April 29, 2008

Guess Where I Was . . .

Seaside, Oregon. Where else?

Here's my nephew and brother-in-law dutifully holding up the town's sign. What a great beach town!

Coming from Flat-as-a-Pancake Florida, it was a treat to see mountains . . .

and snow!!! I walked along the Promenade (a cement boardwalk) and caught fat flakes on my tongue. It was fabulous.

We also had a blast in the town. My nephew liked the candy shops every few feet. We bought enough fudge to feed a small nation. And there was a glorious little bookstore -- Beach Books, Inc. I met the owner, Karen, and Mariah and the bookstore cat. He was fat and friendly and loved to perch on the pink and white striped sofa by the window.

We also went to Canon Beach, another great seaside town, and ate at the Lumberyard & Grill, where our waitress, Kathleen, memorized not only our six orders but our names and kept us laughing throughout the meal. The food was excellent, and my nephew loved his S'mores dessert that came out in a tiny cast-iron skillet.

A trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory was fun, too. Did you know a cow weighs about 96 pounds at birth? And about 1,330 pounds when it's full-grown? Yowza!

But the best part of the whole trip? Hanging out with family, of course! Especially my nephew, who beat me at the following games: ping-pong, air hockey, dice, cards, checkers and chess. But I won Monopoly by building lots of houses on Park Place and Boardwalk. So there!

Dorothy, me and Dad

Brother-in-law, Ben and sister, Sherry

Couldn't have asked for a more relaxing, joy-filled vacation. Lovely to be surrounded by family, great sights and fabulous food.

Now, I'm ready to get back to work.

Thanks to a very talented 12 3/4-year-old bookworm, who posted a review of my book on her blog, Bookworm Readers. (Authors: She's looking for books and ARCs to review for her blog.)

And if you live in the Palm Beaches or Treasure Coast, this Saturday, May 3rd, I'll be interviewed on WPBF News 25 (the local ABC affiliate) during the 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. hours.

Happy trails,

April 24, 2008

fAiRy gOdSisTeRs, iNk.

fAiRy gOdSisTeRs, iNk.
Surprising Writers & Illustrators Everywhere!

Announcing a $1,000 grant opportunity
for an SCBWI member to attend the
August 1-4, 2008 Summer Conference in Los Angeles

TO APPLY: Submit a 250-word double-spaced essay
describing what you hope to accomplish by attending
this year's summer conference.

Send your essay to: fairygodsistersink@yahoo.com

Application deadline: May 15th, 2008
Winner will be notified on June 1st, 2008

Questions about the grant may be sent to: mlhershey@aol.com

fAiRy gOdSiStErS, iNk. is a small, benevolent squadron of children's book authors who believe in the magic of passing forward lucky breaks, bounty and beneficence, as so many have done for us. We are: Thalia Chaltas, Mary Hershey, Valerie Hobbs, Robin La Fevers and Lee Wardlaw.

April 16, 2008


First, a big thank you to Cynthia Leitich Smith for posting an interview with me here. And an even bigger thank you to Cynthia for generously sharing incredibly useful information with the children's writing community here.

And now, fabulously funny and genuinely generous author extraordinaire -- Mary Hershey.

You can read about Mary here or check out her fun blog here or her insightful blog about book promotion with Robin LaFevers here.

And you can pre-order her brand spankin' new book here.

Or check out her other great books here and here.

Thanks, Mary, for agreeing to do a guest blog and sharing your wise words with Wild About Words. Mary and I not only have an affinity for long titles, but we both like to make up interviews, like the one here or the following . . .


DONNA: Both your first book and my first book have thirteen words in the title. Comments on that? Mere coincidence, or is there something bigger than the both of us at play at here?

MARY: Clearly something bigger at play here. Even though the number thirteen is frequently associated with bad luck, it is a little known fact in the sacred field of Titleology, that odd number titles have some seriously powerful mojo. Editors are completely powerless in the face of them! Novels with fifteen words in them, as is the case with my new book coming out in July, causes the eyes of book reviewers to spin, leading them to hand out starred reviews. Titles with numbers in them, as we both do have leads to movie options. (Just watch and see what happens to Jay's Asher's book
Thirteen Reasons Why) Donna, you use '12 3/4', a fraction, which was a bold move. Can't wait to see what happens!

DONNA: As a writing coach, do you have any tips you want to share about writing practice?

