Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Little Kid Recommended Read: Interrupting Chicken

Another quick post ya'll as I'm busy tying up the last of the loose ends on this edit, but I wanted to make time to tell you about a wonderful book I was lucky enough to score a copy of while at the ALA Conference:

INTERRUPTING CHICKEN by David Ezra Stein



The basic info:

Awarded a 2011 Caldecott Honor!

A favorite joke inspires this charming tale, in which a little chicken’s habit of interrupting bedtime stories is gleefully turned on its head.


It’s time for the little red chicken’s bedtime story —and a reminder from Papa to try not to interrupt. But the chicken can’t help herself! Whether the tale is HANSEL AND GRETEL or LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD or even CHICKEN LITTLE, she jumps into the story to save its hapless characters from doing some dangerous or silly thing. Now it’s the little red chicken’s turn to tell a story, but will her yawning papa make it to the end without his own kind of interrupting? Energetically illustrated with glowing colors —and offering humorous story-within-a-story views —this all-too-familiar tale is sure to amuse (and hold the attention of ) spirited little chicks


My Thoughts:

An ADORABLE book with a great sense of humor that's perfect for anyone who loves to read aloud to children. Both of my boys (8 and 3) have giggle fits when I read this one before bed. (I recommend reading the story sections in a gentle, lulling voice and then making Little Chicken's voice extremely perky and obnoxiously loud whenever she interrupts her dad. My kids find this amusing. Comedy is in the contrast, yo. I learned a few things in acting school.) 


In addition to the fun factor, this book has a sweet ending that will leave you and your kids (or little brothers and sisters or students) going "aw!"


So get it, read it, love it!


I'll be back in a few days with some pictures and updates from the Mendocino Writer's Conference. Hope to see a few of you there.


Stacey

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What to do with the Inner Critic

Today, I'm supposed to be working on a second revision of my 2013 Young Adult book for Delacorte. I've got a busy few weeks ahead and I need to make some headway on this edit in order to feel okay about taking a few days off for a family vacation. I don't have time to waste. I don't have time for a breakdown in the process.

Of course, that's always when the breakdowns happen, isn't it?

For me, the breakdown often comes in the form of the Inner Critic. Unlike during the crafting of a first draft, I tend to think that my Inner Critic will be a valuable addition to the process this late in the game. She will help me kill my darlings and cut the fat and make my manuscript as tight as it can be. After all, my editors said they wanted to see this draft as close to final as possible because they think the book is "nearly there."  

Nearly there...

Which of course makes my mind start fretting:

Oh dear, oh dear. That means this is it! My last chance to make it perfect! Or at least as good as I can make it at this point in my career. And, oh man, do I want it to be good. I want the readers who've liked my other work to like it. I want the readers who thought I could have sucked less to think it sucks less. I can't do that without my Inner Critic!

And so I invite the Inner Critic in, and cower in the corner with my laptop perched on trembling knees while she stalks about the room holding forth on my work.

Let me tell you a little about my Inner Critic. My Inner Critic is gorgeous. Flawless. She is strong and brilliant and unflinching and merciless and as caustic as every reviewer who's ever really-not-liked my books all rolled into one. Her tongue is made of acid and, most of the time, she uses it to burn the soft, downy flesh from my manuscript's bones. It is the rare paragraph that escapes without a snide comment or two. Or three. And though I try to take her advice and do my very best to suck less, I am never able to please her. Because I am not perfect. I am a work in progress as much as the book I'm writing. I am human, but I am trying my best. I really am.

Isn't that worth something? I ask her in a soft voice.

No, the Inner Critic says, It is not.

She tells me I should quit and spare the world my work, and assures me a large number of people on Goodreads would thank me for it. She insists I am a weak, worthless, stupid fraud.

And I am stupid, because the truth is, my Inner Critic isn't my ally. She isn't my helper. She's a monster in disguise.

The Inner Critic is the eating disorder of my teen years dressed in grown up clothes, insisting she's relevant because I'm a professional now and I shouldn't be allowed to go around publishing drivel and embarrassing myself. She is the chain-smoking mental hipster of my early twenties who insisted I would never find a partner who would love me for the strange, neurotic, silly, naive, believing-in-fairies person I was. She is the faded, emaciated wraith who haunted my mental space after my divorce, assuring me I would never be anything but a poor single mother and that it was all my fault because I should have majored in something other than Acting and should have made better choices and should have and should have and should have, on and on and on until I started sleeping every moment I could spare because even my nightmares were better than that voice.

I don't know what your Inner Critic is like--I sincerely hope she isn't as terrible as mine, because mine is a nasty bitch with destruction and pain on her mind and I firmly believe none of you lovely people deserve a voice like that in your head--but I invite you now to show your Inner Critic the door.

