The Young Adult Scavenger Hunt (YASH) starts tomorrow. Are you ready? This year 120 of your favorite YA authors will be offering copies of their books as prizes, along with top secret bonus material, such as deleted scenes, related short stories, cover reveals, and more.
I’m on the GOLD Team, where I’ll be giving away copies of The Smallest Thing and offering up the very first look at the cover and first chapter of my forthcoming book, Thicker Than Water. You definitely won’t want to miss this.
If you’ve never hunted before, you can find out more about it on the YASH website, or check back here October 2nd at 12pm for all the details and the first clue in the GOLD team hunt.
See you then!
I have a really fun event coming up in next month.
Dine with Local Authorsinvites readers to have dinner, and chat, with five local authors. I’ll be participating in this event on Monday September 10that Gaia’s Garden in Santa Rosa, CA. I’ll be reading from and talking about The Smallest Thing.
Here are the details:
DINE WITH LOCAL AUTHORS
Monday, September 10, 6-8 PM
1899 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa
For reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-544-2491
There’s a minimum $5.00 food purchase required.
I’ll be joined by these fabulous authors:
Wordstruck! non-fiction, humor, by Susanna Janssen
The Healer Is You, health and wellness by Diane See
As Long As You Don’t Turn Them Into Weirdos, memoir by Janell Smiley
The Autobiography of Charlie Lord, Fiction by Bill Wetmore
See you there!
One of the things that keeps me sane as I sit alone in my room, making up stories, is my writers’ mastermind group. We’re a group of six writers who maintain an online forum where we get to bounce around ideas, share opinions, and tap into the expertise of other members. We don’t workshop our writing, although we do read one another’s work. This group is more about supporting one another through the business and emotional sides of being a writer. We celebrate one another when things go well and rally support when the chips are down.
A while ago, after a series of “chips are down” periods for several of us, one member suggested we start a gratitude thread and encouraged each of us to post three things we are grateful for every day.
I rebelled. “Not to be a grump,” I argued, “but some days I would like to reserve the right to be ungrateful!”
Let’s face it, sometimes things don’t go our way. We’ve all had those days when every single thing we touch seems to self-destruct. I call it the Anti-Midas touch. I know that, overall, my life is good, but I want to be able to vent on the days when it’s not perfect.
Undeterred, the group encouraged me to make the effort. So for the past several months, I’ve been making a habit of starting my day by posting three things I’m grateful for.
Some days, it’s easy to make my list:
- Home safely from my trip.
- A good Samaritan found my lost driver’s license and mailed it to me.
- My new washing machine arrived shortly before the hamper collapsed under the weight of unwashed laundry.
- Two hours at the coffee house, writing.
Some days, I struggle to find three things to be grateful for. On those days my list reads something like:
- Ran this morning and didn’t die.
- It’s the weekend.
But most days, the practice forces me to stop for a few minutes, to take a breath and take stock of my life, and to acknowledge some of the simple pleasures I enjoy:
- After a recent heatwave, the return of cooler weather and the need for layers again.
- I am working to the sounds of Felicity snoring in the sun behind me.
- King’s Hawaiian Huli Huli chicken and eggs with fried rice for breakfast.
So today, I am grateful for my group of writers that keeps me on task, and I am grateful that they prodded me out of my comfort zone as a grump.
What are you grateful for today?
The road to a finished book is littered with discarded characters. As subplots are cut and the main character’s story is streamlined, some characters no longer serve a purpose in the book and are bid farewell.
In an earlier version of A Strange Companion, Kat had a second brother. He was the Golden Child with the perfect family, who could do no wrong in Kat’s mother’s eyes. But he and his family didn’t serve the story, so they were cut and Jon inherited some of his former brother’s traits.
In another draft, Kat sought spiritual counsel from an elderly Chinese woman who had strange mystical powers and operated from a dusty old shop on a backstreet. She was a wonderful character, but I needed Kat to get more pragmatic advice and a bump back down to reality, and so Marjorie Gladstone took over the role.
One of my favorite characters, now residing in the character graveyard, is Victoria, Kat’s classmate and a potential rival for Owen’s affections, or so Kat believed. In fact, Victoria, with her huge purple glasses and plummy private school speech, was an innocent, completely oblivious to the effect she had on men. But after the “watch incident” and Kat and Owen’s break-up, Kat went to Owen’s dorm room to apologize, only to find Victoria sitting cross-legged on Owen’s bed, supposedly getting help with her chemistry homework. Although nothing ever transpired between Owen and Victoria, she raised the stakes for Kat, showing that Owen had other options if Kat didn’t get her act together.
Victoria was part of a storyline that would have thrown Kat and Owen together at a conference later in the book and forced them to decide if they had a future together. But alas, the conference would have taken Kat away from Mai and the main storyline of the book, and so it—and Victoria—bit the literary dust.
I do miss Victoria and many of the characters and scenes that didn’t make the cut. But I’ve kept all their scenes, and maybe they’ll make a comeback in another story. Who knows?