Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Being Part of the Solution

Today, I would usually repost an annual HELPING GIRLS SURVIVE post in honor of this weekend, which is V-Day weekend in my world. But rather than repost that annual post, I'm sending you to a brand new one.
    I don't get political very often (like never) but once a year, I speak up about this because it's really important and someone has to. Frankly, I'm not even sure this is political. I don't think anyone can argue against the idea that girls and women shouldn't have to live in fear, can they? (And if they can, have we really gone that far into the realm of insanity that we're arguing over something so serious? Don't we all have daughters?)
      I'm presently involved in my local production of The Vagina Monologues. I know it's a funny name, and it's a very funny play, too, with really serious parts. The Vagina Monologues is a play that benefits women and girls locally and globally, who are dealing with nightmares you don't even want to think about, through an awesome organization called VDay, started by author Eve Ensler. And this year, teens are playing an even bigger part thanks to V-Girls and Eve Ensler's 2010 book, I am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World.

      VDay is an organized response to violence against women. It's global, yes, but it also benefits the 200,000+ women and girls PER YEAR here in the US who are sexually assaulted, by raising awareness and money to help girls survive. So, even with the funny name (and some VERY HILARIOUS parts) it's for a serious cause.  I know this stuff is hard to think about, but if we don't start to actively denounce and deconstruct this SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE EPIDEMIC, our daughters will continue to become statistics that nobody thinks or talks about.

      THIS YEAR I WROTE A NEW PIECE ABOUT MY INVOLVEMENT IN V-DAY. IT'S CALLED A.S. KING IS SORRY IF SHE MAKES YOU UNCOMFORTABLE BUT SHE WANTS YOU TO READ THIS ANYWAY.  I WROTE THAT IN ALL CAPS SO YOU'LL GO HAVE A READ.

      This weekend of April 1st, 2nd & 3rd I'll be selling and signing copies of The Dust of 100 Dogs and Please Ignore Vera Dietz in the lobby before our production of The Vagina Monologues and I Am an Emotional Creature. 100% of profits from those book sales will go to VDay. In 2009 & 2010, I raised over $500 through these book sales. It's not huge, but it's something, and every little bit helps. If you live in the Berks County, PA area, you can find tickets HERE. Shows are: Friday April 1st at 8pm (Monologues) Saturday, April 2nd at 2pm (Emotional Creatures) 8pm (Monologues) and Sunday, April 3rd at 2pm (Monologues) and 7pm (Emotional Creatures) at Genesius Theater at 10th and Walnut Streets, Reading. (Break a leg to the entire cast and crew! You guys are utterly FANTASTIC!)

      Stop the Violence & Stop the Silence! 
      V-Day is EVERYWHERE. Find your local production of The Vagina Monologues or I Am an Emotional Creature and support a great cause!

      Have a laugh. 

      Share the Joy. 

      Help a girl survive. 

      Support your local V-DAY.



      Thursday, March 10, 2011

      Yes, I know it's March

      Working birthday. That's a muffin.
      I know it's March because today is my birthday.
      And I remember saying I'd see you all in March, like, a few blogs ago.
      But then the deadline got a little shorter than I thought it was and the book got a little longer than I thought it was, and so I think I really meant "See you in April!"
      But since I'm here, let me drop some good news and random linkage on you.

      In no particular order, here are some great lists PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ has landed on:

      YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2011 List
      Cooperative Children's Book Center's CCBC Choices 2011
      Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award nominee 2011/2012
      Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens 2011  

      Michigan Thumbs Up Award nominee 2011

      You wanted PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ on audio, and now you can get it. Download on Audible here or wait a few more weeks for the CD set!

      A full cast, a wonderful recording, and only eight hours and thirteen minutes long!
      (Isn't that the coolest bit of random trivia?)

      Huge kudos to the people at Listening Library who tackled the project in record time.

      I GOT THE PERFECT DRESS FOR THE EDGAR AWARD BANQUET.
      I know. I am the last person you'd expect to say that, right? But look at it this way. I don't wear dresses. Being kindly invited to a black tie event is enough to make me want to scurry back to my hermit life talking only to poultry and the occasional postman.
      I could show you a picture of it, but I'm not going to. Instead, I will only say it looks like it was made by Tim Burton and that the sleeves are long enough for me, which in itself is a miracle.

      Other random stuff:
      New public events. . .
      I'll be at Albright College on March 31st.
      The Greater Reading V-Day Vagina Monologues will be April 1,2 & 3 and this year we're doing I Am an Emotional Creature also.
      I'll be at the Fleetwood library on May 4th.
      <--VERA HAS BEEN SPOTTED IN GERMANY.

