Category: Uncategorized

Bad Navy Guys and Awesomely Feral Navy Kids

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Over a month ago, the kids and I went to this amazing summer fest that they have on the subbase.

They had paintball- which got super heated because you had grown men serving in the military either pairing up with or going against children. My son was accepted into this super alpha group of guys, and I now think he assumes being the in the Navy consists of drinking, cursing, and playing paintball.

Rock Climbing- the guys that manned this station were so great with kids. I saw more than a fair share of kids get halfway up, realize that heights could lead to impending doom, and freak out. These guys deserve hazard pay..

Inflatables galore- Most of these involved waiting in a line until an unspecified amount of kids cycled through. This one little kid was like NOPE. He barreled through the line and monkeyed his way up the slide and then proceeded to hide within the innards of this Ironman bouncehouse. My daughter was asked by the attendant to perform a special ops mission to retrieve said kid, which she agreed to do, but then didn’t. She left the kid to be feral for another 10 minutes before the kid came out his own. I can laugh about it, because it wasn’t my kid…

They also had a pretty cool archery set up, but most of the little kids couldn’t wield the bows, so they were natural targets for the bigger kids… <~ I’m really starting to see that Navy kids are both brutal and fierce creatures O.O

And fireworks: The best I had seen in years!

41848835_235607443781450_1015402737757585408_n (1)But what got this military spouse happy was the FREE STUFF! And imagine my extreme giddiness when my daughter, knowing that I am huge nerd for books, snagged me a free book by James Patterson.

I had given the book a good home, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to ever read it. Action Thrillers aren’t what I normally read. But then Alycia asked me if I would go to a book signing to meet Patterson. Naturally, you should read a book from an author before you meet them right? I remembered that I had one of his books! It felt like the book was free twice over!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend, but I was motivated to finish his book. Once you start an action thriller book, it’s really hard to put it down.

One thing I really liked about Patterson’s work was how he seamlessly combined three different crimes into one flawless experience. It wasn’t just a “ME SMASH ACTION TOGETHER,” but rather each crime had a key element that connected each to the next one. There was a continuity, so to speak, that kept up the pace of reading that, dare I say, made it enjoyable?

Like so enjoyable that I feel kind of sad that I didn’t start the series from the beginning? Patterson, what have you done to me?!

There is also some pretty hilarious irony in the fact that two of the main bad guys in this book are Naval Academy Officers, and this book was given out for free at a Navy Family event….

Although,

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Can we take a second to look at this guy’s photo on the back of the cover. Is this really the photo they liked and felt should take up the entirety of the back of the book? Over the few days it took me to read, I felt like this guy was staring at me confused..

Like he was asking me how to fix his computer and couldn’t understand what I was talking about when I suggested turning it off and back on. He knows what that means, but can’t fathom why it works..

Or was that really the top I wanted to wear to work?

Another cup of coffee, Faith.. really?

tumblr_mi0q5u1exh1qf42vzo1_1280Or it looked as if he was trying to figure out if a certain vampire was his son…Pattinson is obviously the British version of Patterson.. AND look, they both share that confused browed scowl! No DNA test required!

(Photo curtesy of  http://www.robsessedpattinson.com/)

Ok, I think the connection is all in my head. I clearly just wanted a reason to browse 100’s of Pattinson photos….

When Failure Is Really A Wake-Up Call

A few weeks ago, before the Summer of Slacktitude ended and I was insanely blinded by medical goo in my eyes, I had felt empowered enough to send out a few query letters to agents. I had this grand idea of sending a few out each week so that I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed with absolute failure in one swoop.

That idea lasted all of one day, equaling two agents that I had found on Writer’s Digest.

Weeks later, which was last Thursday, I was at work. I checked my email, read said email, saw I was rejected and went on with the rest of my day.

You guys it was the sweetest rejection email I’m like to receive. She was like, “We read your query, and I’m sure it will do really well with another agent. Unfortunately, we’re overloaded with projects at this time and cannot take anyone else on.”

Let’s face it, her it’s “us” not you didn’t fool me. It’s likely me, although, I was expecting something more like “You are unoriginal!” or “That is the worst query letter ever! Quit writing.”

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Instead, what I got was an email that made me more encouraged to query other agents. And is it wrong that I feel as if this rejection secures my identity as an author? I  ripped off a band-aid that was supposed to cause me a lot of pain, but all it really did was sting for two seconds. It didn’t really change how I identify as an author, nor did it curb my writing.

And plenty of the authorial greats have had to rip the same band-aid off. Over and over again. I’m in great company:

Madeleine L’Engle – rejected 26 times

J.K Rowling – rejected 12 times

William Golding- rejected 20 times

Even George Orwell’s Animal Farm was rejected. ANIMAL FARM!

