Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Writing Exercise Wednesday #35

I can't believe I'm up to #35. Makes getting to 52 seem more possible. And then what? I do not know.  Enjoy the fun words today!

WEW #35

Scurry, shining, smelly, foolishly


     Smelly, smelly fish. That’s what I think of them. They stink. My brother gets all excited about their shining scales, how big they are and what they eat.
     Don’t care – never will.
     Now my sister, loves rats. She has two and they scurry about. They sit on her shoulders and clean her eyebrows.
     Not for me.
     I foolishly go for pigs, cows, sheep, goats and cats. But in my room, I only get to have the cat now. You’d be surprised at what sheep and goats can do indoors.  Someday I’ll have the whole farm.
     That’s what I’m gonna do.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sept 29 Workshop with Mary Hershey!

This is my first event hosting as Santa Barbara County Coordinator, and I'm so excited and honored to have Mary Hershey as our instructor. Below are all the details for the workshop.  It's open to all artists: illustrators, writers, painters, etc. Registration info is HERE and walk-ins are welcome!  I'm so looking forward to seeing everyone and participating in an amazing workshop. 
Creative Bankruptcy in the Land of Plenty: Managing Your Time, Talent & Treasures   

Instructor: Mary Hershey
Saturday, September 29, 2012
1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Goleta Public Library, 500 North Fairview Avenue,
Goleta, CA 93117
$40 SCBWI members, $50 non-members

Studies have shown that if you put three SCBWI members alone in a room together, it will take less than 1.75 minutes for the conversation to turn to their shared experience of not having the time, inspiration, support or energy for their craft.
How can we be expected to capture the attention of an agent, editor or future reader when our personal circumstances aren’t sufficient? In this 3-hour workshop, author and personal coach, Mary Hershey, will help participants search and discover the wealth of time and treasure available to them. Each student will leave the workshop with at least eight extra hours per week for their craft, and at least one idea that makes their heart skip a beat. Guaranteed.
STUDENTS SHOULD BRING: A copy of their favorite magazine, and one to share in case someone forgets theirs.
BIOGRAPHY: MARY HERSHEY is the author of four humorous novels published for middle grade and young adults with impossibly long titles that only her mother can remember. Her first book with Editor Wendy Lamb at Random House entitled MY BIG SISTER IS SO BOSSY SHE SAYS YOU CAN’T READ THIS BOOK was compared to the work of Beverly Cleary, and has endeared her to little sisters all over the country, an unexpected honor for which she is deeply grateful. 

Ms. Hershey holds a Masters Degree in Counseling & Guidance from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and is a certified Personal & Executive Coach. When she is not composing really long book or workshop titles, she serves at the Department of Veteran Affairs as an Administrative Officer.

For more information, contact Angela Russell at

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Writing Exercise Wednesday #34

What I've gotten out of this next exercise is specific details.  They make all the difference in a story's believability but also they help the reader really connect with the characters.

WEW #34

Take a childhood secret or incident and fictionalize it.

     My sister Nanna and I had a leftover red balloon from her birthday party. Her real name’s Joanna, but we’ve called her Nanna as long as I can remember.
     In our living room – which is separate from our family room, and there is a BIG difference – we were flicking the balloon to each other.
Nanna grabbed the balloon in front of her and stuck her tongue on it and made a crazy face. I was laughing so hard I had to sit down. But I would have been even funnier if I could have popped it right at that second.
“Patty-cake,” Nanna said, “stop daydreaming and play.” She calls me Patty-cake at home and sometimes in public when she wants to embarrass me.
     I jumped up and smashed the fat balloon as hard as I could. It bounced off Nanna’s face and flew to the mantel over the fireplace. The balloon drifted down but a cracking sound made us look at each other.
     “Oh, oh,” I said.
     On the marble floor in front of the fireplace was Mom’s precious figurine – head half cracked open and the little lamb’s leg skewed.
     Nanna ran for the glue while I gathered parts back together.
     We never said a word to Mom – she never noticed. But if you look close enough, you can see the lamb’s leg fractured and the patch job on the girl’s head.
     It’s still our little secret.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Review: Pie by Sarah Weeks

If you made the best pies in town, would you give them all away? That's what Alice's Aunt Polly does when she opens her pie shop in the small town of Ipswitch, Penn. And when Aunt Polly dies, she leaves her prized pie crust recipe to her cat!

