Monday, November 24, 2014

Yet One More Thanks-Giving Thanku!


Finally it’s my turn to join my fellow TeachingAuthors in sharing Three Things for Which I Am Grateful and my 2014 Thanku.
(And oh, how I delight in how we've kept alive this original poetic form - a Haiku that expresses thanks.)

When folks ask me how I am, I often borrow the three-word response of former Ambassador Walter Annenberg, philanthropist and founder of the School of Communication I attended - i.e. “hopeful and grateful.”

Each day I awake

-         grateful I’m here, alive and well,

-         grateful I’m loved by treasured family and friends,

-         especially grateful for the chance to love them back.

I also offer thanks for the joy my life’s work brings me and the non-stop opportunities the Universe delivers which I gladly pay forward. 

As for that second adjective “hopeful,” like all Cubs fans, I always believe “Next year’s The Year!”  (And this time it really could be!)

You can share your Thanku’s by commenting on any of our TeachingAuthors blog posts through November 28.

You can also send them via email to teachingauthors@gmail.com, with “Thanks-Giving” as the subject, and even post them on your own blog, sharing the link with us via a comment or email. Carmela will list the links in a later post.

And don’t forget our Book Giveaway of the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market!

And now for my Thanku to my soon-to-be-five bi-lingual (Brazilian Portuguese and English) lindo grandson who, though Rio-born, lives in my heart para sempre*.

 
Obrigado to my Grandson Gabe
My Carioca
who snuggles up to tell me,
“I love you, Vovo!”

 
Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow TeachingAuthors and our TeachingAuthors readers!

Esther Hershenhorn

P.S.

*beautiful
**forever
***Thank You
****a native of Brazil
*****endearing Portuguese name for Grandmother

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanks from the Depths


the whole alphabet
is somehow not enough
to express my thanks


Hello from the depths of a big freelance project—for which I am grateful, of course! Today I continue the Three Weeks of Thanks-Giving series, in which each Teaching Author is supposed to share three things she is grateful for. Like the others who posted before me, I tried, but I can’t limit it to three. So I’m sharing three categories.


People: my dear husband Gene, our strong, determined, and healthy (!) sons, my mom and my sisters, my cousins, my writing companions: my wonderful VCFA classmates the Hive, my writing group (How is it that we’ve never given ourselves a name?), the amazing current and former fellow Teaching Authors (and the readers who make our posting so rewarding), my Poetry Friday pals who inspire me even though many of us have not met yet, editors who respond with thoughtful comments even when they reject my work, teachers and students, writers everywhere who share their joys and woes, plus anyone who works for justice, anyone who tries to save the planet and its inhabitants, and anyone who tries and tries and tries again

Places: home with all its connotations (warmth, respite, a place to put my feet up), Lake Michigan, wilderness wherever it still exists

Things: sunshine, opportunities, courage, even (or especially) when it’s borrowed, reliable transportation that enables us to visit family and see a bit more of the wide, wonderful world, and the Internet, which makes worldwide communication possible--along with travel directions, weather reports, and planning for family reunions (Yea, cousins!)

That’s all I can think of for now, although another thing or two will surely pop up as soon as I click “Publish.” As in years past, we also invite you, our readers (and your students), to join in by sharing your own thanks with us in one of three ways:

  • Comment on any of our blog posts through Nov. 28.
  • Send them via email to teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com, with “Thanks-Giving” as the subject. We might share some of your comments in our posts.
  • Post them on your own blog and then share the link with us via a comment or email. (Feel free to include the Three Weeks image in your post.) On November 28, Carmela will provide a roundup of all the links we receive.

Don’t forget about our CWIM Giveaway! You can enter until November 28.

