Friday, December 20, 2013

Projects fueled by Holiday Gifts and Coffee!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

    This weekend is a busy one. Hubby and I have waited until the last possible minutes to gather our Christmas goodies for family and friends. I have ideas, but is there time to get the work done?  
I'm making super easy coconut and dark chocolate balls as a gift and handmade fragrances I've made in the past. This year I have vanilla beans that have soaked for two years--and do they smell GOOD!

But I also wanted to paint pictures for family and friends, who are always asking me. I started building a website for my watercolors and I hope to get it up and running this weekend. Too much to chew? --Possibly. This morning it all seems possible, but then again, coffee is fueling this ambition. 

 Hibiscus in watercolor by karen lee

Here's the link to the coconut dark chocolate recipe video. I made these for my kids - - and you never saw faster fingers on the move. They were SO EASY & Delish!
Plus, there's no cooking involved. 


     What last minute whipper-snap-up gifts are you making this weekend?  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Reaching Readers Post for Kidliterati

Reaching Readers by Asking Questions and taking them shopping --for BOOKS! Want to know what caught this 8th grader's eye and imagination from the bookshelves?

Follow the link . . .


Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Sky Jumpers (Sky Jumpers, #1)Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first heard about Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman from the online writers conference WriteOnCon. Peggy was one of the middle grade panelists. I was so blown away by her clear, haven’t-quite-heard-it-like-that-before, insight into kid lit—I just had to read her book. Besides everyone was saying how wonderful it was. And it was!

Sky Jumpers is a middle grade adventure set in a world recovering form the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything and the only thing that matters in this new town of White Rock is inventing, so the world can regain some of what they’d lost. This new world is somewhat familiar, but very different.

The deadly compressed air of the Bomb’s Breath is a remnant of the War in this post apocalyptic world, and it changed everything. “When the green bombs hit, they left behind side effects. Besides new plants, metals having different properties, weather patterns changing, and the existence of the Bomb’s Breath, the green bombs destroyed any ability to create a stable magnet.” The bombs also left behind a deadly sickness.

I connected to the main character, twelve-year-old, Hope. She longs to invent, but can never get her due credit, and maybe inventing isn’t her greatest strength, the way taking chances is. And taking risks, like jumping off cliffs into the Bomb’s Breath, may be what saves her town from something even more horrible than what the Bomb’s Breath has left behind.

The second time I sat to read this—without interruptions, I couldn’t put it down. My adrenaline raced throughout, and I was eager to find out what would happen when the bandits invaded demanding antibiotics the town of White Rock invented. I felt for many of the characters in this book: Hope’s friends, her family, and community. How they all worked together in the aftermath of the War, and with the new terror taking over their village.

Hope comes up with an idea no one else had thought of, using one of her most potent abilities: leadership. The action heats up and we hope for the best till the end. I was left very satisfied after reading this story. I even shed a few tears. This is a great read for kids who love adventure and danger in their fiction. Hope is a character I rooted for and loved and would follow into another adventure.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 31, 2013

National Novel Writing Month.

I say, why the heck not?

I'm querying my tween magical adventure book and trying to figure out what to do with my YA thriller novella, while in the middle of revising my MG light Sci-Fi from #CampNano back in July.

So when my writing group said, hey we're getting busy with NaNoWriMo, I was like, gosh, I've got so much to work on already, but I can't miss out. (I said this in July, too.) I hate missing the party!

I'd plan to finish my Jazz Age Psych/Thriller (don't know if it's NA or YA, because I've only written about three chapters, and can figure that later--much later. Like, after my sloppy draft is planted in this 3rd dimension, or are we in the fourth? That's another topic.), at some point anyway. Why not get in on the action, even if I only get my usual ten handwritten pages a-day, or twenty, as I did in July. Anything is better than nothing. Right? 

Haven't made any notes. I barely have an outline. But I sing Jazz. I'm use to improvising. I dig it. Love it. I also have a mad show tonight. Tomorrow may be filled with eye pain and strain. But I'll come in swinging my pen, and try to figure out words counts along the way.

That's a whatta I'ma gonna do!  Hope you will too. It's my first time. If you're searching for writing buddies, you can find me at karen8Lee. I like writing buddies.

