Friday, September 2, 2011

Weekly Round Up: End of Summer Style (Please Let It Rain!)

Like the rest of the country, I anxiously watched the footage of Irene. I lived in NYC for 13 years and while there I had my fair share of snowstorms, power outages, flash flooding, subway problems. (The terrorist attacks do not belong in this grouping, but yes, I was there for that too.) When I first moved to NYC I lived in what I lovingly call the "ghett-o" right across from the projects off Hoyt near Smith Street in Brooklyn. We were on the top floor and I had a turkey pan duct taped to my ceiling to keep the water from the hole in the ceiling dripping into a huge pot I'd empty every hour. The hole was right above my closet. I called in sick to work during one tropical storm to be sure the ceiling didn't cave in over everything I owned. I was lucky that day and I was glad this week when I awoke to see NYC had been spared. But, my beloved Vermont was hit hard. For anyone considering a way to help, please see the VT Red Cross.

Here in Austin though, we have been praying for rain. Some may come this weekend. What was a 60% odd is now a 20% odd but I don't believe in odds. I believe in hope, and prayer, and believing things into being. So I am going to believe it will rain, even if it is only a steady stream of my sweat dripping off my nose.

The Writing Barn is pretty much done and I have began hosting mini-celebrations for those hard working writers who have recently landed an agent or their first book deal. (Or in Nikki Loftin's case, her first two book deal!). It's been a pleasure to celebrate the dedication, talent, and triumphs of Shelli Cornelison and Donna Bowman Bratton both who signed with Red Fox Literary and Nikki Loftin, whose first novel The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is due out in the fall of 2012.

Shelli, Bethany and Nikki. Three writer ladies.

Donna rubs her magic genie lamp--every writer needs one.
There is nothing like signing with an agent (your first agent!) or selling that first book. Suddenly, the years and years of hard work, near misses, tears at certain rejections disappear and a writer (though we should never fully look outside for confirmations) feels validated. It is a heady and scary time. There is always more work to do. More growth in our words, our stories, ourselves. But there is also time to raise a glass and cheer our success. I might be as corny as a Hallmark card or Walt Disney but dreams do come true. That's why the barn mascot is this little guy.
Barn Mascot: Betty, the Believer.

I will be hosting another day/evening at the barn for E. Kristen Anderson, one of the brains behind Dear Teen Me, which will be a BOOK and a blog! From the Publishers Marketplace announcement:

Miranda Kenneally and E. Kristen Andersons's DEAR TEEN ME, based on the website of the same name, a compilation from adult writers to their teen selves, to Hallie Warshaw of Zest Books, in a pre-empt for publication in 2012 by Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency.

I am super excited by this news! E. Kristen (known to me as Emily, the Hate Mongering Tart and beloved Associate Editor at Hunger Mountain) is an amazing writer and a force to be reckoned with. She is smart, savvy, hilarious and has such energy. The Dear Teen Me idea struck Emily and she had the courage and persistence to pursue it as a blog--to invite well-known and up and coming authors to participate. She found a partner in crime in Miranda and they have gone on to great things. I wish nothing but success to the project and to the readers of DEAR TEEN ME--the soon-to-be-book and the blog. Betty, my day-dreaming pig is beside herself with glee!

More at the Barn--I hope to get a website together in the coming weeks for The Writing Barn. I will be teaching there, working with my private students, and opening the space for community events and classes. Look for Lisa Yee to make a pit-stop while she is in Austin at the Austin SCBWI conference in Feb to teach a Master Class at The Barn. She and Peep will be leading a one day intensive on Creating Compelling Bad Guys and Bullies. Registration for the conference and for the one day event is filling up quickly so REGISTER NOW.

The sun setting on The Writing Barn.
The Writing Barn will also be available for rental--whether it be for a small writing retreat--an in-town get away or a cool and unique place for the out of town book lover to stay. Think of us and look for the website coming soon!


As I work on my new WIP, I am amazed at the serendipity coming my way. Today, thanks to the lovely Suvi, this am I toured the inside of Casa Neverlandia and met owners and artists James Edward Talbot and Kay Pils. Talbot and Kay are in two words awe-inspiring. I loved meeting them and stepping into their colorful world. All in Austin should turn out to celebrate Talbot's "Essential Magnificence" official unveiling on Sept. 10th at 9:00am. See here for details. I will be there coffee in hand.
My "Essential Magnificence" is displayed with eyes closed.

Grandfather Gandhi

Grandfather Gandhi, (forthcoming Antheneum S&S) has a an illustrator and not just any illustrator the amazing Evan Turk. Evan is new to the publishing industry but based on the samples I've seen of the work he did to land the Gandhi book--he won't be new for long. His work is filled with energy, a zest for life, and he is well-traveled and respectful of all cultures. I am honored to have his name on the cover alongside Arun Gandhi and myself! More updates on the book coming soon!

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