Tag Archives: WISH

WISH Book Tour

I’m excited to announce the Official WISH Blog Tour kicks off today! We’ve got a lot of great posts to share with you including insider info about ballet, interviews, excerpts, the official playlist and a giveaway. Hope you’ll tune in and enjoy!

THE OFFICIAL BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

WishTourBanner

January 12th
Dark Readers >> Review
Indie Authors You Want to Read >> Excerpt
Catch the Lune >> Guest Post
A British Bookworm’s Blog >> Review
Books Direct >> Review + Excerpt

January 13th
Book Bitches Blog >> Review
The Bookish Owl >> Interview
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! >> Review
Carmel and Kyla >> Excerpt
Cosying Up With Books >> Top 10 List

January 14th
Girl in the Pages >> Review
YaReads >> Guest post
The Book Bratz >> Review
Mom With A Kindle >> Excerpt
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile >> Review

January 15th
Becky on Books >> Interview
Istyria book blog >> Review
trips down imagination road >> Review
Reviews from a Dreamer >> Review + Playlist

January 16th
The Hardcover Lover >> Review
Prisoners of Print >> Review
Sincerely, Annie >> Guest Post
Sassy Book Lovers >> Interview

Enter the giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The Top 10 Gifts From the World of Ballet in 2014

It’s been said that the best gifts can’t be bought– and this was never more true than this past year. 2014 was a huge year of gifts from ballet, with some high-tech breakthroughs and historical firsts. Here’s my list of the Top Ten Gifts from the ballet world.

balletXmas

1. World Ballet Day. This unprecedented, uber-exciting event gave us twenty-four hours straight of livestream ballet from the Australian Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, The Bolshoi Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and the Royal Ballet. More about this event here.

2. Pointe shoes went high tech. Technology brought us a pointe shoe that traces a dancer’s movements and turns them into a new form of art.

3. Ballet West moved into their new home. Sparkly, and brand–spanking new, the company celebrated this new era with an opulent gala.

4. Christopher Stowell returned to San Francisco Ballet. Stowell, a former principal dancer with with San Francisco Ballet,  has already received critical acclaim for his work as ballet master.

5. A new edition of Smuin Ballet’s the Christmas Ballet. A Bay Area favorite, the Christmas Ballet truly is the gift that keeps on giving–an ever-evolving Nutcracker alternative–new kinds of fun every year.

6. The Nutcracker turned 122 this year. Perhaps the best-loved ballet of all time. Read more about it here in this lovely post from Tutus & Tea.

Nutcracker27. 7.Misty Copeland made ballet history. Copeland debuted as American Ballet Theater’s first black Swan Queen, performing Odette/Odile, Swan Lake’s quintessential role.

8. Outstanding dance reads by Misty Copeland, Michael dePrince and Brandy Colbert. Copeland’s Life in Motion and dePrince’s Tking Flight:From War Orphan to Star Ballerina are both memoirs, striking stories of women who go for their dreams despite all odds. Colbert’s Pointe is a dark page-turner set in the ballet world.

9. Australian Ballet wowed the West Coast during their US tour. The company presented Graeme Murphy’s innovative version of Swan Lake–make sure you check out the gorgeous shots in this link.

10. The Bolshoi Ballet’s Nutcracker came to a theater near you. Seeing the Bolshoi was never easier than Solstice Even at cinemas across the globe.

As you open your gifts this holiday season I hope you take a moment to reflect upon the gifts that come without a price tag…the best gifts of all.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

RELATED POSTS:

Visiting Bethlehem with Miami City Ballet

A few of my favorite dance things

Dance film favorites

 

 

 

 

