Street fair youth fundraiser

I’m going to be out of town at NESCBWI this weekend, which means that I’m going to miss the street fair they do every year on the Upper East Side to raise money for the young women and young men in my church here in New York. The funds raised from the tag sale and carnival will go toward paying for summer camp and other activities throughout the year for the kids whose parents can’t afford it. The kids involved are from all over Manhattan, from the Financial District to Chinatown to Harlem to Inwood. Some of them won’t be able to afford to go to camp—and to experience their first time away from home in a “nature” environment—without help from these funds, and they get to provide a service to the community through their street fair booths to earn it. I didn’t make it down there last year, but I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun.

If you’re in New York this weekend, you should drop by. The girls from my congregation will be running the face-painting booth, and I believe that my previous congregation from Harlem are in charge of manicures again this year. Someone’s going to be making homemade tortillas, too, which I think I’ll miss the most! There’s also a huge tag sale, for which they specifically asked for new or gently used professional clothes (so it might be a great place to get a deal on work clothes), books, and household items.

They’re also looking for volunteers, so if you feel like getting involved, there’s a contact email below.

Here’s the announcement:

Saturday, May 14 · 10:00am – 4:00pm, East 87th Street (btwn 2nd and 3rd). Annual fundraiser for the NY, NY Stake Youth. We had over 3,000 from the community attend last year, so we can always use extra volunteers . . . but please just come and enjoy! Video from last year’s event:

This year includes:

– Tag sale (donations still accepted at each LDS church), BBQ, Live music, Bake sale, Art show, Carnival-style booths, Provident Living Fair, Shaved Ice/cotton candy, Homemade tortillas

We need:

Volunteers (either the day of, or before), People to share/promote the event on blogs/social networks/etc, and Tag sale items (you can drop off at any chapel as each has a designated room)

Please contact Mike Matthews with any questions or ways you can help: michaeltmatthews AT OR Jay Salmon jaysalmon at, Erik Orton erikorton AT or Andrea Homer-Macdonald homermacdonald AT with any questions or help you can provide.

A Is for Anansi, NY Comic Con, and TANKBORN

Last weekend I went to the excellent A Is for Anansi conference at NYU, and met a lot of thoughtful people who want to make the world a better place for African American kids. I took a lot of notes and would like to share them at some point, but I’m in the midst of finishing an edit and have only popped online, so I’ll have to do it some other time. In the meantime, Hannah in Lee & Low’s marketing department took some great notes that she shares here.

I cut out from that conference a little early to pop by New York Comic Con over at the Javitz Center, and the best way I can find to describe it is CROWDED. Apparently something like 90,000 people went over the course of the weekend, but I believe most of them were there Saturday between 1 and 4. Got to see my friends Brandon and Emily Sanderson for a few minutes while Brandon was signing books in the midst of a madhouse (we caught up later in less crowded circumstances), wandered around the significantly less-crowded Artist Alley for a while, said hi to some old Wizards of the Coast coworkers at the Wizards booth, and then the crowds got to me and I made my escape. It helped that I was also in the midst of a Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood marathon on Hulu at home, and watching that sounded much more appealing than shoving through crowds and not really seeing anything. I took my camera with me to take pictures of the costumes—and there were some really good ones—but there wasn’t any room to get a good candid shot, so I didn’t bother. Sorry–blog posts are always more fun with pictures. (I’ve taken a number of pictures lately, but haven’t had the time to actually upload them online.)

Thirdly, and BEST of all, I can finally announce our third acquisition at Tu Books, making our third book and rounding out the Fall 2011 season! As reported in PW Children’s Bookshelf yesterday:

Stacy Whitman at Lee & Low Books bought North American rights to Tankborn by Karen Sandler, for publication in fall 2011 as part of the Tu Books imprint launch list. The dystopian YA title is about best friends Kayla and Mishalla, genetically engineered slaves on the planet Loka, whose developing friendships with higher-status boys lead them to question the strict caste system of their world. Sandler has written more than 17 adult romance titles; this is her first YA. Lindsay Ribar and Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates brokered the deal.

