Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Driven to Tell Tales

Hello, friends!

I'm over on the Opera House Arts blog today talking about theatre and the human compulsion to tell stories. Come check it out!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thanks For Being The Life Of My Party!

The 3rd Annual Writers For Hope Online Auction has come and gone.

You know that feeling that sometimes bubbles up an hour before you're supposed to throw a party?

What if no one shows up? Seriously, what if I'm the only person here? Why did I make so much guacamole? This stuff isn't going to keep. Dear lord, I'm going to have to eat all this guacamole. That's just so much guacamole.

*Cut to a picture of me passed out, surrounded by empty guacamole bowls and chip bags - Spice Girls blaring in the background.*

That's my general frame of mind the day before the auction.

Three years, and I still get anxious about asking people to donate critiques and books. Still get nervous that, come the day, no one's going to show up to my party.

Of course, that's never what happens. I mean, the guacamole and Spice Girls does. Every year. Without fail. But the part where I'm alone at the party? Never.

Because you're all amazing.

Eighty people donated their time and work to this year's auction. An unprecedented amount of them contacted me and requested to give of themselves. This continued throughout the day of the auction, with people sending me messages and asking if they can donate items in next year's auction. These are people who not only are willing to do good, but who actively seek out such opportunities.

So, the next time you're looking for some new reading material or the perfect gift for your book-loving loved ones - start with the books written, edited, and represented by this group of folks. They're not only insanely talented, but also genuinely lovely human beings.

During the auction, your conversations made it trend for over five hours on Twitter. Almost 400 individual bids were submitted throughout the day. Very shortly after the winners were announced, I started receiving emails from people who had already donated their winning bids to the RAINNmaker page. And while each person was extremely excited about the items they had won, everyone focused primarily on how happy they were to have the chance to support this cause.

When all bids have been donated, we will have raised over $5000 for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network - ensuring that over 500 survivors have access to the help they need through RAINN's hotlines.

So, if you ever have one of those days where either news broadcasts or the conversations of the people around you make you feel a little skeptical about the fate of humanity, take a moment to think about all the people who made this event possible. The donors and the bidders from various places on the globe, who joyously gave of themselves in an effort to make the world a little safer and a bit brighter.

That's what I do.

I just remember this annual party I'm so happy to throw. And how grateful I am that you all showed up.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Winning Bids of the 3rd Annual Writers For Hope Online Auction

The winning bids of the 3rd Annual Writers For Hope Auction are now up here

Tremendous THANK YOUS to everyone who participated in the event - both donors & bidders! As always, it's a privilege to witness such generosity.

If you didn't participate in the auction, but would like to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month by donating to a wonderful cause, you can do so here at any time.

Bidding Is Now Closed!

The 3rd Annual Writers For Hope Auction is now closed!

Bidding ended at 11:59:59pm. Many bids were submitted in the final minutes, with some coming in after 12:00am. The bids are currently being sorted with disqualifying bids being removed. Please do not donate your bid to RAINN until after the winners have been announced hereThank you!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Bidding Is Now Open!

The 3rd Annual Writers For Hope Online Auction has officially begun!

You have 24 hours to bid on over 100 amazing items from 80 fantastic donors.

Want to see how the auction works? Go here

Ready to bid? Head this way!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

24 Hours To Go!

We have exactly 24 hours before bidding kicks off in this year's Writers for Hope Online Auction. I am currently filled with my annual mix of supreme excitement and total anxiety. It's wonderful.

Hope you're all getting pumped up as well. If so, here's how things are going to work...

Bidding opens at 12:00 AM EST on Monday, April 4 and stays open until 11:59:59 PM on the same day. No bids coming before 12:00 AM or after 11:59 PM on the day of the event will be considered. Just twenty-four hours to try to win the prize(s) you most desire and contribute to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)!

There are over 100 items up for auction this year from eighty fantastic donors. To see all the wonderful things that's being offered right here

Click on the Item numbers of any of the specific auction items in which you're interested. Once there, you place your bids in the comments section with all bidding starting at $10 (remember every ten spot translates into one survivor getting the support they need)! Come back throughout the day and check in on your items to make sure that you've still got the top bid. 

On the morning of Tuesday, April 5th, I'll be posting a list with all of the highest bidders and the prizes they've won. After the names are announced, I'll ask all winners to go to my RAINNmakers page and donate the money they bid. This way 100% of the money raised goes straight to RAINN without having to deal with any middleman. 

Once a winner's name shows up on the page, I will email her or him with further details regarding claiming whichever truly fantastic prize was won. And we have SO many wonderful prizes this year - for both writers AND book lovers.

Also, for you writers out there, you can win even more than the amazingness of a work critique - two years ago, I met one of my very fabulous beta buddies (and this year donor of awesome), Scarlett Cole, through the Writers For Hope auction. So chat with other writers on Twitter using #WritersForHope throughout the auction. Even if you don't have the highest bid, you'll have the opportunity to walk away with brand new writerly friends. Which is a jackpot all by itself.

