TATTF: A Journey in Karmic Coincidence

Before we begin, don’t forget to add your creative juices to the Renaming “Trevor & the Tooth Fairy” Title Contest–you can win fun prizes!

Okay, on with the show…

Some of you know this story. For those who do not, here’s the true tale.

Once upon a time, there was an author–let’s call her “Erica”–who loved to procrastinate by surfing the Internet. One of her favorite sites to hit was Miss Snark’s blog because it was entertaining and educational, which meant Erica could rationalize the hours spent there as “productive” writerly time. Ahem.

From time to time, the anonymous agent Miss Snark would run feedback series called “Crapometers”, in which X number of readers would email her something specific, such as a story synopsis, for her to publicly snark on her blog.

These pithy flayings were hugely entertaining, and Erica cursed herself every time she missed one. (Then, as now, she tended to visit her blog roll in spurts, and the open window for submissions tended to be just a few hours long.)

In December of 2006, Miss Snark held the Happy Hooker Crapometer and dared her readers to try and hook the notoriously snarky, unhookable agent.

Erica thought that was a pretty good plan.

Unfortunately, Erica did not have a hook, because she did not have a WIP. (Because she’d been too busy procrastinating instead of writing–see paragraph #1.)

Not one to let opportunity pass her by if she could help it, Erica decided to invent a hook off the top of her head. After all, she was sitting at a departure gate in the Tampa Airport with nothing better to do while waiting for her flight to roll in.

What would make a good hook? Well, conflict makes a good hook, right? The Sesame Street skit “Fred Takes a Drink of Water” is hilarious because of its tongue-in-cheek conflictlessness, sure. But Miss Snark is more discriminating than that.

So, Erica kept in mind the old conflict adage about the fireman and the arsonist (aka, pit your hero and heroine against each other) and tried to dream up character types with inherent conflict.

Some people might’ve thought of the determined bachelor and the woman set on marrying him (possibly with a secret baby in her arsenal), or the hardened detective and the waiflike victim he must protect from the vicious killer at all costs, or the virile vampire and the ivory-skinned mortal who cannot help but succumb to his thrall.

Not Erica. She thought of the tooth fairy.

Now, some people might think the tooth fairy has no natural enemies with whom to have inherent conflict. If so, you’re not using your imagination! Erica decided to invent some antagonists.

It made no sense for a small child to fight for her tooth rather than take a shiny silver dollar, so Erica pitted the hapless tooth fairy against an archeologist who needs to hold onto the skeleton tooth he’s just found, in order to keep his job. And then, just for fun, gave the poor apprentice tooth fairy (we can’t have her being an omnipotent, uber tooth fairy!) a villain working behind the scenes to help bring her down.

Thus satisfied, Erica zipped off an email with her 250 word hook to the venerable Miss Snark and headed off to her family’s annual early Christmas a thousand miles away.

Much to her surprise, when she finally got around to checking her email again, there was a message from Miss Snark. The message said that the hook was good and funny. Erica had passed into the second (and final) round, and should please send the first five pages.

Five pages? Of a story she’d made up in an airport terminal? Crap!

Erica did what any self-respecting procrastinator would do–she waited around until it was almost too late to send anything in at all. During this waiting-around period, she read the submissions of the few people whose hooks Miss Snark had actually liked, and winced in sympathy at the brutal snarking most of them achieved.

She even checked with a few of her friends and chaptermates to get their opinion on the situation. Virtually all said something along the lines of, “Wow, I can’t believe you hooked Miss Snark! But a tooth fairy? Are you serious? No way can you make a full length adult romance out of that.”

But, not wishing for opportunity to pass her by, Erica spent the hours before a different return flight knocking out five pages. Okay, six. Which she then trimmed down to five. Or closer to four and a half.

In any case, Miss Snark posted the excerpt (ha! she thought it was the excerpt, but it was the entire manuscript! bet I was the only one who got my entire manuscript posted!) and wonder of wonders… actually liked it!