I’m SO EXCITED. The lineup for Tu for Fall 2011 is going to be awesome. We’ve got a YA paranormal thriller (I call it Burn Notice with werewolves), a middle grade space adventure (Olympics in space), and a YA dystopian with two main characters you’re going to love. As time goes on, I’ll be able to tell you more about Wolf Mark, Galaxy Games, and Tankborn; for now, the teasers will have to suffice!

Speaking of which, as I said, I’m in the midst of an edit that I’m trying to get back to the author before I leave for the weekend. Have a good one!

Save Shannon Hale’s life

Via Rick Walton:

If you are the highest bidder, Shannon Hale will rave about you on her blog, describing in great detail how you saved her life several times.

All money goes to buy books for kids who need them.

To bid and to have Shannon put in writing that she is forever in your debt, go to Writing for Charity.

Or you can be murdered by Dan Wells. In his book of course.

Online bidding ends Friday night.

New seminar: Worldbuilding in MG/YA science fiction and fantasy

I have a confirmed date, time, and place for our next local seminar on writing fantasy for children and young adults. This time we’re going to focus specifically on worldbuilding–how it’s different for younger audiences (and how it’s the same as worldbuilding you might hear about in adult books), how to really hit the right tone with the audience you’re seeking to reach, how to use key details to flesh out your setting, how to use worldbuilding to create character, support the plot, and make your world come alive!

Here’s the skinny:

Provo Library, Provo, UT
Bullock Room 309
1-5 p.m.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Deadline: June 19

Cost: $45 for individuals (the increase in price is because I reserved the room for another hour, so we have plenty of time to workshop)
$35 for groups of five or more (make sure when you register to tell me who is in your group, or at least tell me who the “group leader” is)

We’ve got a bigger room this time, so be sure to tell your friends and anyone who might be interested–instead of being limited to 24 people, we can have 30-40 (I won’t want to get bigger than that, because we want to have a good number of people who want to workshop to be able to read).

On the day of the seminar, be sure to bring a sample from your current work in progress. It does not have to be the first chapter! Whatever section you think is the best representative of your worldbuilding and/or that you want the most help in creating a sense of worldbuilding: that’s the section to bring.

As with the previous seminar, we’ll start with me lecturing a little, giving you information on the topic and plenty of examples from great books. Then we’ll start workshopping! You don’t *have* to share your own work, but you’ll get a professional editor’s opinion on how you might improve a particular aspect of your story, and great feedback from all the rest of the people in the class, too.

My intern will be helping me with registration, so the directions for registration are a little different this time. As before, if you want to pay via PayPal, send the payment to me at stacylwhitman AT gmail DOT com, but then send an email to Chersti at cjstapley AT gmail DOT com, giving her the following information:

Phone number
The one thing you’re most hoping to learn about from this class (this helps me to gauge the learning levels of everyone in the class so I can tailor the seminar to the people who are attending)

Note that my email is down, so I won’t be able to answer any questions today until it comes back up. But Chersti will confirm registration, and once I receive the payment I’ll notify her and she’ll keep track of who has paid, confirming with you that we got your payment.

Also, watch that deadline! If I don’t have enough registrants (I need at least 10 people registered to make it worth the room rental), we’ll cancel. But I don’t think we need to worry about that–just a head’s-up to let you know that we need at least a certain number of registrants for it to happen. We’ll have plenty of room for everyone, but you’ll want to register early so that I know you’re coming.

New class planned for early June, more local events

I don’t have a date pinned down yet, but I’m planning to do another community seminar in early June: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction for Children and Young Adults. Writing fantasy and SF for children and YA is different than writing it for adults because of that added children’s/YA component: it’s a whole different readership and market that you’re writing for. So we’ll talk about how important worldbuilding is, how to use concrete details to create a world without bogging down your prose, and a number of related topics. This will be a more nitty-gritty, in-depth kind of seminar compared to the last one, but we’ll build on the format of talking first of principles, looking at examples, and then workshopping with each class member’s work in progress, so be thinking about the sample you want the most worldbuilding help with (or perhaps better put as your *best* worldbuilding example, so we can discuss both what you’re doing right–which will help your classmates–and where you might be able to improve).

