School visit

So on Wednesday I went back to high school. LOL Although, not really. I went to visit the book group to talk to them about writing, publishing and creativity in general.I honestly went thinking that it was going to be a small, intimate thing. Maybe 10 student….15 tops. Boy oh boy, was I in for a surprise. They had a whole room with chairs, snacks, drinks, lots and lots of chairs. Sigh. I could feel the panic attack coming. But luckily the librarian was very sweet and gave me a minute to compose myself.

Have I mentioned that I don’t do public speaking all that well? I mean…who puts an introverted author in front of a group of teenagers?! LOL But it went very well. The whole thing started at 10:15AM. There were three different groups of kids and they each got roughly 30 minutes to speak to me and ask me questions. I started talking about how I got started writing, and how I learned about the publishing industry. I was able to bring my old copy of the Writer’s Market book and left it at the library for the students to peruse at their leisure. I also left three different magazines The Writer, Writer’s Digest andWriting Basics.

The first group was the most chatty. There were at least 13-14 kids and they asked a lot of really good questions. Here are some of the really good questions and my answer.

1. Do I make a living as an author?

No, I’m a stay at home mom. I write for fun. But it’s one of those hobbies that if you’re lucky will pay off in the long run.

2. Did I go to college?

I did but I wasn’t paying attention to class. So I decided to focus all of my attention on writing because I didn’t want to waste my money and time pursuing something I wasn’t passionate about.

3. What’s a query letter? (Valid question because some kids know next to nothing about the publishing industry)

A query letter is like a letter of introduction to an agent or a publisher. You use that letter to tell them what your book is about and what you’ve published in the past.

4. I’m not a writer, but I want to become an illustrator someday. Are there jobs for artists?

Yes! You can be an illustrator. Pick up a copy of the Writer’s Market book, there are different versions of it and there is one called Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market.

5. Where do your characters come from? Do you use real people?

My characters come from completely random places. I rarely use real people though. I’ll occasionally use little snippets of conversations here and there if they’re really funny and I’ll put it in my book. But my characters are mostly made up.

6. Student: How did you do it?

Me: Do what?

Student: Get everything in the book to make sense? *She had just finished reading The Jackets*

I think about how life is. While you’re here in school living your life, there are a million other things happening at the exact same time…just in different places. Let’s say you’re here talking to me, but somewhere else your mom is at home doing…whatever. We’re all connected in one way or another and that’s what I tried to do with The Jackets. Does that make sense to you?

Student: Nodded and smiled. *she got it* 😉

7. Do you use any of your real life experiences in your book?

Yes.

8. You mentioned you started writing in your journal. Do you use any of your journal entries in your book?

Yes. That was actually my first book Note to Self. I used my hot mess of a dating life and turned into a crappy book that is now out of print…you’re welcome. 🙂

Anyway those are some of the little nuggets I can remember at the moment. I’ll update it if I can remember anything else. I didn’t get a chance to take too many pictures (the librarian took some and I’ll post them here later), but here’s one I took with my cellphone.

bannerHow cute is that?!

 

Oh and I forgot to mention that the first group was approx. 14 students. Then the second group was 5-6 kids and the third and final group was a whopping 20-25 students. So yeah. It was awesome and scary in a good way. 🙂

Fairy Tale Friday

Today’s edition of Fairy Tale Friday will be about the story One Eye, Two Eyes and Three Eyes. I read the story a long time ago in my Brother’s Grimm book and didn’t think much of it after I finished reading it. Then a few months ago I read about this author named Michelle Davidson Argyle on Marissa Meyer’s blog and decided to give her book a try.

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Official blurb:

What happened after Cinderella married her prince? How did the evil sorceress in Sleeping Beauty turn evil in the first place? Discover these stories and a world filled with magic, forbidden love, elves, sprites, dragons, and the most powerful creatures of all— the fairies —in Bonded, a collection of three fairy tale inspired novellas.

CINDERS: A Cinderella sequel. Money can’t buy love, but magic isn’t a sure bet either. Cinderella, now officially a princess, finds royal life is not what she once dreamed. When a mysterious elf from her past stirs up long-suppressed passion, Cinderella begins to wonder if there really is love beneath the spell that captured her husband’s heart. But undoing magic can be harder than casting the initial spell, and the results are even less predictable.

THIRDS: A retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes. Issina is surrounded by magic, yet none of it belongs to her. Despised and abused by her mother and sisters, she finds comfort when she meets the beautiful elves living in the nearby woods. The elves want to help her discover her own magic, but it’s not the kind of power she hoped for, and she learns there is more to magic than getting what you want.

SCALES: A Sleeping Beauty prequel. The sun never sets in the realm of the fairies. When the young fairy Serina looks into her sister’s eyes, she sees darkness for the first time. After her mother is murdered, Serina defies fairy law to follow her sister to the human realm. There she discovers the strength of a bond, the weight of a promise, and the darkness in her own heart.

