Friday, May 9, 2008

The publisher said yes!!

The publisher (Windstorm Creative) got back to me in record time, with an affirmative answer. The Door in the Sky has been accepted!!! Not only that, but they want my son, fantasy artist JW Kalin, to illustrate this book as he did The Mountains of the Moon. Needless to say, I'm excited.

I won't give away all the details, but the magic door they go though this time is the one featured on the cover of The Mountains of the Moon, and they'll be traveling by dragon.

I guess I'll have to forgive them for cancelling my Christian Daily Scheduler that I worked so hard on. Publisher's are on a very tight profit margin, and the current economic trends are taking their toll. So what do I do with 365 short, uplifting thoughts for the day? I can't believe how hard it was to come up with so many, with a 30-word maximum for each. As you may have noticed, writing "short" is not my easiest mode.

Book three of The Hall of Doors is in progress, and will include a tribute to Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. I remember helping my younger sister learn her lines for a short play based on a scene from Looking Glass, and driving her nuts for years afterward, quoting the lines which I had memorized in the process of prompting her. I thought it would be fun to have Sammy and her friend Kerri in a similar situation.

In other authorly news, my future daughter-in-law who lives in China says she likes my stories, and that they are helping her to improve her understanding of English. I've been sending her a story, poem or essay nearly every day by email. And my five-year-old granddaughter in Alaska wants to have her pictures in a book, like her cousins who posed for the illustrations in The Mountains of the Moon, so her Mom is going to send me photos and I'll make her a picture book. Maybe I'll self-publish:-)

How cool is it when your kids and grandkids are also fans? I feel so blessed.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Mother's Day Poems

For many years, I wrote a poem for my mom every Mother's Day. A lot of them wound up in a little work-for-hire gift book I put together for Barbour Publishing. I was supposed to be mostly compiling quotes, so I figured I might as well quote myself. Mom was drifting into the haze of Alzheimer's, but she still was proud of what she felt was "her" book.

My friend, Anita Donihue, recently asked for a copy of one poem, as she had misplaced it. She discovered several years ago, that the poem could be sung to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me," and uses it annually with her Sunday School class at Algona-Pacific Church of God in Washington. So I get my annual dose of "fifteen minute of fame." Actually, most of my Mother's Day poems have been read at least once in one church or another, and several have been published as well. Since I still hold the copyrights, I decided to share a few. Feel welcome to pass them on.

This is the one Anita wanted. She added as a chorus, "Yes, we love Mom (3 times) and Jesus loves her too."


Wife, companion, sweetheart, friend,
One on whom we all depend,
Chauffeur, laundress, cook and baker,
Casserole and cookie maker,
Seamstress, skilled in many arts,
Mending clothes and broken hearts,
Girl Scout leader, Sunday School teacher,
Confidante, advisor, preacher,
Bargain hunter, tutor, nurse,
Keeper of the family purse,
Neighbor, cousin, daughter, niece,
Making beds and making peace,
Always smiling, always giving,
What a busy life they're living,
Feeding children, dogs and cats,
How do they wear so many hats?

Janice Lewis Clark May, 2000

Actually, I think this one is my favorite.

Life: With Safety Net

Life is an ocean the sailor must cross
In a boat with threadbare sails:
Riding the billows from trough to crest,
Braving the fearsome gales.
And the waves roll up, and the waves roll down,
And the breakers roar and foam,
But the beacon light of a mother’s love
Will guide the sailor home.

Life is a journey to faraway lands,
On a road fraught with perils and care,
Where many a beckoning dead-end trail
Awaits, the unwary to snare.
And the road climbs up, and the road slides down,
Over rocks and through valleys gray,
But my mother set me upon the path
With a map to guide my way.

Life is an acrobat’s balancing act
On a narrow, raveling rope,
In a gusty wind, with slippery shoes,
And a tattered net for hope.
And the rope sways left, and the rope sways right,
And the watchers hoot and call,
But my mother’s waiting with open arms
To catch me if I fall.

Though the sea is wide, and the road is long,
And the dancing tightrope sways,
Still I carry inside my mother’s song,
That will last me all my days.

Janice Lewis Clark, 2001

This is my most requested, and a favorite for baby showers:


Smiles and dimples, sweet delights;
Diapers, teething, sleepless nights.

Creeping, crawling, growing strong;
Into everything ere long.

Toddling, tripping down the halls;
Crayon murals on the walls.

“Mama”, “Papa”, happy laughter;
“No”, “I hate you” follows after.

Bedtime stories, magic rings;
Skinned-up knees from slides and swings.

Halfway grown and off to school;
Teacher’s smart but Mom’s a fool.

Race through lessons, out the doors;
Messy room and half-done chores.

Plans and day-dreams, fits and starts;
Broken bones and broken hearts.

Hitch your wagon to a star;
Need new clothes, some cash, the car.

Graduation, running wild;
All grown up but still a child.

Taste a bit of life and then,
Funny thing, Mom’s smart again.

It’s a calling like no other;
What a joy to be a mother!

Janice Lewis Clark 1996

One more for now, another popular one:

Laundry Musings

Little boys' pockets, full of odd things:
Bubble gum wrappers and butterfly wings
Nails, screws, and washers, a Crackerjack ring,
Pencils and pebbles and pieces of string.

The whole world is changing, each day something new
Cell phones and faxes and microwave stew,
Video movies and games on the set;
Grandma sends e-mail and cruises the net.

Satellites orbit, the shuttle's routine.
Holograms shimmer from each magazine.
Lasers for surgery, robot-built cars,
Telecommuting and photos from mars.

Washers and dryers grow more automatic;
Glass fiber lines give us phones with less static.
Life is confusing, amusing but strange.
Isn't it grand that some things never change.

Little boys' pockets, full of odd things:
Bubble gum wrappers and butterfly wings
Nails, screws, and washers, a Crackerjack ring,
Pencils and pebbles and pieces of string.

Janice Lewis Clark 1998

Enough for now. It's time to tend to other chores. I finally finished my latest review for The Fix, an anthology called The Return of the Sword. I also finished tweaking the manuscript for The Door in the Sky, which is the sequel to The Mountains of the Moon for the Hall of Doors series. Now I need to write a couple of critiques for Critters and then get back to book three for the series. Maybe I'll steal a few moments to get out and enjoy the rare sunshine.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Technology is amazing

Back in the early 70s, I was learning to program with a computer language called RPG2, I think. It's probably a dead language now. We used it to write programs for a computer that ran on punched cards and probably had less computing capacity than most calculators today.

I had been hired by a steel mill as a keypuncher--equivalent to a data entry clerk. I hated keypunching, but it was a skill I'd picked up, and I was desperate for a job. Running the computer and writing little programs for my friend in the bookkeeping department was fun. Then we had a management shift, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not to do any programming, not to so much as discuss programming with anyone, even after hours, and was to sit at that keypunch eight hours a day like a good little robot. So I shifted positions as soon as I could, and wound up being a reinforcing steel detailer for about thirty years. I had a couple of other opportunities over the years to get back into working with computers, but there was always a good reason to do something else. I did finally have to learn CAD (computer assisted drafting) but never got back to programming.

So I'm not a total Luddite, but not a techie either. PCs and the Internet just blow me away. I've been a science fiction fan most of my life, but the modern computers available to the average person can do things I never even dreamed of in my younger years.

Now I find myself having an almost-daily slow-moving conversation with my oldest son's fiance in China, via email. I've already met her face-to-face on Skype, but the time difference is an issue. I can exchange pictures with my daughter in Alaska, participate in a couple of international writing workshops, and even keep in touch with an eighty-year-old cousin without waiting on the post office. I can research almost any subject (keeping in mind that some sources are unreliable). I can send manuscripts to my publisher instantly via email (but I still have to wait forever for a response) or print out labels with postage to send packages by "snail mail." I can put together professional-looking little books for my grandchildren.

Of course, the techno-savvy do far more than I do, but I don't expect to catch up with my grandkids, for instance. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but the learning curve's a bit longer, and I'm content with my level of participation in the information age. My current project is to persuade my youngest son to become a computer repairman, so he can keep my computer in good shape:-)