Thursday, August 30, 2012

Marcia's Nightstand

Maybe this isn't quite representative. The TBR pile isn't as tall as it usually is. But usually the books are piled in a single stack, and the table contains hand lotion, a water bottle, a pen cup, a pad of paper, a tissue box, a book light, a calculator, a manicure set, and lip balm. I've spared you all that, all the better to see the books. But they don't show up very well here, so let's try a second shot...

Not quite so good yet? Well, Mewy has always been a rather literary cat,
making a pest of herself um, "participating in my process" in my office and occupying my lap when I read. So I guess she figured she should pose. Unless, of course she's here because she can read titles...

I was particularly looking for MG mystery when I compiled this stack, so that genre predominates here. On the right-hand side, we have, from top to bottom, my journal; Room One, by Andrew Clements; Closed for the Season and Deep and Dark and Dangerous, both by Mary Downing Hahn; and Witness, by Karen Hesse.

And on the left, we have, from top to bottom, Eleven, by Patricia Reilly Giff; the Thompson Chain Reference Bible; Emily's Fortune, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor; and three books on writing craft: Second Sight, by Cheryl Klein; Plot vs. Character, by Jeff Gerke; and Mewy's choice, by Blake Snyder -- Save the Cat!

What's in your TBR pile?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When Introversion and Math Collide

When I was a university math major, in one of the later courses, I was sitting in class with a girl named Susa, listening to a lecture. We'd been exposed to a countless number of theorems over the many semesters, and that day the prof presented yet another heretofore-unheard-of mathematician and his theorem. "Someday," murmured my seatmate, without taking her eyes off the board, "there's going to be a Susa theorem."

My thoughts exactly. And, talking with a friend recently about how introverts need to refuel after an exhausting period of extroversion, I realized the time has come. So, I give you:

Hoehne's First Law

The approximate number of Introversion Hours (IH, or I-Hours) required to refuel an introvert after a given amount of extroverted energy release can be expressed as

3(XH) + s + .02(dB) = IH

Where XH is the number of Extroversion Hours,
s is any portion of the XH during which the introvert felt unwell,
dB is the decibel level of noise the introvert was exposed to during the XH.

As a simple example, let's say the introvert attended a three-hour party where loud music was played and had a headache the entire time. The approximate number of I-Hours the person will require to recuperate is calculated as follows:

3(3) + 3 + .02(115) =
9 + 3 + 2.3 = 14.3

So we see that, if we include the hours spent sleeping, this poor soul needs virtually an entire day to refuel.

If, however, the introvert felt well during the party, and the loudest sound was normal conversation, we have

3(3) + 0 + .02(60) = 10.2

In this case, we can expect the introvert to be able to handle about 6 hours of non-isolation during the following 24-hour period.

Caution: Empirical data only. No writing was slacked off upon in order to pursue rigorous scholarship in the writing of this theorem. :)

Now, if this fiction-writing thing doesn't pan out, maybe I can write a textbook?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Eleven Questions

