Monday, October 24, 2011

Wild Rose's Weaving Book Bday and Giveaway!

It's been a busy month for cabinet members, and we haven't even finished it yet! Ginger Churchill, author of the hilarious Carmen's Sticky Scab, is to be congratulated on the release of her latest picture book Wild Rose's Weaving. Yay Ginger!

With one peek inside this book you find yourself transported to a world full of wind and color, creation and inspiration. In fact, a world where any of us would love to live! A four star review on City Book Review puts it well: "Wong’s watercolor illustrations and Churchill’s touching story charmingly convey the common misunderstandings between old and young—and the places where they can come together to share adventure and imagination."

Since I'm the 'old' in our family scenario, I'm excited to share with my daughter my newfound love of all things yarn. I even made her a little purse, using yarn scraps from our local recycle center and a child's crafting loom:

There's not much to it, and the idea for it isn't even original. But I can personally attest to the wonderful feeling of discovering creation through weaving. And, since my daughter's showing an interest in weaving as well, I'm scheming to give her a copy of Wild Rose's Weaving for Christmas, along with some new yarns. If you've got a little weaver in your life, or an older weaver, too, you might do the same!

To win a free copy of this lovely new picture book, just enter your name in the comments, and tell us how you've spread the word or if you've followed us. We'll do a drawing of all the names (extra entries for each blog post, facebook mention, etc.) on Tuesday, Nov. 8th, and some lucky soul will get a copy signed by Ginger! As an added bonus, if we can add ten followers to the blog (making a total of 80) we'll do a second drawing and give away a copy of Carmen's Sticky Scab!

Best of luck, everbody!

Monday, October 17, 2011

And the Winner is . . .

Jennifer! (Click on her name to find out more about her and her own blog. And look, I am so excited that I wantonly threw in an exclamation point.)

Jennifer has won the first three books in the HUSH, HUSH series by the Cabinet's very own Becca Fitzpatrick. Signed, naturally. Just as soon as Becca returns home on the 29th from her tour of the UK.

I personally had a wonderful time at Becca's panel yesterday at the Wellesley Free Library in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It is amazing to see this girl (I don't care how old you are, Becca, as long as you are ten years younger than me you are a girl. Also because I was once mistaken for your mother) . . . to see this girl rock the world of YA lit. And not just with her books, but with her wonderful personality and ease with readers. She is articulate, she is funny, and she is seriously beautiful. Besides the fact that she can write.

If we weren't friends, I might have to dislike her on principle.

Jennifer, please email me at laurawriter(dot)ymail(dot)com so we can ship your winnings. And also, because it appears you, too, live in Massachusetts and having moved here only two months ago I could seriously use some friends. Who have four kids. And write. I think it's meant to be (I say brightly, and not at all in a stalker-like fashion).

But this, gentle readers, is only the beginning of another fabulous week at our Curious Cabinet. Because tomorrow is release day for our very own Ginger Churchill's second picture book, WILD ROSE'S WEAVING. There may be another giveaway on the horizon. At the very least there will be cake.

And possibly a discussion about scabs and sharks. You never know what curious things will pop up around here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Online Writing Class Review and Recommendations

Over the years I’ve taken a lot of online writing classes and I highly recommend them. However it’s important for a writer to take classes that work with and, at the same time, challenge their skill level.

Here’s a quick overview of a few online writing classes which I’ve taken and my thoughts on who might most benefit from them.  This is only a small sampling of the classes available. All these writing sites have been established for quite a number of years.

  1. Coffee House for Writers.  Classes for beginner to intermediate skill level. 2-day mini-workshops and longer 4 and 5-week workshops. Experienced teachers.  Good interaction with teachers. The amount of interaction with fellow students depends on the students themselves, can range to from none to moderate camaraderie. Great classes for writers who want to improve specific aspects of their writing or simply need a kick start. The variety of classes is somewhat limited, but fun.