Here's to Halloween Eve and the madness that's sure to follow through November. Who's idea was it to begin the day after Halloween anyway? Ah, well. Let's ROCK IT!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Very Busy Librarian Talks About the Books She Loves.

My interview for the Kidliterati blog with Jefferson Market Librarian, Rebecca Schosha, can be found here:

She talks about the books kids love. Great reads for your TBR list!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Kidliterati Blog is Coming!

They are coming, and they are taking over... well, they're taking over to help you find kidlit books for MG and YA readers. Interviews, Book Reviews and more from the perspective of 24 kidlit writers!!  And it's gonna be AMAZING!

I'm so excited to be a part of it!  That little MG beta reader group that was started oh, almost two years ago, has grown. Oh, have we grown.
Several are recently agented, a couple have sold to publishers, and it's just cRaZzY exciting times all of us, growing and learning together--A truly inspiring and encouraging group. I'm lucky to have met them, and in awe of their skills and talent.

You’ll have the opportunity to get excited by kidlit, too. Our blog launches Wednesday, July 10th… 
See our sweet badge ---->
Yep, it’s a club. And you’re all invited!  Follow along; there are lots of Goodies on the horizon. Give aways: Books and critiques and stuff for the kids, for the readers and for our community.
Hashtag on twitter #july10

See you in the feeds.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday's Children Blog Hop. Inspired by. . .

Pitch Contests!

Yep. After another round of #PitMad this past week, and the Writer's Voice recently, I can assure you that these adrenaline inducing, live and public pitches, are inspiring.

And How…

*You get to put your stuff out there. Whether it’s in 140 characters, as in an elevator pitch, or your query and first page. Other writers and even agents comment and/or critique your work. This definitely charges my battery.

*You can read what’s out there in writer land, and in writer’s minds in its developing stage and possibly the books of tomorrow--more for the TBR list!

* You can see what other agents are looking for by what they pick or comment on. And often tell us in their search through pitches. You can see what other writers are digging and want to add to their TBR. –In this case if an agent hasn’t commented, you may get several writers who really really want to read your book. Once again, proving subjectivity reigns.

*And quite possibly the BEST thing about writers’ contests is meeting/connecting with other writers!  
(‘course Blog Hop are great for this too… I’ve met some very inspiring writers through this hop!)

*And the you-never-know element: 
The coaches for The Writer’s Voice didn’t pick my MG from the 150 submissions they got; however, since my first page and query were still up on my blog, an agent found ME! And asked for a partial!!  Very cool. And very exciting.

Have you participated I any online pitch contests, or query/first page contests?

What have you gained or learned from them?

And Once again, I'd like to thank Rhiann Whynn Nolet and Kristina Perez for organizing this weekly hop and keeping the energy and the LOVE going. They ARE inspiring! Hop on the blog, get inspired and meet some great people. And write, write, write. . . 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thursday's Children Blog Hop. What inspires you?


This is a weekly bog hop hosted by  Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez, about what inspires you. Please join us. I will try the link, but if I can't get it to connect, please got to Rhinn or Kristina's blog and hop on.

The Tarot inspires me, questions me, and has been instrumental in helping me create my first novel length fiction. 

The Tarot figure semi-prominently within the pages of ABEGALE FORCE: When Abegale finds her grandmother's mysterious herbal medical book, The Tarot fall from its pages. Her grandmother's left a note explaining how to use the cards; how to bridge her unconscious and trust her intuition—and eventually figures out where her grandmother has been for the last three years.

In my early twenties, I became fascinated with The Tarot. I began collecting several decks. As many as I could afford. They were so beautiful, mysterious, and FILLED with symbolic situations—my focus at that time. Each deck had a history and story of its own. I was writing a lot of poetry then, and delved into esoteric studies of all kinds. I went deeper into my study of The Tarot, practicing on friends, who were only too willing, practicing on myself, taking intricate notes of what I was experiencing the moment the cards were laid out, and what the cards were showing; the patterns, the symbols, and how the passing of time resulted in the card’s fulfillment of a question, or situation the person had asked about.
I sometimes think of The Tarot as a way my ‘over self’ uses the symbols in the cards to make contact with my mind—or consciousness.