Walk to the sliding glass door of your mind and open it. Outside, it is raining hard and is very, very cold and there may or may not be rabid, hungry wolves prowling about--I'll leave those little details up to you. Now, I encourage you to hold out an arm and invite the Inner Critic to become an Outer Critic. Stand tall and breathe deep breaths as she spews venom on her way out and then slide the door closed and return to your place by the fire, settle in your comfy chair, pick up your hot cocoa and take a long, luscious sip as you watch the Inner Critic's hair stick to her skull and her mascara run down her cheeks and her mouth open and close like a demented fish as she screams and screams insults you can't hear over the sound of the rain (and is also maybe ripped apart by rabid wolves).

Now, put down your cocoa and get back to work. The Inner Critic will run off to find a place to dry off and get her rabies shots sooner or later, but we don't have any more time for her. There are books to be written, human stories that are sometimes beautiful and sometimes flawed and sometimes, if we're very lucky, beautifully flawed, which is the best kind of beauty there is (or so say my stretch marks, nothing more beautifully flawed than a post-baby body).

Hope you all have a peaceful, critic-free week,

Stacey

Monday, July 9, 2012

Come see me this summer

Hey!

I'm going to be places! You should come see me! EXCLAMATION POINTS!

First up, I'll be at the Not Your Mother's Book Club Soiree July 13th (that's this Friday!) at 7 p.m. There will be copies of "Juliet Immortal" there for purchase or you can bring your own books to be signed. I will also have some things to give away... (Perhaps an ARC of "Romeo Redeemed"... Perhaps....?)

After that, I'll be doing an event at Borderlands Books (866 Valencia St. San Francisco CA 94110) on August 19th.  

 "Walkers, Watchers, Witches, Immortals and More: Four Authors in Conversation." With:

Veronica Wolff
Kat Richardson
Stacey Jay
Carolyn Jewel

Four Authors in one fell swoop. Can't beat that and I've heard that Borderlands is an amazing bookstore. 

So come see me, maybe?

Geez. Three blogs in less than two weeks. There's a good chance this blog might explode from the sudden influx of activity. Stand back and brace yourselves...

Stacey Jay

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Adventures in Sewing! (Or, where the hell I've been.)

So...

Ya'll may have noticed the blog has been a bit quiet the past two months. I was working on a pretty hairy revision for my 2013 young adult book (which is shaping up nicely if I do say so myself!), but I did have sooooome free time.

Enough free time to make this (my YA Coffee Klatch "woo the librarians" dress):




And this for my elder son (shorts and appliqued top to cover all the stains) (and yes, little brother popped his head in. I did not make his shirt, but he can't let a picture be taken without trying to get in on the action):




And this (appliqued patch jeans for me):

 

And these:



And my latest, the Mendocino Dress by Heather Ross. It's from a free pattern you can download here: http://heatherross.squarespace.com/download-mendocino-sundress-pa/



It's super fun and easy to sew. So super fun, that I made my stepdaughter one for her birthday.

Basically I've become a...sew-a-holic. I'm sorry. I swear I will make more time for the blog...as long as you don't mind hearing about ADVENTURES IN SEWING! every once and awhile. My next project is a 1950's-inspired pattern. Can't wait to get started...

Happy Thursday, hope everyone in the U.S. had a safe and happy Fourth,

Stacey Jay

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pre-order your signed copy of ROMEO REDEEMED from Hicklebee's in San Jose!



 I was lucky enough to do a signing at Hicklebee's last year and the folks were so wonderful and supportive I knew that I wanted to celebrate the release of ROMEO REDEEMED with them in 2012. I'll be doing a signing in October (date to be announced soon, hope to see some of you in San Jose!), but if you're not in the area, Hicklebee's will also be handling orders for signed copies of the book. All you have to do is head over to their pre-order page here:


http://www.hicklebees.com/romeo-redeemed-preoder-now

You can have your copy signed to you (or the person of your choosing) and as a thank you for pre-ordering I'll be tucking a few goodies into your book. I'm working with a super talented artist who is doing an original watercolor of a rose and dagger (with J and R's initials on the hilt) to celebrate the release of ROMEO REDEEMED. I'll be including a 4 x 6 print of the artwork, as well as a few temporary tattoos so that you can sport your own R-and-J-inspired temporary body art while reading your signed copy.

(Or wait until April Fool's day to put on the tat and tell your mom you got a tattoo without her permission. I did that once with a fake belly-button ring. It was funny for about three seconds before she gave me this look that could melt flesh off bone and I ripped it out and screamed "April Fools!" before she could kill me with her death glare.)

I'm also working on an exclusive sneak peek of my 2013 book (which has a title and a cover! Oh my, what a gorgeous cover, but that's a post for another day) to share with you, so I'm hoping to have that ready to go by October, as well.

So head over and pre-order if you have a mind to. Here's a bit about the book:



Seductive companion to the popular Juliet Immortal, in which former lovers—Romeo and Juliet—meet, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.

I'll be touching base soon with a sneak peek of the artwork for the tattoo and a date for the signing. (And I'm actually writing another blog to post tomorrow! I know, it's madness. Wonderful, bloggy, madness.)

Have a Tuesday!

Stacey Jay