Come prepared for an afternoon of lots of tips and the give and take of constructive feedback. Plan on it costing $45 for individuals or $35 each for groups of 5 or more–I’ll give you a link and more information when I pin down a date and time. I’ll also be handing out handouts for it at Conduit next weekend, so if you’ll be heading to that convention and want to get a group together, you can hand me your registration forms and payment right there at the con.

I’ll post here and on my Seminars page when I’ve pinned down a firm date, hopefully sometime in the next week or so.

Also, don’t forget that the Provo Children’s Book Festival is this Saturday from 11 to 4 down at the Provo Public Library. The Utah children’s writer community is quite large, so look for Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, Jessica Day George, Nate Hale, Mette Harrison, Aprilynne Pike, Ann Dee Ellis, Emily Wing Smith, Will Terry, Ann Cannon, Carol Lynch Williams, James Dashner… the list goes on and on.

Which reminds me that I need to remember to take my copy of Rapunzel’s Revenge with me to get it signed!

Speaking of Carol Lynch Williams, her new book, The Chosen One, is out today. I was just at the local B&N (okay, it’s been a few hours now) and got to hear her read from it. Intriguing, and I can’t wait to read it. It’s about a girl in a polygamous colony who is told that she must marry her uncle. Carol has some great blurbs from some really great authors–Meg Cabot, Gregory Macguire, Cynthia Kadohata, Kathi Appelt… and some great reviews. You also might know Carol from BYU Writing for Young Readers, which she runs with the inestimable Cheri Earl.

So, to sum up: Provo Children’s Book Festival this Saturday! Conduit next weekend–Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 22-24! Worldbuilding class coming sometime in June! See you then! I’m out, and taking all my exclamation points with me!

(Good night.)

A couple good causes

I grew up in relative poverty. Relative, because it’s only poverty here in the US, not compared to the places in the world where every day is a struggle to subsist, to have shelter, to have all the basic necessities of life.  I grew up on a farm, so we had plenty of food from our huge garden, and we gleaned neighbors’ fields for animal feed and helped my dad cut neighbors’ dead trees down for firewood to heat the house. Poverty for us just meant free lunches at school and not ever having the latest album or style or being able to afford anything we didn’t go out and earn the money for ourselves. It never meant that we didn’t have a place to sleep, or food to eat, or running water.

But I feel a personal connection to the programs below, programs that are doing good in this world even when so much seems to be going wrong. Here are a few places that you can be a part of that, in as small or large a way as you wish.

My friend Brandon Sanderson, who is writing the last book of the Wheel of Time series, is offering the chance to get your name in the book. He is auctioning off the privilege as a benefit for Heifer International, a wonderful organization that assists people in developing countries with sustainable help–a cow, for example (hence the "heifer" in Heifer Intl.). Links and more information on the charity auction and other fun stuff, like getting to be a part of the Last Battle, can be found at

or at

Also, like I said, I’ve found a lot of great things on Twitter, and one of them is that actor and educator LeVar Burton twitters! I love him as much for Reading Rainbow and his advocacy for literacy as I ever did for Geordie LaForge (which is muchly). He’s the source where I heard of this next charity–or rather, challenge: the Small Things Challenge, which is sponsored by Intel and benefits Kiva Loans, a microfinance organization that loans small amounts to people in similar areas that Heifer serves. Those microloans can buy a sheep, materials for a textile business, or any number of things that will help jumpstart the micro-economy, thereby hopefully having a ripple effect on the greater economy. These loans are paid back–but even if they weren’t, as little as a few dollars can make such a difference. Save the Children is another option to donate through.

Note that on the Small Things site, every time you visit you can click on "donate 5 cents" and Intel will donate another five cents. It’s not much, but the idea is that through small things, great things come to pass.

They’ve got a great video, too–check it out:

Things are tight for everyone–don’t I know it! Sometimes I wonder just how I’m going to pay the rent and the electricity in the same month, because when you’re just starting out as a freelancer, things can be tight. But even if I can’t afford to give now, I can save $5 from my next check and not have hot chocolate for a few days (yikes! but I can do it :D).