kellyrfineman (kellyrfineman) wrote,

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It's a Blog Hop.

There are so many of these going on right now that it's a bit head-spinny, but maybe that's just me.

Anyhoo, the wonderfully funny and talented Deborah Prum asked me to participate, and I said "yes", so here it is - a hoppy sort of post. First, a brief feature on Debby, then some info on me and what I'm up to, and then an introduction to three of my favorite bloggers. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to pick my three absolute favorites, because I stink at picking favorites, but saying these ladies are among my favorites is actually true. They all blog about writing, but in different ways, yet all of them blog in ways that I find inspirational, and I hope you will, too.

Introducing Debby Prum

And if you haven't met her, then you should, whether in person or online. I had the good fortune of meeting Debby at a Highlights retreat earlier this spring, and she is a dynamic force of nature. A musician, a writer, a mother, and more. She writes for both kids and adults, and has read a number of her essays on her local NPR affiliate. Here's her photo and bio, and you can learn more about her work by reading her blog post about the blog hop.

Deborah M. Prum has a heart for reluctant readers and those who struggle with learning disabilities. Her YA novel, FATTY IN THE BACK SEAT, is about 15 year-old Cuss, who is challenged by undiagnosed learning disabilities. Told with humor and sensitivity, the book does not sugarcoat issues yet offers hope to readers. An audio book version will soon be available. Her interactive, multi-touch iBook, CZARS AND CZARINAS, is designed to engage reluctant readers. The book is a humorous and anecdotal account of the first nine centuries of Russian history. It includes: an introductory song, slide shows, charts, portraits that speak to you, various sound effects for artwork (bells ringing, horses whinnying, thunder, etc.) You can visit Deb at her website,

And now the bit about me

I'll keep it short, because I suspect most of you "know" me already.

1. What are you working on?

Stuff. Stuff and bother. Or, if you'd like a more detailed answer, I'm working on poems and picture books at the moment, and inching toward picking up the YA romance novel I set aside about three years ago when life got too crazy. I am in fact planning a trip to NYC with my sweetheart in the next couple of weeks to visit Central Park as research for that novel.

2. How does my work differ from others in this genre?

Well, at the risk of sounding coy, it's different because I'm the one working on it. Otherwise, I suppose it is much of a muchness with some of the other things out there, right?

3. Why do I write what I do?

Compulsion? Obstinacy? Who can say? I will say that the biography of Jane Austen that I wrote in period form was a real joy and learning project for me. No, it hasn't sold (yet), and yes, it took me about five years to research and write. Still, I love that project. And now I'm something of an expert on Austen, so that's kind of a bonus. I suppose I write the things I do for kids and teens based on my inner child and (geeky) inner teen, and the poems that I write for the adult market are, similarly, for folks like me, more or less.

4. What is your writing process?

When Debby answered this, she said, "My brain is like a large bat in a small attic, constantly banging into the walls." I wish I had something as colorful to offer for myself. Mostly, I stew and ponder and mull, then write a draft (sometimes all at once, sometimes slowly and laboriously over time). And then I immediately go through it and make sure it makes sense to me, fix any typos, and change any words that jump out as needing changing. Then I put it away for a while -- sometimes just overnight, sometimes longer -- then go back and revise it with "fresh eyes". Lather, rinse, repeat.

And now, the part where I get to introduce you to three wonderful bloggers. Some of you probably know these ladies already, but if not, then you are in for a treat.

Jeannine Atkins

Jeannine is a remarkable author, poet, and teacher, who lives and works in Massachusetts. Despite my daughter attending one of the schools where Jeannine teaches, I have not managed to have play dates with her when visiting Massachusetts - so far. You may have already heard me trumpeting how wonderful her book, Views From a Window Seat: Thoughts on Writing and Life is, particularly if you are a writer (although being a writer isn't necessary to get a lot of support and inspiration from her book), but it bears repeating. If you want to get a taste of what her book is like, I strongly encourage you to read her always thoughtful and engaging blog, Views From a Window Seat: Jeannine Atkins on Writing and Stuff. Jeannine sent me her own bio, which is below, but it is a skinnier, more modest one than I'd have written for her. At any rate, here is Jeannine:

Jeannine Atkins's most recent books are Borrowed Names: Poems about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie and Their Daughters and Views from a Window Seat: Thoughts on Writing and Life. She teaches Children's Literature at the University of
Massachusetts-Amherst and a graduate course in writing for children at Simmons College. You can learn more on her website at

Becky Levine

Becky is a writer and editor who lives on the West Coast, in the mountains in California, with her husband, her son (who is soon off to college), a cockatiel named Bard, and a calico cat named Alice. Her blog, Moving Forward on the Writing Path, tends to include things like book reviews, thoughts on the writing process and the writing life, and more. She and I both started meditating at about the same time, and with similar results, I think, which is to say that we like it and it benefits us, but we aren't always as successful at the mindfulness thing as we'd like to be. And she has been writing picture books of late, as have I. Of course, she is into yoga, whereas I am more into tai chi, but hey - it's all mind/body goodness. Here's Becky and her official bio:

Becky Levine is a writer living in California's Santa Cruz mountains, which explains why (so far) we haven't met in person. She writes picture books and middle-grade novels, and she has published two nonfiction books with Capstone Press: Hounds: Loyal Hunting Companions and For Life and Liberty: Causes and Effects of the Declaration of Independence. Becky is also the author of The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide, published by Writer's Digest Books.

Melodye Shore

Another California girl (and one who recently moved homes), Melodye is another writer who I've "known" online for years now, but never met. I've known her from her blog, Joyful Noise, where she talks about things like hummingbirds (and their nests), meditation and Buddhism, and, of course, stops along her journey as she works on a memoir based on her childhood. She is a force for peace and peacefulness, in my opinion. Here's Melodye and her official bio:

Melodye Shore is a full-time, freelance writer and editor. “Luz,” her autobiographical essay, is included in the Young Adult anthology, Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories, and she’s a featured contributor in the middle-grade Girl Guide: Finding Your Place in a Mixed-Up World. A long-time teacher and public speaker, she has been quoted on a variety of topics, in publications such as Time Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated, and USA Today, among others. Her current book project, Can I get a Witness? Memoir of a Tent Preacher’s Daughter, chronicles an itinerant childhood in which her family crisscrossed the country in a cramped sedan, setting up tent revivals and Pentecostal church meetings wherever they landed. Melodye invites you to visit her website and blog at

I am, I should note, counting this blog post as my response to being tagged by the lovely and talented Tanita Davis at Finding Wonderland, who named me at the bottom of her own blog hop stop in this entry. Here's a photo of me and Tanita from 2010, when she won a Coretta Scott King honor for her magnificent novel, Mare's War:

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Tags: atkins, blogs, davis, levine, prum, shore
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