Two new YA sports releases from giants in the field

A wide receiver who faces off with a bully quarterback. A tough foster kid athlete determined to find a lost nephew.
“Gutless” and “Loser’s Bracket” are the newest books from Carl Deuker and Chris Crutcher, two juggernauts in the world of YA sports who I’ve idolized for as long as I’ve been reading YA (Crutcher’s Ironman was what got me hooked long ago).

Crutcher’s “Loser’s Bracket”, due out this spring, is oozing with his usual emotion and page-turning tension.
And Crutcher, a long-time family therapist, paints an authentic picture of a family in turmoil. When a family argument breaks out at Annie’s swim meet and her nephew goes missing, Annie might be the only one who can get him back. With help from her friends, her foster brother, and her social service worker, Annie puts the pieces of the puzzle together, determined to find her nephew and finally get him into a safe home.
Even more incentive to check this one out, Crutcher’s website says “Loser’s Bracket” hits the sweet spot for fans of Andrew Smith, Marieke Nijkamp, and Matt de la Peña (another huge favorite of mine and Melody of the Tuesdays).
For more information, go to http://www.chriscrutcher.com/. Yes, he’s the author AND loudmouth. But that’s why his fans love him.

As for Deuker, he’s written about football before. His book, “Gym Candy”, won several awards. But that book was about teen steroid use, while “Gutless”, released in 2017, centers on bullying, finding friends, and courage.
Wide receiver Brock Ripley should be a natural for the varsity team, but he shies away from physical contact. When he gets cut from varsity, he also loses his friendship with star quarterback Hunter Gates, who begins lashing out at not only Brock, but also Brock’s friend, the quiet and smart Richie Fang. But when the bullying goes too far, will Brock be able to face his fears, stop being a bystander, and prove to himself that he is brave enough?
Another early book of Deuker’s also spotlights bullying – Painting the Black. It’s about the bond between a pitcher and catcher, and happens to be my favorite Deuker book of all time.
For more information, go to http://members.authorsguild.net/carldeuker/. You’ll see Deuker’s many other YA books about all sorts of sports.

Hope these books score big. What sports books are your favorites?

Media specialist aims to get kids excited about reading

For our first media Monday in two weeks, why not a media specialist whose passion is getting kids excited about books. Enjoy!

She’s been a music teacher, taught at a treatment program for kids, worked at an outdoor camp for troubled teens, and was a houseparent at a group home for abused girls in New Hampshire.

But for the last eight years, Elizabeth MacEwan-Zdrodowski found her niche at Glades Central High School in Belle Glade as the dedicated media specialist who will do whatever it takes to get teens excited about reading.

“When you work in a school with a very low level of reading proficiency, one of the biggest challenges is dealing with reluctant readers,” MacEwan-Zdrodowski said. “Students may come to your school with a negative predisposition towards libraries. It’s imperative to create an environment where students feel welcome, loved and safe.”

MacEwan-Zdrodowski, 37, has been an educator since 2003 for the School District of Palm Beach County.

Her goals are to build a lifelong love of reading, teach research skills, help students master technology, and encourage creativity. “But first, you have to build relationships,” she said.

MacEwan-Zdrodowski, the immediate past president of the Florida Association for Media in Education, is the Glades Central full-time librarian. She also teaches social media as an elective, administers the school’s iPad project, has created an Apple lab for project-based learning and a Maker Space for student expression, and uses Cranium CoRE to teach reading comprehension.

The Royal Palm Beach resident has been active in the Educational Media Association and was president for 2014-2015. She’s a member of Team TLC, an organization that mentors library media specialists as well as several professional organizations.

But she’s most proud of the dynamic guest speaker experiences she’s brought her students, including visits with authors Sharon Draper, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Paul Griffin and Jason Reynolds.

“One of the most profound experiences was having Mr. Norman Frajman, a Holocaust survivor, speak to students on Holocaust Remembrance Day,” MacEwan-Zdrodowski said. “These special events enrich their lives and not only encourage a love for reading, but help them become better people.”

As a member of the Florida Teens Read committee, she’s read hundreds of young adult novels in the past four years. She writes poetry and is working on a young adult novel. She hopes to develop her writing through critique groups and conferences, such as those offered by Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

As far as her primary role at Glades Central, she’s looking forward to completing the library remodelling that has been granted by Superintendent Robert Avossa (one of only five schools chosen for this honor).

