|Chiming in with humility and grace|
|Chiming in with humility and grace|
Hi folks, welcome to the end of this series. I've been celebrating the happy news, that the ebook version of PLUMB CRAZY from Swoon Romance has found its way onto the virtual shelves of booksellers worldwide. Try here for a copy from Amazon US. Here is Amazon UK. Here is Amazon Australia. Here is Amazon Canada. Try here for a copy for your B&N Nook . It will be available in paper in a few weeks. I hope you consider giving it a look.Currently it's only available as an ebook but for sure paper copies will be available soon.
Gorgeous sunshine calls me outside, and I want to soak some of it in. This week I 'm going to keep it short. Today I want to chat about my view of grace. It's a big universe out there and I'm sure that there are folks with a wider view. This will be about what I see in my little corner.
I have read many books that have never been published. Some of my favorite books are in this state. For whatever reason, these wonderful stories have not found their way into the hands of publishers. I have a number of manuscripts that are tucked in folders too. You put some pieces of your soul on the page when write a book. Publishing one is like your soul sprouting wings and taking off for far green pastures.
So today, I'm feeling the grace, not of movement, but of privilege. I wrote my novel because there was this ticklish feeling right under my heart that others might want to know this. Maybe it will help them along in their journey, I thought. Now my words are out there. With this dove on my shoulder, I'm feeling winds of thankfulness inside. Journey well! Huzzah!
I hope you see the privileges in your life this week and let the winds come. Come back next week for more of Seize the day.
Here is the doodle. Clover Poof.
In a world where complains about overly idealized heroines are common, Faith, a member of Valiant’s Harbinger teen superhero group is a nice break: a normal young woman who is learning to deal with her powers just like every other superbeing. And now she’s getting her own one shot by Joshua Dysart and Robert Gill, with variant covers by Joe Quinones, Lucy KNisley and Brian Level. Valiant continues to branch out with their superhero line — because it’s a more diverse world and comics market out there.
Valiant is proud to announce HARBINGER: FAITH #0 – a brand new one-shot exploration of Valiant’s high-flying teenage Renegade and Unity’s newest team member!
Coming in December from New York Times best-selling writer Joshua Dysart (Harbinger, Harbinger Wars) and rising star Robert Gill (Armor Hunters: Harbinger), start reading here to discover how Harbinger’s high-spirited teenage fangirl went from the heart and soul of Peter Stanchek’s teenage Renegades to the newest member of the world’s most elite super-team – UNITY!
As Faith recuperates from the events of Armor Hunters: Harbinger, jump on board and discover the complete, never-before-revealed tale of her origin – just as she steps into the limelight for a brand new story arc beginning in November’s UNITY #12!
Her first and only boyfriend to date is a little bit of a douche, her friends are all gone, and, after her insane adventure in Mexico City, Faith Hebert is feeling a little frustrated with the direction of her life. She’s just a normal super-powered young woman in an increasingly crazy world. Here’s the story of a true innocent and a kind heart in a hard world. From the comic shop of her youth to the moment she found out that she was actually light as feather, Zephyr is the western wind. Warm and kind, she blows across us all.
“She may not be physically strong, or brilliantly tactical, but her emotional intelligence and psychological strength are unparalleled among the other Renegades,” writer Joshua Dysart told Multiversity Comics. “I think some part of her understands that her light is needed even more in a world where you can lose your friends and face down horrible swarming alien insects. I think she sees a dark and violent world all around her and instead of that corrupting her, it reinforces her. Again, there’s a hint of that in this issue, but it’s also about a question we all ask ourselves, where do we go from here?”
This is HARBINGER: FAITH #0! Featuring covers by all-star artists Joe Quinones (Wednesday Comics), Lucy Knisley (Harbinger #25), and Brian Level (Lazarus), be here this December as one of the most unique, most sincere super-heroines anywhere in comics today takes on her very first solo adventure!
And don’t miss UNITY #12 by New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt and red-hot artist CAFU – the FIRST ISSUE of an all-new story arc recruiting Faith into the ranks of Valiant’s unbreakable all-star superteam, just as they go toe-to-toe with a brand new threat known only as The United!
