Sunday, July 31, 2016

Where Will I Find My Next Lit Podcasts?

This weekend most of the cooking I did was for a birthday lunch. It wasn't a binge, which is much more of a cook-like-a-maniac-for-no-particular-reason thing. In addition, the podcasts I was listening to weren't working for me. What I want now is to listen to short stories and essays from lit magazines. I've got to hunt for some more before the next true binge strikes.

In the meantime, you can enjoy my past posts about podcasts and cooking all collected in one pretty Pinterest board.

Today I'm taking part in the Weekend Cooking meme at Beth Fish Reads.

Friday, July 29, 2016

August Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar

We're having a very good summer for children's lit appearances here in Connecticut. Libraries have been great these last few months as far as bringing children's/YA authors in is concerned. And then there was Barnes & Noble's Teen Book Festival in June. August will be the quietest month for us, and it's not that bad. 

Sat., Aug. 6, Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson, Groton Public Library, Groton 3:00 PM

Sun., Aug. 7, Julia Denos, R. J. Julia Booksellers, Madison 3:00 PM 

Sun., Aug. 7, Nancy Cote, Bank Square Books, Mystic 1:00 to 3:00 PM

Wed., Aug. 10, Sara Levine, Guilford Free Library, Guilford  2:00 PM

Thurs., Aug. 25, Karen Fortunati, Shannon Parker, Rebecca Podos, and Kate McGovern, The Lucy Robbins Welles Library, Newington  6:30 to 8:00 PM

Sat., Aug. 27, Karen Romano Young, Byrd's Books, Bethel 4:00 PM

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Have You Read The Summer "SCBWI Bulletin?" I Have.

Hard as it is to believe, the Summer 2016 SCBWI Bulletin arrived just a couple of days ago, and...I have already read it! I know! I sometimes get a couple of issues behind.

If you are a SCBWI member and your Bulletin is floating around the house, here are some  articles I recommend:

10 Ways to Gear Up for the Coming School Year by Alexis O'Neill. There were a couple of things new to me. One of them being the Five-Year Rule.

On Series by Bonnie Bader. What I found so interesting about this article is that Bader says that series are a great way "to hook kids into reading." This is a different spin on series Betty Carter's in the March/April Horn Book. Though she was more concerned with series' impact on reading competence than whether or not they encouraged children to read.

Art Tips by Manuela Pentangelo. It's about Pinterest.

And my writers' group colleague Jane Sutcliffe has a big part in the Bologna Children's Book Fair story about Melissa Stewart's Feathers. That's an interesting article, too, even if you don't know Jane. Or Melissa.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: Pick Just One Thing

You'd think I had a house full of toddlers the way my personal life bleeds into my professional one during the summer. Family members visiting...having birthdays...planning trips. Then there are extra rooms to take care of, the sun room and two decks. And what about that entire alternative universe that sucks up time with a straw? The yard. This summer I have two conventions (I actually watch a little convention coverage late in the evening) and the Olympics to distract me in the evening when I usually do content marketing. And, also, it is hot. Heat is like a tropical disease to me.
Just a little of the alternative universe.

2 Decks, 1 Summer Yoga Sanctuary
What to do when the boundary between work life and personal life is thinning or bulging one way and then the other and could rupture any minute? Not much.

That's my theory. That's my plan. Whatever time I can scrounge together for work will be devoted to one project. That, I think, is my best chance for making much progress on anything. It will be progress on one thing.

That strategy isn't always going to work, of course. Someone working with multiple deadlines, prepping for some appearances, and/or getting ready for marketing a new publication all while dealing with summer family fun is going to be on the brink of some kind of psychic snap. But I have the option of sticking to one project as much as possible for the next few weeks.

Oh, and I'll be able to report here how it went. won't I?  Love when that happens.

Monday, July 25, 2016

"Kill The Boy Band." Now That's Different.

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky has one of the most unusual stories I can recall seeing in a YA book.

