Monday, April 16, 2012

Girl Scouts' Six-Word Memoirs - Please Vote!

Recently, I had a book signing at the Believe In Girls Expo to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts. (We promptly went on a two-week vacation the following day, so I'm behind on getting this posted.) One of the activities at my booth was for the Girl Scouts to write a six-word memoir describing why they enjoy this sisterhood.

Nearly 80 Girl Scouts stood at my booth all afternoon, pen in hand, looking upward, shrugging, smiling, and saying how hard it was to write just six words. I overheard one dad telling his daughter, "Just write six words or less." I informed them it had to be six words exactly and explained the six-word memoir project. So, the girls did it. All 78 of them! I've narrowed the entries down to ten finalists. Please help me vote for two winners.

One will receive the book, I CAN'T KEEP MY OWN SECRETS, a six-word memoir book by teens famous & obscure, edited by SMITH Magazine. The other winner will receive a packet of Palace movie tickets. Without further ado, here they are:

"Girl Scouts better than Boy Scouts!" ~ Brianna
"Best memory of my entire life." ~ Emily
"Doing new things with my friends." ~ Kenzi
"Making friends that last a lifetime." ~Amanda
"Nobody can live without cookies, NOBODY!" ~ Dani
"Learning to be a great girl!" ~ Alley
"Girl Scout camping! Fun and Kool!" ~ Kayla
"Camping, friends, 100 years of fun." ~ Kaitlynn
"Thin mints are my favorite cookie." ~ Hannah
"Cooking, camping, cookies, s'mores and friends." ~ Joanna

Aren't they great?! Please vote for your two favorites by Fri., April 27.

Finally, I had a big basket for one lucky winner which included my picture book, nail polish, lip gloss, bookmarks, green and white socks, colored pencils, hair bands, toys and more. The lucky winner was Sierra pictured below. She was a delightful little girl whose dad, Danny, patiently spent the entire day with her around hundreds--possibly a thousand--excited, energetic little girls. She also told me she was going to share the basket contents with her brother. What a sweetie. Congratulations, Sierra!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Friday Fictioneers: Shell Shocked

The hard bench must have made a permanent indentation by now. I glanced at the tunnel that seemingly led to nowhere—or anywhere. I wanted to walk inside and escape.

I replayed our conversation. At the guardrail, Jonathan had slowed to a crawl. “We need to talk.”

Four words no one wants to hear.

“It’s over. We’re over.”

I stiffened, staring at my emerald-cut diamond. Tears stung my eyes. I couldn’t speak.

“I’ve met someone else.”

My heart plunged. Anger surged. I grabbed the handle. “Stop the car.” I flung the door open and glared at my fiancĂ©. “What's her name?

Jonathan stared ahead. “Mark.”

Monday, April 9, 2012

Inspiring Children

In late March, I read to second graders at Greenwood. Their curious minds always delight me and remind me why I write children's books in addition to novels. I always leave schools with a smile on my face.
After I read my book, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE?, I asked the students what they wanted to be when they grew up. After all, I wrote this book to inspire children to dream big! One by one, they answered very specifically with careers such as professional tennis player to marine biologist to attorney. These were high achievers!

Then, I explained how to create a story starting with either a plot or a character. We decided our main characters would be a pig and a dog. The students named them Petunia (the pig) and Cookie (the dog). I talked about using the five senses when writing so the reader could really put themselves into the story--to show the story and not just tell it. I also talked about creating conflict to make the story interesting and a bit about pacing (i.e., removing the boring parts). When we talked about conflict, the students came up with some hilarious situations for the animals, and storylines took off in many directions.

I suggested they each write their own ending since they had the "bones" of the story. I was delighted when a boy (toward the end of my talk after we had moved on) raised his hand with yet another suggestion about the pig and dog's dilemma. He was really thinking about his story--and HE was the one in the beginning who told me he didn't like to write! Success.

Toward the end, we danced to a theme song that I'll talk about in a future post. Finally, there was a short Q&A where the students had insightful questions such as: "How did it feel to become published?" and "How long did it take to write your book?" and "How did you work with the illustrator?" in addition to many more very grown-up questions.

It was a great day. Thanks to Cecily Cornelius-White and Avery White for inviting me--and for taking me to lunch afterward!