Monday, April 12, 2010

Wagons Ho! Library Conference Ahead!

In a couple of days will be heading out to the Texas Library Association conference. I've gone both as an attendee dreaming of signing books and as a published author signing books at the publisher's tables.

This year I will sign a few copies of Crown Me! at the Holiday House booth, sign Josh's Halloween Pumpkin once on Thursday and once on Friday at the Pelican booth. Then on Thursday afternoon I get to sign my first book in the Wendy's Weather Warriors series, a set of 6 chapter books -- fiction with nonfiction elements at the end for kids and teachers.

I'm excited as they'll be giving the first book away at TLA and there should be lots of librarians coming by to get them. I have made tons of flyers and got new business cards to give out at each signing.

This year my amazing husband will be coming with me as well to meet and talk to and pick up catalogs from educational and nonfiction publishers. He has an incredible knowledge of history and has spent the last 20 years teaching history and English to ESL students in junior high and high school.

All in all, it'll be a nice little trip for the 2 of us in a town we love. In fact, where we went on our honeybook 30 1/2 years ago!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A lovely hit from reality!

Ok, I've been complaining to hubby today that I wonder if I've lost my desires, not necessarily in writing, but sometimes including it. I'm not miss famous writer, but iv'e had 5 books published, 6 book series coming out this Fall, 2 annotated books out next winter, and waiting on contracts for another 6 book series, plus over 1800 articles, essays and stories published in magazines and anthologies. So, I can't complain.

But sometimes I wonder where I'm heading and why it's taking so long and if I've veered down wrong paths.

But today in the mail as I sighed and wondered why I do all the different writing things I do and if it's for the passion or the money these days; I got a letter from a kid at a school in LA tetlling me how much he loved Crown Me and asking me if I'd come to their Author Fair this summer or send something for his table. It reminded me of the letters I've gotten from other kids, even from a parent and a librarian sharing a kid's new love of books because he read and finished mine.

So there it is, the real reason I write. I loved reading as a kid and still do. I am passionate about writing, but most of all about children's books. And whatever happens with the publishing and promoting end, if I can get it to a place where kids read the stories, that's fabulous, whether it's trade books sold in the bookstore or educational books aimed toward libraries and schools only.

Halleleuah I'm doing what I love, whether I'm famous at it or not. It's a dream, it's satisfying most of the time, and it has great rewards.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Getting to Know You

Spent some of my writing sessions this week getting to know my characters in my work in progress a little better. Writing letters to one another, planning scene ideas or plot ideas or problems posed. I've been doing this off and on for about 3 weeks and I'm feeling like I know the people and stories better as I work on the actual writing. Curious to see how this makes a difference in the way I've written in the past.

I'm in that place where many children's writer's are with the kid's parents. How involved in the story are they? For my story, it's very important that the Mom is involved. But with Dad, I can go either way. He can be a part of it, though a much more silent part of the issue, or very possibly he left when the problem began and it's just Mom and main character. Do I want to create a broken family unit (which they are) and have everyone resolved in the end, or partially fixed?

That's the scary thing and the exciting thing about writing fiction. There are so many directions we can go with it and we're constantly asking ourselves, "Is this the right direction or is that one?" Know one but us will know that we considered another path in the story, but we torment ourselves (okay, maybe it's just me, but I don't think so) with the thought that we took or are taking the wrong story path and if we'd go another way, the story would be 'right'.

It's the idea of getting a group of writers together and saying, Okay, we're all going to write a story about a dragon, a boy, and a treasure to be found. Each person would write a different story because of their own thoughts, background, issues, and interests.

What do you think? As you get to know your character, does your story change and do you try to fight that change to keep to your plan, or do you go with it and then wonder if you did the right thing?