Erica thought to herself, “Well, if Miss Snark thinks it’s got potential–and she’s not only a stiletto-wearing crotchety gin addict, she doesn’t even represent romance–it can’t be that stupid of an idea.”

And so she sat down and wrote.

Between January 15 and March 6, 2007, she knocked out 99,936 words. As soon as she was done with that, she cleaned up the partial (with the help of her CPs) and started querying agents. While waiting to hear back from the dozen or so agents, she entered a couple contests and managed to triple-final in one of them (no word yet on the other). She sent all the agents who’d requested material a nice email mentioning said triple-final and waited some more. And then in July of 2007, one of the interested agents said she loved Trevor & the Tooth Fairy and offered representation.

Now Erica just received her very first revision letter and is busy polishing up the story so her agent can send it on its merry way to NYC.

Whether or not this is the book that makes that first sale, the whole experience has been amazing, emotional (lots of interest, rejections, and waiting!), and self-affirming.

*raises glass*

To tooth fairies… and Miss Snark! =)

YOUR TURN: If this is the first time you heard the tale of how TATTF came to be, what do you think? (Well, you can tell me even if you already knew about it. *g) I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions about any step of the process along the way–just ask! (Oh, and please suggest some new title possibilities!)

Good Karma Tuesday + Special Request

Happy Tuesday!

Today’s Good Karma Tuesday winner is: HEATHER

Remember, all you have to do to win is comment anywhere on this blog! I even check and respond to comments on old, archived posts, so leave your input wherever you’d like. Oh, and send me your address when you win, so I can send you a prize! =)

I sent out a giant stack of prizes last week. Vicki Lane, B.E. Sanderson and Alyssa Goodnight were the first to tell me they’d received theirs. Hopefully the rest of the prizes start showing up for everyone else very soon!

Hope you all join me tomorrow for story time, as I present a true life fairy tale called TATTF: A Journey in Karmic Coincidence. But first! The “Special Request” portion of today’s post comes into play.

Please help me think up potential titles for TMFKATATTF!
(The Manuscript Formerly Known as Trevor & the Tooth Fairy)

Next week’s Good Karma Tuesday winner(s) will be randomly chosen from anyone who posts a comment with title suggestions.

PARAMETERS

Length: Any
Just because TATTF is a long title doesn’t mean YOUR suggestion has to be!

Content: Evocative of Genre
Ideally, the title will imply “funny”, “paranormal”, and “romance”
(I’m willing to settle for a subset, but perfect-world would have all three)

Example: Stephanie Rowe
Her novels “Sex & the Immortal Bad Boy” (Bad Boy=funny, Immortal=paranormal, Sex=romance) and “Must Love Dragons” (singles-ad style title, Love=romance, Dragons=paranormal) both have all three elements.

Exceptions: Not juvenile or gay
While there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality or childhood, this book is about neither subject. So, titles such as “A Visit From the Tooth Fairy” and “The Fairy and the Bone Lover” should be avoided at all costs. *g

