Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My First Twitter Chat is tomorrow, April 30, at 8 PM EST & a POETRY MONTH LINK FOR YOU!

I'm thrilled to be guest-posting today at the awesome CLEAR EYES, FULL SHELVES blog (yes, Friday Night Lights fans, that title is for YOU!) where I'm blogging (okay, ranting a little) about WHY VERSE NOVELS CAN BE ABOUT ANYTHING.

ALSO, tomorrow (Wednesday) evening at 8 PM Eastern Time (5 Pacific), I'll be doing my first TWITTER CHAT @VikingChildrens with my editor, Kendra Levin. We'll talk about THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, the writing process, the journey to publication and other fun stuff.

I hope you'll join me at #TSOLG
Bring questions, comments, or pictures of your pets reading my novels. Here's one for a start...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Winding down April & Winding Up Verse Novel Week!

What a month! I've been to my regional SCBWI spring conference, hosted family from the east coast, participated in Autism Awareness and National Poetry Month programs, eaten way too much chocolate...and there are still three more days of April to go! So, despite feeling a bit overwhelmed, I'm going to roll up my sleeves, open my window to let in some fresh, spring air, and get back to the keyboard. May? Bring it!

BUT FIRST...Head on over to Clear Eyes, Full Shelves to learn more about the upcoming awesome that is VERSE NOVEL WEEK. It begins April 28 and features cool blog posts, a special podcast and more! I'll be guest posting on the 29th.

And there are still a few days left to win swag here...
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Friday, April 25, 2014


In addition to all the other fun (and spring showers), April is JAZZ APPRECIATION MONTH

In honor of JAM, here are a couple of verses from THE SOUND OF LETTING GO...

There are more guys than girls in the jazz world,
next to no lady trumpeters (oh, there are a few).
But it doesn’t matter because, for me, jazz trumpet is all about one guy:
Miles Davis.
He made this famous album in 1959
called Kind of Blue,
which is kind of, always,
how I feel.

That album gets into your bones,
goes and goes;
starts, hesitates, reaches out, feels
for the music, the sound, the thing you want to change.
Always grasping for the unattainable makes you
kind of excited,
kind of sorry.

c 2014 Stasia Ward Kehoe
all rights reserved

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Poetry Oscars!

Okay, not exactly, but don’t you wish you could be at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC tonight for this

Yes, you see Tina Fey, Patrick Stewart and Julianna Margulies on that GUEST READER LIST OF AWESOME! Here's what I'd wear if I were going...
Heck yeah, why not red? (It's J. Crew, btw)

Now you're curious, right? Here's the link for more info: http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/92

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

I’m delighted to be participating in the Writing Process Blog Tour. I was tagged last week by the amazing Gretchen McNeil, author of scary stories like 3:59 and the Don’t Get Mad series coming this fall from Balzer & Bray. Now I’ll try to share a few secrets (or whatever) of my own.

What am I working on?  I’m currently working on two projects. One is another verse novel—my first with a male narrator. The other is currently indescribable because I’m only about 50 pages into the rough draft—plus notes and the big, shiny idea of it, of course!

How does my work differ from others of its genre? I’m a verse novelist which is a small genre already. I suppose the thing that distinguishes my work that, in addition to being contemporary stories about teens, relationships and family, I always include an artistic element. AUDITION, was set in the world of ballet. THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, explores the life of a teen jazz musician. My current verse w-i-p has another arts element but is more about sports than stage performance.

Why do I write what I do?  I never really chose to write in verse but, in 2010, I took a verse novel writing workshop with Ellen Hopkins and the form just spoke to me. Writing in verse, I felt a deeper connection to my characters and their stories. Having grown up as a dancer, I love exploring notions of performance and identity so this has influenced the subjects of my work.

