Category Archives: Young Adult

Exciting News !!!!

Hey y’all!!!  I know I’m new here (and for good reason).  My first short story is about to be published.  It has been a life long dream of mine and it’s finally happening!!!  I am very honored to be included in this awesome book with 3 veteran authors, Catrina Taylor, Y.K. Greene, and RaeAnne Hadley.  These women are very well published authors and their works are amazing (in my opinion anyways).  I’ve posted the link.  It is on pre-order right now through Amazon.  So go check it out, leave a review and tell all your friends!!!!

HAPPY READING Y’ALL…..

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=B077BHWJ89&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AB077BHWJ89

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The Weird Part

https://jenniferlgadd.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/2015-10-27-19-04-30.jpg

I am an introvert, through and through. I think that’s one reason I’m a writer. I’d rather communicate via email, letter, poem, story, or novel over actual personal interaction about 99% of the time. Because, well, PEOPLE. People wear me out. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a shy bone in my body. I am, however, very, very introverted.

What I’m noticing is that I’ve now reached the part of publishing a book where I have to go out and greet people. And talk about the book. And smile. And, oh lordy, these sillies want me to SIGN MY BOOK!. Me! That’s practically an autograph! It’s too much attention. I very much dislike being the center of attention, and it’s uncomfortable for me. I’d as soon the earth open up and just swallow me whole.

I had a lovely little author event last evening at my own personal public library, the West Wyandotte branch of the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library. I did some of the writing and researching for the book in that library, so when I thought about an author event, that’s where I wanted to go first. They loved the idea, and the YA librarians went out of their way to make it a good event. I had anticipated a schedule that involved a little talk on my part, a reading, and some Q&A, but folks seemed to be trickling in whenever they could make it, rather than showing up right at the start time.

I was okay with this because it meant I could be more the host of an open house event, and it would be more informal. I could spend more face-to-face time with those who had showed up. It was going great with the old friends who had dropped by. We were chatting, about life, about the book, about lots of things. And then it happened. Someone suggested that I do a read-aloud from the book. Even though I had initially been prepped mentally for it, I had already let it go and decided it was all going a different direction. I have no doubt that I had my best deer-in-the-headlights look on for a while. Then I sat down and read a bit.

It was fine, of course, but there was still that part of me that wanted to turn the spotlight OFF. How about I sit in an another room and read into a microphone? Or maybe phone it in? Anything just to get you to STOP LOOKING AT ME. And these were my friends there!

The thing is, a big part of indie and self-publishing is the promotion. Authors have to get out there and publicize themselves because there isn’t a high-powered, well-financed PR department doing it for them. I can get all that without relishing it particularly. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to do it without being embarrassed, though.

All in all, I’d just as soon be writing.

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It’s That Time Again–NaNoWriMo!

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Small-SquareI’m gearing up for the 2015 National Novel Writing Month. This year, I’ll be tackling a ten-part hi-lo story I’m tentatively calling Space Cadets. It features three very different teenagers, who, at first at least, can’t stand each other. They eventually learn to overcome and appreciate their differences and wind up having a series of adventures in and around the Terran colony on which they’ve grown up.

It might turn into a series of shorts, rather than a full-length novel, but we’ll see. Hard to say at this point. I’m something of a “pantser,” so who knows? (A “pantser” is a writer who doesn’t plan very much ahead. I do have a vague idea where I’m going, but no detailed outline or anything like that. If I did, I would be a “planner.”)

What’s a hi-lo book, you’re wondering? It’s a book with high interest and low readability. They’re excellent for older struggling readers such as my students. Older protagonists, teen-level language, and deeper, more sophisticated plots and themes–all wrapped in a reading level of about 4th grade, in this case. It allows kids to read something engaging, something written just for them, rather than some “baby” book. I’ll do anything to get a kid to read, even write the book myself!

To be honest, I’m not at all confident of logging that relentless 1,667 words a day, every single day, for the entire month of November. Still, the local NaNo group here in the Kansas City metro is an awesome group of folks, and I want to hang out with them at Scooters, drink mochas, and write as much as I can. I figure that anything I crank out is more than I would have written if I weren’t doing NaNo at all. It’s all good, given those terms. And maybe I’ll have a third series to toss my publisher’s way when I’m done.

See you on the other side of 50,000 words!

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This ‘n’ That

Almost too tired to write this up, to be honest, but here we go. It’s the start of another school year, and that leaves me with so little time and energy to write, edit, or anything remotely related. Not even blogging, obviously, since it’s been over a month since my last entry.

Kids are good. Quite a few are actually big, big readers, and they’ve been drooling over my classroom library with over 2,000 books and checking them out like they’re going out of style. I’ve had some kids make recommendations of books they’ve read and enjoyed, and their eyes about pop out of their heads when I flip open the iPad and One-Click them right then and there. So that’s fun.

