Not too long ago, my husband mentioned that a friend and colleague, Kevin Dalvi, had written and directed a movie and we were invited to the red carpet premier in NYC. Of course, there is nothing about this that doesn’t sound interesting to me. I love movies, red carpets and supporting underdog artists trying to put their vision out in to the world. I am so glad I went to see PROMISE LAND, a NEQUA Studios Production, because I really, really connected with the movie and it’s artists. Here’s a little bit about PROMISE LAND…
PROMISE LAND is relevant, heart wrenching, funny and hopeful. I know my sphere of influence is very limited, but I would really like to do something to help this film get the attention it deserves. So, there will be a contest!!!!!!
And here are some pics from the PROMISE LAND Premier…
If you get the chance to see PROMISED LAND on it’s Summer Tour, I highly encourage it. It was a wonderful movie!!!! A list of summer screening dates and information on how to buy tickets is available HERE. Information on how to turn your blog post comment into contest entries is available above with rafflecopter. Thanks so much for spreading the word. It really means a lot to me. Kevin Dalvi may not realize it, but he has all the makings of one of John Green’s Nerdfighters! *fist pump*
Yesterday was gorgeous!!! The most perfect weather ever. So I spent the day outside putting in my vegetable garden and starting a butterfly garden. I used to have one and it didn’t make it through the installation of the retaining wall and last year I missed my one gardening window (not too hot, not too buggy) plus the whole impending debut book launch thingy kept me preoccupied. So needless to say–the butterflies got the shaft last year. But this year, not only did I run across the most perfect spring day that just made me want to plant a vacation paradise for butterflies, but my fabulous nephew has been doing some yard work to help me get ready to put the house on the market. This means…I get to pick the flowers and plant them and tomorrow he will do all the unpleasant bed weeding and mulching around my creation. *sigh* Everyone should have a fabulous nephew. <3
But acting like Martha Stewart all day has left me with the need to shower and get acquainted with my couch this evening. Because of this, I have decided to enlist all of you with the job of blog-post-deep-thinking. Of course, there has to be a pay off for you firing your brain cells so mine can rest. So, as a reward for being creative and funny, (myself and the mystery judges) will pick one lucky winner to get a signed copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE. Keep it for yourself, donate it to the library or use it as a gift. Just get it in the hands of a reader. How to win? Write a caption for this picture in the comments and you will be entered. Every caption is a separate entry. And just so you know, the cat in the picture is named Beans. This contest is open internationally. Have fun.
This week, my agent Michelle Wolfson, accidentally went for a jog. LOL! Her littlest decided to scoot to school and Michelle had to run to keep up with her. This tweet followed…
I can’t believe people jog because they *enjoy* it.
— Michelle Wolfson (@WolfsonLiterary) May 13, 2013
I had to smile because I’m one of those nuts that *enjoys it* (Most of the time.) Like anything else, it can have it’s moments. *pant, gasp, fall over* But yeah, I do it voluntarily and usually with a smile on my face.
I’ve been running a lot since the weather’s gotten nice, but that’s not the only thing I’ve been doing. This week in particular, I’ve wanted to do nothing more than write. I’ve been hit by a tsunami of writingness. I love/hate when this happens. It’s great because I’m doing something I’m so into. Even if I’m not super productive by a word count standard (I am ME after all) I’m still making all kinds of break throughs and I AM getting new words, better words, on the page. And I don’t want to mess with the flow of the universe, because it’s smiling on me and raining creativity. But it’s bad because I don’t want to do any of the other important things in my life and honestly I’ve got tons, heaping tons on my to-do list. So how have I been handling it? Of course I’ve been writing–riding the wave. LOL!
You know my motto–BUY MORE CLEAN UNDERWEAR!!!!
But, being “in the zone” with my writing has gotten me thinking about Michelle’s examination about running. There are certain things in are lives that can be very challenging, but when we are riding their wave, they’re amazing. We are drawn to them like a thirsty desert dweller to an oasis. But the things that fulfill us are different for everyone. There are people out there that would rather do anything else than run and/or write. There are folks who would run a marathon before writing a sentence, of a tome before heading out around the block. There are also people who like to do crafts and cook for fun. Now those people are like a foreign species to me! You made cupcakes for fun? Hello! I EAT cupcakes for fun. And that helps explain why I run. Full circle. ROTFL!
So, tell me. Do you get hit with writing tsunamis? What activity do you love that other people might like to poke their eyes out before doing? Does it pay to ride the wave when it come your way? Or is it really just avoidance of less fun things?
