Monday, July 27, 2009

Pancit and Popcorn!!

Kristi Valiant had a wonderful turnout on Saturday, July 25th during her book signing for Cora Cooks Pancit, the beautiful picture book she illustrated for Shen's Books. The crowd at Barnes and Noble in Evansville, Indiana got to sample homemade pancit, which Kristi's husband made using the recipe from the book. It was an exciting first signing; no doubt Kristi will have many more!

As for my own publishing update, I received slightly less exciting but still fun news! After entering a poetry contest a few weeks ago at the Stories for Children Magazine blog, I received an email Friday from a friend who saw the results. I won 3rd place and some free popcorn!

Please visit to read the poem. The editors also had some very kind editorial words. "As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of humankind on the moon, your idea of aliens coming to earth and smelling popcorn and wanting it so badly, combined with your awesome title, made your poem very funny and a kid-pleaser, Christi. WOHOOOOO FOR YOU, CHRISTI!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Everyone Should Be Reading Caroline B. Cooney

As of two weeks ago, I had never read a book by Caroline B. Cooney, which is amazing considering she has 45 or more! Since she is a featured speaker at the SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference, I thought I should read a couple so that I could speak intelligently about them and her writing.

Wow! It's hard to say more than that, but I'm sure I'll manage.

I started with Enter Three Witches, based on MacBeth. As I'm not a huge Shakespeare fan, I was skeptical, but the title drew me in. It was great! Really, super interesting. I almost want to read Macbeth. Almost.

Okay, so one book down, and it was really good, so no problem reading more. Next, I chose A Friend at Midnight. It's hard to say why because I don't read the back of books; sometimes they give things away! Anyway, it turned out to be a GREAT pick. This book is stunning! There were so, so many instances where I thought, oh, I wish I'd written that; I wish I could write like this; I wish my characters were so full and wonderful. I can not do the writing justice by my descriptions, but this is a must-read for YA authors--or anyone. The book is poignant, funny, heart-breaking, and hopeful. I sobbed through at least the last ten pages, but it was a good kind of crying, not the horrible crying of a kidnapped, murdered child or a canine best friend getting killed after saving the main character from a dire fate. No, this was the kind of crying I love to do when reading a wonderful book. You know the kind--tears flowing with each new sentence from every character. Thank goodness I was at home instead of my usual Starbucks because I wouldn't have been able to prevent those tears. I would have been bawling like a baby, and I'm sure the baristas and my fellow customers would have felt compelled to check on me. And that would have only irritated me--because it would have interrupted those crucial ending pages and the flow of my emotions!

After that, I'm happily onto my next Cooney book, Goddess of Yesterday, and I anticipate many, many more before the conference. I went from thinking I should read of couple to becoming a die-hard fan. It will be such a pleasure to meet Ms. Cooney and such a thrill to have her sign books for me. Until then, I have lots of happy reading ahead!

Monday, July 6, 2009

When Procrastination Sets In...

My son is at camp for the whole week. It’s 2:00 on Monday afternoon. I’ve been looking forward to all the writing that would occur this week. I mean, I’ll be by myself during the day. Hours and hours to do nothing but write. I have a short story that is only a couple of thousand words from complete. I have critique group stuff to critique. I have manuscripts to get ready to send in to for the SCBWI Mid-South Fall Conference. I need to send out emails for the August SCBWI Evansville event with Margaret McMullen.
Instead, I am checking out Twitter and Facebook and the camp website. (They post new pics every day, and my son might be in one of them!) I did write a new poem to post on Twitter—a Fib about not getting writing done.

Put off
They call it
Like this Fib; instead of writing.

Does that count as “writing?” Hmmm…technically, yes.
Now I’m even updating my blog! Wow, I’m really grasping at straws to put off the writing, huh?
The question is, why? I love to write. The last several weeks, I have been thinking, I’ll miss my son, but I can’t wait to work on my story. I wonder how many thousand words I’ll get written? Well, one day is almost down and the grand total is 14—from the Fib!
Maybe it’s because the sun is shining right outside the library window. Or maybe I expected to get so much done, that I am afraid I won’t meet my expectations. Maybe it’s because I have a new (used) car, and it’s so much fun to drive that I really just want to keep zooming around town running errands (something I normally hate to do).
Well, in the immortal words of every procrastinator…maybe tomorrow…
In the meantime, I would love to hear from other writers out there. What causes you to put off writing—the very thing you supposedly love to do? More importantly, what do you do about it? Post your best tips and stories to help us all get to work!
Thanks…and get busy!