Current list of suggested titles:
(Updated regularly from the comments section)
* A Brush with Love
* A Chance for Magic
* A Charming Young Lady
* A Fairy Huge Bone
* A Handful of Glitter
* A Hint of Magic
* A Man for the Fairy Lover
* A Pixie for Trevor
* A Toothsome Tale
* A Touch of Magic
* All’s Fairy in Love
* Ain’t That the Tooth
* As You Wish
* Beaver in the Woods
* Beneath His Pillow
* Between Two Worlds
* Brace Yourself
* Charmed to the Teeth
* Charming the Tooth Fairy
* Come Back Here with that Tooth
* Daisy and the Digger
* Daisy & the Winged Horse She Rode in On
* Daisy and Trevor’s Teeth
* Daisy Chain
* Daisy In Love
* Daisy Le Fay, Apprentice Tooth Fairy
* Daisy Undercovers
* Daisy’s Teeth
* Dating for the Magically Challenged
* Dig that Pixie
* Diggin’ for the Tooth
* Digging For Love
* Digging On You
* Digs Fangs and Fey
* Dirty Daisy
* Dr. Forceps and Nurse Tweezer
* Earning Her Wings
* Fairies Need Love Too
* Fairy Carpet Ride
* Fairy Eye for a Bone Guy
* Fairy Fairy Quite Contrary
* Fairy in Love
* Fairy in My Closet
* Fairy Love
* Fairy Lust
* Fairy Me
* Fairy Tail
* Fairy Thee Well
* Fairy Well
* Fight for Tooth
* Fighting Tooth Fairy and Nail
* Focus Pocus
* ForgetMe (Not)
* Fossils and Fairies
* Gimme That Tooth, Handsome!
* Giving my Eyeteeth for Love
* His Fairy Lady
* His Magic Wand
* Hot Fairy Sex and the Mortal Archaeologist
* How Trevor Met Daisy
* How Trevor Won Tenure
* I Like You Fairy Much
* In the Teeth of Love
* Jurassic Pixie
* Like Magic
* Love & the Magically Challenged
* Love & the Single Fairy
* Love and Wishes
* Love Dig
* Lovelives of the Magically Challenged
* Magical and True
* Magical Mystery Tooth
* Magically Challenged
* Midwest Magic
* Mismatched
* Miss Snark and the Tooth Fairy
* Miss Snark Loved This..and Killer Yapp Too
* Molar Express
* Move over Fairy Godmother, here comes the Tooth Fairy
* Must Love Magic
* My Fair Fairy
* My Fairy Lady
* My Sweet Tooth
* No Pillow Needed
* Not the Right Pillow
* Nothin’ but the Tooth
* [Of] Teeth and Tenure
* [Of] Teeth and True Love
* [Of] Wings and Bones
* One Fae too many
* On the Wings of a Bone
* Opposites Attract
* Pillow Sham
* Pillow Slip
* Pillow Talk
* Pillow Talk with a Pixie
* Pinning Her Wings
* Pixie Dig
* Pixie Love
* Pixie Lust
* Pixie Talk
* Professors & Pixie Dust
* Pumpkins & Pixie Dust
* Right Tooth, Wrong Pillow
* Saving Apprentice Daisy
* School of Rocks
* Screwed Up
* Sex and the Single Fairy
* Sex and the Single Pixie
* Sexy Daisy
* She Took More Than Teeth
* Spreading Her Wings
* Stop, Or I’ll Steal Your Teeth
* Strange Hands in my Sleeping Bag
* Sweet Tooth
* Tenure Through Teeth
* The Anthropologist’s Tooth Fairy
* The Book Formerly Known as TMFKATATTF
* The Bone Beneath My Wings
* The Cap and the Crown
* The Case of the Malevolent Molar
* The Drill and the Floss
* The Eyeteeth of Love
* The Fairy & Her Odd Parents
* The Fairy & the Bone Lover
* The Fairy In Trevor’s Closet
* The Fairy with the Magic Wand
* The Molar of the Story
* The Naked Tooth
* The Night of the Tooth Fairy’s Apprentice
* The Night the Tooth Fairy Earned Her Wings
* The Pillow Case
* The Practical Fairy
* The Prof and the Peri
* The Sexy Pixie
* The Teeth of Love
* The Tooth About Daisy
* The Tooth About Fairies
* The Tooth About Love
* The Tooth About Trevor
* The Tooth Fairy’s Apprentice
* The Tooth Fairy’s Lover
* The Tooth Shall Set You Free
* The Trouble with the Tooth Fairy
* The Trouble with Trevor
* The Truth About the Tooth Fairy
* The Whole Tooth
* The Wrong Pillow
* Through the Eyeteeth of Love
* To Daisy with Love
* To Tell the Tooth
* To the Fairy with Love
* Tooth and Bone
* Tooth and Nail
* Tooth be Told
* Tooth Fairy Tales
* Tooth Lover
* Tooth Magic
* Tooth or Consequences
* Tooth or Dare
* Toothfully Trevor’s
* Toothsome
* Totally Toothful
* Trevor and the Tooth Fairy
* Trevor’s Teeth
* Under the Pillow
* Unmatched
* [Unpronounceable Symbol]
* What You Wish For
* When Trevor Met Daisy
* Wherefores and Wherefrogs
* Wing It
* Winging It
* Wingman
* Winning Her Wings
* Wishbone
* Wrong Tooth, Right Pillow

A blurb for the story as well as the entire first chapter can be found here on my web site.

