Monday, August 31, 2009

Two Jobs No Waiting

Has it really been a week since I blogged? Where has the time gone???

I've been writing a lot in preparation for starting my new job next week... while keeping my old job. So my days will start about 3:30 am and end at 6:00 pm, with a few hours off mid-day for good behavior. Don't know when I'll find time to write which is why I am on a writing marathon. After feedback from a couple of editors, I am doing some major revisions on my WIP and also getting another proposal ready to go. I've pinpointed some weaknesses in my writing, namely emotion and scene anchoring. I've learned a few things:

1. Emotion is key, but emotion without reason is a cheap writer's device that cheats the reader. It's action, then emotional reaction to that action. Trying to squeeze anything else in cheapens the story and the character arc. I've learned that one the hard way... by doing it and then realizing that it was stupid and pointless.

2. I have a hard time with descriptions and find that I mostly skip them... which leads to a story that has no depth. It's the transitions that get me. How do you go from storyline and dialogue to describing what someone is wearing and what they look like without slowing the pacing? Someone who is fabulous at that is Rachel Vincent. I devoured her new YA, My Soul to Take, in about a day. Now I'm reading it as a writer and found that she anchors the scene and gives descriptions without missing a beat. Been studying her technique in hopes some of it will rub off on me.

3. Scene purpose... wow. This lesson came about when my agent told me that an argument scene needed to be rewritten. I tried, but it still didn't work. Then I realized it was because I hadn't figured out the purpose of that scene. It was not meant to up the tension between the protagonist and another character, it was meant to create internal conflict while also developing the relationship. Once I had the purpose clear in my mind, the scene came more easily.

It's one of the things I love about writing that I lost in my quest to get another contract... there's always something to learn and I love doing it. Funny how I figured that out just as I'm about to lose my writing time! HA!

I told my husband I was going to continue to write even if I did have two jobs and someone else was going to have to do the cooking and the cleaning. That went down like a lead balloon. (Sorry for the cliche, but it's so apt!)

We'll see how that goes down for everyone!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The YA Angels Who Made it Happen

The response to my shameless begging was incredbile and I feel blessed to be a part of the young adult writing community. We have eight months spoken for and I am going to go with that as we usually don't meet in December. These are the books we have lined up for the year:

(In no particular order)

My Soul to Take, written by and donated by Rachel Vincent
Lovestruck Summer, written by and donated by Melissa Walker
Bewitching Season, written by and donated by Marissa Doyle
The Geek Girls Guide to Cheerleading, written by and donated by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
The Emerald Tablet, Written by and donated by PH Hoover
Hugging the Rock, written by and donated by Susan Taylor Brown
Frindle, written by Andrew Clements donated by Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.
A book of our choice, donated by Cherlyn Michaels, author of the adult book, Counting Raindrops Through a Stained Glass Window and First Fridays.

Kay Cassidy also said she would let us choose a book if the kids already read Frindle in school. My friend Ann, gave me a check for twenty dollars to help pick up extra books if we run short.

What an amazing list of books and an amazing list of authors.Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am hoping to put together a montage of pictures and will post soon! Muah!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Girls I Love and Shameless Begging

As most of you know,(I've mentioned it enough!), I run a book club for teen and tween girls at a low income community center. Actually, it's a low income housing project and the community center is located at the apartments. Many of the residents are transitioning out of homelessness or other bad situations. The center is a meeting place that provides after school and summer programs for the kids, parenting classes, and meetings for those who had had alcohol or chemical dependencies. It truly is a place that fights generational poverty on all levels. You can check it out at

Last year I worked as an after school tutor, but finances reared its ugly head and they had to let me go. Sob. However, the book club lives on!!!!

There are eight hardcore members (and a couple who show up intermittently) who love their book club and want more than anything to have it continue this year. For that I need some very special authors who are willing to give of their books. There is NO money to buy books. I had a fabulous list of authors and books last year! All sent books, some came to visit, others made a vlog and sent gifts. Out of the eight members who attended faithfully, I had three who were already readers. Now I have eight! That is HUGE!!!!The connection with the authors is key. I need that again this year! If you are an author or are someone willing to help out, please contact me. Remember, I need eight to ten of the same book and that can be a challenge! Now I'm going to share some pix of my most fabulous and lovely girls!

April, Kamiliah(MeeMee!)and Ana

Jenny doesn't know I took this pix!

Shamsa and Jaeteonna being silly and shy. I think that's Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress by Tina Ferraro that they're looking at!

Monday, August 17, 2009

GCC Presents The Lost Sister by Megan Kelly Hall

This sounds like a fabulous premise!

THE LOST SISTER takes a chilling look at what happens when hazing pushes someone too far.

Sisters are born, not chosen…
Maddie Crane is grappling with the disappearance of Cordelia LeClaire, and trying to escape the grasp of The Sisters of Misery—an insidious clique of the school’s most powerful girls, whose pranks have set off a chain of horrific events, and who have Maddie in their sights…

Beware the sister betrayed…
Now in a prestigious boarding school far away from her mysterious hometown of Hawthorne, Massachusetts , Maddie feels free from danger. But when an unmarked envelope arrives at her dorm containing a single ominous tarot card, Maddie realizes with terror that some secrets won’t stay buried. Knowing she must return to Hawthorne—a town still scarred by the evil of the Salem witch trials—Maddie prepares to face the fears of her past...and the wrath of the sister she wronged.