They say within The Tarot every life experience can be shown, each conflict, resolution, and tool to over come. Or the process of ‘individuation’ as Carl Jung said. “They [the cars] combine in certain ways, and the different combinations correspond to the playful development of events in the history of mankind.”  To read more about Jung’s perspective of The Tarot: Carl Jung

Sounds perfect for writing fiction—right? I didn’t use the cards as a tool for creating my fiction, ABEGALE FORCE, but I suppose it’s within my subconscious from the years of study. I expect it’s seeped into my blood and now pours from my pen. Ha!  I’d like to think so, anyway.

I once read The Tarot over the phone--as a job—for about a week. An interesting experiment; I found I was less judgmental not seeing the person, only hearing their voice. I could be true to the cards and springboard a story from my intuition. I drew on conclusions from the cards laid in front of me.  There was a past, a present, and a possible future. A choice. Where again, events turn into unlimited possibilities—because nothing is fixed in time. Nothing.

I may use The Tarot the next time I’m stuck on plot, or a character’s motivation. Why not try it? What about you?  Do you have a deck?

The Fool: 0, zero, the beginning, symbolic of the egg, with its unlimited potential. It marks the beginning of the Tarot journey, The Major Arcana, ending at 22, The World--completion.
The Fool jumps off where others fear to tread.
I found Ms. Greer's books a great help. I highly recommend them,
and her blog for beginning readers. Have fun!

Here's my attempt to attach the linkey: Sign on!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Writer's Voice Submission: ABEGALE FORCE

The Writer’s Voice is a multi-blog contest hosted byBrenda DrakeCupid'sMonica B.W., and Krista Van Dolzer. For all the details about this contest, click here. I’m happy to say I was one of the lucky people to have my lottery drawn to get into the first round! Below you’ll find my query for ABEGALE FORCE and the first 250 words of the manuscript. 
Good luck to everyone else who made it into the contest!

Dear Tireless and Supportive Coaches,

Abegale's turning thirteen, and life has become as foreboding as the number itself, with a may-not-be-human landlady, a missing grandmother who could be right under her nose, and a horrifying discovery at her grandmother’s abandoned cottage.

Abegale has to take care of everything around the house since her dad died, especially with her mom busy working, singing in the choir, or hanging out with a new boyfriend. Meanwhile, Abegale’s brother's asthma has gotten worse. When the breathing becomes too difficult to control, Jeremy has only Abegale to count on. Jeremy's illness scares Abegale, and she wishes her grandmother had been more successful finding a cure in the Andes before she disappeared.

After Abegale finds the mysterious herbal medicine book her grandmother left behind, she is determined to pick up where her grandmother left off and save her brother. Guided by dreams she can't explain, and with the help of her best friend and the cute boy next door, Abegale is led to her grandmother's forgotten cottage in the woods where she discovers an environmental horror that just might devastate the small town of Three Points. Abegale must decide, save her town from an environmental nightmare, or focus on the mysteries of her grandmother's medicine book before it’s too late to save her brother--and bring her grandmother home.

ABEGALE FORCE is an upper middle grade mystery adventure with magical elements, complete at 67, 000 words. It is the story of one girl’s journey to heal injustice, and the environmental impact her town faces while rediscovering who she is.

In writing this manuscript, I drew on my studies in herbalism, nutrition, and The Tarot. ABEGALE FORCE is a stand alone with series potential. I have attended writing classes at The New School and organized monthly poetry readings at Zinc Bar in New York City. I’m a member of SCBWI, an illustrator, and founder of a MG writing group with 24 members.

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Karen Lee Hallam

First 250 Words:

The Maiden Villas sit on the highest peak of Pine Crest and hide under a shadow of trees. I sure don’t want to meet Mrs. Egremony, the creepy landlady, with the way she stares at me, but she told me to come.
She says she knew my grandmother.
I have to stand on my pedals to reach the top of Ridge Road. A black crow comes out of nowhere. I swerve and nearly crash. Thinking the crow might return to finish the job, I race out of there and up the hill.
At the top of Ridge Road you can look out over most of the valley of Pine Crest, and over the tops of the pine trees below. What were once the old Cabins became the Maiden Villas when Mrs. Egremony took over.
I leave my bike on the side of Mrs. Egremony’s cabin. Compared to the others her “villa” is large. It’s unusual she’s not in the garden. I ring the doorbell, looking around for suspicious crows. There’s no answer.
I know she’s just an old woman, but something’s not right. For starters, Mrs. Egremony dresses like she’s stepped out of the pages of Little House on the Prairie with those longs skirts dragging on the ground. And why does she call herself Mrs. when she’s not married? Stephanie says she sees her working in her garden late at night. That’s just WE-I.R.D if you ask me.
“Abegale!”  I jump.   Mrs. Egremony is behind me.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Very Inspiring Blog Award. My First!

