Award-winning Writer of Poetry and Fiction

Latest

Bethesda, MD Literary Festival 2013

Somehow I’m a finalist in the essay and poetry contests sponsored by the Bethesda Literary Festival. I’ll be attending on April 19 and 20 to read and find out if I’ve actually won anything. It’s nice to get this little bit of recognition in the midst of finishing up my young adult novel, which can be a pretty isolating process. It’s so much easier to figure out whether or not a poem is working and has merit for anyone other than the muse in your head. But with longer fiction, all bets are off. Sure, you can get feedback on pieces but does the whole big monster story work? Have you wasted two years worth of stolen moments used to scribble the thing out?

Hope not!

Check out the Bethesda Festival, if you are in the area: http://www.bethesda.org/specialevents/litfest/litfest.htm

 

 

 

SCBWI Novel Revision Retreat

I’m off to a novel revision retreat hosted by the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. This is amazing for several reasons.

1. My darling husband agreed to watch the kids for 2 nights without me (a small miracle). Thank you, honey!

2. I somehow scraped together enough money for the retreat fee (sometimes, if you’re serious about your work, you gotta spend some dough).

3. I’ll get to hang out for two days with about 20 other writers who want to improve their work and publish.

4. I’ll get to work with the Executive Editor of Delacourte Press and with author Tracy Barrett, author of young adult books based on ancient mythology.

5. My 8 year old did not scream or cry or whine even once about my leaving for so long (thank you, Maggie).

I haven’t been to anything like this since my days in grad school so many years ago at Syracuse University. It’s about time! I’m steeling myself for some blunt honest criticism of my novel. Gearing up for months of revision too.

Day job, eat your heart out!

Poetry Meets Prose in a Dark Alley

If writing poems is a quick and dirty high, fiction is the unshakeable monkey on your back. Prose never appealed to me seriously until a few years ago. Before then, I couldn’t find a way into a narrative that felt authentic. Poetry you can fall into through so many different windows or doors. You only need one metaphor, one image, one sound to move you forward. With fiction, there are so many elements that need to come together all at once (plot, character, setting, voice). And it all has to be driven by a unifying theme and message that becomes an obsession.

The past year of work on The New Eden Chronicles has been surprisingly exhilarating. I’d been thinking about the story for a few years and feeling it every day in the small conservative town where I live. Feeling the land and it’s slow destruction, feeling the cult-like grip of the religious right that is so ingrained here, feeling the struggles of new immigrants in this often intolerant place.

All of that found it’s way into the story and grew into characters who seem real to me now. The early morning writing was hard work, but the plot seemed to unfold itself without much fuss. The fun part was watching how these characters reacted. Now it’s time for revisions. Lots and lots of revisions. And again, I think poetry is easier in this regard, simply because of the sheer length of a novel. There’s no quick fix, no easy buzz.

But that’s okay because I expect the pay off to be equal to the effort. And I can always squeeze out a poem in between chapters.