A ‘Devine’ Lesson

A post that has validated so much for me as an educator and an author.

The Nephilim Rising™

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Image:  Taylor Marie McCormick

“What is a teacher? I’ll tell you: it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.”

Paulo Coelho


I have been in a bit of a funk, it is a mixture of Mercury Retrograde, the Full Moon coming, and the bit of drama I dealt with (the critic aka hater). I just felt like I was stuck in the middle of a hurricane but no one was effected except myself, and there was not a soul in sight to save me. I allowed myself to get stuck in a mental rut, and I existed there for a few days before I had no choice but to shield, and pull myself out of it. I am still actively fighting to refocus myself. While in the midst of this madness I have…

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Summer is Coming

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It’s the end of May, which means soon will be my favorite month of the year. This June I will turn 37, will begin revising what will be my 5th novel, and will finish out 13.5 years of teaching.

And this year, following June, I will move out of the first home I purchased and have lived in for 11 years, and will move into a new home.

I’ve also been working extremely hard at finishing a first draft of a novel so that I have space for the editorial letter that I will soon be receiving.

All of this has coalesced into a weird time for me. As an author, things are always a little weird, but lately I’ve been talking about my projects, when typically I never do until they’re sold. I may be gaining that thing called confidence. Possibly. All I know is that when I began telling my daughters about a dog named Sprinkles from my manuscript, they melted. As did my students, who I also told. And then when I read the description of Sprinkles to my eldest daughter, she fell in love.

I don’t ever do this. Aside from my first reader, my agent, and my editor, no one sees my work. Just like no one ever used to see the office in my house. That was a closed door, but now as it’s been sold as a fourth bedroom, it’s wide open and I write at my kitchen counter.

Yeah, my life’s gotten strange and opened up and oddly accessible by others. But it’s good. The change is refreshing and as far as writing has gone, very productive.

I have no clue how the next month will play out or how the writing will look in my new home. But if this trajectory continues, I’m good. Because even if I’m breaking so many of the rules I’ve set for myself when it comes to writing–not talking about it, needing a separate space, etc–I’ve found that they’re not necessary any more. I guess this is what happens when you trust in yourself and not the routine.

At least that’s the story I’m telling myself.

I hope you all had a pleasant Memorial Day weekend and that June ushers in warmer weather and a hint of the freedom of the summer to come. If you need me, I’ll be hanging out in my kitchen 🙂

Fun Times at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival

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Between spending ungodly hours prepping my house for sale, and without a book being released in the fall, I haven’t felt very authorly lately. However, the Hudson Children’s Book Festival this past Saturday helped alleviate that feeling.

I had only heard good things about the festival, I didn’t know anyone who had attended. But still, I applied over the winter and was accepted, and then didn’t think too much of it because I had so much time to prepare. And then spring arrived at it was time to drive an hour south and hang out with the Hudson community and the authors and illustrators they had brought in. So, the night before, I checked the site, and was wowed by the names in attendance. Go, Hudson!

When I arrived, the school campus was already buzzing with activity and I quickly grabbed my gear and found my table. And surprise, surprise, I was seated next to the amazing Jennifer Donnelly. You know, the author of A Northern Light and  Revolution and the The Waterfire Saga series, among others. Yeah, her. I immediately turned all fanboy and gushed about her work, which I’ve loved for a while. Then I got my table set up and the floodgates opened.

Prior to the event’s start, I had asked a volunteer what the crowd number would potentially be. She said, “In the thousands.”

And she was right. From 10-2 there was a steady flow of people coming through the doors. And they BOUGHT books. It was astounding to see. And all the orders for all of the authors were handled by a local Indie bookstore, The Spotty Dog. That alone is an amazing feat but combined with the organization of ordering for each of the over 75 authors, it’s truly remarkable.

The highlight of the day was talking to the teens and the parents as they came through and said, “I’m reading that right now. It’s awesome!” Or, “My friend loves Tap Out!” “I need Press Play, I didn’t pick it up at Teen Reader Con.”

Additionally, there was an excellent mix of girls and boys. Readership among teens, across gender lines, in Hudson, is certainly not an issue. And they all had preferences about the books they enjoy, the genres, and why. It was so amazing to hear a tween riff on the importance of Fantasy YA, while her older sister did the same about Contemporary Realistic. There are some amazing things happening both inside and outside the classrooms for these kids, and it is precisely these kinds of events that keep them coming back for more.

On a beautiful spring day thousands of people turned out to spend time with books and authors. After such a long and difficult winter, the Hudson Children’s Book Fest was a nice way to come out of hibernation. I intend to go back next year 🙂