Thursday, February 28, 2013

What to Expect at an Author Visit with Debbie!

If you've never hosted an author, it may seem a little overwhelming. Today's Blog is about what you can expect if you bring me to your school.

For starters, my book contains a ton of Onomatopoeia. So be prepared to watch the students turn from children into 20 -500 ticking clocks. But don't worry, the change is only temporary, though it may last for a few weeks.

When I come visit, I customize my presentation for your school and class. The teachers have the opportunity to give input on what they would like to see. I have included many topics from research to editing to coming up with ideas, to writing with description. I also have a list of suggested workshops I offer.  I work with children as young as 4 and up to high school.

For preschoolers, they get to learn about what an author does and how a book goes from an idea to words on a page into the bound hard copy they see before them. We end with an interactive reading of the book, and if we have time, I let the kids ask questions (which often involves them telling me about the clocks in their home.) It's OK, I understand. :-) These presentations are shorter then my regular presentation and last 20 minutes

For the older kids, we get into more detail! I share with them more information on the process, what it's like to work with (and trust) and illustrator to make your vision come alive, editing and how important it is. I have found that all ages love a reading of the book, and that some of the best clocks are my 5th graders. I always end with questions.

I like to spend 45 minutes with my older students.  For the Kindergartners, I find that 30 minutes is a good time. (Please help them prepare questions before).

If you prefer an all school assembly, I can spend the rest of the day visiting with smaller groups and doing writing workshops.

Visiting with students is one of my favorite parts about being an author! You can learn more at:

Let me know if you have any questions,


Monday, February 25, 2013

To Minnesota!

Sorry! I've been so busy with author visits I haven't had time to blog. When I have had time, I've been polishing manuscripts to submit. :-)  Today I head to Minnesota! Busy Busy!!!

Have a fabulous week all!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Goal setting lessons with Candy Crush

The truth: Candy Crush is EVIL! It is a time sucker. It draws you in with these cute little candies and easy levels, and quickly progresses into what is a very hard game. Some of these levels are downright impossible, right? And then, when you finally pass it and think you see the end, you find more levels. Over 300 to be exact! And some you will spend days on. Yes, days!

That said, Candy Crush has a great life lesson in it.

When you start a level, you are given a goal. If you are like me, you start the level without reading the goal, and start clicking, wasting your turns. You are experimenting to see what will happen. It's that whole whole cause and effect thing you learn in elementary school science. However, it leads to total failure.

FAILED? You failed!  

It even has a broken heart to show you the
pain and agony of not reaching your goal.


You may be clicking with a goal to remove all the jelly when instead you should be working on bringing down the ingredients. After a few failures, you actually read the goal and begin to focus. (Some of you may actually read the instructions first and skip that part. But for those of you who would rather jump right in, don't feel too bad, just know you may need to back peddle.)

Once you are aware of your goal, you work harder. Look above, it says "Try Again!" not "You suck, better quit." It cheers you on! 

During the journey, you also have the opportunity to get help. You can buy boosters (which are not unlike going to conferences or getting training). And at some levels, you are forced to ask your friends for help (not unlike real life where you get stuck and need someone to assist or mentor you).

You learn from your mistakes and begin to see what works, and what doesn't. Then right when you are about to give up and say, "It's not worth it,"

Congrats! You did it! Mission accomplished! Maybe it's a finished manuscript. Or your first sub to an editor. Or your request for a full. Whatever it is, instead of turning off the game and being done (hey you hit your goal) --

               --it gives you a new level with a new goal! A new goal? Yes, there is more work to be done!

So in review, how Candy Crush is like real life:

  • You have a goal, though you may not really know what your goal is.
  • You start to work towards that goal and fail.
  • You identify that goal, and learn from your mistakes, causing you to work harder.
  • You share that goal, so someone can cheer you on when you fail and remind you "you don't totally suck."
  • It is OK to ask for you help.
  • You reach that goal.
  • Once the goal is reached, it is time to set a new goal and start the whole cycle again.

You will succeed and get your candy star! But don't quit there, remember to keep moving up the levels!

And if you need a break, play at your own risk.