Monday, January 31, 2011


Writing is often a solitary activity.  Twitter, blogging, and other social media have a value added benefit of helping writers feel like we are less on our own.  Experiencing writer's block?  Log onto Twitter and find a hundred others who are feeling the same.

Sometimes virtual relationships are all you need to get yourself out of the doldrums.  My weekly online chats with my crit group are usually a great way to help me get out of my own way. 

But other times, there's nothing like meeting another writer for coffee, or better yet [gasp] LUNCH!

I've been part of an active crit group for almost two years.  We all live within a two hour ride of each other, but we meet online.  We crit over email.  But seeing these women in person is a rare treat.  It usually only happens at our regional SCBWI conference.

Yesterday we met for a late lunch.  We talked about our lives, our kids, and of course our writing.  To see their expressions, to hear the tones in their voices, and to share little things like whether or not I should use regular sugar or nutrasweet in my coffee was priceless to me. 

There's nothing like meeting in person.  Anyone looking for an opportunity and living in the general vicinity of central Massachusetts?  Ansha Kotyk and I are hosting a Meet Up for anyone interested in Kid Lit on February 15 at the Westford Grille in Westford Massachusetts. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova

I usually read YA or Upper Middle Grade.  Women's fiction is often too wrought with unbelievable and convenient drama.  Occasionally I'll pick up a mystery or some adult science fiction.  But my book club keeps me up-to-date on books I'd never pick up for myself.  I'd heard a lot of buzz about STILL ALICE.  The author lives in a nearby town and a couple of my friends know her.  So we were excited about reading the book.  I wasn't prepared for the complete emotional connection.

From Goodreads:

"One day, Alice sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home. It's a route she has taken for years, but nothing looks familiar. She is utterly lost. Is her forgetfulness the result of menopausal symptoms? A ministroke? A neurological cancer? After a few doctors' appointments and medical tests, Alice has her diagnosis, and it's a shocker -- she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease."

I bawled for 75% of this book! I usually hate to read sad books, but this one just sucked me in from the beginning. Alice Howland, a 50-year-old professor at Harvard University, is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. This book tracks her from just before her diagnosis through the time when she doesn't recognize her own family. The saddest part is (spoiler here) when she can't follow the directions she left herself to commit suicide if the disease progresses too far. It gives a face and a voice to a disease misunderstood and generally thought of as an elderly person's disease. It's heartbreaking, but really beautifully written.

I read the book in a total of about 7 hours--it's a quick read.  But be prepared to cry for a good chunk of that time.

Anyone else read any good tear-jerkers lately?

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year, New Projects

The great thing about being a writer is that, really, there is no end to what you can write.  I've got a couple of new projects.  They range from Ancient Egypt to my unusually long relationship with my hairdresser.  Yes, really.

I'm also thinking about possible revisions to my finished novel, as well as story ideas for two new ones.

I am starting to get excited about the school visits I've got planned this spring--the first one this week in my daughter's class.  It's no wonder I feel like I don't have time to blog...

And I'm sure that I'm not the most prolific writer here...anyone else have really varied project happening simultaneously?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Kid Lit Meet Up

Kid Lit Meet Up for Central Massachusetts

I've blogged about this before, but I wanted to have a new post with the information at the top!  I'm really looking forward to meeting folks in the area who love children's books!

When: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Westford Grille in Westford, MA

Join us for drinks (pie and/or dessert) and good company.  Anyone interested in Children's books welcome--Writers, Illustrators, Librarians, Booksellers, Readers, Publishing industry pros.  Just RSVP to me (either here or at @KristineAsselin on twitter) by Monday, February 14 by noon so I can let the restaurant know how many to expect.

Hope to see many there!

If you're closer to Boston, there's a Meet Up on January 31 at 6pm at the Andala Cafe, Cambridge.  Check with @anindita on twitter for more info about that one!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Books, books, everywhere!

A box of books came today...

We were very excited...

Don't they look great?

Nonfiction rocks!

FIREWORK by Katy Perry

Okay, so it's not a YA novel.  But have you listened to the words of this song?  Go ahead, do it now.

