The Crankamacallit Is Here!

To read about Sirenstories or share your songs, please see my previous posts or click on the waterwings in the right hand column to submit, thanks!

If you’re not looking for Sirenstories, you must be stopping by to help me celebrate the fact that THE CRANKAMACALLIT IS UP AND FLYING!

That’s right, The Crankamacallit ipad app is now available in the itunes store! Yay! Champagne, confetti, and cake!

If you want to read more about The Crankamacallit, please click on the title page below and visit Polymash, where there’s an incredible gallery and storyline teaser for The Crankamacallit. Go now, they’re passing glasses of bubbly!

Thank you Polymash, you’re brilliant!

Inspiration, Starting June 1st, Here on Sirenstories.

June 1st is almost here and I’m more than ready to start listening to the songs that generous songwriters have added to the Sirenstories SoundCloud.

I confess I’ve taken a quick listen to some of the songs that writers have uploaded, just a peek, so to speak, I couldn’t resist. But I haven’t listened to any song in its entirety yet. The purpose of Sirenstories is to provide a new song every day, not just for you, but for me too.

I’ve mostly taken a break from my own songwriting over the past three or four years, and I’ve been writing children’s stories and YA novels. I didn’t plan the musical slow down, my muse just decided to switch things up. I’m not sure why she changed her tune to a steady stream of words, but I have my theories.

I hardly noticed the change up at first; I was that busy writing stories. By the time I did notice the transformation for what it was I realized something else. I’d developed a kind of . . . ache.

The slight pain seemed to get worse when I listened to music. So I stopped. Unconsciously I think I decided that if I wasn’t making music, if I wasn’t playing music, if I wasn’t out there performing, I shouldn’t even listen. And I didn’t, because when I listened, I got the ache.

When I started writing novels a year and a half ago, I had an epiphany: music moves my pen. Music makes my fingers fly on the computer keyboard.

Once I realized this, I began to create playlists in itunes to listen to while I was writing. I chose new songs that were evocative, moody, and had no baggage for me, no past.

Songs or instrumental tracks, I often chose music from movies I loved, music I’d noticed but never explored. The music in my ‘writing soundtracks’ was always on as I wrote what are now four finished novels.

Music made me want to be a musician. Before I became a musician, I was a fan. On June 1st, as a fan, I’ll start posting the songs that songwriters have been steadily submitting to the Sirenstories Soundcloud since I put out the call.

I’m planning on finding inspiration in these songs and I hope you do too. Get psyched, the seas are full of Sirens and their seductive songs.

Crankamacallit Update!

If you’re here for Sirenstories you’re in the right place, scroll down and read the last post or two (or three) or simply click on the waterwings in the right hand column and submit your songs. If you just want to listen, come back June 1st, the first song will be up.

But for those of you who are looking for a new ipad app for your child, The Crankamacallit is just about ready.

In a few more weeks The Crankamacallit will be in the Apple store! Until then, here are some still shots and descriptions from Polymash.

An interactive children’s story about building an imaginary vehicle, The Crankamacallit is filled with stunning interactive animation and surprising sounds.

Using playful, rhythmic language and rhyme, The Crankamacallit draws the user into the fantastic 3D world of an inventor’s workshop.

Part poem, part story, this rhythmic 3D fantasy was written by Mimi Cross, animated by Juergen Berkessel and narrated by acclaimed singer songwriter Robert Burke Warren, aka “Uncle Rock”. Listeners will laugh out loud at the nuances of Warren’s performance.

Artists, Please Submit Your Songs

Songwriters, please share your songs with me for my new project, Sirenstories.

Sirenstories is a project created to help singer songwriters get their music heard, and to make my blog epic!

Although the focus will be on singer songwriters, the project is also open to composers of instrumental tracks, as long as the piece submitted is program music, intended to evoke images or convey the impression of events.

Beginning June 1st, my goal is to post 1 new song—plus information about the writer—every week, for 1 year.

Hear new music, meet new musicians. Help make this project rock—or sigh :)

If you’re a songwriter please submit tracks for consideration http://soundcloud.com/groups/sirenstories

Thank you!

The Sirenstories Project

Songwriters, please share your songs with me for my new project, Sirenstories.

Sirenstories is a project created to help singer songwriters get their music heard, and to make my blog epic!

Although the focus will be on singer songwriters, the project is also open to composers of instrumental tracks, as long as the piece submitted is program music, intended to evoke images or convey the impression of events.

Beginning June 1st, my goal is to post 1 new song—plus information about the writer—every week, for 1 year.

Hear new music, meet new musicians. Help make this project rock—or sigh :)

If you’re a songwriter and want to submit your music for consideration, please go to http://soundcloud.com/groups/sirenstories

Thank you, see you June 1st!

Romance & Writing on #YAlitchat

Romance is definitely a HAWT topic for the #yalitchat tweeps!

Last night on twitter the tweets were flying about what we want to see as far as YA couples and relationships, what we like and don’t like, and how YA romance is different from adult romance.

During the course of the evening I quoted from Galway Kinnell’s The Still Time.

