Monday, August 17, 2015

Pitch Wars Bio

Pitch Wars is an amazing, fun, (and sometimes anxiety fraught) writing contest run by Brenda Drake. But it is more than a contest; it is a community--for both the mentee hopefulls and the mentors.

Mentors post a blog to help mentees make their submission choice. Some mentees do as well. (Mentee Blog Hop)
Here is mine:

I read and write kidlit from PBs to YA. I used to read and write grownup stuff, but not so much now--'though my pub credits are all for grownups. Wanna peek at the most grownup of my grownup pubs? I could never write like that now. Not that I want to. Ugh!

My Pitch Wars sub leans magical realism, but some might call it realistic fantasy. If you've read The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill, mine wanders nearby, 'though a bit more on the mr side.

The "magic" is pretty close to my experience with nature beings. In that sense it is completely realistic, but most modern Americans deny nature beings exist making the same things fantastical.

My inspiration was wondering what happens to the kid after her brief magical adventure is over. All she has is memory and practices that she desperately hopes will bring direct communion, but that never quite work. That is also entirely realistic.

If you like my pages or my query, I need to share credit with the fantastic Scribophile Ubergroup managed by the incomparable Jerry Quinn, also the Ubergroup members who gave me such great critiques on both.

Sankofa Bone
Enough about my sub, what about me?

I far, far prefer editing to writing a first draft. Editing is like carving, shearing away the dross until the emerging form sings. I've carved both wood and stone, but mostly wood.

I'd love a mentor who is a fearless cutter of unnecessary words (and paragraphs and sections).

Do that for me and I will work my butt off for you.

Some other facts of which I am inordinately proud:

I've lived in 5 countries on 4 continents, 3 and 3 before I hit puberty, also 6 states including Alaska.

I was kicked out of a monastery. You already knew that if you read the header on my blog, but I am very, very proud of it.
Moon Over Jon Oriental
I loved Chicago as a natural environment: the orange-red brick cliffs, the wind tunnels, and the great majesty of the lake shore, also living in a white-minority neighborhood.

I don't miss the petroleum-fume-laden air.

Gifs confuse me.


Sweet Honey

My first animal companion was Daddy Rat. I was three. 

Honey is my present animal companion.

Between Daddy Rat and Honey have been Lady (a dog), numerous mice, George (a terrapin that I smuggled into England from Nigeria when I went to boarding school), and Aijde (a cat).

My family also shared Dab Dab (a duiker), Aku (a West African grey parrot), and Sir Robin (an ex-champion race horse).

I dropped out of high school. While working on a kibbutz, I discovered how woefully ignorant I was, and since the only efficient way to get an education was college, I went--all the way to a PhD in a useless-for-getting-a-job field. After, I abandoned science for education.

Creative writing was my PhD survival strategy. 

Fav reads are far to numerous to list. Here are some recent ones:

TALL TALES by Karen Day. If you like Sharon Creech and haven't read Karen Day, you must.
THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste
THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY by Nikki Loftin (although, really, anything by Nikki Loftin)
TIGER RISING by Kate DiCamillo
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate
SPIRIT’S KEY by Edith Cohn  
BESWITCHED by Kate Saunders (a modern transport-into-the past story like Penelope Farmer's CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES that I loved growing up)
WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebbeca Stead
ELEVEN by Patricia Reilly Giff
SUN AND MOON, ICE AND SNOW by Jessica Day George

And I am in love with Junie B Jones if for no other reason than the way Barbara Park writes emotional cues.


  1. You're awesome and I hope mentors, agents, and editors alike figure out how awesome you are.

  2. Thanks. That's pretty awesome coming from the king (or is it bloody prince?) of awesomeness himself.