HARBINGER: FAITH #0 – Cover B by Lucy Knisley
HARBINGER: FAITH #0 – Variant Cover by Brian Level
UNITY #12 – Cover by Brian LevelAdd a Comment
Hi folks, I'm ending the year with Gifts. This has been one of my most challenging years as a writer. I've struggled more professionally than at any other time in my life. My book PLUMB CRAZY is soon to go out of eprint. The paperback is cancelled. The book after it is cancelled. The small publisher has decided to go in a different direction. I put a lot of myself in that book and this wasn't the news I wanted. I turned 50 this year. I have the most mundane part-time job on the planet. I've slipped into depression, the real kind that takes some support. This week, to add insult injury, I came down with a skin infection that has left me soo tired. A bumpy part of this road of life, but I'm determined to find the silver lining.
So what gift do I have for you? Here goes. The Grace of Kindness.
I'm a person people tell secrets to. Some are small. Some are mighty. Some people I know, some I don't know. Sometimes in the grocery store or when I'm buying gas. Sometimes over coffee or on a walk. I try to do little things every day that will help somebody. I build some margins into my life so that I can have time to listen and help whoever gets in my path .I'm nothing spectacular. I'm a small time kindness operator, but small kindnesses are as natural to me as breathing.
Kindness has been a part of me since I was very young child. Just like my flaws of a hot temper and my whining tendency (Hope I didn't whine too much above! Working on it.), I've had the grace of kindness. It's hardwired. I'm not perfect. My faults have spectacularly let some down when then really needed my grace. Still, in spite of me, the grace of kindness has generally reached out to others. And like all good grace has lifted me up in process and given me a sense of meaning when almost everything else has failed me.
I believe every person has some grace. Some sing like angels. Some are the most long suffering folks that have ever lived. Some have the gift of gab and can say a perfect word at a perfect time. To me, grace means unmerited favor. Something in you that is just in you. It's hardwired like breathing. Sometimes in our life the things we've worked for get stripped from us. We lose our job. A relationship doesn't work out. Our dignity is taken away. We suffer great injustice. What should we do?
For me, I lean into grace in my life during these times. I'm a storyteller. I forge on. I'm an organizer. I find something to organize. I'm kind. I find a place to pour that kindness.
Be aware of the grace in your life. For me all grace is a bit of the light of the divine, tucked away in the most flawed earthen vessel, I continue my journey to let it shine.
I will be back next week with more gifts.
Here is the doodle: The sun, moon, and the stars.
From my heart to yours… May your year be glorious and may you find where you belong May your steps all have a spring and may your lips be laced with song May you always see the good and may your days be filled with grace May your love be overflowing… as you seek the…Display Comments Add a Comment
So, I'm in the last stretches of writing the first draft of my upcoming novel and even though I know it needs a lot revision and work (as well as an ending) I'm in the honeymoon stage of writing. It's that temporary high when the writing is going swimmingly and I find myself thinking, "Hey, this is pretty good! I'm a real writer!"
Unfortunately, I know from experience that this stage never lasts and its length is also much too brief. Before long, the euphoria will leave and I'll be full to the brim of doubt and loathing of what moments before had seemed beautiful.
But I'll try to enjoy it while I can!
My theme song (and a sad nod to Amy Winehouse):Download Amy Winehouse Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (Carole King cover)
|my scrawled notes!|
Here's the deal. We've got a box set of Maggie Stiefvater's The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Hardback. That means:
We also have 1,888 likes on Facebook.
I'd like to make that an even 2,000 and get the word out about YABC even further.
So. Once we hit 2,000 likes, we're going to have a drawing for this fantasmo box set below.
|Created by Sheila Lygo|
My father’s next youngest sister epitomizes the term “generosity of spirit.” As a young woman she could have modeled for any top agency in the world, with raven hair, laughing eyes, full mouth, and alabaster skin, all in a tall lithesome frame. She had all of this and more.
With marriage to a kind and playful man came responsibilities of farm, home, and family. Two daughters, each unique and talented, kept her busy and focused. Bickering inside the family was unheard of.
By the time the first grandchild came along, this dark beauty had become a matron, happy in her authentic plantation-style house and space enough for the girls to have enough land of their own to build homes next to the big house. Any threatening clouds to her life were as yet unnoticed. Her life was moving along very well to all appearances.
Months rolled by, minor medical issues came into the household for her, but for the first grandchild, the issues were serious and potentially deadly. She dealt with her fears and uncertainty as she dealt with life in general. She faced them, head-on, one step at a time, and helped wherever she could.
The grandson never grew out of his early medical distress. The situation grew more complicated and disconcerting as time wore on. Soon another child entered the picture, and he, too, suffered from the same disabilities.
