Thursday, September 27, 2012

Relics with Magic? Oh My! Congrats Renee!

Dude...doesn't this sound freaking abso-tively fantastic? 

September 27, 2012
Young Adult 
Debut author Renee Collins' RELIC, pitched as True Grit meets The Prestige, set in a world in which the remains of long-extinct magical creatures are mined and traded on the black market in the red rock desert of the Colorado Territory for their residual magic powers, where a young girl must learn how to harness the power of relics and forge a risky alliance with a local land baron in order to survive, to Stacy Abrams at Entangled, by Mollie Glick at Foundry Literary + Media.
Foreign rights:

Yes. Yes, it does. Because it is.

I adore this book and my lovely friend Renee Collins has been sitting on this exciting news for awhile now.

Here is her picture:

See? I told you, she's lovely. :) Anyway, I'm so happy for her and I love this book. I can't wait to see it in print. Everyone go stop by her announcement and congratulate her. Throw confetti! Clink Glasses! Don't confuse the two...throwing glasses hurts.

Congrats, Renee! Love you, girl!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Busy, Busy

You know how at the end of summer you always think, "Things will calm down a bit once fall hits. Then I'll be able to get more done."

Unfortunately, not so much.

I just figured out that in the next month  I will be spending time in 8 different states.

Yep...I said eight.

Bad news: I'm running around like a madwoman and it doesn't look to be calming down soon.

Good news: Know what I do on planes? I write. Planes are my hands-down favorite place to write & read. I have no idea's just always been that way. So, it will be a very productive month despite my crazy schedule.

What about you? Where do you most like to read or write? Has your fall schedule slowed down the way I hoped mine would?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Congratulations Nichole!

My laptop is not here.

I am sad.

So, forgive this short but sweet & simple post. I couldn't wait a whole extra day to share it, so I'm doing it from my phone. Which, believe it or not, is even harder than it sounds. 

My good friend, Nichole Giles, has had an extremely exciting few weeks...and finally got to share her good news!

Please stop by and wish her congratulations on her new agent AND book deal!

For real.

She has been working toward this goal for so long without ever giving up. She is the definition of determination and I am so, so happy for her. Seriously, this kind of news deserves confetti & purple sparkles all over it, so let's celebrate!

Congrats, Nichole! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

VLOG: What Does Your Pantry Say?

Over at Friday the Thirteeners we did a blog-to-blog dare last Friday. It was so much fun and I love those girls. We had a couple of technical difficulties so some of my captions were cut off, so I'm re-posting it here for anyone who missed it or wants to see the vlog in all it's full ridiculousness. :)

What pantry contents would you choose to portray the characters in your book if given this challenge? Why? 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Behaving Badly

Last Thursday, a literary agent in California was assaulted by a writer she had rejected. He broke the side mirror off her car, and hit her head against the steering wheel until her Jack Terrier bit his arm. Her name is Pam van Hylckama. She's a newer agent with the Larsen Pomada Literary Agency.

When I read this article, it made me sick. She was waiting outside her daughter's school. This agent was going about her day, minding her own business, and a disgruntled writer took it upon himself to hurt her.

I want to point out that she thought it was a carjacking. She didn't even want to believe it could be a writer. The police didn't have as much faith. When they took her report, the first place they went was to check her e-mail. They looked through for the angry, violent, threatening responses she'd received from writers. There was one that she said was "the normal I hate you, I want you to die and I'll kill you."

Getting emails like this is apparently "normal" for agents so she didn't report it, and that is just sad.

I know these angry rejection responses happen in our community far too often, and many might be saying, "Well, yeah, I send emails when I'm mad, but I'd never hurt anyone." I have many responses to that, but I'll give two:

1 - It's incredibly unprofessional - Let's say you were applying for a job as a receptionist, and the hiring manager used their own free time to observe your experience and skills in this arena, then decided you weren't the best candidate and informed you they were going to go a different direction. Would you send them nasty emails? Call them names? Threaten them? It's never a good idea. It burns bridges and won't make you feel better. Don't do it.

2 - You become a suspect - Do you really want there to be any situation in which someone is attacked and you are the first person the police look at? No. I don't think you do.

