Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Neil Gaiman, The Badger, and Favorite Children's Literature Characters

Over at Tor.com Stubby the Rocket talks about The Story Museum's newest exhibit: photographs of British writers and storytellers dressing up as their favorite children's lit characters. Neil Gaiman chose Badger from The Wind in the Willows. What a fun idea!

I always loved Ottie and the Star by Laura Jean Allen. An adventurous little fellow who meets all kinds of new sea animals on his journey to find the star. I still have the book report I wrote in first grade. So, if I had the chance to dress up as my favorite children's lit character, I believe it would be Ottie.

A close second would be Charlotte Scarlet Monster from a book whose name eludes me Scarlet Monster Lives Here by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and illustrated by Dennis Kendrick, but is hiding I found in a box somewhere in my parent's attic.

Which character from your childhood would you dress up as?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Brushing the Dust Off

It's been well over a year, 16 months to be exact, since I entertained the blogging world with my dazzling prose (hahahah!).


What a pain in the ass. She played with me like a cat with it's prey, setting off every one of my triggers. Grasped between her teeth, I went limp.

I woke up on the ground. My face scraped up with pebbles imbedded in the cuts. Looking up, I saw her  standing above me, pointing her well-manicured finger in my face while her shoulders bounced with laughter.

She takes pleasure in my pain. This past year, in particular, has been incredibly challenging. I know there's more strength hidden inside me. And it's time to look inward and recharge.

During my hiatus, I kept busy reading fiction, reading craft books to improve my writing, and writing when my schedule and procrastination allowed.

I burned sage to shoo away all the negative energy surrounding me and created some new goal: finishing my current WIP (stuck at Chapter 9) and researching MFA programs.

So, I'm brushing the proverbial dust off and returning to the writing scene. No promises. Small, manageable goals. Moving forward.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tom Hanks's 'Full House' Poetry Slam


I needed something different to do than watch T.V. when I came home from work tonight, so I scoured the Internet for literary news. Tom Hanks came up. Surprisingly. He did a poetry slam on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon'.


It brings me back to pizza Friday's and TGIF with my parents and little sister in the glorious 90's. I admit I cringe whenever I catch a clip of Full House, but I loved it at the time. Bless my parents for sitting through those episodes.

Tom's bit also reminded me a little of Mike Myer's in So I Married An Axe Murderer with his Woman poem. What a great movie!

The links are below. Enjoy!

Tom Hanks

Mike Myers

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Barbara Kingsolver Comforts My Soul

As a novice writer, I spend every moment buried in novels that evoke just about every emotion from me. My favorite novels, besides mysteries, are literary fiction by authors like Jhumpa Lahiri and Barbara Kingsolver, who sit at the top of my list of all-time favorites.

Whenever I read one of Barbara Kingsolver’s novels it always feels as though she’s speaking directly to me. It feels silly to say that I admire her characters and look to them for inspiration, but they’re the ones I connect to the most. Not real people. (Perhaps that’s why writing feels so natural to me.) I see bits of me mirrored in her characters Taylor (The Bean Trees) and Codi/Cosima (Animal Dreams). Their stories aren’t identical to mine. I just know exactly how it feels to run away in search of something, looking for a place to belong. Their dilemmas and life questions push away my loneliness and fill me with hope that if they could make it through tough times so can I.

Barbara also keeps me enthralled with her use of nature in her novels. It grounds the story and appeals to my love of the tangible world. When I’m reading, it feels like I’m drifting from my body into a like-minded character immersed in the world around them. I can picture the peacock’s blue and green shimmer in the shade of the orchards in Grace, Arizona and the bean trees growing despite the arid climate in Tucson, Arizona. I notice I stare out the window longer than usual when I’ve put the book down, taking in as much I can as if it all could disappear without notice.

This is why Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors. Her words, characters, and story stay with me long after I’ve finished reading. They never feel overdressed or forced. I love finding the moments that hit home hard and make me cry. Those moments release the anxiety and frustration, a catharsis. That’s why her novels are some of the few I’ve read over and over again.

Here’s a hard-hitting moment from Animal Dreams that inspired this post:   

I’d come on this trip knowing I still had to leave Loyd in June, that Grace wouldn’t keep me, but maybe I was just keeping to the road. I felt guilt slip out of me like a stone. “It’s a nice thought,” I told him. “I guess I’ll probably carry something away with me when I leave Grace.”

He looked at me carefully, started to speak, then stopped. And then did speak. “It’s one thing to carry your life wherever you go. Another thing to always go looking for it somewhere else.”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Oooh! I Lurve Excerpts!

The silliness is spilling out of me today. I've got my Dexter's Laboratory t-shirt on and exciting ideas for my WIP skipping around my mind making me caffeine-jittery to the point I'm knocking things over in my apartment. Granted, the inability to stand up on my two feet is nothing new, I can barely contain the the surge of passion. So, before I destroy everything I own, I thought I would sit down and share something I stumbled across on Tor.com (I'm a huge fan of the sci-fi website) and, then, get to writing.

Last week, I wrote about serialized fiction and whether it had a place in our literary world anymore on the Bucks County Writers' Group blog. Then, I came across the first few chapters of Catherynne M. Valente's middle grade novel The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There. Tor.com serialized the first 5 chapters of the sequel to Valente's first Fairyland book, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

What a great way to hook readers. Instead of making all the hard work Valente put into her novel FREE for a short time on Amazon, she made a 5-chapter excerpt  available to her audience in hopes of convincing them to purchase the novel. If a story has legs to stand on, it will capture its audience in the first few chapters. Now, I can't wait to hit the store to pick up Valente's two novels.

Her writing is rich and brings me back to a time when my sister and I would build forts out of my parents furniture by draping blankets over it to create tunnels and little secret rooms. The writing is elevated, giving the narrator an authority and making the story accessible to middle grade readers and enjoyable for adults.

Don't take my word for it. Read it yourself.

Serialized Fiction: A Thing of the Past? by Laura M. Campbell

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente   

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