Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The End of the Book???

Say it ain't so! I know they have been saying for years, now that the internet and electronics have taken over our lives. The LA Times have a interesting article about this. Check it out:,0,1701730.story

I have been asked: You read so much, wouldn't you love to have the Kindle (a hand held electronic book that holds hundreds of titles)? But no one can replace the good ole paperback for me (Although I won't be surprised if I find the Kindle in my stocking this year, god love my husband). I have faith the traditional publishing market will stay afloat. Hopefully this is not just wishful thinking...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turning a corner...

I feel like I'm turning the corner... I've never written anything before because I HAD to. And I don't mean I HAD to as in required to in English class. God knows I've had plenty of writing assignments. But I HAD to as in, something deep inside is telling me, this story needs to be told. This is why you are a writer. The story I am beginning I HAVE to tell. It is the most exhilarating feeling. I think is a key. The key to good writing. I will find the heartbeat.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Shel Silverstein's Birthday

Today we celebrate Shel Silverstein! He introduced poetry to children everywhere. Below is a favorite of mine that he wrote:


If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
a hoper, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer...

If you are a pretender,
Come sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.

Come in!
Come in!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Letting go of the perfect story...

I learned an important lesson today (and I'm sure if I think hard enough I'll find it's a life lesson too). I learned when rewriting I have to forget the perfect story I had in my mind before I wrote word one. You know... That explosion of excitement when you come up with a great idea and amazing characters and before you know it you're making millions like J.K. Rowling and signing book after book in great halls filled with readers who know your world better than you do? You know that perfect novel? I'm not dismissing this part of the process. Without it I don't think I'd write at all. It gets you motivated. Excited. But in rewriting I have found it can be detrimental.

I must remember to forget the perfect novel I had in my mind and deal with the story that is in front of me. Only then can I move forward. And I've realized this week that when I let go fully of my fantasy story and I see the actual story I wrote, my rewrite comes alive (and I even enjoy it!).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sam, Feels Better now!

I thought I would "toot the horn" of a fellow author of mine. Jill Osborne just published a interactive story. We are part of the same critique group and I am proud to say she is now published! Below is her summary of the story:

Sam Feels Better Now!
Sam Feels Better Now!: An Interactive Story for Children incorporates elements of trauma therapy, as well as play and expressive therapies to assist children in working through crisis situations, traumatic events, and grief by helping the character, Sam learn ways to cope after his own difficult situation.

I truly feel this book will help the kids who need it. Thank you Jill! Great job!

Saturday, August 9, 2008


If we'd all be more quiet, I think we might understand something."

Advice I take to heart.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I just finished reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It's safe to say the I now have a new book obsession. The way I was hooked reminded me of when I started reading the Harry Potter books. Any free minute I had I would steal away and read Twilight. You immediately love Bella and identify with her (at least the girls will) and you love (in quite a different way) Edward Cullen. The story is simple. Bella is a human. Edward is a Vampire. They are in love. You can imagine all that can ensue. Meyer's portrayal of vampires is amazing and complete. She manages to portray them in a way that seems familiar yet uttery original. If you haven't picked this up, now is the time! It will fill the hole left in you when the Harry Potter saga ended. It is a four book series and I am out the door to buy book two. Thank you Stephenie!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The long lost art of letter writing

Emails, texting, instant messages, facebook... Sure, they all carry the same components as letters: words to communicate a message. But they are far from the same. And something I miss. My grandfather passed away this past spring and was a master letter writer. I read through his letters I've saved and they are much more than any text or email I've ever received. They are rich in language, wisdom, beautiful quotes and, best of all, love. In looking through my grandpa's things I found first and seconds drafts of letters, which reinforced the importance of them to me. They weren't just half hearted thoughts jotted down. They were thoroughly thought out. There is something in putting the pen to page and writing a letter. An art now lost or losing ground rapidly anyway.

So, the next time you want to touch base with someone and shoot them an email, surprise them and write a long letter.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

All the writing advice you need...

"First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!!" (Or her...)
– Ray Bradbury

Friday, June 13, 2008

Learning from failure

That's what we're told right? To learn from our mistakes, our failures. That is the theme of J.K. Rowling's commencement speech she gave at Harvard. It's worth a watch or read. Check it out.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Walt Whitman's Birthday!

Happy birthday Walt! Below is my favorite poem of his and a couple great quotes too.

Darest Thou Now, O Soul

"DAREST thou now, O Soul,
Walk out with me toward the Unknown Region,
Where neither ground is for the feet, nor any path to follow?
No map, there, nor guide,
Nor voice sounding, nor touch of human hand
Nor face with blooming flesh, nor lips, nor eyes, are in that land.

