Monday, June 4, 2012

GUEST BLOGGER - MINDY HARDWICK





Today I am happy to announce that I’m hosting my very first guest blogger. Mindy Hardwick is one of my fellow authors with Musa Publishing. I’ve had the pleasure of reading her book, Stained Glass Summer. Today, however, she is going to promote another one of her books, titled Weaving Magic. She’s also here to talk about her inspiration.

Mindy works with incarcerated young people. It’s an admirable endeavor, and it sounds like Mindy garners as much from it as the kids she helps. But I’ll let you decide that by stepping aside and allowing you to read it for yourself. Thanks so much for showing Mindy your support. She’s pretty awesome.



I am ushered through a series of locked doors, down a long hallway and into a unit of twelve boys who wear orange pants and t-shirts. I sit down and pull poetry books from my canvas bag. The boys ask, “Who are you? Why do you want to volunteer with us?”

I ask myself these same questions every week. Why do I volunteer with this group of kids locked in juvenile detention? I could have easily gone to a local Boys and Girls Club or YMCA and facilitated an after-school writing workshop.

I’d recently left a full-time teaching job, and I didn’t really think I was a writer. But, after I left teaching, I realized how much I missed being around teens and tweens. A good friend was working with teens in juvenile detention in Seattle through a program called Pongo Publishing. She encouraged me to seek out the detention center closest to me.

When I contacted my local juvenile detention center, the program director was thrilled to have a volunteer writer and I began running a weekly poetry workshop on Monday afternoons. Each week, I met with the teens and asked them to write poetry about their life experiences. We read poetry written by other teens and the “kids in orange” wrote from the heart about loss, addictions, and of course, love! And something began to happen to me in those poetry workshops. I began to find my voice as a writer.

I would listen to the kid’s poetry and then go back home to write.  And, slowly, a story started to form. It was a story based partially on my own experiences as a teen and a story based partially on the kids’ experiences that I was privileged to hear each week.  That story was WEAVING MAGIC.

WEAVING MAGIC Blurb:

He loves magic. She loves romance. But the biggest illusion is the one Shantel and Christopher perform together.  Sixteen- year- old Christopher fights to stay sober while fifteen-year-old Shantel struggles in the aftermath of her mother’s death and seeks refuge in a fantasy world. But the unacknowledged roots of their problems refuse to stay buried and soon, the two are headed toward a deadly magic trick. Can Shantel and Christopher move beyond magical illusions to find love?


WEAVING MAGIC is available at Amazon and MuseItUp Publishing. WEAVING MAGIC is coming soon from Barnes and Noble and the Apple Itunes Store.



The years passed, and I kept writing and running the poetry workshop.  We began to get grants, and I added young adult literature and memoirs to our workshop. I moved the workshop to be a part of the school day, and we published four books of the youths’ poetry, and then, a blog. (www.denneypoetry.com)

And, at the same time, my own writing began to take off.  Soon, I had a list of publishing credits from articles to short stories and I was teaching a lot of workshops.  In April 2011, I received the long awaited for e-mail. My young adult romance, WEAVING MAGIC, had been accepted. I finally had that elusive book contract. The following August, I received another book contract from a different publisher. My tween novel, STAINED GLASS SUMMER, had been accepted too.  Both stories are inspired by the teens in juvenile detention.

In WEAVING MAGIC, there is a scene in the book where main character Christopher sits in a juvenile detention poetry workshop and has an epiphany moment about his Father who is also in jail.  As I wrote that scene, I felt like I’d had my own epiphany moment and could finally answer the questions the kids asked of me in those early workshops.

Who am I? I am a writer.

Why do I volunteer with kids in juvenile detention? They show me how to write honestly and courageously.   

I hope you will visit the teens’ poems at www.denneypoetry.com
And stop by to visit my website at www.mindyhardwick.com or blog: www.mindyhardwick.wordpress.com


14 comments:

Mindy Hardwick said...

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog!

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

You're welcome Mindy. I'm always here to help out my fellow writers. It's helping me at the same time so we both win.

Sloane Taylor said...

Congratulations, Mindy, on supporting the kids when they need it. Your work is admirable.

Patricia said...

Wonderful interview and congratulations on your books being published. Your work sounds so very interesting and exceptionally worthwhile. I'm sure you garner a great deal of satisfaction helping out teens who are incarcerated. I admire you.
Patti

Mindy Hardwick said...

Thanks Patti. I think the kids help me more than I help them! So many good stories!

Sharon Ledwith said...

Excited for you, Mindy! You're such a busy gal writing, then giving back! Wishing you all the success in the world! Tweeted and shared for you! Cheers!

Holley Trent said...

Truly admirable.

I've worked in a variety of volunteer roles in the past (including some might-as-well-be-volunteer jobs because the pay was so bad). The were so heavy--they sucked the life out of me. The jobs were rewarding and I know I did some good for some people, but I produced some of my worst writing during those times.

I keep trying to find a volunteer gig that'll be less spiritually draining. I think my tolerance level just might be doing roadside trash pick-up.
:-\

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

I've had some wonderful experiences and made some lovely friends through various volunteer jobs, but working with kids is always the most fun. If you can combine kids with animals, it's even better. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to encourage Mindy.

B. Radom said...

I want to hear more about STAINED GLASS SUMMER...

Mindy Hardwick said...

Stained Glass Summer is the story of twelve-year-old Jasmine who adores her photographer Father and wants to be an artist just like him. But when Dad abandons the family, Jasmine is sent to spend the summer with her Uncle on a Pacific Northwest Island. Soon, Jasmine is learning stained glass from island glass artist, Opal, and thinking she might just be developing a crush on Island boy, Cole. But,can Jasmine truly let go of her Father and call herself an artist by her own terms?

Stained Glass Summer is an ebook and available in all forms. You can find out more at my website here:
http://www.mindyhardwick.com/books/stained-glass-summer/

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

Tyler Jones said...

Good one! Thanks a lot for the amazing share. Keep up the good work!

contract financing said...

I really like the post! Excellent work! Well done!

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Thanks for stopping by and supporting Mindy, Tyler and contract financing.

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