Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ask Me Anything

A lot of my wonderful Invisible Friends have been curious about certain aspects of my life, from my writing to why I'm fanatical about pie. So I've compiled a list of questions, including questions from creatures around the Pond. Nothing is off limits! Enjoy, and feel free to ask me anything! Tomorrow stay tuned for the candy animals! (Yes, I've been teasing this for awhile, but it's really happening tomorrow.)

The Blond Duck on writing

asked: "When do you do writing?"

I write a lot, usually in the mornings before I work out (I get up before 5 a.m.) and on the weekends. I write the stories for my blogs either the night before or sometime during work (shameless, I know!). I do a little writing at night, but my best stuff is in the morning or early afternoon.

"When did you start writing?"

Since I was young.
In the fourth grade, I had several notebooks filled with stories of a bus full of kids that went on a field trip and wound up on a jungle adventure. (It makes me cringe now!) I also entered a playwriting contest and the judge was kind enough to send me three pages of a positive critique. Of course, being the little princess I am, I was annoyed I didn't win. In middle school I wrote plays for my drama class and in high school I wrote bad poetry that was actually published in the school literary magazine.

I'm not posting it. It's too bad.

I didn't seriously get back into writing until my senior year of college, when I wrote my first book Diary of the Reluctant Bride. It's not published and will probably never be published, which is a really good thing. I wrote a lot of short children's stories like Fuzz the Lint Gremlin and The Peanut Butter Monster, which were also rejected by publishers. At that point, I got frustrated. I felt like my stories were too weird, too out there, too non-traditional for publishers.

A friend encouraged me to try women's fiction, and I wrote a book about a couple falling in love from a dog's point of view. The book received a lot of agent attention, but ultimately was denied. I haven't given up on it. I'm thinking about tweaking it so it's from a YA (young adult book) perspective.

My newest venture is a middle grade (8-13) children's novel about a little girl that finds a dolphin in her swimming pool and embarks on a ocean adventure called Deep Blue Dolphin. It's in the final edits and I plan to submit it in the next month or so.
However, I have several plans to publish books on my own, which you'll see below.

You can't say I'm not persistent!

"How much time do you spend editing?"

For the stories on my blog, about 15 minutes. I scan over them, change a few things, do spell check, look over them again, and click publish.

I'm an editor's nightmare.

But honestly, I find my best stuff is raw and natural. If I over think it, I dumb it down and take all the creativity out in order to "please others." That's why most of my stuff that comes from a compulsion comes out here.

"How do you crank (your stories) out so quickly and flawlessly?"

I'm so glad you think they're flawless! It only takes me about 30 minutes to write a story. I have no idea how I do it, I just know I have to do it. So I do.

asked: "How do you come up with your stories?"

I don't know.

I seriously don't. I came up with Miss Pickles in the shower two years ago when I was considering being a teacher. The Land of the Flowered Bed was a random story I wrote one day. The Enchanted Jewel Box came when I was dancing around my sister's room in Austin and staring at her jewelery box.

Sometimes I get ideas walking or driving down the road. Honestly, I feel almost like I spend my days twirling and leaping down the road and my "brilliant" ideas are fluttering by like tiny butterflies. When I'm lucky, they land on my nose. Once that happens, I physically twitch until I can get to a computer and type out the story.

Do you plot out your stories?

Normally, they just all come out. Sometimes I plot them out, but usually after I've already written a story. I find my best stuff comes out in installments, like Miss Pickles--a long series of short stories. I have no idea why. The books I write tend to have that kind of pacing as well.

Will Miss Pickles be a book?

Miss Pickles was a book two years ago. Unfortunately, I got annoyed with the restrictions of the publishing industry and shoved it deep in my hard drive. Now she's back, though her story is entirely different than the original book.

It will be a new book. Soon.

You're so talented! Why aren't you published?

I have no idea. I'll bake a pie for whoever will publish me first! An apple pie! A peanut butter pie! Whatever you like!

Do you want to be published?

Desperately. However, like any independent Texan princess, I've decided to quit waiting around and take matters into my own hands. I have a secret project that will be announced soon. On top of that, I'm turning the
Missing Wings series I did this summer into a book. I plan to use my dear Invisible Friends as a sounding board to create the first blog-sponsored book, whether I publish it through lulu.com or a private publishing company. I'm very excited about this!

And if you think the stuff on the blog about Missing Wings was good, wait until you see the new stuff. (If I do say so myself!)
However, I am pursuing traditional publishing. I just have several goals that I don't think will fit into the traditional publishing model. Want further details? E-mail me! As you know, you can never tilt your full hand...

I'm totally confused. I think you're crazy. Do you really talk to creatures?

Who wants to know?

I'm new to the Pond. How many stories do you have, exactly?

There are dozens of stories about random creatures and critters. Long time favorites include the The GLUG, the The Argumentative Birds and The Land of the Flowered Bed.

The newest series are the candy animals ( tomorrow!), Missing Wings, Miss Pickles (see yesterday's post) and Enchanted Jewels.

What is the Land of the Flowered Bed?

The Land of the Flowered Bed is a series of short stories based on a group of stuffed animals and magical creatures living in a little girl's bedroom, referred to as the girl or Blond Duck. There are also three ducks (based on rubber ducks) that live in the Spa, which is really a bathroom. And there are Lint Gremlins and Dust Bunnies in the Land Under the Bed.

