Friday, April 4, 2014

National Poetry Month, 2014

A poem written by Emily Dickinson

Love Poems, by Emily Dickinson

In celebration of National Poetry Month, I have chosen a poem by Emily Dickinson, which is out of her book entitled, Love Poems.  This treasure of a book was a gift given to me from Molly O'Neill.

The title of the poem is "The Letter", and it's about a (short/long) letter she has written to a friend of hers.  I don't know who the friend is, but it is clear that Ms. Dickinson may have certain feelings for this friend, who is a gentlemen.  She seems to be, in my opinion, slightly flustered, as evidenced on page 11, line 6, where she writes: "Tell him it wasn't a practised writer, you guessed from the way the sentence toiled."  And then also on page 11, line 16, where she writes: "Tell him night finished before we finished."

What, exactly, does that last sentence mean?

I wonder who this letter went to.

I wonder if she loved this person.

I wonder if she wanted this person to come visit her in her home, despite the fact that she hardly ever had visitors.

These are the things, as I read through the poem, that I wonder about.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The University of California/Berkeley

Hugh, standing on our favorite beach.

This past week, my youngest son, Hugh, received all of his college acceptances.  He has decided to attend the University of California at Berkeley,,_Berkeley, where he will major in Economics in the college of Letters and Science.  After two years, he will apply to the Haas School of Business.

Hugh is very happy to be going to Berkeley.  This year, they had over 90,000 applicants.  I ordered him a sweatshirt from the college bookstore because there is a tradition at Dana Hills High School where each student wears a sweatshirt from the college they will be attending next fall.

My mother informed me that my grandmother, Eleanor Robinson, also attended Berkeley.  I can see her there, strolling through the campus, and thinking up science fiction stories in her head.

When Hugh leaves, I will not have any more children at home.  But I will have my dog, Holly, which will almost be enough.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

WNBA Los Angeles Writers' Conference

I don't know who took this photo of me speaking, but whoever it was, thank you!

Yesterday, I attended the WNBA Los Angeles Writers' Conference.  The entire day was simply wonderful.  There were many panels, with several authors who gave information about how to find what each person needs in order to become the writer they dream of being.  Also, there was information about how to self-publish, which is becoming more popular these days.

I was introduced by Ruth Light, who is just so lovely.  And then I delivered my motivational keynote speech.  I had practiced it several times and had the entire speech printed out in front of me, (it was in font size 24, so I could see it!)  I discussed being in a critique group, finding a writing mentor, and how a good editor, like Ursula Nordstrom, can help even the most distinguished of authors.  I also talked about writing routines, and how to set one that works for each author.  I discussed how to get through a possible writer's block, and what to do if you get stuck and don't know where to turn.  But the best part, to me, was that I made it through without tearing up when it came to talking about my grandmother, Eleanor Robinson.
Catherine Linka's new book!
I ran into Catherine Linka, whose first YA book, A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS, comes out in May of this year.  She was very kind and gave me an Advanced Readers' Copy of her book.  Here, you see a photo of the front cover.  Already, after just reading the first two chapters, I can tell you it's a great book.

Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 Los Angeles Writers' Conference

Website of the WNBA, Los Angeles Chapter

I’m delighted to announce that I have been asked to be the keynote speaker for the 2014 Los Angeles Writers’ Conference, which will be held on March 1, at the Curacao Training Center, located at 1605 West Olympic Blvd, in Los Angeles. 

I will be giving a forty-five minute speech about how to keep going when the writing gets tough, suggestions to create a workable writing routine that you can stick to, having a writing mentor, and belonging to a critique group.  I have also added many more topics to my speech, such as suggestions for how to start a new project, (something that may not be in your regular writing genre), and how a great editor (like Ursula Nordstrom) might help authors become who they’re meant to be.  In addition, I will discuss how to keep track of what’s being said about your publications online, and how writing is a career that takes tremendous self-discipline.  No one is going to watch over your shoulder.  You have to be the one to go into your office and write each day.  There are days when you might sit down and write the most fabulous line ever, or the best paragraph, or even the most magnificent page. Where you realize that you’ve accidently stumbled across some piece of yourself you had no idea existed.  These are the best kind of writing days.  These are the days that I wish would happen every day.  But there are also days when you know that everything you’re writing is going to be deleted the next day. But that’s okay, because sometimes it takes this kind of writing to get to the far corners of your heart where some secret truth may lie.  