The Gift Everyone Wants This Holiday

present

During the holidays It’s easy to get swept up in the pursuit of getting and giving stuff but with the end of 2014 looming just around the corner it’s also a time to take stock of where you are in life and where you want to go next. Whether you are a dancer or not, all of us secretly want the same thing: to be the best version of ourselves we can be. Even though you may ask for that new, perfect leotard in the hopes that you’ll stand out in a crowd or a pair of jeans that make your butt look good in those rare moments when you’re completely honest with yourself, you’ll see that this is true. Since the beginning of my less is more holiday approach I’ve had more time to consider what’s important and how I can be the best version of myself. One thought that really stood out was to look at the ways I am already blessed. So often we forget. Here are a few of those blessings:

A roof over my head. California has been hit with so much rain that every time I go for a walk I see water flowing down hillsides and trickling down stairways, hear it gushing through sewers. I’m seeing waterfalls in places where I’ve never seen waterfalls before. In the midst of these recent rainy weeks a homeless man took up residence in a tunnel. Initially it seemed like a strange choice–tons of people walk, bike and jog through the tunnel every day, not to mention the constant traffic booming through every few seconds. I wondered how the poor guy got any sleep. But then I realized it was dry–one of the few dry places for someone who had no home.

Good health. One of my oldest and dearest friends died this year. She was only in her 50s and she passed away only a few months after she was diagnosed with advanced liver disease. Losing a close friend was hard in ways I’d never imagined; it felt like she was by my side one moment and ripped away the next. I think of all the things we used to do together that we won’t share again, all the days I have before me without her in my life and I miss her terribly. But it’s reminded me of how precious and fleeting this life is, how lucky I am to be healthy and able to do the things I want to do.

Friends, family and community. I’m constantly amazed by the love and generosity from the people in my life. Enough said.

The freedom to choose. It may not always feel like we have the freedom of choice but we do. We can choose a career, the person we marry (or whether we marry at all), where to live, the way we dress, even which thoughts we cultivate into beliefs.

Somewhere in the midst of the holiday rush I hope you find the time to remember how you are blessed…and I hope the list is long.

 

FURTHER READING:

Ballet fiction must-haves

The one habit you can’t live without

 

 

WISH Official Release Day! Author Q & A

The countdown is over–today is the big day–the official release of WISH! Today I’d like to share author Q & A to give you a little more background information about the book.

Wish - eBookCover

 

Why did you write WISH?

There were several factors at play when I wrote WISH. I knew I wanted to set the book in the ballet world because dance has shaped who I am and has been one of the few constants in my life. Many people don’t get to experience this world firsthand and I wanted to give readers an insider’s perspective.

I also feel strongly about the difficulties of growing up in a dysfunctional family. I know the longterm implications from personal experience: my mother was an alcoholic. You learn to distrust your instincts and feelings, to play small, and to stay quiet when you know you should speak up.

Even if your family dynamics are healthy young adulthood is a time of huge transition and change. It’s a time to find your voice, to clarify who you are and who you want to be in the future. It’s not an easy road to navigate. I wrote WISH to give readers hope, to show them a path to self-empowerment, and to help them understand they can create change in their lives.
Describe your writing process.

I’m a very visual person so I always begin a project by creating a vision board. I cut out pictures from magazines that resemble the characters and settings I’ve envisioned and put them together in a giant collage. The vision boards hang right next to my desk so I can look at the characters whenever I need to. I also write character sketches for all of my characters before I begin writing. It’s important to know your character before you put them in action.

Next I outline the whole novel, scene by scene. I’m one of those people who likes to plan ahead – my family and friends sometimes give me a hard time about it and call me the cruise ship director. But seriously, it pays to plan ahead…especially when you’re writing a novel. Once I have a complete outline I look at the big picture: I make sure transitions between scenes and chapters work seamlessly and that there’s a good balance and pace throughout. Figuring all of this out before I write anything saves a lot of time and headache.

The first draft took me a little over a year to write because I wrote in very short bursts, in between writing a bunch of other things. A first draft often needs a lot of editing and I spent quite a while combing through my novel and polishing it. I also worked with a group of other YA writers to get feedback and take it to the next level. My critique partners asked a lot of questions, often about things that I hadn’t thought about.

