Meet and Greet

03 Sep
“Mum, go away,” Mister tells me and assumes his pooping stance in his favorite spot. Determined not to make potty training feel like torture for either of us (and he’s only 21 months old anyway), I retreat to the kitchen to let him do his dooty.
I ignore the dirty dishes and a stubborn stain on the floor with relatively little guilt and pick up my phone. I flick through my friends’ Facebook updates: cute kid picture, inspirational quote, gripe about work…then I see a post from the insanely informative author I know (ahem, Sarah Perry).
“Gearing Up To Get An Agent…see you there?” it reads. I’m intrigued. I’ve been gearing up to get an agent for months. This sounds like an opportunity.
I click on Sarah’s link and read the information. Blog hop, pitch contest, query help…it all sounds good to me, even if most of the agents do represent YA ( a genre I can’t say I write, yet). Thinking about what little I’ve got to lose, I sign up. Agents, here I come.
 Today marks the beginning of the GUTGAA blog hop. Check out the questions and my answers below:
Questions for the Meet and Greet
-Where do you write?
It used to be that I wrote in one spot on my “Front Room” ‘s window seat (see a picture of it here) at the same time every day facing the same direction with the same pencil. Then I had a kid. Now I write wherever I can.
-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
A stuffed gorilla that used to be my husband’s and is now the only object to which my aggressive cat shows affection.
-Favorite time to write?
When an idea strikes me. Especially when the idea strikes while Mister isn’t hanging on my leg.
-Drink of choice while writing?
My own mixture of store brand, off-brand hazelnut flavored, and Chicory coffee in my travel mug so I don’t spill.
-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
I prefer silence, but I’m learning to adapt to that too.
-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
 There are lots of misconceptions about stay-at-home mothers. I thought I might have a little fun, in the form of adult non-fiction, debunking those misconceptions with my own reflections on motherhood.
-What’s your most valuable writing tip?
I’m learning that writing, just like any form of art probably, is a delicate balance between planning and letting the craft take you where it wants to go. So, my tip would be to do both. Write the outlines. Map the plot. But don’t be afraid if your writing seems to want to go elsewhere. Follow it. And if it stinks, you can always delete it later.
Since the blog is usually about questions (Monday) and answers (Friday), please feel free to share your own answers in the comments. I’d love to read about you! If you’re visiting from GUTGAA, thanks for stopping by and I look forward to reading your answers on your own blog soon!
A little (more) about me:

I am a teacher turned human development specialist (a.k.a. full-time Mom) except for 1-3pm and Wednesday evenings when I work on humorous picture books and a middle grade series about a tomboy. I also enjoy making up new words, blogging about the craft (ta-da), and ending an occasional sentence, like any true Pittsburgher, with a preposition.


Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Process


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36 responses to “Meet and Greet

  1. Jaye Robin Brown (@JayeRobinBrown)

    September 3, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Enjoy GUTGAA – glad you found it!

  2. Lauren

    September 3, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I love these things, although I’m insane to try them.


    • cocoanqueso

      September 3, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Lauren. Good luck!

  3. Janeal Falor

    September 3, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Love chocolate and mac and cheese, but I hope you’re not mixing the two 😉 ome of the best food though, espcieally when in need of comfort whenever there’s bad news on the writing front.

    I have to say, this contest is waaaay better than dealing with potty training. As a parent, that’s one of the things I hate most. Nice to meet you!

    • cocoanqueso

      September 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Janeal (what a pretty name),
      I have to be honest, since starting the blog, I’ve been tempted to combine chocolate and mac n cheese. I have a great Cincinnati Chili recipe that uses dark chocolate and it is delicious. I’ll let you know how it is if I ever try it. It is nice to “meet” someone else who is writing with kids hanging (sometimes literally) around. Good luck with GUTGAA!

  4. Carrie-Anne

    September 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Nice to meet a fellow Pittsburgher! I haven’t lived in the city in years, but I’d love to possibly move back someday. Some of my patterns of speech and writing are very Pittsburghese, I’ve found out, after having always believed that was how everyone talked. I’ll say or write things like “the place they were at” or “the plants need watered.”

    • cocoanqueso

      September 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      Carrie-Anne, I love cutting out the “to be” from sentences like “the plants need watered.” It drives my husband (not a native Pittsburgher) nuts. I like what you say on your blog about feeling like you were born in the wrong era. I’ve been told I have an old soul, so I would agree. Good luck with GUTGAA and may it bring you more success!

  5. Nata

    September 3, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    So we have a neologist on our hands now do we? :] Welcome to GUTGAA, I hope you have a good time!

    • cocoanqueso

      September 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      Nata, yes, I’m new. Thanks for the good wishes. I hope GUTGAA gets you writing again!

  6. Kelley Lynn

    September 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    That advice is good. I’ve tried to outline before… doesn’t usually work so well with me. But it makes me try to think about what might happen… even if it never does.

    So nice to meet you!

    • cocoanqueso

      September 3, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      I love the familiar tone of your blog. Good work! I’ve found an outline that works for me. I hope it helps you, not that it sounds like you need it. Congrats on your books and representation!

  7. ElenaDillon (@ElenaDillon)

    September 3, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    I’ve been a stay at home mom for 22 years so I totally get you! You go girl! Don’t you love all the “I could never stay home! I’d be sooo bored!” and “How do you stand it?” Oh my gosh really? I’ve never been bored even one day. I mean who has time for that? I might like a little boredom at some point. How do I stand staying home with my kids…Ummm better not to answer that in order to follow the if you can’t say something nice rule. So good luck with that book and I love your blog. Keep ignoring the mess. I’m pretty sure the kids don’t care about it in the long run!

    Good luck with GUTGAA.

