June 17, 2020–Here’s my analogy for the draft (thus far) of book 2: a quintuple-knotted shoelace on the sneaker of a kid who just returned from a day of frog hunting in a muddy creek. (Also the shoelace is missing its aglet.) But it’s OK! We see how life can feel the same as a rough draft. A utter mess. Pages and pages full of conflicts and not enough resolutions. But we keep using our words and our gifts and our belief in a better story.
This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. –Toni Morrison
April 16, 2020–Check out our new YouTube channel for a read-aloud from Jack vs. the Tornado! In addition, you’ll find a playlist of our weekly Kids’ Table Book Review.
March 22, 2020–I wish I could share the photos moms and dads sent of their kids reading the first draft of Jack vs. the Tornado. The kids did great and provided helpful (and honest!) feedback. Plus, I’m working with a wonderful editor who has written her own children’s books.
Now that the first book is written and edited . . . on to book 2!
No title yet, but in the second book of the Tree Street Series, Jack and his friends learn some survival skills at the church’s summer camp. They’ll need them! Determined to find Ruthie’s lost cat and protect Jack’s new puppy from Fang, the local wildlife, the kids head deep into the woods. Just when they think they’ve cornered the “enemy,” the kids realize someone has gone missing.
Here I am sheltering at home, like many of you, because of the corona virus. I’m imagining I’m in the Gryffindor Common Room with a nice fire crackling and words magically pouring from my laptop keys like music (i.e., like a squeaky wheel–life is a little distracting these days, isn’t it?).
I hope you are finding fun and inspiring books to read!
January 11, 2020–Happy New Year, readers! And thanks! I’m already getting some amazing and helpful feedback from the Tree Street Kids Reading Team and their parents. I wish I could post the great photos you guys are sending. I heard one family ate dinner in the dark so their kids could wear the headlamps they got in their reader kits. That’s a cool family.
PLUS! I’m really excited and thankful to now have an official editor for Jack vs. the Tornado. Being a book editor myself (nonfiction), I know how much editors can help writers see places to improve their books. An editor is a writer’s second pair of eyes (kind of like the eyes moms seem to have in the back of their heads).
(Btw, this is not my editor.)
December 31, 2019–I’m finishing the decade today with “The End.” Tomorrow the spruced up draft of Jack vs. the Volcano goes to beta readers (aka the Tree Street Reading Team)!
December 10, 2019–The beta reader welcome kits are getting packed and ready to mail! Each item relates to a character in Book 1, Jack vs. the Tornado.🌪 Now to finish the first round of edits . . . (tchotchkes are so distracting!)
December 6, 2019–Have you ever slidden into home base a split second before the ball hits the catcher’s mitt? I haven’t. But I DID finish the first draft of Jack vs. the Volcano the day before my self-imposed deadline of Dec. 1. It took a minute to feel the relief, to let out the breath I’ve been holding, but I did get on my knees and read a few psalms of praise aloud…alotloud.
Now on to the first self-edit before—GULP and YAY!—the book goes to beta readers! I’m taking a break from social media this month—except for our Thursday #thekidstablebookreview on Instagram—to make more time for editing…oh, and Christmas.
I would SO appreciate a prayer from you as I edit. For clarity and patience and even new vision.
November 25, 2019–This week I started the FINALE of Jack vs. the Tornado. (If you’re a writer and curious, the finale is “beat 14” in Jessica Brody’s Save the Cat Writes a Novel.) Ironically, I was writing the finale as the sun was rising. And my draft was way less spectacular than that amazing sunrise.
This is often how you get a book written . . . in itsy, bitsy, (bumpy) blocks of time . . . When you’re exhausted from 12-hour work/commute days . . . When you’re not sure how the story is ever going to come together. When the sunrise is TOTALLY showing you up. Actually, maybe it was totally cheering me on. Yep. That’s it.
November 16, 2019–Welcome letters have been sent to the moms and dads of the TREE STREET KIDS READERS TEAM members!
These beta readers will be giving me honest (OW! OOCH! YAY!) feedback on Jack vs. the Tornado after they read the first draft at the end of the year.
Can’t wait to send them their official TSKRT pins!