#MadnessPoetry has begun!

In my last post, I promoted the call for poets on the completely redesigned and fabulous Madness Poetry website. Well…I was accepted as an “authlete” and received my first word, “reciprocal,” last night at 8pm with a thirty-six hour deadline. Twenty-four hours later I’ve submitted a poem. Nothing like a deadline to get the creative juices flowing!

Now it’s your turn. Check out the Authlete Brackets to see how the competition is progressing, the Authlete Matchups to see the word assignments, and the Calendar of Events  to see when poems will be posted, then start voting for you favorite poetry. And faithful blog readers, I humbly ask for your votes.

If you are a teacher, there’s a special place for you and your classroom to sign up, vote, and be counted.

Only the best, funniest, most technically sound, fearless poets will survive.



March Madness Poetry 2013

You know what yesterday was, right?

NO! Not the Oscars. It was selection Sunday for Ed DeCaria’s, Think Kid Think, March Madness Poetry Tournament 2013. If you missed the big reveal video here it is. If you don’t want to wait around until minute 7:00, allow me to cut to the chase. I’m in!!!

OMG, I’m in with poets like Julie Larios, Laura Purdie Salas, Stephen Cahill, Jim Hill, Marileta Robinson, Greg Pincus… What if I blow it in the first round? What if I can’t get my poem in on time? I feel a little like those sweaty, bleeding chefs on CHOPPED trying desperately to “elevate” their ingredients, and consider presentation while the host yells “Ten, nine, eight….” Breathe deeply, Anna.

Truly, this tournament comes at just the right time for me. I have magazine queries out with editors, pages out with agents… it’s nice to get one piece of good news. I hope you’ll all take a moment to go to Think Kid Think, enter your email in box on the right sidebar, and click “subscribe.” You’ll get a confirmation email. Click through and you’ll be in on all the March Madness Poetry Action for 2013. Ed will be posting almost daily leading up to the first word reveals to authletes on March 11th and the first voting soon after.

Speaking of challenge words, if you are a student or teacher your classroom can participate in the tournament by helping Ed to choose the words. He has all the info in Calling All Classrooms. Know a teacher? Pass it on.

And me? I’ll take all the support I can get. “Follow” this blog, and follow me on Twitter. Both buttons can be found in the right sidebar. I’ll post about my training in the days leading up to the start of the competition. 

Rabbit, Rabbit. Five on November first.

  1. I am confident that my AROHO Gift of Freedom Application will be in the mail today. I’m searching Norfolk, VA for print/copy services and hope to brave the very spread out and convoluted roads around lunchtime. The process has been a wonderful. I’ve revisited my blog posts, education, professional development as a writer/illustrator/educator, manuscripts, and community service and honestly- I am happy with what I’ve done with my life. Those who were going to apply but are dealing with Hurricane Sandy, the deadline was extended until November 15th. 
  2. I’ve been away from home this week and miss my children. For some reason, I’ve always had to parent Halloween on my own for the past many years. This year they went with neighbors and had a blast. I called last night for the report, three pounds of candy for the younger son, and two pounds for the older one. They agreed that they’d be donating most of that to the Candy for Soldiers program *after they save the Snickers for me*.
  3. I’d like to know more about the demographics of kidlit authors and I’m considering a survey. Some of it will be about advances, and agents ala this survey from Tobias Buckell. Some of it will be about women in the arts, grants, childcare, day jobs. These are issues that I struggle with and completing the AROHO application brought up a lot of emotional and intellectual issues for me. If there is anything you were wondering about our community, leave me a note in the comments and I’ll see if I can include it in the survey.
  4. Today is day one of PiBoIdMo and NaNoWriMo. If you have been working with Jo Knowles you may have started a bit earlier with JoNoWriMo. All of these online communities are great for writers because they offer 1) Goal setting 2) Accountability and 3) Support! Who doesn’t need support? I need TONS! Personally, I will be working on my new middle grade novel project. I love shiny new projects. This one has the benefit of being shiny and new but I’ve already done quite a bit of planning for it. Scenes have been workshopped at VCFA, and a synopsis has been written. I can see the climactic scene clearly and I’m eager to start the journey towards it. My calculator tells me I’d have to write 1,666 words a day to get to a 50,000 word novel but I’m happy with a daily 1,000 word goal. I’m in this for the long haul folks and hope to have a draft by Winter Break.
  5. Election day is Tuesday. Vote. I know you are sick of the ads. Vote. Some of you think voting doesn’t make a difference. Vote. I lost the election to the Maine State Legislature in 1996 by 27 votes. Vote. Some of you say that it doesn’t matter who wins. Vote. You’re wrong. Vote. I don’t usually wax political here on this blog because I don’t want to alienate anyone. Vote. But if you follow my Twitter feed you know I support President Obama. Vote. If you want to know why, please contact me. Vote. I’m happy to tell you my reasons. Vote. This video says it pretty well. Vote. If you haven’t registered or don’t know where to vote, check out the Rock the Vote Election Center. People starved and died for your right to vote. Respect their sacrifice, please… Vote.

