Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 28 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Christopher Cheng

Hi folks, whew, two more days until the Golden Coffee Cup ends. Yee haw! Get cracking, folks. Sands are slipping through the hour glass!

No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here.

Today's Down Under high five comes from Austrailian (Oz) author Christopher Cheng. He's holding up a 5 1b. Christmas cake too, in case you are an inquiring mind who wants to know. I bet that goes good with coffee.

Here Chris offers some inspiration to create master works.

I keep a note book filled with ideas -- okay I have about 10 notebooks at the moment. They range from the crazy things I see; like

* kids picking their noses on buses and wiping the extracted clump of fluid under the seat (true it really did happen); to

* kids complaining about their parents; to

* spooky noises that I heard one night (this is now a picture book that is coming out with Random House in 2011); to

* kids saying that they can't do anything to improve the environment (after teaching an education class at the zoo which became my first picture book One child,

I use them as record keeping. I use them as inspiration. They are there to store the inner thoughts of the 9-12 year old me!

... I love just writing. I write something EVERY day!

AND you can't be a writer if you don't write. so ... grab those pens (and not the keyboard ... the physical pen on paper jot down those ideas what am I thinking thing!)

Write something.
Write a letter.
Write to Molly.
Write to Me.

Just write. and with Christmas approaching why not write cards this year ... yes physically write. What do you put on that card? Why not simply tell your wife/husband/kids/grandparents/best friends how much you love them - and WHY you love them, or the funniest things about them, or the craziest thing they did this year or .....!!! Go on put pen to paper.

And what are you thinking right now!

This guy is writing twaddle? Then write it down ... but also write down words the you would write better.

If this guy is writing some words of wisdom ... then improve those words of wisdom and write down your words of wisdom too.

If you want to read Chris's blog, want to head to an SCBWI Australia/NZ event, or check out new Aussie kids books, click away.

I think the upshot is clear here, folks. You better get busy. For the artists, I have noticed that all the artists I know do this notebook thing too, but they draw pictures instead of writing. Perhaps you need to create your own Christmas cards this year.

Well, that's the hot java for today. I hope you brew some of your own today. :) See ya manana.

I write journals and would recommend journal writing to anyone who wishes to pursue a writing career. You learn a lot. You also remember a lot... and memory is important.

Judy Collins

Remember: If you reach your goal from Nov 23 to Nov 30, and post on the blog, you will be receive your Golden Coffee Cup picture. There is no verification process, I believe you. Send in your email address to and your Golden Coffee Cup picture will be emailed to you. Display it proudly as wallpaper, post it on your blog, print it out and tack it on your bulletin board for year-long motivation. Goal reached or not, write a great post and you might win the real coffee!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 26 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Thankful

Oh, Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Welcome to day 26 of the Golden Coffee Cup. No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here.

I reserve this day every year for a-hug-from-my-beloved-mother high five. That girl with her tongue stuck out is me. I cannot tell you how much I miss my mom. I am so thankful for her. I'm so thankful for the simple wisdom she gave me.

I'm going to share a little something from her journal this year. My mom had this wonderful voice. It's shimmers in her writing. In this excerpt, whe wrote about a book she dreamed of writing.

When I am in tune with the earth, God will answer my prayers, as he always does, slowly sometimes with the turning of the seasons. When he gave me my heart's desire thought, it was as if lightning had struck in my heart and soul, all at once. So, you can't tell.

My book, it will be the story of the family, their friends, what they do, how they care about each other, and how damaged people stumble about doing more damage and the ways people react to them, and whether or not they allow themselves to be damaged or go on around the the troublemakers of this world.

For everyone, in the Golden Coffee Cup, I hope you open up your hearts and search out your story like my mom. I will be back tomorrow. I hope you will too. You need to send in your emails, folks, so I can send you the 2009 Golden Coffee Cup to print out or post on your blog or your refrigerator, or on the inside of the visor of your car... Also 4, folks, will receive a real live cup of hot java.

Remember: If you reach your goal from Nov 23 to Nov 30, and post on blog, you will be receive your Golden Coffee Cup picture. There is no verification process, I believe you. Send in your email address to and your Golden Coffee Cup picture will be emailed to you. Display it proudly as wallpaper, post it on your blog, print it out and tack it on your bulletin board for year-long motivation. Write a great post and you might win the real coffee!

