News, News

I have some more fun news to share.

First, I’ve joined The Booking Biz as a client! I’m delighted to be part of their very professional team, as this will allow me to concentrate on my writing while they can attend to the details of any school visits from me. If you are a teacher or librarian, please contact them if you’d like me to visit your school.

Second, with the help of Kirsten Cappy at Curious City, and Websy Daisy, we are building a dedicated website for THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE. At that site, there will be opportunities for reader interaction, most especially involving a reader library game that is tons of fun. The site will go live soon, and you’ll see links here, so please stay tuned.news

Third, I’ll be appearing at two bookstores in the Pacific Northwest soon. On June 9, I’m joining a cohort of fabulous authors at the University Bookstore in Bellevue, WA for a great book event: an “author extravaganza”. Then on June 11, I’ll be at Powells in Beaverton, OR at 2PM to discuss, read and sign. I hope you’ll join me!

And finally CHARMED CHILDREN is also a participant in this summer’s new program “Bunk Reads”, also an initiative of Curious City. Bunk Reads will be placing libraries in ten of Maine’s highest ranking camps.  Each book in the library will be identified by a sticker and will have postcards tucked inside. More details to come!

So please follow along to learn more about these and other happenings.

Getting To The Story Heart

Today, a blog post for writers: getting to the emotional heart of your writing. This is one exercise in a series of exercises I’ve got planned for my talk at our Montana spring SCBWI retreat in two weeks.

Readers want stories that touch them in a deep way. They want stories that resonate long after the reading is finished. To write such a story you must be willing to push outside your comfort zone. You must be willing to write from the heart even when it hurts; you must be willing to press beyond the familiar even when you’re uncertain.

You must be willing to write what you think you can’t.IMG_1169

Every story is ultimately about desire. The strength of your story directly reflects the strength of your desire – your desire to work on it, to dream about it, to find the heart of it, to love it. That desire is inside you, and it’s also inside your work, and you have to translate that desire so your reader feels it.

Here’s an exercise I’ve used to understand what drives me, what desires I have and therefore what desires will rise through my work and reach readers. Try this:

  • List your 3 most powerful childhood memories
  • Identify the 3 emotions key to each of those memories
  • List the 3 emotions that drive your protagonist in a work that’s important to you now.
  • Circle the strongest emotions from these b and c lists, paying attention to patterns.

For example, two repeating emotional patterns in my life (and thus in my work) have been betrayal, and fear of death. What are yours? Can you make certain that they appear in your story? That you can tackle them even when they hurt?

That’s the secret to writing fiction that moves people. Your characters need to express what is in your heart as a human, and as an artist. You are bringing something to life. You are the Blue Fairy. Yours is the only voice that can ever express what you feel. You’re not in competition, not even with yourself. You just have to believe that you can write to the heart of your story.

You have to try to write what you think you can’t.

My Summer 2016 Reading List: Middle Grade

My Summer Middle Grade Reading List

What are you reading this summer? I've got a towering pile. Here's a list of new books I've got on my long list of middle grade: In no particular order, the novels on my list are: Sara Pennypacker, PAX - actually, I just finished this novel … [Continue reading]

Upcoming Author Appearances!

I'll be making some author-type appearances in the month of April, and want to share that schedule with you! On April 7, I'll be speaking to the Newcomers' Club of Bozeman, MT, at noon, talking about writing and publishing in the children's book … [Continue reading]