Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bonehead writer's stunt

Did I mention I broke my foot? The happy event happened a few weeks ago, the result of a bonehead writer's stunt.

My typical "doh" writer's moments usually occur while sitting butt in chair. Even after setting an alarm, I've been known to write my way through my kids' pick up times, forget meetings, and burn dinner.

The day I broke my foot I was fully engaged in my latest KM rewrite. After a particularly intense scene, I took a break to stretch my back and change over a load of laundry. I left the keyboard still deep inside my story. Big mistake. On the way downstairs with laundry basket in hand, I was too distracted by my characters to remember the snow boots at the bottom of the stairs. The boot went one way, my foot went the other. I heard the bone pop as I crashed to the floor.

The story Jane Resh Thomas shared with readers in the January issue of Edge of the Forest came to mind as I lay writhing at the base of the stairs. I can use this someday, I groaned. I can use this.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Writer's Retreat in the Woods

Wowsza! My fingers and toes are crossed that my registration arrives in time to make the short list for this SCBWI-Illinois writer's retreat. Space is limited to 48 attendees.

The lucky few will have the chance to spend a weekend with:

Holly Black
Author of Spiderwick Chronicles (coming to theaters near you) and the young adult novels: Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside.

Barry Goldblatt
Agent Extraordinaire from BG Literary Company representing such authors as Holly Black and Libba Bray.

Namrata Tripathi
Editor from Hyperion Publishing, a house closed to unsolicited submissions, but open for a limited time for conference attendees.

Be still my writer's heart. It's conferences like this one that remind me why I'm proud to be a member of the SCBWI Illinois chapter.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Writer's Workshop at Edge of the Forest

Amidst the flurry of getting ready for and recovering from our whirlwind visit to LA, I neglected to give a much deserved shout out and thanks to author/teacher extraordinaire Jane Resh Thomas for chatting with me for the Day in the Life column in the January issue of Edge of the Forest. The article, which reads more like a writer's workshop than a straight up interview, is a sure bet if you're looking for inspiration and insights before sitting butt in chair.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Zac All That and More

E's wish came true and then some. After a string of mechanical difficulties delayed our flight two and half hours (and I seriously considered deplaning for fear of the gremlins), we arrived safely in LA at the height of rush hour Wednesday. Two plus hours later we found the hotel, where we learned that our visit with Zac would happen the very next day.

Thursday mid afternoon a limo arrived at the hotel in Studio City to take us to a house in the hills above Hollywood (the same neighborhood, we're told, where Leonardo DiCaprio lives) to meet Zac on the set of his new movie, 17.

While E and the three other Make a Wish children and their families waited for Zac to arrive on the set, P & I salivated over the house. Props had worked it over so it reflected the character who lived there. The place was like a museum to scifi/fantasy geeks, decked out in Stars Wars, Lord of the Rings and other scifi/fantasy paraphenalia. Darth Vadar greeted us in the foyer. Storm trooper helmets decorated the tops of book cases filled with collectible comics. A sword in a stone stood on the carpet near the front window. A two-handed broadsword hung near the front door. An elvish sword, Arwen's blade according to one of the crew, graced a window ledge in the kitchen. We studied as many as we could until Zac arrived.

The room went quiet when he entered. E twittered along with the rest of the Wish kids. Jewel perked up her ears, and thumped her tail. Zac broke the ice. "Hello everybody," he said. He was dressed in jeans and a red plaid shirt and white gym shoes. He started on the far side of the room, visiting with each child in a way that made it seem as if he had all the time in the world.

When it came time for Zac to greet E, he knelt on one knee, coming down to her level. Jewel, who'd been laying there in her red vest so nice and proper, couldn't resist Zac. She scooched to his side, tail thumping, and rolled over just so, so that he could scratch her stomach.

"Hey, there," he said with a smile, "whose pooch is this?"

E claimed the honor, and suddenly Jewel was in Zac's lap and licking his face with E grinning her butt off the whole time. Zac, who has dogs of his own (Australian shepherds, according to the tabloids), seemed to love the attention. With one hand scratching Jewel, he asked E about herself and offered to sign the back of her shirt (All my love, Zac). To say Zac made E's day would be an understatement. He's got a fan for life.

Later, after he worked his way around the room, taking time with siblings, too, he visited with E again. She gave him treats for his dogs. He fed a couple to Jewel then saved some in his pocket, saying he'd share it with his dog. If you see 17, watch for the scene when Zac's character wakes up in bed thinking his being 17 again was all a bad dream. That's the scene he shot after leaving the room with the treats in his pocket. We're fairly certain they were still in his pocket when he was filming. E, of course, is tickled by this bit of behind-the-scenes trivia.

More later after we decompress.