True Enough


New Website Address for Danette Haworth!

Hello all!

Somehow, my dot com domain name got swiped a few weeks ago. I'm trying to get the dot com address back, but now Danette Haworth is dot net website!

Yay! I'm back online!

Marine Fish, Materiel? Material? A Former Technical Writer Investigates

So I just read an article that stated the inhabitants of old Scotland probably had as the mainstay of their diet meat and marine fish. What? asks I. Aren't all fish marine, as in, "of the water?"

Then technical writer DH appeared on my shoulder. "Remember materiel," she whispered in my ear.

How well I do remember materiel. On my first day as a technical writer--while still a student!--my boss plopped a 500 page technical report from the Army. "Edit this," he said.

I stared at that technical ream of paper in fear. What did I know of Army things? "This is what you're going to school for. You can do this," one of my inside voices said. I picked up my red pen and started reading. (In later months, I would switch to #2 pencil--the red pen made me feel as if I were yelling.)

A few pages in, I came across the word "materiel." My hand swiped up, my wrist cocked, but I held my fire. I knew only the material on my back or the materials needed for an art project, but this was a brave new world I was entering--a world wherein "materiel" might be a word. I cracked open my new Merriam-Webster and found materiel somewhere after material but before mateship. Glad was I, having harkened the internal editor, and gladder still for not having made an embarrassing edit on my first day.

Not all fish are marine fish; marine fish are saltwater fish, as opposed to fresh water fish. I will rest easy tonight with this new knowledge.

Website Down, The Mouse, and School Visits

Hello all! It's another dreary day here in the Sunshine State. I like to tell people we have only two seasons: hot, and hot and rainy. Do not visit THE MOUSE in summer! You'll likely be drenched to the bone, then frozen by the AC. (That's when they swap you out for an aminatron, ala Stepford Wives). And when it's not raining, the heat and the humidity will press you right down to a smear on the concrete, which The Mouse's minions will wipe up and dispose of before anyone notices you're missing.

Now to the subject at hand: My website is down. This is a problem for me because I wanted to update my school visit schedule. Because I don't know how soon the site will be back up, I wanted to let you know I have begun to book visits for next school year. Twenty-minute Skype visits are free to groups who've read my work. If you'd like me to visit in person, I have a variety of presentations and I also provide writing workshops for students who want to polish or publish their work.

If you're interested in having me visit, send me a message! My email address is dhaworthbooks at yahoo dot com.

Anna M. from London wins A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY!

Goodreads has selected Anna M. from London to receive a free, signed hardcover of my fourth novel, A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY!


The contest ran for only two and half weeks, yet garnered almost eight hundred entries--thank you so much to all who participated.

Anna, A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY is coming your way!

Flash Fiction Contest with Prizes and Critiques!

You don't even have to be female to enter the WOW! Spring 2014 Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by WOW! Women on Writing--you just have to write your best 750 words or less and pay a ten dollar entry fee (additional ten dollars for critique).

I've entered several of their contests, placed and not placed, and I highly recommend not only the contest, but the website itself. When I started writing seriously in 2007, I discovered Wow! Women on Writing,and I felt I'd found friends, people to whom I could learn from and whose words encouraged me.

If you've never visited their site, you've got a lot of good stuff waiting for you. Check out current articles and contests, and don't forget to pore through the archives. This is the kind of website that makes you feel as though you are in the company of friends.

Good luck, and have a great day!

A Whole Lot of Lucky: Behind the scenes look at title development

Titles--heartache city! The title must do everything a synopsis or query does: grab the reader, provide a summary, and hint at the action yet to come. A lot of time goes into working up a good title, and it's not just the author's work, either. The editor, the editor's coworkers, and sales and marketing all have their say; everyone's input must be considered.