Yesterday Salon published an article on the decline in popularity of the YA movie genre"The trouble with YA adaptations is that they’re awfully samey," Nico Lang writes. "How many times can you watch teens topple dictatorships, wistfully battle cancer, romance the undead, or discover that they have very special powers that mark them for a greater purpose?"  The YA movie adaptations are samey because a lot of YA books that become movies are samey.

But Kill the Boy Band is a terrific break from fantasy, problem stories, romances, and the apocalypse. It is dark, but not dark depressing. It's more of a dark humor-type of thing. And, according to this review, I didn't even get a lot of the humor, because I didn't get the 80s movie references. I don't know where I was in the 80s, but I wasn't in movie theaters.

So what's happening here is four teen girl fans ("fan" does not begin to describe these people) of a boy band manage to get a room at the hotel where the boys are staying. One of the girls happens upon one of the boys in the hall. Things get out of hand.

As much as I liked the story, the characters, and the writing, I found the first half of the book a little slow. At which point it becomes what I think could be described as a thriller. Yeah. Picked up after that.

I'm not sure we ever know the narrator/main character's name because she gives a different one whenever she's introduced to someone. (They may be the names of characters from movies I haven't seen.)  But she's what passes for normal in that crowd. Every now and then she describes the joys of fandom, making it sound logical. Well, maybe not the fandom those four practice.

I have no idea if the fan world described here in an over-the-top way has any basis in reality. But it certainly works in the the world of  Kill the Boy Band.

I described this book to a family member this weekend. Oddly enough, we started trying to come up with people to play the fangirls in a movie. (This was before I read the Salon article I linked to above.) Melissa McCarthy was mentioned. Rebel Wilson. Mila Kunis. Everyone we thought of was wonderful, but too old. Hollywood would have to find an entire new generation of power actresses for this project.

Hmm. Tatiana Maslany might be able to play young. I think I read the clones on Orphan Black are her first adult roles. She always played younger people before.

But, you know, except for maybe her, they'd need all new people.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Weekend Writer: Submit, Submit, Submit

A few months ago, I did a Weekend Writer post on creating a writing portfolio before submitting. But once you've done that, submit. Years ago, they used to say "Nothing gets published, if it's sitting in your filing cabinet." Now we'd probably say, "Nothing gets published, if it's sitting on your hard drive."

Earlier this summer Kim Liao's essay, Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year, got a lot of attention on Facebook and Twitter.

"Set rejection goals. I know someone who shoots for one hundred rejections in a year, because if you work that hard to get so many rejections, you’re sure to get a few acceptances, too.”

The point here is that you can't get rejected, if you don't submit. And, of course, you can't get accepted, if you don't submit.
Submission Chart

There may be something going on here with odds, too. The more you play, the better your chance of winning. The more you submit, the better your chance of acceptance and publishing.

While I don't have any expectation of making one hundred submissions this year, I have been making an effort to submit. I've done eighteen so far, with two more planned for next week.

And I do have a better way of tracking submissions than that board on a cupboard. But a board on a cupboard is fun. I'll be going on to the second board soon.

Friday, July 22, 2016

What Did You Do This Week, Gail? July 18 Edition

Goal 1. Adhere to Goals and Objectives. Oh, July, you are kicking my butt. And you're not done yet.

Goal 2. Prepare Mummy Hunters for Submission. Ah...ten minutes?

Goal 3. Generate New Short Work/Programs. Found a new place to make a submission.

Goal 5. Community Building/General Marketing/Branding

My eBooks Sales Post--Promoted blah, blah, blah
Time Management Tuesday Post--Promoted blah, blah, blah
Environmental Book Club Post--Promoted a couple of times
Goodreads Blog Post published.
Call for CCLC
Began work on CCLC

 Goal 6. Generate New Work: Submitted the picture book I've been talking about forever.

