Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year, Leap Day~~Leap on Over...

& tune 
your reading engines! 

  click here


                         About the Contest

School Library Journal's Battle of the Kids' Books is a competition 
among 16 of the very best books for young people of the year, 
judged by some of the biggest names in children's books.

☟ ☟ ☟
And here's a look at the reading ladder

Get ready, readers!

Monday, February 27, 2012

March (kid lit) Madness

Put down the basketball. March Madness 
of the children's books kind 
is afoot and you don't need sneakers 
to get in the game.

✘   ✘   ✘


AUGUSTA SCATTERGOOD ☚ click is heading to some major book signings for her mid-grade historical, GLORY BE.  
Thursday, March 1 at 5 PM

Cleveland, MS. 
Monday, March 5 at 4 PM

 LEMURIA: Jackson, MS. 
Thursday, March 8 at 4 PM 

Signing, Chatting, Explaining, 
Happily Hugging, 
occasional Sipping and Munching                      

✘   ✘   ✘

How about that hankering for Tucson? 
Karen Lynn Williams ☚ click will be presenting, introducing, signing 

with a host of the best in the business
  • Saturday, March 10, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
  • Sunday, March 11, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
  • The University of Arizona Campus, Main Mall (map) 

✘   ✘   ✘
Hop on over to your local indie (preferably). 
Carolyn DeCristofono ☚ click has the magic touch with science for kids & Kirkus agrees: 

☝Click for stellar review 

✘   ✘   ✘

 Or from the comfort of your own computer, 
watch Barbara O'Connor☚ click

☝ click here☝

  of Arizona Camus · March 10 - 11
No matter what  you chose, you win!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Typewriters Never Die or A Muse U can Use

    A while back I posted two blogs on the resurgence of typewriters,  click here & here   though they're clearly not resurging among those currently cranking out novels, except perhaps writer Karen Lynn Williams.  

      When I whined about the e-mailing, blogging, Tweeting, websiting, "liking," selling-of-our-souls required in this new age of publicizing publishing, Karen fired back with: Oh, please, give me back the days when I wrote on a typewriter. 

 ✍  ✍  ✍
 Sculptor Jeremy Mayer has a better idea  
oh, how his creations could inspire...

all photos:
*as the muse we writers search for,

*as the creature perched on the desk, glaring till you get it right,

*as the phantom, slapping the hand checking Facebook,
  ☝                   ☝
* or as your conscience muttering, "excuse me?" as you leave the chair for: (pick one) bathroom, laundry, mail, bird feeder refill, refrigerator, doorbell, bleeding child. (OK, maybe not the last one)

Nothing says get to work like his refashioned typewriter

      I stumbled across Oakland, CA, sculptor Jeremy Mayer's fabulous creations via an industrial design post on my son's Facebook page. 
(see above/hand slapping) 

Click for video ☟
In his own words:  I disassemble typewriters and then reassemble them into full-scale, anatomically correct human figures. I do not solder, weld, or glue these assemblages together- the process is entirely cold assembly. I do not introduce any part to the assemblage that did not come from a typewriter.

Dear Jeremy:
While you're at it, could you program them to knock out a few chapters? 

Beleaguered in rough draft  

Jeremy Mayer~~ it ain't your daddy's Underwood. 

On second thought, it might be. 

✍    ✍     ✍

Three Dilemmas, Two friends 
One Deserted Tree House 
during a simmering summer on Lake Allamuchy

          Now let your muse guide you & tap these links:

         Amazon/Kindle   or Barnes & Noble/Nook

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thank you, ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 A salute to my fabulous readers  

Thank you for embracing The Chick Palace,
tugging Johanna & Lilly into your hearts, 

& tagging along on their journey.

Ain't we got fun!

✍    ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   ✍   

The Chick Palace

Three Dilemmas, Two Friends, One Deserted Tree House

during a simmering summer on Lake Allamuchy

Grab your Kindle, grab your Nook, or download a free app
& head on over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble
                     ☝click here☝

Monday, February 13, 2012

Goat cheese & Nutella. Trust me.

Yes these are bridge inspired cookies. 
No, I did not bake them. 

At first glance cookie baker extraordinaire, foodie and all around Kitchen Goddess~~KG~~Lee Hilton & I are polar opposites.  She stays up all night cracking eggs and shaving chocolate. I get up with the sun and reupholster wing chairs with my kids' cast off blue jeans.  

      But like the best friendships, we have  a symmetry. When I moved from New Jersey I gave her my grandmother's c.1917 bridge suits cookie cutters. When Lee  moved west, she mailed me her collection of fabric scraps. (I used some to fashion the chair piping.)

     We have plenty in common, including our love of the written word. Lee's an invaluable "cold reader." When I mentioned that my Chick Palace heroine Lilly Covington would be divorced twice from the same guy, it was Lee who  quipped, "She'll call him Ex-ex."
I'm a huge fan of her "Spoon & Ink" blogs & the way she combines her sassy take on life with the mouthwatering. I linked her post on her father's BBQ to my protagonist Johanna mulling over her mother's recipe. Now I'm waiting for her blog on stew to link them again.

✍  ✍  ✍  ✍

      In the meantime, speaking of piping, you can imagine how flattered I was yesterday when she called needing help with her post on goat cheese chocolate truffles. Me! In the same essay with Manhattan pastry chef Leigh Friend & lines like "mysteriously delicious and not overwhelmingly sweet."  Yes, I was able to help. Toward the end of her essay, after the bridge details & the recipe, within"Kitchen Goddess notes," 
you'll find my 2 word contribution: coping saw

Remember: symmetry. And these are perfect for nibbling while you read The Chick Palace.

Leigh Friend & Lee Hilton's goat cheese truffles,
courtesy of Spoon & Ink 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Linger in the Newport lobby. It's Freewheelin' Friday.