Here’s my recap of the New England SCBWI Conference for the second time. I got this half done for Friday when my oldest son’s school transportation had the drivers go on strike and then my other two kids came down with strep. I decided to postpone the post and finish it over the weekend. I saved it and and then the gremlins that live in my computer erased only the part I’d finished. *head thunk*
I arrived at the conference at around noon on Friday and did all of the standard checking-in and hugging friends things. Then it was off to the first sessions.
*Everyone IS buying bookmarks and everyone WANTS bookmarks for swag, whether you like it or not LOL!
*Twitter is the most popular place (debut author questionnaire) to focus your social media push, but tumblr is where the teens are.
* * *
Workshop B–MANAGING YOUR WRITING; MANAGING YOUR LIFE WITH PEGGY DEITZ SHEA AND JANET DOUCETTE
This session started off with some relaxation and focusing techniques. I became so relaxed I forgot to take a picture and may have almost fallen asleep at one point LOL!
*Are you here?
*Women are great multi-tasks but being a multi-tasker is not in your best interest. You can get stuck on the bridge between the right brain and the left brain.
*Requests (received or given) should always include the right to decline and a clear expectation of fulfillment.
Keynote–PANEL DISCUSSION: AN UNCENSORED DISCUSSION ON EDGY YA
*Be true to the work.
*Should the parent be the gate-keeper or do children effectively police their own reading material?
Keynote–THE WORDS WE CHOOSE TO SAY by Sharon Creech
A HUGE fan-girl moment for me!!!! Yes, she really glows in real life. <3
*Find your own voice, your own rhythms–it makes you a better writer.
*Use it all (great ideas) when you’re writing. New stuff will grow. Words generate words.
*Don’t be in such a hurry to publish your story. Time may allow you to deepen it. There could be something profound under there.
C Intensive–REAL REVISION: BIG PICTURE AND LINE BY LINE with Kate Messner
I LOVE Kate! That’s all.
*Revision is finding and strengthening the heart of your story.
*You can’t revise, to bring about the heart of your story if you don’t know what the heart is.
*Writing off-draft can help you understand things.
*Trying something you’re not great at can free you up.
*Use a mentor text to guide your way.
*Make what you need to explore and fix your book. (Charts, maps, timelines and outlines)
If you want to learn more about Kate’s amazing revision tips–check out her book REAL REVISION.
Time for lunch and another amazing Keynote with author/illustrator Grace Lin
Stephanie, Megan and Kendra
Annie, Me, Jodi and Eileen
Best take-away from Grace Lin’s keynote (sorry I don’t have a picture)…
You’ll be your best self when you are yourself in you writing and art. <3
Workshop G–THE ART OF THE OUTLINE with Elisabeth Papdemetriou
*Don’t confuse learning the skill (of outlining) with the act of outlining.
*Plot and character are inseparable.
*Outlines should include every single scene in your book.
*Have your closing scene echo your opening scene.
And I FINALLY got to meet Jo Knowles. I’ve participated in JoNoWriMo for years and Jo was one of those warm and giving authors who mentors those around her–plus I love the books she writes. Check out her latest, PEARL which won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award!
Workshop H–THE POWER OF POINT OF VIEW with Linda Urban
She is hilarious by the way.
*I believe we are living in an increasingly 1st person world. 1st person is only going to grow. Writing in 3rd person may allow you to stand out.
Saturday’s Autograph Party!!!!!
Katie chatting up the awesome Nova Ren Suma.
Sharon Creech signing for my friend’s daughter who is her BIGGEST FAN!!!!!
Of course I’m I HUGE fan too!!!!!
Jodi chatting with Jodi.
Kate Messner signing a book for the Fishkill Frogs!
Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of the MG novel ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, signing and making friends.
Greg Fishbone (Class of 2k7) and AC GaugheBrendan (Class of 2k12) hanging out
REVISING A CAREER: TIMING, TRUST & TEAMWORK with Brenda Reeves Sturgis, Emma Dryden and Karen Grenick
*Don’t quit–ever. <3
Some down time in the Sheraton while waiting for the Ballroom to open up.
The Books for Boston collection bin.
Panel Discusion–SCULPTING STORIES FROM FACT: FOUR WRITERS OF HISTORICAL FICTION SHARE STRATEGIES
Sarah Lamstein, Jeannine Atkins, Padma Venkatraman and Pat Lowery Collins (Boo my picture didn’t come out!)
