Saturday, November 23, 2013

My First School Event

I've been a published author for two years now. (Well, for my novels--I was published as a short story writer for the first time about five years ago.) And ever since Finding Angel released, I've been looking forward to speaking to kids at schools. Yes, I admit the idea terrified me at first, but a local homeschool organization invited me to speak at a career day and I had so much fun, so I began asking around in search of teachers who might be interested in me coming to their classes.

I found out rather quickly it's much easier said than done. Schools are already pretty short on time when it comes to covering material, and taking time off for a guest speaker doesn't seem to be anywhere near the top of the priority list.

Well, at least not if you are a virtual unknown.

Some of my friends have friends and/or relatives who are school teachers, and they've tried connecting me with those teachers for school visits. But initial enthusiasm quickly turns to excuses. "We've got to prepare for FCATs right, maybe in a few months?" "How about next fall/spring? I'll get back to you..."


I'd pretty much given up on the possibility, at least until my homeschooling Beasties are older and I can leave them alone for long stretches while I pound the proverbial pavement trying to sell myself at face-to-face meetings with teachers.

And then...

At a local writers group a few months ago, I found out one of the members is a middle school teacher. I introduced myself after the meeting and asked her to please keep me in mind if she or any teachers she knew at her school were interested in having an author come speak. She was very sweet, and took my card, but hold my breath I did not.

A couple of months later, I was preparing to teach a workshop at the Florida Inspirational Writers Retreat, which happens to be run by the same writers group where I met the middle school teacher. She came up to me during the last group meeting before the retreat and told me about the Great American Teach In that would be happening at her school in November, and asked if I'd be interested in coming to speak!

Long story, short--okay, slightly less long--last Thursday I spoke to middle school students in two of her classes.

And it was AWESOME.

Of course being the big dummy that I am, I didn't take a camera, so I have no pics to show you. But I will never forget the faces I saw there. Smiles and eyes wide with interest. Hands going up one after the other with such great questions!

I started off by asking if any students were interested in writing, and the enthusiasm of some of the responsed just blew me away. My purpose in asking them was actually not to assess their interest, but to give a way for me to let them know that when I was their age I never thought of myself as a writer. It made me kind of sad--happy, but sad because when I was that age I could have been filled with the enthusiasm they have now if I'd given myself a chance to be.

Anyway, I had my art--and still do. And that was something that surprised me as well. I showed them some of my work, from present day and from waaaay back in high school. The oohs and ahhhs, and show-me-mores warmed my heart and kept me smiling the whole rest of the day!

All I can say is: Totally worth the wait. And now something I want to get to do even more.

So thank you, Mrs. Kramer, for asking me to speak to your classes. And thank you, students, for your awesomeness! Write on!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In Lieu of a Real Blog Post....

And yes, I'm still slacking on this blog. The last post I put up here was wimpy, I know. And today's won't be much better.

Fact is, I've been busy. Schooling the Beasties, who are getting older and more complicated. (Yes, I said that right--their schoolwork is getting more intensive, but the Beasties are the ones getting more complicated :P.)

And last week we took five days to camp at Disney's Ft. Wilderness. You can see the pictures HERE if you'd like.

Then, after getting back from camping, I decided I needed some time to draw. This first one is a sketch of a photo I found on Pinterest. For some reason, I just really, really love this.

And this one....well, if you can't tell "who" he is... :P


Since I still have no content of substance to post here, I give you THIS, a blog post by Maggie Stievater. Neither familiarity with Ms. Stiefvater nor the song to which she is referring in this post is necessary. But not having food or drink in your mouth when reading it (and some tolerance for a few mildly crude references) is necessary. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Where I Am, Since I Have Barely Been Here

Short post today just to share that my first contribution to the newly re-launched A Flame in the Dark blog by Diminished Media Group went live today.

In "Making it Personal" I analyze the differences between the novel and movie for The Woman in Black. I found some serious differences that in my opinion made the story in the movie far stronger--and more terrifying.

Would love if you'd stop by and check out my article, and the others that are up there. I'm looking forward to contributing more to the site in the future!


Anyway, I've not been blogging much lately--yes, I'm fully aware--but hope to get my head back into it soon. The Beasties are getting older, which means their schoolwork is getting more intensive. I've been really completely swamped with schooling them lately. Not to mention my house has basically been a construction zone for months. We are in the final stretch of laying down tile floor through about 1/3 of our house. It has been a lot of work and inconvenience, but the result is worth it!


Also, don't forget about the Goodreads giveaway for Finding Angel. Only a couple more days to enter for one of two print copies (signed, of course). CLICK HERE.