The Day After the First Mentor Meeting in Reno

I loved it. All of it. 

The mentoring program run by the Nevada chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is no small undertaking. I don't know how many people applied. I do know both the mentors and the chapter leaders took great care in making good matches between mentors and mentees (which ought to be "manatees"), so that writers would be paired with the mentor who could offer the most help. Tim Travaglini was my first choice as mentor, and I am paired with him along with Angie Azur and Laurie Young, who are also writing middle grade books.

Tim fired a few good questions at me, exposing a few gaps in my world building and magical logic. I love that method. I truly do. Questions allow me to sit, think, let my subconscious gnaw away till my intuition lays out a response. I already see a great depth and opportunity developing. It is not what he intended, I imagine, but his questions caused ripples through not just the magical, but the moral structure of the work. 

The wishbone came alive.

Tim, as he likes to say, is always right, but we won't tell him how much. We'll keep that betwixt us.

What I wanted, though, was for someone to tell me I had the ability to make it in publishing. There are no guarantees: I wanted to know I was not deluding myself and wasting valuable time and money on the effort. That may sound needy. It is, at the most basic level, what I needed to hear.

Tim gave me that assurance, too. 

Now I have to finish this version of draft number gazillion and send it to him.

Today in the Ratfiles

I never planned on keeping rodents as pets. But, one day, I bought a few mice, mostly to draw and observe them. I learned they had distinct personalities, moods, and behaviors, and they needed a very healthy environment in order to thrive as much as possible. 

I adopted my first rat, Willa, because she was up for adoption and gave me that "hello, friend," look. I fell for it. She was a lovely pet in all respects, always happy to see me, even when she was dying due to a stroke.

Raising rats is not easy. The more I learn, the more I need to learn. They are frightfully smart, emotional, and needy for positive interaction, play, and exercise. Don't buy them as pets unless you plan on spending lots of time learning their ways and lots of money keeping them healthy (because we don't raise them to be healthy at the start).

Today in the #Ratfiles:

Ember has proven she can warp time and space. I could not find her anywhere after evening play time, then searched about this morning, frightened she'd escaped into a house packed with cats, only to see her, at last, nibbling breakfast in the cage and mocking me with her placid demeanor.

This is why some of us do not have children. We would misplace them.

I have started to hide their food in the empty toilet and paper towel rolls. This change has been met with unanimous delight.

My next project: clicker training. Sparkes is still prone to bite without provocation, and I hope training helps. I am undecided on the Prozac because...well, it is weird and maybe unnecessary.

I have trained them all to return to the cage when summoned. This usually works for all of them or for three of the four. The outlier would be Ember, working her magic on bending time and space to her will.