You can see even more at Buzzfeed’s 20 Brilliant Authors Whose Work Was Initially Rejected

It made me realize that it’s time.

It’s time to break through the fear of rejection and seriously campaign for my story to be published. This is the moment where I prove that I believe in my Middle Grade Fiction piece and its right to be in the hands of as many readers as possible. I need to keep being tenacious and keep pushing until I finally get a YES.

I’m fired up!

 

My game plan for the next few weeks:

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Writer’s Digest has compiled numerous agent databases as well as some added info on how to market yourself as a writer in a way that appeals to agents. These books seem like the next investment for an aspiring writer hoping to become published. I am going to query until Yahoo tells me I’ve sent too many emails in one day and need to take a break.Children of the Planes

 

 

I am going to begin work on the sequel of Children of the Planes, simply because my kids want me to. Being published does not validate me as a writer; my readers do. If the only readers right now happen to be my little children spawn, then so be it!

There is also a conference coming up in Massachusetts for Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators members where I will have the opportunity to get feedback from agents and editors about what they’re looking for. It sounds like a great opportunity to network and grow as a writer.

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. If I didn’t have as amazing of a network as I do, I’d like have quit after that first no.

Closet Readers

When I was around my daughter’s age, my parents separated, and we moved into a tiny apartment that was cozy enough for my ,mom and me. When I wanted to escape from the world, I would hide in the only closet. It had just enough space for myself, a blanket, a flashlight and a handful of books.

I remember reading one book over and again. It was a non-fiction book based off of a Gorilla who knew sign language and had a best friend that was a kitten. If you haven’t guessed it, the Gorilla’s name was Koko.

This weekend that Gorilla passed away, which made me a little heart broken.

To honor the part of my childhood she made memorable, I grabbed a book and squirreled away into a closet. I know it should have been more about honoring Koko than comparing and contrasting my childhood with my children, but ya know…stuff happens.

For example, my kids have access to five closets not including bedroom closets where they can lay out and create summer reading dens. This works in their interest because I had no siblings trying to break down the door to see what top secret activities were going behind closed doors.

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I was in the closet a total of five minutes before the youngest sniffed me out. Then she climbed in and joined in the reading with her own book. Ten minutes later the eldest found us, cramming us in like sardines and making me wish I had picked one of the bigger closets to honor Koko.

My son is a lot smarter than I ever will be. He rigged up the flashlight to hang from a hanger, allowing for a hands free experience.

I expect that by the time my grandchildren become closet readers, they will have closets with lights on the inside and locks from the inside to keep intruders out.

Summer Reading Goals

Today is the very first day of summer!

It would be something to celebrate, if we weren’t still a family of school goers for ANOTHER WEEK.

Snow days seemed worth it at the time…..

Since a week can feel like forever, we started to make our summer reading goals.

We searched the Scriptorium’s shelves for books we haven’t read yet.

Everyone’s personal choices are squished on this shelf in no apparent order, so it’s hard to say who chose what. I will say that I was not the one to choose the Shakespeare plays…..

 

Middle Grade Fiction: LGBTQ+ Community

In honor of Pride month, Scholastic listed a series of books that promote the LGBTQ+ community within middle grade fiction. It is important that members of these communities are valued and represented within our literature, especially Middle Grade Fiction where adolescents are at the cusp of displaying and understanding their identities.

 

 

In Children of the Planes, one of the themes I focus on is introducing the non-binary gender spectrum.

Jay, a twelve-year-old male is learning to communicate about his preference for displaying a gender non-conforming lifestyle.

I’m often asked, what does that even mean?

Jay knows he’s a male, but feels he wants to be a girl. He dresses in pink t-shirts and purple sneakers that light up, but his favorite past time is playing Legos. Jay is learning to put words to thoughts he’s felt for a very long time. He’s not entirely sure with what he identifies as of yet, and to spotlight this experience when he is still navigating that aspect would force us all to have to put labels onto his situation that he’s not ready to express.

Within the scope of this novel, Jay is learning to build a support network for when he does figure out his true self. His friend Zane is the first person that he has felt comfortable sharing these feelings with, so we see him in a very raw state within this novel. He gets easily frustrated and builds walls around others because it’s been easier to be alone than trying to be something he knows he’s not. When Zane supports him despite the conflict that ensues, Jay learns that he can be respected and valued even when he doesn’t feel “normal.”

As such, Jay doesn’t “come out” or any of that stereotypical nonsense, but rather we see the seeds being sown for him to embrace himself no matter what that is.