Write 15 Minutes a Day Challenge (WFMAD) – Day Eleven

Warning: cherry jam can be habit-forming. I am sneaking back to the orchard as soon as it opens for another fix. My works? A cherry pitter, clean glass jars, pectin, and a large vat of boiling water.

I keep misspelling cherry as “cheery.” There is subtext in that, I think.

Two recent blog bits saluted my new book, INDEPENDENT DAMES. The Columbus Dispatch reviewed it along with my friend Kay Winters’ COLONIAL VOICES (thanks, Kay, for the link!), and the editor from L.A. Parent had nice things to say, too.

Public Safety Interlude: I hate to sound like a nag, but sometimes I don’t have a choice. Wear sunscreen and stay away from tanning salons! Note to new readers: I had melanoma in 2002. Two spots were surgically removed, both Stage 1 cancer. I’m still figuring out how to tattoo the scars. I never visited a tanning salon but had a lot of sunburns as a kid. Now I am the Queen of Sunscreen.

Today’s goal: Write for 15 minutes, then find fresh cherries.

Today’s mindset: poetical.

Today’s prompt: Even if you never write poetry to be published, I believe you should dabble in the form. Poetry allows us to focus on language and rhythm much more than prose. Reading and playing with poetry with absolutely make you a better novelist.

Visit Poetry Daily and wander around a bit. Find a poem or a poet that you like and write your own poem in the same style or using the same theme. I took a workshop from Molly Peacock and am a big fan of her work. (She has a new book out!) If you can’t find another place to start, read her poem Pedicure. If the thought of writing a poem is too intimidating, write for fifteen minutes about how irritated you are with this stupid prompt. Or take a risk and fly on your words.


Give & Receive Goodies!!!

I’m emerging briefly from the Cave of Revision (where I had a very nice epiphany yesterday, thank you, and now I’m pretty sure I know how to fix the part that wasn’t working in this story) to check the calendar.

Note: there is a chance to win free books ahead, including a collectible first edition. Keep reading!

Gasp. We only have 61 days until the half-marathon in Lake Placid.

::reaches for running shoes::
::slaps self and points to massive manuscript and mountain of notes::

Truth be told I ran yesterday, so today is a cross-training day (w00t). So far this year, I’ve done pretty good sticking to my goal of running 20 miles a week. As of yesterday, when I staggered up the driveway, I have run 303 miles since January 1st. The snow is finally gone up here on the tundra, so I’ve abandoned the treadmill in favor of hilly country roads well-stocked with rotting roadkill.

New readers of the blog might be wondering why on earth I’m doing all this running. My husband and I have vowed to raise $5,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training fund. The money goes for research into the causes of and treatments for blood cancers, which kills an American every ten minutes. My cousin is fighting this disease right now so it is a cause that means a great deal to our family.

Note: You’re almost to the part where you get to win the free stuff! Keep reading!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Because I know a million, bazillion people, I was able to meet my fundraising goal last month. My studly, adorable, patient, quick-witted husband (yeah, that’s him in the photo) is not far behind, but he could use a little help. He is 60% of the way to his goal. All he needs is another $1,000. But he needs it soon. (Photo by Sonya Sones, BTW.)

Here’s where the bribery begins… I mean, here’s the free stuff!!!!

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If you donate $50 toward Scot’s goal, I will send you a free audiobook of TWISTED (seen here hanging out with the revisions of my WIP).

If you donate $100, I’ll send the audiobook and a special surprise.

If you donate $500, I will send you a very rare, first edition, first printing copy of SPEAK. No one had high hopes for the book when it was published, so the first print run was limited. Here is your chance to snag a collectible.

Or you can donate what you can afford and receive our everlasting gratitude and a really good feeling in your heart. Come on. You’re about to get a check from the government. Here’s a way to put it to good use.

Please help us. It’s for a good cause.

My coffee cup runneth over

I live a charmed life. There is no doubt.

In the last 48 hours, friends of mine in the publishing world, in education, fellow writers, relatives, high school buddies, readers, and students getting by on ramen noodles have contributed a total of $1,100 to our race effort!!! That means we are already more than 20% of the way to our goal of $5,000!

I am stunned and humbled.

I got a little teary-eyed yesterday as I read through emails from people who have lost dearly loved parents, siblings, and children to cancer. It feels like everyone is touched by this and reminded me again why our effort is important.

Thank you all very, very much. If you haven’t donated yet, please go to the Laurie Halse Anderson Team Website and contribute. If you want to support the guy-side of this effort, go to my husband’s site and give money there. The totally awesome Nancy Werlin donated to Scot, so if you give on his side of the ledger, you’ll be in extremely good company.

If you can’t afford to donate (I totally understand – been there and have the tee-shirt), please help out by blogging about our cause and bugging your friends who have so much money they can afford to blow three dollars on a cup of coffee. You know who I’m talking about.