Titles cooked up and rejected for A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY:

  • Two Flavors of Lucky
  • The Year of My Magnificent Luckiness
  • Three Million Dollar Girl
  • The Duplicitous Luckiness of Hailee Richardson
  • Serendippitydoo
  • Lucky Me
  • Impossibly Possibly Lucky
  • Hailee Richardson, Girl Millionaire
My editor and I brainstormed pages of titles and promptly rejected most of them. The problem lies in the word "lucky:" phrases involving "getting lucky" are imbued with the wrong kind of nuance! Also, we wanted to avoid words like jackpot or other buzzwords that are too close too gambling. (This was hard, because even the buying of a lottery ticket is gambling.)

My sister suggested "A Whole Lotto Lucky," and the powers that be loved her suggestion! With a bit of morphing, my sister's words became A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY.

Now you can try your luck without all the heartache my editor and I went through! For a free, signed hardcover of A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY, just enter the Goodreads contest!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Whole Lot of Lucky by Danette Haworth

A Whole Lot of Lucky

by Danette Haworth

Giveaway ends March 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Be Lucky--Win a Free Book!

If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough. 

This month, everyone has the chance to be lucky! 
Win a Free hardcover of A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY! 

Kirkus Reviews pinned a nice, big, blue star on A Whole Lot of Lucky, so what are you waiting around here for? Enter now at Goodreads!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Whole Lot of Lucky by Danette Haworth

A Whole Lot of Lucky

by Danette Haworth

Giveaway ends March 31, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Your Friend is Grieving. What Should You Say? How Do You Comfort Them?

So many of us are grieving the death of someone close to us.

Grief comes in waves, receding, then roaring back to engulf us and batter us till we feel the tide might take us out and we will never return. It's not wrong to grieve. When recounting the scene of Jesus approaching the burial site of his good friend Lazarus, John tells us simply, "Jesus wept" (11:35). Jesus wept. It's the shortest verse in the Bible and it needs no explanation. I'm thinking today of my family and the family of John Wilbanks. I'm thinking of Rodney Wilbanks and his sister and brothers. I'm thinking of my daughter, Brooke Haworth, for whom the loss has hit hard. My mom, whose grief is a weight pressing down on her.

I am thinking of my close friend, Sima Taylor, her wonderful brother, Mohammad Mojdehi, whom she was so close to. I'm thinking of her daughter and her husband, Peter.

I am thinking of my own brother who died too early, and whose death brings daily grief to me.

I am thinking of Shannon Hitchcock and all the friends of Cynthia Chapman Willis, who recently succumbed to lung cancer.

God knows your grief and he cares about you.

This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you (2 Kings 20:5).

You have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in your bottle and counted each of them (David, writing in anguish. Psalm 56:8, Contemporary English Version).

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain (Revelation 21:4).

Some of our friends who didn't know the one we grieve don't know how to handle the new, sorrowful version of us. If you are one of our friends, here is what you should say: "I'm sorry." or "I'm so very sorry." or "I'm sorry and I am thinking and praying for you." You can even say, "I don't know what to say."

Send a card to your friend's home. Write some version of the words above. Send flowers to the funeral home, if you are moved to do so. If not, that's okay, but the very least you can do is send a card. Your friend is in a very hard place right now, and though a card seems an impossibly frail comfort, it actually lends a great deal of comfort.

If you live near your friend, bring a meal or two over. Make cookies or banana bread or muffins--breakfast and easy snack items are generally overlooked but would be welcomed by the family.

If you can alleviate your friend of certain chores, do so. Can you pick up the kids? Take them to practice? Mow the lawn? Babysit while your friend conducts death errands?

Kids are in pain, too. Offer comfort to them as well.

Hug your friend.

If you have sweet or funny anecdotes about the person they're grieving, share those stories. They mean so much. Hand write the story even if you've told them, and send it to them in the mail. They will keep it forever.

Let your friend talk about that person when they need to. If they suddenly need a topic change, allow it. Don't be hurt. Grief works in swells; your friend needs to talk but also to be free to escape the swell. Let them.

