Saturday, March 31, 2012

About this Blog

Why do I blog?

--because I like to record events in my writing life.

--because I like to record my thoughts on my writing process.

--because I like those records to be in a findable/retrievable place.

--because I like to read over my posts and reflect on how I have changed...and how I am still the same.

--because I like to connect with other people who love to write books, or love to read books.

--because sometimes I do not know what I am really thinking until I write it down.

--because when I blog, I try (TRY) not to whine too much, so it is mostly a positive record.

--because I like to have a place for children who read my books to find me.

--because I like to have a place for teachers and librarians who read my books to find me.

--because without it, I never would have met many good writing friends, nor would I have my agent.

--because I choose the content I wish to publish.

--because, for a semi-hermit* like myself, it is a way to come out of my self-imposed shell.

--because facebook is just too overwhelming.

--because it makes me happy.

And really, that's the only agenda.  This blog is a place that I made for myself where I can write about things that I want to, mostly things that impact me as a writer.  I am not a master-networker (neither in my on-line life, nor my "real" life), but I do like to create safe places for myself (and others, for if you are reading this, you are always welcome here!) where I can just "be."

Sometimes, though, to be perfectly honest, I find myself worrying about my blog.  I might want to write about something and then I find myself worrying Well, Shelley, will anyone really want to read this?  Who cares about it anyway?, but those are dangerous thoughts.  Once I start worrying too much about  if people will LIKE it, then I am no longer being true to the purpose of my blog--and the purpose of my writing in general.

My purpose as an author is not to please the audience (although don't get me wrong--really like when this happens!), my purpose is tell the best story that I can, in the best way possible.

My purpose as a blogger is not to garner ten thousand LIKES.  My purpose is to be truthful to myself.  (Even if that means writing boring writing posts from time to time (or all the time!) as I try to figure out how it all works.) (And of course, to overuse parentheses, obviously).)


*I know.  How can anyone who parades around in jewels and velvets and crowns and actually leads 500 children in an improv Jai-Ho flash-mob claim to be a hermit?  Well, I am an introverted extrovert, I suppose. (or an extroverted introvert?)  I thrive on a certain amount of social-ness, but then need quiet, alone re-charge time.  More than I actually get, hence the overpowering desire for a cave in the wilderness....or a hobbit house somewhere.....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Seven Tales of Trinket Official Catalog Blurb

I finally got the catalog blurb for Trinket!  I know it seems silly to be so excited, especially since this is my tenth book, but it's my first novel, and the world of the novel is very new to me.  You could even say it's "novel".  (hahaha).  Anyway, I am happy with the description--I think it captures the story well, (seeing as it's a tale about capturing stories and all.)

Guided by a tattered map, accompanied by Thomas the Pig Boy, and inspired by the storyteller's blood that thrums through her veins, eleven year-old Trinket searches for the seven stories she needs to become a bard like her father, who disappeared years before.  She befriends a fortune-telling gypsy girl; returns a child stolen by the selkies to his true mother; confronts a banshee and receives a message from a ghost; helps a village girl outwit--and out-dance--the Faerie Queen; travels beyond the grave to battle a dastardly, undead Highwayman; meets a hound so loyal he fights a wolf to the death to protect the baby prince left in his charge.  All fine material for six tales, but it is the seventh tale, in which Trinket learns her father's true fate, that changes her life forever.

In other random news, I saw THE HUNGER GAMES and I really liked it.  I'd not seen a movie in a theater since HUGO at Thanksgiving.  It makes the viewing of the film into an event--I'll have to do it more often.  

I made a charity appearance at a little girls birthday party today.  We had tea in the tiniest little cups that were over 100 years old!

And it's storming here.  Again.

Looks like a good night for potatoes and cheese.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Too Chicken, a Safari, and Other Junk


I just finished a revision where I had to deconstruct then reconstruct the entire story.

It was hard.

But I think the story is better for it.

However, I am too chicken to  hit the send button tonight.  Perhaps tomorrow.  Yes, I'll let it sit for one more night.

But now I have to decide where to focus my writing attention.  Something completely different, I think.

I'd like to write something about a rocky kingdom inhabited by seal people and someone who must stay with them but does not belong.

I'd like to write about a girl adventurer who can travel through the past and is accompanied by a chimpanzee butler.

I'd like to write something fantastically EPIC.

I'd like to write something so small, so incredibly small, that every word of it rings with truth (even though it will all be made up stuff.)