I remember those summer nights

when I was young and empty,

For me these lines express the yearning that YA literature is all about. I decided to put the entire poem up because it’s so gorgeous. Enjoy.

Below Galway Kinnell’s poem I posted the lyrics of a song that the MC of one of my YA manuscripts wrote after breaking up with the love of her life.

The lyrics deal with a different kind of emptiness—and I’m certainly not comparing my writing to Galway Kinnell’s!—but I do think sharp emotions are present in both the poem and the song. I think this kind of heightened emotion is what readers, both teens and adults, are looking for when they choose to read YA.

Do you agree? Why do you read YA? Please leave a comment to let me know. Thanks!

See you on twitter ;)

The Still Time

I know there is still time—

time for the hands

to open, for the bones of them

to be filled

by those failed harvests of want,

the bread imagined of the days of not having.

 

Now that the fear

has been rummaged down to its husk

and the wind blowing

the flesh away translates itself

and the flesh into flesh

streams in its reveries on the wind.

 

I remember those summer nights

when I was young and empty,

when I lay through the darkness

wanting, wanting,

knowing

I would have nothing of anything I wanted—

that total craving

that hollows the heart out irreversibly.

 

So it surprises me now to hear

the steps of my life following me—

so much of it gone

it returns, everything that drove me crazy

comes back, blessing the misery

of each step it took me into the world;

as though prayer had ended

and the changed

air between the palms goes free

to become the glitter

on common things that inexplicably shine.

 

And the old voices,

which once made broken-off, choked, parrot-incoherences,

speak again,

this time on the palatum cordis, all of them

saying there is time, still time,

for those who can groan

to sing,

for those who can sing to heal themselves.


Empty 

I am empty

Like the streets at night

Like the movie house

When they turn up the lights

 

I am empty

Like this curtained bed

Like your promises

All those things you said

 

(Chorus)

That filled my head

Until I got lost in love, I got confused

Between your lies and what I know is true . . .

 

I am empty

Ghost town in the dust

God’s a shadow here

Nothing I can trust

 

I am empty

The appetite we fed

Going hungry now

Starve those words you said

 

(Chorus)

That filled my head

Until I got lost in love, I got confused

Between your lies and what I know is true . . .

 

I am empty

All the tears I bled

They don’t mean a thing

Like those things you said

 

(Chorus)

 

(Outro)

I played the fool

I fell in love—and then I got confused, I don’t know what to do

I think I’d lose it all – if I lost you . . . I’d be empty . . . I’m empty now . . . I am empty.

Body of Writing

Explore your writing, explore your body, receive the benefits of connecting the two.

Body of Writing is a workshop for people who write, or want to write. A workshop for people who need to write.

Body of Writing starts tomorrow night, Tuesday May 10th.
This version of Body of Writing is being offered as a 6 week workshop at River Road Books in Fair Haven, NJ.

Class begins at 7:30pm, runs until 9pm, and meets for 6 Tuesdays. To register please call 732.747.9455

What you’ll need for class: new notebook of letter size lined paper, pen or pencil, yoga mat and blanket. Please wear comfortable non-restrictive clothing.

Please note: no previous experience with yoga or creative writing is necessary.

The Body of Writing workshop offers a variety of inspirational writing exercises & simple yoga postures as well as meditation & visualization techniques that will help you access the stories you carry in your body. The artistic aspect of your self will be challenged and nurtured, and you will leave the workshop feeling both relaxed and stimulated with new goals for your writing life.

Body of Writing for your Body, Mind, Spirit, & Stories.





Restoring Harmony


I’m not going to write a synopsis of Restoring Harmony because enough other reviewers have done that, but I am going to voice my praise.

Mixing music with the dangers of a dystopian world is a stroke of genius and in writing Restoring Harmony Joëlle Anthony has created a wonderful story for middle grade students and young adults.

Her Canadian heroine, Molly McClure, is a talented musician but more importantly she is a sweet and loving person. Filled with generous gestures and kindnesses, Restoring Harmony reminds us that these things are desperately needed in our world today.

In any story labeled dystopian the reader can be certain something very bad is going to happen. We start to worry when Molly loses her shoes and our brows furrow further when her Grandmother is slow to recognize her when she shows up at her grandparents’ house after her grueling journey through the broken urban landscape of Seattle. In Restoring Harmony civilization has all but disintegrated and when Molly realizes her friend is involved in a mob like organization, the story becomes truly scary.

But by using gardening to symbolize nurturing and music to symbolize hope and connection, Ms. Anthony paints the future not only with the dark colors of despair, but with the light hues of goodness. In doing so she reminds us that darkness may very well descend on our real world if we don’t wake up and show more support and love for one another.

Family is one of the main themes of Restoring Harmony, which makes the book ideal for parents to share with older children as a read aloud.

This story is an inspiration to live the way Ms. Anthony writes, that is, to lead with the heart. In an era where cynicism and sarcasm often rule the day, I’m happy to find a writer like Joëlle Anthony who values innocence, hope and love. Like fiddler Molly McClure’s music, Ms. Anthony’s writing is capable of restoring a bit of harmony to us all.