Soon, the younger daughter had begun building her own family, living on the other side of Mom and Dad. The brood had expanded with another son-in-law and three more grandkids. Over the years serious medical concerns stalked the branches of that family tree, bringing with them sorrows, fortitude, and making do for the family’s members.
My aunt moved ahead through it all, through her own medical troubles, with frequent hospitalizations, treatments, etc. She did what she’d always done. She took care of her family; cooking, cleaning, soothing feverish children, smiling, praying, and loving.
She did all of this, and if she ever complained about her lot in life, I figure only God witnessed it. She has faced her days with gentle resolve to do the best she can, able to laugh at the foolishness and play of both human and animal, and using her indoor voice most of the time. Getting flustered never gets a task done, so she never bothered to use it.
I remember this lady from the time I was five or six years old. I’ve never known her to exhibit rage, prejudice, or ill-will. I’ve seen her cry, rock a sick child for hours in the middle of the night, and work until her fingers bent with arthritis. I know why her family is the way it is.
Those in her immediate family follow hers and my uncle’s example in their generosity and grace. There are no personal complaints about how life isn’t fair. They recognize that truth and work hard with what they have to make their situation—whatever that might be–the best it can be at that moment. They accept their roles in life, without blaming anyone for them.
Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? Always happiness and light, never raw emotion hanging on the clothesline for all to see, no enemies or troubles coming from the outside.
Like most things in this world, happiness is a relative emotion. These lucky people love and respect each other. They work as a team to make it in the world and to move forward as quickly as they can. Their happiness comes from trusting God and knowing that they are safe in the hands of one another. They support one another in all ways.
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But her family doesn’t have money for extras. They move from place to place picking crops. There is a collection of coins in a hard-times jar, but it’s only for when the family runs out of something before payday.
So Emma writers her own stories on brown paper and helps her family pick apples — hoping that one day there will be enough for her to buy a book.
The Hard-Times Jar (Frances Foster Books, 2003) by Ethel Footman Smothers and John Holyfield shares how Emma discovers a treasure trove of books when she goes to school and sees the library. But the books are so tempting she brings a few home, even though her teacher said they needed to stay at school.
What happens to Emma when her mother and the teacher find out?
Let’s ask today’s guest reviewer, Grace.
Our reviewer: Grace
Things I like to do: Ride my bike and swim.
This book was about: A girl who had a hard-times jar. Her mom said she couldn’t pick apples any more, and her mom said she had to go to school. And she felt squiggly. Her new teacher showed her around. Everyone was a different color than her, but there were books. She broke the rules and took some books home even though the teacher said not to. She was reading them and her mom found the books. She made her bring them back and tell the teacher, and she did. When she got home, her mom said she was proud of her and gave her quarters from the hard-times jar.
The best part was when: She got the quarters from the hard-times jar.
I smiled when: She was checking on her little sister, and she was all cuddled up in the box. I also smiled when she wrote the story about the lizard.
I was surprised when: She took the books home from the library. She hid them in her sweater.
This book taught me: To not take stuff home when the teacher says to keep it at school.
Three phrases that best describe this book are: “Hard-times jar.” “Apple orchard.” “Creamy buttermilk skin.”
My favorite picture in this book is: When they are all looking at the hard-times jar.
You should read this book because: You can learn to not just take stuff. And that it’s good to be honest with each other.
Thank you, Grace! (By the way, Grace says that if she came into some extra cash, she would buy chapter books.)
If you’d like to learn more about the author, check out Ethel Footman Smothers’ biography.
If you’d like to learn more about the illustrator, check out John Holyfield’s website.Add a Comment
Writing friends, I just gave up. Completely surrendered.
And you know what? It felt great. I’ll probably do it again tomorrow. And the next day, too.
I see the confusion on your face. Surrender?? Gave up on what???
Stuff I have no control over. Factors outside my influence. The immoveable metric ton of tricksy particulars I keep trying to shoulder. Pesky things like:
–market and genre trends
–shifting state of the publishing industry
–today’s seven figure deal for the latest self-published/YA/fanfic/erotica/BDSM/OCD/PTSD/STFU phenom
–three day auctions
–present learning curve
–the submission process
–submission response times
–THE SPEED OF LIGHT
Maybe your list is different. Maybe you’re querying agents or staring at your debut’s book cover or sobbing over your last royalty statement. But I bet you have a list. Take a good hard look at it, and ask yourself if you’re like me, a writer who needs to put her hands up and say…
I am not psychic. I am not a special snowflake. I am not superman, yet I am not immune to kryptonite. I am just a girl, sitting in a red chair, typing some words. I am just trying to tell a story, the best way that I can. I can control the words. I can’t control the rest. The rest will not cripple or paralyze or smother the joy I find in words. Yesterday and today and tomorrow. Amen.