(For the record, we ran at the gym yesterday. BH ran 5 miles. I only ran 3 because my knee was a little squeaky.)

Along with the fundraising email, yesterday marked the official beginning to The Busy Season. This Spring I am traveling to Chattanooga, TN (they’re reading SPEAK for One City/One Book), Springfield, IL (Illinois Reading Council), Nashua, NH (SCBWI New England), and San Jose, CA for writing workshops.

In addition, I have a new picture book coming out in June that has such a gorgeous cover I can’t wait any longer to show you.

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What do you think? (I’ll be giving more info about the content of the book and some sneak pictures of the inside soon.) I’ve been working on this project for a veeeeeeeeery long time. It’s hard to believe it’s actually coming out.

Dang!! I was jumping up and down so hard I spilled the coffee again.

I have miles to go before I sleep tonight: chapters to revise, a gazillion emails, and new material I have to generate for the website. Thanks again for a great kick-off to the race in June. Please wish me luck with the Revision Race of February.

edited to add Today is Langston Hughes’ birthday, one of my favorite poets and guiding lights.

Lake Placid Half-Marathon countdown: 136 days

Join Our Team (please, please, please)

OMG, I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is better than oatmeal.
This is better than an armful of library books.
This is better than finishing a draft.

My Beloved Husband and I are going to make a difference.

We’ve joined the Team in Training, a kick-butt group that raises money for cancer research for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. BH and I will be running the Lake Placid Half Marathon (yep, 13.1 glorious miles) on June 15, 2008. We are trying to raise $5000 in support of this run.

Why should you give a hoot about this? Because we need your help.

Please go to the Laurie Halse Anderson Team Website and make a donation there.

If you want to support the guy-side of this effort, go to BH’s site and give money there..

Between the two of us, we’re trying to raise $5,000. If you help, we can achieve the goal.

After you donate (and I thank you loudly), please ask someone else to help. TEACHERS – this is a great classroom project – a way to show how adults incorporate physical fitness in their lives as well as a chance for your students to give back. LIBRARIANS – ditto. What about your book club? Your critique group? Your kidlit buddies who get together for drinks on Friday nights? If everybody tosses a couple of dollars into the pot, we can change lives and change the world.

What? You still have questions? Let them fly.

Hey, Writerlady! I thought you were really busy with writing. How are you going to make time for this, too?
We already run four times a week. Last month I did two 10-milers, so covering the distances won’t be a problem (though it won’t be pretty, either). It won’t take any extra time and I promise the new books will be done on schedule.

But, wait. You’ve had melanoma. Your mom, aunt, and cousin had breast cancer. Why aren’t you raising money for those cancers?
Because another cousin of mine, Darcy Skinner, is fighting non-Hodgkins lymphoma today and I want to help him.

Are you going to send me annoying emails about this?
If I have corresponded with you by email, then yes. So why not give a little right now and save yourself the trouble? If you are a new friend, or someone I only know through KW or SCBWI, you won’t be getting an email. It would be unethical to use the private contact information from those groups for this. So I hope you read my blog and will take it from there.

OK, OK, my wallet is open and I’m making a donation. What else can I do to help?
Spread the word. Feel free to post about this on your blog, to email friends, to bring it up at faculty meetings and at the coffee pot.

Any other questions?

Thank you so much!!!

Back at it

Chris Crutcher was wonderful last night, so inspiring when talking about his commitment to writing realistic stories of courage for teens, funny, and passionate about our freedom of expression. I took pictures, but the Internet and computer problems continue here at the Forest, so I can’t post them yet.

Chris also read from DEADLINE, which sounds like a book I should go buy in hardback today. Watch Crutcher reading from his new book, courtesy of .

Am happy to report I got a clean bill of health from the doc. Some of you know this, but for those who don’t here’s the story. In the summer of 2002, I was diagnosed with two spots of malignant melanoma, the often fatal form of skin cancer. Thankfully, it was caught early. The docs cut away the offending spots and left me with a couple of long scars that cry out to be decorated with tattoos.

I have since had a dozen other lesions removed – none of them were cancerous. I avoid the sun like a vampire. That’s why I am so pale. I am proudly, purposely pale. I was never a sun worshiper, other than summer afternoons by Green Lakes as a teenager. I did have a couple of horrific sunburns as a kid. After 18, I pretty much stopped laying out for a tan. But I developed cancer.

Yes, my ancestors came from Ireland and England, but anybody can get melanoma. African-Americans die from melanoma. It killed Bob Marley. Just because your family came from Italy or China, or Nigeria does not mean you are safe. Now that summer is over, this is the perfect time to check your body for spots. Skin cancer is highly curable if caught early, so go look in the mirror.

Two questions: why is Jan Brett having her Syracuse signing in a Wegman’s? We have wonderful bookstores here, what are they – chopped liver?

And what do you think of depressing reading lists?

Back to writing…..