Thursday, May 21, 2009

NYC, Here I Come!!!!

I'm gearing up for two writers conferences next week. The first is the BEA - Book Expo America. The part I will be attending is the writers conference portion held on May 27th. There will be workshops all day and then what they call a Pitch Slam in the afternoon. The Pitch Slam is home to the largest gathering of agents in any one place for this type of event - 66 agents to be exact. How it works is you choose which agents you want to pitch to, get in his or her line, wait your turn, and pitch directly to them one-on-one. No pressure. I'm told there were writers in tears last year. Hopefully, yours truly will not fall into that category.

The rest of the conference goes from May 28th - 31st and is for booksellers, agents, editors, publishers, educators, librarians, and published authors from varying genres. Some of the more well-known authors include Nicolas Sparks, David Balducci, Meg Cabot, Jeanette Walls, Craig Ferguson, and Tracy Kidder. The part I'd most like to see, however, is the Keynote Speakers on May 28th. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Clarence Clemons, the Big Man from Springsteen's E-Street Band will "discuss their memoirs and provide behind-the-scenes and ultimate insider accounts of their lives on and off the big stage." That appeals greatly to my rock princess sensibilities.

However, I'll miss out on that tasty tidbit because I'll be in the second writers conference of the week - the Backspace Writers Conference. This conference is held from May 28-30. The first day of Backspace is the Agent-Author Day where more than 20 high-profile agents rotate between three conference rooms listening to the 100 attendees query letters and first two pages of their manuscripts (this is for writers with completed ms's only). They'll listen to the pages and stop you when they've "heard enough" or "lose interest" and give the ever-popular "constructive criticism." Again, no pressure. On Days 2 & 3, there will be workshops on topics ranging from "The Agent-Author Relationship" to "Writing the Fight Scene" to "Query Letters that Work."

I was also lucky enough to sign up for a one-on-one with Deborah Serra, a successful screenwriter who has written eleven TV movies, seven feature films, two one-hours, two pilots, and over twenty half-hours. Her work has been produced by CBS, NBC, Lifetime, Showtime and others. I've e-mailed her a chapter from my book, and when we meet she will critique the dialogue aspects of it with me. I'll also be attending a "Polish Your Pitch" workshop, which is in addition to the regular conference. I'm feeling verklempt by the amount of information and networking opportunities with both writers and agents I'll experience next week!

And, as I stated in my previous post, I've been recruited by the lovely Agent Kae Tienstra to be the "eyes and ears" at both conferences and report back to her on what I've learned. I'll be guest blogging over her way sometime the week of June 1st. Please feel free to hop on over and see what she and her husband Jon have going on. (I'd highly recommend querying them. They're a class act.)

I'll post before I leave on Tuesday for NYC, I'll try and post while I'm there, and I'll certainly give a run-down after I return (providing I haven't thrown myself off the George Washington Bridge in utter frustration and writerly defeat!).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kittens and Puppies and Hares, Oh My!

What do you do when life doesn't go your way? Do you get angry? Throw yourself a pity party? Revert into yourself and tell the world to back off? I've got a new way to deal with those nasty negative thoughts that creep into my brain and threaten to take me to a deep, dark place. I think of kittens and puppies and little, baby bunnies. I imagine right about now you're thinking I'm crazier than you thought I was before you read this post, and you're probably right. But you know what? It works. And, since I'm an eternal optimist, I believe whatever works to keep my thoughts positive and in line with who I say I am and the person I want to be, then that's what I'm going to do. So, I'm thinking about kittens and puppies and bunnies. And, I must admit, I'm feeling pretty damn happy right now.;-)

How do you act when life serves you lemons, and what do you do to get yourself out of the funk?

IN OTHER NEWS...
I'm greatly looking forward to the BEA and Backspace Writers Conferences next week in NYC and to (finally!) meeting my friend, J (woo-hoo!). A wonderful agent by the name of Kae Tienstra has asked me to be her eyes and ears while in NYC and guest blog upon my return. Please check out her website and let her know of any writers conference experiences you've had as well.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And the Winners Are...

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for participating in my little soiree here at Write on Target in honor of my 100th post (especially those of you who linked me and got extra Brownie Points!). I'd also welcome the new folks who came on board in the last few days. I'm blown away by your kind words and continued support.

