Monday, May 30, 2011

Partner on the Path, Christina Farley

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Christina Farley, a fellow writer and partner on the path. I hope this and forthcoming interviews will be as encouraging and informative for you as they are for me. To celebrate this inaugural feature, I will be giving away a surprise book to a random commenter. Now let's hear from Christina: 

What resources have you found most helpful on your writing path? 
Love the Blueboards. I get such great insights and encouragement from the writers there and I’ve even found some pretty awesome friends from there! I also love the blogging community. That’s where I learn what’s going on in the publishing world and what are the hottest book releases.
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve experienced along the way?
I suppose it’s actually the small victories along the way that kept me from giving up. One was winning a writing contest. Another was seeing a particular article that meant a lot to me in print. But often it has been my peers and agents who have written me some amazing notes. I hang those on my wall to remind me to never give up.
Favorite children’s books? Authors? 
There are so many. J
·      C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien because they are geniuses. I adore their books. Our world would be a different place if they weren’t born.
·      Jane Austen- love her. If you don’t, I’m not sure we can be friends.
·      Stephen Lawhead, Ellen Potter, Shannon Hale
·      All my critique partners and their current books or upcoming books. Because they are brilliant.
-       Classics like Anne of Green Gables, Little Woman, and all the Little House on the Prairie books.
-       Hunger Games, Beastly, Mistwood, Firelight, Fade, Matched, Paranormalcy, Forest of Hands and Teeth, Heist Society, Holes, Julie of the Wolves
-       Okay, just go visit me at Goodreads because this could take a while. J
What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
My critique partners. They are amazing. If I’m feeling down, they are always there to shoot back an email telling me all the things I need to hear at that moment. And they are always the first to be celebrate my successes too. 
Describe your fantasy writing space. (See picture below)
This is me writing at D'Azay-le-Rideau castle in France. France is so romantic! My sister and I took a chateau tour there and imagined up all kinds of crazy stories together. I’d take notes and then on the long train rides write fun mini scenes. But I’ve always said the best writing place would be up in the mountains where no one would bother me. I’d hunker down in a cabin with a big fireplace and it’d be just me and nature. Well, maybe I’d let my hubby come along.
What obstacles have you overcome in order to keep writing?
Time! Juggling kids, full time work, classes and trying to socialize occasionally isn’t easy. Every minute, no actually every second counts.
What one word describes your writing process?
What do you appreciate the most about being part of the children’s writers community?
I have made so many amazing people that have taught me a lot about who I am and who I want to be.
Best writing advice you’ve been given?
If you could write your whole life and never get published, then never stop writing. Because you were made to write.
What do you like to keep in mind while drafting a story?
It’s all about the character’s journey, internally and externally. Every scene, every word should reflect that.
How will you celebrate the publication of your first book?
Lots and lots of chocolate.

Here's where you can learn more about Christina:

My blog, Chocolate for Inspiration:
My Critique Group:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SCBWI Crystal Kite Award Winner, Marsha Skrypuch

Last month I received a book in the mail that I'd won through a blog contest. Cool, right? I'd read about this book and the author and was eager to read it. What a delightful discovery! The day I finished reading, I found out the author had been awarded the SCBWI Crystal Kite for her region. 

It is with pleasure that I share Marsha's comments with you. You can learn more about the author and her books here: Marsha's Website 

On Writing

Favorite thing about writing a first draft:

There is a certain thrill to starting on something brand new and not knowing where the journey will be taking you. It is akin to a reader's experience of finding a brand new excellent novel to plunge into.

Best thing about writing for kids and/or teens:

Kids and teens are more discerning in their reading tastes. If a novel doesn't grab within the first paragraph or two, they will set it aside. I love the challenge of writing for such an intelligent audience.

Favorite word? 


One word that describes your path to publication:


If I could have two dream careers, I’d be an author and a:

Letter Carrier 

On Life

If I could snap my fingers and solve one of the problems here on earth, it would be:


One question I wish I had a definitive answer to:

Why must history continue to repeat itself?

Best thing about being a child:

My favourite thing about being a child was that I could imagine all sorts of futures. I also loved creating an intricate fantasy world for myself. I stayed a kid longer than most and in fact some people claim that I never grew up.

Worst thing about being a child:

I didn't like the assumption by adults that kids know less than they do. In fact, I have met a whole whack of kids that are way smarter than adults. Kids' perceptions are purer than adults and they don't have so much mundane stuff on their minds. Why is it that so many adults don't understand and respect that?

Best thing about being a teenager:

The entire world opens up when you're a teenager. In many ways you are treated like an adult and you can do things that adults can do, but it's all new and exciting. When I was a teen, I plunged into reading and writing in a big way. I discovered that I loved history and social justice.