Aunt Polly, also known as "the Pie Queen of Ipswitch," won the coveted Blueberry Award for pie-making a record 13 times. While her aunt was alive, Alice spent all of her free time in the shop, cracking walnuts and crumbling brown sugar. So when Aunt Polly dies, Alice finds herself in possession of her aunt's much loved but very cranky cat, Lardo--heir to the pie crust recipe. Now all of Ipswitch is trying to find Aunt Polly's recipe in order to become the next Blueberry Award winner. But without a decent piecrust, can anyone in town take home the prize? Bad pies are cooling on every windowsill. When Lardo disappears and the pie shop is ransacked, Alice and her new friend, Charlie, begin investigating the crimes.
In this gentle mystery, false trails and zaniness abound, and friendship and family rule the day. Aunt Polly lives on through her pies, and her wonderful pie recipes (included in the story). Alice puts it best when she sings, "A cat, a key, a clink, a clue,/ a chocolate pie, a friend that's true,/ A mystery that is finally through,/ And now a happy ending, too." This reader will begin by baking the delicious-sounding Lemon Chess Pie, from page 102. --Lynn Becker, host of the monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI, Book Talk. First appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers 10/28/11, reprinted with permission.
Discover: A charming middle-grade mystery that stresses the importance of friendship, family and the goodness of pies.
Lynn Becker

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Writing Exercise Wednesday #33

Swimming pond and summer.  Go to it and make it mysterious.

     Down at the old mill was a swimming pond. All summer me and Hank and Bethany turned into fish. The rope Father hung was well worn in and swung like Tarzan’s vines. It never mattered how hot we were or how cold the pond was – we’d jump anyhow.
     The summer Old Man Hooper died was the last summer Hank and Bethany and me were fish. Watching the rope being cut down made my heart ache. Bethany cried. I’m not sure who she was crying for: herself or Old Man Hooper. But ever since that day, anytime we’re around the adults, we only whisper his name.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Writing Exercise Wednesday #32

Here's a chance to let your teenager voice come out and play, be a diva, drama queen, quiet wallflower.  Anything goes!

Prompt: Sumo, Nordic, insensitive, crestfallen

Being jilted is not something I’m used to. Of all the girls in school, I’m the least likely to get dumped. But that status has changed – as of 4:45 yesterday afternoon. I didn’t realize that word would spread as fast as it did. And my own friend told me what everyone was saying. The insensitive bitch. I was crestfallen and almost depressed. Not that I could ever be depressed, but I was feeling down. Getting dumped isn’t half as bad as having everyone talking about it and looking at me with pity. Pity! Me!

I should have broken up with him first. That’s my way. That’s the only way. I can’t believe how bad it looks being cast off by a Nordic sumo wrestler. Well, that’s what he looks like. Maybe a slimmer sumo – but he’s all Nordic and all wrestler – put those together and you have a dick of a boyfriend.

If he thinks he can do better than me, he is delusional. There is no one better and he knows it. I wouldn’t want him back anyway ‘cause there are better guys than him.

Ooh – here comes one right now.  “Hey gorgeous!”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Launch - Greg Trine

I'm so happy to interview Greg Trine about his upcoming book launch on Saturday, September 8, 2-4pm at the Thousand Oaks Library. This is great to be able to post before it happens!  I hope everyone can make it, I hear there will be cake.

Here is the always fabulous and funny, Greg Trine.

What kind of preparations do you do for a book launch?

This will be kind of a hybrid launch in that I will be giving a presentation. So my prep will involve figuring out what I want to say. Also, trying to get people to show up is part of the pre-launch activities.

Do you plan food or activities to match the book?

Yes, we'll have cake and other goodies. Depending on the mix of kids vs. adults, I'll do an activity...possibly an evil laugh contest and have the kids act something out.

This would be a good place for an audio cue with you doing your evil laugh. Does your publisher contribute or help at all?

They did make up bookmarks, but basically I do all of it on my own. I'm sure they would help if I asked, but I don't want to be known as that "needy author."

What’s your favorite part of a launch?  What makes it successful for you?

It's always nice to meet book readers. I'd say if 50 or more people show up, that would be a successful launch.

Are you launching the first Jo Schmo book or both 1 and 2?

Just the first one. Book two will be out in December.

What have you learned from doing launches and signings? 

Sometimes people show up, sometimes they don't. In this launch I'll not only be launching a new book, but a new series. I'm hoping that will bring out the crowds. Also, having it at the Thousand Oaks Library has the added advantage of using their PR department to promote the event. There will also be an article in the Ventura County Star.

That’s great!  Do you have upcoming events/signings?

I'm going to spend a seven days in Porterville, CA, visiting schools. I may add some bookstore signings as well.

When is the rest of the series due come out?  I read the first Jo Schmo and it’s a lot of fun.  I look forward to the rest!

Book two will be out in December, book three will be out in July, and book four in the fall of 2013.

Excellent.  Thank you so much Greg and happy launching!!!