Have I used anything from the NESCBWI conference in April? Why, yes. I used something from the workshop on writing cover letters. Also, I used something one of my colleagues in in writers' group learned at the conference. Thank you, Nancy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: Did I Waste Weeks Of Summer Evenings On Pinterest?

I've written here before about the time issues involved with social media. Yes, social media is important for marketing writers' work and for marketing themselves. It can keep your name alive between publications. But it's important to remember that you don't want to be spending more time marketing your work then you do on creating it. That's particularly important to keep in mind as new social media platforms are created. We should have a logical reason for jumping to something new, a logical justification for the time we're spending learning how to use the new platform and then maintaining it.

How I Got Excited For Instagram


An entire year ago, the artist who did the cover illustration and design for the Saving the Planet & Stuff  eBook told me I should be in Instagram. He suggested I build a presence around my author appearances. In addition to being an artist, he was then working at an advertising agency in New York. He was a mad man, as a family member said. We're not talking one of the neighbors raving about Instagram. I began to feel enticed.

It took  nine or ten months to get fully there, though. What little I knew about Instagram suggested that it is all about images, making it different from the other social media platforms I use that are primarily about text. Even Twitter is built around text--very little text, but text nonetheless. Images are important for blogging, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter because the images attract people to your text. But IF I understood Instagram, image came first there.

That would make Instagram different from other social media I use.

But would Instagram be a way for an author to reach a new group of people, people who are interested in image first? I liked the idea of using pictures from author appearances in some way, and I also had an idea for using photographs from the author homes I like to visit and have written about here. And could I link blog posts to Instagram, drawing new people to the blog? To me?

Well, So Much For Instagram

I was pretty psyched for this Instagram thing until I actually looked at it. It just appears to be a mass of pictures. I may be wrong about that, of course, but there was a bigger issue. My reading and questioning indicated that you post to Instagram from smartphones. That would have been fine for the future, but I wanted to use pictures stored on my hard drive. There was probably a way to manage the job, but there was a limit to how much time I wanted to commit to this job.

Time. If this couldn't be easy and fast, I didn't think I should be doing it.

But by that point, I was really pumped for doing something with my literary tourism pictures. I can't remember what made me think of Pinterest, which I believed to be image heavy.

But I Did Think Of Pinterest

Okay, so I looked into Pinterest. The two issues I considered:
  • Can writers use it for marketing?
  • Is it easy to use? 
Well, I haven't been able to find much about writers using it for marketing, and I wasn't able find many writers there. But I was able to figure out how to use it. And, it turns out, there is a curation aspect to Pinterest that attracts me.

So for many, many evenings this summer I played with Pinterest. I spent a lot of time on this shiny, new thing.

What I'm Doing On Pinterest

So what I'm doing on Pinterest, besides looking up recipes and weird historical boards, is pulling content out of my 14 years of blog posts and repurposing it on Pinterest boards. The Gene Stratton-Porter's Cabin board you see here is an example. These literary tourism boards are made up of photographs, but there's also one pin from my blog. Thus the littourism boards do have the potential to draw, or drive, people here to Original Content and, thus, to me.(Yeah. I am the blog.)

Here is a key thing with Pinterest and me--pinning my blog posts is easy. Look down to the end of this post. You'll see a row of icons representing various social media platforms. My posts can be shared with any of them. And, yes, they can be pinned to a Pinterest board.

Once I realized how easy it is to do that, I began thinking of all kinds of Pinterest boards to make with my blog content.
All I need is blog posts with images and an organizing theme.  I can go on and on with this!

But So What?

Well, there's the time management question. Am I going to get any bang for my time spent? For Pinterest to work for me, it will have to promote me, just as this blog promotes me. However, because there are now so many, many blogs, I have to promote it to attract attention. I expect to have to do the same for Pinterest.

Let me repeat that in bold:

  • These days, I have to promote the blog, which only exists to promote me.
  • I expect to have to promote my Pinterest boards, which only exist to promote me. 

