Saturday, November 5, 2011

Revisiting Old Ghosts

So I have been hitting my first book pretty hard again. I love my second project, and in the end it will probably be the first thing I get published, but those three kids from my first book just keep pulling me back.

I found in writing my second novel, IN THE DARKNESS, my main character kept channeling my character from IN THE MIDDLE.

(Why are all my book titles IN THE?)

Anyway. I have been rewriting, editing, adding a little more drama for catharsis. It was really good to look at it with fresh eyes, having shelved it for so long. But when I did, I realized I couldn't just leave it. I couldn't. I think there is a really good story there. And I like it even more now. I hope I can convince an agent that kids will too.

My plan is to start querying it again, have it floating around out there in email cyberspace, swirling in cyber-possibilities. And then get back to the haunting darkness of Remy and Evie and see what kind of adventure their story takes me on.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Living the Dream Down in Ewa Beach

It’s been almost a year since we left Southern Oregon to pursue our lifelong dream of a coastal life. After spending most of our lives wishing we lived near the beach, my husband and I realized that we were at a turning point in our lives and careers. It was time to put up or shut up, either we leave the stability of successful careers, friends and family and completely start over again or give up our dream, and wait patiently for 15 years and ultimately retirement. We both realized that we were quickly approaching that point of no return, that point where waiting any longer would make it that much more challenging to leave-- and so we finally decided it was time. This wasn’t the first time. We almost moved to Maui a few years ago. An opportunity arose and we almost jumped on it, but our children weren’t completely on board, and we felt we couldn’t make such a drastic move without everyone in agreement. After all, this move would affect them just as profoundly as it affects us. Luckily the second time around our kids were both just as excited about the prospect of a new adventure as we were, and we decided at last, it was time.

Well, we have met that year milestone. Yep, we have officially been in Hawaii for a whole year. (On average most people that move from the mainland to Hawaii move back within two years) Funny thing is I almost didn't even notice. Life has been good, great even. There has been a lot of adjusting but I think we are fitting in just fine. We moved from Kapolei to Ewa Beach a few months back with the purchase of our home here. And since we moved in, or before actually, it has been a whole lot of work. Fixing up a fixer can be all consuming, but it's worth it and I love our home. And at some point it will be done...maybe.

It’s amazing the street cred you get from local people when they discover you live on Ewa Beach Road. Generally when a haole says they live in Ewa Beach they mean Ewa Gentry, a planned pristine, cookie-cutter, community on the other side of Ewa Beach. Ewa Beach Road has an eclectic mix of residents nestled along a mile long oceanfront road sandwiched by the Pacific Ocean and government owned property. I think it is an ideal snapshot of true local living. All races, ages and tax brackets.

"Living the dream down in Ewa Beach" is a bit of a joke between my husband and I. When friends or coworkers find out that we live on Ewa Beach Road, they usually say, really?
I have to admit that the first time I laid eyes on Ewa Beach I was not impressed. We were on the search, scouring our new island for a little place to purchase. A little place as close to beachfront as we could afford. I was put off by the fact that so many of the homes in Ewa Beach suffer from neglect, disrepair and clutter. It seemed so tired and used up. How did these people not realize where they lived?

So what changed you might ask? I did. And Ewa Beach began to grow on me. And the local life. And I have no complaints, well except maybe for the neighbor boys who ride their extremely whiney mopeds up and down the street. But the fact of the matter is-- we live on the beach, just steps to the sand. We're all good... and living the dream.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hello Again

Hello again.

I am back from the brink.

The last few months have been consumed with work, moving, renovating, life.

I plan to redirect my efforts towards my writing and hope to flesh out my second novel this summer. My characters have been calling to me (one from the depths of an icy river) and I can not wait to find out what they want to tell me. Your are more than welcome to join me on this new adventure...

Monday, February 7, 2011

What's In A Name?

So I changed my name when I was thirteen.

It wasn't the first time.

When I was five and my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Rummel refused to call me Danielle and insisted upon calling me Daniel, I marched straight home and demanded that from that day forth I would use my middle name, Kelly, while at school. You see there was another kid in my class named Daniel and he was a boy! I really loved the way Daniel folded his construction paper, but I digress...

My stint as "Kelly" was short lived, I think after all the commotion I caused and steps that I had taken to be referred to a Kelly was a little enlightening for dear Mrs. Rummel, and she finally figured out my very challenging pronunciation. (Can you imagine? I was only 5!)

The second time I changed my name was on my terms. I was thirteen and about to embark on the wonderful world of employment. I applied for my work permit from the State of California and made my very first visit to the social security office. When I went into the social security office the lady behind the counter asked me my name and I said, Dani, Dani Hawkins... and it was so.

In hindsight I'm a little confused at the apparent lax of the social security office, did I have to bring my birth certificate? Did it not matter that they were different? That one choice that I made at 13 has compounded over the last 25 years. When I got my driver's license three years later, I chose Dani once again. But all my formal education, including college, was experienced as Danielle. First as Danielle Hawkins and then as Danielle Pisors. Every paycheck, come to think of it, even that very first paycheck from Lake Don Pedro (where I made a whopping $3.35 an hour) was made out to Danielle Pisors.

I purchased a home as Danielle Pisors, I file tax returns every year as Danielle Pisors.

When my husband and I took a trip to Mexico in 2001 I had the first "issue" with my name. My plane ticket was reserved as Danielle Pisors and my drivers license said Dani. Oops. I had to pay a notary public in the airport an arm and a leg to approve an Affidavit of Citizenship so I could leave (and return to) the country.

After that I was careful to buy plane tickets as Dani just to avoid those little hiccups.

When I applied for my U.S. Passport for a trip to Costa Rica I was careful to apply as Dani Pisors. Was I now Dani Pisors? I still have a birth certificate that says otherwise.

The reason all this is coming up now is because my new state will only hire me as Dani Pisors. This is weird to me. Phoenix-Talent School District, Ashland School District and Medford School District all hired me as Danielle Pisors. They didn't seem to have an issue with what was on my driver's license or social security card. Huh?

The thing that seems weirdest to me is that my friends call me Dani, and I love it. But I have always been known professionally as Danielle.

Am I now officially Dani? And if so where did Danielle go?

Thursday, January 20, 2011 Giveaway! Don't miss it!

NEWSFLASH: a Giveaway – a FREE YA/MG EDITposted 1/19/11 January 19th, 2011 by DearEditorAdmin
Dear Readers…
To celebrate the completion of her manuscript for Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies, the Editor is giving away a FREE Substantive Edit of one YA or MG fiction manuscript. Deadline: January 31, 2011. Read on for rules….
Dear Readers…
I always urge writers to celebrate when they complete a draft because that’s a really big deal, and today I’m taking my own advice: I just sent the manuscript for Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies to my editor and I’m celebrating with everyone by giving away a free Substantive Edit* of one Young Adult or Middle Grade fiction manuscript. Here are the rules:
1. Your manuscript must be YOUNG ADULT OR MIDDLE GRADE FICTION.
2. Your manuscript must be COMPLETE.
3. Your manuscript SHALL NOT EXCEED 80,000 WORDS