Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nominations Open - Author Blog Awards

Nominate your favourite author blog to win an Author Blog Award.

You also have the chance to win prizes including new books, free eBooks, and book tokens. Visit the prizes page for more info.

ABOUT: The Author Blog Awards aim to honour the best blogs by both published and unpublished writers. They will recognise the writers who use their blogs to connect with readers in the most imaginative, engaging and inspiring ways. At the same time we hope to attract new audiences to these blogs and help readers find out more about the authors they love, and new authors too.

My Reading List - The Wizard Heir

Wizard Heir, The
I just finished reading The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima last night and loved it! It follows the story of Seph, a young wizard who knows he has powers but has no idea how to use them. His power gets him into trouble everywhere he goes, until he's sent to a special school for wayward boys. At this school he finds himself surrounded by other boys who are prisoners within the walls of the school; some are wizards and some are not. The story takes us through Seph's adventures at the school and elsewhere as he travels to the town of Trinity, a haven for people of varying magic. This was a quick and steady read for me, and the storyline held me all the way through.

Warrior Heir, The

The first book in the series, The Warrior Heir, was a book I had read about a year ago. That one started a bit slow for me as it started by setting the foundation of the story in history. The transition from the past to the present was a bit jarring and confusing, but halfway through the book the momentum picked up and I became a fan. The nice part about The Wizard Heir is that it had great momentum right from the beginning, good action, strong characters, and a fast moving plot throughout. Now I need to plan a trip to the bookstore to pickup the third book in the series, The Dragon Heir.
Dragon Heir

Monday, March 29, 2010

Are You Ready To Quit? Don't Give Up!

My son is going through a phase where he immediately crumples to the floor and is ready to quit the second he sees someone that is kicking his butt in a game. This morning we were playing rock-paper-scissors and I was winning. Well, that fun, friendly game before school nearly turned into an all-out whine session. "I quit, you're winning!" I took a deep breath, sat my precious son on my lap and decided it was time for an important lesson. I told him if he were to quit now, he'll never know if he was going to win. But if he kept going, and played with the attitude that he'll try his hardest, well he just might win. But the other thing I said to him is it's often not about winning in the end, but how hard we try when we're playing. Sometimes we need to lose, to learn what we can do better to win next time. When we give up, we always lose. Well, this time the pep talk worked and my son played, and played hard. In the end, he won, by one point. He was grinning from ear to ear. And he told me, "Mommy, I won, I didn't give up!"

I was thinking about this lesson at my desk this morning, and I realized that writers are often just like that six year old boy who was ready to quit. We revert back to childhood when we get a rejection letter in the mail. Do you throw your hands up in the air and are you ready to quit when you get one? Maybe we need to think back to when we were kids, and remember that it's not about whether we win or lose; it's about giving it our all and never giving up. Sometimes we'll lose, maybe a lot of sometimes, but all it takes is a couple of wins and we've made it.

Remember that the next time you get a rejection letter in the mail. Maybe you're just one more rejection letter away from an acceptance letter, but if you give up you'll never know.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Branding Is Important For Authors

As authors we need to market ourselves as a personal brand. That includes creating a presence on social networking sites, attending industry events for face-to-face promotion, and creating a professional website. It also includes ensuring that we are streamlining our message and finding the right audience for that message. We need to know what type of writer we are. I struggled with this for a long time because I wanted the freedom to write whatever I wanted, but I've come to understand the importance of finding a genre that matches my writing. If you try to diversify too quickly in your writing genres then you don't give yourself a chance to build up a fan base and to continue to make them happy with a steady stream of new material. I am a fan of many authors. When I think like a fan, I know that fans want a steady stream of new books, and they want consistant quality in the work. If an author spreads themselves too thin between multiple genres, how can that author satisfy the fans of each with upcoming titles?

Here are some resources to investigate how you can increase your personal branding.
Personal Branding: How to Find Your Audience
Branding Advice From Ivanka Trump
Seven Branding Gurus on How to Build a Personal Brand


The 22 Immutable Laws of BrandingBranding For Dummies

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quote of the Day - Robert Frost

Quote of the Day

"Freedom lies in being bold." – Robert Frost

The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and UnabridgedAbout Robert Frost:
Robert Frost, the influential American poet known for his rural settings, uncluttered language, and meditative themes, wrote the poems, "A Road Not Taken" and "Mending Walls," among many others. He was born in San Francisco in 1874 and moved to Massachusetts at age 11. He ran a farm for ten years, selling it to move to England and become a full-time poet. After achieving his goal, he moved back to New Hampshire. His ambition was to write "a few poems it will be hard to get rid of." He died in 1963.

as quoted from "Today's Inspiration Newsletter"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Twilight - Yes I'm a Fan

I'm a Twilight fan, yes I'll admit it. I know that means I'll probably get a few tomatoes thrown at this blog post, but c'est la vie! There's nothing like having a guilty pleasure. I just wish there were more Twilight books to read. I did go out on Saturday to get my copy of the New Moon DVD that was released, and yes I watched it already. No, I didn't watch it a second time yet, but I will.