If there are people on Planet Pinterest because they prefer images to text, I may be able to reach them there. I may be able to make myself known to them. But maybe I won't.

I'm gambling here, people. While I'm gambling with my time, you'll be seeing Pinterest boards here from time to time. Hey, they'll be images for the blog, right?

This is why I don't care for casinos. I do enough gambling with my life, thank you very much.

Monday, July 18, 2016

So Children's eBooks Do Sell

G. P Putnam
Published by moi
I have four eBooks out in the world. Three were published by G.P. Putnam's Sons at the same time the company published the hardcover editions of my last three books. I published the fourth one, an eBook republication of one my earlier out-of-print books from Putnam. Nonetheless, my impression has been that children aren't big eBook readers. I've heard speakers say eBooks are the next big thing for children. But when visiting schools, speaking with librarians and parents, and in give-and-take on-line, I haven't seen it happening. In fact, I've read that eBooks are very much a middle-aged woman reader thing. Not a kid thing, at all.

G. P. Putnam
Then last month I received my most recent statement from Penguin Random House.  They've revised the statement, so it's a little easier to read. (Hey. It's not just me who has trouble with those things.)  I was surprised to discover that I've  sold a few copies of each of my eBooks during the period the statement covers. What was more surprising was how many eBooks I've sold overall.

Now, we're not talking bestselling numbers here. The numbers are just higher than I expected. When I told a family member how many eBooks of Happy Kid! have sold...Well, let's just say I got a reaction. Our expectations were that low.
G. P. Putnam

Of course, children don't buy many books of any kind. Adults buy books for them. No doubt adults are buying these. Are they buying them for their children's e-readers? Are they buying them for their own e-readers, so they'll have some child reading available for child reading emergencies in cars, doctors' offices, etc.? (I can see myself doing that.) Are they buying them for themselves to read? (I have done that.)

Whatever the reason, someone is buying these particular children's eBooks. I assume that means they're buying other children's eBooks, too.

Friday, July 15, 2016

What Did You Do This Week, Gail? July 11 Edition

Goal 1. Adhere to Goals and Objectives. A little bit.

Goal 2. Prepare Mummy Hunters for Submission. Did a little work on this.

Goal 3. Generate New Short Work/Programs. Made a submission. Submissions are good.

Goal 5. Community Building/General Marketing/Branding
Goal 6. Generate New Work: Read a little more of Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town in relation to the NaNoWriMo project I'm considering. Though that was connected to the workshop proposals I'm not going to be making. The more I read of Sunshine Sketches, the less likely I think it is that I'll be able to use it as a frame for a contemporary story. So I've changed my mind about the setting, which means I've also changed my mind about the characters.

Discussed the picture book that seems as if I'll never finish at writers' group Monday night. The draft I brought them was a huge change from what they'd seen before. I came away with some major tweeks. But they are just tweeks. Except one is a climactic tweak. Those are always hard.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Janet Lawler Brings The Games To Connecticut, Not Rio

Author Janet Lawler brought a program developed around her book, The Prehistoric Games, to the Cragin Memorial Library this evening. It was an impressive event that included a traditional reading and PowerPoint presentation related to how Janet came to write the book. And then there was everything else.

An Olympic Torch!

We're talking an Olympic torch, a parade of athletes, and an array of games for child audience members to play. And they did. At length. The dino dig and long jump were particularly popular, but there were more things to do. The evening concluded with a medal ceremony.
Dinosaur Dig

What Janet has created for The Prehistoric Games is a fine example of what Kirsten Cappy of Curious City discussed at a NESCBWI program last month. Janet is marketing her book by providing the adults in children's lives (librarians and parents this evening) with engaging materials for those children.

Coming soon to Janet Lawler's website: How to use The Prehistoric Games as part of a birthday party.
Long Jump
Medal Ceremony


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: Buffer Time? Unit System? Buffer Time? Unit System?