I won't delay the anticipation any further. If you are a winner, please e-mail me at dlschubert@verizon.net and give me your home address so I can mail you your goodies.

1)Winner of commenters on the 99 & Counting post is....................dbcooper! $10 Gift Card
2)Winner of commenters on the 100!!! post is....................Shasta! $20 Gift Card
3)Winner in the New Followers category is....................BigMark 243! $10 Gift Card
4) AND THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER IS (drum roll please!).........WrittenWyrdd! $20 Gift Card PLUS your choice of either The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman or Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda AND you get to name either a homicide detective or a nun in my current WIP. (Please e-mail me to let me know which book you'd like and to discuss the character name.)

I'm sorry to all the wonderful folks who didn't win. It makes me genuinely sad. You have my word that if I'd won the lottery in the last several days, you each would have gotten Borders gift cards, but alas, I'm broke as ever. However, the good news is, you can hop on over to QueryTracker.net and help them celebrate their two-year anniversary. You'll have the opportunities to win some seriously great stuff!

Again, my sincere thanks for making this party a huge success. My love and gratitude to all. I'll be back to regular programming in a few days...

Debbie

Friday, May 15, 2009

100!!!!!

WELCOME TO MY PARTY!!!
I hope you like cupcakes. Here we are. You. Me. Together again. Isn't this nice? Kind of cozy. It's hard to believe this is my 100th post. What a freakin' milestone this is! Of course, birthdays, anniversaries and 100th blog posts are nothing more than our perception of what we say is important in this bizarre experience we call "life." It's all made up, folks, every last bit of it. But, you know what? That's the beauty. We have the power to create our own lives; we really are the Michelangelos of our individual worlds. I truly believe that "Little by little, all our sweet dreams come true..."

So, what has been created here? Why is this blog important to me and, hopefully, to you? For me it's because this is a place where thoughts on the road to publishing, spirituality, music, politics, humor and pictures of gorgeous animals (and I'm not just talking about my family) have a place to roam free. It's a diary of sorts.

Remember the crazy, old guy who told me I'd voted for Satan? (11/7/08)
Remember when Dusty went missing? (1/12, 13, 15/09)
Remember my crazy neighbor who went all Mike Tyson on us? (10/14/08)
Remember the not-too-bright ex-beauty queen who was running for the second most powerful job on the planet? (10/2/08)
Remember when I got my first "nibble?" (11/25/08)
Remember when my mom went through surgery and your love and support made all the difference in the world? (10/2/08)

(I've added the dates here in case anyone feels nostalgic and wants to re-experience these episodes. You can find them in the bottom, right-hand corner of the blog.)

Here are a few of my favorite pics from various entries:










This is the stuff of my blog journal. Looking back over the past 7 & 1/2 months, a lot has changed. My first entry (9/30/08) was right after I'd attended my first writer's conference in NYC. I'd finally jumped in and gotten my feet wet and what an eye-opener that was! The gals in my group like Wendy and Sarah were so talented and supportive. I was blown away to be in their presence. And my dear blogger friend, Amy, made me feel so at home in this new blogosphere world.

I'll be attending two more conferences this month, and I can't wait. First of all, I'll be meeting my new best friend for the first time (a writer I "met" through my blog - she doesn't have a blog, otherwise I'd link her - hugs to you, J...) and secondly, I know there will be new agents and writers I'll meet and all of our lives will be impacted - it's a beautiful thing.

Since my first entry, I've set aside the book I was pitching back then, written another, and am 2/3 of the way through yet another. I've never been happier. Thanks to each and every one of you for making this journey fun, enlightening, challenging and humorous. I love all of your comments - I am honored and amazed by you.

Before I get to the SGP, a reminder that all the NEW folks (between the last post and this coming Sunday night) are in the running for a $10 gift card, and a commenter from the last post has already been selected to win a $10 gift card. (All winners will be announced Monday morning and all gift cards are from Borders Books). A commenter from this post will win a $20 gift card and if you link to this post and let me know, you'll have another shot at both the $20 gift card and the SGP.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to unveil the Secret Grand Prize....

