Tales from the Trail of a YA Author – Happy 2015

Hello blogosphere. After a very LONG hiatus I’m back. After spending the past six months focusing on writing book 3, playing piano and other matters of the heart, I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with some school visits in coming months. Nice way to start off 2015.
First stop is Huntington Beach Author Festival on January 27. Others to follow
I’ve enjoyed the months of introspection and found a wonderful writing critique partner with the help of Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators. Have also kept busy mentoring pregnant teens and teens who are moms with Writegirl.
Happy and healthy New Year!

Tales from the Trail of a YA Author – Santa Fe to Chino

Crazy fun past few days. Went to the fabulous Santa Fe Art Colony walk http://santafeartcolony.org/ on Saturday, where visitors mingled with artists in their living/work spaces in this beautiful enclave in downtown LA. painttable
Met so many interesting artists like Stu Needman http://stuneedman.com/, who creates incredible sculptures out of salvage. Here’s one of his pieces called Fox News! fox .
Also met Deity, artist a singer/songwriter visual artist http://www.reverbnation.com/alivingdeity. Altogether, there were about 46 open artist studios and I’d recommend the art walk to anyone who loves art or just wants to experience something new and relaxing in a beautiful setting, with complimentary drinks and munchies!

My next adventure took me to Chino and Chino Hills, where I had two author school visits in one day! The first visit was at Chino High School poster and the second was at Ruben S. Ayala High School. The kids were awesome and I love the fact that the whole day was the brainchild of a very special 10th grader named Mrunal. group We met a few weeks ago at the LA Times Festival of Books and then she got her school librarian, the wonderful Nancy Shomo, to schedule my visit at Ayala and at Chino! Gotta love those librarians!! And I’m so thrilled a student powered these visits. It was a really fun day and a great way to wrap up the 2013/2014 school year for my author visits — although I will be back in the classroom tomorrow at LA Vida High School as a mentor for WriteGirl.org!

Tales from the Trail of a YA Author – WriteGirl!

Well, I’m about four weeks into my new life (post-Reuters News, where I’d been working for 28 years until I took a voluntary buyout) and I’m feeling…….great! I’ve been pretty busy doing the things that I want to do like playing the piano, writing my third novel and scheduling author school visits. So busy in fact, that I haven’t had much time to miss my reporting days — even if it is Awards Season! Besides, as you can tell from my last post, I still got to go to some cool Grammy parties and hang out with rock stars!

Looks like some freelancing lies ahead, which will keep me in the “reporting game.” But for right now I’m adjusting to my new “normal! and that means I am trying lots of new things. For instance, I’m very excited to start working with a great non-profit literacy mentoring organization called WriteGirl http://www.writegirl.org, which helps at-risk teens.

I spent all day yesterday at Occidental College for a WriteGirl volunteer orientation and met a great group of women writers. That’s one of the many benefits! There are many opportunities to work as a mentor with this group, whether it’s at monthly workshops, one-on-one meetings with a girl after school, or helping on an in-school basis serving pregnant, parenting and incarcerated teens attending alternative high schools throughout Los Angeles.

I’m going to opt for that third option and am looking forward to working with teens at the La Vida West Cal-Safe campus in Lawndale beginning later this month. Watch this space for more updates. Also hoping to catch a reading by WriteGirl mentees at Skylight Books in Los Feliz on February 15, from 4-5 pm! Come and check it out! In the meantime, here’s a blog post from the WriteGirl site. It’s a nice interview between a mentor and a mentee and shows how much both partners gain from this unusual experience!

http://www.writegirl.org/blog/2014/1/23/hello-world-a-mentormentee-interview

Have a great week! 

Tales from the Trail of a YA Author – WriteGirl

WriteGirl is an amazing LA-based literacy mentoring program serving more than 350 teenage girls, nearly half of them Latina, many from families where English is a second language. I plan to get more involved with the group by joining as a mentor in 2014. Keren Taylor founded the organization in 2001 to help women writers — songwriters, poets, screenwriters, and journalists — find a place to share their skills.

  Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama honored the program at the White House, giving a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award WriteGirl. Sixteen-year-old Jackie Uy is a WriteGirl and a junior at L.A.’s LACES High School, where my daughter attends,  and went to the White House to receive the award.

Read more about this fantastic program: http://www.writegirl.org/news/2013/11/23/michelle-obama-honors-la-mentoring-program-for-teen-girls

And Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!!