Your Valued Opinion Please

I need your thoughts, please. The kid's chapter book I wrote is called The Psychic Cat.  It's about a cat named Zach who can see ghosts.  When a new cat moves into the neighborhood he goes to Zach for help with a haunted basement. Zach not only finds ghosts but he also finds a bigger problem threatening the entire neighborhood!  Da da dun!  It's up to Zach, his friends, and their new ghosts buddies to protect their families in time.  That's my basic pitch, minus the sounds effects. 

However, The Psychic Cat was always more of a working title because I basically ran out of creative juice at the very end of writing, and I thought, at the very least, the title will give an instant clue about what the book's about. So I was wondering if you all out there could weigh in on title suggestions. I'd really like to write this character as a series so I'm thinking about Zach and the Haunted Basement for the first book. 

But at the same time I'm wondering if that type of mystery title is overdone?  What do you all think?  Especially those of you who may have been reading to your kids.

To get an idea of the flavor of the book here is the first page/intro.  (P.S. Critique is always welcome!) 

 

Chapter One

            My name is Zach. I’m psychic. I’m also a cat.

            Humans usually don’t think animals can be psychic. Either that or there are those few humans who think ALL animals are psychic. Those are the goofy ones who are always following us pets around waiting for us to predict an earthquake or something. But animals can be psychic too, and I’m one of them. I see ghosts.  

            It’s not nearly as scary as it sounds. Ghosts are just like people. Or rather, the ghosts are just like animals. Those are the ones I see--the ghosts of animals. As far as I can figure human psychics see other human ghosts and animal psychics see animal ghosts. I think it’s due to a communication issue. I mean, humans can’t understand us animals, right? And we really can’t talk to people. Every once in a while I’ll see a human ghost… but believe you me, there’s certainly no discussions of the weather going on.

            Being psychic doesn’t have much to do with my day-to-day life. I live in a great house, in a great neighborhood, with the best little girl a cat could have. Her name is Samantha and she never welches on the affection. I get lots of petting, great food, and plenty of sunny spots to nap in while she’s in school. The edge of the neighborhood butts up right against forest and foothills, so if you really want to explore or even just commune with the real wildlife you don’t have far to go. Not that I go looking. I know the good life I have and it sure as heck beats living out of dumpsters. Or, yuck, hunting birds.

            Yep, there’s plenty of adventure to be found without the ghost thing ever raising its--ha ha--dead.

            But somehow that ghost thing always seems to find me…

The Story vs. the Selling

When I worked for startups I had to change hats constantly.  At the time I could switch my brain over to a new, unrelated task pretty easily... one minute you're writing, the next you're negotiating ad prices, then you're looking at art comps, and then you're picking up Jamba Juice. (I always got the Jamba Juice runs.) It was all part of the job.  You would think that working in marketing would make the selling aspects of creative writing - writing the query letter, pitch, synopsis, etc. - easier but it's not!  I figure part of it is because my brain was then. Nowadays, I find I have to make a major brain switch, and sometimes pretend I'm someone else, to do it. 

(Actually, I think it would be much easier for me to write a query letter and pitch for a client than for myself. Not that I'm offering! (Although, hmmm... I bet there are enterprising writers out there making a living writing pitches for authors. Writer for writers for hire.))  

Anywho, I am doing it. I've written the pitch, the query letter, and a synopsis (that I am almost happy with). Usually I need a bit of a break from creative writing and a lot of research before I feel back in the marketing mindset, and maybe a little bit of minor panicking. These are the times that I miss school deadlines. Or actually, any authoritative voice giving me a deadline, because apparently I don't listen to myself at all!

So I'm wondering, for those you who write or anyone who has to switch between creative and business, what are your tricks to get in the right mood?  My main trick seems to be over-researching until I'm sick of the subject and then either 1) taking a hot shower or 2) going to sleep. I think it's the "relax and let your unconscious brain work on the problem" method.  What yours?

                - wg


Steps thataway

So.  (I know I start a lot of posts with "so". It's kind of my way of taking a deep breath. Or sometimes it's acknowledging that yes, I am going off on another crazy tangent. But then blogging is kind of all crazy tangents. With or without context. Hmmm) 

So. I know I've complained more than once about getting my shit in gear and wanting to "immerse more of my life in art" (which sounds really diva melodramatic now that I'm repeating it) and wanting to be A Writer and so on. However, to do that you kind of have to stop bitching and get your work out there.  I've never really used this space to talk about writing that much and/or showcase much I've written, except the funny stuff.  Well, every once in a while I put up a non-satirical poem but it's usually met with the resounding cry of crickets. *sniff* *so hurt*   But I also realize that those poems are kind of depressing or hard to understand and either way they are a big departure from what I usually write here so I get it.  Anyway, one of the things I've been doing lately is actually submitting work out.  (OK, so far it's only been two pieces but I have plans for more.)  The first one, I entered a local poetry contest that places poetry placards on buses. Yes! The six winning poets would have their words read by transients throughout the county!  Awesome.  I wasn't chosen but that wasn't the point... the point was that I entered.  I'm actually pretty psyched about that.