Acknowledging your friend's pain tells them that you care about them; their pain is valid; you care that they are in pain; the person they are grieving for was valuable. I encourage you to not be afraid of your friend who is hurting. If you don't know what to say or do, I hope you find the words above helpful. Your friend is in an extremely vulnerable place right now. Rise above your discomfort and help them; however, a few things can actually hurt your friend, so be wise, choose your words and actions carefully:

Do not avoid your friend. Their sorrow makes you uncomfortable; your avoidance makes them feel that you do not care about them; you don't think their grief is important; you don't recognize the value of the person they grieve.

Do not offer platitudes. "It was God's timing," "You can still talk to him; he's watching you from heaven!" "He's in a better place now." These are throwaway lines. They have no power and they do not help.

Do not interrogate your friend on the details of the death. If your friend doesn't mention the cause of death, you don't need that information. When or if your friend wants to share that with you they will.

Do not mention and then launch into your own grief story. Your friend is suffering NOW. Be selfless and pay attention to their grief. This is not the time for you to claim your crown of grief. This is your friend's time. Let them have it.

 I hope anyone grieving has found some words of comfort in this post. And if you are a friend of someone grieving, I really do hope you've found this post helpful. Many people don't know what to do when their friend suffers a loss; the best thing you can do is to be there in simple, quiet ways.

T'Kaiyah's Video Review of The Summer of Moonlight Secrets

T'Kaiyah, I discovered your video recently and loved it so much, I had to share it!

The Deceit of Weather

The Deceit of Weather

O weather, you weather, thou fair weather friend--
your promise of sunshine I will never again
believe
I'm aggrieved
You betray me so.
'Twas outside sixty
and felt like snow.

Was a trick when once your ribbons unfurled
Ribbons of light and warmth that twirled
Enraptured me and made me whole
Today is gray and all are cold.

O weather, you weather, thou friend foul and fair
entrelacé your ribbons to braid in my hair.
Dash away gray and cold and the rain
Restoreth my heart and my soul once again.

The State of Sunshine

The State of Sunshine

To my friends up north
there's something you should know;
I'm sweating in the heat
while you start the snow blow.

Inside, outside, fun in the sun
but you wear your mittens
'cause it's twenty-one
below
I crow
My weather has bling.
Even when it rains,
there's a rainbow ring.

I know you've got it bad,
the wind so shrill.
I'm in O-town
and I am just chill.

So pack up your bags
and drive through the night.
Last one to leave,
turn out the light.

'Tis Eighty-Four Degrees, My Ladies

'Tis Eighty-Four Degrees

The golden yoke of our sun breaks aloud,
cleaving through wooly heads of thunder clouds.

Birds trill songs of gray winter, now gone,
our week of wintertide--degrees, fifty, or fifty-one.

Away with our mittens and cloaks, no more freeze;
still in our closets hang our tanks and capris.

Hear now my ladies, the heat--how it begs
We must to our razors, and shaveth our legs.

Blue Springs, Florida

I snapped this photo from a boardwalk overlooking the springhead at Blue Springs. More than a million gallons of water a day rush from the deep, creating this oasis--a Garden of Eden. Home to manatees during the winter, the year-round seventy-three degree water sometimes is host to upwards of two hundred manatee. Just don't call them sea cows. They hate that.


For my Sima, My Cherished Friend (Sima Taylor, March 29, 1968 - January 7, 2014)

For my Sima, my cherished friend whom we will remember today, 

Sima, I counted you a sister, a friend, and a Christian--now I count you a saint. Whether we sleep in Christ to rise with Him later or whether we are immediately with Him--I know you are in the palm of God's hand.

You are one of most gracious persons I have ever known. I know you had many, many friends, but you made me feel special. Whenever we were together, I felt you there in the moment with me. Never judged; always loved--I treasure our friendship and guard it. And my family will never forget the comfort you offered us when my brother died.

You cared about people, and they felt it. You offered warmth and hospitality. Everyone who knows you knows your kindness, and you are the woman spoken of in Proverbs 31.

