Monday, July 30, 2012

A Confession of Sorts

This is from my journal the other day.  I was trying to come to terms with myself--and why I am so nervous about going to SCBWI for the first time--and why I am struggling and juggling within the confines of my own writing.  I am only sharing it so that if you recognize your own self as a writer within my words, know that there is hope.  Every writer I know has moments of doubt.  Actually, they are lucky if they are confined only to moments.

There is a fear before I sit down and write, a very real fear, and it hits every single time.  The fear is that I won’t do it right.  That I will mess up the idea or that I had misjudged the idea and that it wasn’t even a good idea to begin with. 

I don’t know why I fear being wrong so much.  It’s not like I am right on many things in life most of the time.  I am wrong A LOT. But in some instances, being wrong (about writing and such) makes me feel stupid.  I hate feeling stupid.

I should embrace feeling stupid.  I’d probably be a heck of a lot happier if I just realized that sometimes I AM the idiot I try so hard not to be.  But then there is that awful pride….

 A writing instructor (one of the few brave times I went to learn about writing, more on that later) told me that he didn’t quite get me.  How could such deep insecurity co-exist with such swaggering bravado?  (Okay, he didn’t say swaggering…I just added it because I do swagger in my own dorky way.)  I don’t remember what I said.  I like to think that I wrote a journal entry addressed to this instructor letting him know that, yes, actually, you DO get me.  This is what I live with all the time.  The swagger hides the chicken. 

Perhaps that is why I invented the Story Queen.  I love her.  She is brave and fearless and definitely has swagger.  And if you talk down to her, she’ll put you in your place with an Elizabethan insult, all the while making you laugh and feel grateful that you are a part of her circle.  She is never about her Queen-ness, she is only and always about the Story.  That is the master she serves.  Those moments of magic between queen and loyal subjects where emotion, thought, and respect are exchanged, where history is passed on from one generation to the next--that is what the Queen lives for.  And I am proud to hide behind her fa├žade when I must speak publicly.

Because make no mistake, I am hiding.  I am hiding the fact that I don’t really participate much in SCBWI for one reason and one reason only—I fear that if I go to workshops, eventually I will discover that I am doing it all wrong.  True.  I hear you laughing on the other side of the screen.  Go ahead.  Laugh.  But it is true.  The insecure part of me is certain that one day, you will all discover the fraud that I am.  I don’t really KNOW what I am doing.  I am just sitting down and writing things that amuse me, confuse me, make me smile or cry.  There is no method, per se, no “you are in good hands—I know what I’m doing” thing going on, because I don’t.
And I know it.  I fear with all my heart being told that I am doing it wrong.  And I fear, if I am told such things, that I will believe them.

Now, I am not so thin skinned that I cannot accept what others say about my writing.  I can and do.  That’s all part of the game.  Not everyone likes or even wants to like the same thing.  And I’ve had my share of lengthy editorial letters expounding on the areas in my stories where I make no sense. (True, it happens). 

I suppose at this point in the entry, dinner had to be made or something like that, for it just kind of ended.  But my head is in a different space now, so I'd like to end on an encouraging note.  Yes, it's true--I don't know what I am doing all of the time in my writing.  But writers have to risk it.  We have to risk the unknown in order to create wonder.

(Those books that scroll down the side of this page are proof:)


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Quick Comic-Con Re-Cap

In a word, Comic-Con is overwhelming. There are just SO many people and So much stuff.  I mean, I thought I'd probably see someone I knew there, because there were a lot of people that I knew that were going, but Gee Whiz, I don't see how anybody ever met up with people they were planning to there.

Really, really, an awful lot of people.

The good news was that my shirt came!!
This is a reference to Game of Thrones.  Danearys Targeryen cannot find her dragons...

But see, I am not Danaerys, so my dragons are easy to find...they are in my books!  hehehe

However, they give you a Gigantic bag when you enter Comic-Con--we are talking HUGE--and it kind of covers all of you up.  So, no one got to see my funny shirt.  (Let's be honest here.  It probably wouldn't have been that funny to that many people, really.)

On the bright side, I got a couple of stormtrooper shots:

Stormtrooper/Vader mix + Star Wars kilt guy = awesome

See that thing that is hanging off of me?  That is the BAG.  It went to the FLOOR!!

And there was Lego stuff:

Those are larger than life murals built from teensy little blocks.

I have more pictures, including one where a giant Lego Captain Kirk seems to be putting the moves on me, but blogger is being rather moody and refuses to let me add anymore.  Or perhaps blogger has more taste than I do and realizes this post as gone on long enough.

Anyway, we did not end up staying the whole day.  Cali wanted to go to Ikea and eat meatballs, and judging from the plates of cold-ish pizza that were floating around, that idea sounded pretty good to me. 

Before we left, I did meet Marissa Meyer, author of this amazing little book. Perhaps you've heard of it:
Hmmm...blogger let me add this pic, but denies the Captain Kirk....suspicious.
I spoke to Marissa for a few minutes (lovely girl) but didn't get one of her books or arcs because the line was colossal.  Really, it was a line to end all lines.

Actually, that's what Comic-Con really is, lots of people, lots of stuff, and lots of lines.  

