Monday, March 25, 2013

Using Every Pot in the Kitchen

My youngest kids, Superman and Cowgirl, decided they wanted to make rice krispy treats.

I'm big about making my kids do stuff on their own. My friend graciously calls it, "preparing the kids, not the path." I call it, "you're old enough."

So, I pointed them in the direction of a bowl, printed out some tiny directions, and loosely supervised. You know, supervised; did work on the computer and finally thought to pay attention when I heard noises incongruous with cooking. I looked up to find them staring at a bowl filled with marshmallows, butter and rice krispy cereal.

They were wondering how to get those rice krispies out of that bowl.

Because upon closer inspection of the directions, they had sadly discovered that one doesn't add rice krispies until after one melts the butter and marshmallows in the microwave.

A hunt ensued. They needed bowls. Many pots. And strainers. And, for some odd reason, a cheese grater. All sorts of spoons, forks and pancake batter scoops. Rice krispies flew around the room and marshmallows were eaten (when they thought no one was watching).

Finally, a bowl full of relatively naked marshmallows and butter was hoisted into the microwave. I looked around the kitchen at the aftermath of what looked like a dessert war, the only casualties--mini-marshmallows and rice cereal.

My kids looked triumphant.

It seemed like they had used every pot in the kitchen.

And I wondered when the last was that I had used a cheese grater to make rice krispy treats. Or used a virtual cheese grater when I had to remove something from a first writing draft.

Or tried to solve an issue at the Writers' Loft in a non-linear, creative fashion.

If I'm not throwing everything I have into my life and into my writing, then I'm just not trying hard enough.

Those rice krispies were the best I'd ever tasted.

Please join me on Tuesday night in Burton's Grille in Westford MA, for a kidlit get together, planned and executed by the amazing Kris. (See her sidebar for more info.)

I'll be happy to answer any inquiries about the Writers' Loft, a new writing community and office space for writers in Sherborn, MA, while I'm there.

Happy word grating, everyone! :)

Do you have a secret cheese grater that you use to extract the important stuff out of that first draft? I tend to think of one of my crit partners as an effective cheese grater. LOL. What's your favorite cooking experience? What do your kids get up to when you let the explore the kitchen?

Anyone want to come and help me clean up?  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Conversation About My Epic Fairy Tale Fail

So, I had the distinct pleasure of reading the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Anna Staniszewski's second book in the UnFairy Tale series, My Epic Fairy Tale Fail.


Here's the description (Goodreads):

Fairy tales do come true. Unfortunately.

Jenny the Adventurer is back, and this time she's off to the Land of Tales: the crazy place that all fairy tales come from. If she can defeat an evil witch and complete three impossible tasks--all without getting eaten by blood-thirsty monsters--Jenny might finally get some answers about what happened to her parents. 

This is one adventure Jenny can't afford to fail.

Of course, I have at least two fans already in the house (and my daughter is just now getting into UnFairy at the age of seven) so I couldn't just keep the book to myself.

I passed the book to my sons (i.e. the book was ripped from my hands) and also to one of their friends.

Here's the ensuing conversation: (disclaimer: the interviewer has not read this book--she is starting book one now. Also, this video is choc full of boy humor. I am manning the camera, and occasionally the camera moves because I am either laughing or shaking my mom head "no." (Which was ignored, of course.) I didn't edit the tape--what my kids (and their friend) gave me is what I'm giving to you. :))

I have to say, I was bummed out at a certain point of the book, when Jenny, the main character (spoiler alert--LOL) FAILED a task. (Dude, it's in the title.) :)

But, this happens to my kids ALL THE TIME. And to me. I fail stuff ALL THE TIME. :) The whole point is what you do AFTER YOU FAIL.

Sorry for the polyanna life lesson today. :)

Read the book--it's great and wacky and weirder than our cat wearing a bathing suit.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Next Big Things

So, I've been tagged by my awesome friend Nandini, a writer who is local to my town, and a wonderful wordsmith.

The title of the tag is The Next Big Thing, and there are questions to answer. Check out Nandini's post about her amazing book: Red Turban White Horse.

Awesome cover, right?

I'm going to take some liberties and change some of the focus of the Next Big Thing structure, and I hope that is okay with Nandini. :) I'm just going to talk about some of the Big Things in my life right now:

I'm querying what I hope will be a Next Big Thing--a YA post-apocalyptic Thriller. Fringe meets Maze Runner.

The Next Big drafting Thing is a YA cyber thriller, working title Revoltion. One sentence about it: When shy, sixteen-year-old Tryst opens the wrong virtual door at the cyber site Revolt!, what is hiding behind it makes her run for her real life.

Fun, huh? Evidently I like it when my characters have to run for their lives.

I'm writing it with the help of John Truby's amazing book, The Anatomy of Story. John Truby will always be The Next Big Thing to me. Seriously. Check it out.

The next Next Big Thing is that my thirteen-year-old son just started texting with a girl. WITH A GIRL. And he has his first dance at school tonight. It's a whole new world, people!

The most immediate Next Big Thing is that I am taking the always-fabulous Anna Staniszewski out to lunch to celebrate her new book's birthday, My Epic Fairy Tale Fail.

Great read--The MC Jenny isn't your average anything!

Anna, much like John Truby, will always be The Next Big Thing for me. She is an amazing person, writer, and friend.

I handed off my (loaner) copy of Anna's ARC to not one, not two, but THREE boys. You know, because #MyBoysReadGirlBooks and #TheresNoSuchThingAsAGirlBook

Soon, I'll let them tell you how they liked it!

And, of course, I am sitting in my gloriously The Next Big Thing loft office space for local writers. So, if you are a writer, and would like to have a quiet space to write, or a conference room for meeting with your crit group, or a place to take or give seminars, please check out my post about The Writer's Room of Requirement.

Yup, I'm shamelessly linking to my own blog there. :) That's how I roll.

And, of course, I can't wait for the NE-SCBWI Spring Conference, which is always a Big Thing in my life, but this year, I'm coordinating volunteers for it. Which is a lot of fun--I get to meet a lot of wonderful people. I have made life-long friends by attending this conference, and I'd love to see you there! Make sure to register soon, since it's getting quite full.

I am officially tagging Jon to find out what his The Next Big Thing is. :)

So, what's yours?