I was thrown off my heels hearing that I received this Very Inspiring Blog Award Nomination from fellow writer and blogger, you may have seen her name at the top of many recent posts--Rhainn Whynn-Nolet's  Blog  Go and read all about her. Her writing is amazing!

Isn't it pretty! -->

Now, I must come up with seven things that are interesting about me. Hm?  Let me think...dun, dun, dun. I have a semi frizzled brain this Sunday morning. But here goes.

1. I was born in Topeka, Kansas, and grew up believing I was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. But the only thing I know about Kansas is what I learned in a report I had to write in 5th grade.

2. I lived in the Northern most point of I-95:  Caribou, Maine at the age of 5 and Southern most point--Key West, Florida, at the age of 15.

You asked for interesting...
Um. This is hard.

3. I moved to NYC when I turned twenty-one with $400 dollars in my pocket--and many dreams. Drove up from Miami with two friends, who were sisters.

4. Kicked out of first NYC apt. unable to pay the rent. But the city was good to me, and created solutions. No street sleeping for us! But we were sitting on the curb with brown boxes.

5. Learned to longbord, and waterski after the age of forty. Yep. You're never to old to learn you can fall and not kill yourself. Of course, I really believe being a klutz all my life has helped me fall like a pro.

6. Used to work in fashion design. That was why I moved to NYC, or so I thought. I quit working in fashion, because I wanted to write poetry. All day long. So, I became a bartender. The bartender who's allergic to drinking. I made great cocktails. Used to have publishing friends come to me for the best martini's downtown. I wouldn't remember how to make a one now. But my Sea Dragon, wasabi martini is famous, it's in a book somewhere.

7. Before I gave birth to my first son, fifteen years ago, I read Tarot cards over the phone. (after years of self-study) I found it was really more of a counseling session. I had to keep all of the grief center hot lines up on the wall. I stopped when I found out I was pregnant.

Award Rules:
  1. Display the logo in your blog to show you’ve been nominated.
  2. Link back to your nominator.
  3. Share 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
  5. Notify your nominees
If I nominate you and you don’t want to play, no worries. If you do decide to play, please let me know so I can learn 7 interesting things about you!

In no particular order, here are my nominees:

1. Cassie Mae   because she was my first blog follower. EVER. She made this blog feel real for the first time.
2. Ella Schwartz  I just wouldn't know who else to turn to for my writing insecurities. Plus she's a Super cyber-cop, who wears a cape.

3. Becky Appleby-Sparrow: @Bec_AS  She reminds me when it's time for the kidlit chat or YA lit chat or MGlitchat. If I could stop falling asleep while reading and join her.

4. Melanie Conklin  Since she keeps her whip handy for slacking writers, and pushes us further.

5. Jen Malone If it wasn't for her in the beginning,  MG beta readers may have never taken flight. And she's a high flyer!

6. Jeff Chen for helping me get the MG beta readers started. A very funny guy, full of fourth grade fart jokes, AND he writes NYTimes cross word puzzles. 

6. Paula L. Harvey  because her last post in the Thursday's Children blog hop was spot on, inspiring and hit right to my heart. Go read it: Inspired By The Tenacity & Persistence of Actors

7. A.E. Welch  'cause she's got a story full of monsters. And they do good things. 

8   John Krissilas  just because--you know... 'So she seems'.  And because he's inspired by T-rex! And he supports writers, like nobody's business. Or like it should be everybody's business. 

9.  Ashley Keene  because that girl can edit! Yah, Thanks Ash! 

10. Ronni Arno Blaisdell  because she can stand on the sidewalk in crowded NYC holding Starbucks Frappucino and change from running shoes into heels. True super powers. 

11. Akossiwa Ketoglo she has a beautiful and informative blog and writes short stories for kids too! 

12. Jessika Fleck  because if it weren't for her following my blog, I'd of never found the Thursday's Children. What a great lot they are. Hop on board the #ThursdaysChildren blog hop. You can follow Rhainn at the above link for more info. 