Here is a quote she loved:

Happiness -- The full use of your powers along lines of excellence. JFK 10-31-63

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Day 24 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Chris Eboch

Glory! We have reached day 24 of the Golden Coffee Cup! I know this is a busy week but try to carve out time to feed your creative soul. Post your successes and I will do some holy snappin'! Snap! Snap! Snap!

No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here.

Today we get a-gripping-the-wall high five from Chris Eboch. Chris is the author of a wonderful spooky mystery series, HAUNTED. There are three titles currently: THE GHOST ON THE STAIRS, THE KNIGHT IN THE SHADOWS, and THE RIVER BOAT PHANTOM. I hope lots of Christmas trees have these stacked underneath. :)

In max adventure form, today Chris pours out the piping hot stuff:

Sometimes getting through a manuscript feels like climbing a cliff. But people do climb cliffs, with the right training and equipment. You can climb your way through your manuscript, with your writing tools, and your support group holding onto the other end of the rope. Take a rest when you need to, but keep heading for the top, one desperate fingerhold at a time -- the view from up there is worth it.

All good writers know we must drag our characters through hell and back before they can achieve their goal and win their rewards. It's only fair that we struggle too, as we get those stories down on paper. Then their joy in achievement will reflect our own.

Well, I hope you all are hanging out there on a rope. Don't let go! Keep climbing. You are about to achieve something fantastic! Come back tomorrow for another hot cup of java.

Creating a new theory is not like destroying an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place. It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections between our starting points and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles on our adventurous way up. Albert Einstein.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 23 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Holly Cupala

Oh, happy day! I'm so glad you have hung in there. Keep working. The end of the Golden Coffee Cup is in sight! One more week!
No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here.

Today's high five comes from the wonderful Holly Cupala. Holly is all about the heart and soul and, yes, she actually can translate both into written words. Her book, TELL ME A SECRET, chronicles seventeen-year-old Miranda’s unexpected pregnancy and her gripping journey to navigate the labyrinth of her bad-girl sister Xanda’s life, unravel the mystery of her death, and free herself in the process comes out early next summer. Mark your calendars and get your tissues ready, folks. Librarians prepare shiny stickers.

Holly is serving up our hot java today:

I believe that we as humans have been made with purpose wired into us, into our very DNA. Not a thing is wasted in the continuum of our lives, neither hurts nor joys. Every one of those experiences weaves into our reasons for being.

If you are here, that probably means your purpose is laced with stories, perhaps one story that pursues you relentlessly. To claim that purpose, you must step forward with courage. Surround yourself with fellow travelers. Prioritize time to soak in inspiration, time to create. Learn to recognize the voices (many of them in your own heart, or voices from the past or present) that would stop you. Listen to the one true voice, the one that knows your purpose with absolute certainty. Then do whatever it takes.

Your story and your destiny demand it.

Great stuff, Holly. This is the heart of the Golden Coffee Cup, folks. I hope that you have really been searching out the depth, width, and breadth of your work. You have a purpose. I will be here tomorrow with more of the hot stuff. I hope you will be, too.

The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. Mitch Albom

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 19 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Conrad Wesselhoeft

Day 19 of the Golden Coffee Cup. Whoo hoo! I can just feel the momentum. The euphoria is beginning. But if you're struggling, take a deep breath, wipe the slate clean, and remember again, this is yet another day with no mistakes. It's never too late to start a journey or get back on track.

No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here.

Today is comes a toast-with-your friends high five. Clockwise Conrad Wesselhoeft, Me, Megan Bilder, Cathy Benson, Susan Greenway and Louise Spiegler.

Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of upcoming ADIOS, NIRVANA from Houghton Mifflin, offers more piping hot stuff. I'm sure it will super charge your work.

First, Conrad connects plot and a sneeze:

The way I plot a novel pretty much parallels the way I sneeze. That's because a good story, like a good sneeze, both contain:

1. The "inciting moment" when you know something's going to happen and all other thoughts fly out of your head.
2. The mindful build-up that contains a sense--and hope--of inevitable culmination
3. The culmination itself--very cathartic and satisfying.
4. The mopping up.

