Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Writing Tip Tuesday

Okay, it's not Tuesday.
And I'm most decidedly not Barbara O'Connor (but I do love her writing).

When I was first beginning to explore how to write a middle-grade novel, Barbara was well into her career. She was generous about passing down craft tips she'd learned the hard way (and from her fabulous editor, Frances Foster). 

This morning I happened to be researching something totally unrelated to this post. And yet it appeared (How does that happen, Mr. Google?): A tip about writing endings. So hard, yet so important: 
"...if you blow the ending....well, then, it's like serving brussel sprouts for dessert after the gourmet dinner."  Barbara O'Connor

I'm passing along this fabulous writing tip about ENDINGS. There are many more tips on Barbara's blog.  I've shared a few HERE and THERE over the life of my own blog. 
Thanks, pal, for cluing me in.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12 Days of Books

Why not? There are lists for everything. 
As we wind down the year and march toward the holidays, let's talk about some of our favorite books, with potential for gifting.

But first-
Kate Messner reminds us of the impact our books have on their intended readers, the kids and the librarians and teachers, parents and grandparents who share them. But especially the young readers. 
If you haven't read her poem, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR BOOK TODAY, or haven't read it in a while, HERE IT IS.
Good reading at this time of year. Or anytime.

Before I join this fun countdown suggested by book people whose ideas I can't wait to hear, may I say a few words about lists?  If you didn't have a book out this year. If your book kind of dropped through the very large cracks. If it came out in January to a big hoopla and in December is barely chugging along. All those things can make writers nuts if we let them. 

Instead of going nuts, I'm planning to think about the books I loved this year.  And share a few.

They may not be brand new. They don't have to be serious or funny or the latest thing or the oldest thing. Just books I want others to know about. 

(True confessions: Even though I treasure each good review of my own books, I'm terrible at postisng on Amazon and Goodreads. There's something about rating books that reeks of comparison, and I have a very hard time doing this. If they didn't ask me to give those confounded comparative stars, I'd put a lot more books on those sites. So this is my little way of adding my opinions to the universe, with no comparisons and no fancy stars. Just twelve days of book love.)

Feel free to share your own favorites! Use the hashtag #12daysofbooks, and join in the fun!
Everybody's welcome!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Saving Stuff

At a recent gathering of authors, the topic of STUFF came up.

As in, what do you do with all the critiques from your Writers Group, the notebooks, the scribbles, the literally stacks of boxes filled with what can be called the ephemera of writing. 
(Although the purest form of that word means useful for one day, which is WAY LESS than most of us spend on the treasures that turn into our novels...)

I know of at least three places that preserve and share and digitize and save all this.

One is the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota. Among many esteemed writers, you can find Barbara O'Connor's goodies there. You can also read all about it on THIS BLOGPOST.

Many Tampa Bay and Florida authors, as well as those from all over, have given their saved manuscripts, signed galleys, and other fun stuff to Joan Kaywell at the University of South Florida's HIPPLE COLLECTION. My friend Shannon Hitchcock wrote about it here.

(Joan has an extensive collection of signed finished books as well as Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) there. Including mine. Thank you, Joan.)

I'm proud to say that my books' extras are housed at the DeGrummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. 

Off to find a new home where it will be available to researchers, lovers of kid-lit, or anybody who's curious about exactly how we write.  

It's hard to say goodbye. 
But nice to know somebody is saving it all.