“Working with the students at GCHS is a privilege,” MacEwan-Zdrodowski said. “They are the best kids in the world. I have experienced some negative and biased opinions about the Glades over the last eight years, and it is a source of sadness. The truth is, if people knew how amazing my students were, they’d be begging for my job.”

SCBWI’s 2017 programming a real page-turner

By Faran Fagen

For Fun Friday, thought I’d share an article I recently wrote about all the great things the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators does for lovers of childrens books in South Florida. Some familiar Tuesday folks you might recognize. Enjoy!

The characters in books should feel like authentic walk-off the page people. They exist before your story takes place, and endure long after you close the book, at least in the minds of your readers.

This was the message relayed by Wellington author Stacie Ramey as part of a monthly series of writing workshops at the West Boca Raton Library in partnership with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Ramey’s October lecture on character development encouraged the 40 writers in attendance to put themselves in the shoes of their characters and to discover more about their characters’ backstories and possible futures.

The workshop was the eighth of 2017 in a series created by SCBWI to promote the written word throughout South Florida. The classes are offered the third Saturday of the month, and culminate with a short trip to Panera Bread for casual follow-up conversation with food, coffee and friends.

“These workshops have helped me hone my craft in so many ways,” said Ramey, whose third young adult novel, The Secrets We Bury, debuts in March of 2018. “Lorin Oberweger’s workshop on iconic characters was fantastic and taught me how to write epic characters.”

Oberweger, of Tampa, is an editor, ghost writer, and literary agent. One of the aspects she touched on in her workshop, one of the first of the year, was getting to know your characters and their good traits by “how they battle adversity”.
For Cathy Castelli, an aspiring children’s book author from Delray Beach, her top “Aha moment” came during a workshop taught by author/illustrator Fred Koehler, of Lakeland.

“He asked us to write a death scene without using all the words generally associated with death. It was certainly a way to avoid the cliché,” said Castelli, who attended several of the library events. “The workshops are important because I can get into too much of a routine with my writing. Attending a workshop stirs up my work in the best way possible.”

Castelli also attended an SCBWI Boot Camp in October. The Boot Camps, offered in Wellington, Davie and in various cities throughout the state, offered a full day of writing craft and helpful hints. SCBWI expanded its activities this year for those who can’t attend the annual SCBWI conference in Miami in January.

This year’s SCBWI Miami conference, Jan. 12-14, features Greenacres resident Shutta Crum, one of the guest speakers and author of 16 children’s books.

“We have some great speakers coming to the conference,” said Davie’s Dorian Cirrone, SCBWI Florida Co-Regional Adviser. “I’ve always wanted to meet Melissa Manlove, who is a senior editor at Chronicle Books. She discovered the best-selling picture book, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site in the slush pile. We also have Sylvie Frank from Paula Wiseman Books/Simon and Schuster and Amy Fitzgerald from Carolrhoda.”

Literary agents attending the conference include Oberweger, Jennie Dunham, Nicole Resciniti and Marcia Wernick.

Author Jonathan Rosen of Tamarac will be speaking on the first book’s panel at the conference. His debut book, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, was released over the summer.

In the monthly library series, Cirrone’s teachings pushed Boca Raton author Debbie Reid Fischer to rethink how to write a modern-day version of an old classic novel.

“I’m already outlining a new novel based on her excellent tips,” said Fischer, whose middle grade novel, This is Not the Abby Show, received three book awards last month. “Now I have a new book in the works and I’m so excited.”

Fischer, known for her sharp wit in her young adult and middle grade novels, was a library speaker on the topic: Humor, Pacing and Plot.

“It’s always worth it to show up to these workshops,” Fischer said. “You never know what the result will be from a nugget of inspiration or instruction. If you come away with just one thing you can use, it’s time well-spent.”

On Nov. 18, author and writing coach Joyce Sweeney, of Coral Springs, gave the West Boca Library workshop: From Image to Inspiration, from noon – 2 p.m. Sweeney shared the story of her poetry collection, WAKE UP, and read selected poems.
South Florida SCBWI Meeting Volunteers Mindy Weiss of Delray Beach and Marjetta Geerling of Hollywood run the monthly library workshops. Contact Weiss to RSVP, if you have questions, or want more information: Mindyaweiss@yahoo.com

For more information on either local events or the upcoming SCBWI Miami conference, visit florida.scbwi.org.