Buffer Times Builds Better Performance at Coaching Positive Performance argues that packing a day with tasks isn't necessarily going to lead to top productivity. It's hard to make the mental transition from one task to another, if you move too rapidly. What to do? Plan some buffer time between tasks.

This sounds a lot like what I call the unit system--the breaking of a workday into units of time with periodic short breaks from work. Time management researchers recommend this work method because, among other things, it gives the brain an opportunity to "reboot" and think it has returned to early in the day when self-discipline is strongest. And research is suppose to support this system as making workers more productive than trying to work intently in one spot all day.

The main difference between what is described as buffer time and the time management break-into-unit technique appears to be that the unit system involves actual planning of the amount of time you're going to spend on a task and the break/buffer. You use a timer as an external support for willpower. The Coaching Positive Performance article doesn't mention anything like that for buffer time. How long you work and how long you spend in "buffer time" is up in the air.

Can We Use The Concept Of Buffer Time In A Different Way?


I like the idea of planning buffer time between completed projects. I'm not sold on using it off and on all day, every day between the many tasks we're working on to complete those projects. Especially since the buffer time article suggests using it in the following ways:
  • To organize administrative details, meaning filing documents for completed tasks and creating files for new ones. In my personal experience, this is hugely important. Poor organizing can mean time problems down the line.
  • To provide you with fallback time in case what you're working on runs long.
  • To use for low-energy work in case you really don't like the idea of taking a break from work.
Those things could be done off-and-on every day, but to me they say "end of project."

Also, if our concern is making mental transitions between different types of work, it seems that we'd need that most when we're shifting from one completed project to another rather than from one task to another during the day.
  • I'm talking making a transition between, say, completing a draft of Project A and starting an entirely new writing project and not between working an hour on Project A today (a task) and then working another hour on Project A today (a task).
  • Or, if we're juggling several projects, we might not be interested in buffer time between working an hour on Project A today (a task), then an hour prepping for an appearance today (another task), then going back to Project A today (still another task). But buffer time after Project A is totally completed (a project) a few weeks down the line or after the appearance prep is done (a project) might be very useful. And desirable.  


On The Other Hand


If you like the idea of breaking your day into blocks of time without any formal time keeping, adapting some kind of buffer system could work for you.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Podcast And Baking Binge. You've Missed This, Haven't You?

Wow. It's been a while since I've done a weekend baking binge. Just this past Friday I was talking with a family member who made me aware of people we know who like a TV in their kitchens. We're
only talking two people, but, still, it reminded me of my kitchen work. I would never bother with a TV in a kitchen, because what I want when I'm working is sound, not something to look at. Music or some kind of talkie thing, a way to suck up info.

But as I said the last time I cooked and wrote, the podcasts I'd been so fond of for so long are getting old for me. I'm getting close to doing an abrupt turn to music. Hmm. I heard a Rhiannon Giddens' concert Friday night. Maybe something like that.

But not quite yet.

Not a big binge. Seriously, I'm a little embarrassed.
Saturday I switched from marketing and littalk podcasts to short story podcasts from Slice Magazine. These were stories from one of its issues, read by their authors. I'm always trying to check out the work in literary journals, and this was a good opportunity to do that while baking biscuits, rolls, shortbread, and pear crisp.

And listening to short stories gave podcasts a little new life.

We All Come From Somewhere by Kristian Mecom  Listening to this illustrated the problem with listening to podcasts--someone came into the kitchen at an important moment, and I don't know how the main character got to the place she ended up. Or if she ended up there at all. Maybe something metaphorical was going on.

Regret by Erin Sommers On the one hand, I'm thinking, This character would risk her good life for that guy? On the other hand, I'm thinking, Okay! This character would risk her good life for that guy!

For the time being, I'm going to try to limit myself to podcasts of published work, both fiction and essays. If I can find them. But I'm sure music is in my future.

Also, I've baked a lot of biscuits, shortbread, rolls, and pear crisp these last six months. I need to do something else.