Today’s Poetry Friday Roundup is at Tapestry of Words. Enjoy! And happy Thanksgiving, from the depths of my heart!
xox,
JoAnn Early Macken


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Writing Workout: "The Stakes Should Always Be Death," Courtesy of Maureen McQuerry


Today I'm pleased to share with you a guest Wednesday Writing Workout on creating tension in fiction from award-winning author Maureen McQuerry. Before I tell you about Maureen, a quick reminder that it's not too late to enter for a chance to win a copy of the 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (CWIM) edited by Chuck Sambuchino and published by Writer's Digest Books. See the link at the end of today's post.

Now, about Maureen McQuerry: I was recently introduced to Maureen (via email) through a mutual friend. Her first YA novel, The Peculiars (Abrams/Amulet) was an ALA Best Book for Young Adult Readers 2013, Bank Street and Horn Book recommended book, and a winner of the Westchester Award. Her most recent novel Beyond the Door (Abrams/Amulet), has been named a Booklist top Ten Fantasy/SciFi for Youth. The second book in the series, The Telling Stone, releases May 2015. Maureen has taught writing to children and adults and loves giving author talks in schools and at conferences.

I'm hoping to meet Maureen in person when she visits Chicago in a few weeks. So far, she's scheduled to do a signing at The Book Stall in Winnetka on December 6 and one at The Magic Tree Bookstore in Oak Park on December 8. For more info, check out her website. You can also connect with her via Facebook and Twitter.

Before I share Maureen's WWW on tension, here's a little about her newest novel, Beyond the Door:
        Between his love of learning and his passion for Scrabble, Timothy James has always felt like an outsider. The only person who really understands him is his older sister, Sarah, and he’s also fairly certain nothing interesting will ever happen to him. But one dark spring night, everything changes.
A mystery of unparalleled proportions begins to unfold, revealing Timothy's role in an ancient prophecy and an age-old battle of Light against Dark. Together with Sarah and the school bully, Jessica, Timothy must embark on a quest to prevent the Dark from controlling the future—and changing the past. Can the trio work together in order to fight the ancient evil that threatens our world?
      The first book in the Time Out of Time series, Beyond the Door, is a fast-paced adventure that combines Celtic myth, shapeshifters, and a secret code in a coming of age story.
VOYA described the novel as "jam-packed with twists and turns," a sure sign that Maureen knows a thing or two about creating tension. Here's her Wednesday Writing Workout on the topic:   

Wednesday Writing Workout:
The Stakes Should Always Be Death
by Maureen McQuerry

Story isn't about plot. It isn't about character or setting or a great idea. It's about how events change people. We keep reading because we want to find out how a character navigates all the struggles that come her way. In fact the most critical component in reader satisfaction is the protagonist's arc. And notice I used the word struggle, because struggle is what changes characters. It's what changes us.

Struggle implies conflict and tension. Tension keeps us turning the pages. But how do you add conflict and tension to a story without an explosion or battle scene on every page, maybe without explosions or battles in your book at all? Tension begins with the stakes. If you've ever been told your novel is too quiet, it may be that your stakes aren't high enough.  The greater the stakes, the greater the risk, the greater the tension and the more pages turned.

What do I mean by stakes?  Stakes are what your protagonist has on the line. In a dystopian world like Hunger Games, the stakes are personal survival, survival of people you love, of a community, of the world. But not every story will or should be dystopian or apocalyptic. The stakes may be the risk of emotional death. In my MG novel Beyond the Door, Timothy finds himself in physical danger, the type of danger that might result in death, but he fears failing to complete his challenge almost as much. He believes it's his one chance to prove himself in the eyes of his friends. His self-worth is on the line.

For the reader to be concerned, risk has to be real and the protagonists' motivation worthy. Worthy motivations involve noble concepts like: forgiveness, love, redemption, self-worth. For example, a character who wants a part in the school play engages us when the stakes are based on a motivation that is worthy. She wants a part in the play because she sees it as a way to connect with her estranged father who was once an actor, but has rejected her or because she's never once fit in anywhere, been bullied or is handicapped and it's her one chance to find a community. If she fails here, she may never try again. Hope and worry for the protagonist create tension.
  • A good beginning question to ask is what are the stakes for my protagonist? What is at risk? What will die?
Because a story is about how events change characters, you must have a clear idea of your character's arcs. In Beyond the Door, Timothy needed to evolve from an insecure observer to a confident leader.
  • Ask: What is my protagonist like at the start of this adventure? What do I want her to be like at the end of the story?
  • What will it take to get her there? What kind of gut-wrenching decisions, public humiliations, dark nights of the soul? What antagonists will she have to face?
  • Does each turning point create change? That's what moving a story forward means.
Below are some considerations for assessing your story for tension.
 
