Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Giveaway! The Author's Name Rhymes with Halloween: FORGET ME NOT by Carolee Dean

Howdy, Campers! Happy Poetry Friday! Info about how to enter today's Book Giveaway is far, far below.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by the Paper Tigers--thank you!

Years ago, I attended an informal farewell lunch after speaking at a writers' conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I was tired and wasn't feeling well and very nearly skipped that lunch.  Luckily, I didn't. That's where I met the dynamic and sparkling Carolee Dean.

I have since had the great pleasure of being on a panel Carolee put together for this year's International Reading Association Convention in Chicago.  (That's where I learned how generous, well-organized and cool-under-pressure she is.)

Carolee keeps a gazillion plates spinning in the air at once.  She not only works in public schools as a speech-language pathologist, she also teaches writing, helps sponsor middle school and high school poetry slam teams, and is the author of three young adult novels all including original poetry.  They are: COMFORT (Houghton Mifflin), TAKE ME THERE (Simon Pulse), and the JUST ABOUT TO BE PUBLISHED paranormal verse novel FORGET ME NOT (Simon Pulse, Oct. 2, 2012)--which you, yes you can WIN in our Book Giveaway--woo-woo (details below)!

So let's meet Carolee in person.  Hey, Carolee--how did you officially become a TeachingAuthor?

I've spent over a decade working in the public schools as a speech-language pathologist with students of all ages and a variety of challenges. The most difficult thing for most of them is writing, and understandably, many of them hate doing it. I'm always trying out activities to inspire my reluctant writers. Sometimes the activities work. Sometimes they don't. When they do work I like to share them with other educators because I know how difficult it can be to continuously come up with inspiring lessons.

Among some of my better ideas is a twelve step story analysis method I call The Secret Language of Stories. I've given presentations on it at several state, national, and international conferences including the International Reading Association 2012 in Chicago where I co-presented on an all day panel with you and TeachingAuthor
Esther Hershenhorn. I have a description of the twelve steps
on a tab at my blog.

What's a common problem your students have and how do you address it? 

It's easy to get stuck staring at a big white page or a blank computer screen. I can't tell you how many times I hear the words, "I don't know what to write."  I reply, "writing isn't about knowing. There is no magic right or wrong answer as there is in other subjects.

Writing is about choosing, about considering the infinite possibilities and picking one." To this the student inevitably replies, "I still don't know what to write." Then I usually give the stumped pupil a whole list of suggestions which he or she usually doesn't like because that blank computer screen is still just so darn intimidating.

One strategy that has worked extremely well for me is to create a PowerPoint with directions on each slide for what part of the story to write on that particular slide. I also include suggestions about what kind of accompanying images to select. I usually let kids choose the images first since the pictures often inspire their writing. This has worked extremely well with even the most struggling writers. Kids love power point and they love Google Images.

I have some high school students who read and write at first and second grade levels and they have come up with some of the most amazing stories.

(Directions for Carolee's PowerPoint story along with a downloadable PowerPoint can be found under the Teacher Resources section of her blog).

Would you share a favorite writing exercise with our readers?

I like to get kids talking about stories before they write them. There is a strong connection between oral language and written language and it often helps to verbalize ideas before putting them down on paper.

One of my favorite activities is to cut out unusual pictures from magazines. Advertisements often contain images that may be interpreted in a variety of ways. I play music and then ask students to walk around the room. When the music stops I tell them to sit down in front of a picture and describe to the class what they think is going on.

We do this several times and I've found that the random nature of the activity takes off the pressure to think of something good. After they've all come up with two or three ideas, we sit down to write. I often use the structure of poetry for this stage of writing because the focus is on ideas rather than grammar.

I LOVE that idea, Carolee. I can see using it in my classes for adults writers, too. Okay, so tell us...what's on the horizon for you?

I'm in the process of writing up The Secret Language of Stories as a teacher sourcebook and I just wrote an article for Cynsations exploring the history of verse novels going all the way back to Homer and the Iliad and the Odyssey.

In the immediate future, FORGET ME NOT, my paranormal verse novel, is coming out October 2! It's about a girl who has been cyber bullied and hides out from her tormentors in a deserted part of the school only to find herself stuck in a hallway full of ghosts.
(Read the great Kirkus review of FORGET ME NOT here and another terrific review of her book here.)

Sounds wonderfully SPOOKY, Carolee--and just in time for Halloween! 

And finally, since it's Poetry Friday in the Kidlitosphere, would you share a poem from your new book with our readers?

Absolutely.  Here is an excerpt from FORGET ME NOT:


That's what Ms. Lane,
my writing teacher,
would say.
Spill it out onto
the page.
Sometimes it's
the only way

for thoughts heavy
as bricks
to become feathers
and fly away.

I could go
to her class.
Get my head

I'd sit next to

I wonder if
he's heard.

Even if he has,
I know

wouldn't say
a word.

poem © 2012 Carolee Dean. All rights reserved

Wonderful!  Thank you SO much for stopping by to talk with us, Carolee!