Even after the work I’d done revising and implementing some of their suggestions my novel still wasn’t quite there. That was a little hard to sit with but I wanted the book to be as good as it could possibly be. I tinkered some more, focusing on the parts I felt needed more work. I also read it out loud, word by word, a technique that I’ve found to be really effective because errors or clumsy language are much more obvious when spoken out loud. This really gave it a final polish.

photo by My Lovely Husband

photo by My Lovely Husband

How did you make the transition from dancer to writer?

I’ve written since I was a kid; back then I had a diary with a lock on it, which was necessary growing up in a big family. After I stopped dancing professionally I went back to college and took some writing classes where I started playing around with poetry and short stories. I kept writing throughout the years but once I became a mom I started to think more about writing for kids. Eventually I began to transition into freelance writing and wrote about dance and fitness. I also re-immersed myself in the Bay Area dance scene and wrote a regular dance column where I interviewed top Bay Area dancers, choreographers and directors. I started writing WISH at that time. Along the way I also put a lot of time into educating myself about the craft and business of children’s books by attending conferences, workshops and webinars. Learning to be a writer has definitely been a process; luckily it’s a process I enjoy. I’m still learning now; there’s always something to improve.

What role does dance play in your life today?

I’ve been a dancer since I was five and I don’t see that changing, although my relationship with dance has changed over time. When I was young, dance was something I did for fun. Later it became my profession and now I look at it as a sanctuary, a home, a place to move beyond my small self and connect to something bigger.

The things I’ve learned as a dancer – discipline, dedication and persistence– still serve me now. Without this foundation I couldn’t do what I do. Writing is self-paced and self-driven. No one is telling me what to do or looking over my shoulder to make sure it gets done. It’s all on me.

Today dance is something I do for fun. Sometimes during the workday I’ll take a break, put on some music, and dance to counteract all the sitting and staring at a computer. Dance keeps me happy.

© Grier Cooper

© Grier Cooper

Why did you choose to self-publish?

The publishing industry is changing so much and independent publishing is really growing. In today’s market it’s the author’s name that sells a book. All writers are their own brand and must grow that brand through marketing and promotion, whether they are traditionally published or self-published. That is the reality. I realized if I’m doing the work anyway, why not do it on my terms?

I also didn’t want to wait years to see my book on shelf. I have many other books in the pipeline and I wanted to keep moving forward. I’ve enjoyed maintaining my creative freedom and having the ultimate say on things like cover design. I also like knowing that after all I’ve put into it my book won’t expire or go out of print.

I’ve found the world of indie publishing to be incredibly giving and supportive, which has been a nice surprise. I’m really grateful to the other indie writers out there who share their knowledge and expertise so willingly.

What advice would you give to other young dancers and writers?

My advice is really the same for both. First of all: dream big! Clarify your vision and make it as real as possible in your mind., using all of your senses. Keep your thoughts focused on that vision as often as you can. Believe it is possible. Believe in yourself.

In the meantime, work at your craft. Strive to perfect all aspects of what you do and ask for help and support when you need it.
When you feel ready to find work develop a solid plan. Make a list of all potential places or companies you want to work with. Cast your net wide and see what comes through. Follow up with everyone you talk to. Even if it takes longer than you would hope keep going no matter what. The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is persistence.

Which of your characters is the most like you?

I’m a bit like of many of my characters. I have aspects of Indigo’s emotional sensitivity, Miss Roberta’s work ethic and perfectionist tendencies, and Becky’s supportive nature. I wish I had more of Monique’s sass and Jesse’s laid back attitude.

The cool thing about creating characters is that even though I come up with the initial vision they eventually take on a life of their own. I’m often surprised by some of the things they say or do and I’ll think to myself wow, I never would say that to someone. Which is strange since the idea came out of my head. But it’s what the character would do, not what I would do.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’ll still be sitting at my desk, writing! I hope to have at least 3 more titles out by then and be doing fun events interacting with readers. My daughter will be a junior in high school so I’ll be actively looking for my future home on a tropical beach somewhere.