Assessing the risk in your story:
  • The risk of failure must be real and must be devastating—big consequences.
  • Conflict must be external and internal—your protagonist must struggle in her mind and heart and with external forces.
  • Tension must be relentless.
  • A clear antagonist strengthens the conflict.
  • The solution must require everything the protagonist has—the greater the risk, the more we worry.
  • The solution should be inevitable, but surprising (Aristotle).
A few time honored techniques to increase tension, such as those below, will keep readers turning the pages.

Techniques to increase tension:
  • Increase the stakes—as mentioned above
  • Withhold info from protagonist—mystery novels are a great example of how one missing piece of information can put your protagonist at risk.
  • Introduce doubt—Who can she trust? Were her assumptions faulty?
  • Limit time—the ticking clock.
  • Give and take away—just as your protagonist has everything she needs, the bottom falls out.
Whatever struggles your character faces, remember they are the engines of transformation and tension is the fuel.


Writing Exercise Text © Maureen McQuerry 2014, All rights reserved.

Thanks for this, Maureen. I've already used your questions to assess (and up!) the level of risk in my current work-in-progress. Readers, if you try any of these techniques, let us know how they work for you.

Meanwhile, don't forget that time is running out for you to enter the drawing for the 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (CWIM) giveaway, Along with tons of great information and resources, the 2015 CWIM features my interview roundup article, "Writing for Boys (and other 'Reluctant Readers.'" To enter, see my last post.

Good luck to all, and happy writing!
Carmela

Monday, November 17, 2014

Apple Dumplings





If you live long enough, life becomes more about letting go than of gathering. It is inevitable, this letting go.

Sometimes we have to let go of our favorite things: our favorite pair of shorts worn to the fray. Our favorite book with its tattered pages. Even our car, with its 200,000 miles of memories.

Sometimes we let go of clutter, and wonder why it took us so long to throw them out. You know what I speak of: The box full of old research gathered for stories that probably won’t ever be written. Those uncomfortable shoes with pointy toes and impossibly high heels that you never, ever wore, but dang they look sparklie. Those skinny jeans that felt more like a bone corset then denim. Those old love letters, although the guy went on to marry someone else. Those laser disks (what?). Those eight-tracks (what?). That rotary phone (what?). Those old ideas that no longer serve a purpose in our lives.

Sometimes the letting go is more profound, as we say good-bye to our special friends, the four-legged as well as the two-legged sort. And those with wings. And we say goodbye to family. To colleagues and heroes and inspirations.

Of course, the key phrase in all of this, If You Live. And perhaps, along the way of living our lives, we gather some understanding of it all. We become, hopefully, wise. It’s an elusive concept to grasp. Through the ages, religious leaders, philosophers, even politicians have debated on what is wisdom.

According to Dr. Vivian Clayton, wisdom consists of three elements: cognition, reflection, compassion. Wisdom happens when we take the time to gain insights and perspectives from one’s cognitive knowledge , what she calls the reflective dimension. Then we can use those insights to understand and help others, what she calls the compassionate dimension.

Of course, if it were that easy, with just three ingredients, there wouldn’t be all this debating about what it means. That’s why I like hanging out with poets. They know about such things. Marion Dane Bauer inspired me in her recent post, “Because receiving is another way of giving. The giver grows in the giving. And that’s a truth we all need to hold close at any time of life!”