I loved our conversations, and how they'd cover things from the nature of sin, to our kids, to what was happening in the world (or at the movies!). It's easy to talk to you and hard to keep track of time. I remember one lunch we had, and how I didn't really notice that the crowd in the restaurant had changed over several times and the waiter kept filling my coffee long after our food was gone. We suddenly realized it had been more than three hours and we were almost late picking up our kids!

You are beautiful, inside and out. Your eyes are like onyx. You have a pretty little laugh. You are a good friend and a safe place, and I miss you, Sima.

Sima (right) and her mom

In Which I Meet Sinbad, One of My Comedy Heroes!

Last night, I got to meet one of my comedy heroes, Sinbad!

He called me out during his bit on helping ladies with their problems after I shouted, "I cook supper. They don't eat, but later they fill up on ice cream!"

Man, is he quick! Asked me questions, flipped my answers into jokes, and solved my problem: "Don't cook for a week; if they don't notice, everybody have ice cream!"

My favorite new bit in his ninety minute set was how the butt holds it together for the rest of the body. "Your back goes out, you start falling, thinking about what bones in your body are about to break now and then the butt says, 'Hey! I got this!

"You never heard of anyone needing a butt replacement.'"

And there was so much more! He teased late comers, bantered with a very drunk audience member, and gave "advice" to different teens in the audience.

Three times I've seen Sinbad live. This was the first time I got to meet him. What an excellent night!

Alex Gets an A on Violet Raines Book Report!

I love my readers! From Shawntel:

My daughter, Alex, has just finished your book Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning. She is ten years old, eleven next month, and new to middle school. The book has helped her cope with changing schools and making new friends by understanding the motivations of the characters in your story. I want to thank you for writing a book that has made her want to read. Alex was able to identify with Violet so well, that she is struggling to find flaws in that character - it's very humorous. We have bought her dozens of chapter books in the past, but this is the first time that she has been excited to read and finish a book, on her own. I just wanted to take a moment to tell you what your writing has meant to my child. We are eager to find more of your work.

Shawntel later sent me a note saying Alex received 100% on her book report. YAY, Alex!

My Darkness Calls

MY DARKNESS CALLS

Barking dog
Woke at four

Tried to sleep,
There was no more

To the kitchen I did sneak
Orange muffins I did make

Excitement of smell, so orangey, so good
Limit to one--okay, two--I should

Yet sleep dost call, I hear it nigh
Get ready for school, goodbye, goodbye

My darkness calls
and in it, dreams

They'll wait for me,
or so it seems.

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE SCHOOL



'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE SCHOOL

’Twas the night before school and all through the house,
Not a child was Minecrafting or using a mouse.
The cell phones were plugged into chargers with care,
In hopes that new updates soon would appear.

The little ones tossed and they turned in their beds,
While visions of textbooks rattled their heads.
And Daddy with his iPad and I with my cell,
Caused the room to illume in a cool fluorescent spell.

When down through the hall, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to check on the matter.
Away to the staircase I flew like a light,
Feet skipping some stairs and down the first flight.

The glow from a sitcom beamed from the set,
Lending mass and shape to a group who now fret.
When, what did I see—I’m a tired mom grouch,
But my dog and my children, draped on the couch.

With agility of youth, so lively and quick,
They dispersed like birds, not one could I nick.
More rapid than cheetahs, not one of them lame,
I clapped and I shouted and called them by name.

“Now, Brooke! Now, Matt! Now Zach, and you, Casey!
Come on! Upstairs! Right now! Make it hasty!
To the top of the stairs! Hop in your beds!
Or I’ll give you a punishment each of you dreads!

As dry leaves crumple when stomped by a foot,
Crushed into pieces and all is kaput,
So my children were sorry, sorry to be caught.
Sorry that school was, and summer was not.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard high heel clicks,
The clipping and clopping of Old Mrs. Glicks,
My fifth grade teacher, a woman quite stern,
No extra credit, all points you must earn.