YOUR TURN: Bring on the creativity! Anything goes. Use plays on dating quotes or love truisms, words relating to love/dating/magic/etc. Surprise me!

Goals, Wishes, & a Reality Check

Today I posted a giant essay on GOALS (how to make good ones and how to achieve them) over on the Manuscript Mavens blog. I won’t regurgitate myself here, but I’ll wait for you if you want to go read it.

(No really–go take a peek)

Back? OK. (Did you really go? I hope you left a comment over there. I’ve got my eye on you. *g)

I wanted to do a New Year’s Resolution reality check at the halfway point through the year, but with one thing or another, I ended up a month behind. Better late then never, though, so here we go.

The Top 10 Goals for 2007 I posted on January 1 are as follows:

10) Attend the national conference in August
09) Attend all local monthly chapter meetings
08) Meet with my local CPs at least once a month
07) Be more active (and interactive) with my online CPs
06) Query and/or pitch at least 5 agents
05) Query and/or pitch at least 3 editors/publishers
04) Enter at least 4 contests
03) Blog at least once a week
02) Write two novel-length stories
01) Do something writing-related every single day

Now, to be good goals, they must be specific, quantifiable, realistic, and attainable. Let’s see.

10) Attend the national conference in August

Check. I did in fact achieve this goal. Although I achieved it in July, since that’s when the national conference was. Next year I’ll add “learn how to read a calendar” to the list.

09) Attend all local monthly chapter meetings

Fail. I missed a couple meetings due to being out of the country. Although this goal was specific and quantifiable, in retrospect it may not have been particularly realistic or even attainable, given my schedule. I will reword this when I update. This item belongs on an ideal-world Wish List, not a checklist of goals.

08) Meet with my local CPs at least once a month

Fail. Being out of the country for six weeks at a stretch kind of killed this one for the same reasons as above, but also my local CPs had their own life issues tangle up our potential together-time. Therefore, this goal was neither realistic nor attainable, right from the start. Again, this is an ideal-world Wish List item, not an achievable goal.

07) Be more active (and interactive) with my online CPs

Check. We met up at the National conference, started the Manuscript Mavens blog, and email almost daily.

06) Query and/or pitch at least 5 agents

Check. This is a good goal. It’s specific, quantifiable, realistic, and attainable. “Get an agent” is not a good goal, because getting an agent is as much a function of luck and perseverance as it is skill and talent. I pitched a total of three agents and queried a good dozen before I ended up signing with Lauren Abramo of the Dystel & Goderich literary agency.

05) Query and/or pitch at least 3 editors/publishers

Fail. For multiple reasons. I did pitch one editor at National, but did not otherwise pursue this goal. I decided it was much smarter to get an agent, instead, and let her submit proposals to editors at publishing houses. If that process happens this year, I guess I will indirectly achieve this goal.

04) Enter at least 4 contests

Check. Jury’s still out on one contest I entered, but I ended up triple-finaling in the TARA Contest. Which, I’d like to point out, is a nice accolade, but did not lead to the agent, directly or indirectly. Goal #6 led to the agent.

03) Blog at least once a week

*maniacal laughter* Er, check. Clearly, I have an addiction. I blog here at least once per weekday, even when I’m not in the country. I blog over in Mavenland every Monday. And I have the non-guest Friday slot over on Romantic Inks. So, yeah. At least once a week.