One series I’ve started adding to the library on student recommendation is the Surviving Southside books. It’s a series of very intense hi-lo books–books with young adult protagonists that are written at lower reading levels for struggling readers. It stands for “high interest/low readability,” and they are a lifesaver for teachers of reluctant readers. Anyway, the first one, entitled Beaten, is about a teen girl who winds up in an abusive relationship. I read it, and I felt the topic was dealt with honestly and sensitively, providing positive, hopeful information and without sensationalizing the subject. I’ve already ordered the next few on the strength of that. My own interest was piqued by the fact the books in the series are all written by different authors.

I have an author event lined up in October at my local public library. Pretty pumped about that. They do tons of publicity in the libraries and online, so that’s exciting and a little embarrassing. It’ll involve some Q&A, a read-aloud, and book sales. I imagine it’ll also involve treats of some kind if I want kids to come out (and I do.) I’m thinking of having some bookmarks and posters made with the book cover on them for publicity and for give-aways. The big deal, though, is that it means real, actual books made of paper, and I’m going to be a screaming mess when those babies come in the mail!

I also realized a couple of days ago that National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner again. I made such a mixed-up hash of the second Were-Children novel last November by not writing in any particular order that I was hesitant to sign up again this year. Then I remembered how enjoyable it was to attend the write-ins and meet folks, that I decided I would. This time around, though, I’m going to be a “plotter,” rather than a “pantser,” I think. What I have in mind is a series of hi-lo science fiction shorts–eight or ten books–that I’ll write all as one thing to reach the 50,000 words. I figure it’s my “novel,” and I can make it what I want, right? I’m spending September and October doing some outlining, researching, and note-taking so I’m ready to go for that. It’s a long slog, and it seems brutal and relentless at the time, but it sure feels good to have it done. I’ve always gone by the Dorothy Parker quote: “I hate writing. I love having written.”

It takes five things to make a list, doesn’t it? Hrm. Okay. Here’s a picture of my dog.
luna

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In Defense of Bess Marvin

As I’ve said many times before, I was a huge Nancy Drew fan when I was a middle-school reader. Nancy had it all and could do it all. This summer, since I own the first 55 of the originals, I re-read this precious and well-loved series.

And I came away disappointed. Not so much because of Nancy, although she can be a bit cloying to my adult sensibilities, but because of a character I have absolutely come to loathe: George Fayne. George, often touted by modern feminist writers for her traditional boys’ name and her bravery and athleticism, is, in short, a mean and horrible person. And she’s especially a mean and horrible person to her cousin, Bess Marvin.

So let’s talk about Bess for a bit. Bess is the girly-girl femme friend of the intrepid sleuth. She’s the one who is slightly plump, not as athletic as the others, and much more cautious. Let’s look at each of these traits, as they are depicted in the stories.

Bess is cautious. She’s also usually right about the danger. And yet her loving cousin, George, scorns her, scoffs at her, sneers at her, and shames her into doing things she doesn’t think are safe (and they usually aren’t.) If they’d just listen to Bess once in a while, they’d solve the mystery with a lot less danger.

Bess isn’t as athletic as George the Jock and Nancy the Exceptional at Everything, either. But you know what? Whenever they go swimming, or boating, or skiing, or horseback riding, or playing tennis, Bess is right there with them, keeping up. Does she live for it with the same competitive spirit the other two do? No. But she’s quite a competent athlete in her own right, if the story lines are anything to go by.

And, finally and most importantly, Bess is slightly overweight. The books always state that she’s trying to “lose a few pounds.” Get that: a FEW. Three? Five? The illustrations in the books show her to be just as slender as Nancy and George, so it can’t be more than that. But so what? What if it were fifty? Would that in any way justify the cruel teasing and fat-shaming her “loving” cousin inflicts upon her? I don’t think so.

Let’s take the 44th book of the series, The Clue in the Crossword Cipher, by way of an egregious example. On page 41, Bess remarks that she’s so very excited about their being in South America that she could burst. George, predictably, gets her dig in with this non sequitur: “Well, my dear fat cousin, that might be one way to lose some weight!” Again, towards the middle of the story, when the girls are sharing a meal with a Quechua elder, George admonishes her cousin, in front of others, not to eat so much in the thin mountain air, and according to story, gives her a “withering look.” Why not just a friendly reminder to the group in general? No, George intentionally shames Bess.

The worst, though, happens on page 57. The girls are out sleuthing and stop at a hotel for a lunch that includes slices of homemade bread. That’s when this happens:

As Bess reached for her third piece, George grabbed her cousin’s arm. “No, you don’t,” she said. Meekly, Bess put the slice of the bread back into the basket and finished her salad. (Emphasis mine.)

Honestly, that’s the point at which I wished Bess had taken her free hand, punched George right in the face, and said, “Shut it, jerkface. I’ll eat what I want, and you’ll have nothing whatsoever so say about it, or there’s more where that came from. Got it? Good. Now pass me the damn bread.” Alas, it never happens.

So here’s to Bess Marvin, the concerned, loyal, and kind friend of Nancy Drew. She doesn’t get enough credit for being capable and competent in her own right, and it’s all because her cousin George belittles her and treats her like dirt. Jerkface.

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