I want to write something that makes my heart sing and long for the feel of  a black keyboard beneath my fingers.

I want to write of animals, exotic animals, and their friendships.

I want to write about embarrassing things, like the wrong words at the wrong time.

I want to write about the tiniest pair of shoes ever made, who made them, and the maiden they were made for. (Say that seven times fast!)

I want to write about  safaris, jungles, and characters in pith helmets with British accents.

I want to write a picture book that is so disgustingly, amazingly simple in idea and format, yet has NEVER yet been done.

There is nothing so freeing as finishing up on something...even though you know you aren't really finished with it...even though you know something else will soon enough take it place.


PS.  A child asked me the other day if I had any advice for people who wanted to write books.  Here it is--but it goes for everyone, even those folks who don't want to write books.  Here it is:

Use your powers for good.

That's all.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Sick Day for the One and Only Scorpio Races I kind of mashed of the titles of the three books I am going to recommend today--and it just makes it seem all weird.  My apologies to the authors.

But I wanted to recommend some great books I've read recently.  One picture book, one middle grade and one teen (or young adult).

These three books each have two things in common:

Unique idea and unique execution of the idea.

First up:


This book won the Caldecottt medal last year (for best illustrated picture book) and I only read it a few weeks ago.  I hate when I wait so long to read something so good, but at least I finally got to read it!  It is so adorable!
Do you suppose they would deal me in?

Such a lovely idea, the animals coming to make Amos feel better, since he is always there for them.  And look at the trailer:

What a lovely way of illustrating such a sweet book.  (And I love that the video has the real voice of the illustrator.  I would have loved to see her at work on the book!)

Great, great book.  Well done, Philip and Erin.

My middle grade selection is:
The cover is great, but the story inside is even better.

This tale, about a gorilla that looks after a baby elephant, is such a great idea (and based on a true story, no less).  But what makes it even more special is the telling....from the gorilla's point of view.  Wow.  I just loved this book (I might have cried a time or two...okay, it was three times).  Katherine Applegate, you are my hero.

And check out its trailer:

Yes.  Just awesome.  

My young adult pick is:

Why did I wait so long to read this??

This book is so good.  It is based on Celtic folklore, but  Maggie Stiefvater does her own take with the mythology of the water horse, which makes it unusual and thrilling.  And the dual narration--I swear I could hear Sean and Puck's voice in my head so, so clearly.  My only regret it that I waited until the Spring to read it.  How I would have loved to curl up with it in front of an Autumn fire.

And check out the trailer for this one.  Maggie did the  art and the music...and I think the cinematography, too.  It makes more sense if you know what happens in the book, but it certainly makes a person curious to know what that shell means and all.

What I love about the three of these books is that each of the authors (and artists) did things their own way.  They didn't follow a trend, the told a story that needed telling--a story that had yet to be told.

And folks, I loved these books.

Well worth your time.


Any other book recs?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March Goals

So..the goals:

1. Make a plan for the next six months about blog posts relating to THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET. I am thinking of highlighting a creature from Celtic mythology each month.  (Lots of magical creatures make appearances in Trinket's tales.)  Thinking I will start this series on April 4th and continue it on the 4th of each month, since that is my release day (in September, of course.)

2.  Revise two picturebooks:  BOOM, BOOM, BOOM and I WANT CAKE.

3. Draft one more picturebook:  LAZY HIPPO WON'T GET UP (or something like that...and it's not based on events or characters here at home, so don't think that at all;)

4.  Revise FEATHERS, SONGS, AND CURSES for structure.  I find that when I write a novel, I kind of  create a metaphor for what the structure of that story will look like (in my mind, of course.)  For Trinket, that image was of a necklace with seven charms (one for each tale) and seven tiny beads or pearls in between each charm (to represent the seven poems.)

For Feathers, my image is two trees, standing a bit apart, but slowly growing together, until they are intertwined and entangled and it is impossible to tell, when looking at a branch, which tree it belongs to. Two completely different trees leading two very different lives until something happens that causes them to grow together.  (But each tree must be equally strong, so that it does not overpower the other.  And that is why I am doing a structural revision.)

(Does anyone else do this--picture the structure of their stories in their heads? Please tell me I am not alone!)

And, I want to finish this all by the end of the month (or sooner maybe.)

So, I guess I'll be busy.

Here's wishing you a busy March as well!