By Sunday at 9PM EST, all who have commented on this post or the last (if you post on both, you get two shots at it) will be eligible for:

A $20 Gift Card from Borders PLUS
Your choice of one of the following two books (in perfect condition):
  • The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman
  • Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda
AND.....
  • You get to name a character in my current WIP, "Murder on Twilight Circle"!!!
If you win, you'll have the option of choosing a male (homicide detective) or female (nun) character to name. (And, for the record, if you choose the nun I'd prefer you stay away from names like Lolita, Candy, Tootsie, etc.!!!)

I wish the best of luck to each and every one of you, and from my heart to yours, Namaste. (I bow to you.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

99 & Counting... Party on, Excellent!

Believe it or not, this is my 99th post which means the next one will be my 100th! (I aced second grade math.)

In order to properly honor this auspicious occasion, I'll be giving stuff away. Not just any old stuff, but cool stuff. Stuff like Borders Gift Cards and books and a SECRET GRAND PRIZE (SGP) THAT IS SO COOL YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO STAND IT!!!!

"How do I win all this cool stuff?" you ask. Well, that's easy! Everyone who comments on THIS post will be eligible for a $10 Borders Gift Card and everyone who comments on my Centennial Post (which will magically appear on Friday) will be eligible for a $20 Borders Gift Card.

All commentators from this post AND/OR the next will be eligible to win the SGP!
(To be revealed on Friday and, yup, one person could feasibly win both gift cards AND the SGP!)

I'm hoping these enticing incentives will coax some of you lurky-loos out of Lurksville, Lurkytown, or Lurkland, or wherever the hell it is you live in order to say "Hello!" or "Wassup?" or "Your Mother Wears Army Boots!" or whatever the hell it is you lurky-types like to say.

Also, all NEW FOLLOWERS who come on board the Write on Target Party Train between now and this coming Sunday will be eligible for an additional $10 Borders Gift Card (and if you comment, the SGP!).

So, I hope you'll join the party and help me celebrate nearly eight months of fun and frolic. (I don't know about you, but I just LOVE to frolic!)

ALL WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED BY 9PM-ISH EST ON SUNDAY, 5/17.

Party on Wayne, party on Garth!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Right Path

At the ripe old age of 34 I wrote a song called, "Sweet Life." It was an ode to my kids and my parents, and it was a look at time passing by:

"Sometimes I feel I'm getting old, that life was all 'back then,' Still I know I'm younger now then I ever will be again..."

This was a reminder to myself that as old as I sometimes feel, I am, in fact, younger then I ever will be in the future. This is a powerful and positive way to view aging. Unfortunatley, as the days on the calendar fall away, we grown-ups generally tend to feel less powerful and less positive about our time remaining. We lean more towards the philosphy in the lyrics of another well-known songwriter (though, admittedly not as famous as me), Roger Waters:

"And the sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older, Shorter of breath and one day closer to death..." (Pink Floyd, "Dark Side of the Moon" as if you didn't know!)

The ever-hammering tick, tick, tick, of time sometimes manifests inner doubts and questions. Do I have enough time? Will I accomplish my goals? Will I have enough money to retire? Will my dreams finally come true? Will I be able to afford to send my kids to college? Will I ever get my baby-blue, 2-door, convertible Mercedes? And, if you're a writer like me, "Will I find the perfect agent and get my book published before I'm 100?"

Time passing is both fascinating and mysterious. How we relate to time and to our lives in general changes as we age. When I was a kid, I thought forever was a long, beautiful, never-ending, lazy road. There was no anxiety over not having enough time; no limit to the dreams I could and would imagine. As an adult, I realize forever was my innocent child's interpretation of life, and that I'd better be in action if I want to see my dreams blossom fully and vibrantly.

What is it you still want to accomplish in life? Having a happy, healthy family? Being kind to all living things? Snuggling with your pets? (One of my favorite and most oft-reached goals!) Marrying (or staying married to) your best friend? Becoming a great cook? Learning a different language? Traveling to exotic places? Creating something timeless that is yours and yours alone? All of the above?

Chuck and I wrote a song called, "Beautiful Illusion." It's about being one with yourself; being truly at peace.

"The beautiful illusion is near, I hear the voices whisper in my ear, "You're on the right path, it's clear..."


Look at your life and tell yourself honestly - are you on the right path? Is it clear? Is it somewhat hazy? What action can you take to further your dreams or goals?

