October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

And for something really scary, check out this interview with Natasha at Maw Books. Thanks, Natasha!

Excuse me, I'm off to eat all the mini Snickers hubby just bought . . . before all those little trick-or-treaters get to them.

Have a fun and SAFE holiday!

October 30, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day!

Actually, it’s been a beautiful week. In South Florida, we’ve broken records with temperatures in the 40s. And this Philly girl is lovin’ it!

Tuesday, I had fun dressing as a clown and reading Halloween stories to my friend Pam's pre-school class. One boy spent the entire time poking the toe of my giant sneaker. The rest of the kids heard Ed Emberly’s Go Away, Big Green Monster!. Twice. And the children clapped out the rhythm to my dear friend Sylvia Andrew’s rhyming picture book, Rattlebone Rock.

Later that day, I had the joy of attending the opening exhibit of my good friend, Janeen Mason, at Lighthouse Center for the Arts in Tequesta. Janeen’s a vibrant person, full of color just like her artwork. If you don't live near Tequesta, you can see Janeen's work here. During the celebration, my other friend, Sandra Baran, had young musicians from her studio, Jupiter Academy of Music, playing piano and violin. They were amazing. And I had the extra surprise of hearing one of my creative writing workshop students, Julia, playing violin. "Hi, Julia!"

As fine a day as Tuesday was, Wednesday was even more inspiring!

After getting the kids to school and walking the pooch, I hopped on my bike and pedaled to our local baseball stadium to attend my first large political rally. Thousands showed up to hear Joe Biden speak.

And speak he did.

I listened to him talk about moving forward, lifting up the middle class and working together to make the next four years the best we can. Yes we can! I felt lifted up, part of something larger and better than myself. I felt inspired to be my best self for a common good.

After the rally, while U2’s Beautiful Day played in the background, I had the pleasure of shaking hands with the man I hope will become the next vice-president of the United States.

Later in the day, our beloved Phillies were playing in what we'd hoped would be the last game of the World Series.

And it was!!!

We wish we were celebrating in the streets of Philadelphia with our friends and family, but today we’re settling for wearing our Phillies shirts and really big smiles.

Today's "Beautiful Day" moment? Natasha at Mawbooks posted a generous review of my election-themed, middle grade novel. Thanks, Natasha! And thank you for your good work raising money and awareness during your Darfur campaign.

Have a beautiful day!

October 24, 2008

Four Fun Things on a Friday

1. Lest you forget, Wild about Words is still wild about this word game. Try it. I dare you to quit before your wrist feels like it’s going to snap off.

2. Thanks to "Have I Got a Book for You" for this nice review of my novel. Erie Times-News is giving away a copy of my novel along with a lapel pin. If you live in the Erie area, you can enter to win here, but if you live elsewhere, you can always buy a copy here and here.

3. I’m nervous/excited about the upcoming election. Are you?

I’m nervous/excited about the Phillies in the World Series. Go, Phillies!

I’m nervous/excited about reading Halloween stories to a gaggle of pre-schoolers next week in my friend Pam’s class. I hope I don’t frighten them when I wear my costume.

4. My Halloween costume this year will consist of the following parts . . .

What are YOU (or your children or dog or cat or iguana) dressing up as this Halloween?

October 16, 2008

School Visit

This morning, I had a wonderful school visit here . . .

First, I spoke to 300 K-2 students in the cafeteria. But really, it felt like only 299 students.

These three things were involved in my presentation:

1. Penguins
2. Gigantic Sunglasses
3. A Silly Hat

If you want to know how these things tie into my presentation, well, you're just going to have to invite me to YOUR school.

After that, I presented to approximately 300 3-5 students. But really, it felt like only 9,846,732 students.

A student from the photography club took my photo for their yearbook.

Then, I headed to the media center . . .

At times, it felt like I was in a jungle . . .

The only thing missing were these . . .

Although there were no zebras in the media center, there were ten enthusiastic young writers. We learned that nouns and verbs are the powerhouses of good writing. Then we created a zany fill-in-the-blank story using unusual nouns and powerful verbs. Finally, the students created character profiles and took off from there.

Overall, it was a fantastic visit. The staff and students at Whispering Pines rock!!! But I owe the biggest thanks to the media specialist, Mrs. Wegner, for getting in touch and dragging me, um, I mean inviting me to the school.

So, THANK YOU . . .

And thank you to the energetic, enthusiastic students at Whispering Pines Elementary!!!

Have a great weekend,

October 10, 2008

Fun on a Friday -- How to Write a Novel

Meg Cabot is not only prolific, she's hilarious. Enjoy this video where she explains how to write a novel, using several visual aids, including a cat's butt.

Meg would probably enjoy Avi's book, A Beginning, A Muddle and an End: The Right Way to Write Writing. I did. Poor Avon could have used Meg's video. He had a really difficult time just writing "Something."

Happy adventures in writing and in life,

October 7, 2008

I should go on vacation more often . . .


Just returned from a lovely fall getaway with friends and family. I hiked up and down hills, past rows of corn stalks and over a covered bridge here. I enjoyed time playing tennis, overeating and relaxing here. I slept late, laughed with family and friends, took long walks and lingered over the delicious beginning of Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains by Laurel Snyder.

Feeling rejuvenated, I returned to work today and discovered this lovely review from Booking Mama:

I can't rave enough about AS IF BEING 12 3/4...! This book dealt with so many issues that are pertinent to today's young girls -- mother/daughter relationships, single parenting, working mothers, crushes, embarrassing moments, and normal teenage insecurities. I think most girls will relate to at least a few of these topics. Not only do I appreciate how Ms. Gephart handled all of these topics in this book, but the storyline is also very interesting. By having Vanessa's mom run for president, the reader gets some insight into the presidential campaign and election process -- and it's in a very fun way, not like a boring history class!

While I did find this book hilarious and I can admit that I laughed out loud many times, I was also touched by Vanessa's story. Vanessa was a very sensitive young woman who was dealing with a lot of changes. Pre-teen and early teen-age years are difficult in the best of times, but Vanessa had a lot more to deal with than the average young girl. Not only was her mom away campaigning, but Vanessa was also coming to terms with losing her father. In addition, she was filled with the normal teenage insecurities; but on top of that, she had to handle one huge insecurity -- fearing for her mother's life. I love how the author was able to balance the book between being entertaining and addressing deeper, more serious issues.

AS IF BEING 12 3/4... is Ms. Gephart's first novel. If this book is any indication, I think she will be a "player" in juvenile fiction.

Read the rest of the review here.

Besides returning to this very nice review, I learned I sold a funny greeting card to Oatmeal Studios and received a check for a humorous Halloween article published in Pittsburgh Parent.

The moral of this story? I should definitely go on vacation more often!