Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post Christmas Review

This year is the third one that we didn't give any gifts that required wrapping. For this Christmas we had twenty redwood trees planted in different family members' names and gave our immediate group a trip to Carmel with several nights of sitting by a fire and eating homemade dinners. One night we invited neighbors and some people we'd only just met for an evening of food and conversation. 

When I talked to friends many said they hadn't given or received the traditional gloves, ties, shirts either. Many baked special cookies and cakes, and what a treat those were over the holiday. One told me that somebody had given her a sewing machine. My mouth gaped because this is a person who has never even sewn on a button. She smiled and explained. The machine when to an Afghan woman in her name. Ahh!

So I wondered if this could be a trend due to some increasing awareness about the perils of consummerisim? Is it due to knowing more about and caring more about the struggle of people in war-torn countries? Is the cultural tradition of gift giving returning to the original spirit that inspired it? Or is this a fad that will go away once our economy stabilizes and the war is no longer the top story? And what gifting did you and your family and friends do this year? Maybe you have a tradition that doesn't involve credit card debt. Just curious. Just wondering about the world outside my own small circle.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


So Bish Denham did this tagging thing to me and I'm ready to spread the joy around the blogosphere with some of my friends. Apologies to all, but it doesn't take toooooooooo long.

1) What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have? The last thing I wrote is my latest YA novel. The first thing I wrote was a rambling angst-filled saga about someone (probably me) trying to find her way in life. I don't think it had an end, just a beginning and very tedious middle.

2) Write poetry? Of course. Doesn't everybody? It's that short stuff, right?

3) Angsty poetry? I think most of them are titled Angst.

4) Favorite genre of writing? I love to write Middle Grade fantasy, but I seem to be publishing realistic YA.

5) Most annoying character you've ever created? I think it would have to be the school principal in Sliding on the Edge. Robbie Green annoyed me a lot while I was putting him on paper.

6) Best plot you've ever created? I think it's my Middle Grade novel about three boys on a quest. I love that plot.

7) Coolest plot twist you've ever created? Thinking here. Not coming up with a real cool twist, unless I count the story where one of my protagonists discovers that a long-believed fact is actually fiction. Is that twisty and cool enough?

8) How often do you get writer's block? No blockage. I just get writer-weary and can't sit at the keyboard anymore.

9) Write fan fiction? Uhhhh. Ummmmm. I don't think so.

10) Do you type or write by hand? I type--often with my eyes closed. I have some pleasant surprises that way.

11) Do you save everything you write? I think I do. I'm not sure. I've got notebooks with scribbles all over the place. Everything else is on hard drive or disk or something like that.

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it? Not so far.

13) What's your favorite thing you've ever written? I think it's still that MG quest story. I loved the dragons in it.

14) What's everyone else's favorite story you've written? I have a lot of comments on my short ghost stories that came out in Upstart Crow mag.

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama? I think that's what's coming down from head at the moment. Kind of a surprise to me.

16) What's your favorite setting for your characters? Wherever they get in the most trouble and have to work themselves out of.  I like it when the setting and the character(s) are totally incompatible.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now? Three.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing? Yes. My husband gave me a kiss.

19) What are your five favorite words? .Ostentatious, perambulate, claustrophobic, conciliate, perspicacious. They all roll around on your tongue and sound pretty even if no one knows what they mean.

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself? There's a horse I rather think resembles me in my philosophy.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters? They pop up about three a.m. and won't go away. If they do happen to disappear, they either found another author or weren't ready for the page.

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams? Sometimes, I think I do. It's hard for me to separate my dreams from what I'm thinking about while I'm trying to sleep.

23) Do you favor happy endings? Absolutely. I especially want my good people to arrive at the place they need to be.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write? Yes. I try. Sometimes I'm surprised that I make stupid mistakes while I'm writing. You know, the to for too or the it's for its.Kind of embarrassing when one of my editors marks those.

25) Does music help you write? I need 100% quiet.

26) Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head. "We don't answer the door for the witches and goblins . Only one ghost  is  allowed to enter." Just wrote that yesterday.
Okay, now who to tag?

I have to tag Mel Higgins.
I have to tag Nan Marino.
I have to tag L.K. Madigan
I have to tag The Book Pixie

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finishing off the Year

The book events for 2009 are over, at least for me.  I'm sure there are other 2009 Debs out there at book stores and in libraries, so I hope you'll look for them and attend their events if you're in their area.

I'm moving on to "What's Next." And with that in mind I thought I'd put down some of the things that are on my mind for 2010. Notice I'm avoiding the word "Resolutions." I can never keep them, so I've given up making them. I do have a list of things that I'd like to do after the Holidaze has cleared and I can think of more than family, and friends, and gifts, and food.

Here's my list so far:

1) Finish book two, like, really FINISH it and stop dabbling with it.
2) Hike Garrapatas again.
3) Take that trip to Tibet that I postponed in 2008.
4) Throw out all my clothes that are from the '80's and crammed at the back of my closet.
5) Re-connect with some good friends that aren't living nearby anymore and catch up on our lives over a long coffee break.

I have more, but I think I should get a head start on the #1 item of my list, so it's back to writing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holidaze Events

Here we are. From left to right: Me, Lauren Bjorkman, Jon Yang, Cheryl Herbsman. Unfortunately, Sarah Quigley left before we snapped this picture.

Well, it has been a wonderful month for the 2009 Debs. Here on the west coat alone we have been at so many events. Each one has been different, but each one has been really exciting. Nothing is better than connecting with readers.

What seems to work the best for us is to do a short presentation about our books--5 to 8 minutes at the most. At the Menlo Park event Cheryl Herbsman presented a short workshop on Voice and Tone and the responses from the audience were amazing. Some good writing happening among our young people. I did a short bit on Dialog and again the dialog some of the teens produced was excellent.

Getting the audience involved is the best way to have a fun and successful book signing.

If you have some other suggestions, please send the ideas. We have another gathering of YA authors at B&N, Tanforan Shopping Center, Saturday Dec. 12, 2-4. We can always use ideas. If you're available to attend, please come to say hello.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Big Night

Another presentation is happening. This one is at the Menlo Park Library and I'm sharing the work with Jon Yang, Sarah Quigley, Cheryl Herbsman and Lauren Bjorkman. Keplers, a number one Indie, will be there to do some video taping and we hope to see a lot of readers, writers and bloggers in the audience.

Cheryl and I are doing a mini workshop that will involve some role play, so the audience will have the chance to be a part of the fun.

When this event is over I'll share what we did and how it worked or didn't. Check back and let's talk "Successful Events."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why Do You Write for Young Readers?

Last month I asked, "Why Do You Blog?" and your answers were really interesting. This next question is, "Why Do You Write for Young Readers?" It certainly isn't a new one for any of us who glue ourselves to the seat of our computer chairs and create stories, but I love to hear the reasons. They are usually similar, but always have a unique twist--we're a varied group, that's for sure.

So, I'll start.

I think my answer is somewhat like my answer to "Why Do You Blog?" because in both cases I started for one reason and ended up continuing for another. I wanted to write a book about a troubled teen for others like her or for others who might know someone like her. I wanted my teen to not only survive and overcome a lot of bad stuff, I wanted her to find her heart and her direction in life. I thought that if she could succeed, others who read her story might find the courage to do so as well. Actually, I had writing one book in mind and then I'd take something like a trip around the world. :D

Now, I'm hooked. I love writing about and for teens who are troubled or working through life issues or growing into adulthood as we all must. This writing has introduced me so many wonderful people of all ages and all backgrounds. I've learned how much I don't know about my craft and the highs and lows of being a published YA author. I'm enjoying the experience. I'm enjoying YA literature. I'm enjoying the authors. So my short answer is: I'm enjoying myself -- a lot.

Now it's your turn. Why do you write for young readers?