Take that action. Now.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Adam!

OK, look at us and tell me how is it possible that we have a 20-year-old son? I mean, if we're only 30-ish (give or take a decade), how can we have a son who's 20? It's not physically possible. And, yet, there it is.

Here's a pic of Chuck and I at a lovely little bistro last month in New Jersey. Now, honestly, if you didn't know how old this hot, young couple was, what would you guess? 30? 32? OK, 35 tops? (You know, I have super-powers and can hear you laughing all the way out here in the suburbs of Philly. So, you might want to knock it off.)

Twenty years ago at this very moment, I'd just received a gift from heaven - an epidural. Unfortunately, I still had four hours to go before the biggest blessing/pain in my ass would officially arrive on the planet. Adam Mitchell Schubert came barrelling into the world at 2:22PM MST on Monday, May 8th, 1989. All kidding aside, it was one of the two best days of my life (the other day was two years and eight months later when Ethan was born.)

I remember lying in the hospital bed and cradling my newborn in my arms. We stared at each other and had a truly out-of-body experience. It was a connection I'll never forget. As crazy as it seems, I believe we "bonded" at that very magical moment. And right after that, I had this thought: "Oh my God - someday this sweet, little baby will be a TEENAGER!!!! Help, doctor, put it back!!"

And, it's true. That sweet, little baby did become a teenager. Somehow, we both managed to make it through those (frightening) years, and now Adam is heading directly for adulthood. And that, my friends, is nothing short of crazy. Like Jerry said, what a long, strange (fun, amazing, incredible, frustrating, fascinating, mind blowing) trip it's been.

Here's what our tiny baby looks like now. He used to be a geek who wore only sweat pants and t-shirts. Now he's in college and is a super-cool drummer in a punk rock band called Combat Crisis. And, damn, he's kinda cute! At least we know where he gets his good looks (see pic of Chuckie-poo above) and talent from (see pic of moi above).

So, please join me in welcoming my little, baby Adam (or, Amo, as he called himself until he was two. "What's your name?" random stranger would ask. "Amo!" he'd reply. And I thought I'd taught him never to talk to strangers...) into his third decade of life.

Happy 20th, Adam, and many, many more!


All my love, Mom.;-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Love is a Many Fickled Thing

When my new love entered my life only six, short months ago, I had no idea how quickly we'd bond, how fast we'd fall in love, and how beautiful our relationship would be. But, love can be a fickle thing.

Two nights ago a third wheel entered the picture and has blown my new love affair to pieces. Why? Because the love of my life has fallen for another. And, if that's not bad enough, I found out they're already married and are planning a big family. Babies? So soon? How do they even know the relationship will last?

Here's a picture of the new couple. Don't they look despicably happy together? (At least they've got good taste in which blogs they follow.) And here's what their babies will undoubtedly look like:











As if that's not bad enough, they wasted no time participating in a menage a trois, despite the fact that I suggested this on numerous occasions and was turned down every single time! (Yeah, that's Tiger Lilly, the little hussy. She sure looks ready for a cigarette!)

To clear my mind from this vicious triangle, I got a shot of Zoro taking command of the new HD TV box we got. Thank goodness he was here to wrestle that little bastard to the ground!

So, what do you think about love? Is it evil? Is it kind? Does it leave you wanting more? Less? Is there a place for such fickleness in your life? I'm feeling a bit disillusioned, but then, I'm a writer, so I'm used to rejection.

As Lily Tomlin so eloquently put it, "If love is the answer, could you please rephrase the question?"

(For those of you wondering why I now have two laptops, it's because Chuck got jealous of my torrid love affair with my HP until he came to his senses and realized he needed some of that hot action for himself. It truly was love at first sight between my sweet lover and his. We're convinced they'll get married, have lots of babies (or "mini's" as they call them), and live happily ever after. When (not if) those happy events occur, I'll be sure to let you know!)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

One Darn Lovely Award!

I am, once again, totally verklempt at the amazingness of some of the bloggers out there in blogland. The ever-lovely Midlife Mama over at Midlife Musings has, for some out-of-body-type reason, deemed me worthy of the "One Lovely Blog Award." I know, what was she thinking? I've been called many things in my life, but never lovely. I do, however, hope my mom is reading this. (Hi, Mom!)