She was dressed all in black, from permed hair to gnarled toe,
Even her girdle made the unsightly not show.
A bundle of papers she crooked in her arm,
Red marks and Xs, I saw my name in alarm.

Her eyes how they pierced! Her lines were so deep!
Her cheeks were like stone; her nose was a beak!
Her tight wrinkled lips were pursed in reproof,
But the whisker on her chin stood tall and aloof.

The cap of a pen she held tight in her teeth,
Ready to grade and make children weep.
She had a thin face and veined, ropey hands,
That looked like two claws, getting ready to land.

She was skinny and knotty, a right spiteful marm,
And I shuddered when I saw her and said, “No, no—oh darn!”
A slit of her eye and a twist of her head,
Jolted my heart and turned me to lead.

She spoke not a word but went straight to her work,
Marking up papers and going berserk,
And sliding her pen on top of her ear,
And giving a nod, she then disappeared!

My body deflated, to my kids I did go,
To give them a cuddle, and tell them I know:
School can be scary and some teachers mean,
But when you come home, I’ll give you ice cream!

From Grace regarding Violet Raines

I found a wonderful note from a reader today:

My name is Gracie, and I'm 9. I just read your book Violet Raines
Almost Got Struck By Lightning and I loved it. I love your way with
words! It seemed so real and I was sad when I finished it. I think you
should make a sequel to it or make another book starring Violet. I
can't stop thinking about the book it was so good. When I grow up, I
want to be an author, too, so please tell me how you write so well.
Please write me back, you're an awesome author!!!

Thank you, Gracie! My reply has been sent!

iPod Found Poetry: "Starting at A"

"Starting at A"

 


 
 

An Ode to Lauren Fox for her book Friends Like Us

An Ode to Lauren Fox for her Book Friends Like Us

A pox! A pox!
A pox on Lauren Fox!

I read your book
I read all night
It felt so good
It felt so right.

But then the morning sun
did rise
I could barely ope
my eyes.

So a pox on you
is what I offer,
Lauren Fox
my new favorite author.

Chit Chat, Star Trek Spoilers, and More!

Hello all!

I find I post almost daily on Facebook but rarely here anymore. I think it's because Facebook is a wholesale real-time blog reader, and it's trained me to keep going back by rewarding me with quick likes and comments. I read and comment on a lot of other people's FB posts, but I don't spend much time in the blogosphere anymore.

So I bought Demetri Marin's book, POINT YOUR FACE AT THIS Drawings by Demetri Martin. If you know his comedy, it's impossible to leaf through the pages without hearing his voice narrate the pictures, droll and deadpan. Some pictures are silly, some are the kind that you think "This is amusing," but your mouth is still a straight line, and others are poignant--revealing the author's misgivings about life, fame, and other things. I like it!

My beautiful Casey is being groomed even as we speak. I dropped her off, dropped kids off, walked in the door, and automatically reached down for Casey as I came in. I'm so used to her greeting me, it's become muscle memory. But she'll be home in a couple of hours.

Once, they SHAVED her. She looked like a skeleton dog. I emphasized NO RAZOR TO BE USED ON THIS DOG!

WARNING! STAR TREK SPOILERS!
Tiny Little Spoilers Ahead!
Turn Back Now!

Okay, now that the people who haven't seen Star Trek are gone, I can tell you: Yesterday, I was thinking about STAR TREK Into Darkness, and I realized this--everyone cries. Everyone cries! Did you notice tears leaking from the eyes of all main characters? OMG! Pike cries; Kirk cries; Spock cries; Uhura cries; Bones cries; Scotty wells up. Cry babies! Pull up your bootstraps! Kirk 1.0 wouldn't be crying!

Also, I didn't like the scene near the end SPOILER where Kirk is in the radiation tube dying, and he looks at Spock and says, "I'm scared." How much more poignant it would have been had he said nothing; had his eyes and painful/sorrowful grimaces done the talking, with surprise/sorrow/pain registering in response on Spock's face. I would have liked that a lot better.