I need something different to listen to and something different to bake.

Weekend Cooking Meme hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Editing Note: While trying to edit a tiny error the day after publishing, I deleted an entire paragraph and had to rewrite it. So if anyone is into rereading, you may see some minor differences. Trials of blogging.

Friday, July 08, 2016

What Did You Do This Week, Gail? July 4 Edition

Goal 1. Adhere to Goals and Objectives. I told you to expect more more whining this week. It was a rough one. The two days I expected to be able to work? I ended up spending part of them with Andy the Plumber. Low performance week. I wasn't even able to get much exercise in. I was kind of humiliated in tai chi class yesterday, too. Self-esteem not at a high point. In fact, not even sure where it is.

Goal 2. Prepare Mummy Hunters for Submission. That new draft I started was all about voice. I thought I found it. Was quite excited. But I wasn't happy about the structural changes I'd made and would have to continue making. Waily, waily. To get myself up off the mat, I'm going to try to force the voice into the last draft. That could work. That's what I'm telling myself this weekend, anyway.

Goal 3. Generate New Short Work/Programs. I made a pitch. Pitching is good. I'm probably not going to be pitching the workshops I'd been thinking about.

Goal 5. Community Building/General Marketing/Branding

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Maggie Stiefvater Answers Some Hard Questions

The May 13th issue of Entertainment Weekly carried a Pop Culture of My Life article in which author Maggie Stiefvater answered a series of questions like "The first album I ever bought" and "The group of fictional pals I dream of joining."

Whenever I see articles like this, I feel the same kind of anxiety I feel when I read SAT sample test questions. I know I can't answer these things. And then I feel so relieved that I don't have Stiefvater's kind of success (Exactly what kind of success do you have, Gail?) and I've already graduated from college, because that means no one will ask me any of this stuff.

Well done, Maggie Stiefvater.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Advice For Child Writers...And Their Parents And Teachers, Too.

"My mother thinks I should be published."
I have had an awkward moment or two when I've been in schools and had teachers ask me how students can get their work published. I have to say, "I don't think students should be publishing." I did say awkward, right? A few years ago, I was in a school where kids told me their parents said they should be getting their writing published. That left me speechless, because we were in an auditorium where I felt it would be inappropriate to say, "Yeah. Your parents are wrong." It would probably be inappropriate for me to tell a fifth grader that anywhere.

Now I can refer people to a wonderful article by Jane Friedman called Writing Advice for Children and Teens. She covers many great points that I have often thought about, myself, and includes the words "Instead of publishing..."

Perhaps I'll create a student writing section at my website. A link to Friedman's Writing Advice for Children and Teens could be the only thing there.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: Is Stroking My Ego A Good Use Of Time?

A couple of months ago, the administrators of a regional writers' conference announced next year's conference theme. Lo' and behold, not only did I actually understand the theme, I  liked it. Very rare, people. Very rare. It was something I became interested in just this past winter.

As a result, I decided I'd submit workshop proposals for next year's conference. I say "proposals," because the conference wants faculty to teach two workshops in order to cut down on administration and costs. I have two workshops I've led in the past that I thought would fit the theme well. I didn't think it would require a lot of time to work up the proposals, because I know this material. Because I'd taught the workshops in the past, I thought I'd be able to handle teaching both of them over one weekend. I was a woman with a plan.

Then I learned last week that next year all faculty are expected to attend the entire conference, not just the days they teach, as has been the case in the past.

This is not a drastic imposition. The conference is only three days, not three weeks. In fact, it's probably closer to two and a half days. Plus I live only an hour away from the conference site, so I could (I assume) cut out for the evenings and wander in for my first workshop each morning while whatever opening event is running. I really like conferences for the workshops, not the rubbing shoulders, so, though I'd have to pay for at least a day of conference time I may end up not wanting, at least I wouldn't have to find something to do during the long evenings or early in the morning before the workshops started. But going home each night also means I won't have a hotel room to escape to during the day to work or nap, which is what I've heard other writers do when they can't find workshops to fill all those conference hours.