      DON'T FORGET WORD BROOKLYN on March 15th. I'll be there at 7 talking about writing books, publishing them and staying weird.

      You've been reading all this time to find out what exciting things I'm doing on my birthday, haven't you?
      2000 words and a library board meeting later tonight.
      Anyone who thinks that isn't fun hasn't been to a library board meeting.

      See you in April!

      Thursday, March 3, 2011

      POSSUMS ARE AWESOME.

      ASK: Today, I pop my head out of my writing cave for a great cause. My good friend Jen K. Blom is launching her Middle Grade book, POSSUM SUMMER, and is having an awesome World Blog Tour where I answer some questions and she answers some questions, so read on to find out secrets about both of us. For the record, I would like to say I have a lot of possums where I live and I do think they are awesome. Except sometimes their eyes freak me out. And their tails. And their little teeth. I mean, not like I ever got close up and looked right at their teeth. . .

      JKB: Dude, go back to your cave. You're on a tight deadline. I can take it from here.

      ASK: You mean I can't procrastinate here for a minute by writing a fake dialogue between us? Something witty?

      JKB: If you really want. But that would be counterproductive. I mean, this isn't really about you.

      ASK: But isn't everything about me?

      JKB: *smacks Amy* Go to your cave. Write your book.

      ASK: *Rubs head and slinks back to windowless cave*

      Welcome to the POSSUMS ARE AWESOME blog tour for the middle-grade book, POSSUM SUMMER, coming out THIS MONTH HOLY COW! 
      (Have you preordered yet?)
      The fabulous, prize-winning and super all round girl A.S. King, she of the pirates and ghosts, allowed me to hijack her blog for today. (She is so awesome) And she's got a secure new fan in my P!
      First off, a little about the book:

      a lonely kid.
      an orphaned baby possum.
      a dad that says no way.
      how do you keep that kind of secret?

      and what happens when you’re found out?

      Here we go!
      ASK: When you write, do you wear shoes?

      JKB: Nope!
      Wait. You want more? *g* I never liked shoes. If I didn't have to, I wouldn't wear them anywhere, but it gets gross in town. So I wear them. Outside. But inside, I am a shoeless barbarian.

      ASK: What was your favorite toy as a kid?

      JKB: I had a cookie monster I loved more than my sister, brother, mother and father most of the time. Don't judge.

      ASK: What experiences in your own life helped you write POSSUM SUMMER?

      JKB: Well, my pet possum helped me, by giving me the shape of things to come. (Did you get the BSG reference?) (No?) (Oh.) And I lived on a farm, so I know the sorts of hijinks that can ensue when a rather determined girl decides to try and hide a wild animal she's decided to have as her pet.

      Princess: It's the PIRATE LADY! Hi, PIRATE LADY!

      JKB: P, look. You be nice here.

      P: When am I not nice? I am the nicest kid you will ever see! Really! What's you like to eat, Miss King? Probably something cool, because you're the PIRATE LADY.

      ASK: My favorite meal is corn pie. Toss in apple dumplings for dessert and you've got my dream meal.

      P: What's corn pie? Do pirates eat it? That sounds good! You wouldn't believe the things people eat around the internet. Raw fish was the worst of it. Corn pie sounds do-able. What do you like to do as an activity, then?

      ASK: I love to write. But that's too easy...so I love to do sudoku and work out. But not at the same time.

      P: What. In. The. World. Is. Sudoku. *looks it up* Word games! You know, that sounds neat! My teacher says I have a problem with silent consonants. Maybe that would help! What's really intresting about you, Miss King?

      ASK: My most distinguishing feature is kind of obvious. I am ten feet tall and made out of metal. So I kind of stick out in a crowd. 

      P: W-O-W. Really? You're a syborg? *JKB points out it is C-yborg, not S-yborg* No? Are you a centurion from Battlestar Galactica? No? *sigh* Don't matter. You are one funny lady. I drawed you as the best animal I know:


      P: You are the only person that could be a hoot owl convincingly, as Jen says. There is nobody better qualified to be one. Have you ever heard a hoot owl? They have the nicest hoot in the bottoms. Why, one night I --

      **scuffle**
      JKB: Thanks, man, for having me by! I appreciate it!


      Jen K. Blom writes a
      bout animals, the land, and kids, not necessarily in that order. Her debut, POSSUM SUMMER, is available March 2011.

      Just the thing to give to a kid to start their summer of reading off right! (Available from your local indie, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Book Depository!)

      Seen the book trailer yet?

      Want more POSSUMS ARE AWESOME blog tour tidbits? Go here and knock yourself out!