It may not be a a literary stroke of genius but you have to give credit were credit is due. The series has been a huge hit. I can only hope that my books are half the success of one of the books in the series. And I wish the same for you too!

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Love Writing but Hate Submitting?

Do you love writing, but hate the process of submitting your work? If so, then this may be of interest to you. Poets & Writers ran an article today entitled, No-Fee Contest Offers Writers Secretarial Services

Here's a section of the article:
"Writer's Relief, a New Jersey–based company that provides submission services to writers, has announced the first of what will be annual scholarships to poets, fiction writers, and essayists. The Peter K. Hixson Scholarship will award three writers an A La Carte Plus package, a service that includes a vetted list of markets, as well as preparation of cover and query letters for writers to send to specific literary magazine editors and agents." (click here to read more)

Monday, March 22, 2010

NetGalley - Have You Seen It?

I was invited to join NetGalley because of my participation in the YA Webinars from the School Library Journal. Wow! What a cool site. Have you seen this?

Here's an introduction from the website:
"Discover, request and review new books. NetGalley is an inexpensive and green way for publishers to share their digital galleys securely. Professional readers—reviewers, media, bloggers, journalists, librarians, booksellers and educators—can all use NetGalley for FREE to read and request galleys they want to review."

I already have my eye on a couple galleys I want to read. But alas, the age old dilemna...too many books and not enough time to read them all. Wish me luck!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shout Out to Taipei...Where Are You From?

I wanted to do a quick shout-out to blogger Isao from the blog "interestingness rediscovered" who did a spin off of his own "6 Word Memoir" based on my blog entry: Six Word Memoir - Can You Do It?. The coolest thing is that Isao writes from Taipei, the largest city in Taiwan. It's amazing to me how the internet and writing can bridge the gap of miles and allow us to share half way across the world. Thanks for the blog mention and best of luck Isao!

And that gave me an idea, I'd love to hear from the followers and readers of this blog - where are you from? Just a quick state, country in the comments section would be great! I'll start...NJ, USA!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Calling Writers & Readers - Super Cool Contest!

Check out this easy contest over on Beth Revis' website in celebration of her book deal. There are prizes for writers & readers. I've put my entry in, how about you?

Book Deal Celebration Contest

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Did You See This?

Some recent items of note...

Did you catch this blog post?
The Secret Strength of Killer Queries by agent Nathan Bransford
Do get specific in your queries, but make sure it's about the right details. Be specific about the plot details. If it's too generic then the query will get passed over for the next one in the pile. Agents want to be intrigued, interested, and drawn in - vague plots details won't grab an agent's attention.

Mark you calendar for this year's Book Expo America BEA, here's just some of the exciting events happening at the event:
WEDNESDAY, May 26, 2010
8:00AM – 9:30AM CHILDREN'S BOOK & AUTHOR BREAKFAST (Ticket required)
Presented in cooperation with the Children's Booksellers and Publishers Committee [A cooperative committee of the American Booksellers Association (ABA), Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC), and the Children's Book Council (CBC)] this opening-day breakfast will feature:
Cory Doctorow, author of For the Win (Tor Books / Tor Teen)

Mitali Perkins, author of Bamboo People (Charlesbridge)

Richard Peck, author of Three Quarters Dead (Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers)

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, and author of Helping Hand Books: Emily's First Day at School (Sterling Children's Books) will be the Master of Ceremonies.

THURSDAY, May 27, 2010
8:00AM – 9:30AM THURSDAY BOOK & AUTHOR BREAKFAST (Ticket required)
Condoleezza Rice, author of Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (Crown)

John Grisham, (Doubleday)

Mary Roach, author of Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (W.W. Norton)

Jon Stewart, author (along with the writers of The Daily Show) of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race (Grand Central Publishing) will be the Master of Ceremonies.

12:00PM – 2:00PM THURSDAY BOOK & AUTHOR LUNCHEON (Ticket required)

Christopher Hitchens, author of Hitch-22: A Memoir (Twelve/Hachette Book Group USA)

Sara Gruen, author of Ape House (Spiegel & Grau)

William Gibson, author of Zero History (G.P. Putnam's Sons)

Patton Oswalt, author of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland (Scribner) will be the Master of Ceremonies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Congratulations Beth!

I am grinning ear to ear as I just read some wonderful news. Beth Revis, fellow blogger & YA writer, just signed a deal for her debut YA novel, Across The Universe. It warms my heart to see someone break through and grab success.

It's reassurance that even with all the negative stories out there about how hard it is to break into this crazy business, it can and is being done.

Good luck Beth! We'll be watching for your book's release in Spring 2011!

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Wish For You This Week

I like gaining an extra day to the weekend. With the crazy wind and rain we've been having around here schools are closed today, which means I'm home from work. Yahoo! I woke up at normal time this morning and banged out about 12 pages of revisions on my novel. My son woke up but fell asleep again on the couch. Pure silence for writing time. Which worked out perfectly since I couldn't get much writing done over the weekend without electricity for the laptop.