And her wisdom resonated with me. I am not the poet like my fellow Teaching Authors. Did you see Carmela’s Thanks-Giving Thanku

I am just a storyteller. Begging your indulgence, I was reminded of an old English folktale (Source: Lindsay, Maud. The Storyteller. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard; 1915).  It went something like this: 

There once was an old woman who lived in the woods. One day, she decided to bake apple dumplings. These dumplings were her favorite. She had everything she needed to bake the dumplings, except for the apples. She had plenty of plums, however. She filled a basket with these plums, covering them in her finest white linen. Then she dressed in her finest clothes and set out to trade these plums for some apples.


Morguefile


By and by, she came across a young woman. The old woman asked the younger if she had apples to trade for her plums.

“No,” said the young woman, as she looked with such longing at the plums. “I have plenty of chickens, and not much else.”

The old woman traded her basket of plums for a bag of feathers. The old woman thought it was a good trade. The bag of feathers was much lighter to carry.

By and by, the old woman came to a garden, one of the loveliest gardens she had ever seen. She stopped a moment to smell the roses when she heard a couple arguing. The couple saw her, too.

“Tell us, old woman," said the woman.  "Do you agree that cotton is best for making a cushion on our bed?”

“No,” said the old woman.

“See, the old woman agrees with me,” said the man. “Straw is best for our bed!”

“Never straw!” said the old woman, as she held up her bag of feathers. “But a bed made of feathers is fit for a king!”

The old woman traded the bag of feathers for a bouquet of roses. She thought it was a good trade.

By and by, the old woman met a young prince who looked as sad as a rainy day.

“I go to meet my lady love,” said the young prince. “But I have no gift to show her how I truly value her.”

“Give you lady love these roses,” said the old woman. “And she will know.”

She traded the bouquet of roses for a gold farthing. What a good trade! At last she had enough money to buy her apples!

You may think the story might end here, for it seems like a happy ending. But it does not.

By and by, the old woman came to a young mother and her child, who stood with a big and furry dog. They were all frail from hunger.

How can I eat apply dumplings when my neighbors cannot eat at all? thought the old woman. And she said to the young mother,” I have need for a companion, and would ask for your help. May I trade this gold coin for your handsome dog?”

The young mother agreed. The old woman worried now, for how could she take care of a big and furry dog? Where would he sleep? What would he eat? Lost in her thoughts, she didn’t notice where she was walking.

“That’s one fine dog,” someone said. She looked up to see an old man rocking on his porch. His house sat in the shade of an old apple tree.

“That’s a fine apple tree,” she said.
Morguefile


“Apple trees are poor company to an old man who cannot bake,” he said. “But I’d trade all the apples you want for that fine fellow!”

The old woman traded the big and furry dog for a barrel of apples. She baked apple dumplings for her and her new friend. And that night, she enjoyed one of the finest apple dumplings she had ever baked.

Not The End.

My list of grateful things:

My daughter, who stands above any list.

For the wisdom of my friends. For working in a field where my heroes have become my friends. Including Eric and Marion, Monica and Emma, and Karen, and far too many that I do not have space enough to list. Thank you.

For the compassion, and love of my kindred spirits, like Cynthia, Carmela and The Teaching Authors, Rebecca and the Collective, Brian and the Snuggies; for soul sisters Jo and guiding lights Bonny and Bette. And many more. Thank you.

For apple dumplings.


If you like this tale, you might be interested in my book, One Fine Trade, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand (Holiday House, 2009).

You also might be interesting in this: Phyllis Korkki. “The Science of Older and Wiser,” New York Times , March 2014.

Don’t forget about the CWIM giveaway!

Bobbi Miller


Friday, November 14, 2014

3 (well,5 actually) of the Most Kindhearted People in my Life...and Poetry Friday!

.
Howdy, Campers!

Happy Almost-Thanksgiving and Happy Poetry Friday (original poem and link to Poetry Friday below)

To enter our latest giveaway, a copy of 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (CWIM), check out Carmela's post.