Definitely check it out. It’s an amazing book. 😀

Anyway back to One Eye, Two Eyes and Three Eyes. Here’s what I found on wikipedia. Definitely worth a read. 😀

A woman had three daughters: The eldest had one eye in the middle of her forehead, the second had two eyes like ordinary people, the third had three eyes; two on the sides of her head and a third in the middle of her forehead. Her mother and sisters scorned Little Two Eyes because she was like other people and treated her badly, leaving her only their leftovers to eat.

One day Little Two Eyes was sent to the field to tend to the goat, she sat down and cried as she had been given so little to eat and when she looked up a woman was standing beside her. The woman asked her why she was crying. Little Two Eyes explained and the wise woman told her to say to the goat

little goat
if you are able
pray deck out my table

A beautifully spread table would stand before her, and Little Two Eyes could eat as much as she wanted. The woman then told Little Two Eyes that when she had had enough to eat she simply had to say

Little goat,
when you’re able
remove my table

and the table would vanish. The wise woman then left and Little Two Eyes spoke the words the woman had told her would summon the table, and to her surprise there it stood. Little Two Eyes ate until she was full and said the words the woman told her would make the table disappear, and immediately it was all gone. Little Two Eyes returned home in the evening and found the plate of leftovers her sisters had left for her, but she did not touch it.

The next day she went out again with the goat and left the scraps given to her, after a time her sisters began to notice this and told their mother. So Little One Eye was sent to go with Little Two Eyes when she drove the goat to pasture to see if someone was giving her food and drink. Little Two Eyes suspected this was the reason Little One Eye was accompanying her and so sang Little One Eye a song to make her one eye fall asleep. Little Two Eyes then summoned the table and ate as before. On returning home Little One Eye told her mother that the fresh air made her so tired she fell asleep and that was why she did not see what Little Two Eyes had done, so the next day the mother sent Little Three Eyes to watch Little Two eyes when she went out with the goat. Little Two Eyes suspected that Little Three Eyes had been sent to watch her and so meant to sing her song to make her three eyes fall asleep but instead she sang a song to only make two of her eyes fall asleep. Little Three Eyes shut her third eye though it was still awake so when Little Two Eyes thought her sister was fast asleep she said the rhyme and ate and drank from the little table though all the while Little Three Eyes blinked her eye and watched. When they returned home Little Three Eyes told her mother what she had seen. Her mother then, in rage that Little Two Eyes thought to live better than her family, fetched a knife and killed the goat.

Little Two Eyes sat in the meadow and cried having seen what her mother had done. Just as before when she looked up the wise woman stood beside her and asked why she wept. Little Two Eyes explained and the wise woman told her to bury the heart of the goat as it would bring her luck. Little Two Eyes asked her sisters if she might have the goat’s heart and nothing more. They laughed and told her she could have it. That evening Little Two Eyes buried the heart before the door just as the wise woman had told her and the next morning there, where she had buried the heart, stood a beautiful tree which had leaves of silver and fruit of gold growing on it.

The mother told Little One Eye to climb the tree and break off some fruit, but as Little One Eye tried to take hold of one of the golden apples the bough sprang out of her hands. This happened every time she reached for it. The mother then told Little Three Eyes to climb the tree and break off some fruit since with her three eyes she could see much better than Little One Eye. Little Three Eyes was no more successful than her older sister and at last the mother climbed up and tried in vain to break off a single piece of fruit. Little Two Eyes then volunteered to try. Her sisters told her that she would not succeed with her two eyes. To their great surprise Little Two Eyes managed to pluck off a whole apronful of the golden fruit, and her mother took them from her. But instead of treating Little Two Eyes better, her sisters and mother were jealous that only she could pick the golden fruit and were even more unkind than before.

One day a Knight came riding along. Little One Eye and Little Three Eyes pushed Little Two Eyes under an empty cask nearby so the Knight would not see her. The Knight stopped to admire the beautiful tree and asked who it belonged to, saying that whoever would give him a twig from the tree could have whatever they wanted. The two sisters told him that the tree belonged to them and that they would certainly break a twig off for him. But just as before the twigs and fruit bent away from their hands whenever they got close. The Knight exclaimed that it was odd that the owners of the tree could not break anything from it, yet the sisters insisted the tree was theirs. Little Two Eyes, who was still hidden under the empty cask, rolled a couple of golden apples to the Knight’s feet. When the Knight asked where the apples had come from, the two sisters confessed they had another sister but she had been hidden away because she had two eyes like normal people. The Knight demanded to see Little Two Eyes who came happily from under the cask and told the Knight that the tree was indeed hers. So Little Two Eyes climbed up the tree and broke off a small branch with its silver leaves and golden fruit with ease and gave it to the Knight. The Knight proceeded to ask Little Two Eyes what she would like, as she was entitled to whatever she wanted. Little Two Eyes asked to be taken away from the suffering she had at the hands of her mother and sisters. So the Knight lifted Little Two Eyes onto his horse and took her to live at his father’s castle. There he treated her to beautiful clothes and food and drink. They fell in love and he married her.

