Just picked these up

zombies and star wars!

zombies and star wars!

How did I not know there was a Star Wars zombie series??? And I the Walter Dean Myers book, so WDM can sign it at our presentation in March.

Sooooo, the next two weeks are supposed to be interesting.


Brain Overload…Need Shock Therapy

New story is out doing its thing in Agent Land.
150+ essays are sprawled in front of me awaiting the mighty blue pen.
Newer book proposal is coming together too slowly.

I need another run through fire and electrical wires in a big way.
This Friday’s night race through the woods will have to do for now.
Until then, this photo is my happy place.

cough, cough, hack!

I don’t know why my tongue is sticking out.

Upcoming Book Festival

Just signed on to present at the 2013 Festival of Words in Middletown, Delaware on March 9. The keynote speaker is Walter Dean Myers! I’m stoked. He was one of my biggest inspirations for writing guy books, so I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’ll post more details when we get closer.

Fakie –sold out

Arg. Fakie is sold out again. I’ve contacted the publisher to get more shipped.
I have a short-term solution at my website if you are interested.
I apologize for the inconvenience.

A Picture is Worth a …Movie Script

"Last Kiss" by Mo Gelber
This photo by Mo Gelber was a finalist in a contest sponsored by Ron Howard. The winner wins a movie based on the photo. Unfortunately, Gelber announced on facebook an hour ago that his photo was not chosen.

But, wow! What a cool idea to base a whole movie on one instant caught in a snapshot.

When I was an editor on my college newspaper, we did a similar ritual for the April Fools’ edition. Chuck, the photo editor, had access to all photos that had ever appeared in the newspaper. Note: this was in the days of film photography. Chuck dropped a stack of black and white 8x10s on a table, and we spent an hour or so sorting through them to find inspiration for fake news stories. (We only did that for the April Fools’ edition, I swear.) I chose a close-up photo of a line of policemen in full riot gear and wrote a little article about how the university had hired tuition cops to torture students into paying their debts.

Flashing forward many years, writing about photos is still a powerful way to unlock a story. In my high school literature class, I show photos from the news as the starting point for discussion as well as grammar and writing assignments. As a writer, I take a ridiculous amount of photos, sometimes of the most mundane things, in order to get a mood right for a future story. If I don’t have a camera with me, I pull a Cam Jansen and record it the best I can in my head and write it down later. That brief moment can be the spark that any writer needs to creating a masterpiece.

Mo, your photo is amazing. Thanks for being an inspiration.

Best Teen Novels

NPR released their “100 Best-Ever Teen Books” list yesterday. 75,000 people voted on the choices. So, if you are looking for your next YA read, check these out.

The result is a good list with a nice mix of classics and newer books. I’ve read quite a few of these, but I have a lot more that I want to. With school gearing up again, I’m adding these to my list of books to read next summer.

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

Deadline Approaching…Kitten Not Helping

Three days ’til I need to have revisions completed on project 1. And we are kitten sitting for friends.

Mind’s Eye

My mom-mom turned 96 this week.

A lifetime of doing crossword puzzles, reading, and independence has kept her mind sharp.

Her eyes, though, weren’t so lucky. She has macular degeneration, and maybe 5 years ago, she had her first cornea transplant in one eye. And that’s when things got wacky.

Mom-mom started seeing people
And old buildings
And plants.

When we drove her through town, she asked us why they put all the old buildings back up. Then she asked, “Why are the men were wearing suits and derbies. Is there a parade?” Even sitting by ourselves in her house she leaned in close to whisper, “What do they want? They just stand there all the time.”

OK, I thought to myself, Grandma’s had a good run , but now she’s lost it. To make it even more frustrating, she’d weave the hallucinations into reality. She’d walk around a man she saw to get orange juice from the fridge. Yet if I asked her about the people, she told me: “They aren’t really here, but I see them just the same.” Therefore, She couldn’t have lost it, if she could tell the difference between the hallucinations and reality. But something weird was going on. And weird things make me obsess over them until I can find an explanation—even if that explanation is equally weird.

Doctors did scans, and tests, and blood work. They found nothing.

So I’m thinking: Mom-mom has reached that stage where she’d seeing things like they used to be.
Unfortunately, Millsboro has never had buildings larger than three stories, and she was seeing sky scrapers. So that wasn’t it. And one time she told me she couldn’t eat her cereal because there was a huge tree growing in her bowl. She definitely didn’t have that growing up.

So next I’m thinking: Could they be spirits trying to comfort her? Could they be her deceased relatives here to escort her off to a better place? But she told me the people never spoke to her or acknowledged her at all. They just stood around all the time. That’s not comforting; that’s stalking. And spirits would have better things to do.

I’ve watched my share of movies like Blink, where the eye retains some of what the previous owner saw. And this weirdness started when she received the cornea transplant. So now I’m thinking: What if these are the former cornea owner’s memories. Except for the tree in the cereal bowl, that could work. After six months or so, Mom-mom’s eye rejected the cornea, and she had to get a replacement. The buildings and 1920’s people were gone.

But then she got another cornea transplant, and now she sees children. Children climbing on her furniture and coming through secret passages in the wall. And when I went to visit her an hour ago, she saw kids running up and down the empty hall.

I was perfectly happy to accept the Blink theory of eye image retention, until my in-laws handed me an article two days ago about Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Apparently people have been diagnosed with this craziness since 1780, yet none of our doctors had heard of it.

I feel a sense of closure knowing this condition has been recognized for a couple centuries. However, I’m still going to obsess over why the visions changed with the cornea.