Friday, July 12, 2013

Playing an Ace!

Today is a very special day! My fabulous writer friend and fellow Elbow follower, Angelina Hansen, is celebrating the launch of her very first book, Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery! Way to go, Angi!

And as an extra-special treat, Angelina has kindly agreed to subject herself to the Mind’s Elbow interview…

So you woke up one day and discovered a contract left under your pillow by the publishing fairy, right?  

Well, sort of. On a whim, I sent this manuscript to ONE small Canadian publisher and forgot about it. A month later (the day after I got the worst news of my life) I woke up and had a book contract from the publisher waiting in my inbox. ^_^

What is your book about? And while we both know that everyone on the planet needs at least three copies, what age of human would it be its best match? 

This book is about a global gas crisis. People all over the earth are farting green and no one knows why. Whoever solves the mystery of the green gas will win a million-dollar prize. Who will solve the green gas crisis!

Yes, everyone on the planet needs three copies, but kids aged 8-12 must have it. Especially those kids who think they don’t like reading books. ^_^

Now that you've been given the keys to the pub-clubhouse and learned the super-secret published author handshake, what’s next for you? 

Hopefully I’ll keep writing and publishing books. ^_^

Here at the Mind’s Elbow, I like to discuss the writing process as well as the ways artsy folks can enhance their flow of creativity…

What is your writing process like?

It’s like clockwork—early every morning for at least an hour. I draft on my laptop while lounging in bed. Same goes for revision. I need dead silence. And tea. Must have tea.

How do you keep your creativity in top flowing form? 

I read a ton. And dance. And play music. And take walks. And eat healthy food. And go to concerts. And take long bubbly baths. And listen to music from all over the world. Loud.

Any tips you’d like to offer those on the writing path?

Never. Never. Never give up!--Winston Churchill
I knew this book was special, but I hit a twelve-foot thick iron wall when I first put my publishing feelers out.  So glad I didn't give up!

And now for a series of random questions, that I’m pretty sure everyone in the Elbow audience is dying to know…

Writing time — morning or night? 

Early morning.

Milk or dark chocolate? 

Milk. Except that I can’t eat dairy or sugar. Ugh.

World peace or world domination? 

Peace, sistah. I’m all about peace.

Why did the chicken cross the road? 

To show the possums it could be done.

And finally…

Where can everyone get their THREE copies of Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery

Right now it’s available from MuseItUp and Amazon as an e-book. The print book will be out sometime this fall. Here’s the link to the publisher’s site.

Exclusive author photo of the real Ace Hansen

PROMPT: Order your three copies today. Read and write on!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What’s for Dinner?

“You know what I'm craving? A little perspective. 
That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well-seasoned perspective. 
Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?”
~ Anton Ego in Ratatouille

Fresh perspective is such a delicious treat! There’s nothing like it in the world to get those creative juices flowing. In fact, whenever I am stuck on a project, I order a plate piled high with newly-picked perspective.

Here’s how it works —

Take a story, any story, and tell it from a different character’s point of view. 
Most folks, for example, are pretty familiar with the Disney version of Snow White — jealous queen, magic mirror, 7 guys of short stature, poisoned apple, coma, kissy prince, happily ever… blah blah blah blah. But what would Grumpy have to say about it all?

Hmmm…maybe something like this —

Dames! They are nothing but trouble! Your life is going along just fine, thank you very much, and then some dame walks in and ruins it.

Me and my buddies come home from work one day, and there she is sleeping on our beds like she’s suffering from delusions of Goldilocks or something. As if that weren't bad enough (and trust me, it was) I’m telling you, the very presence of a dame lowers the IQ points of 6 out of 7 dwarfs. I've been stuck with Snow White and the 6 Dopeys ever since. They've all gone absolutely gaga over her, and I’m like “Hello!? She’s, like, a trespasser!?

They don’t listen. They enjoy the fact that she cooks and cleans and reaches high shelves with ease. But I, for one, do not. Case in point I had a fantastic dust bunny collection before her arrival, and somehow they've all disappeared… every last one. Do you have any idea how long it takes to save 982 dust bunnies? Decades, man, decades.

