliens, either. (Incidentally, I love Ancient Aliens. It makes me want to throw tomatoes at my TV.)

Thinking About: More often than not, getting the Ph.D. I’m really quite obsessed with the idea.

Worrying About: The money for the Ph.D. I think I can make it work if I work half time and get some sort of stipend. It’s not great, but it might be good enough. I want a Ph.D., and I think I’ve got a good idea for a study. It’s figuring out how to pay my bills that’s the trick. Isn’t it always?

Writing: Right now, nothing more than the blog, and that only rarely. But I have something brewing. I can feel it. I’m reading a steampunk that I started last year. I re-read the beginning, and it’s quite good–it struck me as a cross between The Left Hand of Darkness and Pale Rider. If it’s half as good as either of those, I’ve got a bestseller, baby. And then I won’t have to worry about the money I’ll need for the Ph.D.

Talking About: Honestly, I’ve been answering kid questions all day. “What’s a yuppie?” “What does bourgeoise mean?” “Mom, can you explain the periodic table?” “Why does that character do that?” “What can you tell me about General McClellan?” “Mom, do you think monsters live under my bed?” (That was just from one kid. The younger one spent most of the day cracking himself up)

Oh, and with M? I’ve been talking about the Ph.D. I’m so boring.

Aside: Can I explain the periodic table? Uh… yeah, but my answer is probably confusing, and no I can’t explain that away. General McClellan? Well, I know who he was, and that’s about it. She just read the biography, so I’m sure she knows more about him than I do. Again, I read mostly fiction. The Tower is a departure for me.

Dude, it’s rough being shown up by a second grader. Especially when you think you’re not entirely stupid yourself.

Epiphanies: I have imposter syndrome. More on that later.

Plans: Tomorrow, I have an appointment to get myself made all purdy. I’m excited about that. Today, I put in a call to the university about starting a Ph.D. program, and I did get a call back. Of course, it was as I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, so I couldn’t answer. But I did email back the professor, and hopefully, I’ll have an appointment to talk to them soon. 

Also, I need to work on edits for Jessie’s War, which is due out in January. Like my plug there?

That’s about it on this front. I’m feeling better than I have been, but it still sucks. I’m scared to go just about anywhere. But I did. Today, I took the kids to the park, to lunch, and then went to the dentist.

What about you? What are you up to?