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Snowfale Dazzle Night in Mapleton with Freya!

Freya and I have been invited to sign books at the Library in Mapleton at the Snowflake Dazzle evening event. I LOVE this event on Christmasy Main Street, Mapleton.

November 30

5 p.m.-8 p.m.

Freya will be happy to meet and greet everyone, and I’ll have books for sale and signing, including Woof and Wag; Bringing Home a Dog  and Beauty Missing, Hair Hissing: Medusa Tells All.  I also have some copies of Jake Riley: Irreparably Damaged, and Chasing AllieCat.

in-the-woods

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The emotional roller coaster of writing

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So it’s been quite a two-week period. Carol and I left two weeks ago tomorrow for the filming of Chasing AllieCat the movie in Columbia, MO. It was surreal to see the kids–the characters and the scenes I had created come to life before the camera.

Here’s 3 bikesAllie and Sadie and Joe as they appear in the movie.

 

 

 

Here’s the camera crew in the woods, preparing for the scene where Sadie, Joe, and Allie find Father Malcolm. ALL the students working on crews were amazing. I loved hanging out with the entire group of Stephens Film Institute women!

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This is  the set-up before Father Malcolm is planted in the woods. steph&Becky bikes shop

 

 

 

 

 

Steph and I confer, trying to figure out a scene in the bike shop.

 

 

So all of this was a whirlwind, but delightful and exciting and exhilirating!

Then I got home with enough time to do laundry and repack and head north to St. Joseph, MN for the YAYA (Young Authors/Young Artists) Conference at the College of Saint Benedict.

I’m the keynote speaker for all three days of the conference (different group of kids each day). Each day, the auditorium is filled with 500-some kids! I have to keep them paying attention!

I do my schpiel about 5 rules for writers

1. Read

2. Live

3. Pay attention

4. Apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair

5. Write!

And I talk about animal metaphors for writing to completion (all of this can be applied to doing art, too). I use how I came up with the story  Chasing AllieCat by “prairie-dogging” it together–using random unrelated weird things I’d noticed in life and tying them together as if digging a prairie dog town to connect them underneath–to make them all fit together into a story.

The copies of Chasing AllieCat sold out the first day. Luckily, I had ordered a box of 60 books before the movie shoot. I had 50 left, which the bookstore took on–and they sold all but the 15 they reserved for tomorrow’s crowd!

So…all of this should make me VERY happy. This is what writing success is, right? It’s the kind of thing you dream of when you want to write and when you spend long hours alone in front of the computer in the basement. I was flying high.

THEN the bookstore called FLUX–Chasing AllieCat’s publisher–to ask if they could get another 50 books in a hurry. Second choice: to buy the 50 books to replace mine rather than trying to pay me for them. Today FLUX answered that they only have 2 copies in stock, and  they aren’t sure they are going to print any more!!!! So finally all this good stuff happens, and the book that made it happen is going out of PRINT!???? That’s a writer’s nightmare. There’s still hope, but slim.

From the highest high to the most depressed low. Such is the emotional life of a writer! (My mother would have said, “Pride cometh before fall.”)

Good thing we write because we love stories. If we wrote for some modicum of “Success,” It would be the most depressing career in the world!

 

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The Cast of the movie Chasing AllieCat

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http://chasingac2016.wix.com/chasingalliecat#!cast/ozesk

Playing Allie:

Emily Sukolics is a recent graduate from Stephens College. She earned her BFA in Theatre with an emphasis in acting. Along with acting, she sings, has worked backstage at multiple theatres in Kansas City, and is pursuing a career in film and stage work. During her time at Stephens she was in many stage productions including Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird and, most recently,  Cassandra in Vanya, and Sonya, and, Masha, and Spike. She is very excited to be playing the part of Allie in Chasing Alliecat.

 

Playing Sadie:

Ana Michaela Chan was born on June 10th, 1997 in suburban town Davis, California to David Chan and Renee Alarcon-Chan. She is the youngest sister of a total of seven siblings, with her brother, William, ranking youngest of the pack. Ana’s involvement with theatre started at a supremely young age of 3 years old, where she would attend theatre auditions with her dad—the Davis Musical Theatre Company’s hired pianist. After years of observing the performers, Ana was finally cast at age 6 in her first theatre production, the musical The Music Man. Throughout all of her schooling, Ana was constantly involved in this theatre company’s productions, auditioning for as many shows her parents would allow, including Seussical, Les Misérables, South Pacific, and Peter Pan. Ana attended Rivercity High School, where she took part in various school activities, including a state-competing debate team (Mock Trial). Because of her family’s musical background, Ana was also the drummer/vocalist of the jazz band Syncopating Sea Monkeys. Ana is currently attending Stephens College, in Columbia, MO.