13. Gail Nall  she's a singer and a writer, like someone else I know.

14.  Sydney Maag  she's an amazingly talented interior designer. And she's fun and awesome and our sons are buddies.

15. Ricki Schultz  who helped me create my first middle-grade query ever. That was nearly two years ago. And I'm still working on that project.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thursday's Children ~ Inspiration April 25th.

Where do I find inspiration? The weekly theme of Thursday's Children Hosted by: Rhiann Wynn-Nolet Join us!

From my beta readers/CP's!!
-because we're flexible like that.

Guess it was two years ago in July that I found Jeff and Jennifer on Krista Van Dolzer's blog, Mother Write Repeat. Krista wrote about beta readers and how many writers were having difficulty finding writer buddies in their own genres.

Being in this boat myself, with my writing friends not writing my genre--they were great and very encouraging--but not MG readers, not even YA. I even had trouble finding beta readers with the list SCBWI sent me. And I live in NYC! I finally realized, and it took awhile, sometimes you’ve just got to create what isn't there.

I snagged a couple forlorn writers within Krista’s comment stream, and we created the #MGbetareaders (look for us on twitter) Found a few more on twitter, and then a friend of a friend, and it snowballed. Now 24 members strong, they inspire me everyday.

Some have recently found agents. Some have sworn off writing, only to be on the road to an agent/publisher by the next email. Others get down, or overburdened and remind me we all feel this--not just me. I let the feeling sorry for myself bug vanish when I hear their stories. Or any writer’s story for that matter—We need stories! Damn they’re helpful.

Being 'sensitive' types, guided and sometimes driven by our emotions. It's great when they check in with their fears, hopes-- and contests to share!
Love each and every one of you: Akoss, Ella, Becky, Melanie, Jean, Jennifer, Annie, April, Ashley, Chris, Jeff, Devon, Dana, Jay, Heidi, Ki-wing, Paul, Gail, Rebecca, Rebekah, Rebecca, and Ronnie--an Awesome, Amazing, and Generous team. Go Team! Some are rocking the CampNaNo.
So, get down—in your seats--and keep writing! 
You sure inspire me to NEVER stop!  XO  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Inspired By JaZZzz ...Thursday's Children March 28, 2013

Improvisation. Spur of the moment. Music and rhythm.

That's where I find inspiration. And the topic for this week's Thursday's Children Blog hop hosted by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet / and Kristina Perez

Hop on. Take the tour and be inspired! Then get to work and write.

I host a weekly Open Vocal and Jam Session at Zinc Bar in NYC for the last two years. It started as a crawl and eventually grew into a very busy Thursday evening. I didn't know what I was getting into at the start, but to all of our delight it has grown into a invaluable source for Jazz vocalists to use for performance practice and get their voices out there. Or prepare for an upcoming gig, whether a seasoned singer or just stretching their wings.

And I created it. *pats back*

As a vocalist you must always find your own musicians and be prepared to pay them, either for rehearsals, or for gigs. Gigs are easier, since there's usually money to dole out. But not always, I know several singers and instrumentalists who still play for dinner and tips. Or dinner--or tips. Not an easy road for a musician after years and years of study.

I was happy to have a place to screw up my lyrics, a place to nurture others, and allow my own improvisational skills shine ...and this,  is a lot like writing.

Writers take prompts or cues, and inspiration and weave the threads into a narrative. A vocalist does this with music, on the spur of the moment with LOTS of people watching.

I feel this is very good preparation for my writing. Certainly for a rough draft--slinging it out there. Finding the rhythm--even in the revision process.

Rhythm is very important to me in books. Sometime I read a story out loud to my boys, and if the rhythm in the writing isn't there it glottises my throat. It almost closes up and I feel like I'm choking. Some books I read aloud flow, like cream over a dream, lulling me into a tapestry of sound and images. These are my favorites. This is why it's so important to read your work out loud. You'll know.
Humans are so clued into rhythm, it's older than history (unless you're on of those people who are always late).  o.^

Music and Rhythm...rhythm and life.  You might even check out an earlier post of mine HOWL, Ginsberg and Poetry. Mr. Ginsberg knew Jazz and writing went together.

If you'd like to hear me sing a tune:  The Man I Love.   Happy Thursday's Children to you all.