I'm the third TeachingAuthor to chime in on our annual Three Weeks of Thanks-Giving--woo woo!


Carmela thanked three times three, topping it off with an original Thanku Haiku, Mary Ann succinctly thanked three writing-related groups and I'd like to thank...

Oh, geez, gang.  Our host for Poetry Friday, Keri, just lost her grandfather.

It all comes down to love, doesn't it?

Not good looks. (When you're young your skin looks, well, young.  When you're old it doesn't.)

Not rushing around. ("Is there anything that you regret", I asked my nearly-92-year-old mother, recently. "Rushing," she said.)

Just goodness.

Here are the people I'm grateful for this very minute (how can one edit it down to just three?!?):
  1. (Our rule is if your spouse doesn't get thanked in your Academy Awards speech, you're a failure and a rat and you have to sleep on the couch) so here's to my husband, Gary Wayland, who accompanies me deep into the jungles of my darkest thoughts, who supports my career both emotionally and financially, and who always, always, always has my back;
                                                                      .
  2. My sister, Lyra Halprin, who ministers to her family and friends with nourishing, sustainable, delicious food, who walks precincts, posts on online, writes press releases and makes phone calls to educate and motivate friends and followers politically, and who raises piles of money for JDRF to eradicate type one diabetes;
  3. and my friends--"folksinger and songfighter" Ross Altman, who landed like an angel on our front step today, and walked twice around the block with me, listening as I poured out my troubles; Elizabeth Howland Forrest, who will move heaven and earth to help anyone anytime, anywhere; author and SCBWI's regional events editor Rebecca Gold, who moved all the way across the country (how dare she?) but still wraps her long arm around me when I need her most--and I needed her this morning...and author Bruce Balan (all the way over in Thailand, for heaven's sake!) who immediately offered to jump on a plane and be by my side when my husband was ill.
So many.  And so many more, of course.

(If you look at the title of this post you'll notice
that math is not my strong suit.)

I'll bet you thought I was going to write a Thanku for one of the people I listed above, right? Surprise!

Here's my Thanku:

For the way you play
those black and whites; for the way
you brush my hair, Mom.


Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market, check out Carmela's post. Good luck!

Poetry Friday's at Kerry's this week.  Thank you for hosting, Keri!  And Happy Thanksgiving to All!


With an open heart,
April Halprin Wayland, who deeply appreciates you reading all the way to the bottom.

Poem and photo (c) 2014 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

WWW: Creating AUTHENTIC Characters


Meet my fellow Chicago children’s book author, the lovely and talented Claudia Guadalupe Martinez who so generously agreed to share today’s Wednesday Writing Workout in celebration of the release of her second Cinco Puntos Press book, the YA novel PIG PARK.

As her biography notes, Claudia grew up in a close family in Segundo Barrio in El Paso, Texas.  Reading the Spanish subtitles of old westerns for her father, she soon learned that letters form words. By six she knew she wanted to grow up to create stories.  Her father, who died when she was eleven, encouraged her to dream big and write many books. 

Cinco Puntos Press is located in El Paso, Texas, “a fact that informs every book that we publish,” publisher John Byrd shared.  Along with others championing diversity in children’s books today, he considers PIG PARK and Claudia’s debut award-winning novel THE SMELL OF OLD LADY PERFUME to be worthy examples of the kinds of books the Cooperative Children’s Book Center and WeNeedDiverseBooks encourage and seek.

“Claudia,” Byrd wrote, “has a clear fronterizo voice: innocent, shy, witty, full of border culture and understanding.  She used that voice well in THE SMELL OF OLD LADY PERFURME, earning herself a great deal of attention with readers, teachers and librarians looking for new and talented writers coming up out of the Hispanic community. That voice has matured in PIG PARK, still shy and clear, but now feisty as well and full of opinions as she chronicles the summer that fifteen-year-old Masi Burciaga and her neighbors came together to save Pig Park.”

 

I so appreciate Claudia’s willingness to share her insights and expertise on creating authentic characters with our TeachingAuthors readers and writers.

