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Not bad for a fat girl


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Fangirl

I got the opportunity to attend the annual Arizona English Teachers Association conference yesterday, and it was fantastic. Yes, I learned things in the breakout sessions. Yes, I connected with other teachers from around the state. Yes, I felt that I had some ideas to contribute to the discussions. Yes, I saw some colleagues I hadn’t seen in quite a while. All of that would have been worth it, but none of that was the highlight.

For me, the highlight was hearing some of my favorite authors speak, especially the marvelous Meg Medina. Her keynote presentation was fantastic, and she shared with us so much about her own upbringing and her childhood and teen years. It was fascinating to listen to her experiences, and how they related to the experiences she wrote for her characters, especially in her award winning novel Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Ms. Medina’s work, what are you waiting for? She’s also the author of Burn Baby Burn and two picture books, Mango, Abuela, and Me, and Tia Isa Wants a Car. Additionally, she has a short story included in the collection Flying Lessons, where she’s in very good company with the likes of Walter Dean Myers, Kwame Alexander, Matt de la Peña, and other phenomenal writers. She was gracious, engaging, and fully present throughout the event, participating in round table discussions and sharing her perspective. It was a pleasure and honor to meet her and learn from her.

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I also had the pleasure of enjoying a panel of local writers of middle grade and young adult books. They are a thoughtful group, and are so generous with their time and talent. Several of them have volunteered to teach workshops with my summer writers in the past, and two more enthusiastically agreed to teach next summer. The willingness of the writers in this community to share their experiences and knowledge is so impressive and appreciated.

Conferences like this one are inspiring to me, both as a teacher and as a writer. I feel fortunate to have had the experience.


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The Dangers of Procrastination and Amazon One Click

I am now the proud new owner of several novels that I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to read. It’s all one click’s fault. Well, no, maybe it isn’t. It’s all Twitter’s fault. Nope. Not it either. Oh my gosh, it’s all my own fault.

You see, I was happily working on my latest novel for NaNoWriMo when I felt the need to look at my phone. I know. I shouldn’t have done it, however, I did.

twitterThere, by the little Twitter bird was a red circle, meaning that I just HAD to click on it to see what was new in the Twit-o-sphere. Well, reading Twitter is like eating potato chips. You can’t read just one tweet, you have to scroll down and read 47 of them, at least. And in that 47, if you’re actually following people who are of interest to you, there are several clicks that take you other places. Places like novelists’ websites, where they gush about other novelists’ new books, and tell you things like, “hey, read this book, it’s on sale for just $1.99 and it’s fabulous!”

Well, how can I NOT read this fabulous book endorsed by this fabulous author when it’s only $1.99? I do read a lot on Overdrive, which makes MOST of my reading free, but I also can’t resist a deal, and authors still get something when I buy a $1.99 book, so there’s that.images

Well, one click leads to another click which then leads to another click, and before you know it I have several new books downloaded. Swell.

Now I’m not unhappy about this. I didn’t spend a ton of money, and as I said, I’m not opposed to authors earning a little something from their writing, not at all. I’m just saying that those evil geniuses over at Amazon know what they’re doing. Sigh. I just hope that someday they’ll be doing the same thing for me and my books.

 


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Loyal Dog vs. Zombies

Let me preface by saying I’m not a huge Zombie fan.

Oh sure, I do love Zombieland (yes, I know it’s gory and gross, but it’s freaking funny with some awesome actors), and I’ve enjoyed the entire Dayna Lorentz series. But somehow those fantastic YA novels set in the post Zombie shopping mall world seem different to me. Then there’s Sick, by Tom Leveen, another zombie YA novel, this time set in a high school, cool, huh?  So maybe I sort of do like Zombies. Or at least the Zombie genre.

Last summer I had the pleasure of attending a fantastic writing conference. The opening address was delivered by the author who just might hold the title as King of the Zombie Writers, none other than Jonathan Maberry.  He is a phenomenal speaker, and a prolific writer. His work is on my “to read” list, but frankly I’m a little scared of his books, even the covers are terrifying.

The good news is, he is not one dimensional. His facebook feed is full of happy, uplifting messages, and I enjoy following him.

Today, especially, I was in for a treat. This morning he shared this wonderful video, and it made my day. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. With thanks to Jonathan Maberry and the talented artists who created this film. Enjoy Steadfast Stanley.