What's kind of cool is that even though I feel like my creative writing has slowed down a lot over the years, and I'm constantly berating myself about not doing enough, when I go back through it I still have a lot that I've written. So I'm making that effort; I'm trying to review, organize, read, and submit.  *deep breath DEEP breath*  

I'm not saying this blog is turning into a writing blog but you may hear my updates on rejection letters every so often.  I did get a note that my poem would appear on our local Poet Laureate blog that was running the contest sometime this month, so I'll post a link to that for sure.  And if anyone wants to see some creative writing here I'd oblige you.  Hopefully without too many crickets. Or comments that say "Chirp chirp" because I KNOW you people!  Damn smartasses!

But that would make me laugh.             - wg


In the Sunroom

 

Love has a weight, and those cherished even more.

Sunlight is yearned for

and received

but always just an hour out of reach.

The warmth curls around like a cushion

in my hermitage of light;

small things from small hands

scattered on the floor.

The walls illustrate the distance

and reflections dapple ghostly on the skin.

I see my other self there in a shiny pane

(bracketed in the mundane)

waiting for feathers to sprout along arms.

 

I have stared too much.

 

But my tea is waiting…

there beside my chair.

The steam curls around like a cushion.

             - wg

 


Blank slate

Wrote this... oh, a couple of years ago now, but this feeling still creeps up on me.           - wg

 

We are seers in the midst…

this age of prophesized age obsolescence,

as our slouching fingers chirp and twitter,

pecking out soul songs endlessly.

While Tiresias, with his digitalized eyes,

Shouts across the ages,

“You all think you’re the beast and Bethlehem rolled into one.”

 

But these coded strings of mutability transfix us,

We rough puppeteers,

Click, clicking, through the remote glow,

Validation… it is so close now.

A representative stumbles forth, defiant,

orgasms twice upon the screen and collapses.

We stretch our arms out for the apocryphal babe.


that which motivates us

I swear, as soon as I wrote last week's post I came down with a nasty little cold that just would not, WILL NOT, let up.  Feel good, get sick.  It reminds me of when I was in writing classes in college... reminisce with me now... one of my writing professors would call me in for office hours, give me pep talks, talk about technique - she actually instilled quite a bit of confidence in this fledgling writer - and then at the end of every session she'd bark, "NOW DON'T GET COCKY!"

Slap slap. Just like that.

She was a great kick in the ass, though, I gotta tell you.  (Miss you, Virginia!)

So.  I've mentioned a couple of times, all vague and mysterious, (which if you knew me in real life you would know that statement is a total joke because I can't do mysterious at all. Neither can I do sexy faces. I just look like a dork) that I had a project I was all excited about.  Well... 

I've started an online writing group. 

I've got a site up and everything is ready to go.  I'm using the software from the company I'm working for, which gives us a completely secure site, a community forum, and it's free!  Plus, I know when the latest and greatest releases are coming down the pike (because one important thing I've learned in the workforce is to always get product!  It's like a perk.  Also, if you're contracting, never go in before 10:00 am.  What?)

(OK, I have to amend that... the software is free anyway.  At least the version we're using.)  

I was in an online writing group before and a few of the writers from that group have already joined this one, plus some other bloggers and writers I know. I really find that being in writing groups keeps me more motivated and productive, but at the same time I want this group to be very low pressure and casual; so that people who are new writers, or are getting back into it, or those who want to experiment a bit don't feel this overwhelming need to perform at such and such level at such and such genre.  Because I've definitely seen that intimidate writers before, you know?

So... if there is anyone out there who is interested in joining, email me, weirdgirl@mindspring.com.

I promise no one will tell you you're cocky.

                     - the weirdgirl


Every month I feel the bubble,
I feel it, skin-thin,
and when it breaks
it oozes,
oozes muddied self in a puddle,
sticky and mournful and unpleasant smelling.
I am forever reduced to goo.

Everything is round,
jellified,
all membrane and mucus,
then spilled onto the mundane floor
and swallowed there,
sunbleached white on white wood planks.
Damn lines all straight and neat.

Where is the spark?
My electric jolt?
As I sit
in this mediocre house,
walking my mediocre mile,
in this mediocre life
with my mediocre smiles.

           - wg