Thursday, January 20, 2011

Homework Helpers by Michelle McLean

This post is in honor of the release of Michelle McLean's new book

HOMEWORK HELPERS: Essays and Term Papers

Michelle is a young adult writer also, and a long time pal of mine. This is her first published book and I am here to attest, first hand that it is awesome.

Why do I know?

Because my daughter and I used it!

Last spring my ninth grade daughter had a massive research paper due in a class whose sole focus was that paper. The teacher had them put together research, work on grammar, learn to site sources, etc. Unfortunately, the class was less than systematic and so was the time frame. The students were given about two weeks to complete the entire paper, and my darling daughter, bless her dear little heart, had NO idea what she was supposed to be doing and when. So the NIGHT before the ENTIRE paper was due, we both realized the whole massive thing was due the next day. And what had she DONE? Nada. Now you can imagine how many gray hairs were formed that night and how high my blood pressure spiked.

Okay. Some parents might have taken the *you made your bed now lie in it* approach. Okay, I admit--I am a bit of a helicopter. But I didn't waste a breath on anger. There was no time. Instead, I emailed Michelle. I knew her book wasn't due out until NOW, but she was kind enough to email me her proofs. Which I USED to help my daughter organize herself, literally the NIGHT BEFORE. AND...drumroll, with Michelle's clear-eyed, systematic GOT DONE. By 10PM.

Final grade: 88

I think the teacher was a little stingy, because the paper turned out AWESOME.

And if not for Michelle's book, my daughter and I would have been rendered into a quivering mass of jelly.

So--consider this an endorsement of a fabulous tool for students of all ages--and go out and get it.

Michelle a freelance writer and the Chief Editorial Consultant for PixelMags, LLC., a company that digitizes magazines and other literature for use on mobile devices. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in History from Weber State University and a Master of Arts Degree with Distinction in English from National University.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Upcoming events and an artistic breakthrough

Well, well, well--I have been--uh--lazy? Also, I got myself a new gmail account and that messed up my blog sign in. So I had to puzzle that out (with not much gusto) for a bit. But here I am, and unlike alot of other more diligent bloggers I am NOT going to promise wonderful things on my blog. I am going to remain true to my impulsive blogging self and only post when I actually have stuff to say or share. Which is not, to be honest, all that frequently.

I do admire regular posters. You have a lot of discipline. Discipline I don't possess. Not for blogging, anyway. I prefer to save my limited stash of discipline for writing, artwork and doing my job. Lately I am going to add--going to a REAL gym--as opposed to Curves.

First, let me congratulate my two critique-mates, Heidi Ayarbe (COMPROMISED 2010) and Kate Milford (THE BONESHAKER 20210) on their YALSA nominations. That's HUGE and I am so proud--but hardly surprised. They are brilliant writers (and two of the very nicest people I know).

So, I have two things to share. Well, maybe three. I am hoping to interview Ellen Potter of THE KNEEBONE BOY. And I am going to feature a post about my friend Michelle McLean who's book HOMEWORK HELPERS: ESSAYS AND TERM PAPERS is due out this month.

The third thing is that I have finally made a major breakthrough on my languishing picture book. I am now, officially on a roll with the art, though I have not written a single word. (see below). Also, I got a thumbs up from my agent, Victoria Marini, on the premise for my new WIP, so that gives me the kick I need to dive in.

My book LIFE AND BETH is still out on submission. We've gotten two rejections, but as Victoria assures me (she is so ASSURING) they are GOOD rejections. In other words, they are not about the quality of the book, but more about marketing issues with the particular publisher. Not sure I totally buy this, but I am not going to sweat it. Everyone can't fall in love with you, right? But a perfect match is out there. I found Victoria, after all. Just need an editor that has as much faith.

Anyway--keep an eye out for my post on the wonderful Michelle McLean. I have known her for many years and I have actually used her book to help my daughter pull off an academic miracle last year when she waited until THE NIGHT BEFORE to turn in a ten page research paper. And somehow--with the help of Michelle's book (ARC emailed as an amazing courtesy) she not only got it done but got an A- on it.