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Posts Tagged ‘author’

There are so many ways one can get lost on the web, between websites, social media, blogs, etc., but then there are places where you simply feel found. One of those places is on the ANHonestHouse-CReyes-Cover2lovely blog of Cynthia Reyes, where I find myself on a regular basis. Not only is Cynthia a wonderful writer with something to say, but she is also a published author whose second book, An Honest House, has just been released.

An Honest House is a memoir, designed to be read as a standalone or as the sequel of the memoir she started in 2013 with her first book, A Good Home.

Perhaps a step back is in order as a backdrop to Cynthia’s latest accomplishment – A Good Home is described as a “profoundly emotional book about the author’s early life in rural Jamaica, her move to urban North America, and her trips back home, all told through vivid descriptions of the unique homes she has lived in — from a tiny pink house in Jamaica and a mountainside cabin near Vancouver to the historic Victorian farmhouse AGoodHome-CReyes-Cover2she lives in today … Full of lovingly drawn characters and vividly described places, A Good Home takes the reader through deeply moving stories of marriage, children, the death of parents, and an accident that takes its high-flying author down a humbling notch.”

Fast forward to the release of An Honest House three years later which picks up “from the early days of her recovery from a car accident, as told in her first book, A Good Home, she shares in this new book intensely lyrical stories of life with her husband Hamlin in their historic farmhouse north of Toronto …You will be challenged as the author immerses you in the reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and the courage it takes to live with chronic pain. And you will say a wrenching farewell to the farmhouse as she opens a new chapter in a life still devoted to creating beauty out of the materials life serves up to her, be they dark and haunting or light and joyful.”

From everything I have read about An Honest House, and from what I’ve learned over the past few years of Cynthia through her blog, the journey with her through her challenges and successes, her fears and her triumphs, will be one well worth taking.

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FusedGlassVotive2The journey of writing and illustrating children’s books, as in any serious endeavor, has been packed with a wide variety of experiences. The learning curve has been tremendous between a writer’s critique group, caring support from fellow writers and artists, and the many opportunities to grow offered through the SCBWI, (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.)

Conferences, workshops, individual critiques and sometimes just time to sit down and talk with professionals in our field have given us all hope and sustained us on the road to being published and beyond.  I consider myself very fortunate that, in the time I have belonged to the SCBWI, my New Jersey chapter has been extremely pro-active in providing so many ways to become involved in the world of children’s books.

Our current NJ SCBWI Regional Advisor recently put together a really fun workshop at the Fire Me Up glass studio. It was a chance to create something new and to also sit down and brunch with the Executive Editor of Children’s Books at Sterling Publishing of NYC, Meredith Mundy. And getting there early gave my friend and I the opportunity to sit right opposite her and talk about all manner of things. It was a friendly gathering of about 20 writers and artists in the children’s book field, some published, some not yet, trying our hand at a glass project while talking about our favorite subject.

FusedGlassVotive-Lit2After brunch and getting instructions about our projects, Meredith chatted with us, talked about changes in the industry, what Sterling was looking for as well as what she, in particular, was looking for in terms of stories and subjects. And when our afternoon was done, we were each given our individual critiques of whatever manuscript we had submitted ahead of time.

Meredith’s critique was very helpful and included wonderful insights and detailed suggestions for improvement, really challenging me to expand the ideas I was already working on, while acknowledging what I’d already accomplished. What a treat! I have since been working hard on my MS, getting ready to make a pacing dummy, and sketching my main characters for still new insights.

And what about the fused glass project? We had a variety of options to choose from, and I took a fairly simple one so I could focus on the conversation around me. (You don’t want to lose attention when you’ve got such a talented Executive Editor sitting across the table!) One of the options was a glass votive holder, and as a candle lover, this seemed perfect. So with an 8″ square piece of clear glass and a variety of jewel-colored glass in the form of spaghetti, linguine, flat marbles, small chunks and other possibilities, I made what you see here. TaDa!

If you are an aspiring author or illustrator in the area of children’s books, I encourage you to look into and join the SCBWI, take a look at what’s going on in your own state, get involved and amp up your learning curve and grow!

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Did you know that J. K. Rowling has written her first novel for adults? The Casual Vacancy, published by Little Brown and Co. is making it’s debut tomorrow, September 27.

A member of the town council of Pagford, Barry Fairbrother, dies unexpectedly in his early forties. The competition for his seat is fierce, and further exemplifies that the quaint town with cobbled streets is not at all what it seems. In fact, everyone is at war with one another and nothing is as it seems.

Want to read more? Here’s J. K. Rowling’s web site with more detail.

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