Ready to Write?

Twenty-four hours to go until my annual Write Fifteen Minutes a Day (WFMAD) Challenge!!

I feel like a boxer’s trainer, rubbing her shoulders, fanning her with a towel, about to push her to the center of the ring and say “Go get ’em, champ.”

Are any of you taking the plunge a day early? Can’t wait?

I do have one suggestion. It might not sound related to writing, but it is. Go for a long walk today. If you walk with a friend, use the time to talk about your hopes for your writing in the upcoming month. If you walk alone, focus your thoughts on the same thing.

Moving your body is a critical part of the writing process. I’ll talk more about that in the next month.

The other news around here all centers on the upcoming publication of FORGE. (Which happens in 80 days, for those of you counting down at home.) I’ll be getting my booktour details very soon. Should we work out a secret handshake or something for those of you participating in WFMAD who come out to my signings this fall?

Abby the Librarian was able to score an advanced reading copy of FORGE and has written a terrific review about it.

Do YOU want an advanced reading copy of FORGE? Denise Jaden is holding a contest to do exactly that over on her blog. You have until Tuesday to enter. (And seriously – this contest is the sweetest thing ever and I swear I had nothing to do with it, which makes it even sweeter.)

My writer’s group & WFMAD approacheth

Are you ready?

Pencils sharpened, pens lined up, fingers nimble?

The Third Annual LHA Write Fifteen Minutes a Day challenge starts on Sunday, August 1st!

::cue roaring crowd and bawking chickens::

WFMAD is a bit like NaNoWriMo, but better. Because writing the draft of a novel in one month (which is the goal of NaNoWriMo) is a great challenge, but overwhelming for a lot of people. My approach is smaller and often, more effective. It simply requires that you write for fifteen minutes every day during the month of August.

Can you do that? Of course you can. Do you want to? That’s sort of up to you, isn’t it?

I will be posting every day during the month. My posts will be part writing prompt, part cheerleading, part gentle kick in your backside. (You don’t have to use the prompts if you don’t want to.  They are just to help stir your creative pot a bit.)

In a way, this blog can become your writer’s group for the next month. If you already have a writer’s group, no worry. You are not being unfaithful to them, you are expanding your circle.

My writer’s group met on Tuesday. We were missing Bruce Coville. I think he was off gallivanting with unicorns. One of our members, MJ Auch, was recovering from surgery, so she beamed into the meeting on Skype.







This is what MJ looked like on the computer sitting on the end of the kitchen table. (Note her cat lounging in the background.)







Suzanne Bloom is pointing the camera down at her latest amazing artwork so that MJ can see it. Standing with her back to the camera is author, cook, and amazing writer’s group hostess, Ellen Yeomans.







And this is what we looked like on MJ’s computer!!


Distance and circumstance need not stop anyone who has the writing dream in their heart. I’ll be reworking the rules for this year’s WFMAD challenge a bit – details on Sunday. But the general guidelines are the same that they’ve been for the last two years. New this year will be prizes – tee-shirts and maybe an ARC of FORGE (or two) for the people who write the funniest or most moving comment each week.

Any questions??

One more thing…. I have shifted blog hosting sites. The Mad Woman in the Forest blog is now found at WordPress. The blog will continue to feed to FaceBook, LiveJournal, and a bunch of other sites, but if you want to make comments that I can guarantee you I will read (and will make you eligible for prizes), you need to make them on the WordPress version of the blog.

OK, now for real… any questions??


Utah adventure

(Pre-post entertainment. Are you following the results of the Top 100 YA Novels poll over at Persnickety Snark? Check it out!)

What with all the new website hullaboo, things have been not quite as serene as normal, so I am way behind on telling you about the BYU Children’s Literature Symposium.

(Thank you, by the way, for all the kind comments about

First things first – did I mention that the conference

was in Utah? Do you even know how gorgeous Utah is?

Not only is it gorgeous, but it is filled with some of the nicest people in the world.

like Kristen Chandler, author of WOLVES, BOYS AND OTHER THINGS THAT MIGHT KILL ME, who was my gracious host during the conference. She helped me track down a rather important cord that I forgot to pack, and also made sure I was able to sample regional cuisine:

fry sauce

and something called an iceberg shake.

I was at the conference with old friends Elizabeth Partridge and Kadir Nelson, and new friends, Brandon Mull and

David Shannon, who is a very funny man.

Elizabeth put together a great blog post about the whole conference, BTW.

One of my favorite activities was that we each had 4 30-minute sessions that were lightning round Q&A. I loved those. Only wished they could have each been an hour long.

On the last night we drove up even farther into the mountains and had a magnificent dinner in one of the most beautiful places in America.

Thank you to all of the teachers, librarians, and readers who came out to the conference. You were amazing.

If you ever get the chance to go to Utah – take it!!

Unveiling new Mad Woman in the Forest website!!

I’ve mentioned the website overhaul that we’ve been working on in the Forest for a while now. While the old site was very pretty, we had a lot of complaints about the Flash and navigation issues that gave me migraines.

Enough of the new site is up and running that we can unveil this, the beta version, for your critique, and possibly, your delight. Obviously, we have a lot of content to be added, particularly for teachers and students. Our goal is to get all those pages up and running by the time school is back in session.

Here is a slightly blurry screenshot of the Home Page:

But really, you should visit the site itself and stroll around a bit.

What do you think?

Video Sunday

I’m thinking of making Sunday into video day on my blog. What do you think?

Here’s a video that was sent to me by Tony, who is a future English teacher (student teaching this fall) in Pennsylvania. He wrote this song based on SPEAK and the stories of some friends of his who were raped.

If you want to tell Tony what you think about this, go to his YouTube channel: