Pintip

A Lifelong Student

Highlighters: green, blue, yellow, orange, and pink. Check. Three-ring binder with printed-out manuscript. Check. Lecture packets on how to write fresh, use rhetorical devices, and assess my writing for weaknesses using a rainbow-colored system. Check, check, and check.

Can anyone guess what I’m doing today? That’s right! I’m attending one of Margie Lawson’s Immersion Master Classes.pintip

I am so excited to meet Margie, to hang out with fellow writers for the next four days, and, most of all, to learn!

I love school. From kindergarten through college through law school, I adored exploring new subjects and acquiring the skills needed to think about old subjects in a new way. But just because I’ve graduated doesn’t mean my days of study have to end.

This morning, my son asked where I was going this weekend.

“Class,” I said.

“What?” He scrunched his eyes the way he does when I tell a particularly funny joke. “You mean you’re going to be the teacher?”


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Mermaid & Friends: Vanessa Barneveld Swims with the Mermaids

Friends, I had a very special day planned for the lagoon today. I was all set to welcome the fabulous Vanessa Barneveld, whose YA novel, THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, debuts in four short unnameddays, on October 21. I’m a huge fan of this book — not only is it fun, fresh, and touching, but it’s all delivered in Vanessa’s smooth-as-butter voice.

So you can imagine how excited I was when Vanessa agreed to dip a toe in the lagoon. But alas, due to travel difficulties (Vanessa lives in Australia, after all), she couldn’t make it. But not to worry. She promised she would send a replacement. Ah, here comes someone now…

KEIRA: Hi. I’m Keira and I’m clairvoyant. But I’m not your interview guest today. I’m just here as a ghost interpreter.

PINTIP: Ghost interpreter?

KEIRA: Not everyone can see, hear or talk to ghosts, but I can. I’ll relay everything Jimmy says and does for you and your readers. (Whispers)…
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Why My Life Is Like The Hunger Games

As some of you know, I have a newborn baby. And that sweet, darling child has made my life pintipcrazy busy these last few months. So busy that I’ve cut back on tv time, exercise time, relax-in-a-bubble-bath time — in essence, “me time” — until there’s nothing left to cut. So busy I fall into bed every night stressed about how little I accomplished — and how much more I need to do the next day. So busy I haven’t been able to read very many YA books.

This last, in particular, makes me very sad. That is, until I realized I don’t need to *read* YA stories. Because I’m living my very own!

Behold: Ten Reasons Why Having a Newborn Baby Is Like Living the Hunger Games

1. You can train and prepare and study all you want, but you won’t know what you’re in for until the moment you step into the arena. Even if you’ve been there before.


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Beyond Talks with Imaginary People: Ten Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks Writers Are Crazy*

Pintip Mermaid1. At the table of a crowded restaurant, we debate the pros and cons of killing by poisonous gas or a slit to the throat.

2. Most of our texts to our friends read something like: “1236 words! You?”

3. We return to our manuscripts and add an adjective (only to take it out later in revisions) just so we can say we hit out daily word count.

4. We call our friends to share life events – “Brynn just got into college!” or “Brynn has a baby!” – and accept the ensuing congratulations like a proud mama, even though Brynn is not our daughter. Or niece. Or even a person, really.

5. One year later, we completely blank on Brynn’s name.

6. We convince our husbands to help us out with a sticky detail by contorting our bodies into complicated sexual positions. And when we figure out just the right angle, we pop up and rush out of the…
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Lessons in Rejection

My heart has been breaking all summer. Over problems no parent can solve. About my inability to protect my children — from hurt feelings, from being excluded, frompintip the agony of rejection.

“I’d rather get a hundred rejections than have my child go through this,” I thought.

The sacrifice of a mother? Sure. But being a seasoned veteran of rejection, I also felt I was better equipped to deal with the pain.

After all, I’ve had LOTS of experience with rejection as a writer. And I’ve learned a ton. For example:

1. I learned to temper my expectations. Seven-figure deals, international book tours, movie adaptations — I’ve dreamed them all. But they didn’t happen, and they didn’t happen quickly. And so, my dreams are different now. Simpler. And they motivate me just as much. A career as a writer. My book on a shelf. Spending my days doing what I love most.

2. I learned that rejection gets easier over time….
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Summer Reading Recommendations from the Dauntless

I love book recommendations. I especially love YA book recommendations. And I REALLY especially love YA book recommendations from my writing friends. What’s more, I’m at the beach this week, and I needed to load up my kindle with lots of good reading.

So who better to ask than the Dauntless, my fellow YA Golden Heart finalists from this year?

Here’s what they had to say:

 

1. SWEET EVIL series/SWEET RECKONING.16007855

I am crazy about the Sweet Evil series by Wendy Higgins! If you haven’t picked up these books yet, now is the perfect time to start, because the third book in the trilogy, Sweet Reckoning, was just recently released and shot right onto the bestseller list. The series features the sons and daughters of fallen angels, whose lives literally depend on being bad influences. Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna is fighting her fate until she meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe and her willpower is put to the test– he’s the son…
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Refilling Your Creative Well

When the Waterworld Mermaids blog first started three years ago, I wrote a post about the Artist Date and my hobby of making bento box meals for my kids. For those of you who don’t remember, Julia Cameron defines the Artist Date as apintip time used to nurture our inner artist and a way to refill our creative well. (THE ARTIST’S WAY, 20-21).

In the past few weeks, I have found myself in desperate need of refilling my well. Lots of things can suck your creativity dry, some writing-related and some not. Health issues, money problems, fatigue, and the loss of a loved one, to name a few. Rejections, revisions, and less-than-stellar reviews, to name some others.

Whatever your reason, if you find yourself in need of an Artist Date, here are some suggestions:

1. Plant a garden. Buy some potted plants, seeds, soil, planters and dig in. Get your hands dirty. Nurture your plants, day after day, and revel in…
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Where Do You Write?

pintipThe place I write most often is my recliner.

My favorite place to write is probably in my bed, first thing in the morning, when I’m snuggled into my pillows, sleepy and uninhibited.

The strangest place I’ve ever written is flat on my back, under a glass coffee table, dictating to a laptop which is face-down on the glass.

I’ve written almost everywhere, in coffee shops and on airplanes, in friends’ houses and libraries, on the sidelines at gymnasiums and swimming pools, at the beach, a ski lodge, a bench at the Navy Pier in Chicago. Basically, anytime I have a free moment, I pull out my iPhone and write.

But where am I most productive? This answer might surprise you. I certainly never would’ve expected it.

In my car. Yep, that’s right. Behind the wheel, my seat slid all the way back, parked on some side street or lot. Sometimes, I’m between appointments, and it’s not worth my time to…
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But It’s Pretty, Right?

pintipYesterday morning, I was annoyed. The snow had started too late for school to be delayed. When I opened my car doors, flurries of snow rushed inside, only to melt on the floor mats. My neighborhood roads were a mess, and I slipped and slid out of my driveway. There was so much traffic on 495, it took me THREE times as long to drive my kiddo to school. So, even though we left early, we arrived late. (Although: not really. We got to school after the bell, but *everybody* was late, so no tardy slips were given). Needless to say, I was not happy with the white flakes fluttering from the sky.

But then, I passed another mom dropping her student off. She smiled at me and said, “But it’s pretty, right?” These four little words made all the difference in the world.

Let’s unpack this sentence a little bit. She didn’t say, “It’s pretty!” with so much Pollyanna cheer…
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Snow Day!

Since Masha shared with us what she was not in yesterday’s post, I thought I’d tell you what I am. I am the type of person who watches a pot of water boil. No, seriously. (And it actually does boil, believe it or not.)

When we first got fish, I could sit and observe them frolic and swim around for hours. And don’t get me started on babies. Endless. Entertainment. Of course, this is from the mother who still loves to watch her son fall asleep. (Hey, he’s still in nursery school. That statement would be a lot more strange if he were, say, thirty.)

Where I draw the line, though, is watching grass grow. Too damn boring, too damn long. Yesterday, however, I found a similar, albeit more interesting and prettier, pastime: watching snow fall.

1-snow day 1

As the snow fell and fell and fell, I was thinking that the accumulation of these fluffy white flakes is a lot…
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