My wish this week for everyone is that you find the time you need to write. May you find that extra hour or two you need to push past a writing block, or a chapter that seems to take forever to complete. That's my wish for you.

Good luck!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Help Me Get The Word Out- Can You? Will You? Do You?

I need your help everyone - I just listed my book on Amazon for purchase for viewing on Kindle, PC, iphone, or Blackberry. It's only $1.99! Can you help me get the word out? It's a great book of poetry with fantastic photographs. The apps for viewing on a PC, iphone, or Blackberry are free & available on Amazon (email me if you need a link). The link to the book is: Do You?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NYC Teen Author Festival

If you are a YA author, parent of a teenager, or even a teenager yourself, you don't want to miss this event! The NYC Teen Author Festival has readings, book signings, and symposiums by some of the hottest teen authors. It's being held in NYC, and information is available at: NYC Teen Author Festival.

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Authors Going Green - part 2

As a follow-up to my post last week about Authors Going Green, I wanted to share some alarming facts that I discovered.

Did you know...?
  • The average person employed in America uses 700 lbs. of paper each year.
  • 42% of the industrial wood harvested is used to make paper.
  • To produce each week's Sunday newspapers, 500,000 trees must be cut down.
  • Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
  • The average American household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.
  • The construction costs of a paper mill designed to use waste paper is 50-80% less than the cost of a mill using new pulp.
  • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the United States alone.
Just how helpful is recycling paper?
  • If the United States cut paper use by just 10% it would save about 25,000,000 trees a year, preventing the emission of 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gases - the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road!
  • The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
  • Recycling a single ton of paper spares 17 living trees, 2 full barrels of oil, 4,100 kilowatts of energy, 3.2 cubic yards of landfill space, and 60 pounds of air pollution. This is enough to run the average car for 1,260 miles and enough power for the average home for 6 months. Those 17 trees saved could absorb a total of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year. Burning that same ton of paper would create 1500 pounds of carbon dioxide.
For more information on how you can do your part, go to

Monday, March 08, 2010

Links to Archived SLJ webcasts

Back in February, I blogged about attending the "What’s Up in YA Books 2010" webcast sponsored by the School Library Journal. And as promised, I'm publishing the link to the archived presentation for those of you interested in watching it, and here it is: webcast link.

And as an added benefit, I'm also posting a link to the SLJTeen Spring 2010 Book Buzz webcast that was held on February 11th: webcast link.

There's lot's of great information on the up and coming YA books of 2010 from some of the top publishers! Check it out.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Authors Going Green

As part of an industry that was built on paper, it's important for each of us to do our part in preserving the environment. It doesn't have to mean never revising a manuscript via a hard copy, but with some minor adjustments we just might be able to make a difference.

Here are a few tips:
Print your manuscript (for revisions) on the backside of previously printed paper. And when you do need paper, try to purchase recycled paper with a high post-consumer content & minimum chlorine bleaching (envelopes too)
Drink tea while you write? Opt for the pillow-style, natural fiber tea bags. Why? By eliminating the strings, tags, staples, & individual wrappers, these tea bags save more than 3.5 million pounds of waste from entering the landfills each year
Submit your work via email whenever possible. Even if a rejection comes, at least you can feel good about saving a tree!
Set computers to energy-saving settings and shut it off when you're not using it.
If each of us were to make just one change, the impact would be amazing. Do you have any good tips to share?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Bookstore - Take me Away

I was having one of those days at work today - stressed is an understatement. So I had to escape during my lunch break. I thought about going out to grab a bite to eat for lunch but couldn't decide what kind of food to eat  (indecision is a big side effect of stress for me). So I hopped in the car, still undecided on where to go. And then it hit me, on a day like this I needed to hide away for an hour somewhere that would take me away from it all. Like those Calgon commercials from a few years back - remember those?

So I headed to a book store. And that was exactly what I needed. I picked up another YA title, If I Stay by Gayle Forman and ate my lunch while reading. Pure bliss!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Read Across America Day

Today is the National Education Association's (NEA) Read Across America Day. At my son's school they have a week long celebration in conjunction with a book fair to encourage kids to read! Each day's theme is modeled around a Dr. Seuss book, like today is crazy hat day to coordinate with The Cat in the Hat.

I think most of us have read at least one Dr. Seuss book in our lifetimes either as kids or as parents to our kids. So, tell me, what is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

My favorite is Oh, The Places You'll Go. What's your favorite?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Contest Alert - Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship

As I'm busy polishing up my entry for the 2010 SCBWI Work-In-Progress Grant application, I find myself uncovering a myriad of contests that I want to enter.

Here's one I just came across this morning from Pen Parentis: The 2010 Pen Parentis Writing Fellowship for New Parents.

So if you're like me and you just can't pass up a good contest (and you have at least one child under the age of ten) then check out the contest and see if it's for you too.

Good luck!