Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Predisone is Not your Friend and Allergies Suck

SO. The title of this post explains my recent absence. I had a weird severe allergic reaction that made me look like I lost a fight and sent me to the doctor.

She put me on Predisone which got rid of the evil rash on my face and made me nauseous. Do you know how hard it is to work/write when your tummy is threatening to leave you, repeatedly?

I'm better now. And I wanted to tell you what's coming up on the blog.

Tomorrow: PART 1 Of my report from the YAFest PA - which was awesome! I met Aaron Starmer and Demitria Lunetta and got a ton of books. There is a giveaway coming.

May 5th - My review of DESTRUCTION by Sharon Bayliss. Guys! This book is so good! It kept surprising me and that's not an easy thing to do. I can't wait to give you the whole guacamole on this awesome book. (See what I did there? It's subtle. May 5th. Cinco de Mayo. Guacamole. You Are Welcome.)

I'm starting a review section that centers on AUDIOBOOKS. I listen so much - it's sometimes the only way I can get through the amount of books I need to read. And there are nuances, NUANCES, I SAY!

I'm fine. How are you?

(I was addicted to this show like crack in the late 70's. My first crush was on a Sherlock. Unfortunately, he was a squirrel)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Writing is Magic

I have proof. As if you need proof. As if you aren't already completely convinced that words = magic, end of story.

So if you (not you, but JK Rowling, actually) start here:

(it's the 1990's and you are scribbling away and nursing the same cup of tea you ordered when you came in 2 hours ago, scribble scribble)

And you create a world so real and engaging that millions of children and adults are enthralled for YEARS -

You can turn fiction into non-fiction

I'm saying, kids, that there's a real Hogwarts online and you can take real courses. Like right now.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry MOOC (massive open online courses)

Beside the obvious (I WANT TO WRITE AN ESSAY ABOUT NARGLES!) the reason this is so astounding to me is that the words she wrote (doesn't matter whether you like the books or not, doesn't matter if you think the writing is good) have engendered in others such a passion that they are MAKING her word real. More than a studio tour, more than a cool amusement park attraction, more than college kids playing Quidditch (all of which are nice but they are pretend) This is a real school with a curriculum you have to work hard at. And who would do this? Who would kill themselves to write essays and get good grades for a subject (Charms, Potions) that doesn't in actual fact exist?

Who wouldn't?

Read the short Slate article about Hogwarts Is Here

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Slightly Hallucinogenic Writing

First, a disclosure:
I have a sinus infection. My teeth ache and I'm on mucus draining drugs.
But this has been going on for almost A WEEK. I can't not work for that long. I can't put my kids on ice for that long (wait, can I?) I have to get on with it.

This is where I find that my new writing approach is paying off. If you remember, I recently have thrown my lot in with PLOTTERS. I have outlined my current WIP in a mind bogglingly detailed excel document. This has generally meant that when I open up my WIP, I am confronted, not by a sea of blank space but by a prompt 'THIS SORT OF THING GOES HERE'. It's working well. You'll not be surprised to hear that I'm not sticking to the outline religiously (you can take the pantser out of the pants...wait, what?) but that's okay too.

Now that my head is full of gunk, I find it very helpful to know the general direction I'm meant to be going in. I have started to imagine that a person different to myself but also named Alex (this person doesn't have a constant low-level headache) is leaving me messages in my WIP. I open up the word doc and say to myself "hey, look what Alex says I should write next. Phew. I was worried I'd have to come up with it myself."

I'm not completely round the twist - I know that the kind person who outlined my WIP for me is Me-from-three-months-ago. But as I struggle on with the WIP and the head case, urm, I mean head cold, it's nice to feel that I'm not alone.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Two years ago I went to the first YA Fest in Easton PA. I ended up sandwiched between two literal and literary giants - Jonathan Maberry and Charles Benoit.

Laura Campbell, Jonathan Maberry, me, Charles Benoit 2012 YA Fest

Now YA Fest is BACK! I can't tell you how excited I am. Not only is it a great program, it's in my state of Pennsylvania. No need to schlep to NYC or wish I lived closer to Denver/Rochester/Raleigh. I am LOCAL. And this is so freaking awesome.

Last year there were quite a few really interesting panels and a really fun quiz contest at the end of the day. But most importantly, there were authors I adored and could talk to. I will try not to go too fangirl (who am I kidding? no one) but here are the authors I am looking forward to seeing:

Jennifer R Hubbard
I don't read a lot of contemporary YA, but I will read anything Jennifer Hubbard writes. Thank You notes, shopping list, tweets - it's all good when it comes from her brain. Check out her new book, UNTIIL IT HURTS TO STOP.

Aaron Starmer
My good friend Becky Levine introduced me to Aaron Starmer's THE ONLY ONES. So I have her to thank for the mind pretzel I found myself in after reading this extremely different, intelligent and thoughtful middle grade. I still find myself looping through the sequence of events. I made the mistake of lending his new book THE RIVERMAN to my eleven year old niece, and now she has a death grip on it. BUT, now I have an excuse to buy another copy.

Demitria Lunetta
I just started listening to Demitria Lunetta's debut book IN THE AFTER on audiobook. Just so you know, I ran an EXTRA MILE this morning. Do you know what that means? I could ignore the pain for an extra 12.5 minutes just to keep listening to the story.

So, are you in the Philly area? Are you also into crayons? Do you yearn for early spring in the gorgeous countryside? YES? Then I'll see you at YA FEST!
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