My favorite idea (sketch #4) did not make the cut, but looking back, it wasn’t the best fit.
My favorite idea (sketch #4) did not make the cut, but looking back, it wasn’t the best fit.
Yesterday I got a notification that my blog was having a banner day–surprising since I haven’t posted in two months–and it reminded me how busy the last two months have been. As readers of Creative Chaos might know, I’m almost two years out from a divorce and the economic insecurities that often accompany divorce can be stressful. More on that in a few…
Over the past year I’ve been pleased to find challenging and satisfying work event planning at Maine Share, doing customer service work at LLBean, and event planning at Bowdoin College. All along, I’ve been volunteering as the Program Director with my local rowing club. This spring, they hired me as their part time Head Coach as well and I’ve spent a great deal of time in the last two months on the water teaching adults and teens to scull and sweep row.
In addition to the coaching and program directing I’m also SUPER happy to have found a part time temporary home at Islandport Press as their Author Relations and Events Coordinator. In this position I’m able to help Islandport authors with social media, blogs, book them in bookstores and festivals, and help create publicity campaigns and events to sell great books. (Shameless plug: please follow Islandport Press on social media.)
We now rejoin our program of economic insecurity already in progress…
I love what I’m doing. Still, anyone who has juggled a family, writing, and more than one job knows that the sum of the parts feels WAY greater than it should (ie: 1+1+1+1=100) Part of that 100 number is the chasm of unemployment that looms with temporary jobs. Once the rowing season ends, and the temporary position with the publishing house ends I’m on the search again. It’s a feast and famine sensibility so in the last two months I’ve also written and delivered an article to the new Coxing Magazine (so exciting!), given a presentation to the Romance Writers of Maine, and taught a rowing workshop to counselors at a local sleep away camp. I’m the busy ant storing for the winter.
If there is a positive about the looming chasm of unemployment it is that I might actually get back to my works in progress (a middle grade novel 1st draft and 2 PB rewrites) which wait patiently on my computer. I also might be posting more here at Creative Chaos. I will keep you updated. Cheers!
This is the time of year where teens are stretched to breaking. The kids I coach have that crazed look from studying for numerous AP tests in addition to dealing with their school work, sports, and extracurricular activities. My own pair of teens is at school from 7am to 8pm some days, followed by hours of homework, and have a full month of evening spring music performances. Finals are around the corner and every time I remind a teen about the importance of a full night’s sleep I get an eye roll and not-in-this-lifetime scoff. In my opinion teens should take a well-deserved break during summer break.
You’ve seen the lists of required for reading for teens? You’ve heard of the “summer slide?” It seems that there is no rest for the weary.
Enter the Audiofile Magazine and OverDrive App free audiobook program. It makes summer reading fun and free. That’s right, free. Throughout the summer, I get text messages reminding me about the two new audiobooks that are available for the week. One book is usually newer and is paired with an older book. Together, the books explore specific literary themes or content. The titles change every Thursday at 7pm. Here’s a link to explore the titles for the 2016 season.
From the Sync website:
SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens 13+. Running May 5th – August 17th 2016, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week (30 titles) – pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes. In 2014, 26 titles were given away over 13 weeks. In 2015, 28 titles were given away over 14 weeks.
The OverDrive App is available on many different devices and platforms. There’s information about downloading the app here. Once you download OverDrive, the books go with you everywhere. I found that the books were perfect for summer road trips and even had some driveway moments where no one wanted to stop the book so we sat in the car. The dog got longer walks too.
This week books are VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD, by Katie Coyle and THE GREAT TENNESSEE MONKEY TRIAL, by Peter Goodchild.
See the descriptions and more at the Sync Website, download OverDrive, and sign up for your Sync text messages today!
A tired teen* will thank you.
*Also recommended for YA Writers, Parents, Teachers, Librarians and any other Young Adult Literature lover. May cause intense focus, inability to complete chores, loss of writing time. Chocolate sometimes eases symptoms. See your library youth media specialist any of these symptoms persist past Labor Day.
Last Saturday I presented the workshop “The Business of Children’s Writing 101” with the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. We had a cozy class which allowed the participants to get some great one on one attention as they crafted their elevator pitches and queries in advance of the New England SCBWI spring conference. We discussed the journey of a book from manuscript to publication, defined Midlist, and learned not to defend our work in a critique. We even got to have a mini-workshop for those who had brought picture book manuscripts.