    Nice to meet you!


    • cocoanqueso

      September 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Elena, thanks for sharing how much you relate to the blog. I hope that many more piles of laundry accumulate for both of us, because it means we’ll be writing! I’m glad you’re giving in to the voices in your head and especially letting them out on your blog. I really enjoy your writing style. I think you should give those bits of trivia to a character in your next book. Good luck with GUTGAA and I look forward to reading your “in the wake of a serial killer” book!

  8. Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

    September 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Greetings from GUTGAA-land! I’m in a mad scramble to figure this whole thing out after one of my CPs told me about it today, even though my blog is still a newborn. Chocolate and mac ‘n’ cheese are two of my favorite guilty pleasures (50 Shades of Fattening?) so I had to check out your blog. Good luck with your pitch!

    • cocoanqueso

      September 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Rhiann. I’m glad the blog title was enticing. I checked out yours as well. Our tips for the meet and greet are pretty similar, so perhaps we have similar styles? Keep up the good work with the blog! (P.S. Check out Deana’s “GUTGAA FAQ and Links” on the top left of her blog to help figure this whole thing out.)

  9. Stacy

    September 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Hello there! Great to meet you. I LOVE chocolate and mac and cheese, so you had me with your title. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing more of you at GUTGAA!

    • cocoanqueso

      September 4, 2012 at 6:46 am

      Thanks for visiting the blog, Stacy. I’m glad you like the title. I checked out yours as well (I also love puns, by the way, despite the groans of my husband). I think it is interesting that you co-blog. I’ll be back to check it out again. Good luck with your YA and GUTGAA!

  10. T.J.

    September 4, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Chocolate. Yep, caught me there! If you’d put coffee instead of mac n cheese I might have moved in…

    I feel your pain trying to begin potty training. Mine are all teenagers now with a completely new set of potty training rules.

    I don’t have an MS ready yet, but do want some pointers on a query, so looking forward to meeting others that know the craziness of writing. As in others that don’t look at me funny when I start talking about my characters as if they are real LOL

    Good luck in GUTGAA!

    • cocoanqueso

      September 4, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Coffee is up there on the list for me too, T.J. I’ve been pretty lucky with potty training. Mister (my son) pretty much started it himself at 18 months. He’s been taking a break from it lately, though. I hadn’t even thought of new rules with teens! Ah!
      I hope you find some query help with GUTGAA. Good luck!
      P.S. You mean my characters aren’t real?!? 🙂

  11. Carey T

    September 4, 2012 at 1:18 am

    Hi there. Ok. Mist ask. Cocoa and mac and cheese? Not on the same plate, I assume?
    Hopping over from GUTGAA contest to say hi. And yes, the whole query, agent, revising, query, agent, revising cycle is hideous. But it sure is a feat. And I’m glad to be in it.

    Nice to meet you!

    • cocoanqueso

      September 4, 2012 at 10:22 am

      As I told Janeal in another comment, since starting the blog, I’ve been tempted to combine chocolate and mac n cheese, mostly because of a Cincinnati Chili recipe I have that uses dark chocolate. I’ll let you know how it is if I ever try it.
      Your daughter sounds just like my MG character. I hope she can read it some day!

  12. Angie Sandro (@AngieSandro)

    September 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I finally made it to you, whew:) So glad to get to meet you. I love that you are a Development Specialist. It’s such an important job. Stop by and say hello if you get the chance.

  13. Utsav Mukherjee

    September 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Ooh…I love your blog name…lovely blog and lovely answers. And thanks for popping over on my blog.

  14. folioroad

    September 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Your book sounds like something any stay-at-home mom would appreciate. Personally, you had me at your job description being a human development specialist… I’ll have to use that one (imitation = sincere flattery and all that). 🙂 See you around GUTGAA!

  15. Suzi

    September 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I wish I had a window seat to sit in and read/write. I would love that.

  16. Beth Bowland

    September 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Beth! First, you have a fabulous first name 😉 and second, what’s not to love about chocolate & mac/cheese My fav combo!! 🙂 See you around GUTGAA 🙂

    • cocoanqueso

      September 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Your website is almost as beautiful as your first name :). Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

  17. Jessica

    September 5, 2012 at 4:30 am

    Making up new words is the best. I’m glad to meet you. Hope GUTGAA is awesome for you.

  18. Amanda

    September 5, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I have several friends who are stay at home moms. I’m convinced they’re superheroes in disguise.

  19. empwriter

    September 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Yay! Another middle grader! Nice to meet a fellow GUTGAA’er too~

  20. Wayne Meyers

    September 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Nice to meet you. I enjoyed reading your responses to the getting-to-know you question.

    Hope you have a great day.

    Best wishes, Wayne

  21. Romelle Broas

    September 6, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Nice to finally meet a fellow picture book writer. When I grow up I want to be a human development specialist like you! Seriously.

  22. Stephanie Scott

    September 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Your blog header makes me want to make mac n’ cheese. I’m working from home today so it’s do-able. MMMM…

    I can’t wait to try plotting my next novel. It will be interesting to see how far I get before my impatience takes over and I ditch it to start writing. Acutally, I already have close to 10k words written on it so I’ve already broken the plotting rule.

    Ah well!

    Here’s my GUTGAA Meet and Greet Post

  23. ElizaTilton

    September 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    love your blog name. I’m pretty sure I could live off of those two things.

  24. Jessica

    September 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    I love the idea of letting the writing take you where it will, as if we are simply the outlet for the creative source withing us. 🙂 nice to meet you, and happy writing

  25. Alexis Bass

    September 6, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    You’ve got an awesome attitude about drafting – just keep going – it can be so hard sometimes. And yes, your blog name is delicious. Happy Writing!


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