Enjoy! Enjoy!

Esther Hershenhorn

P.S.
To enter our latest giveaway, a copy of CHILDREN'S WRITER'S AND ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET 2015, check Carmela's Friday post.

                                              *  * * * * * * * * * * * *


 Wednesday Writing Workout: Creating Authentic Characters
The face of America is ever-changing.  “Minority” children are set to become the “majority” by the end of this decade, and are already such among babies under the age of one.  Yet, among the children's book titles published, approximately only ten percent are by or about racially or ethnically diverse populations each year--according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

This conversation isn’t new, but the mainstream is taking note, thanks to the success of the recent  WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.  I am more frequently asked for advice on writing diversity, specifically when it comes to authenticity.  In such instances, I refer my fellow writers to author Mitali Perkins' tips for writing diversity.  Mitali lectures widely on the topic.

When it comes to authenticity in racial identity, she advises writers to ask, "How and why does the author define race?”   She suggests writers consider the following:

“When race is explicit in a book, ask yourself and your students what would have been lost if a character’s race hadn’t been defined by the writer. Why did the author choose to define race?”  The reason should be to establish something for the character, and not just to follow a trend or be politically correct.  I, for example, wrote about young Chicana in THE SMELL OF OLD LADY PERFUME because I pulled from my own experiences growing up in a Texas border town.  The Latino kids in PIG PARK were loosely based on my experiences in Chicago.

Alternatively, writers can ask, “Why didn’t he or she let us know the race of the characters?”  If no explicit race is mentioned, will this cause readers to default to white characters, or do other cues establish diverse identity?  Physical appearance, language, names, food can all be used to designate diversity.

While Mitali’s advice focuses on race, authors can apply it to creating authenticity for various other forms of identity.  The point is to start thinking about how genuine the attempt at integration is.

To figure out what this might mean for you, whether writing inside or outside your experience, try this exercise.

Write a character biography based on his/her racial/ethnic identity.  Answer the following questions:
                                                                      
When and how did he/she become aware of his/her identity?

What role has the specific identity played in his/her life?
                                                                    
How does it affect his/her social activities?

How does it affect his/her school activities?

In what ways does the character benefit from this identity? In what ways doesn’t the character benefit?
                                                         
How does the specific identity affect your story?

Variation: Write a biography based on another form of diverse identity (religious, sexual orientation, ability, etc.).

 
We live in a complex world where identity is both assigned and assumed.  Authentic diversity isn’t casual or happenstance, but something that we as writers must develop as carefully as all other aspects of our story.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Half Glass of Blessings

     It's a good thing we have a holiday dedicated to thankfulness. Otherwise I would rarely give my blessings a thought. I am one of those "the glass is half empty" people.  So here is what fills my glass this year.


     Sorry, Carmela, but I have to begin with one you already mentioned, our terrific Vermont College MFA group, The Hive.  Outside of my family, they are my longest sustained relationship. Most of us met on the airport bus going to campus on a July evening in 1998. Rarely a day goes by that at I am not in contact with at least one of them.  Collectively, they are a never-ending source of energy, enthusiasm and advice. I truly do not know how I survived as a writer without them.  Thank you, lovely Bees!

     Next up on the gratitude list is my own local critique group, WINGS (Writers in North Georgia).  Every month (with occasional sabbaticals) since October 2001, I have driven the hundred miles, round trip, to meet with this group of five in Conyers, Georgia. Driving that far in Atlanta traffic is no small matter, but the reward is worth every nerve-wracking mile.  Connie, Nancy, T.K. and Stephanie as well as our Fearless Leader Susan (plus member-in-absentia, Maureen) are the best writers and critiquers one could ever hope to find.  Almost everything I have published is the result of their sharp eyes and spot-on suggestions. I could not fly without my WINGS.

