Saturday, July 30, 2011

Writing news

This week has been dedicated to researching and writing critical essays for my second semester at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Next week I get to have fun with my new creative work.

What am I working on? Last semester I worked on a dog story. I tried to tell it from the dog's viewpoint, but very few writers can manage this, and I don't seem to be one of them. With the help of my Vermont College advisor, I changed the point of view to the man/boy and condensed it to picture book size. What an interesting writing adventure that was.

This semester my creative work will be about -- cats. So far the cats don't speak. I hope I can keep it that way, because it's more of a story about a girl and her cat, not the cat's story.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Must an author participate in social media?

Interesting discussions about the value of various social media (for authors) are going on.

Google +

Must an author be visible on all of these, or can s/he pick and choose? After all, we are writers and we have the same 24 hours a day available to everyone else. But we also have to squeeze in Time To Write.

For a look at the experience of one writer who declared a 100-day Social Media blackout, only continuing with her website and blog, click on over to this article by Monica Valentinelli. posted on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America website.

Oh, and for you Nonfiction Monday fans -- the links to Nonfiction Monday posts on other blogs are being collected at Check It Out. -wo

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Attention teachers out there

If you are a teacher or you know any teachers, or even school librarians or principals, they might be interested in this message from author, Laurel Snyder.
Feel free to pass it along.

She is offering a Skype Tour to 100 classrooms in 100 days this fall!
The first 30 teachers/ media specialists/ librarians/ (probably includes principals and veeps) to sign up for this tour will get a free copy of her new book, Bigger than a Bread Box.
She will also be providing reading guides and other tools to anyone who wants that, too.

Just click on over to her blog BewilderBLOG and sign up.
The sooner she gets 100 classes confirmed, the sooner she can set the schedule.

Did I forget to mention that it's free?
Sounds like fun. -w

Monday, July 18, 2011

NonFiction Monday And Vermont

Nonfiction Monday is being held at Chapter Book of the Day today. Click on over and follow the links to good books.

Sunday we had the morning off, so I drove around the Montpiellier area and discovered the Ben and Jerry's factory -- free samples, yum. As we exited, I bought some Ice cream themed PJs for the 11 year old and a scoop of (strange new flavor) ice cream for me. Hmmm, it's NOT on the way back to the airport. I wonder if I'll have time to bop back there for more before I head to the airport. But it'll be right after breakfast.... maybe not.

I'm enjoying having a car up here which means that I can occasionally get off campus.
After the graduation ceremony on Wednesday, our class will go out to eat together. This time at an Italian place. And this time I don't have to beg a ride from anyone. I can be the driver, instead. The college is on top of a steep hill and, although I can walk down it, walking back up takes twice as long, for me.

I'm trying to build my stamana by walking up the stairs to one of the lecture halls, instead of taking the elevator.
During readings in the evenings, I knit.
I've completed one scarf and are almost done with another. (I'm not attempting anything complicated -- just straight knitting.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vermont College -- Notes

Ah, I've discovered that other Vermont College students are posting about the lectures at the Through the Tollbooth blog. Good job folks. (and, it has pictures!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vermont College -- Notes

I'm going to be posting tidbits about my adventure at Vermont College of Fine Arts during the 10 day Residency. (If I can get the internet to cooperate.)

Yesterday, Classes at Vermont College didn't start today until 3 pm, so I took the car and drove up the mountain behind Montpelier.

and up.

and up.

Found a Maple sugar place and bought sugar. YUM.

Then took a different way home, drove off the map, found myself coming down a different side of the mountain on a dirt road. Eventually landed on Route 2 and wended my want back to the college. Just barely in time for the 3:00 gathering of all students.

The first lecture was in the evening was by the resident poet, Julie Larios. Her theme was "Who am I. The Lonely Riddle Reveals." The carry-away tidbit from her talk was, "How minds use language to organize the world affects the way we write. Riddles interrupt this and make us think.... and rethink."


Monday, July 11, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

I'm at Vermont College of Fine Arts this week and next, but you can find Nonfiction Monday over at proseandkahn today.
Go, click, and enjoy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mount Vernon

Today we drove down to Mount Vernon, just south of Washington, D.C. for a little bit of history plus a little bit of Hollywood.


