Book Review: Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine

Right after her wonderful novel Ella Enchanted came out, my daughters and I were lucky enough to meet the author, Gail Carson Levine, at the New York is Book Country Festival.  My girls got their book signed, posed for a picture with the author, and truly felt as if they had met a star.  I felt that way too, because Carson Levine is obviously a very kind, as well as talented person.

Now, a few years later, I’m the author of my own YA novel, and I was asked by the fab independent bookstore Aaron’s Books in Lititz to teach a writing workshop to teens during the bookstore’s exciting Kid Lit Festival, which they just held last weekend.  Of course I went to the library to do a little preliminary research. Imagine my delight when I found on the shelves Carson Levine’s Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly (Collins, 2006). This is a wonderful book for kids who are interested in learning how to write fiction.  Carson Levine’s warm and witty voice comes through on every page, gently guiding young writers to explore different aspects of writing, and ending each chapter with the positive message: “Save what you wrote” because everything that you do write has value.

Short chapters cover things like voice, getting started, getting unstuck, creating tension, humor.  And each chapter has a bunch of enjoyable exercises that will send young writers off creating over and over again.  The use of examples from her own literary struggles, and a good sprinkling of magical elements inspired by her own fiction, lighten the tone and make the reader feel as if she is sitting at the workshop table with the author, having some inspiring fun.

I think that this would make the perfect gift for the young writers in your life, whether they are in elementary school or high school.  And for us slightly older kids, well, the energy in these pages feels infectious, reconnecting you with the joy and wonder of creating.  Definitely check this one out. Magic!

 

Where I’m Gonna Be When: Author Appearance Schedule

Hey gang,

Well, since I’m STILL having some website issues, and haven’t been able to update my site for like 2 months (!), I thought I could at least post my appearance schedule here. If you are nearby one of these events, come and say hey!


Marie Lamba’s Upcoming Appearances:

May 9th,
morning appearance and signing with Girl Scouts in Lansdale, PA. Yeah teen scouts!

May 16th, 2-4 p.m. booksigning at The University of Pennsylvania Bookstore (Barnes and Noble), 3601 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Coincides with alumni day…and Marie’s 25th Penn reunion.  For more info call 215-898-7595.

June 4th, 3:30-5:30 p.m., booksigning at The Summer Library Fest, held at Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library, 1001 Powell St., Norristown, PA.

June 14th, 1-5 p.m. Booksigning and chatting with 70 authors at Books in New Jersey literary festival, held at Paramus Public Library, E116 Century Road, Paramus, NJ. Sponsored by Bergen County Cooperative Library System and Paramus Public Library.

June 20th, 1-3 p.m. The fabulous Philly Liar’s Club will be throwing its second “Truth Tour” event, and you are invited. “Liars Tell the Truth about Clinton Books” is a party at Clinton Books, 33 Main St., Clinton, NJ, featuring fab giveaways, Truth or Lie games, and these Liars Club authors: Marie Lamba, Jonathan Maberry, Keith Strunk, Gregory Frost, Jon McGoran (who writes as D.H. Dublin), Dennis Tafoya and Don Lafferty. There will be laughs, mayhem, booksignings, and this party is free! You can call the bookstore at 908-735-8811 for more info or to reserve a copy of an author’s book.

July  10th-12th, time TBA, Marie will be appearing at the Chestnut Hill Book Fest, in Chestnut Hill, PA, with a bunch of her wacky Philly Liars Club author buds. There’ll be yakking and booksignings. Stay tuned for details.

July 25th, 3-5 p.m., “Liars Tell the Truth about Between Books,” the Philly Liars Club throws another wild and wooly party for independent bookstores. This time we’ll be at Between Books, 2703 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE. This free party will have great giveaways, Truth or Lie games, and these wacky writers: Marie Lamba, Jonathan Maberry, Keith Strunk, Kelly Simmons, Merry Jones, Gregory Frost, Dennis Tafoya, Don Lafferty.

July 30th, 7-8 p.m., South Brunswick Public Library, 110 Kingston Lane, Monmouth Junction, NJ. Marie will be giving a special talk, sharing how she makes her books come to life, and answering questions from you. This will be followed by a book sale and signing. The event is free and open to the public. For more info call the library at 732-329-4000.

August 14th, 6-8 p.m., “Liars Tell the Truth about Aaron’s Books.”  The Philly Liars Club “Truth Tour” continues!  This time we are throwing a party for wonderful indie bookstore Aaron’s Books43 S. Broad St., Lititz, PA. This exciting event, which is free and open to all, will have fab giveaways, “Truth or Lie” games and mayhem/booksignings with a host of Liars Club writers: Marie Lamba, Jon McGoran (aka D.H. Dublin), Keith Strunk, Don Lafferty, Jonathan Maberry, Merry Jones, Gregory Frost, and Dennis Tafoya. The par-tay occurs during the town’s Second Friday Celebration. Contact the store for details at 717-627-1990. Don’t miss the action…

October 9th, 7:30 p.m., “Meet the Authors,” night at Indian Valley Public Library, PA. Co-hosted by the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce and wonderful indie bookstore Harleysville Books. This free evening will include author talks and booksignings. Details, including other featured authors, coming soon.

October 18th, 1-3 p.m., Senior Scout Workshop and Booksigning, Cherry Hill, NJ.

November 7th, noon-3 p.m., The Philly Liars Club will be throwing a very special “Liars Tell the Truth about Womrath’s Bookstore” held at Womrath’s Bookstore, 12 Washington Street, Tenafly, NJ.  It’s in celebration of this store’s 60th anniversary. The festivities are free and everyone is welcome to come enjoy our “Truth or Lie” games, great giveaways, and chillin with the writers, who will be signing their books: Marie Lamba, Dennis Tafoya, Jon McGoran (aka D.H. Dublin), Ed Pettit, Keith Strunk, Gregory Frost, Jonathan Maberry, Merry Jones, Kelly Simmons, William Lashner, and Don Lafferty.