Spin around and visit the others in the Hop...and be inspired.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thursday's Children March 14, 2013

A weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them. Join us!

This blog hop is about how we find inspiration as writers. A special thanks, to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and  Jessica Fleck for Thursday’s Children Blog Hop. See the linkey below and hop on. Or take a tour of the other inspiring stories with Thursday’s Children bloggers.

Well, and this may sound a little perverse, but after coming down with a nasty bronchitis last week, I realized a VERY important inspiration --and that is BEING HEALTHY!  It’s always more apparent after being sick, unable to do ANYTHING except stare at the walls, to remind you of how much you value your health. 

Maybe it was a good thing that my usually over active mind was numbed down, because I had energy for nothing--barely able to visualize. It could have been extremely frustrating. So I used this time as a deep meditation. I did read one book at the onset, that I Loved: CODE NAME: VERITY (thought I’d read more). This incredible story gave me a lot to dream about before the malaise overwhelmed me. When I became the staring Zombie. 

Being Healthy after infirmary is inspiring, and for me, creates a frenzy of ambition. All the things neglected come to the forefront, and I want to accomplish them all in a hurry.  
I must pace myself though, or risk collapsing/stressing/suppressing my immune system again—did I not learn my lesson. 

As a dear old friend’s mother, who survived Auschwitz said to me, “if you have your health, you have everything.”

Words to live by.

To your health! 

I sure needed a brain. 
**Be sure to visit the blog hop participants Thursday's Children

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Inspiration from Mysterious places. 

First, I want to thank Rhiann Wynn-Nolet for organizing this weekly--yes, weekly blog hop. If you'd like to join us, head over to Nest Of Words for linky and information.

Two weeks ago, when I decided to hitch a ride and wrote my first blog hop post about where/how I find inspiration, I thought, inspiration can come from so many, many things, ideas, smells, emotions, and just anything that moves you or moves passed you.

So after posting about my first inspiration, which was characters, other ideas floated to the surface, I could see why Thursday's Children needed a weekly blog about inspiration.

We all know, the "flow" is unleashed in a myriad of ways. Here's my #2, although I don't think my inspiration is in any type of order. Muses live in another dimension after all.

I LOVE speculative fiction, especially when it crosses over into "news". Maybe some would call this conspiracy theory. So what.
I'm writing fiction.

Give me flying Blue Beam projects or lights caught in outer space via NASA, or something like this: Mysterious Purple Spheres Found in Desert.

It almost doesn't matter what these "really" are. I can conjecture them into my pages and take flight. I can make them anything my imagination might design.

Or try this one: Klerksdorp spheres  "Roelf Marx, curator of the museum of Klerksdorp, South Africa, where some of the spheres are housed, said: 'The spheres are a complete mystery. They look man-made, yet at the time in Earth's history when they came to rest in this rock no intelligent life existed."   

 Yeah, this is the stuff I drool over.  If you'd like to read more here's a link to get you started  

There's even a Wiki link     
Come on. If Wikipedia lists it, it must be true. Right? Again, for my purposes, it's not necessary. I'll move the story into fiction and make sure my characters are real.

Klerksdorp Spheres

Maybe we could try a little writing prompt with one of these mysteries. I will. 

I keep an "X-file" for all of my speculations. When I need a CR-A-ZZzY idea, that's where you'll find me. 
Until the next Thursday's Children Hop.... 
Make sure to visit my writing buddies in the hop. They're pretty inspiring, too. 


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thursday's Children Blog Hop

How do I find inspiration? How do I not?         

I'm in constant flow of ideas, which are often met with the frustration of having my hands tied. Or my mind riddled with something else while the muse waits, and waits, until…

a) I write the notes in my notebook. b) I get right down to business. Or, c) I multi-task with projects spread around, carelessly completed.

Not always carelessly, but that's how it feels. I try and slow down, but time flies, and I have children! Not young children, worse--young teen-age boys! And they need more help than they must have needed as toddlers. I swear.

But what inspires me to write?  That is what this Blog Hop is about. I would say above all—it is PEOPLE! The Characters, shady ones, unusual traits, hidden kindness, overt cruelty, or Joe Shmo, who I turn into a Wizard on the page.

