The first “Revise, Receive, Revitalize” workshop series was truly special and such a rewarding experience of empowering other writers, I’m offering another! It’ll start February 27th for a total of four consecutive Saturday mornings from 10 – 12:30 (Pacific). This is a space for camaraderie, discovery, and encouragement as you develop your unique voice, deepen your understanding of the form, and meaningfully revise one picture book manuscript. Please reach out if you’d like more information, to secure a scholarship, or to sign up!
I’m excited to announce This Writer’s Life Button Shop is now open!! Writer buttons come in packs from 4 to 32, each with an assortment of these 4 designs!
Meant for anyone who loves to write and especially designed to help kids think of and celebrate themselves as writers.
Plus you’ll get free shipping on any set of writer buttons from now until June 30th, 2020 with the code BUTTONSBUTTONS entered at checkout!
Buttons designed by Michael J. Salter.
Photo by Meiko Takechi Arquillos.
It’s here! It’s free! It’s a downloadable, printable PDF from my website!
That’s right, it’s:
This journal contains 10 creative writing activities aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds that can be used in conjunction with corresponding This Writer’s Life episodes on YouTube or explored on their own. I hope it’s of use to budding writers to explore story, language, and imagination, all things they might need right now.
Here it is in my webshop.
And if you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll not only get new episodes of This Writer’s Life, but a welcome email that automatically sends you a link to this writing journal for kids.
Take care of yourself and each other during this time of compassionate physical distancing for the greater good, and happy writing to the kids in your life!
Here’s a little snippet of me talking about this resource.
One of the most meaningful parts of the last school year for me was being part of #kidsneedmentors. The program was started by two teachers and two authors: Kristin Couch and Kristen Picone and Ann Braden and Jarrett Lerner. It pairs authors with one classroom to mentor for one year.
I had the pleasure of being a mentor to a fifth grade classroom a couple of hours away from LA. To start things off, we had an introductory Skype and I sent them some copies of Zinnia and the Bees with goodies. After the teacher and I brainstormed via email and google doc, we figured out some neat ways to collaborate.
I wrote the class letters, which the teacher photocopied for every student. I sent the class two boxes of books. And my favorite thing was using Flipgrid! Students posted videos and I could post video responses—for example, in one they introduced themselves, in another they “booktalked” a book they liked, and in another they asked me a question about writing and I answered it. It was a lot like being in person and such a special way to communicate one-on-one from afar.
The other super neat thing was that I got to visit them twice. The first time was a surprise! The students had been reading and giving feedback on a work in progress of mine, so when I arrived, I read them another chapter. Then I did a writing workshop and as a goodbye, handed out pencils with inspirational sayings about writing. The second time I visited, they knew I was coming and I held one-on-one conferences about a piece of their writing—my absolute favorite thing!
Overall, the experience gave me insight into students and their writing, into what writing curriculums are like, and into the meaningful ways authors can engage with students to promote literacy, reading, writing, and to offer positive encouragement. I highly recommend being part of it. Plus, anything to support teachers is ace!
Today’s the day! Zinnia and the Bees is a published book in the world—hooray!
And because Zinnia is a knitter and yarn bomber, here’s a photo of me holding the crocheted cover(!) made to match by yarn bomber extraordinaire, Jenny Brown. So cool, right?
(click to enlarge)
I started this story close to ten years ago. The seed of it was the idea of bees swarming around and settling on Zinnia’s head, a metaphor for all the stuff that’s out of her control. The heart of it is about finding home, both for the bees and Zinnia. The process of it showed me my own writing home, with young readers as my audience. And the best part of it is that now I get to share it with them and you.
Here are places where you can purchase Zinnia and the Bees for yourself, for a middle grade reader you know (that’s roughly 8-12 years old), or for a school library or classroom:
*You can also check it out from your local public library (go libraries!), or request they order it if they don’t have it. (That would be a lovely thing to do and I’d appreciate it immensely.)
And if you do read it and leave a review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Goodreads, I’ll be forever grateful as reader reviews are so helpful to authors.
A giant thanks in particular to my agent, Rick Margolis, and my editor, Ali Deering, both of whom made this book possible, and a whole lot better. Plus, Laura K. Horton who created that beautiful cover and the whole team at Capstone!
If you’re in Los Angeles, my book launch is this Saturday, August 5th at Skylight Books! Or if you’re in Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver BC, I’m coming your way soon! Details here. Hope to see you soon.
Thrilled to be moderating this Heart and Home in Middle Grade Panel at Vroman’s in Pasadena on June 2nd at 7pm!
Looking forward to talking with the writers of other 2017 debut novels about the way their main characters navigate growing up, family, and identity.
Hope you can join us!
Find out more at our Facebook event where you can get the details and RSVP: