Thursday, April 28, 2016

April Is Done

After insisting on Monday that I was blogging about Saving the Planet & Stuff until the very end of April, I am having to announced that today is the very end of April. We have a family event tomorrow with a seldom seen relative from the other side of the country, and I'll be at the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Conference on Saturday. Sunday will definitely be a day of rest.

When I'm back to blogging it will be May. I'll have conference news, and next month I'll have a lot to say about the reading I've been doing these last four or five weeks.

I'm off to enter conference parking garages into my GPS.

The Environmental Book Club

I'm writing about another adult book this month for the same reason I did a few weeks ago when I wrote about Due North. Do Not Resuscitate by Nicholas Ponticello is self-published, as is the eBook edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff, which I've been featuring here throughout April. Also, it's a very good self-published book. And, finally, it has a definite environmental aspect, and this is an environmental book club. Ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, as they say.

The Do Not Resuscitate Story

Jim Lorenzo Frost's daughter is pressuring him to have his mind downloaded onto a chip, something that can be done in the mid-twenty-first century world of the book. No one knows what to do with the download, but she's hopeful that will change some time in the future. Seventy-something Jim isn't enthusiastic about leaving anything of himself after he is done, kaput. This whole thing does inspire him to write his story, however.

His story, as he tells it, makes it clear that something big and dire has happened, something environmental. It's also clear that he had a part in bringing the world back from it. But how that happened is a bit of a mystery. He's not a scientist. He's not some kind of Bruce Willis character saving the day. He's kind of a slacker who falls into a messenger job after college, being sent here and there to pick up red coolers, an activity for which he receives a disturbing amount of money.

What Makes Do Not Resuscitate So Good

  • First, this isn't a book with an obvious, unsubtle environmental lesson. The environmental aspects involve the setting and the book's world in which the main character functions.
  • Second, voice. Jim has a great one.
  • Third, there is a story here, one about an everyman kind of  guy who stumbles into the right place at the right time.
  • There's a little mystery here about what is exactly going on, and that provides some nice narrative drive.
Soon after finishing this book, I was sitting in a coffeehouse, looking out the window facing the main street. A truck slowed down in front with a man behind a wheel and a child in the passenger seat. Between them? A red cooler! This weekend I passed some painters. Yeah. They had a red cooler. I'm going to be noticing red coolers for a while.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

May Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar

I've noticed over the last few months that the Barnes & Noble chain seems to be upping the number of author events it sponsors. Almost half this month's appearances are at B&N stores.

Tues., May 3, Susan Hood, Fairfield Library, Fairfield  4:30 pm 

Tues., May 3, Marty Kelley, Bank Square Books, Mystic 6:00 PM  

Sat., May 7, Anna Raff, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison  10:30 AM

Fri., May 13, Ida Siegal, Pequot Library, Southport 4:15 PM

Fri., May 13, Caragh O'Brien, Barnes & Noble, Manchester 6:00 PM

Fri., May 13, Jeanne Birdsall, Susan Hill Long, R. J. Julia Bookseller, Madison 5:00 PM 

Sat., May 14, Stephanie Robinson and Jessica Haight, Barnes & Noble, Milford 12:00 PM 

Sat., May 14, Sarita Rich, Barnes & Noble, North Haven 11:00 AM

Fri., May 20, Kimberly McCreight, Westport Library, Westport 4:00 PM

Fri., May 20, MarcyKate Connolly, Barnes & Noble, Milford 7:00 PM

Fri., May 20, Sean Fay Wolfe, Barnes & Noble, Westport 4:30 PM

Sat., May 21, Kimberly McCreight, Book Club Bookstore & More, Broad Brook 1:00 to 2:30

Tues., May 31, Sara Hammel, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 5:30 PM

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: Beginnings And Endings And The Change They Bring

I mentioned yesterday that I'm going to be staying on Saving the Planet & Stuff until the end of the month. As it turns out, the end of the month is only four days away. I'm getting kind of excited. On top of that, the Greg and Emma adult book revision that I started a few weeks ago is going way better than I expected, and that will be done the end of the month, too. Did I mention the end of the month is only four days away?

When the new month begins, I'll be starting a couple of new projects. The new month begins in just six days. I am rather excited about that, too.

I'm getting buzzy just anticipating an ending and beginning

Cannot Rerun Beginnings And Endings Too Often


In 2012 I first wrote about the significance of beginnings and endings for managing time. A portion of that post fits this week:

"We tend to get excited about our plans for "new" blocks of time. Oh, what we're going to do this Christmas season! NaNoWriMo! May Days! If we can perceive some upcoming time as something new, as something different, a change, it's far easier to believe that we can make a change in how we're going to behave in that new chunk of time than it is to believe we can just change what we're doing now in this ho-hum unit of time we've been living in.