*I tried to pack Padma in my suitcase. All four authors were great, but she stole the show. LOVE her!
*When story and history collide–story always wins. (PV)
*The attitudes of the times plays a role in the story/plot. (SL)
*The reasons writers aren’t diagnosed as schizophrenic is that we listen to the voices in our head instead of conversing with them. (PV)
*Create a LOVELY FILE to put all the darlings you cut–then you will always have them. (PV)
I Intensive–ADVANCED PLOTTING with Chris Eboch
I was very busy in this small, pro-track class and you guessed it–I forgot to take a picture. *smacks own hand*
*If your main problem can’t be introduced early, find a way in, something that gives a hint.
*Be careful not to open too fast. Give the reader a little time to get acclimated.
*Action without context is not a good thing.
*Likable character plus a bad situation makes the best story.
*Real life drama needs to be set up correctly to be believable to the reader.
You can find our more about Chris Eboch and advanced plotting HERE.
Workshop N–THE YIN AND YANG OF CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT with Kami Kinard
More Apocalypsie love!!!!! And yes, I was too busy meeting Kami in person for the first time that I…didn’t take a picture. Should have gotten one of us together. Drat!
*Add believable traits to your characters.
*Characters with both good and bad motives and traits naturally create much desired tension.
*Books are about physical, emotional and spiritual journeys.
Kami posted some stuff on humor from another of her sessions on her blog. You can catch it HERE!
Me, Padma, Jodi and Megan
And then it was time to say goodbye and drive home. NESCBWI was an amazing conference and I’m so glad I got the chance to grow. It truly had the feel of an International SCBWI Event but with the intimacy of a smaller conference. Lots of fun and I hope to be able to attend again next year too! Have any of you been to NESCBWI before? Any new authors that you’ve now got to put into your TBR pile?
This morning I’m headed to the NESCBWI Conference!!! (It’s Daddy Party Weekend!!!) This is my first time attending a New England event, but I always here people raving about them. So excited to finally go. *fist pump* I’m very excited to meet up with some old friends and to make some new ones, too. I’m also thrilled with the amazing classes I’m taking. Lots to learn. Here’s what’s on the agenda. The 2013 NESCBWI Conference Word-by-Word: The Art of Craft. Can you guess where I’ll be? Come on, you know me pretty well by now.
No need to miss me while I’m gone. *grin* I’ll be tweeting live from the hashtag #nescbwi13 Feel free to join the virtual conversation. It will be just like I packed you in my suitcase and smuggled you in, but without appendages falling asleep and me getting in trouble LOL!
Of course when I get back I’ll have pictures and an overview of the conference for you. ((((hugs))))
Have a great weekend!!!!
I’m moving–sort of. It appears–at the moment–that we are buying a new house. I’m a little wishy-washy in the telling, because the whole real estate thing is fraught with peril and missteps, like an Indian Jones movie. But the plan, with a little divine intervention, is to move. The whole family is very excited. We giggle a lot when the five of us are together. It’s a little bit like waiting for Christmas. Lots of fun anticipation.
We are staying local–so all you people who are subjected to me on a daily basis–don’t get too excited and start cheering. You’re still stuck with me. Ha! In fact, I may be even closer to you than I was before. You might want to invest in new shades, a fence or maybe even a guard dog. Or we can hang out–whatever. Just so you know, I probably wouldn’t even have announced this yet, but part of this process involves selling my own house. So, it’s going to be pretty obvious, awfully soon. And honestly, you might have been a little freaked out, seeing me do so much cleaning and organizing. Probably figured the zombies had eaten my brain or something LOL! But YAY! No zombies. I’m just making my house neater and cleaner for someone else, than I ever got around to doing for myself. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that I’ll do X,Y and Z first and get around to that other stuff later. (For those of you not sure, this is called procrastination.) But procrastination isn’t always bad, because no one ever dies and says, “Wish I’d staged my house better instead of writing a novel.” Yeah–that never happens–but staging and organizing is a necessary evil for me to get to the next house I will neglect for my writing. And because of that, like a diligent watcher of HGTV, I’m working hard to share all the best loved parts of my home in their very best light.
In order to do this, I have rented a remote storage unit. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. I can store stuff where I don’t need to look at it and give the appearance of complete (almost complete) organization without having to give away anything I haven’t used in 10 years that I will need in no less than seven days from the time I would have disposed of it. (Sorry–that just felt like it had to be a breath-sucking, run-on sentence.) And just to bring a little bit of writing into this post, this storage thing sounds just like cutting and pasting during revision. It’s all still there!!!! (Like how I did that?)