To you, MM, I thank you from the deepest depths of my soul. If I were pregnant, I'd name the baby after you, although naming a baby "Midlife Mama" might be considered wrong in some circles. (Who'd want to live in a place where you couldn't name your kids something funny, lame, or borderline cruel? Not me, that's for sure, and I think Gwyneth Paltrow and Frank Zappa would agree).

Of course, these undeniably fantabulous awards do not come without tremendous responsibilities, and I've always taken my responsibilities seriously. However, being an A-type personality (No! Really?), control freak, JAP, and one who doesn't just question authority, but wrestles it to the ground and strangles it slowly to death, I've "revised" the rules.

Here are "The (Evil) Rules" in their original format:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
That seems reasonable. Check!


2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
WTF? 15? Who writes these "rules," anyway? Are you freakin' kidding me! Let's say we settle for ten. That's a much more manageable number, don't you think?


So, drum roll please! The 10 NEWLY DISCOVERED bloggers out there who IMHO have perfectly lovely blogs are:
  • The ferociously funny Kiersten at Kiersten Writes! This girl can say, "Please pass the ketchup" and you'll be rolling on the floor laughing.
  • The kutely kaptivating Kasie West! She's sweet, funny, and has an AMAZING new haircut.
  • The jubilantly joyous Jenni James! Jenni is the happiest person alive. You think I'm kidding? Go check out her blog.
  • The kreatively kompelling Kelly Polark! Kelly is a talented poet with beautiful hair who's afraid to ride a Harley.
  • The ravishingly remarkable Rebecca at Provocation Of Mine (d)! Her annoying habit of "daily blogging" is making me look like a lazy slob. Oh, wait. I looked like a lazy slob long before I found Rebecca's blog...
  • The immpressively introspective Indigo at Scream Quietly! She clawed her way out from the depths of hell, and is sharing her story with the world. May the Gods bless her.
In the interest of supporting minorities, I've once again included a token white, heterosexual male. Who knows, maybe they'll even be able to marry someday!

Please visit these well-deserving folks and tell them Debbie sentcha, you betcha! (She said winking and giving the "thumbs up!" sign.)

(Holy Toledo, Batman! My inner Sarah Palin comes out at the most inappropriate times. OMG! I've got an inner Sarah Palin!)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Life Rocks!

Another week has come and gone, and I thought, what a great opportunity to honor life's magnificence. It's not because anything particularly "wonderful" happened this week (unless you consider two new requests for partials wonderful, which, OK, I do); it's just because life - well it kind of rocks!

Each changing season, each new day, every "I love you" from your kid, partner, friend or family member, is cause for utter celebration. I don't know about you, but I tend to kinda sorta take these giganto miracles for granted. Not always - sometimes I'm actually present enough to "get" the wonder of life, but usually I'm so "in my head" about writing, or laundry, what I'm going to have for dinner, or if I'll get my daily fix of Starbuck's soy, chai-tea latte (no water) - you know, the important stuff - that I miss out on what is happening. Now.

Now, don't go getting all Bill O'Reilly on me. I know this stuff' IS important (especially my chai tea!), it's just that I tend to make it WAY more important than it needs to be.

So, to all my beautiful, blogging buds out there - I wish you a breathtakingly magical weekend. Notice the birds chirping, the flowers blooming, the smiles on your children's faces. Notice the purr of your kitties or the bark of your dog. Feel the rain on your face; the sun on your skin. Most of all, be present to the magnificence that is your life and to your greatest gift of all - the precious present.

(Funny side note - I lost a spelling bee in the 6th grade because of the word "precious." Well, not because of the word, per se, but because I didn't know how to spell it. I was pretty sure there was another "s" in there somewhere (prescious, perhaps?). I still have to look it up practically every time I write it (like now, for example.) It took me years to get past that. OK, I'm lying. I've never gotten over it. I'm permanently scarred. Talk about NOT being in the present!!!)

And, last, but certainly not least, after you leave me an adoring comment, do yourself a favor and hop on over to my dear friend Jenni's place. She's got a totally rad give-away going on; that is if you love antique books half as much as I do.;-)

Here's Jenni doing a Vanna White with a very old and special book. Doesn't she look purty?


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