I know it not, O Soul;
Nor dost thou—all is a blank before us;
All waits, undream’d of, in that region—that inaccessible land.
Till, when the ties loosen,
All but the ties eternal, Time and Space,
Nor darkness, gravitation, sense, nor any bounds, bound us.
Then we burst forth—we float,
In Time and Space, O Soul—prepared for them;
Equal, equipt at last—(O joy! O fruit of all!) them to fulfil, O Soul."

"And your very flesh shall be a great poem."
Walt Whitman

"If you done it, it ain't bragging."
Walt Whitman

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Won't you be my neighbor...

Today in 1967 was the premiere of Mister Roger's Neighborhood! Kid's television wouldn't be here as we know it today if it weren't for Fred Rogers and his passion for educating children. Linda Urban had this awesome link on her blog and it affected me so deeply I thought I would share it with you all. It is of Fred Rogers testifying about the importance of children's programming. I can't watch it without crying. He was an amazing man.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Boy Proof

I just finished reading Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at SCBWI Writer's day last month. After hearing her panel I had to pick up one of her books, which I finally got around to reading. Boy Proof was a fantastic read. It is described as a "geek-chic fairy tale." I have to agree that that describes it perfectly. We follow, Egg, a sixteen year old high school senior who has named herself "after the kick-ass heroine of her favorite sci-fi movie, Terminal Earth." She is smart, has a wonderfully dry sense of humor and is a talented artist. But can she be confident enough in her own skin, Victoria, and not just impersonating her fave movie character? It's definitely worth reading to watch her find out. Cecil has an engaging writing style and nails the teen voice. I'll definitely be reading more of her books.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Crooked Kind of Perfect

I just read a wonderful middle grade fiction book, titled A Cooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban. It is about 10-year-old (almost 11) Zoe Elias, who dreams of playing a grand piano in Carnegie Hall, but in reality plays "a wood-grained, vinyl-seated, wheeze-bag organ. The Perfectone D-60." Zoe is lovable from word one and when she said "I have gone over to the dork side", she was not only Zoe Elias, but me in sixth grade. All the characters in the story are beautifully written: Zoe's mom, a controller for the state of Michigan who sometimes puts work ahead of the family she loves so much, Zoe's father who is afraid to leave the house and takes Living Room University classes to stay active and Wheeler, Zoe's friend (and possible boyfriend!) who hangs out with her dad and is completely supportive of her piano aspirations.

A Crooked Kind of Pefect is a heartwarming story about family, friends, passion in music and discovering what being perfect really means. Linda says it best when she wrote: "Perfection itself is wasn't enough to all get the notes right. When you play the piano, you have to get the heart right. Which is harder than getting the notes right....And the ways to do it are as many and as different as there are people in the world."

In hearing Linda Urban speak, she claims not to be funny. Don't believe her. This book is poinent and laugh out loud funny.
What I would have done for this book when I was 10. Why would anyone want to be the "popular" kid in school? They never have books written about them.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Harry Potter Revisited

I just finished reading the Harry Potter series for the second time. What a treat! I loved being able to read the books in a row without a break. Now, I am well aware that J.K. Rowling does not need any publicity from me. But reading those books again made me remember why I am a writer. She creates so completely the world they live in, that it seems almost impossible, that there is no Floo Network to get wizards from place to place and no Patonus charm to save us from looming dementors. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore and, well, everyone in the books are whole and true, not merely characters to tell a story. But they seem to be real people with stories to tell. That is what I strive for as a writer, to create a world the reader can escape to and lose themselves in. Thank you J.K. Rowling for reminding me of that. I also wanted to write about his because, I notice that Harry Potter is not talked about a lot in the writing world. I think partly because it is the penomenon that it is. And I get that in a way. But Harry Potter was definitely a turning point for me as a reader and a writer.

Monday, April 28, 2008

LA Festival of Books!

Yesterday I attended the largest book event in America, The LA Festival of Books. I attended an author panal called, Tween Writing: Stuck in the Middle with You. It was fantastic. The authors who sopke were, Gennifer Choldenko (who wrote one of my favorite middle grade novels, Al Capone Does my Shirts), Lisa Yee (Millicent Min) and Linda Urban (A Crooked Kind of Perfect). They all read from some of their books and they all have such wonderful tween voices! I highly reccomend picking up their books to read. They were asked some fantastic questions by the moderator, Susan Carpenter. I paraphrased some of their answers.