Annie McMahon tagged me recently with this "11 questions" meme. It looks like fun, a good way to do some introspection (something I hardly ever do -- yeah, right:)), and a good way to get some glimpses into other people, so here's the deal:
  • Write 11 random things about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions given.
  • Write 11 new questions.
  • Tag someone else. Maybe 11 someone elses, if you can.
11 Random Things About Myself
  1. I don't watch TV.  Don't ask me if I've seen such-and-such commercial or show; of these I am totally ignorant. I'd much rather read, or, if it's screen time, be online. 
  2. Exception to the above: I never miss Green Bay Packers football.
  3. I am a homebody to the core...
  4. ...but if I ever went abroad, I'd go to England. I'll take castles, villages, gardens, and a dose of London, please.
  5. I am quiet. Sometimes too quiet. Yet, when I was in first grade, my teacher wrote on my report card, "Too noisy in the hall." I had no idea I'd been noisy, but after that I learned to tamp down any exuberance. In the short run, good; in the long run, a loss, no?
  6. I cannot drink regular coffee. I get so jittery that all I can do is sit in a chair and quiver.
  7. People used to tell me fairly often that I look like Meryl Streep. I mean, there was a period when I was getting this all the time. 
  8. I'm a born-again Christian.
  9. The only foreign country I've ever been to is Canada.
  10. I was a TALL child, but I'm only a medium-sized adult. Guess I just did my growing early.
  11. At the risk of sounding weird, I rarely listen to music.
11 Questions, Answered
  1. How did you get your idea for your most recent book? From a newspaper article, but I don't want to say what it was about. :)
  2. What makes your books different from others in your genre?  I write commercial middle grade with a literary bent. Or is it literary with a commercial bent?
  3. What is your biggest challenge as a writer?  Getting through the first draft. I like revision.
  4. What other hobbies or occupations do you have besides writing? I teach two courses for The Institute of Children's Literature. I sometimes struggle with the fact that I don't really have any proper hobbies. Well, I read a lot. :) I sing on my church's worship team. I'm good at and creative with counted cross stitch, but it really doesn't fit into my (or my cats') life anymore.
  5. What's your favorite book in the genre that you write? I think I'm going to have to go with Anne of Green Gables.
  6. What's your favorite quote or expression? It's hard to name just one, but here's a favorite scripture from Jeremiah 42:10 that I have in counted cross on my office wall: "If you are willing to go on living in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not pull you up."
  7. Are you a listener or a talker? Listener!
  8. Name one thing you couldn't live without. Jesus. Truly.
  9. What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten? When I was a kid, my mom froze this horrible slushie-like stuff -- homemade from mysterious juices from the fridge -- by way of making us a summer treat AND trying not to throw something away. It was this brown, frozen goop in a pan. She made us eat it. Because, you know, she couldn't throw anything away.
  10. If you were an animal, what would it be? A cat -- provided I could be an indoor cat with a loving family and lie by the hearth. If not that -- maybe a dolphin? But I really don't want to be wet all the time.
  11. Name three adjectives that best describe you. Romantic, diplomatic, instrospective.
11 New Questions For 11 New Folks!
  1. Your house is on fire and you can run out with one thing. (Your family and pets are safe, and you are guaranteed to get out.) What do you grab?
  2. Health nut or junk foodie?
  3. What's your favorite form of exercise?
  4. What's the worst job you can imagine having?
  5. Have you ever broken a bone? How?
  6. If you could go back to college now, would you change your major? From what to what?
  7. Green thumb? Black thumb? Somewhere in between?
  8. What's the best book you've read in the last two months, on any topic?
  9. What's the hugest, gooiest, most fabulous dessert you can remember eating?
  10. What's your favorite writing tip?
  11. What's the stupidest writing tip you've ever heard?
Okay, now to tag some folks. Some of you may have done this already, so pardon my duplication. :)
My, this makes for a long post. :) Have fun!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fun With Kids Day

I should be doing a book pick post (hmmm, there's an interesting phrase) about now, but I've not had a lot of reading time lately, and this picture tells the story. However, I am reading (slowly) a MG novel that I'm really liking, and I'll post on it probably in early September. Meanwhile, life has been blessed with days like this. Longer post next week! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

July Critique Giveaway Winners! says the winners of the July critique giveaway are: Sharon K. Mayhew and Faith E. Hough!

Here's the procedure. Email me at marcia at marciahoehne dot com:
  • The first 1000 words of your magazine story, chapter book, mid-grade novel, or YA novel pasted into the body of the email.
  • Be sure to tell me the genre of the material (one of the above four).
  • Put "Critique winner" in the subject line.
  • Deadline to submit is August 22.
  • When I receive your email, I'll acknowledge receipt and let you know when you can expect my response.
Congratulations to Sharon and Faith, and thank you all so much for stopping by and entering. Wishing you all a great day in the world of books...