Eclectic author in it for the thrill

By Faran Fagen

When he began writing “Painted Beauty,” Mark Adduci knew he wanted the antagonist to be a serial killer. He began by researching everything he could get his hands on about the psychology of serial killers.
Just a day in the office for this author of thrillers from Royal Palm Beach.
“I’m an organic writer, meaning I don’t write from an outline and I have no idea where the book will go or how it will end when I start,” Aducci said. “The rest of ‘Painted Beauty,’ like all of my novels, happened because that’s where the characters took me.”
Adduci, writing under the name J.M. LeDuc, is a native Bostonian, who moved to South Florida in 1985. He’s a proud member of the prestigious International Thriller Writers (ITW) as well as the Florida Writers Association (FWA).
His mother, who loved the written word, passed that passion on to him. It is in her maiden name he writes. J.M. LeDuc’s first novel, “Cursed Blessing,” won a Royal Palm Literary Award in 2008.
Since then, he’s written a titillating plethora of thrillers, including “Cornerstone,” which became a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon in November 2015. “Spirits Collide,” the second book in “The Kiche Chronicles,” will be released in January 2018.
As a fiction writer, Adduci’s main objective is to entertain readers. But he also hopes they come away having learned something.
“Most of my novels have a social issue at their core,” Adduci said. “I never want to hit the reader over the head with the issue, but I think it’s important to have a thread of truth, whether it be historical or contemporary, weaving its way through the fabric of the story.”
Adduci always loved to read thrillers, which led them to his genre. He credits the many writing critique groups he’s come across in Palm Beach County, as well as writing conferences, to honing his craft.
He’s on the board of directors for the Cream Literary Alliance, a group of writers from varied genres whose primary focus is to bring literary awareness to South Florida.
He’s grateful for the support of his wife, Sherri, and daughter, Chelsea.
As far as his day job, Aducci, who practiced as a chiropractic physician in Boca Raton for 27 years, is now the Assistant Academic Dean at the Academy for Nursing and Health Occupations in West Palm Beach.
“Research shows that those types of professions are mainly left-brained, whereas writing, or any of the arts, tends to be a right-brained activity. I think keeping both sides
For more, visit his website at maa0043.wixsite.com/jmleduc.
Q & A
Who is your hero?
In my personal life, my mother, the original J.M. LeDuc. I write under her maiden name. I would also add my wife and daughter. They are all remarkable women.
What is your favorite movie?
I like cheesy movies. My wife would tell you that it’s “Armageddon” because I’ve seen it so many times. I would say, “Eddie and the Cruisers.” It’s just one of those films that left a lasting impression on me.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy going to the gym, but most of the time, if I’m not writing, I’m reading. I love to read.
What do you do to get away or take a break?
My wife and I love to take cruises, although it’s been a while. It’s the only vacation I know where you can actually escape real life for a few days and do as much or as little as you like. We also like to visit historical cities. In my adult years, I’ve become an avid history buff.
What’s your favorite author/book and why?
Overall, it would be a toss-up between Dostoevsky (historical) and R.J. Ellory (current). Dostoevsky for his brilliant portrayal of the psychological thriller in “Crime and Punishment”; Ellory for his ability to write riveting thrillers with a literary, almost poetic structure. I love all his books, but “A Simple Act of Violence” is probably my favorite.
If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?
I’ll answer it in two parts. Dinner with Jesus. I want to see unconditional love in action. Drinks with Hemmingway. I just think that would be an amazing conversation.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Never give up on my dreams. In today’s world, it’s easy to give in to mediocrity, or to give up on your dreams. I’m still striving to make mine a reality, but that’s what makes waking up each day invigorating.
What event in history would you have liked to witness?
I would have liked to have witnessed the building of the pyramids and I wish I could have walked the Library of Alexandria before it was destroyed.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Spending time with my grandparents. They are immigrants from other countries and were just incredible people. I wish I could go back and ask them all the questions I never did when I was younger.

The truth about writing? Famous authors chime in

By Faran Fagen

Tuesday Tips

For some Tuesday fun, decided to comb the internet for off-the-cuff quotes from famous authors about writing. Some are pretty amazing, others pretty amusing. Enjoy!