Next, for all the storytellers on this journey, Conrad puts our journey in a nutshell:

It boils down to the importance of storytelling. Sentence-writing and paragraph-polishing are important, of course, but storytelling is the key. This is not too different from what our ancestors sitting on the river bank, around the smoky fire, were doing 25,000 years ago. Telling stories.

And last from Conrad, a special key to help you move forward.

Faith is another thing--faith in self. It can be hard to sustain, in this funny business of writing fiction. Specifically, faith that what we're doing is important. (It is!) And faith that the creative mists of the mind will ultimately crystallize--that we will have that breakthrough. (We can only hope.)

Have a little faith today, folks. I'm sure you will find magic on the page. See you tomorrow for the next cup of hot java.

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. Anton Chekhov.

A friend might well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 18 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Conrad Wesselhoeft

Whoop for day 18 of the Golden Coffee Cup! You have got to feel pleased today. Take time today to flip through your pages. You rock!

No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here.

Today is another fist-bump. My friend and colleague, Conrad Wesselhoeft bumps fist with Seattle sports impresario and rock 'n' roll drummer Michael Kelly.

To me, Conrad W. is one of the best writers that I have ever read. He's got a book coming out next year called ADIOS, NIRVANA from Houghton Mifflin. I borrowed this from Publisher's Marketplace: ADIOS, NIRVANA is about a teenaged poet-musician who survives the first anniversary of his twin brother's death with the help of a dying blind man, the best group of thicks a guy could have, a demanding school principal who wants him to play the "pussiest song in the world," at graduation, and one very special guitar, for publication in fall 2010. Watch for it. This guy writes the bone -- sturdy, ageless stories that I'm so thankful that he's taken the time to craft.

He's bringing the java today and tomorrow. So Yay!!!!

First, Conrad offers some insight how to improve the structure of a novel, stressing the profitableness of revision. This should bring some peace and hope to you all, and help you press forward with your projects. Conrad writes:

The nice thing about the structure of a novel--as opposed to the structure of, say, a cathedral--is that the revision process lets you go back and add bolts and girders, without everything imploding. I'm finding with my book (ADIOS, NIRVANA), even this far into the revision, that adding one little bolt (just a phrase or sentence) in chapter three, for example, can definitely strengthen the rest of the book, in terms of plot. And yet I wasn't aware of the need for that bolt until now. So time, puzzling and pondering are great friends. They give answers, eventually.

I love this next bit about how to create a meaningful character. Here's another sip from Conrad:

I believe that the more a character "confesses," or shares, of his or her deep worries and feelings, the more interesting that character is, and the more the reader wants to get involved. A confessional tone can both relieve tension, and cause it. There's a fine line, though. Some writers are so agile, that their characters confess virtually nothing, but they imply much, through action. The challenge is to find the balance--how much to share.

Think about it? Are your characters confessing?

I know this is a venti java today. Thanks, Conrad. Come back manana for more, folks!

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. Edward Abbey.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 15 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Daydream

Hi, folks, this is the top of the mountain for the Golden Coffee Cup. It's all down hill from here. We have reached the half-way point. Yippee!

No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here.

Today I'm introducing something new to the Golden Coffee Cup, instead of a high five, we have a fist bump from my friend and colleague, filmmaker Paul Michael Gordon, and Spider-man. If you want to know something more about Paul, check out his short, ALMAS.

Paul offers this fab bit of java to help you on your way today: The inspiration for some of my best work does not come from tedious research or an endless amount of education, but instead the hours I spend daydreaming, reminding myself I am just a little boy wanting to be a part of a great adventure.

Paul and I are working on a screenplay project, CHARLIE STARK: CHIMERA AWAKENING. The plot centers on Charlie Stark, a teen who once led an elite team of child soldiers in a secret war. Mix in alien technology and a madman with a horrific eugenic vision for the world -- Charlie must get back in the Game, take down the madman, and work hard to not become one himself. Ya, I'm having lots of fun.

You might remember I'm finishing up this screenplay for my goal. Currently, I'm right on track. Snap! Snap! Snap! Drop your successes in the comments and I will do some more holy snappin'.

I have to SHOUT OUT another collaborator today, Chris Cheng. He just won the Lady Cutler Award in Austrailia. I wrote number of articles on The Spectacle blog about our collaborative novel, THE FOUR WINDS, written by Chris Cheng, Chris Eboch, Louise Spiegler, and me. Check it out if you wish.