02) Write two novel-length stories

Not yet. I wrote and got agent representation for one story, and am 2/3 through the second Nether-Netherland book, although I may revise a previous story before finishing that one. I am still hoping to make this goal this year.

01) Do something writing-related every single day

Fail. Like #s 9 and 8, this goal simply isn’t realistic or attainable given a) my erratic schedule and b) life.

So.

It’s time to revamp the goals for the rest of the year. They are now:

10) Schedule a writing retreat for sometime within the next 6 months
09) Attend all local monthly chapter meetings if in town to do so
08) Attend weekly Maven chats if Internet access is available
07) Polish TATTF and send to agent
06) Finish first draft of DATD
05) Revise Touched
04) Read an average of 1 book per week
03) Blog at least once per weekday
02) Visit my blogroll at least once per week
01) Do something writing-related every workday with Internet access

What changes did I make?

Well, some of the goals are completely different, as I removed those I’d already achieved and those that were impossible. And some of the goals now have more sense-making caveats, such as attending all chapter meetings if I’m in town, as it’s dreadfully difficult to make them from out of the country.

Some of the goals are harder than others and some are more time consuming than others, but writing is a profession, and success isn’t for the lazy.

If I want to be an author, I have to work at being an author.

That said, all goals are not created equal! You have to make the goals that are right for you. You do not need to attend retreats or conferences or chapter meetings in order to be an author. You do not need to blog or enter conferences or even get an agent in order to be an author. Only you can determine the goals that are right for you.

YOUR TURN: I hope you *have* determined the goals that are right for you! Care to share any of them with me? Are you a goal maker or a goal breaker? If you made New Year’s resolutions back in January, how’s that going for you?

A Friendly Revision Letter + UPDATE

Friends don’t let friends write sucky stories.

So, while I’m biding my time before I receive my agent revision letter for TATTF*, my pal Maven Darcy sends me a CP revision letter for the story I wrote immediately before that. I had already subjected Maven Lacey to it months earlier and received revision info from her as well.

Unsurprisingly, they both had many of the same things to say regarding areas of room for improvement. (Which probably means they’re, uh, right. *g)

Despite my well-documented allergy to mass rewrites, I am actually excited to get back to this project for several reasons.

One might be because it’s a Regency-set historical, which, although not the genre I first fell in love with reading (as a child, I inhaled a mad mix of Roald Dahl, Madeline l’Engle, Douglas Adams, Piers Anthony, and Stephen King) Regency romances were the genre that I immediately chose when, as an adult, I decided to try my hand at that writing thing again.

Another big reason why I’m excited to go back to Touched is because I’ve long felt it was my abandoned-stepchild novel.

My first two stories weren’t perfect but didn’t totally suck (they garnered requested fulls but no offers of publication, they finalled in contests but never won, etc) and had been relegated to that magical mulch pile under my bed.

Touched was my third story.

The plot bloomed to life one afternoon last August while noshing on free cookie samples at a Panera with CP Kel and CP ‘Manda. I wrote the first word on August 29 and word 85,221 (er, the last word) on September 24. Meaning, the entire thing spewed forth in less than a month.

And then I never looked at it again. Like, ever.

I left immediately after that for a month in Europe, and when I came home from that I had to play catch-up with client work and whatnot, and then it was Thanksgiving and suddenly December, which brought about Miss Snark’s final crapometer and the snowball of karma that produced (I’ll blog about that next week by request *g) and then the next thing I knew, it was August again, and Touched never had a chance.

Well, now it does!

I plan to force myself (yes, force myself!) to be optimistic and cheerful about the revision process, and here’s why:

* Attitude is everything! And it’s something you have complete control over. (Ask Maven Lacey about her iPod trick sometime)

* I’m a much better writer today, in August 2007, than I was then, in August 2006.

I think the reason I held fast to my anti-rewriting stance was that I knew those first stories I wrote were practice novels. I could rewrite them, sure, but they’d never be as good as something I wrote new.

