Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My 5 Year Old Reading Self

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a Free Writing Workshop, The Seven Deadly Sins of Writing led by Author Amy Goldman Koss and hosted by SCBWI (have I mentioned how much I love them?)

Ms. Koss was very candid, funny, and realistic in her discussion with us. I will be adding her list of seven deadly writing sins to my "post-its" from now on whenever I write. (I have been guilty of at least three!)

Ms. Koss also led us in several writing exercises, one of which was to think about the age group you are writing for, write to yourself when you were that age and tell yourself where you read when you were that age.  I wanted to share a bit of what I wrote below:

When I was five my family my moved all the time.  I had very little books of my own.  Most of my reading I did at school or daycare.  I remember reading and memorizing my first poem, "The Swing" at my preschool in Hawaii just before moving to San Francisco. I would recite that poem over and over in the car -- from the airport, to the car, to our new naval housing tract.  I loved that poem and I loved reading.  It was still be a few more years before I read consistently at home with my own books... that happened when I was seven.

Isn't it amazing the things we recall about ourselves during free-writing?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Writing Workshops

Hello everyone!
So I have every intention to keep blogging throughout the summer, but at the moment I can't make any promises.

And why is that you ask? Well, I have signed up to take two online writing workshops simultaneously. I have my summer off from work so it should be no biggie right? Seeing as how the last class I took was two years ago when I took a Wilton Cake Decorating class, I'm actually a bit anxious about it. I know it will be a fun, exhilirating experience. But I can't help but feel like an incoming college student all over again. Wish me luck and if all goes well, which I'm hoping it will, I will be back to blogging in no time!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fairies on the brain: A book review and book trailer

How to Ditch Your FairyIt's no secret that I'm a little obsessed with fantasy books. One of my favorite types of fantasy characters to read about are fairies. Give me evil fairies, quirky fairies, invisible fairies, or MC's that are part fairy (like Sookie Stackhouse) and I am instantly intrigued. My latest read was Justine Larbelstier's How to Ditch Your Fairy.

This book fulfilled my fairy craving and thensome! It is a quick read, centered around a teen girl who is trying to ditch her parking fairy in lieu of something better -- like the clothes-shopping fairy her best friend has. I love how Larbelstier's pulls you into a world where fairies exist (or are atleast acknowledged to.) I also love the lingo she has created for her characters. It's a unique, fun read!     My rating: ☆☆☆☆

Speaking of fairies, I am delighted to share the book trailer for Anna Staniszweski's upcoming novel, My Very UnFairy Tale Life, to be released in November 2011.  I am looking forward to reading this book!

Monday, June 20, 2011

RemembeRed: A Real Meal, Finally!

I gazed up at the menu with excitement. This was it, the first real food I would have in two weeks. This was the third restaurant in the food court I’d been to already, staring up at the menu deciding whether or not I could eat here. My husband didn’t say so but I could tell he just wanted me to pick something already.  

Would any of this food be ok and not get caught in the four gaping holes I had in the back of my mouth? I’d waited until I was almost thirty to get my wisdom teeth pulled out. Now I realized why this would have been much easier to do four years ago...
“Ok honey, this place is fine. I’ll have some hummus, pita and a bowl of soup.”
I found a place to sit and waited for my first real meal. Ok, it was really more mush, but atleast I was eating at a real restaurant -- and I loved Daphne’s pita bread! It’s so soft and pillowy.
I tested the bread for softness. Good good, I can chew this. I’m enjoying this. I’m enjoying food.
I relaxed and let myself enjoy lunch.
“Wanna try a green bean? it’s pretty soft?” my husband asked.
“Sure,” I replied.
He fed the green bean to me. When I bit down my jaw ached and I knew right away it was too hard. To add insult to injury the back of the green bean poked the raw gaping hole in the back of my mouth causing it to throb.
“Ouch,” I said, spitting the green bean back into my husband’s hand. He giggled.
“What? Why did you do that?” he asked puzzled.
“It was too hard!” 
Well that ended all the pleasantness of my first dining out experience since having my wisdom teeth out.  Maybe a few more days?

RemembeRed is a Memoir Meme.  
This week's prompt: Fill in the blanks, first time I ____ after ____.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

5 Things to do while playing The Waiting Game

I have to confess, I have become a little preoccupied with checking my e-mail and mailbox for the past few weeks...wishing and hoping to receive news about recent manuscript submissions. Of course, it can take many months to hear anything however, I've been told one of my stories is currently under consideration. (Squeal!) It is so hard to contain that shred of hope I have in my heart without getting carried away. I have desperately been trying to find other things to keep those pushy little -- "today's the day, go check the mail!" monsters at bay.

If you are playing the waiting game like me, here are five things you can try to get your mind off the waiting. Now if only there were a permanent solution...

1) Redesign your blog (I did this one this morning!)
Ok, ok -- I have been told that redesigning your blog can be confusing to the reader. For me though, I think of it like revising a story. My blog didn't quite have the look and feel I was going for. So I took a hard look at it, thought about my vision and revised. I am actually quite happy with the outcome. What do you think?

2) Do some yoga.
So I haven't done this yet, but I intend to. Yoga calms me and reminds me to take deep breaths. It also helps to clear your mind and strengthen your body.

3) Network with other writers.
Have you ever visited Verla Kay's Message Boards for Children's Writers and Illustrators? I joined recently. It is a wonderful community of writers and illustrators. They share good news, bad news, and even no news! I also enjoy being able to relate and commiserate to people who know exactly how I feel and have been where I've been.

4)  Engage in an extracurricular activity or plan a vacation.
Love the beach or eating fondue? Maybe you paint or like dancing? I love to sing. Karaoke is like therapy for me and I have been wanting to visit British Columbia for quite some time...

5) Write something new or revise old writing projects.
Sometimes when you're waiting for news it's hard to focus on current works in progress. You can feel bogged down or blocked.  Maybe you can revitalize yourself by trying to write something new? Or take out something old and look at it again with "fresh eyes?" Sure, these stories will need some revision but it can be fun to reconnect to an old story.

Best of luck everyone!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Adventures in Rhyme

If you're an aspiring children's writer like me, I'm sure you have heard the following plenty of times: Stay away from rhyme. It no longer sells and new writers rarely get it right.

Truth be told I never have had a gift for rhyme or poetry. But, I have a silly story idea, which I have written in prose. The magic and silliness is just not working the way it is currently written.  Every time I stare at the letters on the page, I think to myself, "how can I fix this?" Each time I do this the story starts trying to make a rhyme or song in my head.

So, I'm going to give it try. I have only written one other story in rhyme, because the whole story idea came to me that way, so this will certainly be an adventure.

This time I plan on doing a little research. Margot Finke has a fabulous article with resources on writing for children using meter and rhyme.

So long, good night.
I'm off to write!