Surrender is sweet. I highly recommend it.
So as you can see (and as Alvina said) we've freshened up here at the Blue Rose Girl blog. As we head into the next decade and our 5th(!) year, we thought we could use a little enlivening. Thank you so much, our faithful readers that have made this blog what it is and helped us keep our conversations going.
It was interesting to me to read comments on my republished post Ranting on Amy (read the comments from the original posting 4 years ago HERE). As I said in comments, I did write that rant 4 years ago so a lot of things have changed (especially my thoughts on greatness), but it was the inquiries on my label "midlist" that captured my attention this time.
According to Wikipedia: authors who consistently publish acceptable but not bestselling books are referred to as Midlist authors.
Personally, I'm not sure where I am on the hierarchy. Thanks to the Newbery Honor (which I will always be eternally grateful for!), I have one book that broke out of the midlist. I have many that fell way below, but most are solidly in the middle. The hope is that the success of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon has opened a door (or cracked a window) for my future books to sneak through. Of course, that is the Hope with a capital H. As with everything in publishing, you just don't know. That door (or window) can slam shut at anytime.
But, let's just say that is the case (double crossing my fingers I am not jinxing myself), I'll know that what has allowed me to climb up has been my stack of midlist titles. Each one of my non-bestselling books are responsible for my growth as an author and illustrator so that I could write a Newbery Honor book. And each midlist book gained my work more readers. They weren't big numbers, but those small groups started adding up--contributing to the large readership of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. That is to say, if I succeed in breaking out of the midlist, I truly believe it will have been my midlist titles that have gotten me there.
Which is why articles like this worry and sadden me. The first line of the article proclaims, "The midlist is dead!"
I know the PW article is mainly talking about adult books, not children's books, but it's still a disturbing trend. Most authors just don't have a blockbuster bestseller right out of the gates. Some authors need a couple of books to grow and blossom. Someone (I don't remember who) called these writers "slow-burning authors"-- they write books whose fan base is growing but have not hit that peak capacity yet. I have a feeling I am one of them.
Without a midlist, where will they go? Where will we go? The article seems to indicate smaller presses will be the life vest for midlist authors in the future. What do you think?
I'm so thrilled there has been so much good news recently for Ling & Ting (as well as a New York Times Best 2010 Notable Children's Book, Ling & Ting is a a recommended holiday gift by the San Francisco Chronicle)! I truly hope this book finds its way into the hands of many young readers for the holidays!
As an added incentive, I've made a special activity to accompany the book. Here are some Ling & Ting Paper Dolls! These paper dolls are ready for you to color and cut and are completely FREE. It is my small holiday gift to you!
Hope you like everyTING and everyLING!
1. download HERE!
2. print (preferably on a lightweight cardstock)
3. color (any way you want!) & cut
4. dress! fold the clothes flaps over Ling and Ting and let them wear their warm winter booties or their party dresses!
fyi, these paper dolls are for personal enjoyment only and copyright remains with the artist. aka, print and play as much as you want, but print and sell is wrong.
It's a winter wonderland here in New England and I love it. For traveling and all practical things it is a pain, but the sheer beauty of it is breathtaking.
I guess one of the reasons that I like it is because I've always kind of seen it similar to the writing process. Tiny snowflakes falling everywhere are like the ideas and experiences all around you. And when it comes time to write, you gather the snow and build.
So to me, it seems fitting that the snow is falling now because presently I am in the "gathering snow" phase of my work. Right now I am just trying to experience things that may inspire something in my writing later. Like seeing Cirque Du Soleil's Dralion:
And visiting the Peabody Essex Museum's exhibit on the Forbidden City's Treasures:
Next on my list is a Shen Yun Performance and then the Met's Special Exhibit on Chinese Art (though I have to figure out when I can get down to NYC). I don't know how exactly any these things will help with my work but if they do, I hope they help me create something beautiful.
