Friday, June 29, 2012

A Day in the Life: Lani Wendt Young

We're hailing from Down Under today!  Lani Wendt Young is a Samoan YA fantasy author who shares her Day in the Life from New Zealand. 

A Day in the Life of a (Slightly Demented) Author: 
Lani Wendt Young


I get up at 5.30am, which I absolutely hate doing, especially if I’ve only just gone to bed at 2am. I then tackle the toughest task of my day – waking up my 13yr old daughter. She really does sleep like a log and if we ever got robbed, thieves could roll her up in her blanket, carry her out of the house and she still wouldn’t wake up.

6am. I drive her to Seminary which is a youth scripture-study class run by our church. It’s on 5 days a week for every school week of the year. While she’s in class, I go for a run. Or more aptly, a ‘very brisk walk alternated with a shuffly, jiggly sort of jog.’ I’m terrified of killers and attack dogs, so I usually just go many times round the block or the parking lot. If it’s raining (or if I’m feeling lazy) then I take my laptop and cram in some writing time.

7am. Back home. Mobilize the troops for breakfast and family prayer, then teenagers take off to catch the school bus while me and the three Terrors attack the house chores. We rush through dishes, floors and lunchbox prep. (My 8yr old son is the fastest, bestest vacuumer in this solar system.)

4 of the Fab5 ready for school
8.45am. Take the Terrors to school. Stock up on Diet Coke on my way home. Spend the next hour doing vital life-preserving things like…laundry and shutting the doors to all my children’s bedrooms so I’m not confronted by their chaotic messes.
how I survive
10am – Write stuff. And eat lots of snacks. I’m sorry to say that I often consume way more Doritos then actual pages written…

1pm – Emails. Update all social media. This can take anything from an hour to two spread out over the day and includes, updating my blog Sleepless in Samoa, Facebook author site, Twitter, Goodreads, skim thru publisher/author blogs that I follow.

2pm – Run work errands eg. Post Office to mail out signed book orders, drop off books to local indie bookstores who stock my book TELESA, that kind of stuff.

3pm – Get the Terrors from school. Try not to yell at Little Son for losing his shoes AGAIN, playing rugby in the mud AGAIN and ripping his school uniform AGAIN. Try not to freak out when Little Daughter asks, ‘Mum, did you ever like a boy who was older than you at school?’ Try not to crash the car when the 4yr old Beast is having a tantrum because I won’t detour to McDonalds.

me and Beast
4 to 6pm – The part of my day when I wish I could clone myself and have six of me. One to cook dinner. One to help Little Daughter with her homework. One to test Little Son on his spelling words. One to play with the Beast on the trampoline so she wont stand in the middle of the kitchen bellowing ‘Nobodys playing with me! I got nuffing friends. Can I help you do the cooking mum?’ One to drive and get the teenagers from Debate Club and rugby practice. And another one to lie on the bed with earphones on, blasting Eminem and muttering This is not my life. This is not my life. Any minute now, Im going to open my eyes and be a stunning supermodel in a glorious mansion with Ryan Reynolds cooking me dinner. Oh, and my WIP would be all written. And at the top of the bestseller list. Any minute now…

7.30pm – Ideally, all small and filthy children will be showered and fed by this time. This usually involves lots of threats/blackmail/coercion/pleading/the muttering of curse words and the drinking of copious amounts of Diet Coke. (By me, not the filthy children.) Teenagers do dishes and then sneak off to do Very Important Things. Like Facebook . Text their friends that they just said goodbye to a half hour ago. Weights in the gym downstairs. And supposedly to do homework in the Dens of Darkness that they call their bedrooms…

8pm – I read stories to small and very clean children. And then they are supposed to go to sleep. Ha.

9pm – I read a book on my Kindle. Partly because when you’re a fiction writer, reading a revolting number of novels is called “RESEARCH”. And partly because that’s how I relax and not be too mean to my children.

11pm – I write some more. The bestest time to write anything, anywhere, anytime is when the house is asleep.

Midnight. Or maybe 1am. Or maybe 2am – Sleep.

Lani is from Samoa and currently lives in Auckland, NZ with her Hot Significant Other and 5 children. The Significant Other travels often for work . Leaving the Fabulous Five Children at Lani’s mercy. *cue evil witch laughter*. She is the author of one non-fiction work ‘Pacific Tsunami-Galu Afi’, the YA Fantasy/Romance TELESA series, a short fiction collection and various stories for children written for the NZ primary school literacy curriculum.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blogger Royalty at ALA and BEA/Fierce Reads Giveaways

Look who got to meet Kiersten White and Shannon Messenger in person at ALA!  Two more awesome author/illustrator photos in my facebook album (including one of my favorite illustrators dressed as George Washington...Krispy this has you written all over it).

My favorite discovery is that Kiersten is actually shorter than me.  Possibly the only adult in the world who is.

Don't fret, readers, if you missed the conference fun, Live to Read is giving away some great BEA haul and Literary Exploration is giving away 4 ARCs from the Fierce Reads Tour.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Happy Solstice and ALA

taken in West L.A. (c) 2012 Sophia Chang
This Wednesday was a really powerful Midsummer because of the new moon.  And now it's summer - my favorite and birth season!