1. The first draft of everything is crap.-Ernest Hemingway
2. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass. -David Ogilvy
3. If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. – Dorothy Parker
4. Notice how many of the Olympic athletes effusively thanked their mothers for their success? “She drove me to my practice at four in the morning,” etc. Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home. -Paul Theroux
5. I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee
6. You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ― Jack London
7. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. — George Orwell
8. There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ― W. Somerset Maugham
9. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King
10. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
11. Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die. – Anne Enright
12. If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do. – William Zinsser
13. Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college. – Kurt Vonnegut
14. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration. – Ernest Hemingway
15. Write drunk, edit sober. – Ernest Hemingway
16. Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly. – Joshua Wolf Shenk
17. Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. – Mark Twain
18. Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you. ― Neil Gaiman
19. Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. – Oscar Wilde
20. You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ― Ray Bradbury
21. Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously. – Lev Grossman

Eclectic author, a former White House guest, injects fun into writing

By Faran Fagen

No class this Tuesday, so enjoy this profile on local author Shutta Crum:

In 2005, she was invited to read her one of her 15 published children’s books at The White House. She’s also a public speaker, a librarian for 26 years, and taught English and creative writing. Several of her articles about teaching and writing have appeared in professional journals.

For Shutta Crum (pronounced shut-ta, not shoot-a, which she gets a lot), life was “shaped by the written word”. And she couldn’t be more grateful.

“I like sharing my stories with the world,” said the 65-year-old Greenacres resident. “When kids love my books, it makes me feel immortal. Hopefully, the books will continue to exist after I am gone, in the hearts of readers, and in libraries.”

Crum’s schedule is full of school and library visits as well as book festivals, and writing workshops for all ages. She’s done free talks for the schools her grandchildren attend in Palm Beach County (Crum has two children and four grandchildren). Her schedule and history can be found at her website, www.shutta.com.

On Feb. 18, she spoke at the West Boynton Beach Library as part of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators) monthly author series.

Crum’s workshop, titled “Sound, Shape, Sense: The Work of our Words”, reviewed and discussed techniques that can be used in any genre or format (verse or prose).

Crum feels storytelling is in her blood. Born in the mountains of Kentucky, telling “whoppers” and listening to tall tales long into the night was part of her Appalachian heritage.

“In those dark and scrawny hollers I’d cling to my father’s tall legs and stare wide-eyed as I listened to the hair-raising tales my relatives told.”

Her journey reached its peak when she was invited to the White House’s Easter Egg Roll.

Crum met a number of George Bush’s cabinet. Unfortunately, there was a lightning storm on Easter that year. Although there were many families waiting in the rain, the festivities for that morning were cancelled, so she did not actually get a chance to read her book, Bravest of the Brave, to the crowds.

But in her vast career, Crum has reached a multitude of families through her writing. Her latest, William and the Witch’s Riddle, is about a boy who must solve a witch’s riddle in order to save his family and end a centuries-long curse.

“My books, and the books of others, give young readers a safe space within which to think and to dream,” Crum said. “What I want is for children to come into that space and to see themselves, others, and the wonders that lay before them.”

Q & A:

Who is your hero? My husband, Gerald Clark, always. How he puts up with me, I’ll never understand.

What is your favorite movie? I’m not sure I have an absolute favorite movie. But two of the top ones are: “Young Frankenstein” and “Raising Arizona”. Both are dark, but over-the-top fun. Similar to many of the books I like to read.

What’s your favorite author/book and why? As a librarian, an avid reader and a writer, I have a ton of favorite books—at many different reading levels. So I will only say that right now I am in love with two 2016 picture books; “Frank and Lucky Get Schooled” by Lynne Rae Perkins, and “I Am a Story” by Dan Yaccarino.

If you could meet any person in history, who would it be and why? As a writer, I’ve often thought about the whole puzzle of Shakespeare. Did he really write those plays, or did someone else? I’d like to solve that riddle. But I suspect he’d be a more boring conversationalist than Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare’s fellow playwright, who has been described as a spy, a brawler and a “rakehell.” Have you ever met a rakehell?

What are your hobbies? I quilt and do other “crafty” things like make tiles. I’m absolutely enamored by color. And I often wish I was, also, an illustrator.

What do you do to get away or take a break? I really don’t need to take a break from writing. I usually write for about three hours a day, three to four days a week. But we do enjoy traveling, hiking, and canoeing around Florida.