I know saying this to most of my blog readers is like preaching to the choir. You all know this, but I think this is something that writers in our community need to speak out against.

Agents are not perfect. They aren't even all great people (I could say the same for any group), but they devote their time to books. Something we all love. They spend countless unpaid hours every week reading queries and submissions. They take on new clients and spend even more time helping them prepare and taking them on submission--still unpaid. They are not saints, and I can assure you that I've been frustrated by a rejection the same as everyone else.

Here is the point. Agents are people, and whether we choose to work with them in our path to publication or not, they deserve our respect. And they deserve to feel safe in their cars and homes. No one should take that away from them.

So, have you heard about this? What do you think?

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Dare You!

Over at Friday the Thirteeners, to celebrate the release of NERVE by Jeanne Ryan, we are doing a blog-to-blog dare today with the EMU's Debuts! You know it's going to get interesting when Publisher's Weekly featured it on their Children's Bookshelf. :)

You should totally head over to today's Thirteeners dare post and check out the awesome dares! You can vote for your favorite and get entered to win a signed copy of NERVE!

Happy Friday!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Head of the Class

Last week I posted about that moment when an author says, "What the heck am I doing?!" For me, it was facing a class of 5th graders and teaching them about what you should do before crafting a story.

As you can tell from my post, I was terrified.

A few of you asked me to report on how it went after the fact, so I'm doing that today. There is really only one thing to say about the experience:

It was incredible! And I am SO happy I did it.

The kids were fantastic! We started off discussing the steps that need to happen before you sit down to write a story. I asked them what kind of things you should know about any scene/story/chapter before you start writing. We came up with these basic needs:

Who? - character
What? - plot
Where & When? - setting
Why? - character motivation
How? - world building

My son and I came prepared with a scene for a MG idea we came up with. I asked for volunteers and substituted names from the kids in the class for the character names in the scene. The kids were very enthusiastic about being included in the story...there was very nearly bloodshed, but we kept it under control. ;-) 

I read the scene with the kids names in it. They were so excited! After the scene, I had them help me identify the answers to all those questions. We had our own brainstorming session and came up with our own ideas for a scene and filled in all the needs on our list. At the end, I took questions about what I write, being an author, my book, etc.

Seriously...these kids were so much fun to work with. This experience was, without a doubt, one of the funnest things I've ever done as a writer. I can't even explain how happy I am that I faced this fear and agreed to talk to the class.

What are you afraid of doing this week? What great thing could happen if you decide to go for it?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

That Moment

Every author has a moment when they nod and agree to do something that they aren't quite prepared for. It might be anything from a particular signing, a difficult round of edits, or teaching at a conference. They usually agree to do it with a smile, looking confident, maybe even excited...but somewhere in the back of their mind there is someone screaming:

"What? NO! No, I can't do this! This isn't something I'm remotely prepared for! Please don't make me! I'll do anything! I'll even learn to use commas correctly if you just won't MAKE me do this!"

*gnashing of teeth*

For me, it turns out that this moment comes at the hands of a class of 5th graders. I'm not even sure why it scares me so much. I think it's partly because I write upper YA so I always assumed I'd mostly be talking to older teens. It also makes me nervous because it's my son's class. I keep picturing how embarrassed I would've been if my mom showed up to teach us about something, couldn't speak, accidentally knocked the chalk board down, injured my classmates and then curled into the fetal position in the corner, endlessly repeating the words "I'm a hermit." and "Author communes are good."

Because when I picture it in my head, this is what happens.

Anyway, I'm heading off to do this today. Wish me luck, and pray for the kids. ;-)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day! Let the Winning Commence!

The winners of the Celebration Giveaway are: 

Stephanie W. 

Imel C.

Congratulations to you both! 

Thanks to everyone who participated. It was so much fun reading how many things people had to celebrate! It made my week!

Today, I'm celebrating a little something called Labor Day. According to the U.S. Department of Labor: "Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

Dude. They make me sound like I accomplish much more from my office than I think I do. Next time my kids come in, see me staring at a blank screen, and ask what I'm doing, I'm going to answer, "I'm contributing to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." Then I'll stare them down and say, "Have you even finished your homework yet?"

Have a happy Labor Day! What are you doing for the holiday?