For those of you who read my blog, you can probably guess that the word "extrovert" would never be used in a description of me. Even though I do a lot of public speaking, it is not something that comes naturally to me. It's taken me quite a while to be able to talk fairly comfortably in front of group and I am only able to do that after preparing and practicing hours ahead of time.
Having this blog does allow me to share and communicate more than I would in person. This is sometimes good, sometimes bad. During Robert's illness and death, I chose to let my personal life and emotions seep into the cyberworld-- even harnessing its power to create a fundraiser.
I know that these are things that I put "out there" and I do acknowledge that I have blurred the lines of public and private. However, those very things that I have chosen to share are difficult for me to discuss in a public forum. Yes, I have moved forward with my life and I live each of my days as fully and with as much happiness as possible. But that doesn't mean I ever forget about Robert or wish with all my heart that he could've lived the life we so desperately wished for him. There is never a day where I do not think of him, that is not tinged with the sorrow of a love lost.
So, dear friends, this is what I ask of you. I'm so honored and touched if you feel connection to my story--real life or fiction--and I am always happy to talk to you. But please do not ask me questions about Robert in a public forum in front of a large group, consider saving it for a one-on-one conversation afterwards. Or if you wish for me to speak about Robert's Snow to a group, please ask me ahead of time so that I can emotionally prepare myself.
And I will sincerely thank you.
I'm thrilled to announce that the paperback edition of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is NOW available. The interior illustrations are still printed in full color and there is extra-special back matter that show photos from my inspiration trip to China. If the hardcover was just a little too pricey, the paperback is now here!
AND to celebrate the paperback edition of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, I’m giving away a FREE PRINT OF YOUR CHOICE from my etsy shop to 8 random people. To enter, just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the title of your favorite print!
Winners announced next Wednesday on April 20th (so you have more than a whole week to enter).
A while ago, a fellow illustrator and I were having a discussion and she said to me, “Don’t you ever want to break out? Don’t you ever want to do something really different?”
The question surprised me. Yet, in a way, looking back, I’m surprised I was surprised. It seems to be fairly par for the course that artists radically change their style, sometimes a different one for each book. Meghan even posted how she felt winners of the Caldecott are oftentimes a well-known illustrator who has changed his/her style.
Because, I think we equate change with progress and courage. “It’s so brave of him/her to change his/her style like that,” someone will say, “and not stick to his/her same old way, the same old things.”
But when I hear this, I always think of the artist Giorgio Morandi, a painter we studied in school. For most of his career he painted bottles and vases. The same objects and shapes over and over again—for years and years. Each painting was beautiful, the sensitivity to light, the placement, the simplicity of his strokes. But you’d think that by, say, painting #10, he’d figure he had still life mastered, be bored and would want to move on. But he didn’t.
And I realize how admirable his dedication was; how much braver it was for him to continue to do what he believed in. Audiences thought his work was boring and mundane, yet he continued. There was something about these still lives that fascinated him. Maybe to him, to feel that he had mastered this subject matter was hubristic. Maybe to him, there was always so much more to discover.
So, even though sometimes I worry that people think I stick to the “same old thing” (as all my books seem similar), I’m reluctant to change just for change’s sake. Right now, I enjoy finding out how much there is to discover in what others might think is a narrow field. I’m not saying that I will do sixty years worth of books on Asian culture; but when my friend asked me, “Don’t you ever want to break out?” I did say, “No.”
Originally published February 21, 2007
So, the 90-second Newbery Movies are trickling in...and this one is AMAZING!!!!
Honestly, when I saw this I was speechless. I am completely wowed by the Bookie Woogie Bloggers' creation! Not only are the shadow puppets so beautifully done, the pacing, script and music is great, too. This is the perfect movie to show students before and after they read the book.
I was super-duper honored when I was told that Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was chosen as the book for the 2nd annual Kids Reading Across Rhode Island event. It is a one book-one state reading program and it is such a thrill to think so many RI kids will know the book!
So, of course, I was happy and eager to go to the big kick off event at the State House a couple weekends ago. It was a blast, but it was so busy that it went by way too fast! It happened so quickly that most of the day is kind of a blur.
First, there was a lion dance:
Someone told me it was in my honor, which I wasn't sure to believe. But I did get to feed one of the lions with lucky lettuce:
Which they spit onto the audience (always a crowd pleasing trick!):
...my most natural state is introverted--there are only so many visits I can do in a year without stammering incoherently. I'm kind of like a jar of marbles--every visit I do I am less one marble until I am empty.