Archive for the ‘Author stuff’ Category

Portland Book Festival Show & Tell

November 10, 2019 @ 2:26 pm | Filed under: , ,

Mostly tell. Because:

I remember how, as a kid, I used to come home from the library with a stack of books—as many as I could haul home on my bike—and then find it impossible to decide which book to read first. I’d spread them out, flipping through this one and reading a page or two of that one, feeling the torment of indecision sweep over me, paralyzed by all the enticing options.

I’m fifty now, and nothing has changed.

Which book to read next? Which book to write next? Which stitch to try in my embroidery project? Which color? Or maybe I’d rather sketch. Paint. Take a walk. Take a photo! Write a blog post. Water the plants. Fill the bird feeders. Read a book. Oh no, which book??

This hits me hardest on Sundays, when I have a little free time. I often have to start the day by making a list of all the lovely things I could do. It’s funny, though—I can power through a to-do list like nobody’s business, but a fun list? Let me just sit here for an hour, doodling in the margins as I try to decide.

Example: I went to the Portland Book Festival yesterday and had a splendid time. I’m bubbling over with tidbits to share, but when I sat down to begin, I fell into the old needs-to-be-an-organized-well-crafted-post trap. Organized writing takes time! I often think: I’ll save this topic until I can do a proper job with it. Turns out that’s a death sentence for most topics.

Then it struck me that when I read AV Club recaps of a show I’m watching, my favorite part is always the list of bullet-pointed “stray observations” at the end. (In fact, I usually huff with irritation as I read the main body of the post, because so often the reviews seem to be grumpy takes on how the episode could have been better if only it were an entirely different episode, and possibly a different show. But the “stray observations” tend to celebrate memorable moments, and that’s what I’m there for!)

All right, stray observations—that’s an attainable goal. 🙂

• There are a lot of really great independent bookstores in Portland, and I need to visit more of them.

• Had lunch with Kortney and Tonia, and I need way more time with them too!

• Had a very interesting chat with Sue Campbell of Pages and Platforms about book launch strategies. She winced when I admitted that yes, I do have a mailing list, but I haven’t sent out a newsletter since 2015. Um. Yeah. Sounds like I need to bump Project Revive My Bookletter higher on the list.

• (Ugh, you guys, promoting your own work is the worst part of being a writer. I can happily, eagerly talk about other writers’ books until I’m blue in the face! But my own? OH THE PAIN.)

• (Having said that, I am pretty doggone excited to do the cover reveal for my new novel. December 2nd! It’s getting close! The cover is sooo great. I squealed pretty hard when I saw it. You’ll see.)

• I got a demo of a manuscript-writing app called Shaxpir that surprised me by knocking my socks off! It has some features similar to Scrivener (which is what I’ve used for my last two novels) but with a cleaner, better-for-me interface and some extremely nifty tools to clue you in to patterns in your writing. I’m just finishing a trial of Ulysses, another kind of writing/publishing software which has some features I like very much indeed, but I think I might like Shaxpir better. The two platforms are really quite different. Stay tuned for a report. Also: how fabulous is this logo?

• (I’ll always love Scrivener for the corkboard with movable index cards, though. I love moving scenes around on that thing!)

• Shaxpir has a related website called Prosecraft: Linguistics for Literature. If you’re a word nerd, you’re in for some serious fun.

• I enjoyed a chat with the publisher of Two Lines Press, which publishes “exceptional new writing and overlooked classics that have not previously been published in English.” Their list looks amazing. Books from all over the world. I started enthusing about a recent episode of Commonplace Podcast in which Rachel Zucker’s interview of Jennifer Croft knocked my socks off—Jennifer is the English translator of Polish author Olga Tokarczuk and the author of a novel-memoir called Homesick—and it turned out the Two Lines publisher is close friends with Jennifer. Such a fun conversation. Naturally I jumped on Edelweiss as soon as I got home and requested a review copy of That We May Live, a collection of Chinese speculative fiction stories. Stay tuned!

• When I’m at a downtown event, I love to walk across one of the bridges toward home and let Scott pick me up on the east side. Easier drive for him and a beautiful walk for me. I left the festival and reached the Hawthorne Bridge just in time to see the riverfront lights pour themselves into the water. Magical.

Looking back toward the west side

True story

October 2, 2018 @ 12:53 pm | Filed under:

I’ve reached the stage of writing in which I hate writing, I wonder why I ever thought writing was a good idea, I don’t ever want to write anything again, and I have an overwhelming urge to write about it.

What I look like while writing, according to Rilla some time back. Not sure I’m buying it. 😉

Ed Snapshots Interviewed Me About Tidal Homeschooling

March 8, 2016 @ 2:34 pm | Filed under: , , ,

Pam Barnhill interviewed me about Tidal Learning for her Ed Snapshots podcast. We had a delightful conversation. Here’s the scoop:

Melissa Wiley is an author and a homeschool mom of 6 who blogs at Here in the Bonny Glen. Her novel, The Prairie Thief, is a big hit at my house, and I have a little Laura Ingalls fan who is just itching to check out her two series of books about Laura’s ancestors, The Martha Years and The Charlotte Years. On this episode of the podcast, Melissa gives us a little peek into her school days and explains her unique philosophy, which she calls Tidal Homeschooling. This interview is full of inspiration for how we can foster an atmosphere of learning, creativity, joy, and relationship-building in our homes by recognizing and working within our own natural rhythms or “tides.” Enjoy!