 

Playing Joe:

Zack Huels

 

Playing Cecil Baker:

Robert Doyen, Professor of Theatre

Rob Doyen is a resident actor/teacher at Stephens, where he teaches Acting, Directing and Musical Theatre. He also teaches in the Stephens Summer Theatre Institute (STI) and has spent the last 37 summers at Okoboji Summer Theatre. This past summer, he appeared in Blithe Spirit, The Foreigner and Little Shop of Horrors. Last year at Stephens, he was featured in A Catered Affair, Inspecting Carol, Uncle Vanya and A Shayna Maidel. He earned an M.A. from Illinois State University and a B.F.A. from Stephens College.

Father Malcolm: To Be Announced

Playing Race Volunteer:

Itohan Amayo is a sophomore student at the University of Missouri majoring in Communication with a minor in Theatre Performance.  Itohan LOVES acting and performing. Although she is going to school for communication, she continuously is striving to accomplish a career in performance. Itohan has been performing for 5 years now, and most of her performances have been in musicals, she is slowly creeping into a world of strictly acting, and she is loving the challenge.  Itohan is inspired by many people in her life like her family and friends, but her other inspirations are Oprah, and Todrick Hall, for obvious reasons. Itohan is excited to work with the cast and crew of Chasing AllieCat and hopes that this experience will create more experiences that will expand her talents and create new, awesome memories!

Playing the Nurse:

Danielle Doyen is excited to be a part of this SFI project. Danielle is back in Columbia after spending a decade in Los Angeles and New Orleans…it’s nice to be home. Selected Los Angeles and Regional Theater credits include: Natalie in AFTERMATH with Annie Potts, Constanze in AMADEUS, Vita in ANGELS FALL, Maria in TWELFTH NIGHT, Margaret in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, Woman in THE 39 STEPS, and she appeared in MACBETH, THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL and AS YOU LIKE IT. She co-stared in the indie film UNMANNED, which garnered many festival nominations and awards.

Check out the crew, and see more details HERE.

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Deep Valley Book Festival

Deep Valley Book Festival–Betsy-Tacy Society Calendar of Events.

The Deep Valley Homecoming is coming up at the end of June. Author Melissa Wiley (whom I met at ALA in San Diego a couple years ago) will be a featured speaker. This will be fun. Check the above calendar. Book Festival/Book Fair is Sunday at Sibley Park. I’ll be selling Chasing AllieCat, Beauty Missing, Hair Hissing: Medusa Tells All, and Girl Meets Boy Because There are Two Sides to Every Story.

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Mankato Elementary Schools

I got to visit two District 77 Elementary schools in December: Roosevelt and Kennedy. It’s so much fun to be in a gym full of excited faces and open minds and talk about going for it. Going for your dreams, being realistic, not being afraid to make mistakes, not needing to be perfect but to try. To do something if you want it.

I went out on a limb with a message I’ve never given to a school group before: I told the kids it was a secret. When I was little, I was taught that if you were good and believed enough, and asked God, (whether you’re Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or whatever), God would give you the desires of your heart. So I thought if I kept doing the right thing, that would happen. I WISH SOMEBODY HAD TOLD ME it doesn’t work like that. If you want something, nobody is going to GIVE it to you. You have to go out and work your tail off to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

That was my message, and the huge groups of kids were pin-drop quiet. I was happy with how these presentations went.

The Roosevelt 5th grade also invited me to talk to both sections. I showed them a brief powerpoint, explaining how I had “prarie-dogged” my way to writing my latest published novel, Chasing AllieCat.

Fun times.

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Mapleton Public Library Storytime

This was quite a good summer day. This morning, Freya and I went to the Mapleton Public Library, where I always love to do storytime. This morning we read about dogs and baby duck and monsters under the bed!

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Freya, as always, was a big hit with the kids. They all got a chance to pet her. She loves the attention, even when she pretends to sleep through it.

Afterward, Freya and I walked around Mapleton for awhile. She likes the shady streets. Every time we’ve been there, she wants to go for a walk before she’s willing to get in the car.

This afternoon, I spent some time with a good friend and this evening, I did the Mankato Isle of Man Time Trial staged in Rapidan. I cut about a minute off last time’s time, so I’m getting back in better shape finally. It’s a delightully fun event, thanks to Mike and Sheila Busch.

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Author Visit to Ballard East and Cambridge Public Library

Had a GREAT time in Iowa the past two days. Ballard East students were a wonderful audience: great listeners with smart, thoughtful questions. I loved spending time with them. So did Freya. It never hurts to bring a big bear dog along for an author visit!! First thing I saw was this huge sign (so big I had to take two pictures to get it in my lens)! And then, afterwards, Mrs. Fjelland’s class posed with Freya and me. Freya looks as big as the whole class combined. Freya loves helping with author visits. I think she had as much fun getting loving attention as we all did!

What a fun day, and what great students. It makes me proud to have graduated from Ballard!
Then, Saturday, I was a guest at the Cambridge Public Library. Thanks, Janet Thorson, for hosting a delightful event. Great to reconnect with some old (as in long-time, not old as in ancient! :) friends. It was great fun, and we had a good discussion. I hope the world keeps supporting public libraries like the one in Cambridge!