Here's the exquisite book trailer for FORGET ME NOT:

Campers!  Join Carolee's Ghost Tour which starts Oct. 3, and check out the original jewelry made especially for Carolee's book launch!

Carolee has generously offered to autograph a copy of  her about-to-be-published book for our BOOK GIVEAWAY.  Yay!  To enter, just follow these rules:

You must follow our TeachingAuthors blog to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Forget Me Not by Carolee Dean.  If you're not already a follower, you can sign up now in the sidebar to subscribe to our posts via email, Google Friend Connect, or Facebook Network blogs.

There are two ways to enter:
1) by a comment posted below
2) by sending an email to teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com with "Book Giveaway" in the subject line.

Just for the fun of it, tell us a true ghost story of your own in 50 words or less. This is optional!

Whichever way you enter, you MUST give us your name AND tell us how you follow us. If you enter via a comment, you MUST include a valid email address (formatted this way: youremail [at] gmail [dot] com) in your comment. Contest open only to residents of the United States. Incomplete entries will be discarded.
Entry deadline is 11 p.m. Thursday, October 11, 2012 (Central Standard Time). The winner will be chosen in a random drawing and announced on October 12th. [Note from Carmela--the original deadline was a week off. These are the corrected dates.]

Good luck, Campers!


Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I can't wait to try out Carolee's writing idea - thank you for sharing all of this, April! This line from your interview is going into my writer's notebook:
"Writing is about choosing, about considering the infinite possibilities and picking one".

Linda B said...

The book looks so sad, and so real for some high school kids, I know. I imagine they will love it. I also liked the writing ideas, taking away the fear of being great is often helpful to students (like your picture idea, Carolee). I follow you on Google Friend Connect.
Ghost stories are everywhere in Colorado-a favorite memory is spending the night with students in an old hotel that actually has a scrapbook of ghost sitings in their rooms. We were up most of the night, looking, listening. These (middle school) students were alternately frightened and/or interested. We wrote in the morning, and some claimed to have noticed certain squeaks and creaks. Thanks for the great interview April.

Author Amok said...

Great interview. I'm off to check out Carolee's 12 Steps and her Power Point. My teen find's getting started to be the hardest part of ANY writing.

Family ghost story. When my mother was a teenager growing up in England, she was going through what would be considered depression today. She lived an a very old house called Forest House. One night, she saw a woman with a shawl and a brooch who told her everything was going to be okay. She felt a sense of peace and was able to go to sleep. The next morning, a family friend staying in the house described seeing the same woman, with the brooch. My grandmother recognized the brooch -- it was her own mother's, who died just days before my mother was born.

Joy said...

I'm off to try Carolee's 12 steps, and to fashion my own magazine pictures exercise for me. I've been stuck with a picturebook I've been stirring in my head and hope this will help.

Great interview and the trailer really makes me want to read the book. Excellent poem.

Happy Poetry Friday!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Tara--that was the line that stayed with me, too.

And Linda--I imagine that keeping middle schoolers up all night would spook ANYONE--you're one brave teacher! :-)

Laura--wow--that brooch story gave me the chills! A poem or a book, maybe?

And Joy--I want to try the magazine pictures exercise with my students...yet I hadn't thought to try it for myself. Thanks!

Carolee Dean said...

Thanks for letting me hang out with all of you today! I love all the ghost stories:)

Carl Scott said...

Great interview, and yet another fine-sounding book. I wish I had a good ghost story to tell, but no. Interesting trailer, I particularly like the make-up on the guy with the bullet hole in his head. Gruesome.

I follow the Teaching Authors blog by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

Thanks for offering a copy of Carolee's book. I'd love to win it.

Linda said...

I, too, am headed over to Carolee's blog to check out the 12 steps.

I love verse novels and so do many of my students. I can't wait to read FORGET ME NOT.

Thanks for a great interview!

Irene Latham said...

Wow, I NEEDED this post! I am enamored of the musical chairs/magazine pics exercise. Will try. Also the 12 steps sound like something useful. Ever since I read Lisa Schroeder's I Heart You, You Haunt Me, I have loved paranormal verse novels. Go, Carolee, and thanks, April!

Tabatha said...

Like Irene, I love the musical chairs exercise. This seems like an important point: "There is a strong connection between oral language and written language and it often helps to verbalize ideas before putting them down on paper." Also, I like the idea of taking off the pressure to come up with something good :-)
Carolee's blog and books sound great. Thanks for the introduction, April!

Carolee Dean said...

Forget Me Not comes out Tomorrow, Oct. 2. Thanks to all of you for being part of the process.

Nora Lester Murad in Palestine said...

Yikes that book trailer gave me the frights. How am I going to sleep tonight?

I'm Nora Lester Murad. I follow the blog by email. If I win the book, you can contact me at nora[at]noralestermurad [dot] com.

Good luck on the release. Ride the wave!

Sandy Brehl said...

What a great (entertaining as well as useful) interview this is. Fingers crossed I'll win, but just in case I don't, I have it on hold at the library already!