Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Stained Glass Summer Release Day

on December 30, 2011

The day has arrived STAINED GLASS SUMMER is released! Ten years ago, I started on the journey in writing STAINED GLASS SUMMER (once called, Jewels from the Dumpster), and now the book has begun a new journey!

Twelve-year-old Jasmine wants to be an artist. But, can she escape the shadow of her artistic Father to discover her own path as a glass artist?

Stained Glass Summer. Musa Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-61937-047-0

Twelve-year-old Jasmine 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, mentoring five-year old Sammy, and thinking she might just be developing a crush on Island boy, Cole.. But, can Jasmine let go of her Father and call herself an artist by her own terms?  The story will appeal to young readers between the ages of 8-12.

You can buy STAINED GLASS SUMMER at Musa Publishing or on Amazon. (Barnes and Noble will be coming in a few weeks).

NOTE: If you are buying at Musa Publishing and you have a new e-reader and don’t know which format. PRC is for Kindle and Kindle Fire. EPUB is for Nook and Ipads. Also, if you are buying through Musa Publishing, you do NOT need a Paypal account. You can simply enter your credit card number and viola!  If you buy through Musa, you’ll need to download the book to your computer and then transfer to your e-reader.

When we set out to write a novel, we are a hero or heroine taking a journey. We don’t know where that journey will take us, only that we will change, and hopefully bring back wisdom to share with our community at the end of that journey.  My journey in the writing of this story was a lot like Jasmine’s, and I learned about the importance of sharing my talents with others. And like Jasmine, I too had a mentor.  The word “mentor” means  a wise and trusted counselor and teacher. In the hero’s journey, the hero is met at the first doorway by a mentor. My mentor at that first doorway was Norma Fox Mazer.

Norma met me at the doorway of the National Book Foundation Summer Writing Camp in July 2002.  I was one of a handful of adults chosen to attend the camp. At the time, I had just completed a first draft of Jasmine’s story. At camp, we met in morning workshop groups. My workshop group was comprised of teens from Detroit, New York City, and Philadelphia. Their stories were raw and told of lives filled with survival.  I thought I’d written an edgy character with Jasmine. But, after the first morning of workshop, I realized that I hadn’t begun to touch the word “edgy character.”

I was the last writer to be workshoped, and the kids were barely into the workshop before I started crying. Looking back, I can see that it was probably a combination of a lot of things. It was the emotions the kid’s writing had stirred in me all week, it was my first time to be workshoped in such an honest way, and I was about to see my Dad for the first time in ten years after writing camp was over.  It wasn’t lost on me that Jasmine’s story was also about her Dad.

After workshop, Norma sat with me while I bawled. And I mean bawled. I must have gone through a box of Kleenex.  After I was done, she said quietly, “I think you should apply for the Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I think you’d like it.” I nodded and  dabbed my eyes. At that moment, I would have done anything Norma asked. She’d just sat with me while I had a major melt down.

Before camp was over, Norma and Ann Angel gently coached me on my application for the Vermont College MFA program, and I went home and mailed it off. By November, I’d heard I was accepted for the July 2003 semester.

When I arrived back in Vermont (This time to Montpelier and not Bennington), Norma was the first person who greeted me. I walked into a small house on campus which served as the college’s offices and there was Norma. She reached over and hugged me.”Welcome to Vermont!”

I never had Norma as one of my faculty advisers. I put her down every semester, but I never got her. I did have her as my last workshop leader during my graduating semester, but by then, I was so worried about my lecture and reading, I don’t think I participated very well in my workshop.  But Norma was there at my lecture. As I stood in the hallway, looking at the lecture schedule, she came up behind me and said, “When is your lecture?” I told her and she said, “I have something else at that time period. But I will rearrange. I will be there.” And she was.

Norma passed away on October 18, 2009 and I blogged about it here. Sometimes, I don’t think our mentors always get to see that final moment when we break through the wall. As the heroes of our journey, sometimes, we have to go on and show that we have mastered that learning from our mentors.  Norma’s legacy to me was to tell the story which means the most to you and be giving in your time and talents. And, I’d like to think on this release day of STAINED GLASS SUMMER that she is here with me.

Vermont College MFA Graduation--July 2005

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5 responses to “Stained Glass Summer Release Day

  1. Pamela says:

    Mindy, what a glorious day, for you and for Jasmine. Thanks for sharing your journey, and your relationship with Norma. She’d be so proud. I am too! Pamela

  2. Mindy Hardwick says:

    Thanks Pamela!

  3. Mindy, this was so moving. I met you a couple of semesters later at Vermont when we both had Liza as a faculty advisor – I never knew the backstory. Congratulations on Stained Glass Summer!

  4. Mindy Hardwick says:

    Thanks Barbara! And yes, I remember our semester with Liza! The book I worked on with her is coming out in late April!

  5. Congratulations, Mindy. What a journey! Thanks for sharing about Norma. I know she would be proud.

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