Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

An excerpt from my latest WIP:

"This third-floor bathroom of Blessed Children’s Home has become my home away from home away from home away from home.
Once upon a time I actually lived in a house with a mom and a dad on a nice cozy street in your typical neighborhood. I was dumped by the child welfare system into the home of Jim & Holly Marshall after ‘Mommy Dearest’ beat the crap out of me for smoking pot with my friends instead of her. Most girls go shopping with their moms after school and on the weekends. Not in the Kelebek house, we bonded over a fresh bag of hash. The Marshalls were really nice people. Trouble is, I despise nice. I purposely made their lives a living nightmare to take my mind off my own God-forsaken one. When the Marshalls couldn’t find the new kitten they thought would “soften” me and I smirked from behind the curtain of my raven hair, I moved here, Blessed Children’s Home or BCH. And if that isn’t bad enough, this group home for hard to place foster teens is right smack dab in the middle of ridiculous Amish Country. Just a cruel joke. Me. The Amish. Seriously?"

Back to work...my characters are waiting!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Market Trends in Children's Publishing...

I was reading a great article this week and was blown away by all the amazing information I gleaned from it. HERE is the link so you can glean, too. But I summed it up with a listing of the market trend predictions by some leaders in the industry.

Natasha Ferrant, literary scout
There's a real buzz about YA literature, which is tremendously exciting. I'm hoping to see less of the paranormal stuff and more good, original writing. Much as I love them—I do, I do—I don't want to read any more vampire books, probably EVER AGAIN. What I really want to find is simple and oh so elusive: a strong middle-grade series with great writing and an even better story.

Rob McMenemy, senior v-p, Egmont English Language and Central Europe
I'm expecting still more YA, although I sense the pendulum is just about to swing back to middle-grade and picture books. Indeed, there are signs of improvement for picture books, in so far as the quality is as high as it has ever been, and more and more publishers are investing again—consumers are, of course, a different matter.

Stephen Roxburgh, president and publisher, namelos
Previous generations of e-ink readers had no impact on picture books, but the advent of color readers marks a new platform for content that was restricted to and constrained by print formats. I believe this will initiate an evolutionary leap in the picture book form and dramatically impact children's book publishing worldwide.

Klaus Humann, publisher, Carlsen Verlag, Germany
Recent successes in children's publishing show us that good books always have a chance, on the fiction side as well as on the picture book side.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday...

A small excerpt from my latest work in progress.
As always, I welcome your feedback...

I’m not like them. I never will be. My faded concert Ts showcase bands they would never listen to. The lyrics I find cathartic, naked and raw, they see as “dark, evil and scary.” I will never carry a Dolce &[Gag]bana purse, I will never wear sparkly blush and I will never be so consumed with myself that I step on those who don’t measure up to the standards of a magazine cover. I would cut through the tendons on the tops of my feet before I would sell out to the Pretty People. Trouble is, when you fear the attention of others, you are left alone. It’s what you want most and also the reason you cry yourself to sleep.

Post your own Tuesday Teaser and leave a comment so we can share in the WIP process!

Back to work...my characters are waiting!

What am I reading?

I get this question a lot.

"So, if you write, do you ever have time to read?"
Yes. I do. As a writer you HAVE to read. It's all part of learning the craft, seeing what is being done, sparking new inspiration.

What I read, though, varies from week to week.

This week my nose is buried in Tina Ferraro's the abc's of kissing boys, Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls , John Ortberg's the ME I want to be and of course, my rough draft, M. Nope, no link to Amazon... not yet.

I am also always reading Writer's Digest or some other magazine about the writing process and something I read today really rang true for me. I was reading an article about Meg Cabot's writing process and how she creates her storylines. There were no strict guidelines she follows. She simply follows her muse.

She said, "If I really like an idea, I don't outline, because I've found that when I do, it feels like I've already told the story, and then I don't have the excitement about actually writing it."

This was so refreshing to me as a writer who tries to get my hands on every tried and true method of writing the best book the world has ever seen. But, that compulsion goes against everything creative in my soul. I want to live the storyline WITH the character and have, at times, felt as though that was a novice way of attacking a manuscript. Well, Meg Cabot's 15 million books sold tells me otherwise!

I am all about the writing raw and following a seemingly natural direction to get down the skeleton to make sure the story CAN get where I want it to go. I also employ my avid reading friends to take a peek from time to time.

A note to all my writer friends: Meg Cabot sent a query EVERY day for FOUR YEARS before she got a bite. That's over 1,000 of those all too familiar, "Thanks, but no thanks" letters!

Will be posting some more mini-excerpts from my latest work in progress.

Back to work...my characters are waiting!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How my former students are inspiring this novel

When I taught 9-12th grade, art was important but I was also sensitive to what the needs of the students were on an emotional level. Yes, the needed a grade, but when they needed a mental health day they knew they could use my art period to regroup.

I will never forget the day a 10th grade boy, the star football player, came in flushed with bloody knuckles. He respectfully sat in his seat breathless and agitated as the other students filed in. I know he was expecting me to draw attention to him, tell him to get over it and get to work. Instead, I got the class started and quietly walked over and told him he could take a walk to the bathroom, clean himself up and gather his thoughts - as long as there was no more "trouble" involved. When he came back with no incident and thanked me with a look and nod of his head when he left with the bell, I knew I had made the right call.

Later that year I got an early morning call alerting me to an impromptu crisis meeting before school. The popular football player had hung himself in his basement the night before... my heart broke. R.I.P. Jeremy

THESE ARE THE KIDS WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO TOUCH! There are too many stories like this!

You would think after years of editors telling me that my ideas were too big for picture books I would have considered writing a novel. Now, I DID consider it but I worried I would get "writer's ADD" and not finish it.

I had no idea I would be as passionate for the characters in my head as I was for my high school students. I was/am quite attached to my picture book characters but their existence is mere minutes. A novel character comes with a past, lives the present and aspires to what the future brings.

Back to work...my characters are waiting!