Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Thursday, May 23, 2013

You Never Forget Your First...Genie!

I’m thrilled spitless (as my grandma used to say) to have my writing buddy and inspiration, Lisa Gail Green as a guest on ye olde blog today.

Lisa’s debut YA novel, The Binding Stone is an “E” ticket (shout out to my fellow vintage Disneyland fans) ride through past and present with her kickin’ Djinn main character, Leela.

I trapped Lisa in a decorative bottle long enough to answer a few questions.

Lisa, I know you became smitten with Djinns while traipsing through the website Monstropedia. How did you find such a juicy resource?

Good question. I can't remember! LOL, the gremlin must have whispered it in my ear while I slept. Or maybe I read it on someone's blog. Or found it by Googling. Nah, it was probably the gremlin.

What is your first memory of a genie?

I guess my first genie was Jeannie (Barbara Eden).

I used to watch that show along with Bewitched every afternoon. And I wonder where my love of paranormal comes from! I remember loving her magic and how she could do anything she wanted. Of course I loved the outfit too. Trivia - did you know that she never showed her navel? It's true. 

So I guess we’ll never know if she was an inney or an outey. 

What kind of convo would go down between your Leela and Jeannie from I DREAM OF JEANNIE?
 I’m dying to know what Leela’s take on Jeannie would be.
(Playing the role of ME will be Lisa Gail Green)

Me: He he he. Jeannie wouldn't stand a chance. 
Leela: A chance of what?
Me: You know. Just that you'd win.
Leela: I do not recall Leslie asking who would win a fight. 
Jeannie: Did I hear my name?
Leela: I've seen your show. *frowns*
Jeannie: Oh! Thank you! Isn't my master handsome?
Leela: That isn't how it works. If you were true Djinn you would have killed him at your first opportunity. Since he did not truly own you.
Jeannie: Kill him? But he married me! Don't be silly. *slaps Leela's shoulder playfully*
Leela: Do not touch me.
Jeannie:  *to me* What's her problem?
Me: I'm staying out of this. 
Leela: And why do you blink when you do magic? Did one of your false eyelashes get in your eye? 
Me: Oooooh no she didn't. 
Jeannie: *in tears* You're mean.
Leela: No. I am Djinn. You are an imposter.
Me: Okay now, that's enough. *hands Jeannie a tissue* Larry Hagman was quite handsome in his day. 

I thought Astronaut Tony Nelson was a dreamboat. Another genie that has a special place in my heart is Robin Williams’ genie from Disney’s Aladdin. I’ll bet he’d have some genie gems of wisdom for Leela.

He'd tell her he hopes she finds a nice master like Aladdin. He'd probably also tell her to lighten up. He and Taj would be buds.

Genie: Excuse me. That's not what I'd say at all. 
Me: I'm sorry?
Genie: *shouts* "THAT'S NOT WHAT I’D SAY."
Leela: You are blue. 
Genie: And you are *turns into a wolf and does a wolf call* 
Leela: No. I am not a wolf. I am Djinn.
Jeannie: She thinks she's the only real genie. *crosses arms and snorts*
Genie: Ahhhh. Identity issues, eh? Been there. It's not hard when you can be anyone you want. *turns into Mickey Mouse*

Thank you, Lisa for the genie funfest.

Now everyone grab your Kindle and hop on your magic carpet with The Binding Stone
First in the Djinn Series

Praise from some cool peeps for The Binding Stone:

"Genies like you’ve never seen them, THE BINDING STONE is a wild ride of treachery and deception. For my first wish, I’d like a sequel, please." - PERSONAL DEMONS author Lisa Desrochers

"I dream of Lisa Gail Green! THE BINDING STONE is magical in so many ways. My Djinn asks for my third wish? The sequel, of course!"
-- Nancy Holder, NYT Bestselling Author, THE WOLF SPRINGS CHRONICLES

And a blurb to whet your appetite:

Tricked into slavery by the man she loved, the Djinni Leela has an eternity to regret her choices.

Awakened in the prison of her adolescent body, she finds a new master in possession of the opal that binds her. But seventeen-year-old Jered is unlike any she’s seen. His kindness makes Leela yearn to trust again, to allow herself a glimmer of hope.

Could Jered be strong enough to free her from the curse of the Binding Stone?

The Binding Stone is available for 99 cents on Friday, May 24th. Just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend. GRAB IT!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Change the Hole not the Peg - Valuing Student Artists

Today, I'm sharing a success story - my son. What his journey represents is important for all the young artists out there.

Alice in Wonderland

The lad never fit the mold of traditional education. His right brain dominance and creativity surfaced very early on. Unfortunately it didn't mesh with the left brain rigors and demands of public education.

Sadly, that disconnect tends to label artistic students as inferior to our high academic achievers.

I say malarky.

Here's a quote from my son at six years old when a classmate drew a butterfly without wings...
"That's a butter-not-fly."

Is that the insight of an inferior learner?

His wit and humor took off from there to new levels of sophistication beyond his years. He was born with perfect pitch, developed an uncanny ability to pick up instruments, and was a natural performer. No spaces on the report card for those talents.

