Simply Sunday Catch-Up

This week’s Simply Saturday comes to you on Sunday. It’s been that kind of week!

 The first piece of news is for anyone who teaches Speak! Victor Malo-Juvera, who has taught Speak for years, researched and wrote his dissertation about how using Speak in the classroom changed his students’ attitudes about rape myths. He has generously written a summary for my website, and allowed me to link to his full dissertation. If you need data to take to your curriculum director or the chair of your English department, Victor has it waiting for you.

   We’ve had a Barred Owl hooting in the Forest this week.

   I prefer to call it a Bard Owl and imagine that it is composing sonnets.



 Sheila May-Stein, the new librarian at Pittsburgh’s Manchester PreK-8 school, was horrified to learn that her library had a grand total of 40 useable fiction books. She is using the power of social media to make sure that her students have the number and kinds of books that they deserve. I’m putting a box of books for them in the mail tomorrow. If you want to donate, send the books to Sheila May-Stein, Library, Pittsburgh Manchester PreK-8, 1612 Manhattan St., Pittsburgh, PA 15233. Even easier, you can order books to be sent directly to the school via Sheila’s Amazon Wish List. A longer blog post gives more information.

 You guys know that I have a very good relationship with my first husband, Greg. He runs a software company that makes patient management software for pediatricians. As part of his company’s charitable mission, Greg coordinates free health clinics in Jamaica, bringing down doctors, nurses, and medicine, and working with local medical teams to take these resources to where they are most needed on the island. Greg made this brief video about this year’s trip that I thought you might enjoy. We’re all very proud of him and the good work that he does.

I’m headed West on Thursday so I can speak to the Arizona English Teachers Association. Will I see you there?

Writers helping Joplin, MO

UPDATE!!! Thanks to you, we raised $4,000 in four days for the Red Cross efforts in MO!! I really appreciate everyone pitching in. Will be announcing the raffle winners in a few days.

You all know of the devastation that hit Joplin, MO. Folks are still looking for loved ones. Those who survived the storm have to figure out how to start their lives over. From scratch.

Most people have the inclination to be generous at times like this. But then they get busy, because the demands of day-to-day life are relentless. Maureen Johnson and friends decided to help guide people to donate by offering critiques and books earlier in the week. I was tied up at BEA all week, but I’m home now and it is my turn.

All you have to do to participate is to contribute at least $10 to the Red Cross. That will earn you one chance to win the FABULOUS GRAND PRIZE OF A MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE. If you contribute $50, you have five chances! If you contribute $1,000, your name goes in the hat one hundred times!!! (I figured that anyone wealthy enough to win a traditional auction has enough cash to pay a freelance editor for critique help. This is my way of leveling the playing field.)

If you win my contest, I will critique YOUR manuscript (yes, I am looking at you). I will read the entire thing or the first 400 pages (whichever comes first) and I will send you a letter with my thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses of the story. Interested? Keep reading. (I’ve included alternate instructions for people who do not live in the United States.)

AND..In addition to the manuscript critique, I will give away at least five of my books to Almost-Winners, whose names will also be drawn at random. (If you are an author or an illustrator and you want to donate a book to the pile of loot, let me know!)
UPDATE! David Macinnis Gill is donating books, too!

UPDATE!! Book Doctor Jason Black (@p2p_editor) has stepped up to sweeten the deal. He is offering, to anybody who donates any amount to my raffle, $50 off a full manuscript critique. In a nutshell, if you buy a ticket (or several!) to my raffle but you don’t win, you can still get something for it: a discount on the same thing you were hoping to win from me! If you’re interested, all you have to do is chip in to my raffle and contact Jason via twitter to let him know!


1. Donate at least $10 to the American Red Cross, via the Ozark chapter website. At the bottom of the page, click the red DONATE button.

2. On the next page, click the button that says “Disaster Relief for Countless Crises (e.g. Tornadoes, Spring Floods, Wildfires, etc.)”

3. On the next page, click MAKE A TRIBUTE GIFT.

4. Page after that, click E-Card.

5. Page after that, fill out your personal and credit card info. At the bottom of the page, where it says “Tribute Gift Information,” click “Yes, I would like to send an eCard.”

SUPER-IMPORTANT!!! 6. Select an E-card. (I don’t care which one. It’s not really “in honor” or “in memory” of me, but this is your way of proving you made the donation.) Send the e-card to laurie AT madwomanintheforest DOT com. E-card Subject can be “Writers for Joplin.” MAKE SURE YOU INDICATE HOW MUCH YOU HAVE DONATED!!

7. Complete the donation process, THEN send me a tweet or message on my Facebook page or comment to this blog letting me know how much you donated. (I hope this will encourage lots of people to join in.)

8. UPDATE!! Contest will run until midnight, Pacific Standard Time, TUESDAY, May 31, 2011.

9. Winner’s name will be drawn at random. For every ten dollars donated, winner will have one chance in the drawing. Winners will be notified by email. I make no promises or guarantees that my critique will get you published. Also, I can’t promise to show it to my editor or agent. But I will give you honest, constructive comments about your story.

IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES, YOU CAN STILL PLAY! You can donate through the International Red Cross/Red Crescent, choose which of their projects you want to support, and send an email to laurie AT madwomanintheforest DOT com with the details of your donation.

I got the ball rolling by donating $500. (I promise not to put my own name in the hat for a critique!) Now it’s your turn!!

(PhotoCredit: AP/Mike Gullett)