Changing my approach at the plate

Freestyle Friday

By Faran Fagen

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.”
One of my favorite and least favorite quotes (it’s from Captain Picard in a Star Trek episode)
Favorite because it’s true, and least favorite because I usually think of it when I follow the right road but still end up at a dead end.
I think we’ve all been there. Adhered to  the cooking instructions and the cake isn’t fluffy enough. Taken the prescribed medicine and laid low and still sick.
In baseball, when I hit a slump, I change my approach at home plate. Hands higher, knees bent lower. Throw in a leg kick? Sure, try that. Eventually, something clicks and swing gets smooth again.
So this school year (I’m a teacher so my writing tends to cycle through each school year), I’m trying a different approach. And it’s already paying dividends.
I’ve made two major changes to my writing that have sent a current through a revision that stemmed from input I got from editors and agents in 2017.
One comes indirectly from Tuesday colleague Jonathan Rosen, who told me (and stated in several interviews) that the biggest thing he did right before he got published was to sit down and write the funniest book he possibly could. In all his rejections, agents and editors always loved his humor, so he decided to focus on that.
That got me thinking, that I’ve had a similar experience with agents in regards to my baseball scenes and my action scenes.
So I’ve pledged to make sure that each scene is full of action and thrills, whether or not it’s on the baseball diamond.
The other adjustment I made comes from a speech I heard from award-winning author Richard Peck at a conference (miss him). He said that above all else, your aim as a writer is for your words and message to permeate a high school library and find that one student who desperately needs your book to survive.
So I’ve mixed the baseball/action thrills with this teen in need at the forefront as I piece together the heart of the story.
I’ve recently revised the strongest beginning of Strike Zone, and submitted it to a contest.
Whether I win or not, the cool thing about this writing gig is that it forces you to think. About what people find interesting and what young people truly need to feel accepted and understood.
So I guess in that respect, writing’s shaped me into a better person, just like I’ve molded my characters. So maybe I haven’t lost after all.

Giving your reader a grand finale

By Faran Fagen
Tuesday Tips

Last Tuesday, I wrote about strong opening chapters and beginnings.

Since I scored Tuesday Tips for the second straight week, why not close with powerful endings?

Once you reach that moment in your writing when you grasp the essence of your story, the evolution of the characters, what you want your reader to experience, you start to get a feel for the ending as well.

You may not know exactly what the ending will be, but you have an idea. All writing is a series of choices, and the ending is no different.

As you get closer to the turning point and climax, the ending should get firmer in your mind.

The ending should wrap the reader in a bubble that contains all the remaining questions of the novel. It should make the reader feel included and smart – like they just solved a very complex puzzle.

The ending should feel one of a kind – like it’s the only ending this book could possibly have. And it should offer a reward for the reader – sort of a here’s-what-you-win for journeying this far.

You want the reader to think “oh, that’s why this happened.” In that vein, it’s important for the main character to learn and grow and seem transformed in some way. You also want to tie up loose ends so the reader feels satisfied. You want to increase the pace but no tricks or surprises. Tie up loose ends quietly.

In the end, the story should give a sense of wonder that bridges to the real world. Like they just took a nice hot shower before going back to life.

A few of my favorite ending lines:
1. “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you just start missing everybody”. – Catcher in the Rye
2. “And the tree was happy.” – The Giving Tree
3. “Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.” – Dr. Seuss

  • What’s your favorite ending line?

Key to first chapters: Just a taste

Tuesday Tips

by Faran Fagen

They say first impressions are everything.

Well, I don’t know if that’s true, but in writing, it is.

I’m revising, and decided to change the setting of the first chapter – again.

This time, though, I’m bringing in the heavy artillery before I run the bases.

In the past week since my critique mates gave me some keen insight, I’ve sorted through notes and handouts from conferences and classes. Some of my favorites mentors and coaches.

Most notably, the information on first chapters and beginnings. And now, in the spirit of Tuesday Tips, I share the highlights with you:

What scene can best dramatize the main character’s ordinary world, showing a lack that can only be corrected by the inciting event?

This comes from a class with my longtime mentor Joyce Sweeney. This one sentence sums up the importance of painting a picture of the character’s ordinary would, coupled with his or her pressing problem that will engage the reader. And the importance to illustrate these elements early on.

Some other quick tips from Joyce: the main job of the first scene is to make readers want to keep reading, should be lively action and allow for reader to bond with main character.

However, one single tip that sticks out comes from another one of my author idols, Chris Crutcher, who I met at a writing conference.
He told me not to reveal my entire hand at the start of the book and always leave my reader wanting more.
I find when I follow that mantra, it often leads to a strong chapter.