A character driven tale containing a deep Gothic feel and haunting foreboding atmosphere that hooks fans of all ages....With strong ties to the late seventeenth century Salem Witch Trials, THE LOST SISTER is a super thriller. -- Harriet Klausner

Hall will have your heart racing and you will not be able to put this book down. With historical allusions to the New England witch trials and a touch of the paranormal, THE LOST SISTER is a thriller in a league of its own.
-- TeensReadtoo / Awarded THE LOST SISTER the Hall of Fame Gold Star Award for Excellence

Blown away... The suspense, mystery, intrigue, and drama steadily build up throughout the novel, making it impossible to put the book down. I would recommend it to almost all book lovers. It has made me hungry for more of Ms. Hall's work! - Mrs. Magoo Reads

Megan Kelley Hall, 35, freelance writer and literary publicist living North of Boston, is the author of the SISTERS OF MISERY series. Her first novel, SISTERS OF MISERY, published by Kensington in August 2008 has received rave reviews by reviewers and readers alike.

She studied creative writing at Skidmore College under the Pulitzer-Prize winning author Steven Millhauser. Megan spends most of her time promoting her clients as a partner and founder of Kelley & Hall Book Publicity and Promotion, which she opened with her mother, Gloria Kelley, and sister, Jocelyn Maeve Kelley, over a few years ago. The company has run successful campaigns for authors, including New York Time's best-selling authors Jacquelyn Mitchard (Deep End of the Ocean), Michael Palmer (The First Patient and Extreme Measures), Brunonia Barry (The Lace Reader) and Lisa Genova (Still Alice).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No News is No News

I don't have a single coherent thought to make a blog out of,(probably because it's 3am.!) so am just going to ramble.

1. Got my hair colored yesterday. It's dark. Very dark. I likey.

2. Spent Sunday night in the Er. Possible gallstones or gastritis or an ulcer. All I know is it hurt WORSE than CHILDBIRTH. Oh, and the medication they mainlined in my arm was fabulous. Also, I seem to have the magically exploding veins and my arms now have as many tracks as an addict. Another thing I have to thank my mother for.

3.Am waiting to hear some news on something. Have been waiting for eight weeks. Shoot me.

4.It's raining outside. I love the rain. LOVE it. It's soft and moist and, well, wet. All the stuff rain should be. My skin is sighing in relief. As are the roses.

5. Watched Breakfast at Tiffany's last night with daughter and her fiance. She's an Audrey Hepburn fanatic. She once dressed up as Holly Golightly for Halloween. He sat through the whole thing. He sure does love her.

See, I told you I didn't have enough for a whole blog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

GCC Presents Stephanie Kuehnert

I loved Stephanie's book, I Wanna Be your Joey Ramon and I am looking forward to getting my hands on this one! Check it!

In high school, Kara McNaughton helped maintain the “Stories of Suburbia” notebook, which contained newspaper articles about bizarre and often tragic events from suburbs all over, as well as personal vignettes written by her friends,which Kara dubbed “ballads”. Ballads are the kind of songs that Kara likes best.

Not the clich├ęd ones but the truly genuine, gut-wrenching songs that convey love, loss and an individual’s story. Those “stories of Suburbia” were heartbreakingly honest tales of the moments when life changes and a kid is forced to grow up too soon. But Kara never wrote her own ballad. Before she could figure out what her song was about, she was leaving town after a series of disastrous events at the end of her junior year of high school.

Four years later, Kara returns to face the music, and tells the tale of her first three years of high school with her friends’ “ballads” interspersed throughout. Among them are her best friend Stacey, who dates guy after guy trying to find the one who will take care of her the way her parents never did; Cass, who copes with her mother’s mental illness and her older brother’s abandonment by doing copious amounts of acid; Adrian the creator of the “Stories of Suburbia”, who has “Thrown Away” tattooed on his forearms to express how he feels about his
adoptive parents and his birth parents; Christian, who seems like the nice guy type that Kara belongs with, but has a violent streak; Kara’s little brother Liam, who idolized Johnny Cash as a preschooler and has idolized Kara all his life though she lets him down again and again; and Maya, an eccentric but beautiful redhead who refuses to talk about her mother’s suicide.

Then of course, there’s Kara. She begins high school as a loner, who copes with her lack of friends and her rapidly unraveling home life by going to concerts with Liam, smoking the occasional joint, and cutting herself when things get really bad. She’s reluctant at first when she tags along with Maya to Scoville Park, where the "misfit" kids hang out, but she really wants “a life.” The summer after junior year that life nearly ends with a heroin overdose, the event that triggers Kara’s exit from Oak Park.

All the things that happen in between make up the ballads of suburbia.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My Bad!

A few months ago, I wrote a post called Butt Rock Friday in which I called someone from my teenaged past a scumbag. I just received an email from his sister telling me that I should think about what I write before posting and her brother was not a scumbag. My bad.

In truth, he wasn't. He was just a gorgeous seventeen year old male doing what gorgeous seventeen year old males are wont to do.

Alfalfa was a weird place to grow up. I've actually thought many times about writing a memoir called "Surviving Alfalfa", but am afraid of getting sued if I wrote about the inhabitants of that wonderful, backward community.

When I remember Alfalfa, it's with both a pang of longing and a shudder of revulsion. But isn't that the normal way to remember the place where you came of age?

I didn't fit in, but Lordy, did I try. And we had some major fun, as well. We snuck out a lot, drank a lot, and got into trouble, but what else was there to do? The stories I could tell... but I won't!

Anyway, my apologies to the nonscumbag and his family!