Monday, April 25, 2016

A thought for your writing week...

As I look toward the end of April, my stomach starts to clench. I realize that the school year will soon be over and my big plan to finish this manuscript draft befor esummer break has come to, if not naught, some fraction of what I'd envisioned. Is it time for excuses like "busy with teaching and volunteering" or "thought I should do more living" (my favorite!)? Or time to panic? I suppose. But I've decided instead to look at the threat of impending June as a grand motivator to get the work done. How? For that answer, I look to Le Roi himself:



Time for a week of butt-in-desk-chair and fingers-on-keyboard. Also, probably, chocolate!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

National Poetry Month & Poem in Your Pocket Day

As a verse novelist, I take special delight in the Academy of American Poets' annual spring celebration of this very special literary art.

If you want to discover ways to brighten your day with poetry, do visit their amazing website.

Coming up this Thursday is a favorite event of mind: AAP's "Poem in Your Pocket Day."

This rather scary election year, I'll be carrying Thomas Hardy's "I Looked Up from My Writing," which begins...

   I looked up from my writing,
   And gave a start to see,
As if rapt in my inditing,
   The moon's full gaze on me. 

You can find the rest of the poem on the Poetry Foundation website.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Painfully lovely...

I don't check my author email enough. Due to my techno-incompetence, I've got it set up in such a way that there are several steps to reviewing new correspondence. But I try. And once in awhile--sometimes just when I'm feeling the most fear and despair about this whole writing thing--I read something like this:
I have an older brother with autism, and Daisy's story greatly resonated with me. I was very touched by your undertaking to write an honest portrayal of one high school girl's struggles caring for her younger brother with autism while maintaining her passion for music, watching her family crumble, and figuring out her future. I especially enjoyed that you chose to write about the topic through verse, as I felt that it really conveyed Daisy's conflicting emotions and her life accurately. Thank you so much for doing your research and not romanticizing the effects of autism on a family, but also sharing the fragile relationship between a sibling and the individual with autism.


This is beyond timely, since April is both Autism Awareness Month and National Poetry Month. Most importantly, though, it is the kind of communication that sends me back to the keyboard determined to reach out through story to help people feel less alone in this world.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Mid-Career Monday: Assassins of April


Here are two very different takes on teen assassins from two amazing writers. Before creating his dark protagonist, BOY NOBODY for the Unknown Assassin series, Allen Zadoff crafted heartbreaking and humorous novels about theater geeks, overweight kids, and the search for love. Yes, all that!  I first discovered Mary E. Pearson when I picked up the amazing ADORATION OF JENNA FOX. But, before she broke out with the JENNA series, Mary sharpened her writing teeth writing easy readers and more.

What's the lesson here? Many of the authors you love have been honing their craft in all kinds of genres, exploring all kinds of topics, before they wrote the book that grabbed your heart. Don't be afraid to write more...to experiment...to try new shapes and sizes and forms for your work. Even if your latest idea involves something as scary as assassins! Be brave and go there!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

REVISION! REVISION! Free Writing Workshop with HOLLY CUPALA this Saturday at KCLS Woodinville

SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2016, 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Woodinville Library, 17105 Avondale Road NE, Woodinville, WA

The next class in this FREE writing workshop
series will be taught by the ever-charming, 
ever-crafty and incredibly talented Holly Cupala

Here's what she'll be covering:  REVISION, REVISION, REVISION! You’ve started writing a novel, then stopped. You’ve started ten books and never made it page the fifth chapter. You’ve written 200 pages and can’t bear to look at that manuscript any more. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO QUIT! It’s the time to understand how to turn an idea into a book and how to fight the demons of self-doubt and lousy pages!

Holly has been an amazing member of the Seattle-area creative community for years through her involvement with SCBWI, readergirlz, the University of Washington Writing Program and, beyond the printed word, she is a friend and supporter of visual artists, bakers, and even sustainable farmers!

Holly's workshop is open to writers in grades 7 to adult. Registration is not required but, if you're so inclined or want more details, visit Woodinville Library Program Information Page. Hope to see you there!

Happy Book Birthday to ESSENTIAL MAPS FOR THE LOST by Deb Caletti

Who is lost? Can they be found? Who can find them? Do yourself the kindness of reading about Mads, Billy, their search for a path to life beyond family pain and grief, and the compass revealed inside a beloved story. Learn more HERE. 


READ DEB'S INSIGHTFUL POST "WHAT I WISH I KNEW ABOUT GETTING PUBLISHED BEFORE IT HAPPENED TO ME" HERE.