A Tad Bit Delayed . . .

Hey everyone!
I know  . . . world’s most unreliable blogger. I could have shared about my adventures in Thailand, Cambodia and Australia. But instead I jealously hoarded them so that I can stick them in my novels and no one will say, “Wow, Marni! Way to be original. Not.”
But I think I can safely fill you guys in on some of the things that have been going on in my life. Since I last posted I won a Meg Cabot fiction writing contest! Which really means that I won one of my favorite books: The Boy Next Door. I know, most of my friends snicker at my deep love for romance novels but this one is not to be missed. Although I was more excited about submitting a short story then the prize. See, I don’t tend to write short stories or anything under 1000 words. Not because I’m a snob. I think short stories are fantastic! It’s just that I tend to fall in love with my characters. And then I don’t want to leave them after less than ten pages!
That’s why I write novels—because I’m not good with goodbyes. 
And speaking of novels . . . I am officially done with my manuscript for Invisible. It is now in the very capable hands of my editor, Megan Records. Now hopefully she’ll love it, tell me that I am a writing genius and that it is perfect just the way it is. Fingers crossed, everybody! 
But the best part about finishing a novel is starting the next project. Which is kind of funny because when I am halfway through a book I want nothing more than to be finished. I get so fed up with spacing out during class thinking, “Oh what if she breaks up with him and then . . . oh, no. Never mind. What if she gets in a fight and then . . . what was that Mr. Allen just said? I have to map a torus? Uh . . . how do I do that again?” 
The editing stage is the most brutal because that’s when every single sentence is under intense scrutiny as I try to weed the good stuff from the . . . not-so good stuff. Advice to future authors: get someone you trust to look over your stuff. It’s amazing how many expressions I’ve used that turn out not to be expressions at all. Just words I’ve mangled together.
So, yes, turning in the book feels fantastic. I’ve been celebrating with episodes of Modern Family. Hilarious! But mainly I love that now I am free to work on whatever I want. If I get an idea at one in the morning I don’t have to feel guilty about firing up the laptop. The funny thing is that I never thought of myself as a workaholic until I came on this study abroad program. And now two days without Internet feels like an eternity. It’s embarrassing to admit but I have become the girl who checks her Facebook page first thing in the morning. *Shakes head in shame.*
But back to my news! I will be attending the Willamette Writers Conference 2011 from August 5-7th and to make matters even more exciting . . . I’m going to be on a panel. Or giving a speech. Or something. I’m not quite clear on the details. But I will be there and I can’t wait to see my conference friends.  To be honest, I’m really looking forward to returning stateside. Australia is great—don’t get me wrong. But they don’t eat apples and peanut butter here. Seriously. They have apples. They have peanut butter. But they can’t seem to put the two together.
And I’m sorry but any country where they eat vegemite needs some serious help. 
Beyond the food differences there is also something of a language barrier. You might think that they speak English but that’s not exactly true. For example: flip-flops are called thongs here. Week one I saw a hotel sign that read: No thongs allowed! I stared at it for a full five minutes just wondering how they would a) check that rule was followed and b) how they would enforce it. Sorry, ma’am but my underwear detector revealed a G-string. You’ll have to come with me. 
Australians also call bathing suits “togs” which sounds like a shoe if you ask me. This led to a great deal of confusion with my host family when I first arrived. I guess they aren’t used to American’s asking why they would have to wear shoes in the pool. But I’ve got the hang of it now. Brekkie for breakfast. Avo for afternoon. Mozzie for mosquito. Anything they can abbreviate, they will.
But I have to admit . . . the Australians I’ve met have been warm-hearted wonderful people. So maybe this country has more going for it then oceanfront property and sandy beaches.
Anyhow, my life right now . . . looking pretty good.
And I’ll try to be a better blogger.
~Marni

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