I played with Barbie’s well into the age of thirteen. Of course, I realize why, now. It was the dramatization of the characters I craved. When we moved from Cocoa Beach to Key West, I was only permitted to bring the most essential. I figured it was a good time to drop the Barbie dolls. I sure did miss them. But by writing fiction, I can still pretend and make-believe.

And having fun inspires me all the time.

A weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them. Join us!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

HOWL, Ginsberg, Poetry, and Me

Last night I watched HOWL, the biopic about Allen Ginsberg on Netflix and was completely inspired. My poetry has been on hiatus since focusing on writing fiction for kids. I’ve sporadically written some poetry, particularly when there isn’t much time for writing anything else. 

HOWL reminded me of my brush with Allen Ginsberg and the Beat Poets when I lived at 437 East 12street in 1989; where late one night, the howls of Ginsberg’s love Peter Orlovsky meet with the ambulance siren on the street, while my radio simultaneously reiterated the Beat generation's poetry. It was surreal. I thought messages were being sent to me—I always think I’m on the receiving line of some great truth.

I was a spunky twenty-something in 1989. It’s no wonder the apartment on east 12 street is where I began typing (on a rotary typewriter) in my attempt at writing fiction.
I had been writing poetry, lots and lots of poetry, for years. My earliest novella, at twelve, was taken by the school bus driver and never seen again.

Let’s say, it was the vibe of the building, which I barely understood at the time. But the frequent Beat messages poured unto me from all over and surrounded me. There were other poets in the building, and literary luminaries coming and going.
Edith Ginsberg, Cliff Fyman, Bob Rosenthal, Allen Ginsberg, John Godfey, Steven Taylor, Peter Orlovsky, Greg Masters, Michael Scholnick, in front of 437 E. 12th St., where all except Edith lived. Nov. 14, 1982. 

One day a man with black straggly hair knocked on my apartment door, and said his name was Richard Hell; he loved the music I was playing, said everyone should hear it. He ordered me to turn the music up--way up. The music was The Dead Can Dance.

Soon before I moved out of the building, I found a treasury of books that I was sure belonged to Allen Ginsberg, and he had put the books in a box on my floor—the second floor, just for me: Ken Kesey, George Bernard Shaw, Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath; books on philosophy, theosophy--so many, which I still have. I knew (or made believe) they once belonged to the Great Ginsberg, and he gave them to me--as a beacon, a glimpse of my path, as I imagined that I was meant to write.
Oh, to sweet dreams. 

Poetry for me was fast and quick, I could go anywhere with it. Instant gratification. Who knew, I would love the long haul of novel writing: the years of commitment, the revisions, the draft; the world I could paint with words. 

I’ve had little time lately to revise my WIP #3 –but with Poetry, I can keep my fingers greased and my mind fluid, so I won’t feel locked out of my world of fiction.

Today, I made the promise to myself to write one Blog entry before beginning this workday. What do you write when you can’t dig in to your novel?

My apt was on the second floor to the right of entrance. Inspiring times.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013, 2013, 2013

I'm starting off the New Year with more responsibilities and this leaves me terrified.

What if I can't find time for writing? What if I'm too tired and my brain won't function at lightning speed through my rough draft stage?
I am used to change, though change can be frightening, it's a useful tool for restructuring.
It turns out that I'm the type of person who works well will a lot of plates spinning. I find pockets of time to read CP's work, or study writing craft, and read in my genre and out of my genre. Fifteen minutes, here...ten there. I complain to my kids, and ask why they can't make a little "pocket" for reading. I have two reluctant tween readers, who are also delightful, wildly surprising sons. They do occasionally surprise me, like when I found one of them hiding in a corner with THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE and a look of guilt, as if he was caught with a plate of cookies, and didn't want to share. He finally got his own copy of this book--because no one at his school was giving over theirs.

I think I'm going to change my vocabulary. Instead of this uncertainty painting a bleak, worse case probability, I will say:  challenge, excitement, challenge...okay, I need other positive reinforcing words to compete against -- terrified, nervous, anxious.  After all it's only what I love. My passion. The one thing that makes time disappear. WRITING is the only life for me. (to the Green Acres tune)

How do you, busy writers with more than one job, make time for writing?  
I am going to write, no matter WHAT!  -even if it takes the place of eating.

 2013 May you find the time for all you LOVE...HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

This is how I feel when making time for writing. This applies for revisions as well--right?