If we think about the unit system I wrote about back in February and the research that suggests that people are productive for the first 45-minutes that they work, there may be some logic to our love of new beginnings. Experience has taught us that we're more productive when we start something new, and we like feeling productive. We like the surge of starting something new. I swear, we once got new living room furniture, and just that change led me to start a new plan to keep everyone from eating in the living room. That probably didn't even last 45-minutes, but I remember the rush I felt not because I had a new couch and two new chairs all at the same time, but because the new furniture changed something and I was going to do something different because of it."

Change is coming soon. And the prospect of change is a good thing.                                      

Monday, April 25, 2016

Humor And Mature Characters

I am sure some of you are thinking that with Earth Day over and the Earth Day Saving the Planet & Stuff promotion behind us, I will finally be off talking about STP&S. How little you know me. I planned to cover Saving the Planet for the month of April, and I will cover it for the month of April, if I have to finish on my hands and knees. I'm kind of strong on perseverance. Other things, not so much.

Books About YA

Over the years, I've seen books about children's books. It's not something I've made a study off, but have been aware of. I don't know if I've seen this type of thing in relation to adult books, but it may exist.

To be honest, I know about these directories/guides because I'm in a few of them. Well, no, the to-be-honest part is that I know I'm in a few of them because I ego-surf. I only do it every now and then, because who has time for that sort of thing? But the occasional ego surf can turn up some juicy stuff.

Saving the Planet & Stuff Made Two...Count 'em...Two Books

The original edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff was discussed in two of these books about books.

Thematic Guide to Young Adult Literature by Alice Trupe. (2006) Saving the Planet & Stuff was discussed in a chapter on Older People's Impact on Our Lives. STP&S is the story of Michael Racine's summer with Walter Marcello and Nora Blake, contemporaries of his grandparents, so I can see how it ended up in that section of the book.

Humor in Young Adult Literature: A Time to Laugh by Walter Hogan. (2005)  STP&S is included in a section on Employers and Landlords. Part of what Michael is doing with Walt and Nora is working for their environmental journal. Hogan says the office politics there are "fierce and often funny."

It's nice to be talked about. These books appear to be out-of-print, so it's nice to have been talked about once.

Now, seriously, how many of you are going to go right out and ego-surf to see if you can find something juicy about yourselves?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The End Of My Earth Day Celebration

Beginning of our task
So today I spent around 3 hours cleaning up one of our local trails as part of an Earth Day town-wide cleaning effort. We covered over 3 miles, round trip. Yes, that's really slow. But, remember, we were stopping to pick things up.

End of our task
We spent quite a bit of time around the parking lot at the trail access where I found a surprising number of small chardonnay boxes and bottles. I can only speculate what that was about. Just as I can only speculate about those two tires we had to haul off the trail and bring to the transfer station.

Another Earth Day Event

Because it is Earth Day weekend, my readers who are also Kindle people can get themselves a free copy of the Saving the Planet & Stuff eBook. Today is the last day of the three-day freebie promotion. You should have until midnight tonight to get your Kindle edition, though whether that is Eastern Time, Central Time, Martian Time, Future or Past Time, I cannot say. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

What Did You Do This Week, Gail? April 22 Edition

Goal 1. Adhere to Goals and Objectives. In spite of a family member visiting, which led to a sister road trip today and some stuff tomorrow, I did get some work done. That's what's known as approximating correct behavior.

Goal 3. Generate New Short Work/Programs. I believe I've found a new market for one of my essays. Haven't done anything with it yet.

Goal 4. Marketing Saving the Planet & Stuff eBook. This was the priority this week with three STP&-related blog posts. Once the post announcing that the eBook is free went up yesterday, I needed to do content marketing (see below) around that sister road trip I mentioned above. There will be more tweeting to do the next two days, as well as a few e-mails to go out.

Goal 5. Community Building/General Marketing/Branding. 
Goal 6. Generate New Work. Spent some time on both the picture book manuscript and going over the revision of the adult version of Becoming Greg and Emma. I lined up a beta reader for that, too, even though I haven't had good luck with them in the past.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Saving the Planet & Stuff" eBook Free On Kindle For Three Days

I've been writing about this off and on all month. Today I'm beginning my celebration of Earth Day, 2016, by offering the eBook edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff free for Kindle users. I'm celebrating for three-days, so the offer extends through Saturday, the 23rd.