One day with a dame and they’re gone. So are the rugby games…

and the keggers.

PROMPT: Many great books have been written from the perspective of a different character in a familiar tale. For kids, check out John Scieszka and Lane Smith’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
For adults, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Wicked by Gregory Maguire are terrific. 

Visual artists can also benefit from this method — what does the world look like from the “eyes” of a flea, a starfish, or even the apple in a still life? 

Change your point of view — see the world deliciously new!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spunk Mail

What if you wrote a letter to your younger self?

What would it say?

Authors E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally decided to write letters to their teenage selves. They posted them, and then invited other authors to do the same. So began the website Dear Teen Me. Check it out for inspiration.

Now add a different twist…

Abracadabra, you are 107!

What would your 107-year-old self write to the you of today?

PROMPT: Dear Me…

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Special Collection

If you’re a writer or artist, rejection is something that comes creepin’ ‘round your door pretty often.

Or it should.

You see, rejection is always one of the necessary steps on the path to success.

Well, the other day I was doing a little “rejection” cyber searching and stumbled upon a game called “Rejection Therapy”. It was started by Jason Comely in 2009.

Apparently, the Rejection Therapy Game has only one rule. And the rule is that you must get rejected by another person at least once a day. 

Note: not TRY to get rejected, but actually get rejected. And that’s rejected spelled with a NO  not a maybe, perhaps, or some other time.

I don’t know whether this game was created to help people make dates, get jobs, or proselytize, but Writers and Artists, we are totally going to pinch this concept!

I’m thinking that a great goal would be to have one of those success-making rejections coming in once a week.

The once-a-week rejection would be so good on so many levels 
  • First off, you’d have to be doing a lot of writing and art to have enough submission material.
  • Second, all that word and art-making would improve your craft.
  • Third, you’d be getting it OUT THERE! Your work wouldn't be hugging the inside of a drawer. Because, face it folks, your manuscripts and portfolios should be hugging an agent or editor instead.

Are you game?

If so…

Welcome to Rejection World!

A groovy place where NO means, “YES! I so ROCKED that rejection!” (commence happy dance)

Because in Rejection World 

Can I write/illustrate for your magazine? NO

Will you be my agent? NO


Will you publish my book? NO

Means HOME RUN!!!

WaHOOOOooooooo! That’s three weeks of celebration right there!

PROMPT: Start your rejection collection. And don’t forget the happy dance part — six-pack abs, here we come! Can you say Bonus Feature?

Monday, July 8, 2013

And Now for July…

I never met a lasagna I didn't like.
~ Jim Davis

Before we get too far into July, I want to let you know that it is National Lasagna Awareness Month. Yes, that’s right — Lasagna AWARENESS — not Lasagna Celebration Month, or Lasagna Lovers Month, or even Lasagna History Month.

What is THAT about? I mean, I can wrap my head around National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month or National Breast Cancer Awareness Month — but come on folks, if you've got lasagna you KNOW it.

Nobody needs to remind you to be aware…

Unless, of course, those National Month Makers are making you AWARE of the fact that lasagnas travel straight from molars to thighs in less than 30 seconds.

And while I’m at it — why July? I don’t know about you, but when it’s 95 degrees outside the FIRST thing I think of is cranking my oven to 375° for an hour.

So be AWARE 
  •        A serving of lasagna has about 500 calories. Yeah, you’ll have to walk 2 ½ hours to remove it from your thighs.
  •       If you make lasagna in July, it includes the dry sauna bonus feature.
  •       Lasagna is awesome — face it, you could bake an old shoe in a pan of lasagna and it would still be good. That’s some serious awesome.

PROMPT: If you know Garfield the comical cat, you know his favorite food is lasagna. What is your main character’s favorite food? Get to know your story’s cast today by exploring all things foodie. They are what they eat, you know. Hmmm… I hope they’re not people.