MARY: Why, yes, Donna I do. Thirteen of them, in fact. Making their grand debut on your blog today!
1. First things first. I stole this-- I mean borrowed this from author Steven Covey. Writing needs to be the first thing you do in your day. Just trust me on this.
2. Create a sacred writing space. Even if it is a corner in a room or a limb of a tree. Claim it. Honor it. Make a small altar there. Return frequently.
3. Thou shall not checketh email during a writing session (Even if though doth expect to hear from thou editor or agent that day.)
4. Breathe and hydrate freely and frequently.
5. Write as if no one else is ever going to read what you're writing, and take some risks. Throw your nice girl (or boy) right out the window.
6. At least once an hour, get up and do a Downward Facing Dog pose from yoga. If needed, call Donna, and she'll come by your house and demonstrate it. DFD leads to inspiration.
7. If you get to the proverbial 'stuck' place, grab some paper and hand write a letter to your main character. Do a check-in with them.
8. If possible, don't answer the phone or door, or incoming messages from carrier pigeons.
9. Live in a place of absolute gratitude for the gift of writing you've been given.
10. Read everything you can get your mitts on in your genre. The good, the bad and the ugly.
11. Find a writing buddy. Someone with whom you can share both the agony and the ecstasies.
12. Be a volunteer in your local/regional writing network. Even if you don't have extra time. Do it anyway.
13. Be the most generous writer you know. Help anyone and everyone on their writing path!

DONNA: I love lemon bars. Care to share your favorite dessert with our readers?

MARY: This is my new fave which I get at the best vegetarian restaurant on the planet--the Sojourner in Santa Barbara. Start with one warm vegan chocolate chip cookie. Add a big scoop of coffee ice cream on top, then smother in hot fudge until the cookie nearly sets sail across your plate and off the table. Nirvana.

DONNA: If you were stuck on a desert island, and only had one tune on your iPod, what would it be?

MARY: Easy squeezy. Bari Improv by Kaki King from the August Rush CD.
I could listen to that until my brain exploded. That actually happened earlier this week.

DONNA: Favorite inspirational quote?

MARY: “Wherever you are is the entry point.” (Kabir)

Mary, thanks again for stopping by Wild About Words and sharing your writing practice tips . . . and favorite recipe!

Happy writing trails,

April 14, 2008


Because it is National Poetry Month . . .
Because, in a turbulent world, we can all use a little hope . . .

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

-- Emily Dickinson --

Have a hopeful week,

April 9, 2008

Wise Words

My friend, Diahnka, sent me this poem written by Dr. Seuss. Thought you might enjoy it.

It has often been said
there's so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That's why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader's relief is.

-- Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)

April 5, 2008


The pets have been at me to get a little face time on the blog, so here goes . . .

Meet Jasmine -- resident napper and all around sweet cat, except for this morning when she peered into my face. And sneezed!

This is Lady with her current BFF. They have a squeaking good time together, except now the reindeer's hat and one of its antlers is history. "Good dog, Lady."

Our pet sitter posts a veritable parade of pet photos of her "clients" on this Web site.

I can hear the "Awww"s from here.

Who are your favorite pet pals?

Have a happy weekend!

April 2, 2008

Guest Blogger -- Bob Younce

A big Wild About Words thank you to Bob Younce for writing this guest blog.

Bob is a hard-working Internet writer. Read more about him here.

Why We Need Writers
By Bob Younce
One of the things that makes humanity unique among creation is its ability to communicate via writing. From the earliest days of our existence up to today, writing has expressed the values and ideas of billions of people. Why is this? Why do we value writing? Why do we need writers, and why do we need to write? I think there are several reasons:
* We need writers because they express ideas about the common experience of human beings. Writing speaks to the "big ideas" of humanity. When Solzhenitsyn writes about the Soviet gulag, we understand the importance of freedom. When Charles Dickens writes about poor scamps on the streets of London, we better understand the need for charity. When Hugh MacLeod writes about How to be Creative here, we all better understand the creative part of our human spirits and are more able to put them to use.
* Writing also has some very practical applications. When my host, Donna, writes about her experiences with publishing and her book launch here, those of us who are in the writing field come to better understand the process. When I write about common Internet writing mistakes here, folks can improve their own Internet writing. The same holds true for a near-infinite amount of writing in a near-infinite amount of fields.
* Writers provide us with catharsis. I won't get into the whole psychology vs. catharsis debate here. But writers, especially fiction writers, allow us some escape from our daily lives and give us ways to experience lives less ordinary. They give us wings, help us to cry, to be angry, to love. Writers provide us a safe environment in which to be human.
* Writers create, influence and are influenced by the greater dialogue. Food writers, for example, are ultimately responsible for new staple dishes, new television shows and new restaurants. Writers are responsible for political change, and for political continuity. These things could occur via face-to-face contact, but change would take place much more slowly if that were the case.
* Finally, writers give us tools with which to express ourselves. It was Shakespeare who gave us "tis better to have loved and lost." It was Dickens who gave us "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Robert Frost gave us two roads diverged in a wood. So many of our speech patterns and colloquialisms had their origins with writers.
In so many ways, writers give us wings. They prop us up, they teach us, they add meaning to our lives. If you haven't done so recently, be sure to send your favorite writer a thank-you note or an e-mail, and let them know how much they mean to you. I sent out eight of these myself, in the process of writing this post. Truly, it was overwhelming to consider how much these folks have contributed to my life. Drop a comment in this blog, too. Tell us who your favorite writers are, and why you need them.