This edition includes the original text with a new cover illustration by Eric Bloom, and, in the Bonus Material, the short story Three Weeks with Walt and Nora. It was written prior to the book and never published.

Some Reviewers' Thoughts

  • "A new slant on ecological fiction." Booklist
  • "Memorable, hilarious, and featuring a likable, unlikely hero." Kirkus Reviews
  • "Gauthier incorporates spirited dialogue, wry asides from Michael and droll scenarios" Publishers Weekly
The above reviews refer to the original hardcover edition published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.

And In Addition

In 2008, two years after it went out of print, the original edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff was included in the Book Links article The Text Generation: Fiction That Incorporates Digital Communication.

Last year, nine years after it went out of print, the original edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff was included on a reading list on the Scottish Book Trust's website.

And, of course, Gyldendal Unvervisning (Education) will be using an excerpt from Saving the Planet & Stuff later this year in a new textbook.

So Kindle users, here's your opportunity to add another volume to your e-reader for free. I love doing that, myself. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Saving The Planet & Stuff Is Going To Norway

I am very happy to be able to announce that Gyldendal Undervisning (Education) (scroll down at the linked site) has purchased the rights to an excerpt from Saving the Planet & Stuff for a new textbook for Norwegian students studying English. Gyldendal Undervisning (Education) is the "leading Norwegian publisher of teaching material for all levels from preschool to upper-secondary school. "Hurray, Norway!

The request for rights from Gyldendal came out of the blue for a book that's ink- and-paper edition has been out of print for a while now. A family member once referred to my books to which I hold the rights as properties to be managed. I can republish, I can sell rights, etc.. The Gyldendal request was an opportunity to do some managing.

Managing feels good.

Oh, by the way, tomorrow the Kindle edition of Saving the Planet & Stuff will be free, for the first of three days. Those Norwegian kids will be reading part of Chapter 11. You Kindle readers can, too.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: Manage Writing Time As If You're Training For A Race

Getting Started Managing Writing Time

Recently in one of my social media circles I saw some talk from writers about nonwriters who said they would write if they only had the time. Evidently, saying that to a writer doesn't go over well. Don't do that.

I obsessed about this issue, as I obsess about so many things. What compassionate and helpful suggestions would I offer to people who told me they would write, if only they had the time?  Then through Twitter I stumbled upon a blog post called Time Management Tips for Athletes and Gym Rats. The training plan described could just as easily be applied to writing, especially for people new to managing writing time.

Think Like An Athlete In Training

Flexible Training/Writing. Alter your training/writing schedule when you need to. That's situational time management. No, you do not have to write at the exact same time every day or every week or whatever you do. If something happens and you've lost your assigned writing time, just shift to another time for your work. The value in this? If you can't adapt to your new time situations, you tend to just give up because your "writing time" is gone.

Create Time. You don't create time by waving a magic wand and actually creating time. Before you start working, look at your calendar each week and actually work out how many hours you can use for writing. Yeah, that's sort of another way of saying "planning." But creating sounds more creative, doesn't it?

Prioritize. Usually when writers talk about prioritizing, they mean "make writing a priority." But in this case, we mean prioritize writing tasks. Go through the various things you need to do for a writing project--research, character development, outlining, if you're interested in outlining, prepping for writing group, I could go on and on--and determine which needs to be your top priority right now. That's what you'll work on first.

Be Realistic. Don't set yourself up for failure by believing you can spend more time writing than you can. If you can't be one of those writers who cranks out a book-length manuscript every three or four months, accept that and be the writer who cranks out a book in a year or two.

Be Open To New Experience. Or, In Other Words, Be A User

This next bit isn't part of the sports analogy I'm working on here, but I think it's important. Time Management Tips for Athletes and Gym Rats was posted at a site called The Pinkwell. The Pinkwell is some sort of women's clothing sales site that appears to have a specific demographic, the population that works out in gyms and runs triathalons, in fact. (Writers are more into bicycling, yoga, and martial arts, in my experience.)  Pinkwell is not a writing site or a business management site or an academic site, the kinds of places I usually find time management information. Pinkwell's time management post turned up in my Tweetdeck #timemanagement column because someone tweeted it with the hashtag #timemanagement.

I think of myself as a user. When I find ideas that I can relate to something going on in my life, I grab them and use them, wherever they come from. And that may be a time management technique that could be particularly useful for a new writer with little time.

Always be thinking about how you can make something work for you.