Saturday, March 23, 2013

On My Desk

This is why it is dangerous to get a bigger desk.

More junk fits on it.


On my desk today:

1. a green stabilo pen my daughter brought me back from Paris 2 years ago.

2.  my plastic Butterbeer cup from Harry Potter World.

3.  a camera

4. an Ireland UFO License for AREA-51 assigned to a person by the name of A. Leon.

5.  A duckling egg holder with a purple sharpie in it instead of an egg.

6. a random glass.

7. an Outback giftcard.

8. a grant application (completed!!)

9.  a half-full legal pad.

10.  a green moleskine that has seen better days.

11.  a composition book covered in big, red hearts.

12.  Early Poems of William Butler Yeats.

13. a page of stickers of fruits and icecream treats (including a bow-tie wearing banana)

14.  68 pages of a manuscript I am completely re-doing.

15. a picturebook manuscript masquerading as a big mistake.

16.  a list of 32 things I need to do before my parents arrive next week.

17. A brand new writing book with inspirational sayings on the front (Staples, $5 bucks.)

18.  A card I bought for myself with an Albert Einstein quote (It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.)

19.  a random spoon.

20.  a short stack of mini-bookmarks for Trinket.

So, after I clean my desk, maybe I'll be able to get some work done.  Seriously, though, how does it all pile up so fast????

Happy Spring!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Great Read Aloud Experiment of 2013 Part 1

Okay so I am in the middle of taking a big risk, but it's too late to talk me out of it.  I've already started it.

I am reading my own book aloud to my class.

And no, I am not talking about one of the GOOD KNIGHT books.  I read those to kids all the time.  No, I am talking about that longish book I wrote: THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET. gulp.

See, most authors of middle grade fiction never get the chance to read the whole book to children, except for maybe their own.  And I thought that I should give it a try, kind of like an experiment.  But to tell you the truth, I was kind of terrified to start.


What if they don't get it?

What if they are bored by it?

What if they don't LIKE it?

The truth is, any kid might feel one of these things about ANY book, because readers come in all shapes and sizes.  One size of books does not fit all. I KNOW this as a teacher. Most of the class adored CHARLOTTE'S WEB, but there were a few who just kind of liked it, moderately tolerated it, or zoned out.  And I am talking less than a handful here, but are entitled to their opinions, too.  If I want them to grow up and love books, I need to let them choose for themselves what they like.  Right?

So, I pondered my beliefs--what would I do if kids didn't like it?

Hard question, because I know that they want to like it.  I am their teacher, after all.  And third grade is a magic sort of year.  Think back on your own third grade experience--you either loved it or you hated it, (depending on your relationship with your teacher maybe.)  (I hated mine, but that's because I was taught by a crusty old bat who seemed to hate kids, but that is neither here nor there:)

Anyway, was I brave enough to let them be discriminating readers with a book that is so close to my heart that it fairly pumps when I hold it?

Yes, I decided, I was.  For what is courage but knowing what you have to lose and risking it anyway.

  So, after we finished the first story in the book, The Gypsies and the Seer, we had a discussion about what it might be like to see the future, if lying could ever really be justified, and what being really alone felt like.  It was a good book chat--peppered with frequently with a certain question that just keeps coming up over and over again:  Mrs. Thomas, is Trinket ever going to find her dad?  

Good question, I tell them, that is just what the reader is supposed to be asking.

So far, so good.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Well.  It finally happened.  I am the last person on all of the interwebs who has not participated in The Next Big Thing meme.  But they finally found me. I was tracked down by agent-mate Allan Woodrow (his post is  here.) His books sound so fun!  And there are TWO!!

   So,here are the questions I must answer or they will send The Next Big Thing Police to come and get me:

1) What is the working title of your next book?
My  most recent book is titled THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET (if you are reading the blog, you probably already know that!)  Of course, that was not the working title.  When I was first working on it, I had no title so I just called it Bard Girl.  I know, yuck.  Right? I came up with The Seven Tales of Trinket one day when I was playing around in my writing notebook. I would die without my notebook! 
Maybe you have seen this cover on the blog before.  What?  No?  Well, here it is, for the bajillionth time.  (I still love it!)