Touched, while imperfect, doesn’t have fatal flaws to the point where the story is irredeemable. And I’m finally confident enough in my abilities as a writer to actually believe rewriting it wouldn’t be a waste of my time, that I can revise it and make it good.

And that’s so exciting for me!

True, chances are excellent it’ll take me exponentially longer to rewrite than it did to write in the first place. But that’s okay. The story is what matters.

*
UPDATE!
I just received my agent’s revision letter for Trevor & the Tooth Fairy! Yay! Hurray! Squee!
*runs off to start revising*

YOUR TURN: Have you ever permanently shelved a book, as I did with my first two stories? If not, why not? If so, how do you decide which books are better off dormant and which books deserve the time it takes to revise them into perfection? What makes you excited to do a mass rewrite (if ever)?

At Last: Very Interesting News, Unveiled!

Thank you all for waiting so patiently (*cough* Bill *cough*) for the Very Interesting News.

I am pleased mega-thrilled to announce… I now have agent representation! Yay! Squee!!!

Agent Lauren Abramo from the Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency will be representing Trevor & the Tooth Fairy!

I am so ridiculously excited to be working with Lauren! Yay! Squee! Double-squee!!!

Off to the Manuscript Maven blog to tell the tale of how I Rose From The Slush!

Costa Rica: Just For Fun

This week, I am in Dallas, Texas for the National RWA Conference. If you’d like real-time updates on the writing conference, please check out the Manuscript Mavens blog, where all four of us will be posting updates all week, throughout the day, to share our thoughts, impressions, and ah-ha moments with you.

In the meantime, I’ll be sharing a few of my Costa Rica photos with you here on this blog. (Link: my Costa Rica Thursday Thirteen post)

Today’s Costa Rica photo theme is: JUST FOR FUN.

Here’s me out caving in Venado. I had several pictures taken of me–unfortunately, they all came out super-blurry. This one is the least blurry. Fetching boot-mask-hat look, no?


The photos *I* took of the cave are beauteous, of course. *g


I went ziplining through the rain forest canopy a couple times. Here’s me heading off into the tree tops, right-side-up…


And here’s me, upside-down. Yep, flew across the cable line that way–you gotta try it! So fun!!! (If you’re nervous, no fear: You can zip line by yourself if you go right side up, but local guides accompany you for any tricks that require you to not be able to use your hands as brakes.)


Here’s me doing some sort of superman “flying” maneuver on the zip line. No comments from the peanut gallery as to the suggestive nature of the guide’s body position in relation to mine.

Costa Rica: Wildlife

This week, I am in Dallas, Texas for the National RWA Conference. If you’d like real-time updates on the writing conference, please check out the Manuscript Mavens blog, where all four of us will be posting updates all week, throughout the day, to share our thoughts, impressions, and ah-ha moments with you.

In the meantime, I’ll be sharing a few of my Costa Rica photos with you here on this blog. (Link: my Costa Rica Thursday Thirteen post)

Today’s Costa Rica photo theme is: WILDLIFE.

Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: crab at Venado caves Here’s a crab scaling the wall inside the caverns at Venado caves.


Horses graze in the pasture on Villa Paradise land. I rode a few of them in the countryside and through a neighboring macadamia farm. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: horses at Villa Paradise


Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: lizards Almost missed this guy! Lizards are so *fast*.


Monkey! Costa Rica has several monkey types, but the only ones I ran into this time were the Congo monkeys and the howler monkeys. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: monkeys


Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: monkeys More monkeys! Gotta love ’em…


Freaking giant moth. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: giant moth on leaf


Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: giant moth on leaf Humongoid, I tell you!

Costa Rica: Waterworks

This week, I am in Dallas, Texas for the National RWA Conference. If you’d like real-time updates on the writing conference, please check out the Manuscript Mavens blog, where all four of us will be posting updates all week, throughout the day, to share our thoughts, impressions, and ah-ha moments with you.

In the meantime, I’ll be sharing a few of my Costa Rica photos with you here on this blog. (Link: my Costa Rica Thursday Thirteen post)

Today’s Costa Rica photo theme is: WATERWORKS.

Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: Beach Playa Langosta y Playa Tamarindo One weekend, we went to the beach and I got to hang out on Playa Langosta and Playa Tamarindo, kicking back oceanside with a book. *sigh of contentment*


Here’s a view of the volcano from across Lake Arenal. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: Lake Arenal and Volcano Tenorio


Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: hot spring at Rio Celeste Here’s me hiding beneath some foliage at the point where a hot spring runs from the volcano into the icy cold Rio Celeste. What an odd experience to have my feet toasty warm and my back covered in goosebumps!


Here’s a waterfall view from a trail I hiked in a national park. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: Waterfall


Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: Waterfall We sat on the rocks at the foot of this volcano and ate a PB&J sack lunch.


Here’s a waterfall well off the beaten path along the route to the Libera airport. Icy, icy water, but if you swim to the other side, a tiny hot spring trickles down across a rock big enough to climb up on to relax. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: Waterfall


Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: Waterfall Here’s me clowning in front of said waterfall, after having dog-paddled to the hot spring (where I busted open my shin on a rock) and hiked back to the sand the long way (on slippery rocks around the perimeter of the water).

Costa Rica: Homebodies

This week, I am in Dallas, Texas for the National RWA Conference. If you’d like real-time updates on the writing conference, please check out the Manuscript Mavens blog, where all four of us will be posting updates all week, throughout the day, to share our thoughts, impressions, and ah-ha moments with you.

In the meantime, I’ll be sharing a few of my Costa Rica photos with you here on this blog. (Link: my Costa Rica Thursday Thirteen post)

Today’s Costa Rica photo theme is: HOMEBODIES.

Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: Villa Paradise This is the house I stayed at: Villa Paradise


This is a view from the front–my bedroom window is the one on the top floor, to the left. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: Villa Paradise


Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: bobbing for apples One day we had the neighbor kids over for some games. They’d never bobbed for apples before, but they caught on in a flash!


We tied a piñata to a tree and the kids had a blast smacking it with a stick and collecting all the candy. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: hitting a piñata


Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: pool party Here are the neighbor kids in the kiddie pool and heading to the slide for the bigger pool.


We rounded out the day with sack races and whipped cream fights. (One of my friends had to drive to a German bakery an hour away to purchase whipped cream at $5 a can–not a common item here in Costa Rica!) Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: sack races

Costa Rica: Creepy Crawlies

This week, I am in Dallas, Texas for the National RWA Conference. If you’d like real-time updates on the writing conference, please check out the Manuscript Mavens blog, where all four of us will be posting updates all week, throughout the day, to share our thoughts, impressions, and ah-ha moments with you.

In the meantime, I’ll be sharing a few of my Costa Rica photos with you here on this blog. (Link: my Costa Rica Thursday Thirteen post)

Today’s Costa Rica photo theme is: CREEPY CRAWLIES.

Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: spider at Venado caves Just for those of you arachophobes, here is a lovely spider we found crawling up the wall.


Here’s a bat-covered ceiling at the Venado caves. See those holes above? They’re a few feet deep, and are created by the bats, who apparently secret some kind of oil in their sweat that eats away at the cave’s surface while they hang upside-down. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: hanging bats at the Venado caves


Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: coral snake As I was walking back home from the neighbor’s farm, I ran into a snake on the path.. I was unsure whether this was a true coral snake or one of its cleverly disguised non-poisonous brethren. I later learned you can identify the more dangerous coral snake by its stripe pattern. If the colors spell RANA (rojo, amarillo, negro, amarillo) you should run away screaming. If not, no worries. As it turns out, this one *does* have the red, yellow, black, yellow pattern, and I maybe shouldn’t have followed it down the road, snapping photos in my shorts and flip flops.


Some neighbors found an even bigger prize and brought it over for our viewing pleasure. Here’s a lovely boa constrictor, stretched out in the grass. Erica Ridley in Costa Rica: Boa Constrictor