On My Mind

-thoughts of a wife, mom, author, illustrator, juggler, toy designer, teacher, camp director, ...



Saturday, May 7, 2011

Everyone has a story…What’s your story?

Are you a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker? Did you live in a foreign country when you were little - or ever? Do you love to carve totem poles out of chunks of fallen wood? Maybe you enjoy dipping candles, stamping, or macramae. Are you in an a capella group that meets on Saturday mornings? Have you ever created a garden and grown your own fruits and vegetables? Maybe you had a summer job experience that was truly unique?



If you think that you "don't have a colorful life" or "have never done anything truly interesting." That's BUNK! Everyone has a story. Every life has value. When people hear that I grew up on a sailboat, performed in the circus, designed toys for a living, acted in a renaissance fair, or directed a summer camp - they tell me that I must have lived many lives. Not true. This is my life - one life. Carpe' Diem. What's your story?



I'm not asking you to write a book - I'm just saying that it's important to tell your story to your children and their children. My grandmother (Nana) used to work in a corset shop run by my great aunt. My grandfather (Papa) and his brothers sold souveniers at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933 to earn money for college. Ask your parents what their first job was like or about the different neighborhoods they have lived in. Ask your grandparents what life was like when they were in junior high school. Gather up these stories and share them with family and friends.



Maybe you used to take trumpet lessons or was the only girl on a boys soccer team. Maybe you used to walk to the five and dime store every Thursday to buy a piece of your favorite candy. What was your experience like when you learned to ride a bike? Did you have any crazy jobs during college - just to make some extra cash?



Did you have any hobbies when you were little - or now? If you were not working in your current profession - what would you want to do? Did you ever start your own business? I did. I sold hand woven potholders to my neighbors. I even made an order form and created them in custom ordered colors and patterns when I was in fourth grade.



This is your time to shine! People talk to me and think that I have done soo many interesting things - you have, too. I know it. Take a look at yourself, your parents, your grandparents - what's your story - and theirs?



Post a comment below and tell me something about you, your parents, or your grandparents. This is the true history of people. Everyone has a story. What's yours?...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interview with author Piers Anthony

I have loved reading science fiction/fantasy books since I first read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle in third grade. I love the magic, the time travel, the adventure. I give Ms. L'Engle the credit for introducing me to a whole genre of exciting stories. Shortly after, I was given A Spell for Chameleon by: Piers Anthony. This is the first in his Xanth series and I was literally spellbound by it. I was transported to the magical world of "Xanth" where characters have magical talents, travel on adventures, and fight battles for power. Piers Anthony is extremely talented at hiding puns throughout his stories, adding to the fun of reading them. He continues to write books in this series with it now having a total of 34 titles and his website lists "more to come." The magical land of Xanth shares similar geographic locations with the state of Florida and as a native of Illinois, I used to compare the locations in the stories to the Florida page in our family atlas.



I recently emailed Piers Anthony and explained that I was a new author with a blog and a long time fan of his writing. In my email, I asked if he would answer a few interview questions and he responded with these candid answers:



Q: "How long did it take you to get your fist book contracted with a publisher and once under contract, how long before it hit the shelves?"



A: "My novel Chthon was rejected by three publishers in the course of a year or so. When the fourth one had held it for five months without response, I queried, and then got an offer. The contract specified publication within a year, but it took longer than that, perhaps my first evidence of the publisher's indifference to legalities. When I took legal action to make them honor other terms of the contract, they blacklisted me for six years, until new ownership changed the picture entirely."



Q: "Which series that you have written (or are in the process of writing) has been the most fun to write?"



A: "I believe it was the ChroMagic fantasy series starting with Key to Havoc. Big publishers did not want it, so it went to a small publisher Mundania."



Q: "When writing a new manuscript, what is your process?"



A: "I usually summarize the novel, then summarize the first chapter in more detail, and work from there. But it varies. I just did a collaboration, Aladdin Relighted with J.R. Rain, wherein each author wrote a chapter at a time, alternating."



Q: "What suggestions do you have for other new writers?"



A: "Be aware that challenging as writing is, that is only half of it. The other half is getting it published. My first novel was never published. So don't expect too much."



Piers Anthony's website can be found at www.hipiers.com/. His site includes a current list of hundreds of electronic publishers http://www.blogger.com/www.hipiers.com/publishing.html and reviews of their publishing processes.


Thank you, Piers Anthony, for taking the time to respond to my questions.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Books

I have loved books since I was in elementary school and read every Archie comic and Encyclopedia Brown book that I could get my hands on.











In third grade, my teacher told me that I had to read books that were more difficult. I didn't care about difficulty, I just wanted to read books that interested me. She recommended many different titles but none of them sounded as fun as a boy detective solving cases around the neighborhood.





I went to my mom to get advice. She asked me a series of questions and then told me that if I wanted to read about independent kids doing really exciting things, I should read A Wrinkle in Time by: Madeline L'Engle. I did. I zipped through it in three days.





More than thirty years later, I still love to read the same kinds of books and now I am working on writing fun books for children. My first book is getting published this year. Look for FLAP! in the fall of 2011.

In other book news, I am happy to say that I read thirteen novels in 2010. Some were mid-grade, many YA, but most were both fabulous and inspiring. Reading great books is like going on an adventure anywhere you want to go. Being a mom, an author, and filing candidacy papers in 2010, gave me little time to read. (Yes, I am running for Village Trustee of Hoffman Estates in the April 2011 election.) I made a goal for myself of 10 novels in 2010 and I managed to pass that goal. In future posts, I may list those books with a little information about each one.

I started this year with a new book. Millicent Min: Girl Genius by: Lisa Yee is a mid-grade book about an eleven year old genius. So far it is a fun read.


Look for more posts about the campaigning process and publishing updates in the future.