And, dear hubby, if you’re reading this post like you claim you do–I will get rid of lots of stuff. I really will. *raises hand but crosses fingers* I promise. But this process is so stressful for an artsy, distractible, adorable procrastinator like me. So the first thing to go may be the clutter makers, I mean the kids. Just kidding. Unless the 10yo doesn’t get a grip on his fish tank–then both of them go in the storage unit with Cheerios and fish food.
So how am I doing so far? I don’t have a before pic, but this room may have also had some broken wicker furniture, snow shovels, muddy soccer gear, 462 pairs of shoes, a christmas tree stand, some broken umbrellas, an arsenal of Nerf guns, two folding tables, snow boots, cob webs and occasionally two cats sitting in the sun. And that was on a good day.
Now I have a great space to sit and write and help me to procrastinate more LOL! What would you put in your remote storage unit? No judgement! Spill the beans.
I stumbled upon this and found it closely reflected my own thoughts on Twilight and it made me laugh…
For the old people LOL! What was the Twilight when you were a kid? I think it may have been Flowers In The Attic. What do you think is the new Twilight? 50 Shades would be my guess, but hmmm makes me wonder what’s coming next. These things are never predictable. Favorite part of this video? Hand’s down–John’s wife LOL! Now go forth and survive your Monday.
Once upon a time, I was telling a friend how mad I was at another person. Just steamed. I relayed how, in light of the situation, I would no longer be sharing my magazines with said person. My friend gasped and said, “Wow! You must have been really pissed if you took away someone’s reading material.” And I had to laugh, because it was true. Even funnier, I have no idea if that person even gave a hoot, but it made me feel a whole lot better because I took away one of the things I value most in the world. Words.
But, if I flip that scenario, you’ll see that words are my gift. If you get a book from me–if I’m sharing my reading material–I’m telling you I really love you, whether you realize it or not. It’s my way of saying you matter to me.
So, today I’d like to share with you a program called BOOKS FOR BOSTON. A way for us word people to hug the hell out of Boston. My friend AC Gaughen, the author of SCARLET is a Boston girl and I’d like to share her words with you…
BOOKS FOR BOSTON
I hardly know where to begin. I wasn’t at the marathon, but friends were. Family. Loved ones. Everyone made it through unscathed.
The manhunt happened disturbingly close to me, but again, no one I know was hurt.
That doesn’t mean that my city has made it through unscathed. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a tremendous amount of work and healing to be done.
I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what my place is in all of this. Should I donate money to the One Fund? Should I be contributing to charity auctions? Should I find a role for the non-profit I work with to play in all of this?
Those are all amazing answers, and I commend the people who want to help via those routes. But I remember being a senior in high school as the Twin Towers were hit, and I remember what it felt like to be old enough to understand and young enough to feel utterly lost, to feel all my security gone, to feel any semblance of faith in the world torn away from me.
The Boston Marathon is a family event, and the amount of small children that saw this and were impacted by this is unimaginable. By now most of us have heard about Martin Richards, an eight year old boy that died in the blasts. His family are deeply in need of support and healing, and I know the One Fund will make great strides in helping them.
But for his friends, his classmates, his community, I can only imagine what it feels like to explain this to a child. To have to talk to a child about what terror really means.
I think there’s something else I can do. And maybe it’s simplistic, and maybe it’s not, but it’s the one thing that felt like an honest, organic choice to me. And that’s books.
I can’t give the children of Boston their safety or their faith back. But I can give them a place to escape, and imagine, and dream again, because that’s what books always have been and always will be. They are a beautiful and sacred space of healing and love.
And I’m hoping you’ll help me.
I’m going to donate as many books as I can to the Boston Public Library and to Martin Richard’s school, Neighborhood House Charter School. Any books! Right now I plan to give middle grade books and younger to NHCS and YA and older to the Boston Public Library, so all books are welcome. All subjects are welcome.
If you’re an author, and would like to donate a copy of your book, please sign it and instead of your usual inscription, write a message of hope, courage, or resilience. Please don’t mention the attack, or the losses, or the scars Boston now bears.
If you’re not an author but would like to donate a book, I absolutely welcome the donation. Please do the same and write a message of hope, courage, or resilience inside the book.
Please email me at acgaughen @ gmail.com and I’ll give you my address for mailing.
Maybe we can help Boston heal in a really small way. I appreciate the help, and I would really appreciate it if you pass this along.
Much love xx