He could never memorize his multiplication tables. That and other perceived deficiencies pegged him as an "at risk" student. 

He wrote his own plays before his classmates had mastered paragraphs.

Problematic grades in required classes that had no meaning, connection, or impact on his creative goals landed him in night school to earn his high school diploma.

He started his own improv group with friends and won awards in theatre competitions for the high school that was continually labeling him inadequate. 

What's wrong with this picture?

 Why aren't there a variety of measurements for success in our public schools? Why aren't our young artists valued on equal terms as our young scholars? Why is there such a narrow pathway for success especially in high school?

photo credit

Is there a foundational education that students need? Absolutely. But I ask you - what's more important - knowledge of the quadratic equation or balancing a checkbook? 

The commonly accepted high school expectations do not serve our student artists. Often they result in an academic pommeling out of sync with creative goals that burn students out and turn them off to continued education.

For example, why doesn't a blossoming actor study the history of theatre for their social studies requirement? Hmm, civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, and the world's political movements are reflected throughout theatre and art history. Why isn't a budding painter encouraged to read biographies of Picasso and Michelangelo to enhance their literacy? The key to student engagement is to validate and encourage their goals, talents, and dreams.

Yes, budget shortfalls enter into this discussion, but a motivated learner can follow an independent study path that doesn't require additional classes. The same teacher that would be grading a research paper on World War Two could grade a thesis about the effects of the Expressionist movement on society.

So what was the game changer for my son? How did "he who eschewed college," end up in college?

Enter Pacific Conservatory for Performing Arts - PCPA. This program is a brilliant model that combines a scholarly and practical training approach to theater. The body is fine tuned as an instrument and every academically rigorous class is relevant to the developing life of an artist.

Key word here - relevant. 

Fiddler on the Roof - PCPA

Fiddler on the Roof - PCPA

Suddenly the reluctant scholar is writing ten page college level papers on classic Greek tragedies. Not exactly light summer beach reading for a kid who just squeaked through high school. He's memorizing pages of dialog, complex dance routines, and intricate musical harmonies. 


When you match education with passion the result is success. 

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, FIDM is another college experience that nurtures the talents of artists following a path that leads to fashion and costuming arts. 

We need to make these focused opportunities available earlier in our schools, especially at the high school level so our young artists are valued and inspired to follow their talents, not discouraged.  

My son just signed his first professional acting contract. He's living the dream, but how many disillusioned talents have we lost along the way?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Writer's Voice - Moon Strings by Leslie S. Rose

“The Writer’s Voice” is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Cupid of Cupid’s Literary Connection, Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes, Monica B.W. of Love YA, and Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat.). It's based on NBC’s singing reality show The Voice, so the four hosts will serve as coaches and select projects for their teams based on queries and first pages.

I'm honored to be a participant in this wildly generous opportunity for hopeful writers to bring their stories into the light.


I offer MOON STRINGS, a YA science fiction love story, with a word count of 82,000 for your consideration. 

Everyone in fifteen-year-old Mellylora Whisper’s life is bent on forcing her into a tidy package of obligations. Her royal godparents press her to commit to a future with First-son Prince Jexa. Her military father insists she channel her science genius to aid the Echo Galaxy in their endless dance of defense against the decaying Earth. Jexa pleads with her to control her manic impulses and focus on duty.

Mellylora has a different vision. She is determined to oppose her galaxy’s directive and save the Earth, not battle it. She’s only got the summer moon cycle to be taken seriously before mounting expectations pull her under.

When Mellylora enters a tri-planetary scientific competition, hoping for a win to validate her Earth project, brilliance does not work in her favor. She attracts the eye of a high level galactic leader who is turning traitor to the Echo Galaxy. Through his network of turncoats, that includes Prince Jexa's younger brother, he blackmails Mellylora to commit her talents and loyalties to his dark purposes.

The expectations Mellylora once resented, especially the one that kept Jexa by her side, dissolve into dreams that are losing their chance to come true.

1st 250:
Mellylora Whisper wanted to see the sky one last time before she died. She flattened her body against the clear-steel of the balcony floor, limbs splayed like a starfish, straining to find any thread of blue peeking through the labyrinth of towers that sprang up between the Larkan Academy and the sea. The cold transparent metal under her cheek battled the flush spiking from her chest to her face.

The urgent-imperative signal screeched in the dorm room behind her. Mellylora’s ears throbbed as the wail sprang from her connectik communicator and bounced off each bare wall. The emergency frequency had activated the shields that slammed down over every clear-steel window, blocking her view. The only way to see the sky was through the balcony floor.

A cloudbird shot beneath her on its flight to the sea. She pressed the side of her face harder into the clear-steel until her cheekbone ached, but she was able to follow the creature’s flight through the forest of towers. There. Between the twin spires of the side-by-side government buildings, Mellylora found her sliver of sky.

The security panel above her bed showed no warning lights for fire or internal air contamination so the signal could mean only one thing. Warships from Earth that continually swarmed the Galactic Gate had breached the Echo Galaxy’s defenses. This attack had always been deemed improbable. Mellylora prayed for the day impossible would replace improbable. As the ectographic red-orange emergency aurora waved above her connectik communicator, improbable became inevitable.