Thinking about how I would manage time if I'm on the conference faculty next year has led me to think about other time-related issues involved with teaching at a conference. There are a number of them. Among them what will I be getting for my investment of time? Should I or should I not submit workshop proposals?

Reasons To Submit Proposals

Vanity, Total Vanity. If my proposals are accepted and I make the conference faculty, I will feel that, despite whatever career setbacks I've experienced over the years, I am still a contender. I am still one of the writer tribe. I know this is the case because I was on the faculty several years ago and felt very tribal. This is pretty much the only reason I want to do this, to pump up my ego. Try as I will, I cannot come up with another one.

Reasons Not To Submit Proposals

Submitting Takes Time.While the sponsoring agency requires faculty to teach two workshops, it suggests we submit proposals for three or four for its staff to choose from. This would increase our odds of having workshops chosen, but it will also increase our workload substantially now. If you have ever worked as a consultant or known people who have, responding to Requests for Proposals in order to get jobs is a financial black hole.  It takes time to put proposals together. Time is money. The money consultants make is for the work they are proposing to do, not for the work they did on the proposals. They never get that back. They may consider it the cost of doing business, but it's still a cost.

For writers, the time used on creating workshop proposals is time we could be generating work or submitting. Some writers who have a portfolio of workshops on hand may not have to put that much time into writing a proposal. You may recall that right now I only have two that I think will fit the theme. If I want to submit more, I'll have to put in time starting from scratch to come up with others. Even if I end up being selected for next year's faculty, there's no financial return on the time it will take to make the proposals.

If the submitted proposals are rejected, I will still have some planned workshops that I could use somewhere else. So I could justify the use of time that way. I have to say, though, that I've had a few proposals rejected over the years and as of today have not used them anywhere else. An outline is required with the workshop proposals. If rejected, that outline could become an article I could submit. Again, this hasn't gone anywhere in the past.

Workshop Prep Takes Time. I know writers who have years of experience teaching grade school or high school or who are adjunct writing teachers at the college level. My guess is that they're skilled enough and comfortable enough that they don't need the weeks of prep time that I put in before a presentation. If we're talking new material, I'll start working months ahead of time, creating a script, designing slides, working on timing. If the two workshops I think fit the theme were selected, things shouldn't be that bad because I'll have run variations of them before. But if I were to come up with a third or even fourth workshop proposal and have that selected, that's another thing. Again, this is all time I could put toward generating new work or submitting.

Performance Anxiety. A large part of the reason I put in so much prep time. The more time I put into prep, the less anxious I am. One of the reasons I make appearances is to prove to myself that I'm tough enough to deal with performance anxiety. I recognize that that may not be particularly healthy. In fact, I think at least one family member has told me as much.

Income Flow. I haven't seen any information on what the sponsoring agency is offering for compensation next year, but when I taught in the past there was a small honorarium, the conference registration fee was waived for the day I taught, and I was offered a room for the night I taught. So if my proposals were accepted, the real income generated would be that honorarium.

However, recall that next year faculty need to attend the entire conference, meaning we'll be paying conference fees for the day(s) we don't teach. As conferences go, the fees for this one are quite reasonable. But depending on which day(s) I'm teaching and which day(s) I have to attend and pay my fee, I could end up spending nearly as much to attend the conference as I'd make for teaching.  Which is why I didn't put "Generate Income" under "Reasons To Submit Proposals." In reality, I may not be generating any.

What To Do?

Given that I have only one very shallow reason for submitting workshop proposals to this conference, I think it's pretty obvious that in terms of time, there's very little reason for me to do it. In the best case scenario, one in which my proposals are selected for the conference, I'd end up taking a lot of time from writing just to make me feel good. I felt pretty good the last two years attending the conference without being on the faculty. I can do that with a whole lot less effort.

