About Celia Reaves

I teach college and I'm working on writing my first novel. I previously published a textbook, but this is a very different project! I've got my fingers crossed.

Book Baby’s 4th (Version) Birthday!

I hit a milestone today. My baby book reached its 4th full revision, and I decided it’s mature enough to hit paper! I printed the whole thing out  and had it spiral bound. Now I’m going to sit with a pen in hand and read it, start to finish, making notations but not actually editing anything until I get to the end.

This is the next step in my general revision strategy. One thing cognitive science teaches us is that we don’t ever actually perceive the world. Everything is filtered through our expectations and the mental context we bring to the situation, and this makes things like proofreading or reading critically very hard. I know what I intended to say throughout my story, and that’s going to color my view of what’s there. One way to help fight that is to slow myself down. Switching from screen and keyboard to paper and pen does this, along with changing the fonts and spacing, and reading it in a different room from where my computer is. Once I work my way through the paper version I’ll make the edits electronically, and then Book Baby will reach its 5th version.

The other way to defeat the mental context, of course, is to be a different person. After I’ve gone through it on paper and fixed all the things I mark along the way, I’ll hand it all over to my critique group for their comments, and that will move Book Baby to version 6. After that I’ll broaden the audience, looking for critique partners online who don’t know me. Version 7, version 8 —–  One day I’ll reach a version that’s as good as I and a village of partners can make it. Then it’ll be off to the query process.

But for now, I have to confess to a sincerely giddy feeling, holding my baby book in my hands for the first time. I can’t even imagine what I’ll feel like if it becomes an actual book people can buy, one that’s published and on shelves. I’ll probably have to be sedated.


Gone Swimming

This is a shot I took when some of my family got together last summer in the Adirondacks. My little niece took off her shoes to go swimming, and they looked so poignant. It made me think of my own children, now all grown up, and how fast the years have gone. I enjoy spending time with my adult children and am fortunate that they live nearby so we get together every week, but there are still times when I miss their baby years. When you’re a new parent and they tell you to enjoy every minute you’re too busy, and sleep-deprived, and overwhelmed, and scared, and frantic, to really pay attention, but it’s so true. So true.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Temporary


Garden Gate

On a recent walk around the neighborhood, this charming view piqued my interest. I snapped a photo, but my curiosity peaked. Sadly the other side was not so piquant, just a neighbor’s back yard with some peaked grass. Still, I’m glad I took a peek.

Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Peek

Packing Vases

I had a hard time coming up with something for this week’s WordPress photo challenge. The theme is “rounded,” which lends itself easily to pictures of round things like flowers or fruit, but nothing like that excited me. Then today I passed this display of vases on my way out of the grocery store, and thought, “That’s it!” Each vase is gorgeously rounded, and then they saved space by alternating them on the shelf, creating a lovely rhythmic pattern of curves. Enjoy!

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Rounded

Impressionist Sky

I take lots of cloud pictures, and I’m happy to share another one. This is the view to the east at sunset, with the last rays of the sun making some clouds glow while others are already fading to black. The colors are vibrant and the textures make me think of impressionist oil paintings. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Glow

Wet Leaves

Too wet to rake. But I was intrigued by the carpet of leaves on the lawn under the ash tree, and crouched down to take this closeup of grass and leaves twined together. We often see autumn colors splashed across the hillsides or artfully arranged in harvest centerpieces, but not so often up close like this. Today it’s drier and hubby has gathered all the leaves into bags at the curb, so our lawn presents a much more acceptable suburban appearance. Still, I’m glad I have this image of how nature spread everything out.

Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Scale