Cool, right?  It was early this morning when I saw the video for the first time, but it seriously brought me to tears.  I think it's going to be the anthem for the MC in my new project.

Does your MC have a theme song?  Have a great day! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I have a desk calendar with the wonderful illustrations of Mary Engelbreit on my desk.  Today's quote is:

"Memory is the power to gather roses in Winter."  attributed to anonymous.

Writing, I think, too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Central Massachusetts Kidlit Drink Night

I'm not stalking Laurel Snyder (honestly).  But I just stumbled across her blog and read about the Georgia Kidlit Drink Night she is coordinating.  I live no where near Atlanta, but it sounds warmer than where I am (currently West of Boston).  The idea of a Kidlit Drink Night sounds so very grown up.  I mean, I like a nice glass of wine as much as anyone, but having a drink night with other writers, illustrators, librarians, and people who love kidlit?  Sounds like heaven.

I started we have anything like that in this area?  I haven't heard of anything.  Or least I haven't been invited. (LOL) And there are a lot of kidlit people near me.  Hmmm.  What's stopping me from coordinating something.  Um.  Nothing?

So I guess next step would anyone interested?  If I were to pick a night, reserve a space, and put out an invitation...would anyone show up?  Please comment if you'd be interested in a Kidlit Drink Night somewhere west of Boston (I'm talking near Concord or Lowell).  If enough people are interested, I'll try to pull something together...nothing fancy, mind you...just a chance to get together with like-minded folks and try to beat the winter doldrums.  Please feel free to tweet this!  I probably won't do anything unless I have a good core of people interested.

Maybe February?

UPDATE: The response has been very positive so far--there are at least 5 or 6 interested, and it's only been two hours since I posted.  So I think it's fair to say it's a go.  I'm going to use the twitter hash tag #centralmasskidlitwriters and hopefully get the word out that way.  I'm aiming for Tuesday, February 15 (before school break) but I need some suggestions for locations.  I might need to make some calls. :)   I'm thinking it's going to be somewhere in Westford or Acton.  Any ideas?

UPDATE #2: Scheduled!

When: Tuesday, February 15, 2011  7 pm
Where: Westford Grille in Westford, MA

Join us for drinks (pie and/or dessert) and good company.  Anyone interested in Children's books welcome--writers, illustrators, librarians, booksellers, publishing industry pros.  Just RSVP to me by Monday, February 14 by noon so I can let the restaurant know how many to expect.

Hope to see many there! Thanks to everyone who chimed in today!

Monday, January 3, 2011

ANY WHICH WALL by Laurel Snyder

Four kids, a mysterious wall, and a good helping of common magic!
If you had a magic wall that could take you to any place and any time, where would you go? Would you want to visit castles and desert islands? Would you want to meet famous wizards, terrible pirates, beautiful queens, and dastardly outlaws? If so, then you are just like Henry and Emma, and Roy and Susan—and you will probably like this story a lot. In fact, you might even wish something similar would happen to you!

In Any Which Wall, author Laurel Snyder proves that you don’t have to be an orphan, know a dragon, or even be a child to get a taste of magic. You just have to keep your mind open and willing to let it happen. And when you do find magic (like Henry, Emma, Roy, and Susan), you might be surprised that along with all the fun, you also find out new things about your friends, your family, and maybe even a little bit about who you really want to be.

I won this book from Goodreads over the summer , and it's just taken me way too long to pick it up.   I'm kicking myself that I hadn't started it sooner--it's adorable.  I haven't quite finished it yet, but I had to start over 'cause my daughter wanted me to read it to her.  So back to page one.  She's capable of reading it herself, but it seemed like a book for us to enjoy together.  

The magic is common magic, simple magic.  My favorite kind.  The kids are normal.  It could be set today or 40 years ago--timeless.  We also enjoyed Laurel's UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAIN.  That book has the same appeal, a sort of timeless feel to it.  Laurel's writing is simple, and has a way of making you feel like you could be one of her characters...or their friend.  Or parent, I guess. :)

It's firmly middle-grade.  But easily accessible to a younger audience looking to "read up."  Like I said, not quite to the end yet, but we're enjoying it, and I wanted to share!

Happy New Year!