“Your character either needs to want something desperately or to avoid something desperately. She/he must then overcome increasingly difficult obstacles that stand in his/her way in order to reach this goal.” – author Donna Gephart.

From agent/editor Lorin Oberweger: Character agency is paramount at the start of a novel. What makes your character act? What is your character in pursuit of? How is the character describing the setting with their attitude?

Author and writing teacher Marjetta Geerling taught me in a class to create a sense of urgency in the first scene, but never make the stakes too high because you need to be able to raise the stakes as the book goes on.

Author and fellow Tuesday Stacie Ramey gave me some invaluable advice last week – don’t use too many internals in the first chapter because the reader doesn’t know your character well enough yet to care about their deep thoughts.

In researching openings, I reread part of “The Magic Words” by editor Cheryl Klein, who edited some of the Harry Potter Books. She suggests that the author should offer hints, little details, and shafts of light to illuminate the characters and world that you’re about to journey into. And help the reader get anchored within that world.

I was reading a former post by Tuesday buddy Jonathan Rosen, and he talked about the success of his debut book stemming from his decision to make his book as funny as possible (if you ever read Jonathan’s new book, Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, you know humor is his strength).
I decided that I was going to write the most powerful, telling sports action scenes, since agents have told me that’s my strength.

Buy my favorite one-liner about beginnings has to come from Klein. At the end of her chapter on book beginnings, she says:
“Write your first chapter like you’re performing a strip tease, not going to a nude beach.”

Writers, like the rest, need be dexterous and deft

By Faran Fagen

Tuesday Tips

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”
– From “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books of all time.
This time of year, as I set up my classroom, get my kids’ school supplies, and re-assess my writing goals, always tests my time management skills.
Every year, it all works out.
If you feel the same, you’ll enjoy these quotes about juggling and balance from writers, celebrities and other famous folks. See if you can guess who said what. A few of the authors are Benjamin Franklin, Ellen Degeneres and comedian Chris Rock. Enjoy!

“Life is a juggling act with your own emotions. The trick is to always keep something in your hand and something in the air.”

“Juggling and balancing effectively required that we make clear, legacy-driven choices about what we’re trying to keep in the air and how we sequence our movements down the beam. Because the ultimate grade in life is not based on how far and fast we’ve walked the beam or how many things we’ve juggled—it’s based on how much we’ve enjoyed the exercise.”

“Most of us have trouble juggling.
The woman who says she doesn’t is someone whom I admire but have never met.”

“Do three things well, not ten things badly.”

“I’m happy when I’m juggling, but I feel like I’ve gonefrom, like, 3 balls to 10 bowling balls. But, that’s a good problem. I don’t really have a complaint about that.”

“Juggling is sometimes called the art of controlling patterns, controlling patterns in time and space.”

“The fact of the matter is, when I’m on tour,
I’m juggling so hard to keep all the balls in the air that I don’t often get to really enjoy what I’m out there doing.”

“The world cannot be governed without juggling.”

“Some scenes you juggle two balls, some scenes you juggle three balls,
some scenes you can juggle five balls.
The key is always to speak in your own voice.”

“Speak the truth.
That’s Acting 101.
Then you start putting layers on top of that.”

“My grandmother was a Jewish juggler:
she used to worry about six things at once.”

“A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges.”

“Motherhood has relaxed me in many ways.
You learn to deal with crisis.
I’ve become a juggler, I suppose.”

“It’s all a big circus, and nobody who knows me believes I can manage, but sometimes I do.”

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.”

“The world cannot be governed without juggling”

“When I hear people talk about juggling, or the sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they’re crazy, because ‘sacrifice’ infers that there was something better to do than being with your children.”

“Juggling is an illusion. … In reality, the balls are being independently caught and thrown in rapid succession. … It is actually task switching.”

“You need not feel guilty about not being able to keep your life perfectly balanced.”

“Juggling everything is too difficult. All you really need to do is catch it before it hits the floor.”

“Writing is one of the few careers for which you essentially train yourself, the other two major ones being juggling and acting.”

“I like being busy and juggling a lot of things at the same time. I get bored easily, so I need to do a lot.”

“I need to recharge creatively, and get off the clock of having to be somewhere just because, and having to keep juggling all these things.”

I’ll leave you with this quote about learning from mistakes. One of my favorites:
“Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness”-Sasha Guitry