Gennifer Chodenko spoke enthusiatically about how she really is a 12 year old at heart (the rest of the panal laughed in agreement) and tapping into that to write for tweens is not hard for her at all. Linda chimed and said that her concerns are an 11 year olds concerns. Like what are the rules? How do I learn them? I really connected with that. That is definetly one of the reasons I am drawn to writing for children.

Gennifer said something very poinent when they were asked about how they think about their audience during the writing process. She said she didn't. But she said to know that when you laugh at her stuff while you read it, know that she was laughing too. I understand that. I always know I am writing well if I am connected to it emotionally weather it be sad or happy.

Linda Urban talked about her beginings in the book biz as the marketing director at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena California. I was lucky enough to have worked with her there for two years. I have to admit I felt such a sense of pride and inspiration to see her up there now a real live author! Yea Linda! (And Linda if you are reading this, sorry for getting a little misty when I talked to you afterwords. I am not a cry baby honest! But you truly are an inspriation!) Linda spoke about when Gennifer had her book signing and writing workshop at Vroman's and brought a huge stack of drafts she had written for one manuscipt. Linda said how great this was to see. We don't have to be perfect on the first draft! That is such an important thing to remember.

Linda also told how she knows when she is "in it" when she forgets she is writing in the chair, when that is all gone and when all that matters is the people, their story. I love that!

Lisa Yee told funny stories about how she finds writing gold in everyday life. It is there, if you just open your eyes...

They said so much I can't possibly write it all...I highly recommend going to these panals if you can next year. It's free, so you have no excuse to not go if you are a writer in LA.

Thank you Linda, Lisa and Gennifer!

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Writer's Life...

Just got the monthly (?) SCBWI newsletter and there was a quote I very much related to and thought I would share it with you...

"I may not have a quiet
studio where I can shut
the door for several hours
a day, but I have my
clipboard and I can write
sitting on the sofa with a
baby hanging onto my knees.
I can stop in the middle
of a sentence to comfort
her after a tumble. I may
not get exactly the same
thought back, but the new
one might be even better."

~ Anna Grossnickle Hines

Throw in some baby drool and that's me perfectly...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

SCBWI Writer's Day!

I had the pleasure of attending the SCBWI Writer's Day in San Gabriel (LA area) this month. It was so inspirational! The speakers were fantastic.

Patricia Lee Gauch, a writer and editor, gave a passionate speech about putting your heart into your writing. Finally someone speaking my language! Someone who understands the feelings, the passion involved in writing. She told the enraptured group, "I want to hear your heart in your writing...really see...don't just reproduce, but interpret life...Begin at the heart...We must hear the heartbeat...The passion for the story is the wind in your narrative sails...We walk by our character step by them into existence..." That really got me going. It was all I could do to not start writing right there on the spot. She also read passages from some of my favorite books: Stargirl, Because of Winn Dixie and Speak. Which I have put in my pile of books to read again. Thank you, Patricia!

Erica Silverman spoke about early chapter books (She writes the Cowgirl Kate books). That was facinating and to tell you the truth I didn't think it would be. I didn't think that was my genre, but she really opened by eyes. I have a story I've always thought was a picture book, but in actuallity I think it's an early chapter! No wonder I've been stuck on it. Thank you Erica!

There was a panel of authors, Cecil Castellucci, Caroline Hattan and Sally Jones Rogan, who relayed their paths to publication. It was very intersting to see how other people found their way from typed pages, to an editor's desk to the book on the shelf. Very inspirational. I learned how important it is to go to functions like Writer's Day and other SCBWI events so you can actually meet editors and other writers. I also learned it wouldn't hurt to try to find an editor to get drunk in a bar with...hee hee.

Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted, spoke about writing in the fantasy genre. I love that she said that "the reader will go anywhere with you." I so believe that, that is if you believe entirely in your world too (which goes back to Patricia's thoughts on really feeling the heartbeat).

The last speaker was Elizabeth Partridge who writes biographies. I don't think I'll ever write one, but Elizabeth made the process absolutely facinating and I have even more of a respect for bio writers now.

The day was great. I highly encourage anyone intrerested in children's writing to go to these events. Next time it's my goal to meet more people. I tend to get a little shy in these "networking" situations...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My First Post!

Welcome to my blog! I am a children's writer on the verge of publishing (I can feel it! I can really feel it!). Here I will be musing about reading, writing and anything else that I feel worth writing. I hope you enjoy reading it and commenting as well!