But still, STAR TREK!

That is all for now. Today I'm starting on the critiques for the upcoming SCBWI Mid-Summer Workshop, a task I truly enjoy. There is something rewarding about spotting the talent in up-and-coming writers.

Have a great day!

Get a Whole Book for less than Half a Sub!

Get a whole book for less than half a sub! A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY is on sale in the Kindle store for $2.99!


  

My Backyard, Right Now!

Casey, checking out the birdbath, chasing the wind.

In Which LUCKY is Poetic and Delightful!

Nothing buoys an author's spirit more than readers taking the time to post good things about their books. Leslie Santamaria recently reviewed A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY:

"This book is so satisfying. Hailee and her friends are realistic characters dealing with the challenges of middle school in a variety of ways. Hailee's voice rings true, and I was pulling for her the whole way, even as she made mistakes. When her family wins the lottery, she thinks her life will become full of luxury, but her parents' choices surprise and stretch her, and she makes some wrong choices that eventually help her find her way home. Haworth's tightly poetic use of language and metaphor is delightful."

Thank you, Leslie!

Skype Visit with Hunting Ridge Elementary, Illinois!

I've just wrapped up an excellent Skype visit with Mr. Jensen and students from Hunting Ridge Elementary in Illinois, where, I'm told, it's thirty-three degrees. I'm always impressed by students like these: attentive, responsive and inquisitive. Hunting Ridge students: You made my day!

They looked all nice and comfy, draped on bean bags and lying on the floor. And they'd decorated the whiteboard for me! Thank you so much, Mr. Jensen and students, for the great session!

Skype Visit with Woodland Elementary in Pennsylvania

I've just ended a Skype visit with Mr. Michaels's class at Woodland Elementary School in Pennsylvania in which we talked about ME & JACK. What an excellent group of students! The class is almost finished with the book, so I had to be careful and not spoil the ending, but we had so much still to talk about!

As an Air Force kid, I lived in Pennsylvania for three years. To this day, Pennsylvania is my favorite Air Force home. My brothers, sister, and I, and our friends spent most of our time outdoors, climbing trees or exploring the mountain. Summer nights, we played Monster--some people call it Manhunt--and winter often iced over our steep mountain road, turning it into a giant slide.

When I wrote Me & Jack, it was important to me to take the reader up the mountain, to see the grandeur of the woods, how a person can be swallowed by its bigness. I also wanted to touch on the complexities of friendships: being an outsider, being an insider, jealousy, loyalty, and the whole mix of feelings involved. Of course, the heart of the book is the relationship between Joshua (the boy) and Jack (the dog). I think even adults connect with pets on a personal level. They're happy to see us; they're our friends when we feel alone; they make us laugh and they make us feel good. My dog, Casey, sits by me as I write, so it was only natural for her to appear a couple times during the visit. (Or maybe I just think she's so cute and I want everyone to see her!)

The students had great questions, and I could tell they'd put some thought into what they had to say. Thank you, Mr. Michaels and class, for a great visit!


Orny Adams at the Improv!

So last night we were second in line to get into the Improv to see comedian Orny Adams. In this big empty room, the server led my sister and me to a table in the back. I've been waiting months for this show, I got here early, and I own all of Orny's CD/DVDs. Clearly this was not going to sit well with me.

Me: Can't we sit up front?
Server: We like to put couples up there.
Me:
Server:
Me: *Walks over to front and center table.* This is where I want to sit.

Yes, dear reader, this story has a happy ending! We got the table of my dreams and some nice seatmates. The guy across the table from me asked if it would be okay for him to check Facebook during the show. "No," I said. "Don't do it! Orny doesn't like that!" And really, it's rude to do that to anyone who is presenting. Mid-set, a woman a few tables down whipped out her phone and started texting. Orny called her out! In a nice way, of course, but he wondered aloud if she thought he wouldn't see that bright light reflecting off her face. When the show was over, our tablemate thanked us for our astute advice. In any case, Orny was excellent!