If you're not a writer or book lover, but know one you'd like to do something nice for, feel free to bid! And if you are neither a writer/book lover, nor know any writers/book lovers, but are interested in helping a truly wonderful organization do some great work - first of all, THANK YOU - you are more than welcome to make a donation on the RAINNmakers page. Every little bit helps and is extremely appreciated!

Hopefully this is all clear enough, but if you need any further clarification, leave your questions in the comments section and I'll answer them as quickly as possible!

Last, but not least, here's a little info on where the proceeds are heading, in RAINN's own words:

Now, go finish perfecting your bidding strategy!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's Coming...

This past Monday was the reveal of the 2016 Writers For Hope auction items and I'm still reeling.

There are NINETY-SIX. And if you're reading that as me yelling, you are correct. Because...NINETY-SIX!

Fifty work critiques, forty book prizes (some including more than one books), and six items for those of you in the market for more bookish accessories (and, seriously, who isn't in that market?).

On the day of the auction - Monday, April 4 - bidding will begin at 12:00 AM and will run only 24 hours, until 11:59:59 PM. Go into the comments section of each individual item to make your bid - with every item starting at $10, the cost for RAINN to keep the Sexual Assault Hotlines going for one person.

Want more information on how the auction works? Click here!

Want to know where your money is going? Head over this way!!

Want me to be using less exclamation points? I suggest you check back in May. Because I am far too excited about this year's auction to exercise even a little bit of self control when it comes to my punctuation.

I highly recommend you start strategizing your bidding plan. And, while you're doing that, I'll just be over here dancing.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Let the Countdown Begin!

We are officially a week out from this year's Writers For Hope donor reveal!

I'm extremely excited to bring you the names of the many absolutely wonderful people who are taking part in this year's auction. That so many are donating is a stunning reminder of the good in this world. And, on top of that, the items that they're donating are completely made of magic. (Just you wait!)

Be sure to check in at the Writers for Hope website on Monday, March 7.

Until then, I leave you with this in the hopes that it offers you the same inspiration it does me...

Monday, February 1, 2016

#WritersForHope Take Three!

Hello, friends!

I am over-the-moon excited to announce that the 3rd Annual Writers For Hope Online Auction is officially in the works - and shall be held on Monday, April 4, 2016 from 12:00am - 11:59pm!

The donor list is growing (by the hour!) because book people are the best people. We have lots of Writers For Hope returners, as well as some exciting new faces. 

I, very honestly, don't know that I will ever get over the extreme generosity of people - not just a willingness to give, but an excitement over it. One response I received to a donation request began simply with "YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES!!!"

This year's auction is going to work the same as previous events. Readers, writers and book lovers get twenty four hours to bid on this year's fantastic items. The only difference is that this year, the auction will take place at the brand-spanking-new Writers for Hope website! Meander on over and check it out. 

I'll be listing updates there and here, plus don't forget to follow #WritersForHope on Twitter. And, for all those of you who are interested in donating to a fantastic cause, but can't wait for the auction - you can donate here at any time!

Finally, THANK YOU, to everyone who has made this event so successful in the past and to everyone who's planning on participating this year.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Putting Realities in the Back Seat

I'm working on a new story. I'm two chapters in and it's in that tender chrysalis stage, where it could blossom into something beautiful, or it could erupt into a cloud of fairy glitter. That's what chrysalises do, right? Something like that.

I've found that the best way to sidestep glitter eruptions is to write from a place of possibilities - which generally means having to get Little Kid Kelly involved in the process. This isn't to say that I don't still believe in all sorts of possibilities, but the whole being an adult process can sometimes get me a bit distracted by realities.

This doesn't work for me when I'm writing. Keeping track of word counts and making goals for the same is helpful, but if I'm writing to that goal rather than to the story, I never get as much done. Basically, I need to get my grown up mind to take the back seat - letting the little kid mind run rampant through this new world discovering whatever she can.

Sometimes, this requires a push. And for this, I generally turn to childhood favorites - books, TV, or movies. Those fictional worlds that first made my developing brain explode in wonder. It doesn't matter if these things are no longer my favorite in their category, what's important is the reminder of feeling like absolutely anything is possible.

Here are some of my go-tos when I need reentry into the world of Possibilities:

This series was a staple of my childhood - the books that I was most likely to smuggle under my coat so I could sneak off and get some reading in at roller skating parties. And the books that left me with a never-to-be-fully-extinguished (but-thankfully-so-far-resisted) urge to wander through deserted construction sites in the hopes of meeting a kindly alien looking to gift me with powers.

Nothing gets my brain working like a dance party, and no song gets me back in my younger mind set like this one. This may or may not be because my sister, friends and I learned the dance to this...I can neither confirm nor deny. One thing I can say without reservation - I wish I could rock a turtle neck like these ladies.

There are very few rough scenes that can't be figured out over a pile of Legos. Something about working with your hands while your mind wanders...it gets the job done. Particularly, if what your hands are working on is building a Lego Hogwarts.

Chewandswallow remains one of my ideal vacation spots.

My childhood was a revolving door of the original movies and extended universe books. I don't know that there will ever be another fictional world that so opens my mind to the beauty of never-ending possibilities.

So, what inspires you when you need to get creative?