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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sacred Bean

Who would’ve thought South Florida was home to twenty-four published authors and counting, all hailing from one critique group? I’m eternally thankful to be a part of this coveted group run by my mentor, Joyce Sweeney (pictured on right), author/poet to over ten amazing MG and YA books.
In over twelve years, out of Joyce’s critique group, one author after another has honed their craft and sold their novels. Back in 1997, Joyce decided she needed to bestow each published author with a special gift. She thought maybe seashells or stones, but when one of her students, Heidi, returned from Costa Rica and gave her some really cool seed pods from the Guanacaste Tree, Joyce opened one of the pods and found twenty seeds inside, making the perfect gift. If she could ever help that many students get published, Joyce thought that would be a truly amazing feat. Well, she did better than that and had to open another pod a couple of years ago.
To honor each achievement, every student has a special bean ceremony. I was so excited when I received my bean back in March. I keep mine in a small handmade jewelry box on my dresser, just fit for a bean (bean pictured on left in my hand). So this Friday, Joyce will be holding the twenty-fourth bean ceremony for middle grade author of the Red Umbrella, Christina Gonzalez. And there are so many more beans to be given away because the amount of talent in Joyce’s group and Joyce’s kindness is unstoppable!

Did you receive anything special when you sold your book? Or at any other monumental moment in your life?


Jan Blazanin said...

A 'sacred bean ceremony." I love it!

The most memorable gift I received when I sold Fairest Of Them All was a basket of assorted chocolates and other sweets from the 6th Grade Team at the middle school where I'd taught for 23 years. I'd retired from teaching the previous spring, so they had the basket delivered to my home. When the delivery guy arrived I was sweeping out the garage in my ragged sweats. Even worse, I'd just had a chemical peel and my face was dried tomato red. The poor guy had a nasty shock, but I was in heaven that they'd thought of me!

Danielle Joseph said...

Jan, that was so sweet of your past students. And the whole chemical peel and sweats combo is funny!