Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Summertime and the writing is NOT easy

When did parks getting boring?

When did parks getting boring?

School’s out, and so is full-time writing. Starting today, I’m a full-time mom and part-time writer – a part-time writer with a deadline for a second novel.

And that’s fine. My laptop will be with me forever, but my kid will not. We’ll be a duo of summer slugs until she flies out the door for a friend. She’s only eight, but that door’s already in constant motion.

Last summer, her budding social life carved out writing time for me. But it wasn’t the flurry of productivity I expected, and this summer’s going to be no different.

It will go like this:


I set up our craft table. We color and cut and glue and giggle. Then the doorbell rings, and she’s either out the door or taking a friend to her room.

The inventor of glitter has some explaining to do.

The inventor of glitter has some explaining to do.

So the laptop and I settle into my office. I’m on a hot streak and then … interruption.

Mom! The glitter bottle exploded and it’s stuck to the glue on the floor and the glue got on the floor because the glue bottle exploded.

How’d these bottles explode, Samantha?

I don’t know. We didn’t do anything wrong. I think YOU tipped ’em over or those bottles had too much carbon dioxide or maybe ants ate a hole in the bottom.


My daughter and I resume work on the ultra cool Harry Potter game we’re making. The doorbell rings, and she’s either out the door or taking a friend to her room.

Me. Laptop. Office. I’m on a hot streak and then … interruption.

(Sniff, sniff) Mom, I fell off the trampoline across the street. I think I broke my leg. So I jumped over those bushes and I ran home. I need an ice pack. (Sniff, sniff) Mom, can you take us to the gymnastics studio?


We plan a lazy movie morning with breakfast popcorn.

Doorbell. Me. Laptop. Office. Hot streak. Interruption.

Mom, will you take us to the Mall of America to look at American Girl Dolls?

No. I’m not driving to the city for dolls. Think of something else to do.

Can we go to the beach?

Not now. Pick a day next week so I can plan lunch and stuff.

Can we go to the Wisconsin Dells?

Are you serious? Really?

Fine! You never let me do anything!


My daughter and I set up her favorite game, Life. (The board game Life is longer than actual life, and Life inevitably makes me a broke mechanic living in a mobile home with so many kids they can’t fit into the tiny Life car. I love life. Hate Life.)

Doorbell. Me. Laptop. Office. Hot streak. Interruption.

Mom, I’m starving. Can you make pizza for lunch?


She shouts downstairs that it’s a yes, pizza for all, and a group of kids whoop. A group. There’s one pizza in the freezer. Clearly I’m still in winter grocery mode, but my cell phone holds the phone number for every pizza place in town. Problem solved.


And the body language says ... sooooo bored!

And the body language says … sooooo bored!

Another day. Daughter-Mom Activity. Doorbell. Me. Laptop. Office. Hot streak. Interruption.

Mom, we’re bored.

It’s the second week of summer. Are you kidding me?

We’re soooooooo bored! Sooooooo bored!

I knew this day would come. I’ve got this list for you and the gang. It’s “Ten Fun Summer Things Mom Did When She Was a Kid.” Don’t even whisper the word bored until you’ve done everything on the list.

And so she gets the magic list, which I will blog tomorrow. Summer cliff hanger!

Sunshine on my shoulders

Two days of sun (in a row!) have turned my neighborhood and family into a group of shiny happy people.

I’m happy Harry Potter has replaced my daughter’s obsession with princesses. Instead of waiting for her prince, she is now joining the hunt to stop Voldemort.

I’m happy I bought Catcher in the Rye at Chapter2 Books. I met Holden so long ago. It’s time we got reacquainted.

I’m happy to have ended a two-year search. I found Poisonwood Bible in the basement. (Thanks for lending it to me, Kathy. Sorry about the dust.)

I’m happy my job has convinced my daughter writing is fun. She has a folder on my desktop for her stories, Harry Potter trivia, and fart jokes.

I’m happy my three books with Savvy are about to enter the world. Girls Rock, Girls Rule and Girls Reel.

I’m happy people care enough about Great Gatsby to complain (quite emphatically) about the remake being filmed in 3D.

I’m happy my stepdaughter is getting puppies. Now I can buy newspaper-shaped squeaky toys called The Daily Growl.

Hope this day finds you happy, too!

Who do they think they are?

From the excellent Gotham Writers Workshop, a very cool blog. Recently, the blogger wrote about famous books and the number of rejections the authors received. Hopefully it’ll provide new writers with some perspective and let them know they’re in very good company.


It just feels fatal. It’s not.

There’s a post along with it. Check it out here.

Dune by Frank Herbert – 13 rejections

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 14 rejections

Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis – 17 rejections

Jonathan Livingston Seagull – 18 rejections

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – 29 rejections

Carrie by Stephen King – over 30 rejections

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 38 rejections

A Time to Kill by John Grisham – 45 rejections

Louis L’Amour, author of over 100 western novels – over 300 rejections before publishing his first book

John Creasy, author of 564 mystery novels – 743 rejections before publishing his first book

Ray Bradbury, author of over 100 science fiction novels and stories – around 800 rejections before selling his first story

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter – rejected so universally the author decided to self-publish the book

From rejection slip for George Orwell’s Animal Farm: “It is impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A.”

From rejection slip for Norman MacLean’s A River Runs Through It: “These stories have trees in them.”

From rejection slip for article sent to the San Francisco Examiner to Rudyard Kipling: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”

From rejection slip for The Diary of Anne Frank: “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the curiosity level.”

Rejection slip for Dr. Seuss’s And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street: “Too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.”

Rejection from a Chinese economic journal: “We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity.”

Worlds Collide: Harry Potter, the Titanic and the airport

Universal Park and Harry Potter World! There’s nothing better than Florida in January, even though the park is filled with lines and tourists.

Between Hogwarts food and souvenirs, I spent most of my galleons. Still, the weather was perfect and, except for all the people in t-shirts and shorts, we fell into Harry’s magical world.

For example: Harry’s mother, if you recall, sacrificed her life to save Harry. I’d planned to buy Hermione’s wand, but my daughter wanted one, too. At $35 each, we couldn’t buy two wands. So my daughter got the wand, not me. Oh, the sacrifices mothers make for their kids!

ImageYet another: Everyone in Diagon Alley, whether they were from Brazil, Japan, or Wisconsin, began to speak British phrases with an accent. Where’s your flat? and Oh, bollocks, I dropped my tea.

Yet another: There’s no sorting hat, but you quickly identify yourself with a Hogwarts house. Turns out, I’m Gryffindore, and my daughter is Hufflepuff.  I think she just likes to say Hufflepuff.

Yet another: The adults enjoyed butterbeer after we recovered from the disappointment of learning it’s alcohol-free.

Tomorrow: The Titanic, the airport, and a bit of magic.