How does your writing process work?  I am definitely a “pantser," writing without an outline. I start with a character, a situation and the words “what-if.” However, as I work into my first draft, I develop a clear sense of where I am driving the story. I support my pantsing with a lot of research, including interviews with professionals in various fields, to understand my main characters' interests, talents, hobbies and family situations. I write for 1-4 hours a day, primarily in chronological order and number my verses as I go. At the end, I write “WORK BEGINS HERE” in the body of the text plus a few notes to help me launch back in. I also have this superstitious quirk: I don’t type “THE END” until I feel I’ve got the kind of solid draft I can send to my agent, which requires several revision passes including one for chronology and another to scrub-out my over-used words (especially “so”).  The process takes a lot of time and, the more I write, the more I'm sure it doesn’t get easier--but the wonder of the experience does not diminish either!

I’ve enjoyed reading other WRITING PROCESS posts along the tour. It helps to know I’m not the only writer without a perfect “plan” for starting AND finishing a novel!

Want more craft?  For next Monday, I'm tagging Katherine Longshore, author of the Gilt series from Viking (get ready for Brazen, pubbing in June) and Manor of Secrets from Scholastic and Molly Blaisdell, whose debut YA, Plumb Crazy, will be published by Swoon Romance (also in June). Both Katy and Molly are true “writer’s writers”--generous with their feedback, supportive of the writing community and serious, hard-working students of the art and craft. I can't wait to read their posts next week!

Are you a PLOTTER of a PANTSER? Do you have any manuscript writing SUPERSTITIONS? Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, April 18, 2014


Seems like a little thing, but it's kind of awesome and enormous. All you have to is carry a poem in your pocket today and, maybe, if you can find a way, share it with someone (even if it's just your dog).

You don't even need to find a poem because the Academy of American Poets has an app for that (or a widget or something--I don't know exactly what it is but it's easy enough for even me). Here it is:

Here's the poem I'll be pocketing. It's one of my all-time favorites:

When I Heard the Learned Astronomer
  by Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
   and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
   much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rock the Drop!

Today is Support Teen Literature Day and, along with that, it's Readergirlz annual Rock the Drop--a day on which participants "drop" books to be discovered by other readers (more details can be found by clicking on "Readergirlz" above and following the link).

Looking to support Autism Awareness Month and Rock the Drop? Here are two great titles to leave for future readers. As for me, I'll be dropping a copy of TSoLG somewhere in my hometown.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I'm guest posting at the blog of the inimitable E. Kristin Anderson today. The topic? My intellectual crush on Paul Fussell. WHO IS PAUL FUSSELL, you ask? Click over and see!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

ORPHAN BLACK returns! A reading list for CLONIACS

Since discovering ORPHAN BLACK during a holiday TV-watching binge with my awesome 19yo, I have been breathlessly awaiting the second season and folks, we are ALMOST THERE. Why am I posting about it TODAY? Because, folks, today I am sharing my CLONE-THEMED reading list.

In addition to being masterfully acted by Tatiana Maslany, ORPHAN BLACK is a fascinating exploration of the nature of identity, personality, individuality and the boundaries of scientific intervention into the lives of homo sapiens. The show makes me FEEL & THINK and that's pretty much the whole deal.

Here are a few books to read alongside your journey with the many faces of Sarah/Alison/Cosima...

EXPIRATION DAY - This fantastic futuristic debut by William Campbell Powell takes readers on a journey with Tania Dealy who, like Sarah Manning, begins by thinking she is an ordinary human girl. More about technological cloning than genetic cloning, nonetheless this is a terrific read. (Tor Teen, April 2014)

THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION - Nancy Farmer's award-winning 2002 novel is a modern-day classic. Here's the start of the Amazon description: "Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested." Need I say more?

THE DIFFERENT GIRL by Gordon Dahlquist (Dutton, 2013) is a fascinating meditation on how human thoughts are born. The narrator is a robot who seems to have made a cognitive leap past her identical sisters.

ORIGIN by Jessica Khoury (Razorbill, 2012) is a techno-romance set in a lush Amazonian garden. Here's high praise from National Book Award-winner Judy Blundell: "Is this science fiction? It feels too scarily real. This spellbinding tale of the horrors of genetic engineering gone mad is both thriller and love story, breathlessly paced and beautifully told."

NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005), which inspired a very good film by the same name starring Kiera Knightly, Carrie Mulligan and Andrew Garfield, is a haunting fictional memoir narrated by Kathy H., who accepts her lot as "carer" and ultimately "donor." As the reader discovers the true meaning of these words, the story grows in potency, complexity and tragedy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April 10th is National Siblings Day

Who knew? April is chock-full of month-long (Autism Awareness, Poetry), week-long (Library Week) and day-long celebrations such as this one.

Writing THE SOUND OF LETTING GO introduced me to the world of teens with special needs siblings, many of whom shoulder more responsibility and enjoy less parental attention than their peers due to the demands of their disabled brothers and sisters.

If you are (or know) one of these young people, check out SibShops, an organization that provides community and support for siblings of disabled kids. For some poignant adult non-fiction from the sib's point-of-view, pick up NYT best-selling author Rachel Simon's RIDING THE BUS WITH MY SISTER. And while you're clicking, you can enter to win some TSoLG swag this busy April!
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What are you celebrating this month?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A little bit of hope...

In honor of National Poetry Month and Autism Awareness Month, here is a gentle poem from the inimitable Emily Dickinson that speaks, I think, to all of us. And if you're feeling hopeful--and helpful--scroll below the poem to enter for a PRIZE!

Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune without the words, 
And never stops at all, 
And sweetest in the gale is heard;         
And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little bird 
That kept so many warm. 
I've heard it in the chillest land, 
And on the strangest sea;        
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.

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Sunday, April 6, 2014


There are more guys than girls in jazz.
Next-to-no lady trumpeters (oh, there are a few)
but it doesn't matter because, for me, jazz trumpet is all about one guy
Miles Davis.
He made this famous album in 1959
called Kind of Blue
which is kind of, always,
how I feel.

That album gets into your bones
goes and goes
starts, hesitates, reaches out, feels
gor the music, the sound, the thing you want to change
always grasping for the unattainable makes you
kind of excited,
kind of sorry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

poetry excerpt  c 2014 Stasia Ward Kehoe 
all rights reserved

Friday, April 4, 2014

Feeding-the-Family Gripes & T-G-I-Friday Fun

T. S. Eliot called it "cruel" but, thus far (and despite launching a novel in February), April is shaping up to be the busiest month of my 2014. It's Poetry Month AND Autism Awareness Month. I'm THIS CLOSE to finishing a new ms. My sons are playing Lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee and Flag Football which means that I am doing a lot of standing on sidelines in the rain. Oh, did I mention the kitchen faucet is leaking? And the garage is sorely in need of cleaning? And the family needs meals EVERY DAY? Okay, done griping. (Honestly, none of the above counts as a real problem.) Here comes the fun!

Over on Facebook, PENGUIN TEEN is doing a great Poetry Month book giveaway:

I'm sending some SWAG out into the world this month in support of Autism Awareness--you can ENTER HERE.

That's just the beginning. At the end of the month, @VikingChildren's will be hosting a Twitter Chat with MOI via the hashtag #TSOLG with prizes AND suprises! More on that soon!

Hope you have a fun and sunny first Friday in April!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It's World Autism Awareness Day!

Learn more about this disorder which impacts many individuals, families and communities around the globe by liking this Autism Awareness Facebook page.  That one simple click can help raise awareness (I mean, you're more aware right now, aren't you?) and understanding.

By way of thanks, I'll be giving away ANOTHER AWESOME The Sound of Letting Go SWAG PACK:
a purple-tastic water bottle stuffed with sticky notes, signed swag, rebellious (and sparkly) nail polish and more! All you have to do is like the Autism Awareness page via the Rafflecopter entry form below. Prize mailing is to US addresses only. 
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Day & National Poetry Month

Is it fitting that National Poetry Month begins on April Fools Day?

Here, courtesy of poets.org, are 30 Ways to Celebrate, including a poetry-themed filmography and other suprising and fun suggestions! And here's how some writers might answer my question...

My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.
URSULA K. LE GUIN, Harper's magazine, Aug. 1990

The greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
ALEXANDER POPE, An Essay on Criticism

And perhaps my favorite

A fool thinks himself to be wise, 
but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.   
– William Shakespeare

What do you think?