     Lastly, I am grateful for SCBWI, The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (we writers do like our acronyms!)  I learned about SCBWI from a Hive member while I was at Vermont College and wasted no time joining.  SCBWI is more than just an organization of like minded people.
It is an endless supply of all a writer needs:  the latest publishing information, editorial contacts, writing conferences, and most of all Opportunity (with a capital O). The conferences alone provide the opportunity to meet editors and agents, to submit manuscripts to houses that would otherwise be closed to unagented authors (like me), to have work critiqued by industry professionals. SCBWI, you are worth every penny in membership dues and conference fees.

    To enter our latest giveaway, a copy of Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market, check Carmela's Friday post.  (http://www.teachingauthors.com/2014/11/thanks-giving-CWIM-giveaway.html).  Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Posted by Mary Ann Rodman

Friday, November 7, 2014

3 (Yes, THREE!) Weeks of Thanks-Giving plus Another CWIM Giveaway!


If your name wasn't selected in the drawing for our 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (CWIM) giveaway, I have good news for you: Writer's Digest Books, publisher of the CWIM, has generously donated a SECOND COPY for us to give away! (The 2015 CWIM features my interview roundup article, "Writing for Boys (and other 'Reluctant Readers')," which contains advice and insights from four award-winning authors known for writing books that appeal to reluctant readers: Matt de la PeñaLenore LookDavid Lubar, and Steve Sheinkin.) See entry details at the end of this post. And congratulations to Sue H, who won the first copy.

If you're a long-time TeachingAuthors follower, you know about our tradition of setting aside time in November to give thanks. It started in 2011, with our Ten Days of Thanks-Giving, inspired, in part, by Esther post about thank-you haikus, also known as Thankus. In 2012 we expanded to Two Weeks of Thanks-Giving, which we repeated in 2013. This year, we've decided to stretch our Thanks-Giving posts to a full Three Weeks of Thanks-Giving!


We're going to keep our Thanks-Giving simple this year. Each of the TeachingAuthors will share 3 things we're grateful for. As in years past, we're also inviting you, our readers (and your students!), to join in by sharing your own "gratitudes" with us in one of three ways:
  1. Share them in a comment to any of our blog posts from today through Nov. 28.
  2. Send them to us via email to teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com, with "Thanks-Giving" as the subject. Depending on the number of emails we receive, we may share some of your gratitiudes in our posts.
  3. Post them on your own blog and then share the link with us via a comment or email. (Feel free to include the above image in your post.) On November 28, I'll provide a round-up of all the links we receive.
To get us started, here are my three "gratitudes":
  1. My loving and supportive family. First and foremost, I'm grateful for the three very special men in my life: my husband, my son, and my father-in-law (who now occupies my son's old room). But I'm also blessed to have a wonderful extended family--being Italian means that includes A LOT of people. J
  2. My wonderful writing friends. Three groups, in particular, support and nurture me on a regular basis: my fellow TeachingAuthors, my Vermont College classmates (known as The Hive), and my critique group. Without them, I would have quit writing a long time ago. Thanks for helping me stick with it, Ladies!
  3. Our amazing TeachingAuthor readers. This blog wouldn't be here if not for the feedback and affirmation we receive from you, our readers. I'm especially grateful for three lovely ladies I've never met who often comment on my posts, so I know someone is reading them: Linda Baie, Jan Godown Annino, and Rosi.   
Hmm. I'm sensing a theme here. It inspired me to write this Thanku:

Thanks-Giving

Three times three times three . . . . . 
My thanks keep multiplying,
to infinity.

© 2014 Carmela Martino, All Rights Reserved

I invite all of you to also participate in our Three Weeks of Thanks-Giving and share your "gratitudes" with us!

To my above "gratitudes," I'd like to add a huge THANK YOU! to Writer's Digest Books for donating a second copy of the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (CWIM) for us to give away.


Readers, use the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post to enter our giveaway drawing. You may enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options. The giveaway ends on Nov. 28. 

When you're done here, check out the terrific Poetry Friday roundup over at Diane Mayr's Random Noodling.

Good luck and happy writing!
Carmela

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