I'll be at ALA tomorrow (Saturday) so tweet/text/email me if you're there!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Day in the Life: Beth Navarro

Beth Navarro writes young adult and children’s picture books. She has published two picture books, Kiko the Hawaiian Wave and Grambo, with an innovative new publishing company Be There Bedtime Stories. She also authors a comedic, raw and sometimes controversial mom blog, Mother-naked. She is a proud member of California Readers, a wonderful organization that connects authors and artists to students and staff. She is a teacher in an after school enrichment program, LEARNs, in Pasadena. She is a member of SCBWI and the co-editor of KiteTales, Southern California’s Tri-Regions newsletter. She is a member of The New Hollywood, a philanthropic women’s goal group and is a 2012 nominee for the Los Angeles Business Journal Women who Make a Difference Award. Beth lives and writes in Los Angeles. In her spare time, when not playing with her two daughters, Frankie and Zoe, she makes cool stuff and sells it on etsy.!/BethNavarro76

6:15 I wake up to Mr. Bees in my face and Frankie singing: “You look like a monkey and you smell like one too. SMELL HIM MAMA!” Today I detect a whiff of of kid sweat and gummy worms. Not bad.

6:18 Zoe screams from the other room UP! UP! UP! She will not stop until I get her, so I do.

6:45 Waffles for breakfast. I’ve discovered if I put their food on sticks they’ll clean their plate.

6:51 We all burp at the same time. It’s awesome. Synched! I cannot wait until we have our periods at the same time.

7:00: I check my email. Word of the day: Notorious. I read these like my horoscope daily. I’m taking “notorious” as an awesome sign. I realize I’ve left the girls alone with a bottle of syrup...

7:15 Bath time. “Quit waterboarding your sister.”

8:30 We make a rocket ship. (It’s torn in half by Zoe, but I got killer tape skills)

8:45 Zoe successfully imitates the kid from Parenthood (the movie) I think I have my next Mother-naked article.

9:00 The girls are picked up by their dad. Let my work day begin.

9:05 I take a quick shower and throw on my comfy clothes (Totally as sexy as you are imagining)

9:15 Work on YA rewrite. The consistent note from my writing group: He needs to say this out loud! Apparently I accidentally made my main character mute. Oops.

11:00 Lunch break. Warmed up Panda express leftovers.

11:15 I spend a few minutes fantasizing about living in The Game of Thrones world. I really would be willing to trade the peace of mind of living in a time and place where I won’t get beheaded with the chance to check out The Wall and hang with the Dothraki.

11:30 There is a Firefly marathon. I allow myself one episode. One.

12:30 I consult with my writing partner about the next chapter I’m rewriting. She concurs with my notes.

12:35 Continue with YA rewrite while listening to Pixies and Band of Horses to get me going. One more chapter to do today...

1:30 Whoopie Pie break (I fully believe in rewarding myself after I write) and play Lorax

1:40 Play Drawsomething. I’m pretty happy with my Picasso.

1:50 Review proofread articles for the next Kite Tales issue

2:45 My head itches. I go into paranoid mode that one of the kids gave me lice. After a through examination, I realize I’m fine. (This happens at least once a week)

2:50 I stay glued to my couch with Firefly in front of my face. Damn Mal and his charming little quips.

4:00 I go over my notes for the next two chapters of my rewrite with the only pen I can find. Ugh.

4:30 My friend texts me: “I’m at Lucky Baldwins. Wanna come up?” Umm yeah. I walk up into town for a quick beer.

6:15 Come home and go over my author visit presentation I’m giving at an elementary school this week. It’s even funnier with a beer in my system.

6:45 Dinner: Frozen Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese. Delicious...

7:15 Read The Maze Runner by: James Dashner

8:00 Missing the girlies and our “Crazy Story Time” we do every night.

8:15 Talk on the phone with my lovie

9:15 Check my email and waste some time on fb.

9:30 Brainstorm the next craft kit I’m going to make. I think it will involve cut up dictionary and music pages.

9:45 Research book blogs to get to review my latest picture book, Grambo.

10:00 MAD MEN!

10:30 Too tired to stay up and finish the episode.

10:35 Write in my log book

10:45 Go to sleep in my fave stolen teeshirt (Don’t ever let me near your teeshirt collection)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Never Surrender

The first thirty years of my life felt like one long fight.

It took the entire last decade just to crawl out of the crap from the first two.  In that time, I picked up some more.  I listened to my father's disappointment in me on the phone, in his regular typed letters, or every day in my own head.  I watched every single person I knew at Harvard eclipse me in salary and social rank, and I knew my father was right.  I loved men who would never love me.  I let people trample over my boundaries - hell, what boundaries?  I cowered at the voice in my head that told me I was a miserable human being.  I went through the loneliest periods of my life, times I don't like to think about.  There were moments I thought I'd never stop crying.

Obviously, I kept crawling.  And for the first thirty years of my life, making it through was accomplishment enough.

But that's not what I fight for today.  Now that I'm on the other side at last, I have a new task:

To not let it harden me.

I'm not sharing this to be maudlin.  But to tell you that if you've ever crawled in the dark, if you're crawling through it now, keep crawling.  And when you make it through, there's one final thing you must do to not surrender.  

The crust that pain makes around you?  You must break it off you.

It might have helped you while you were in there, in that dark.  But it won't help you now.  You don't need it.

You just need to commit to this one thing: 

Never let the pain make your heart hard.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy LGBT Month!

Santa Monica Blvd in WeHo
June is National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Month! This weekend was Los Angeles' Pride parade and 3-day celebration in West Hollywood, which is SoCal's version of the West Village in NYC.  If you're still lost, this means the gay 'hood.  It also means my ears are blown out and nobody got enough sleep.

This lovely lady turned her shower curtain into a duckie Marilyn dress.

only one can be queen...
This month, I'd like to direct your attention to Malinda Lo's blog, where she's celebrating YA Pride with interviews and book discussions.

Happy Pride, brethren and allies!


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