2) Where did the idea come from for the book? About 9 years ago, I got this picture in my mind of a girl from “long ago and far away times” who was a storyteller.  I tried to write it.  I got about 80 pages in and my computer crashed.  That was that. In 2009, I tried again, having attempted (miserably) a few novels that followed "the rules", I knew I wanted to try one that didn’t. The Seven tales of Trinket weaves several stories and poems/songs into one narrative.  And it also has a prologue, which I had heard was a no-no, but it really needed it!

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Middle-grade fantasy.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? I could see Trinket as a Pixar movie!  Unfortunately, they just made a Celtic-Pixar fusion with BRAVE (which I loved) so it will probably be a while before they visit Celtic folklore again.
Unless Jennifer Lawrence was available.  Then I would totally rewrite the part for her.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? An orphaned young girl seeks seven tales and the whereabouts of her missing storytelling father.

6) Who is publishing your book? FSG Macmillan.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? Well, not counting the several year hiatus, when I started again, it took about 5 or 6 months. 

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I like WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON by Grace Lin, because it is also folklore based and  contains stories within stories.  It also appeals to fans of Shannon Hale and Diane Zahler, I am told.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? Simply put, I wanted to read this story, so in order to do so, I had to write it.  I am fascinated by the role that story plays in our history as a human race, and in our individual histories.  I think stories can heal us and save us and mend our hearts. I think stories can be dark and scary and hurt us as well.  But we need them.  All humans need stories. Plus, I adore folklore.  I stuffed as many denizens of the Celtic Folklore World in my book as I could!  There’s a fortune teller, a banshee, selkies, faeries, ghosts, pookas, and several magical objects.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? Well, it is Irish Heritage month and St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, so if you have been looking for a way to celebrate an amazing culture with a special book, THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET  might just hit the spot.  

So, now I am supposed to tag someone else.  Hmm... I think the only other person on the entire internet who has not yet been tagged is Diane Zahler, the wonderful author who blurbed Trinket.  She has a new book coming out and the cover is gorgeous.  So stop by on March 13 to see what her Next Big Thing is.

I love March!  The first corned-beef of the year will happen on Sunday!  Can't wait!


p.s.  Don't know why the blog text keeps changing size and font.  Must be the faeries.  I forgot to leave them any cake this evening.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The End of Feb (Yay!)

Not a fan of February.  Glad it's gone.

Okay, just a quick look at goals:

1.  Finish revision of MG Novel:  Can you hear my laughter through the computer screen?  It sounds kind of like a cross between a donkey and a goat. Finish?  Ha.  I  am actually doing a rewrite.  I hate doing rewrites usually--so much just comes out the same way as it did the first time--but in this case, I think it's warranted, because the vision is different.  And I did come up with with a title I like, which is a title I loved long ago but didn't think fit anymore, but with the rewrite maybe it will.

2. Write a new picture book or revise one:  I revised one, and I'll be tweaking one part again this weekend.  Hopefully I'll get it right.  However, picture books are elusive, like poems, and if one part is wrong, then none of it sings.

3.  Look at Chicken Wizard again:  As if.  I just need to permanently take it off the goal list.  It will not be done until it's ready.   I just need to accept it.

March goals:

1.  Work on two completely different MGs concurrently while trying not to pull out my own hair.
2.  Fix the picture book.

Simple, really.

Yeah.  Right.

In my other resolution, I was supposed to try a new restaurant.  This month, I went to a place called The Privateer with my husband on Valentine's day.  It's a new little coal oven pizza dive.  Never really been into coal pizza (few places in San Diego County offer this) but MAN!!! It is good.  Nice to support a new local biz.

As for Gratitude--I am going to save this for mid-month when I can't think of anything to blog about.  I'm just a bit tired tonight, and I have to get up early so I can appear at the READ AND ROMP in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday tomorrow.

Wishing you the best March ever!!