November 28, 2007

Two Blogs and a Web Site


Check out this interesting discussion posed by Laurie Halse Anderson on her blog. And let me know your thoughts.

I'm excited to announce a new blog -- Dan's Distractions. I've always been inspired by hubby's eclectic taste in books, music, cinema, etc. Now, he's sharing those finds on his brand new blog.

One of the interesting sites mentioned on his blog is this -- a great find for word nerds who have generous spirits. Have fun. I promise it's not quite as addicting as this site.

Have a great day,

November 20, 2007

Tis the season to give . . . the gift of reading

Here are a few ways you can give that precious gift this holiday season . . .

1) If you live locally, please consider donating to the 11th annual Wood Memorial Book Drive. New books for children 6 months to ten years will be distributed to children through the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition. There will be a donation box at the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Delray, Thursday, November 29th at 6 p.m. at Old School Square. (Live entertainment begins at 5 p.m.) If you can't make it to Delray, there are other collection sites around the county, and I'd be happy to collect and deliver any donations you have.

Three cheers to Christina Wood for spearheading this wonderful drive every year in memory of her parents.

2) Or for something decidedly NOT local, check out the Camel Book Drive that brings books to children in remote parts of Africa.

3) To give the gift of reading that truly lasts a lifetime , contact your local literacy council about teaching someone to read.

4) Finally, to provide books, clothing, toys, food, etc. to a Palm Beach County family for the holidays, contact Angela Feaman, of the school district police, at

Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Donna & Family

November 16, 2007

Favorite Book Friday

Writers know the only way to grab agents, editors and most importantly, readers is to craft a first chapter so tight it sings. Better yet, a first page that plunges its talons in and won’t let go.

I’ve discovered a novel that managed to hook me like a side of beef with the first paragraph. (And I’m a vegetarian!)

From Mary Hershey’s THE ONE WHERE THE KID NEARLY JUMPS TO HIS DEATH AND LANDS IN CALIFORNIA. (Mary and I are in a heated battle for the award for longest book title.):

“I first became famous when I was eight years old and my dad took me skiing at Lake Rochester with his old-lady boss. My picture was on the front page of all the newspapers for miles around. Heck, Aunt Clem said she even caught me on the national news. And it wasn’t because I was such a hotdog skier. The real story was that I took a dive out of the ski lift chair. Broke my right leg so bad they had to cut it off.”

The second paragraph is good, too, and the one after that and . . . But I’ll allow you the pleasure.

Ms. Hershey’s writing is not only compelling, it’s laugh-out-loud funny. Yep, she wrote a book about an amputee so hilarious it’ll make you snort milk out your nose . . . when you’re not reaching for the tissue box because of the sad parts.

If you’d like to read an interview with Ms. Hershey, check out this link.

Now, excuse me, I’m off to polish the first paragraph of my new middle grade novel. Ms. Hershey’s set the bar kind of high, don’t you think?

November 9, 2007

Teacher Appreciation Day!

Everyone has one. A teacher who made a positive impact.

Mine was Myra Durlofsky, my 10th grade Language Arts teacher. (We called it “English” back then.)

The first day of class, Stu Cohen, a football player, leaned over and said, “You’ll love this class. She’s excellent!”

And she was. And still is!

Mrs. Durlofsky moved through the classroom with energy and purpose. She gave us interesting activities, like writing and performing a modern-day version of Romeo and Juliet. (“Yo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Dude?”)

I worked extra hard when doing an assignment for her. She once scribbled at the top of a page of vocabulary sentences I’d written: “Your sentences brighten my day.”

I still have that paper.

Today, in “retirement,” Mrs. Durlofsky teaches English to Russian students and volunteers at a local cancer hospital and hospice. I still imagine her moving through her days with energy and purpose.

I know what she’s doing today because after twenty-seven years, we still write letters to each other on a regular basis.

So, when you read my novel this February, you’ll recognize the name of the Language Arts teacher who has my main character make a diorama of a scene from Romeo and Juliet.

Thank you, Myra Durlofsky!

November 7, 2007

Who Needs a Conference?

On the Writer's Digest Web site, I found this video of Jodi Picoult's keynote address at the BEA Conference. Ms. Picoult, best-selling author of adult novels, talks about how she became a writer and some of the fascinating research she's done for three of her novels.

Here are a couple gems from her speech:

"Writing isn't about waiting for the muse; it's about discipline."

"It's easier to edit a bad page than a blank page."


November 1, 2007

Halloween Fun

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Our neighborhood is flooded by hundreds of trick-or-treaters. Some neighbors turn their garages into haunted houses, their lawns into graveyards and their roofs into spider's nests.

We always run out of candy, but this year we managed to buy enough -- 400 pieces! With a few Snickers bars left over for yours truly.

Here are some photos from the festivities:

"Save us, Spidey! Someone stuck raisins in our candy bags again. Ugh!"

"Glamour girl!"

"My future's so bright, I need to wear shades!"

"But they were on sale at Lens Crafters."

"Those pesky zombies are biting again. Where's the undead repellant?"

"Okay, who's the joker who replaced my coffee with decaf?"

"Way to put on my thinking cap!"

"Wanted: For impersonating sane people. Sheesh!"