The afternoon brought a web hunt of great kidlit blogs, social media, and kidlit community events that I’ve listed below.
Most important—we discussed that craft comes first and that if you have trouble with your pitch or query it often means that your manuscript is not quite ready for prime time.
If you missed this class and would like MWPA offer this or other kidlit workshops again, please contact Josh Bodwell, Director of MWPA. Happy writing!
A Few Great Blogs:
Through the Tollbooth: VCFA students who do in depth pieces on craft.
Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Be Someone’s Hero, No Cape Required: Specific connections with literacy, student success, and educators.
Cynthia Leitich Smith, Cynsations: Clearing house of amazing info from the industry including guest bloggers.
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast: In depth illustrations and illustrators, process, production, and more.
Jama Rattigan, Alphabet Soup: Reviews of food-based books, poetry.
Ingrid Sundberg: Great posts about story structure, screenwriting, and plot.
Pub(lishing) Crawl: Group of authors and industry professionals posting about craft and business.
A Few Great Kidlit Retreats/Resources:
News from the We Need Diverse Books organization!
WNDB Mentorship Program
Are you a diverse writer or illustrator, or working on a diverse book? Award-winning diverse authors and illustrators will support and guide recipients through a yearlong mentorship, providing support and guidance throughout the creative and publication process. Applications for the 2016 mentorship program will be open from October 1-31, 2015, and recipients will be announced in December, 2015. Information on the program and the application are available at http://weneeddiversebooks.org/aboutapply/
Last night, grammar-loving writers, their loyal lovers, and the curious gathered together at Space Gallery in Downtown Portland to watch an Oxford style debate on what else–the Oxford Comma. One hundred people packed the room, wine flowed, and fingers flew tweeting the goings on.
The motion at hand, “The Oxford comma is unnecessary and irrelevant.” Yes, it was one of those motions (not unlike State of Maine ballot initiatives) that makes one wonder which side they’re on. If you were for the comma you were against the motion and vice-versa.
The best part was certainly the packed house, the rowdy audience, and the spirited discussion. Arguing in favor of the Oxford comma was MWPA assistant director Stephen Abbott. Taking a stance against the Oxford comma was author and Sherman’s Books bookseller Josh Christie. Our forefathers were duly represented, as were poets, and let us not forget the children. To parse or not to parse that was the question. The graphic necessity of the punctuation was represented: Box, box, and box.
Each of us let our beginning positions be known and we voted again at the end to see which debater had persuaded the most audience members. The tally was suspect at best and the Oxford comma won the day!
Slightly tipsy lady in the restroom: “It was just so nice to be in a room full of people who give a shit about grammar!”
— Marcela (@marcelaphane) June 18, 2015
For the full Storify story see the tweets, and Instagram photos here.
I’m so excited to post the Updated Guidelines for the New Visions and New Voices Awards from Lee & Low/Tu Books. If you are a “writer of color,” click, read and scour your work for the best submission fit. And…
Click here to get your own badge (lots of pretty colors!) for all your social media #ireadYA love!
As a writer, I read widely: poetry, adult, children’s, nonfiction, memoir and despite the opinion of Slate’s, Ruth Graham (2014), I am not embarrassed to read (or write) YA. I often find the plotting more streamlined, the description more economical, the character development and their desire line more transparent and intense, the endings not happy but hopeful, and none of that is easy to do. I promise (she said glancing at the stack of revision notes beside her.) In fact, I recently read a review of an adult book that said, “if you can stick it out until chapter 13, things really get moving.” I’m still going to read that adult book because I’m interested in the topic and the writing but really? Chapter 13?
Here are some of my most recent favorite YA reads from my Goodreads list.
Audacity, Melanie Crowder
Fly on the Wall, E. Lockhart
How It Went Down, Kekla Magoon
I’ll Give You The Sun, Jandy Nelson
Out of the Easy, Ruta Sepetys
and I’m currently reading This Song Will Save Your Life, Leila Sales.
Here’s a great list from Book Riot that you might want to take a look at:
30 Diverse YA Titles To Get on Your Radar
Whatever you read, enjoy it.
This is a great article by Erin Bowman over at Pub(lishing) Crawl. Congrats to Erin on the publication of the last book in her Taken triology. Launch day is short but hopefully a book’s life is long. Erin writes about great ideas for friends, family, and fans to help an author publicize their book.