That's the java. You better get busy and idly stare out the window for a while. I hope your daydreams rock!

Today we have learned in the agony of war that great power involves great responsibility. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

With great power, comes great responsibility. Stan Lee

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 10 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Trudi Truet -- Humor

Yes, we are at day 10 of the Golden Coffee Cup. Hopefully you are ahead with your goals and deserve some holy snappin'. Snap! Snap! Snap! If not, don't panic. We still have two thirds of the Golden Coffee Cup to go. Ramp up your efforts or consider revising your goals. The GCC is about keeping it real.

No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here.

Today we have a hanging in there doodle high five from Trudi Trueit.

Trudi is also pouring out the daily hot java. She's revved up for the Golden Coffee Cup this year and is working on a new middle grade fiction novel.

Trudi writes about her doodle: It sort of sums up why I became a writer - angst, so much angst! It was either be a writer or a comedian and since public speaking makes me throw up I figured everyone's clothes were much safer with me writing. Humor books for kids are some of my favorite books to write, because humor is so vital to life. Laughter helps us get through the hard times, learn about ourselves, and step out of our pain to reach out to others.

So, true, Trudi. Honestly, folks, laughter is the only thing that keeps me sane! Thanks for the affirmation!

Trudi also sends three tibits of inspiration for you:

1) Take the work seriously but not yourself.
2) A writer is not defined by the binding, or lack of one (I was a writer long before I got published).
3) Keep your sense of humor. Who knows? One day you may actually get paid to use it!

Now for the SHOUTOUT! If you want to learn more about Trudi, check out her blog, her website, and her author page at Simon and Schuster, (At this site Trudi says: I have answered a TON of trivial personal questions like, 'if you were a bird, what sound would you make?' Okay, it's not that bad but close.)

Hope you use that sense of humor today. See ya tomorrow for the next hot cup of java to spur you on with your goals.

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. Zig Zigler

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Day 4 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Make Em Laugh!

Yippee! Another day with no mistakes in it! Keep going Golden Coffee Cuppers! You've made a great start.

No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here.

Today's high five comes from the talented and funny Jeff Kinney author of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and the sequels. He's a genius at making people laugh.

If you've got time check out this awesome interview with Jeff. He chats about real life stuff like how to stop wasting time and focus on what is really important. That's a lesson for all of us. I think that we need to do what we love. Please, please, make room for that today!

I think almost all art can use some humor. Take a lesson from the Road Runner and smash the Wylie Coyote of your story. Pour on the pain. That can be really funny. Hey, add the unexpected too. Destroy the Earth to put in an Intergalactic Highway. That's unexpected. Don't forget to lie your head off. We have a self proclaimed liar among us, Benjamin James Watson. And, ya, he's as funny as spit. Hanging out with funny bones can make you funnier.

A couple of more funny quick tips: Don't forget to be punny. And always search out the scientifcal intrestingness of writingful enterpression.

I hope you find a reason to laugh today, and that that finds its way into your work. :)

See you tomorrow. Molly

A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerated the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable. Billy Graham

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Day 3 of the Golden Coffee Cup: Sydney Salter

Howdy, Golden Coffee Cuppers. No clue what a Golden Coffee Cup is? Click here. We are on day three. Are you feeling the groove? Let me know how it goes and I will do some holy snapping in the comments!

Today we have a happy high five from the talented Sydney Salter. Time to SHOUT OUT! Sydney is the author of several books. I've read the the first one. Funny stuff, folks. Here's the current list: MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS, Harcourt/Graphia, JUNGLE CROSSING, Harcourt, SWOON AT YOUR OWN RISK, Harcourt/Graphia, 2010. Please consider giving Sydney's blog a look:

Sydney's Novel Fairy Tale

Once upon a time....

NaNoWriMo taught me how to break free of my writing limitations--I CAN write when I don't have time, when my kids are fighting, when I have to make Thanksgiving pies... I'm a three time NaNoWriMo winner and both of my YA novels were written during that wonderful flurry of words. Best of luck, everyone! --Sydney Salter

...and she lived happily ever after.

I hope today's shot of java has helped you press past the the problems of today and think about the big picture. Yes, visualize that book in your hands and then under the covers at night with a kid and their flashlight.

And last of all, a quote to ponder.

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow. Thomas Paine