A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In Which Reality Hits Me (Or my ARCs arrive!)

JUADSOL!!! (Jumping up and down screaming out loud!)

This week my Advanced Reader's Copies, or ARCs arrived in the mail.

I jumped, I screamed, I took pictures, did a happy dance, and then I had to go back to the crazy business of preparing for 25 Japanese exchange students to arrive. (Sometimes I wear too many hats.)

It wasn't until two days later, when all my students were happily settled with host families that I sat down and flipped through the pages. Maybe I was afraid if I got to it too soon, I wouldn't really appreciate it, maybe I was still a little afraid that it wasn't real. Then I read the acknowledgments and I cried, because it finally hit me that I have a book with my name on it!!!

At that moment I realized it was real. I also realized how many wonderful people have been a part of this process. (I can't thank them enough.)

To any writer struggling with their first book, or struggling to get out of the slush pile I say don't give up on yourself or on your dream. You can do it! All you need to get started is one person to believe in you. Make that one person you!

It's absolutely bizarre, cool, amazing, and wonderful to have reached this point. Thank you to so many people for believing in me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Teens Doing Great Things-- Rhema's Reality

When we hear about something bad that's happening to someone else we may feel sad, we may sympathize with them, we may wish we could help them, but how many of us would actually decide to do something about it? And what if that person was almost a complete stranger?

When Jacob Johnson heard about Rhema Butler, a girl who was the same age as he was and who was suffering from a rare form of cancer, he decided he had to do something. It didn't matter that he was only fourteen or that he had just met Rhema. Together, he and Rhema founded Rhema's Reality, a non-profit organization to raise money for childhood cancer research.

Here, in his own words is what happened.

I met this amazing teen at Rocking for Rhema, a fundraiser for Rhema's Reality. It was a well-organized event that featured local bands, local businesses, and community members, coming together to raise money for cancer research. Sadly, just a few days before this even, Rhema had lost her battle with childhood cancer.

As I talked with Jacob and Rhema's other friends and family members, I was impressed with the vibrant spirit that Rhema had projected onto all of them. I was impressed with the way Rhema and Jacob had come together to make a difference for other sick kids. I was impressed with how two kids who were so young and one so sick could do so much in such a short time.

Even though Rhema is gone, Jacob continues his fund raising efforts in her name. To find out about upcoming events or to donate to the Rhema's Reality fund go to the Rhema's Reality Facebook Page.

You can also see more about Jacob and Rhema's journey together at the Rhema's Reality youtube channel.

Jacob is a great example of everything that's good in kids and teens. He saw something that was hurting his friend and he did everything he could to make it better. He didn't let anyone tell him he was too young or that it was too hard to make a difference. He just did it.

Thank you Rhema for leaving behind such an amazing legacy. Thank you to Jacob and everyone who has helped him with Rhema's reality. You are a wonderful example of the great things that teens or anyone else can do when their heart is in the right place.

Jacob and Rhema on their way to the
Starlight Children's Foundation Prom

Monday, July 11, 2011

Back to Life

I'm ba-ack!

First I would like to announce the randomly chosen winners of my cover reveal contest. (I asked two of my children to give me numbers between 1-47, the number of comments I received, and those numbers they chose were the winners. Random, if not scientific)

Drum roll please...

The winner of the 11 x 14 print from my husband's website is KIKI HAMILTON!

The winner of the Barnes and Noble gift card is ZORAIDA CORDOVA!

I will be in contact with the winners so they can receive their prize.

Now back to reality...

I had a fantastic vacation home to Idaho. We went camping in Teton National Forest, drove through Yellowstone National Park, attended a hometown Fourth of July parade, and watched the rodeo and fireworks in Jackson. (In a past life I was somewhat of a cowgirl.)

As I put in my last post, it was a good time for mining memories and for resting my brain. I came home with a head full of new story ideas, characters, and settings that I can't wait to get written down. (As soon as I finish my WIP. No new projects that one's done, I promise.)

As usual, my precious, (my laptop) made the journey with me. Some of the places I wrote on my trip included a tent, a hotel room, while we were driving, and the bathroom at the campground. It was the only place that had an outlet and I needed to recharge my batteries. (Yes, I got some strange looks.)

I had planned to get a lot of writing done, but I didn't. Most of the time, my laptop was put away so I could look, listen, interact, and ENJOY my family and the places we went. I thought about feeling guilty about it, or sneaking away to get some writing done, but I decided what I was doing was more important.

I love to write. It's easy to get caught up in my own stories and forget about the rest of the world and just write. But that's not really conducive to being a good mom and I don't think it's conducive to being a good writer either. If the first rule of being a writer is "Write always" maybe the second rule should be "look, listen, observe, and live." If you're living in your head all the time, it's hard to write a character or story that's relateable to anyone but yourself.

I had a great vacation, I wrote, I observed, I mined my memories, but mostly I just enjoyed the people I was with and the places we went. Writing is an adventure, but it's important to take time out for real adventures too. You can always write about them later!