The two sisters believed that they were lucky to have kept the beautiful tree as Little Two Eyes and the Knight first set off for the castle but, to their dismay, the very next morning they awoke to find that the tree had vanished. When Little Two Eyes woke and looked out her window she saw, with delight, that the tree had grown outside the castle.

When two poor women came to the castle to beg one day, Little Two Eyes looked at them and realised that they were her sisters. Little Two Eyes took them in and made them welcome. The sisters then repented of ever having been so mean to their sister.

 

Fairy Tale Friday

If like me you watched The Little Mermaid in the late 80’s and early 90’s then all you remember is a red head in a seashell bikini top singing ‘under the sea’ and trying to win the handsome prince without her beautiful voice. And Disney’s version has a very happy ending…at least when you compare it to the original version.

Sadly the original version of The Little Mermaid doesn’t have a happy ending for the main character. :/ Even part of the middle is kinda grimm. Every step she takes (after she’s transformed into a human girl) causes her to have sharp pains. And then the prince ends up marrying someone else! WTF? Not cool on so many levels. Anyway the little mermaid is given a choice in the end, she can kill him on his wedding night and live, or she can die and become part of the air. The little mermaid was still in love with her prince in spite of everything so she dies in the end.

Yeah…big difference between a wedding on a boat with her father King Triton (who created a rainbow with his trident) and Ariel and Prince Eric sail off into the sunset. Yeah….that’s not the way it really happened.

Anyway here’s the version I found on wikipedia:

Edmund Dulac - The Mermaid - The Prince.jpg

The Little Mermaid dwells in an underwater kingdom with her father (the sea king), her grandmother, and her five sisters. Her five sisters are each born one year apart. When a mermaid turns 15, she is permitted to swim to the surface to watch the world above, and when the sisters become old enough, each of them visits the upper world every year. As each of them returns, the Little Mermaid listens longingly to their various descriptions of the surface and of human beings.
When the Little Mermaid’s turn comes, she rises up to the surface, sees a ship with a handsome prince, and falls in love with him from a distance. A great storm hits, and the Little Mermaid saves the prince from nearly drowning. She delivers him unconscious to the shore near a temple. Here she waits until a young girl from the temple finds him. The prince never sees the Little Mermaid.

The Little Mermaid asks her grandmother if humans can live forever if they could breathe under water. The grandmother explains that humans have a much shorter lifespan than merfolks’ 300 years, but that when mermaids die they turn to sea foam and cease to exist, while humans have an eternal soul that lives on in Heaven. The Little Mermaid, longing for the prince and an eternal soul, eventually visits the Sea Witch, who sells her a potion that gives her legs in exchange for her tongue (as the Little Mermaid has the most enchanting voice in the world). The Sea Witch warns, however, that once she becomes a human, she will never be able to return to the sea. Drinking the potion will make her feel as if a sword is being passed through her, yet when she recovers she will have two beautiful legs, and will be able to dance like no human has ever danced before. However, it will constantly feel like she is walking on sharp swords hard enough to make her feet bleed most terribly. In addition, she will only obtain a soul if she finds true love’s kiss and if the prince loves her and marries her, for then a part of his soul will flow into her. Otherwise, at dawn on the first day after he marries another woman, the Little Mermaid will die brokenhearted and disintegrate into sea foam.
The Little Mermaid drinks the potion and meets the prince, who is mesmerised by her beauty and grace even though she is mute. Most of all he likes to see her dance, and she dances for him despite her suffering excruciating pain. When the prince’s father orders his son to marry the neighboring king’s daughter, the prince tells the Little Mermaid he will not because he does not love the princess. He goes on to say he can only love the young woman from the temple, who he believes rescued him. It turns out that the princess is the temple girl, who had been sent to the temple to be educated. The prince loves her, and the wedding is announced.
The prince and princess marry, and the Little Mermaid’s heart breaks. She thinks of all that she has given up and of all the pain she has suffered. She despairs, thinking of the death that awaits her, but before dawn, her sisters bring her a knife that the Sea Witch has given them in exchange for their long hair. If the Little Mermaid slays the prince with the knife and lets his blood drip on her feet, she will become a mermaid again, all her suffering will end, and she will live out her full life.
However the Little Mermaid cannot bring herself to kill the sleeping prince lying with his bride, and she throws herself into the sea as dawn breaks. Her body dissolves into foam, but instead of ceasing to exist, she feels the sun; she has turned into a spirit, a daughter of the air. The other daughters tell her she has become like them because she strove with all her heart to obtain an immortal soul. She will earn her own soul by doing good deeds and she will eventually rise up into the kingdom of God.