 ❄ Dedicated to Artistic Endeavors of all Sorts  ❅

The stars have aligned in Newport, Rhode Island

❋   ✯  ✬
      About this time two years ago I had the chance to watch shell artist Blott Kerr-Wilson at work on her installation ~~the mural of haliotis assinma (ass's ear) abalone in the foyer of  41˚North, Newport's marina hotel.

      She applied every shell by hand, building patterns off mounded surfaces to play off the shadows. Thousands of abalone shells shimmer in the diffused light as if they were underwater. Mesmerizing.

Benjamin Krebs photo

Her website says Blott travels the world with seashells in her suitcase. (France is home base.) Thanks to her generosity I left Newport with a healthy amount of haliotis assinima in mine. 

      At home I propped a stretched canvas, plugged in the glue gun and played with placement. As a writer, I recognize false starts but it's tougher pulling glued abalone shells off canvas than deleting a bad paragraph.

      Just the way characters in my imagination eventually  take on lives of their own, shells of various sizes & shades began to create patterns as they caught the light. You might say they spoke to me. Or you might say I finally got the hang of it & stopped burning my fingers. 

Either way, rhythm developed & patterns emerged.

      And after 14 years the awkward blank space over the fireplace has been filled. 
(Hanging that sucker is another story) 

❄  ❈ Thank you, Blott! ❅  ❆

      Last week The Today Show recommended 41˚N (Forty 1˚North) as a Valentine getaway destination. This coincides with The Newport Film Festival's "Friend-Raiser"
food & film samplings on the premises 
Saturday evening, February 11.

Linger over Blott's website.
And put Newport on your agenda. Linger in the lobby of  41ÂșNorth

Both ventures are worth the trip.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ping! ... redux.

     Yesterday's blog seems to have set off a lot of pings! in the nostalgia department. Recollections of the cut & paste days. Fun recollections. Do we want them back? Not so much.    
      Michele Ivy Davis, a California-based writer, even commented that back in the day she ironed manuscript submissions that were returned wrinkled:  "I sure didn't want to type them all over again!" 
     Seriously Generation X & Yers, Downton Abbey's footmen were not the only ones who put irons to paper. (As an aside, we also ironed our hair & nearly everything that came out of a washing machine.) 

      The computer revolutionized the production process but until fairly recently they were still printed & mailed. Even rejected manuscripts were returned. (S.A.S.E.!) With cover letters. These however, are other blog topics.
So here we are. 
No longer ironing pages
No more rubber cement & Scotch tape
Rarely do we even print & mail manuscripts.     
 No more hard copy 

      Fellow writer and critique partner Gusty Scattergood sounded the alarm:   
      "Oh and think of what we've lost. The writing process of all the famous writers of the 21st century will never be documented by typewritten pages with handwritten notes  on display at the Morgan Library, etc. Ah, progress."

      Mine are not at the Morgan. They're in the basement bound in rubber bands gone brittle and crumbly.

      With the exception of my spiral binder full of notes and research information, THE CHICK PALACE, 40,000 copies sold & counting, exists via attachments, CD files, cyber copies and JPEG covers. 

      It reminds me of how far we've come &  perhaps what we've traded in the process. 

The Chick Palace

Three Dilemmas, Two Friends, One Deserted Tree House

during a simmering summer on Lake Allamuchy
                              Available at Amazon/Kindle & Barnes & Noble/Nook
                                                                     ☝Click here ☝

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

They're baaaaaaaaack...

Have you heard 
that these ☟☟

are making a comeback?

Bill Geist/CBS Sunday Morning swears there's a new generation fascinated by typewriters. A typewriter renaissance.
A fascination even among some who've never seen one. 
  This includes singles who think it's more personal to type a letter then send an e-mail. (I digress but back in the day, personal correspondence, from love letters to thank you notes, had to be handwritten, never~fans cheeks~typed.)

     I wrote my high school term papers, book reports and college essays on that already-vintage-vintage Underwood family heirloom. (Except when I could talk my mother into letting me dictate to her.) 

Phil Patton, Just My Typewriter

     By the time I broke into the fiction market, I had a hand-me-down IBM Selectric. It was being tossed (I use the term loosely) at my husband's office & weighed about as much as my 2 youngest children combined. To lug it to the repair shop,  after strapping the toddlers into the backseat, required its own seatbelt on the passenger side. (Remember when weight on the passenger seat signaled "person" & cars would not start unless seatbelts were fastened?)

I admit a fondness for the tapping,
the rhythmic strike of keys against roller carriage,
the imprint of letters on bond,
and that nostalgic ping! at the end of the line.

There were, however, a few essentials left out of the TV piece.

  • If you could not spell, you spent an inordinate amount of time doing this:
☟  ☟  ☟

  • If you could not spell and were a self-taught typist, there was way too much of this:

  • Even if you could spell & type, if you wanted to revise a paragraph, you either retyped the entire page or resorted to this: 

& this:

     Since the introduction of the computer, virtual cut & paste and spellcheck, one of the biggest changes in publishing has been revision. We re-write, hone & polish with ease. We do more of it. A lot more of it. 

     This puts the swearing, hair-pulling, pacing & meltdowns where they belong  with the creative process.

     I was on my fourth book with Scholastic when my editor called to chat about the bottom line: they loved my work & working with me, but copy editing my manuscripts for spelling & typing errors was taking too much of their time. If I wanted to continue, I'd have to get a computer. With spellcheck.

They had me at If

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~


Revised & polished. Written with spellcheck. 
Virtually cut & pasted.
Hair pulling, pacing & meltdowns reserved 
for the revisions & polish.

Barnes & Noble/Nook             Amazon/Kindle