They are based on a real group of stuffed animals that are really on my bed. And yes, I have a flowered bed cover.

The Blond Duck on food

What's your favorite type of pie?

In this order:

1) Apple crumbly pie

2) Pecan pie

3) Coconut cream pie.

4) Pumpkin pie.

5) Cobbler- apple, berry, peach.

However, I hate lemon and lime and am allergic to chocolate. I know. I'm weird.

What's your ideal meal?

Oh, boy. I guess a bacon cheeseburger, chicken fried steak, french fries, mashed potatoes, macaroni cheese, green beans, wheat buttery rolls, apple pie and peanut butter pie.

I never said I didn't like to eat.

What about barbecue?

And barbecue. I love barbecue. As ya'll know, I got married at a barbecue restaurant.

The Blond Duck on the Blond Duck

Why are you called the Blond Duck?

Because I'm a natural blond and it's a big part of my identity. (Trust me, it's a great excuse. I'm sorry, I can't do that. Why not? I'm blond.)

The duck part came from my obsession over rubber duckies in college that has taken over two bathrooms in two different cities, my cubicle, several t-shirts and now this blog. As I like to say, be a happy duckie!

Who are you exactly?

I'm a princess.

No, really, who are you?

A cute, fabulous, darling, creative princess. With a cute prince. And several tiaras.

I'm only going to ask one more time....

Ok, fine. In reality, I'm a writer that lives in the Pond named Miranda. I'm married to my college sweetheart and best friend, Ben. We've got two Chihuahua puppies, Bitty and Bear. My day job is as a writer/ editor for a magazine for a national media group. I'm obsessed with peanut butter and pie, work out all the time to combat those obsessions and dance every day.

So what if I've posted this picture a million times of the Babies? It's cute, dang it! And I like it!

I also enjoy conversing with butterflies, twirling down streets and writing stories. My goal is to be a brilliant children's writer that delights young and old with delightful, whimsical stories that make you want to have fun!

Marie asked: When did you know Ben was the one for you?

To be frank, I was intensely curious about him when we met because I had never met anyone like him before. We met second semester of college freshman year at Jason's Deli. I was wearing workout clothes and no make up. I had tagged along with a group of guy friends, so I had no reason to dress up.

At first glance, I thought Ben was a popular frat boy with a cute Southern accent. As we sat at the table talking with my friends, I became fascinated by him. He hated fraternities, was charismatic and fun and completely like anyone I had ever met.

I knew we were going to get married after an argument. We'd been dating for almost a year, and I don't even remember what we were fussing about. I just remember he told me not to worry, that we could work through it and change anything. I burst into tears and knew that no matter what happened, we could make it through anything.

And considering we got married, bought a house, moved three hours away and graduated Baylor University in the month of May in 2006, I guess we did.

Bunny asked: Do you have any siblings?

I've got a darling sister who's a junior in college right now. She's studying interior design. I'm going to hire her to make my house look pretty, since I'm too busy talking to lizards and argumentative birds.

So that's it, Invisible Friends! Feel free to send me anymore questions! And stay tuned for the next edition of Candy Animals tomorrow.

For once, I'm glad it won't be all about me.

(But it will be this weekend on my birthday!)


Marjie said...

Happy birthday a couple of days early. I'd bake you a cake if you were here. Orange? Banana? Oooh, I know, I'm planning to try a rich gold cake and white cake later this week. One of those might suit you, too!

Thanks for telling us about yourself, and you can post as many cute pictures of the babies as you like!

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

Wow! That's a lot of stuff. I'm going to have to think about it for a while and see if I can come up with any other questions.

jenjen said...

Wow -- that answered most of my questions. I wish I lived closer and I would bring you a pie for your birthday! What are going to do to celebrate?

noble pig said...

I do hope you get published one day and you will with persistance!

Bunny said...

You will be published Duckie,when you least expect it it'll happen and we will all be here cheering you on to greatness!!! Thanks for answering all those questions, your such a sweetheart!

Mary Ann said...

How very interesting! Thanks for commenting on my blog- I look forward to tuning in here for more stories!

Veronica said...

That was fun to read. I'm sure you will be published someday.

Marie said...

Ahhh Duckie, I loved reading all your answers to these wide and varied questions!!! I adore that last picture of you. You are such a beautiful gal, both inside and out. I just know you will be wickedly famous one day!!! I hope you won't forget me when you are! I love you to pieces and Ben and the Babies too! I love all your stories as well. I think you're the greatest . . . so there!!! (looks like I'm not the only one either!)

Marie said...

PS - did your birthday present arrive yet???

Grace said...

i love learning things about my fellow bloggers--it's nice to get to know you, miranda! and that pic of the pups tops all others in cuteness. :)
oh, and have a fabulous birthday weekend!

Maria said...

It was fun learning more about you! I hope you get published soon! I am sure it will happen! And Happy Birthday a smidge early! I hope you celebrate long and hard:)

TavoLini said...

Great post! I've always wanted to know a princess :)

Happy birthday and post as many pictures of the pups as you want!

freefun0616 said...