That’s One Lovely Blog You’ve Got There!

A huge thank you to Julie Kingsley for the “One Lovely Blog” award. The award is sort of the equivalent of the old chain letter (add a few names and send it on) but better because there is no envelope licking involved, and it’s a wee bit of recognition.

Yes, I do take time from my writing, children, and domestic goddess (not) duties to share a bit of myself, my reading, my writing life, and industry news with the rest of the world. I throw my writing into cyberspace and listen to the deafening silence. So I’m happy to pay it forward and possibly introduce you to some other bloggers who post a good blog.

First, according to the rules, I need to tell you seven random facts about me.

1. I love dancing, although I don’t do it much these days. I took dance for years, and was in an Afro-Caribbean dance troupe in college. I’m also often the first one on the dance floor.
2. I was in musicals throughout my teen life both in summer camp and in Junior High School and still sing “Tomorrow” loudly from time to time, if only to embarrass my own adolescent children.
3. I’m sort of evangelical about voting. There are people who died for my right to vote and folks all over the world who don’t get that right. Every American should honor those people by casting a ballot.
4. I row in boats that look like this:

(Top: I think that’s me in bow seat. Bottom: I’m coxing.)

and I’m learning to row in a boat like this:

(My coach sculling.)

and I love the beauty and strength and insanity of the sport. My current WIP is about a high school crew.

5. I’ve been dealing with Patella Tendonosis for the last 12 or so weeks which means that I’ve done no running, or biking, and only recently started rowing again (just as the water is turning cold) and that bums me out. Still, I have my eye on the weather prophets who say that  we might get a snowy winter. So if I can heal, I could xcountry ski and that would make me happy.

6. My guilty TV pleasure is Project Runway. I think the design and crafting skills required to participate makes it one notch better than most reality shows.

7. If I had one wish, I would read faster and retain more of what I read. (Is that two?)

And for the second half of the One Lovely Blog award requirements, I am happy to tell you about some of the blogs that suck away my writing time keep me in the know.

(Pub)lishing Crawl: Great place for craft discussion, writer’s life and industry info.

Writing With A Broken Tusk: Blog of Uma Krishnaswami, faculty member of VCFA Writing for Children and Young Adults Program, kind and peaceful soul, and massively intelligent person.

Mitali’s Fire Escape: Mitali Perkins writes about Children’s Book, diversity issues, the industry, and goings-on around Boston.

KidLit.com: Ah… Mary Kole. This agent and fun loving industry professional does not mince words. Amazing archive of information for those new to the children’s publishing industry and those not so new.

The Brown Bookshelf: I firmly believe that all children should be able to see themselves in the books we publish. This site brings “the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers” to our attention.

PhotoBoto.com: This site posts photographs that are great for story starters, illustration reference, or just to be amazed.

Write at Your Own Risk: Shop talk with the faculty of the VERMONT COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Yes, I’m ridiculously loyal to VCFA.

Thanks again to Julie Kingsley. Now all of you, get off the internet and do some work!


The Deadlines Approacheth

Things have been crazy busy. This is crunch time for conference planning, I’m working hard at meeting my monthly freelance deadlines, my WIP is tugging at sleeve, and I’m trying to slog through daily household and family chores. This said, I still found time to request my Maine absentee ballot and vote for Barack Obama. This week, registration deadlines are popping up in many states. This is a turning point election. Don’t miss your chance to have your voice heard! 

No matter where you live, if you have three minutes to spare, you can check your registration status, register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and find your early voting site or polling location at VoteForChange.com.

The Convention- night one

Well friends, last night Michelle Obama spoke with what I can only describe as relaxed elegance. She stayed on-message speaking about hope and change. Mrs. Obama stood as a sort of witness for the kind of man Barack Obama has been and why he is the one to lead us into the future.  Her references to this week’s anniversaries of  Women’s Suffrage and The March on Washington hammered home the historical importance of this election. I feel in my heart that this Thursday will bring us a speech for the history books and I’m taping it for my kids to watch. 

The Obama children were delightful as they interacted with their father on the huge LCD screen behind them. (Senator Obama was in Kansas City watching his wife with a host family there.) The kids spoke with their Dad who is just Dad to them. They told him they loved him and said hello to the host family. They hogged the microphone as any kid would do.  The Obamas, I thought, are a family like my family, like so many families across this country and the world. And it was that moment of intimacy that made me tear up a bit. I’m sure that that is just what the planners hoped for. It worked.

(Speaking of Women’s Suffrage… if you are reading this blog and you are not registered to vote, STOP, DRAG your mouse, and CLICK on over to Rock the Vote or Declare Yourself  who have FAQ’s and registration forms available. Or, go to the closest Department of Motor Vehicles (Many state have “motorvoter” laws that register you to vote when you get your license or car registration) or Town Office to get registered to vote. In most states you have to register 30 days before the November 4th election.
If you didn’t have a chance to see her speech last night, here it is.