Anxiously Waiting

Twelve Months of Awkward Moments arrives August 30. I’m anxious. Not your normal new book anxious, but the kind of emotion that interferes with every day life.

I could write about my main character Dani suffering from anxiety because I’ve lived it, and gee, it’s not fun. I don’t know when it began. I was always a quiet, sensitive, and weird child. I grew up in a dysfunctional family — story for another day.

My memories of school include not talking and being scared of every adult. One of my teachers made me so nervous, I puked in class. But it was always part of life. Growing up in the 70s and 80s it wasn’t a diagnosis, and it took me years to think about it that way.

I’ve learned to manage and my personal anxiety has given me a lot of empathy for the students in the class who suffer from it.  The next time I’m too quiet, it is because I don’t want to say the wrong thing.  I’ll remember my stupidity for years. The next time I skip a party it is because I’d rather have a stomach bug than be in a situation where I could possibly do something wrong. Days before the party, all the “what if” scenarios scream through my head.

I’m still recovering from Yale and Rutgers. Amazing experiences that left me so drained emotionally and physically.  Anxiety plays out not only in your mind but in your body.

I’m hoping Twelve months of Awkward Moments might shed some light on what students go through. I’m hoping you’ll get a copy and talk to me about it.

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Yale Writers’ Conference

35051489_10214250991006667_8043354584304844800_nI must admit it was a little odd and a lot exhausting to arrive home from one writers’ conference to attend another. Serendipity smiled and allowed me to attend both Rutgers Writing Conference and Yale, which ran from June 9-12. While structured differently, some of the same topics such as point of view and the same quotes from author’s came through. Great minds and all…

Logistics wise, Yale was harder to navigate. I commuted and the first morning had trouble finding the garage, which was behind a hockey rink. After driving around the block a few times, I asked a kind stranger and made it to my destination. My first walk to campus took 15 minutes. By day two, I figured out all the shortcuts and got it down to half that.  The food was excellent and every person, both on campus and with the writing workshop, was truly friendly and helpful. Beyond friendly.

We spent the first 1/2 hour discussing safety and I have to say even though I worked in New Haven the previous summer, I left the talk spooked. I didn’t attend the evening program on the first night after security informed me that if I walked away from campus into an unknown or less than savory neighborhood, I needed to turn around and come back to Yale. Campus was safe, but… It was very intimidating for someone who had to walk to the garage every day.

Rutgers set up a Facebook page prior to the event and I think Yale Writers’ Workshop would benefit from doing the same. People could ask questions, meet participant, and it would alleviate some of the anxiety.

Now for the good stuff. I attended the Young Adult workshop during session 2 so I don’t really know how session 1 connected. I’m sure it was amazing.

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Session 2 combined craft talks, author and editor presentations, and a critique of participant’s work. Participants in the YA breakout session critiqued my work and I also had a 1/2 hour one-on-one meeting with the instructor. While the craft lessons were excellent and useful, the critique became the highlight of the program.  The ideas that participants and the our instructor shared fulled my passion for writing and revising. I would recommend you have a manuscript or partial manuscript ready if you attend this sessions.

Shout out to Sarah Darer Littman, the best instructor ever!

Now if I could catch up on sleep and find more time in the day to write.

34984567_10214250990606657_9101460201906634752_nChoosing a conference depends on the time you have – 2 or 4 days – and how deep you want to go into your own work. Both Yale and Rutgers were amazing experiences.

 

 

 

Rutgers Writers’ Conference

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I’ve found my people.  My Tribe. Attending the Rutgers Writers’ conference on June 2-3, 2018 left me inspired and ambition. While I’m sure these attributes will wane with a few days slogging through the last of my curriculum at school or as I amass rejections letter, I’ll bask in the moment and provide you with some of the highlights of the conference.

Non-essential stuff first: Delicious food, a hotel within walking distance, and a well-organized, fun conference.

Now for the stuff you really want to know: Alice Hoffman and Chris Bohjalian were talented speakers with amazing content who delivered wonderful keynotes on Saturday and Sunday. I wanted to sit down with both of them to learn the trade. Even better than their wonderful, illuminating speeches, both seem like really nice people who would help if you were stranded on the side of the road.

 

 

Bohjalian spoke about how he was told by a creative writing teacher to become a “banker” and how he received 250 rejections when sending out his short stories after college.  If that doesn’t give you hope, I don’t know what will. By the way, he really talked about activism through writing.

All the workshops at the conference were valuable, but I have to point out two of my favorites.  “Writing True Romance” by Sarah Maclean kept me laughing as I learned things.  Maybe it was the content. We talked euphemistic “code words.” But still… this woman is brilliant. I can see why she has numerous best sellers. I only wish the workshop was longer.

As an English teacher, I thought I knew some stuff, but I learned so much from Chris Bohjalian’s “Hooking your Reader from the First Page – and Why It Matters.” The workshop discussed important aspects when starting a book such as picking a tense, a perspective, and writing an amazing first line. Bohjalian also volunteered to blurb any of the workshop participant’s books. He obviously didn’t know I have one coming out in August.  Should I email him?

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Let me know what you think…please.

PS I’m going to Yale’s Writer’s workshop this weekend so I’ll compare and contrast for you next blog post.

Simon & Schuster Author Page

There are still a few more months until Twelve Months of Awkward Moments becomes available August 30.  Still, there’s some great news.  Check out my author page at Simon & Schuster @ http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Lisa-Acerbo/148949388

It’s also on their Coming Soon page at http://www.simonandschuster.com/search/books/Coming-Soon/_/N-i7o

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And make sure you pre-order a copy so you have Twleve Months when it becomes available August 30 at https://goo.gl/J6dfhj

The Rain on Netflix Is a Little Leaky

rainI’m struggling to find a new dystopia to invest in after reading the Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I fell in love with the amazing characters, writing, and story.

If there is something else out there I should read or watch, please let me know.

I gave the new Netflix series from Denmark The Rain a chance.  It’s got a punchy tagline: “Stay Dry. Stay Alive,” which sounded like a good start.

The show has a novel concept. The rain holds a virus that kills most of the population. The main character Simone (Alba August) and her younger brother are holed up in a bunker. Initially, Mom is there too, but not for long. Their father promises to return after he completes a mysterious quest but does not.

Fast forward five years and food in the bunker is running out. Simone and her brother must venture into a new, inhospitable world but only when no storm clouds are above.

I bought into the series at the start. Simone is a typical teen and I enjoyed the bunker scenes of the first two episodes. How do two teens cope with stress, fear, and the boredom of solitary confinement? How well would they deal without adults?

Once they are out of the bunker, the series turns leaky. The main character makes many stupid choices. She waited five years for her father’s return and then all of a sudden she is ready to trek around the country searching for answers without a thought-out plan or a plan of any kind. She meets some starving people, all her own age, and leads them to a new bunker full of technology and food. But they all quickly give up the safety, food, and technology to follow Simone into danger.

I also had to ask why all the good people in the series portrayed as stupid? The bad people who hunt survivors have technology and vehicles. All the good people are starving and scavenging. There must be some smart good people who can start cars and find food. Right?

This show has a great premise and good actors but imitated other dystopian shows already out there.