Yes, part of the movie, National Treasure 2, was filmed in and around Mount Vernon. And we got to see the basement area of Mount Vernon where it took place, plus saw photographs of the fancy party that Nicholas Cage crashed to talk to the President of the USA, and saw the place Nicholas Cage came out of the Potomac River, removed his wet suit, and appeared in formal evening clothing -- perfectly dry. (it's impossibile for clothing to be dry under a WET suit, but often used in movies)

The two grandkids were surprised to discover that all parts of the visit were interesting, even the history parts. The boat ride on the Potomac and the ice cream at the end helped.

They each took home a souvenier -- a key on a necklace to match the key to the Bastille that Lafayette gave George Washington. (a little bit of French history there, as well)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Monday (July 4th) we went to see the fireworks with the two grandkids. We left early because I wanted to try a new place to view them. Recently we've been watching the display that shoots off in the playing fields south of Calvert Hall school for boys. Unfortunately that meant we had to park in a shopping center parking lot, complete with the blazing lights of the shopping center.

I was brought up seeing fireworks being displayed over fields or being shot over a lake. The parking lot lights really annoyed me.

We had heard that we could enjoy the same fireworks by sitting in the playing fields of a nearby elementary school. So off we went this year to see if we could park anywhere close by. About a block or two away, we found a good spot to park, unloaded our folding canvas chairs, gathered our snacks, and explored the playing fields.

When we settled in the middle field, near the baseball diamond, the girls ran off to play on the school playground. When they returned, they discovered more people had set up in the field and some were lighting Roman Candles and other fireworks in the center of the dirt baseball diamond. Even more people came, some wearing glowing necklaces and crowns. This inspired the younger grandkid to get out her light-up Koosh and wave it around.

Once the first firework exploded -- behind the largest tree on the edge of the playing field -- we realized we needed to move our chairs. To the Left. To the Left. To the left, left, left, until we could clearly see the display.

This was more like it.
Colored designs in a darkening sky and a community of friendly people watching and enjoying them on a dark, grassy ground. Just like I remembered from my childhood.
Soooo, how was YOUR Fourth?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is at Bookmuse today. Enjoy:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Medieval sims arrive in our house

My husband wanted to give the 11-year old a graduation present.
Her desire?
The medieval package for her Sims program.

So they (husband, 'tween, and 'tween's best friend) drove the new Ranger Truck to the Towson Town Center shopping center. Both girls wanted to squeeze into the back of the cab, on the fold down, side-facing seats. They insisted they were comfortable, but it certainly looked like a tight fit back there. Amazingly enough, he had no trouble with the parking -- it's so much smaller than the old Dodge Ram Truck we used to own.

But the Apple Store was so crowded it was hard to move around. He found what he needed pretty quickly on the shelves, while the two girls looked for Sims 3 Medieval. They no longer have a big display of non-Apple software, so no Sims on display. The next thing he knew, our "shy" (just ask her and she'll tell you she's so shy) granddaughter had literally tackled a salesperson, who grabbed another salesperson, and the two of them went to look in the storage room. They came out a few minutes later with what they said was the LAST copy of Sims 3 Medieval in the store.

Thanks to "shy" Ariana they were in and out of the store in about 10 minutes. Given the Sunday mob in the store, it would have taken much long if they had waited in the queue. The girls are currently building Medieval Empires -- one on her desktop and the other sitting beside her, using the iPad.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Still some room at the July MD/DE/WV conference

I just got this message from one of the MD/DE/WV SCBWI conference organizers:

If you're still contemplating the summer conference to be held the weekend of July 16 and 17, register now!
YA is closed, MG and PB are nearly full. Good opportunity to learn about NF or illustration. Deadline for all is Wednesday, July 6.
No walk ins!
See the previous posts for links to the conference.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Favorite blogs -- As the Eraser Burns

Okay, I know it's a strange name, but it has been the name of our local SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) newsletter for years and years -- and now is the name of the local SCBWI regional blog, which replaced the newsletter. Which Region do I belong to? The Maryland/ Delaware/ West Virginia Region.

Currently it's featuring the speakers who will be at our July conference, Staying On Track, which will be held the weekend of July 16 and 17. Editors! Agents! Authors! all set to help writers improve and sell their writing.

This year there will be four tracks -- YA, Middle Grade, Picture Book, and Nonfiction. Two of the tracks are still open for registration.

So click onto this link for the blog, As the Eraser Burns, and enjoy.
And continue reading it after the conference to pick up tidbits from the sessions, because I won't be there and can't pass them along to you, myself, sorry.
I'll be busy at Vermont College attending the lectures that kick off the second semester of work.