I’ve placed all of this information into a PowerPoint presentation that I feel sums up perfectly what I’m addressing.   

For information and to register for this event, please click here:

To follow the WNBA/LA chapter on twitter, please click here:

From the website: This is an all day conference on March 1st, the LA Writers' Conference will be an opportunity for aspiring writers to learn about the writing industry from professionals. Hosted at the Curacao Training Center, we will be discussing issues such as style, common mistakes to avoid, intersecting genres, editing, as well as other topics.
We are creating a curriculum that will educate writers about the realities of this industry and potential mistakes to avoid. The spring session of LA Writers' Conference will be an opportunity for aspiring and experienced writers to hear from an eclectic host of writers, publishers, and Los Angeles based literary experts.
I hope you will be able to join us for this very informative day.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT gets picked up by Scholastic Book Fairs!

This page appears in the Scholastic Flyer

Scholastic Book, with the caption: "In this game, the stakes are even higher."

I am very pleased to announce that A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT has been picked up by Scholastic Book Fairs for a period of five years.  And although this happened last spring, in April of 2013, I am just getting around to letting my readers know.

One of my writing partners in my critique group is a sixth grade teacher and he had the Scholastic Book Fair pamphlet framed and then gave it to me.  I thought that was a very nice thing to do.

Viking then sent me a few of the Scholastic books for my own collection.  You can see how they place the Scholastic red sign on the bottom of the book.  My son's fifth grade teacher at George White Elementary School emailed me right away when she got her flyers.  She said she couldn't believe my book was in there, and then she ordered a classroom set.  The books cost $3.99 for one, or teachers can purchase a set for $19.99.

I remember when I was an elementary school teacher.  My favorite time of the month was when the Scholastic books came.

It was like opening of box of wonderful books, all just waiting to be read and discussed.

Friday, December 20, 2013

have yourself a merry little christmas...

Christmas 2013

For years, I have only placed my sons in the Christmas card photograph.  I don't like to put myself or my husband in the photo.

But this year, Sam's girlfriend, Nikki, was in town, and I thought, okay, maybe, I might just place us in there...if we could get something acceptable.

So one morning in late August, at 5:30am, the five of us crept down to the beach in our neighborhood before anyone else so we would have it all to ourselves.  She must have taken thirty photos of us.  My husband never smiles, so there is that, but we found one we could use.

Here is my wish to all of you...have yourself a merry little christmas...

...and a wonderful New Year.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A School Visit and the 2014 California Readers List!

A hand-painted plate from the Librarian at St. Margaret's.

The cover, where you can see the cat, the heart-shaped necklace, and the green book.

A few weeks ago, I visited St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, in San Juan Capistrano.  I had the pleasure of speaking with the fourth and fifth graders, and then I had lunch with some of the upper graders who were aspiring writers.  We talked about their projects mostly, and what they were working on.  We went around the table and discussed what it was like to be a writer.  I answered a few questions, but mostly, the students were very sure of themselves.  One of them had already published a picture book. 

Alex Uhl was there.  She is the bookseller that is in DESTINY, REWRITTEN. 

The Librarian gave me the hand-painted plate above.  You can see that the artist who painted this copied the cat, the heart-shaped necklace, and the green book, from the cover of DESTINY, REWRITTEN and also, wrote a very nice note on the paper.

In other good news, DESTINY, REWRITTEN has been chosen to be included on the 2014 California Readers list on the middle grade list.  The link is here:

I am always thrilled when one of my novels is chosen to be on this list.  The list of one hundred books is used as a resource for teachers and librarians in our state.  And as a member of this group, it means a lot to me.