How Being a Children’s Author Helps Tackle Global Climate Destabilization (Plus a Workout)

Congratulations to Miriam for winning the $25 Gift Card ~     ~     ~ Last weekend marked the largest collaborative Climate March in our world’s history. Over 2,500 events in 162 countries during which citizens marched in solidarity a few days before the UN Climate Summit.   And I wasn’t there. To be fair, my household was represented by other members of my tribe. But, I still felt a bit guilty for not going. This is a huge deal and it was a great historical event. I have attended rallies and marches in the past. Sometimes they simply overwhelm me. Other times I get inspired, and then the immediacy of life takes over and I get caught up in my daily to-do. I was left at home wondering what more I could do. I’m not a scientist, but I can support...

Minor Appearances (and a Weekly Workout)

There’s a Japanese man in my neighborhood whom I have been running into every few weeks for the past four years. I always run into him in the morning as he’s walking through the alleyways. He moves slowly, his right side recovering from what I would guess was a stroke, and my assumption is that these walks are part of his daily routine to strengthen his body again. He drags his right foot a bit and holds his right arm in a way that indicates it has little strength and mobility. He’s probably in his late 50’s. I don’t know his name. I don’t know where he lives. And over the past four years, his recovery has been noticeably slow. But every time I see him he always grins wide and booms, “Good morning!” I’ve never...

Weekly Workout (First in our New Home – Huzzah) – Creating Suspense

 (artwork by Gizem Vural) I didn’t think I had a weekly workout this week because I have so many book launch things going on (yay), but then a friend of mine asked if I had an exercise she could use for middle school students that involved CREATING SUSPENSE. I realized I hadn’t done much work on suspense, with middle school or adult students, so I decided to include the exercise I came up with here. Yes, this is geared towards 7th graders, but I think the lesson works for adult-types, too. suspense is all about tension and about what you do know vs. what you don’t know Suppose a girl wrote a hideously embarrassing love note to a boy, with no intention of ever giving it to him. But her best friend, thinking she’s being super helpful, sticks...

Weekly Writing Workout: Get Your Purpose Straight

How many times have you heard the phrase “I have to get my priorities straight”? I worked off of that idea for years without consistent success. I had trouble discerning through the daze of “to do” what exactly my priorities should be, especially when it came to social media. I thought maybe if I only had more discipline I would be able to prioritize action items more effectively. I was the QUEEN of To Do Lists, but every action swam in front of me with no clear purpose attached. I eventually realized that I can’t get my priorities straight if I don’t have my purpose straight first. How can I even make priorities without purpose? I learned that getting my purpose straight practically wrote my priorities for me, and that it was perfectly fine to drop actions that...

Quick and Dirty (okay, mostly quick, but made you look) with a bonus repurposed writing workout

So, no new Writing Workout yesterday because I was here all weekend: With people like this:   Doing things like this:                     (photo credit to Sander Feinberg for all but hair shot)         And next weekend I’ll be HERE. Doing things like this: Going to panels like THIS. And readings like THIS. And parties like THIS. So, in the meantime, here’s a recycled writing workout I think you’ll enjoy… YOUR WORKOUT When you get to what I call the “sloggy” part of your story, when inspiration appears to have left the building and you are dragging yourself to the page, it’s time for some good old fashioned spontaneous writing. (even if you’re...

Weekly Writing Workout: Three Ring Circus Part Three – MUST

My post is a bit late this week, mostly because in British Columbia we were celebrating our new holiday: Family Day! Where the Family Day bunny comes down the chimney to hand out turkey wishbones to all the good kids, and we have a walnut cake eating contest. The first one done wins the golden carrot. (Okay, so we’re still working out the mythology around this one, give us a few years.) In truth we just ate a lot of sweets, drank a lot of wine, and played games. Onward… to MUST A few years ago, I was working on a concept for a screenplay: a single hippie mom living out of her van for 15 years with her son decides to try to settle into the “normal” world. It was really only half a concept, because I had no stakes for her yet. I needed to...