  1. Writers College. Classes for beginner to intermediate skill levels (some of the classes appear to be advanced, however they do not require as much experience as other classes I’ll mention later in this post).  4 to 6 week classes.  Interaction level with teachers is good, but can vary. Writers College has some amazing teachers who have been there a long time and others who are less experienced.  Student interaction depends on the students in the class, can range from none to moderate camaraderie. Great classes for writers looking focus on a specific topic. Writers College has a large selection of classes, some of which are quite unique.

  1. Writing In Depth with Caleb Warnock. Classes for beginners to advanced skill level. Small groups, private 8-week classes. Moderate prices.  Interaction level between both students and teacher is high. Great classes for writers wanting to take the step from dreaming about writing to becoming a professional. Limited selection classes, with some flexibility.  Specialty classes sometimes available. This link has information on Caleb Warnock, his experience, success stories, upcoming classes and links to more information. for an example of Caleb’s successful teaching style, listen to this 3-first-page-critique

  1. WriterUniv. Com. Classes for intermediate to advanced writers. These classes may be helpful for intermediate writers, but are best for those with pro-level skills.  2-4 week duration. Fast pace, challenging classes with lots of reading and homework. Experienced teachers. Student interaction is friendly, but minimal. Interaction with teacher is exceptional. Class topics are advanced and great for working on specific writing issues or for developing general skills. The amount a student gets out of these classes is directly related to the time put into reading the teachers comments on other students’ homework--and classes are large. Their website is a bit lacking, but the classes aren’t  For more information:

Have you taken any online classes? Any recommends or problems? Any questions?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Birthday, SILENCE! (Want to win three books?)

I really wanted to use multiple exclamation points in the title, but I was haunted by the voice of my former writing teacher whispering that I'm only allowed three exclamation points. In my life. Ever. So one it is--but what better way to use one-third of my exclamation point lifetime allowance than in celebrating book release day for our fellow blogger, Becca Fitzpatrick.

Today is SILENCE day. The day fans of Becca's HUSH, HUSH series have been waiting for since the moment they closed the last page of the second book, CRESCENDO. The book that takes the tension of Patch (the best bad guy I've ever wished I dated) and Nora (the control-freak who loves being reckless with Patch) and throws one almighty wrench into the works. (Okay, maybe it's more like five or six wrenches but I'm telling you--that first one is a doozy.)

Here's a link to Becca's website where you can read all about her books and the exciting news about what she's working on now. Her tour schedule is also on her website, so check it out and see if she's coming somewhere near you.If you're a fan, you've probably already discovered Fallen Archangel, the official fansite for the series And if you're not (yet) a fan--well, let us change that for you.

For our own celebration right here at Cabinet of Curiosities, we're giving away the first three books in Becca's series: HUSH, HUSH; CRESCENDO; and SILENCE. Donated by our friend the author and signed by her as well. That's right--three signed books.

Want in? Here are the guidlines.

1. Do one of the following: become of follower of Cabinet of Curiosites; write a blog post announcing the giveaway and link to our site; or link to our site via Facebook or Twitter.

2. Leave us a comment with your name and a link to whichever of the above you've done.

3. Be patient: the contest will run through midnight Saturday, October 15. Because on Sunday, October 16th, I will be seeing Becca at a reading in Wellesley, Massachusetts and I'm going to let her draw the winner.

4. Be a little more patient, because once the winner is announced, it will take at least two weeks to get your books due to Becca's extreme popularity and the fact that she is currently on a month-long tour of the U.S., Canada, and the UK. When she returns home on October 29th, she will sign and send the books to the winner.

It's hard for me to believe that two years ago Ginger Churchill and I drove to Colorado to surprise Becca at the launch party for her first book. It's even harder to believe that three and half years ago she had nearly reached the end of her rope with agents asking for rewrites and then turning her down after. Becca is my shining example that life can change almost instantly--for the better. (I am, trust me, well aware that life can instantly change for the worse.)

Becca, I adore you and all of us at Cabinet of Curiosities have only one complaint about your success--when will you have time for a writers' retreat?!

(Ha, used up my second exclamation point. I'll have to be cautious with my last one.)