Worst thing about being a teenager:

The stereotypes. So many adults assume all sorts of negative things about teens. It is frustrating to have adults assume that you know less than they do just because they're older.

Most memorable teen moment:

I was a teen in the 1970s and at that time, there wasn't yet equality of the sexes. I belonged to a club called Junior Achievement. High school students would form businesses with about 20 students in each business. There were ten or more of these student businesses in my city. Each student business developed a product – something simple like a kitchen gadget or decorative item that could be made in a woodworking or machine shop. We made the product, packaged it up, marketed it and sold it. The company that did the best job won. Individuals also won various prizes. In all past years  a top male achiever and a top female achiever were named but because it was the 1970s, there was an assumption that it was really the top male achiever that was the true winner. When I was in grade 11, I won the first overall top achiever for my city. They didn't even choose a male, just combined the award and gave it to me. That was such a thrill!

A quote I live by:
The only failure is when you stop trying.

My  dream vacation:
A remote island with lots of books, swimming and sand.

In My Perfect World…

What I would like is that each person realize that they bring something unique to the universe. We are all equal, yet different and the world is only complete when we are all valued. I would love it if everyone had that feeling affirmed once a week

There would be an abundance of food and water.

No one would be deprived of basic human rights.

Every child would have love.

No one would ever hurt others.

Books would be free for everyone.

Marsha holding a few of her novels with readers

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Monday Feature--Getting to Know Our Fellow Writers on the Path

Imagine being alone in the woods on a long, difficult trail, not knowing when or if you have what it takes to reach that gorgeous resort that everyone talks so much about. You picture the rustic cabin with the fully-stocked refrigerator, the comfy sofa near the large rock fireplace, the cushioned chairs on the porch overlooking the lake. Mmmmmm. You've heard all about this place from those who've already been there, but you wonder if you'll ever arrive. Do you wish you could know more about those who are on the same path with you?

I would love to connect with you "writers on the path to publication" who feel like sharing your stories, tips and triumphs.

If you're interested in being interviewed here on my blog, please contact me: yascribe(at)comcast(dot)net

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Alexa Martin--Author of GIRL WONDER

"It's not what you do. It's who you are and how you treat people that really matters." -Alexa

Earlier this month I spent a fun evening with this lovely debut author at an event at Village Books in Bellingham, WA.

It didn't take me long to figure out that Alexa is an outstanding human being with a lot of heart.

I am delighted to be able to share a few of her thoughts with you here.

For more information about Alexa and her debut novel, GIRL WONDER go to Alexa's Website
On Writing 

Favorite thing about writing a first draft:
Best thing about writing for kids and/or teens:
Getting to feel like a teen
Favorite word:
One word that describes your path to publication:
If I could have two dream careers, I’d be an author and a:
Professional Trail Runner

On Life 

If I could snap my fingers and solve one of the problems here on earth, it would be:
Affordable health care
One question I wish I had a definitive answer to:
Why can't I ever get the auto sinks/hand-dryers to work?
Best thing about being a child:
No responsibility
Worst thing about being a child:
No power
Best thing about being a teenager:
Everything feels so intense
Worst thing about being a teenager:
Everything feels so intense
Most memorable teen moment:
Ripping up my high school physics book upon graduation
A quote I live by:
"Only connect." -E.M. Forster
My dream vacation:
The Outer Banks of North Carolina

In My Perfect World… 

Everyone would get hugs and compliments at least once a week. There would be an abundance of affordable health care and community spirit. No one would be deprived of love and compassion. Every child would have loving parents and great friends. No one would ever put another person down. Cute clothes from Anthropologie would be free for everyone. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Social Networking

April showers bring May showers, around here anyway, so I thought I'd bring my own flowers. Aren't they lovely?

This week I'm hosting an SCBWI meeting on the subject of social networking, why and how. As I asked myself those questions, I realized I knew more about the how than the why.

Why do I tweet around on twitter? Why do I write this blog? Why have I joined writers forums and why do I have tons of sites loaded on my Google Reader?

Two reasons:
Education and Connection

Through social networking, I learn about debut and veteran authors, fabulous writing tips, great books being released. I find out what's on the minds of editors, agents, publishers, book reviewers, writers, and a whole lot more.

The best part is getting to know real people. People who who make me laugh, who touch my heart, who encourage me, motivate me, entertain me. Writing can be lonely. Social networking helps me feel less isolated. 

What about you? What does social networking bring to your table? Please help me out. Any advice you'd like to share with those who are just getting started?