Monday, September 28, 2009

EFA Fall Classes Start Soon!

I recently rejoined the EFA board as education chair, and I am pleased to share news of our Fall 2009 Education Program. We have an exciting season of targeted professional-development opportunities planned and hope you'll join us for some of our online offerings and/or live events in Seattle and NYC.


How to Get Freelance Writing Work (starts 10/13)

Editing Memoir and Narrative Nonfiction (starts 10/15)

Dealing with Nightmare Clients (starts 10/21)

Proofreading (starts 11/2)

Turning Journal Entries into Polished Pieces (starts 11/30)

Writing from Healthy Starts (starts 12/1)


Getting Started in Editorial Freelancing (10/17)

Blogging Basics (12/5)


Supplementing Your Income with PR Work (11/14)

For full course descriptions, pricing information, and a link to EFA's online registration system, see EFA's main catalog page. Be sure to act now and SIGN UP for any classes you're eyeing, especially those starting just around the corner in October. Class size is limited, and some courses do sell out early.

Hope to see some of you in class! And please share this notice with any interested friends and colleagues.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Can't Be Said Enough: "RIP, Reading Rainbow"

To ease the pain of losing Reading Rainbow to the ages, the Onion has published this exclusive opinion piece by LeVar Burton. Click on over for a good chuckle followed by a moment of silence for what's been removed from the cultural landscape:

"My Living Nightmare of Encouraging Kids to Read Is Over"

And, please enjoy this clip of the Reading Rainbow theme:

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Brief Tear on the "Fun" of Writing

Did you watch the Emmys telecast last night? I didn't. I did, however, click on a few Emmy-related news links early this morning and came across this E! Online quote from Mad Men creator (and statue winner for writing) Matthew Weiner:

"When you get something like this, it makes writing look fun, but it's not."

To me, winning an Emmy — or, how about a pretty, pretty Newbery?!?!? — for writing does in fact sound super fun! Yet, as a writer, I know that the work that goes into most award-winning works is, ahem, a whole lotta WORK.

Fun can and should be had while working at any job, certainly. And I doubt any writer /*slash*/ thinking human being would unfavorably compare writing work to, say, physically difficult labor or otherwise emotionally unpleasant occupations (use your own POV/imagination here). Few writers have to work under downright smelly/filthy/scary/dangerous/extreme-temperatured conditions, after all.

When you are a writer (and yes, a kids' writer, even!), you have a job to do. You figure out how you will do it. You get started and actually finish. You meet your deadlines. You collaborate with your editor and your fact-checker and your agent and whomever else you need to keep happy. You, the plumber, the surgeon, the store clerk, the sales rep, the lawyer, the teacher, the animal trainer, the photographer, the chef, the baseball coach, the park ranger, the dentist, the personal assistant, the banker, the carpet cleaner, the engineer, the pastor, and everyone you know in every job you can think of have everything in common ------- you all get it done.

So. I feel obligated to point out and echo and beat to absolute death Matthew Weiner's sentiment. Even though I very much enjoy (and I do mean very.much.enjoy) being a writer who sometimes gets to create fun works, I felt the urge to blog that I never sit down to my desk . . . and I do mean NEVER . . . thinking, "This is going to be fun."

Instead I think things like "This should be easy" or "I have no idea where to start" or "I can't wait to try my new idea" or "Yesterday's writing was crap" or "I need some new research" or "It's time to interview my expert" or "I'm going to solve that plot problem if it kills me" or "Just 1,000 words to go" or "I wish I didn't have to do ANY of today's tasks . . . but of course I will, because that's my job."

And thus concludes my brief tear on the "fun" of writing.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

September 8 Is International Literacy Day

It's International Literacy Day!

I read this morning that approximately 780 million adults worldwide cannot read or write. Notice that? I said "I read" it. Today my plan is to tap into the gratitude I feel about the life afforded me by the ability to read and write . . . and pass it on.

In that spirit, I just moved a long-standing to-do to the top of my list: It's time to (finally) load the car with the three boxes of extra books that have been hanging out waiting to be gifted, donated, and sold. I'll feel good, the basement hallway will look better, and — I hope — some of my very gently used (and some new) books will help strengthen a reader's skills or just brighten someone's day.

How will you observe the ILD? You might head to the library, buy a book, or read to/with/in front of your child. These are all things you can do any day, of course. But it's nice to get a nudge sometimes, don't you think?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Too Cool Not to Share

Pictorial Webster's: Inspiration to Completion from John Carrera on Vimeo.

My Fall YA Release

Have I mentioned how bad I am at promoting my books? I mean, here I sit with my own blog, and I have yet to mention in this space that I have four new books out this season. All were released in August!

(To be fair to me, I did mention the books on Facebook and LinkedIn. But, really, what self-respecting author doesn't take to the blog right away!?!)

The biggest — meaning, thickest — book is part of ABDO's Strong, Beautiful Girls series. It's called Frenemies: Dealing with Friend Drama, and it features fictionalized scenarios illustrating a number of the very real friendship issues that middle-school girls face, along with research-based advice for handling them.

My author copies are currently in transit, and naturally I'm looking forward to actually seeing the finished product. Funny thing is, I've already received (positive) feedback from an adult reader. So the book is out in the world, available for consumption . . . and yet . . . because I haven't touched it, Frenemies still exists only in abstract — and Word file — for me.

I'll be talking about the book at my local SCBWI chapter's Inside Story salon October 28. Can't wait for that, and I'll be sure to share more about the event afterward.

Back soon with a post about my other three releases!