Lots of fun, too, though!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Early Praise for The Seven Tales of Trinket

This is the part of being an author that is both wonderful and weird.

For me, I can't even consider what other people will think about my writing while I am in the big, fat middle of creating.  It is far too stifling to worry about.  However, the point of eventually sharing one's work is to find out what people think.

But it is a bit scary.  Because not everybody likes the same stuff. (This is one of the things I like best about our world--the fact that people can have differing opinions.) But it is still scary.

That being said.....

I got a couple of awesome blurbs:

The first one is from Richard Peck.  Yes, that Richard Peck. Newberry Honor Richard Peck.
I remember buying this book for Noel when she was 14...what a fun summer read!

Here is what Richard said about Trinket:

"All storytellers have special powers, as Trinket learns on this incantational Irish odyssey to find her fate and her father."
Newbery Award winner, Richard Peck

This one is my favorite, but I love them all!
And the lovely Diane Zahler (famed for her princess re-tellings) had this to say:

"Trinket is a riveting middle-grade debut – a seamless blend of story and song that tells a thrilling tale of a bard-in-training’s quest to find her father. Utterly enchanting!"
-- Diane Zahler

Thank you, Richard and Diane, for taking the time to read my book and comment about it.  (And to say such nice things!)

And then there is this, from Publisher's Weekly.  And there is a star!

If you want to, you can read a bit of The Seven Tales of Trinket here.  These are not the very first pages of the book, but the first pages of the first story.  (There is a story before the story....all stories have these, you know;)

So, yes, a good week.  And Trinket's trailer is coming soon!

Comic-con re-hash coming soon as well.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Good Knight on Broadway!! (Not really, but kind of...)

I am no stranger to roping other people's children into performing my stories.  Observe:
No...the horse is not dead.  He's just sleeping....I hope.
So, you cannot imagine how thrilled I am to see other folks performing Good Knight shows...and I didn't even have to twist any arms (or legs)!!

Here is a puppet show I stumbled upon:
This Good Knight has a mustache.  I kinda like it.
Erin at and her fellow conspirators put on this delightful Good Knight performance in June.  I really wish I could have been there!

And her friend Kat from Library StorytimeABCs is putting on a full show this month.  It will feature someone wearing this:
Well, hello there.

And look at the set:
The crumbly-tumbly tower has never looked so good!

Again, I am so incredibly thrilled that these libraries are using Good Night, Good Knight to get their youngest patrons excited about reading.  The Good Knight books really lend themselves to dramatic interpretation (or, if you are me, Overly-Dramatic Interpretation.)
Hello little dragons!
So, if your library or school decides to perform a Good Knight show,let me know!  I'd love to feature it on the blog.  (Get Well, Good Knight makes for an especially silly show, just so you know...sneezing and coughing and wizards, oh my!)

Only a few days until Comic-Con....waiting impatiently for my shirt to arrive.  I designed it is going to be rather interesting....if it comes out right.  IF IT GETS HERE!

Well, more on that, soon!

And I've got some Trinket news as well.  Soon!



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Wishes

I wish I was not so picky about my own writing. (However, sometimes, I wish I was pickier.)

Brave Irene was always one of my favorites.  Oh, that dastardly wind!

I wish William Steig had written more books for children.  His use of words still strikes wonder in my heart.  He had such wit!  I wish there were more books like that today--books that are not just picture books, but STORY books, with long tales alive with the wonder that is Language.

I wish gluten-free pizza tasted more like pizza.

I wish the slowness and ease of summer days didn't pass so quickly.

I wish I knew how to write the ending for BOOM.

I wish I would talk with people whenever I wanted to--without regard to schedules and failing technology. (Yes, I hate my cell-phone right now.)

I wish my 13 year-old could drive herself around.  (Well, not really.  But kind of.)

I wish the nectarines you get in July could last all year.

I wish I understood the whole Higgs boson particle thing.  I mean, I HAVE TRIED.  I have read about it and listened to experts explain it--even Bill Nye the Science Guy.  But alas, this is what I am left with:

Random Person:  Hey Shelley, can you explain that whole Higgs boson particle thing to me?  It's kind of confusing.

Me:  Well, there's this thing--very small thing--that the scientists always thought would be there.  Well, not always.  I mean, there was probably a time when they were thinking about other things, but anyway, lots of scientists thought is was there, but they couldn't prove it. BUT NOW THEY CAN!

Random Person: But what is it?

Me:  Well, it's so small that you can't really see it.  I mean, I wouldn't worry about it if I were's not like it's going to jump up and eat off your face or, um, like flesh eating bacteria, which by the way, you also can't see.  If I were you, I 'd worry more about having my face eaten off by invisible bacteria than that little invisible thing that has a kind of pretentious name, if you ask me.

On a different note altogether, I will be appearing at Barnes and Noble's Pajama-rama Storytime this Friday (and every Friday in July) at 7:00 p.m.  (It's the B and N in Oceanside).  Anyway, this Friday evening will feature a Celtic story or two, and some fun activities.  And yes, my puppets will be there! Elvis the alien is especially excited!

Summer wishes, anyone?