I have until August 1st to submit, so perhaps I'll change my mind. We'll probably discuss this at my writers' group next week. Maybe someone there will have a really compelling reason to try get on the conference faculty. 

Monday, July 04, 2016

Some Light Election Year Reading

I picked up Red Girl, Blue Boy by Lauren Baratz-Logsted because I'm acquainted with the author, I'm tired of reading so much fantasy,'s an election year! Red Girl, Blue Boy is a light romance about a teenage girl from a Republican family and a teenage boy from a Democratic family who...

Oh, my gosh. This is Romeo and Juliette, isn't it? Without the playing dead business.

The basic set-up here is that Katie's father is the Republican Presidential candidate and Drew's mother is the Democratic candidate. Katie is totally into politics and has often had a part in her father's campaigns. Drew has never been interested. In fact, his mother's political aspirations are a bit of a trial. Needless to say, these two get together.

Now the politics-makes-strange-bedfellows/Mary-Matalin-and-James-Carville storyline has been done before. But maybe not for teens. And what really makes this particular version a fun read is one character, Katie. Her political interests make her an over-the-top, abnormal teen. While Drew is "nice," as Katie describes him, she's a happy misfit. She's too much a part of the adult political world for her to fit in at her private school, even though she is wealthy and connected to power. (Hmm. Maybe those things don't matter in high school.) She's never had a boyfriend, she doesn't have friends, and she does not care. No "woe is me" teen angst for this girl. She's got a campaign to run! 

Katie reminded me of Alison on Orphan Black, except for, you know, the drugs, alcohol, and being a clone. Who doesn't love Alison?

The course of true love can't run smooth and  misunderstandings drive Katie and Drew apart. Oh, my gosh. Am I getting a Pride and Prejudice vibe here? As an adult, I think Drew was way out of line, and Katie should move on. But that's years of experience talking.

I hope this book is finding an audience this summer. And oh, how I wish the cover showed Katie in one of her red Nancy Reagan suits.

Red Girl, Blue Boy is part of  the What If romance series published by Bloomsbury. While the books are standalones, they are linked thematically. The books are supposed to provide a "What If" situation (What if both presidential candidates had teenage children and they started dating?), contain humor to some degree, and be appropriate for readers as young as twelve.

FTC Info: As I said earlier, I do know this author. However, I got this book at a local library.

Friday, July 01, 2016

What Did You Do This Week, Gail? June 27 Edition.

Goal 1. Adhere to Goals and Objectives. It was an ordeal, because I was dealing with angstie angst angst. What's going on with the human condition? At least mine? What does it all mean? Mr. Natural wasn't right, was he?

Goal 2. Prepare Mummy Hunters for Submission. Did I mention that I started another draft? I have my reasons. One of them being that I'm looking for voice. Voice, voice, where are you?

Goal 3. Generate New Short Work/Programs. So I thought I had an essay ready to submit this week, but now I believe the reportage aspect needs some work. Which I'm getting somewhere with. But still. Then, I was getting started on two workshop proposals, when I found out the conference I was going to submit them to is making a requirement I don't think I want to meet. Waily waily. Perfect for angst week, eh? At least, I'll be able to get a blog post out of this.

Does the picture book go under this goal or Goal 6? I am lost. Major change on that.

Goal 5. Community Building/General Marketing/Branding

  • Penderwicks post--Promoted to Facebook community, Google+, Google+ community,Twitter.
  • Time Management Tuesday post--I was too frazzled to do anything about this. It was a massive achievement to have come up with the material. I deserve an award.
  • CCLC post--Promoted everywhere.
  • Sent the newsletter edition of the CCLC to subscribers
  • Posted three book reviews to Goodreads.

Goal 6. Generate New Work: Had some thoughts about the NaNoWriMo project I'm considering. That's good. And, in case the picture book should be discussed here, it still needs a title. I'm not sure about the ending, either.

Expect more whining next week. I expect to only be working two days.