Click here to listen: HSP 24 Melissa Wiley: All About Tidal Homeschooling – Ed Snapshots

Live Read-Aloud Revival Author Chat Next Sunday

July 19, 2015 @ 11:59 am | Filed under: , ,

Hey gang, I’ll be doing a live online chat with Sarah Mackenzie at Read-Aloud Revival next Sunday at 1pm Pacific. Read-Aloud Revival started as a terrific podcast (I was interviewed for an episode here) and has grown into a membership site with workshops, discussions, and a lot more.

Event details: Live Author Event: Melissa Wiley

Read-Aloud Revival Live Author Events are for your whole family. Come hang out with us live– your kids can type questions into the chat box, and our featured author will answer them live on screen! Throughout the hour-long live event, we give away prizes, get a sneak peek at what it’s like to be an author, and ask our best questions about the featured book.

During the live event, we’ll be giving away 5 copies of The Arrow Guide to The Prairie Thief from Brave Writer, and 3 copies of The Prairie Thief itself.

Participate in the chatbox to enter, and winners will be selected randomly throughout the event!

$5 gets you access to the Live Author Event plus everything else in membership for a whole month.

I can’t wait!

Jiggety jig

July 3, 2015 @ 1:57 pm | Filed under: ,

Oh, guys, I have GOT to get caught up. Here I’ve been back from the Deep Valley Homecoming since TUESDAY and haven’t written about it. And now Comic-Con is peering around the corner in the most alarming way! Next week! Good heavens! Or O di immortales, I should say—not yet having mentally emerged from Betsy-Tacy land.

I had such a wonderful time visiting the houses and connecting with members of the B-T crowd. (The Crowd, capital C, you say if you’ve read the books.) I thoroughly enjoyed the children’s author panel on Sunday, answering questions with fellow writers Pat Bauer and Eileen Beha; and my talk about the Betsy-Tacy publishing history went very well. Plus I got to hear the inestimable Kathy Baxter speak—she’s captivating.

This is how I feel whenever I'm with Kathy. Photo by Margaret Berns.

This is how I feel whenever I’m with Kathy. Photo by Margaret Berns in 2010.

Of course I had to reread as many of the Tomes as possible before and during the trip. Began with the high-school books this time around and made it through Betsy’s Wedding. Actually, I read Wedding twice—I always skip ahead to it straight from Betsy and Joe. I read Betsy and the Great World on the plane ride home and then tore through Betsy’s Wedding a second time that evening, happily back in my own bed.

I swear my children gained multiple inches during the three nights I was away.

Our author panel made the front page of the Minnesota Free Press:

mnfreepress

I have yet to see a panel photo of myself in which I’m not making a goofy face. And if you tied my hands I’m not sure I could speak…

Discussing our writing processes at Deep Valley Homecoming. Photo swiped from Nancy Piccone, with thanks!

Discussing our writing processes. Apparently mine involves crushing people’s heads. Photo swiped from Nancy Piccione, with thanks!

I’m not doing justice to the Homecoming with this hasty post—I so enjoyed all the other talks and made some wonderful new friends. And on my first evening in Mankato, of course I had to walk all over town past Betsy and Tacy’s bench and Tib’s chocolate-colored house and Carney’s sleeping porch and Lincoln Park and the Carnegie Library, trying not to make a whole nother series of goofy faces. I am 100% fangirl at heart.

Major props to Julie Schrader and the rest of the organizers for hosting a perfectly marvelous event.

Deep Valley, Minnesota, Here I Come!

June 26, 2015 @ 10:48 am | Filed under: , ,

Today begins the Deep Valley Homecoming, a celebration of Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books in her hometown of Mankato, Minnesota (the real Deep Valley). I won’t be joining the fun until tomorrow—can’t wait!

I have visited Mankato once before, after the 2010 Kidlitcon in Minneapolis. The awesome Kathy Baxter took my pal Margaret and me around town, showing us All the Important Places From the Books, and I just about died of excitement (as Margaret chronicled in her photos). The brass bowl! Winona’s wall! Carney’s sleeping porch! Lincoln Park!

THE BENCH, for heaven’s sake!

Betsy and Tacy's bench on the hill. Photo by Margaret Berns.

Betsy and Tacy’s bench on the hill. Photo by Margaret Berns.

Yes, I looked exactly that goofy the whole time. What can I say? I’m a fan.

My Deep Valley Homecoming schedule

Sunday, June 28th
12:15pm: Children’s literature panel discussion at the Book Festival
2:15pm: I will read from one of my books

Monday, June 29th
11:30am: Presentation at the Historical Society. Topic: the publishing history of the Betsy-Tacy series.

I hope to see you there!

Related posts:
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
The Betsy-Tacy Songbook
Interview with Mitali Perkins, Jennifer Hart, and me about Maud’s books
Betsy-Tacy booksigning at ALA Midwinter
Photos of my visit to the real Deep Valley, as chronicled by Margaret in Minnesota
Why I love Carney
Why I love Emily
A Reader’s Guide to Betsy-Tacy

San Diego County Fair — Thursday!

June 17, 2015 @ 3:36 pm | Filed under: ,

I’ll be appearing at the San Diego County Fair on Thursday, June 18. Look for me at 1:30pm in the Children’s Garden and 4:30pm in the Creative Youth Tent. If you’re planning a visit to the Fair tomorrow, please come say hello!

garthwilliamsfair

Garth Williams illustration from Charlotte’s Web