Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Queries and Cappuccinos

There's something about winter that makes a cappuccino at any hour of the day sound like a good idea. (Okay, in all honesty, there's also something about any month ending in y that makes cappuccinos sound good, but that's beside the point. Winter is the point.) I find winter drinks irresistibly cozy. Triple-y so if I'm traveling. Which means that I've spent most of December Highly Caffeinated. Also, at zero risk for developing a calcium deficiency anytime soon. This is a good thing as I've also spent a good portion of December doing revisions and critiquing three full manuscripts.

(As an aside, I found the most amazing cappuccino I've ever tasted/seen while in Merida, Mexico. DO YOU SEE THE FOAM? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING SO DIVINE? There was no other way to drink this than to sacrifice all dignity and give yourself over to a cinnamon face-plant. I, for one, didn't hesitate to toss my dignity out the front door.)

I'm approximately seven cappuccinos away from finishing this round of revision. It's timely, I think, to be wrapping up at the new year. I've seen a number of people in the writing community doing similar things like brushing up queries and pitches and since I probably didn't get you anything for the holidays, I'm going to give away a few query crits. This isn't totally selfless. I'll treat myself to one cappuccino per query I crit, so really, I'm enabling myself to stay caffeinated.

Okay! So! Have a query? Want my eyes? Here are the rules:
  1.  Your query should look like a cappuccino! By which I mean, in the subject line of your email to nataliecparker AT gmail DOT com, please include: CAPPUCCINO QUERY!  
  2. Your query should taste like a cappuccino! By which I mean, it should include the component pieces of any query: the intro, the pitch, the closing remarks. It should be polished and pretty!
  3. Your query should smell like a cappuccino! ... /metaphor Please copy and paste your query into the body of your email. No attachements. 
That's it. First five emails to hit my inbox get my eyes

Happy winter, everyone. I hope you'll treat yourself to a cappuccino (or bubble tea.....I don't really know what tea drinkers do for a treat) and feel a little extra cozy.    

UPDATE - I've got my 5 queries, so this offer is closed. Give me another few months, though, and there'll be another.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A town called Campeche

For most of our trip, we stayed in a town called Campeche. It's south of Merida and a good middle point for exploring mangroves and petenes, but I could have spent days just walking through the colorful streets of this city.

And by colorful, I mean this place has ALL of the colors. This was what I saw when I stepped through the doors of my hotel:

We were told that it was a real "Pirates of the Caribbean" type town (and it has all the Renaissance Festival style pirate themed pubs, restaurants, and knick-knacks to prove it). Back in the days of yore, the place was so put upon by pirates that they protected themselves from invasion by surrounding the bulk of the town in battlements. Many of these battlements still stand tall, which gave the town a very European feel - castles and churros are a delightful combination, I tell you.

Campeche is also something of an uneven city. The ground wasn't scaled when the buildings went up, which seemed to be a point of frustration to those who built the sidewalks. They, at least, are level, which was a sometimes a challenge...

From the top of the battlements we could also see that many of these lovely buildings were not all that they seemed to be. They hide a wilderness inside....I wanted to explore them.

There was a secret place inside one of the battlements with recreation musket rifles and halberds. So, of course, this happened:

And finally, Campeche is home to a cathedral I could not capture well enough with my lens. On our first night in the city, I watched a group of women bless and carry a tall statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe around the square and into the church. She was dressed in blue and waiting inside to receive the many pilgrimaging Guadalupanos.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Uxmal Ruins

I've been a horrible blogger during this trip to Mexico. Not because what I'm doing isn't blog-worthy, but I've been critiquing manuscripts and writing for and getting lost in the week long celebration that is the Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. But tonight, it's raining and the festivities are quiet.

I'm staying in an 1800 barracks-turned-hotel in Campeche, Mexico, a World Heritage site. We're leaving tomorrow and I'll be sad to see it go, but I'm looking forward to exploring Merida.

But to backtrack a bit. Here is a photo-essay of my first full day in Mexico, exploring the ruins of Uxmal, a Mayan complex built beginning in 850AD.

Are you kidding? OF COURSE I crawled through that hole. What would Indian Jones do? (PS - There were lots of iguanas in there. Heads poking out of walls four feet above me. Watching me. Creepy is the word you're looking for.)

This is in Campeche, not Uxmal. About thirty yards from the front door of my hotel and no, it didn't look any more real standing right in front of it. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

When dogs listen

At some point this afternoon, Victoria Schwab posted the following video on Twitter:

And while we watched, we noticed Grendel doing this: