Saturday, May 30, 2015

A to Z: Revisions Repeating


Revisions and edits are an inevitable part of creating a book. The cycle may seem endless at times, but it's necessary and if done well, the results are amazing. 

Many people with no real experience in writing believe that the first draft needs to be perfect. That The first draft is the only draft. That if your first draft isn't great, then you're a horrible writer.

None of these are true. 

Even seasoned professionals, best selling authors, journalists, etc. go through an editor. And quite often, (perhaps not so much in journalism, I don't know) the writer tries again and sends it back to the editor. 

Some people are under the impression that they can slap something down in writing, without any care to punctuation, spelling, grammar, or proper English, and pass it along to the editor because... well, isn't that what editors are for? I happen to be "comma happy." I over use and improperly use them quite often. LOL. I add them where they shouldn't be and forget them where they should!

Granted an editor edits, but you shouldn't expect them to have to rewrite your entire manuscript for you. If you can't put the time and effort into producing the best product you possibly can and learn how to improve every chance you get.... then why are you even writing?

I believe everyone has a story. Realistically, not everyone has the current talent to sculpt their story into the written word in such a way that others want to read it. This doesn't mean that you should give up. Quite the opposite. Work harder. Revisions are a tool that we need to use and keep using.

Writing isn't just about slapping words down. It's a craft that, to do well, takes time and effort. It's well worth everything you put into it too.

Asking for help takes a fair amount of courage for many. Make sure that when you ask and it's given that you listen to what's said and take into consideration the abilities of the person giving you advise. I'm not the greatest writer... yet, but I'm not the worst. I write what I know. I enjoy what I write. I learn as I go. These are extremely important things to me. If you don't enjoy what you do, if you close your minds to growth, if you try to represent something you have no clue about/can't connect with, then what are you doing? 

I'm not saying that you have to have seen a dragon to write about dragons. I'm saying that you have to be able to connect with sadness to write sadness. If you've never struggled with bullies, depression, abuse, poverty... can you relate to the feelings? Can you express those feelings? If not, do MASSIVE amounts of research or just write something else. 

Once you get your words in writing, read it over and over agian yourself. If you can't read your own writing repeatedly, how do you expect others to do so? It's amazing how many things we realize we missed the last 20 times we read it. 

If you have any helpful tips you'd like to share, please do! I'd love to hear from my readers. :D

Today's blog selections are:

  1. Helping Writers Become Authors - Great site with amazing resources! 
  2. Live, Write, Thrive - Another amazing resource with excellent tips.
  3. Writer Unboxed - I love the look of this site. It's a community of writers helping writers. 

Don't forget to enter our giveaway!!! Spread the word and leave your link. Yes, it's that easy.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A to Z: Query Quandry


What is a query? (hehehe)

noun: query; plural noun: queries
  1. 1.
    a question, especially one addressed to an official or organization.
    "a spokeswoman said queries could not be answered until Monday"
    synonyms:questioninquiry More

    • used in writing or speaking to question the accuracy of a following statement or to introduce a question.
      a question mark.
verb: query; 3rd person present: queries; past tense: queried; past participle: queried; gerund or present participle: querying
  1. 1.
    ask a question about something, especially in order to express one's doubts about it or to check its validity or accuracy.
    "many people queried whether any harm had been done"
    synonyms:askinquirequestion More

      put a question or questions to (someone).
      "when these officers were queried, they felt unhappy"
mid 17th century: anglicized form of the Latin imperative quaere!, used in the 16th century in English as a verb in the sense ‘inquire’ and as a noun meaning ‘query,’ from Latin quaerere ‘ask, seek.’

Therefore, asking what a query is, is in itself a query. 

Therefore, asking what a query is, is in itself a query.

So, if it's just asking questions... why is it so hard for so many? What about query letters? Agents require you send in a query letter for them to consider your book. According to Wikipedea...
  1. query letter is a formal letter sent to magazine editors, literary agents and sometimes publishing houses or companies. Writers write query letters to propose writing ideas.
Writing query letters is in essence asking if the agent is interested, but it involves so much more. There are lots of places that offer advice on how to write the perfect query letter. Here are a couple

Writer's Digest: How to Write the Perfect Query Letter - Query Letter Example

How to Write a Query Letter - AgentQuery

If you're overwhelmed, frustrated, and feeling down... You're in good company. Take heart in knowing that even best selling authors faced multiple rejections before hitting it big! This list includes some of my favorite authors: J. K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, L. M. Montgomery...

Madeline L'Engle received 26 rejections for her book A Wrinkle In Time!!!!

Nicolas Sparks received 24 rejections for The Notebook! And he has written how many best sellers that have gone on to make amazing movies???

What I'm saying is: If your goal is to be published through the traditional means,

Here is a great link for some successful queries too.

Today's blogs are amazing resources to help writers (myself included) improve and reach our goals... whatever those goals may be.

  1. Literary Rejections (blog) - Lots and lots of information and resources. Even an article on Best Sellers rejections!
  2. Janet Reid, Literary Agent - A great blog from an agent herself. Very insightful and useful!!
  3. Nathan Bradsford Author - An award winning blog for writers by someone who's been there and is still there!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A to Z: Payton Chronicles


YAY!!! I love this book and I'm excited about everything happening around it. 

  1. I have submitted it for a Kirkus Review due on or before July 13th!
  2. I have a book tour I'm setting up for it. Still plenty of space for more bloggers. (If you'd like to review it, but don't have a blog, let me know and we'll work something out.)
  3. I'm working on the second book in this series. Yesterday I even added over 7,000 words to it! 
  4. It has it's own page on Facebook now
  5. I'm working on getting it recorded and made into an audio book!
  6. I have a 5 book giveaway on Goodreads during the tour.

OK... enough of that. You probably want to know what the big deal is with this book. What's so special about it?


Eris needs to discover what’s in the shadows of the forest before she moves yet again, otherwise insanity awaits her. But what she finds challenges everything she thought she knew. Why would her father leave a message for her labeled “To Eris – Human”? 

Nelson needs Eris to follow him back to Downside before the epidemic gets worse, otherwise his brother will die. But he must convince her in time that he’s real and that her DNA holds the key. How can he convince her to trust him? 

Invisible people, hidden cities, and secret genetic engineering. Can 16 year old Eris Payton handle it all or will it finally break her? 

More tidbits:

Eris is incredible. She's 16 and had a very rough life, barely ahead of the authorities as she and her mom move from place to place. Despite the hardships she faces, she's not surrendering to a fate less than she deserves. She longs for more, for better, and is determined to make it happen.

Lucents are a species that has been on Earth as long as humans have. The thing is, humans can't see them, except for Eris. They have learned how to control the electrical impulses of things around them and generally live their lives in the parts of the world that humans don't. Sometimes they may interact, provide inspiration to humans and communicate through electronic devices. (Do we really know where all our emails come from?)

Read this incredibly fresh, amazing YA SciFi and I'm certain you won't be disappointed!

In the second installment of the Payton Chronicles...
For: Giva de Vine

Eris is now on a mission of her own. She must find Giva and deliver the box labeled "For: Giva de Vine" before the rants stop her. Otherwise, she may never get the answers her heart needs.

Is her dad still alive? What does the strange item he left her mean? Does Giva know about her? Did Drs. Payton leave Giva the same thing?

We'll find some answers and ask more questions. Why is Eris the only human that can see the lucents? How can her genes enable her to do what she does? Will she ever be whole?

Today's amazing collection of blogs!!!
  1. The Book Zone (for boys) - Love it! Focusing on boys, a much needed blog!
  2. Death, Books, and Tea - Cool looking site. Interesting layout and like the review style. 
  3. Queen of Contemporary - It lives up to its name, and has some great stuff. Actually covers a larger range of books than I expected.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A to Z: Organized Mess


OK, I'm not the greatest at getting organized. I tend to spread out when I work on a project... any project. I have all my supplies around me... somewhere. I really do have a system of sorts. I do like things in their place, I like uncluttered spaces... Really I do.

It's just hard to find them under all my stuff. (insert giggle here)

I make a mess, yes. I even tolerate it to a point. But after that point, I have to go through and make everything pretty and neat again.

Generally, the problem is too many books for the amount of shelving -- not that I have too many books! 

I do have a system. It usually works for me. 

As an example:
When I was a child, I recall that my oldest brother had electronic parts and pieces all over his room. I'd look in and see nothing but mess. However, he knew where everything was when he needed it. 

My mess is usually like this. Just don't move things on me. I generally know where everything is... except for that pencil I just had 5 seconds ago!!! (shake my head and giggle again... isn't it nice that I amuse myself)

I think the important thing to take away from this is to get yourself organized, but do it in a system that works for you or you won't stick to it and it will only add to your frustration. Some mess is fine from where I sit. Life is messy. We can't control everything in life, but we don't need to trash everything either.

Today's three blogs to take a look at. Each with different styles of organization.

  1. Kids' Book Review - great looking site. Lots to see. Well organized. ;)
  2. CYBILS - Children's & Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Award. Nice site and nice concept.
  3. Jen Robinson's Book Page - WOW! I love it. This is my kind of organized mess. Lots there, but everything has a place.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A to Z: New News That's Good News


I have LOTS going on and I'm so extremely excited! Even better, I'm having a BLAST!!! I'm going to share my newest two projects with you. They're very dear to me as they both support children's literacy!!!

Literacy Project 1:

The Adventures of AkaPaca & Tatter-Anne
Great Friends

AkaPaca, a young alpaca, and Tatter-Anne, the old barn cat, form an unlikely friendship that's destined to last through all the adventures live provides.

style sample by illustrator Anastasiya Bulavkina
As the first book in the series, Great Friends introduces us to the sweet characters in a style that warms the heart and engages the imagination.

The target audience is K-3 grades. While written at a 2nd grade RL, it's ideal for a "read to me" story. The innocence of youth combined with the wisdom of age blends in a wonderful balance of loving friendship that everyone can enjoy.

This project is seeking supporters that share the dream of providing quality picture books to children who otherwise might not have such an opportunity. Through and fellow book lovers like you, this project hopes to become reality.

Rewards are offered at 14 levels of donation, ranging from sincere gratitude for everyone donating, to signed copies, bookmarks, and more!

layout concept by illustrator Anastasiya Bulavkina
In limited supply are the top two award levels. Both include a great opportunity for alpaca farms to continue educating young people about these amazing animals. This opportunity allows farms to be listed in a special section of the book for readers to learn more by visiting the sponsoring farm.

Along with these great rewards for your support, you get perhaps the greatest reward... the satisfaction of knowing that a minimum of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY books will be donated to various children's literacy programs in the United States and you helped make it possible.

This project depends on you. CLICK HERE to decide what level you plan to support this literacy project at. Time is short. This project must be funded by June 29, 2015.

Layout concept by illustrator Anastasiya Bulavkina

Literacy Project 2:

Welcome to the Farm

This adorable and fun book starts another series for a slightly younger group. Targeted for Pre-K/Kindergarten level, Plenty of rhythm and repetition in this series. Illustrations will be silly and captivating as we meet the stars of the farm.

Style sample by illustrator Emily Hercock
A fresh look at farm life and animals for young readers and listeners alike. The pattern makes this enjoyable to read over and over as young ones learn through repetition. Easily understood, children will join in quickly.

This project promises to be a wonderful opportunity also. The literacy goals wit this project are international. Both the illustrator, Emily Hercock, and myself EACH plan to donate 100 books to children's charities in our own countries. That's TWO HUNDRED books that you can help place in eager young hands.

The rewards are wonderful here as well. And you get the added benefit of learning about it before the project goes live. (expected by Friday, May 29, 2015)

PLUS.... If we're able to go beyond our goal, we'll donate ANOTHER ONE HUNDRED FIFTY books for EVERY $1000 over our goal!!!

Spread the word, get involved. Literacy means the ability to reach dreams. Help us give these children their dreams.

Keep track of my Pubslush profile for these and future projects. 

Today's blog picks for you to check out and enjoy. 

  1. Mundi Kids - Great looking site! Very organized and welcoming. Love the Hoots too!!
  2. School Library Journal - Great resource. This is what librarians look at. As a writer wanting in, I want to know.
  3. Kids' Blog Club - WOW! Kids are the bloggers! Great insight and inspiration! Keep up the great work!

And don't forget to keep entering for my Giveaway!!!

Monday, May 25, 2015

A to Z: Memorial Day


I had initially thought of writing about marketing for M, but when I realized that it fell on Memorial Day, I began reflecting on that.

One of my friends pointed out that it bothered her when people would say, "Happy Memorial Day." As she said, with so many that have given their lives or the quality of their lives how can you even consider saying "Happy" Memorial Day? I can understand that. It's a very somber, reflective, and emotional time for many. I respect her point of view.

There's another way of looking at it though -- Happiness isn't always giddy. How thankful and grateful are we for all those sacrifices? I, for one, am enormously grateful. I'm happy that I have the freedoms that I do. It's not the giddy happiness that makes me want to dance around, but it is happiness.

My dad, my father-in-law, husband, brothers-in-law, and two of our sons served. Two of my nephews are still serving.  

Thank you.... all of you.

Three blogs for today. May you have a wonderful day with those you love.

  1. The Children's Book Review - Professional review site. Lots of reviews set up for readers. Great site.
  2. Cool Mom Picks - Not all books, but great site by and for parents (readers with children!) LOL
  3. Indie Brag - Excellent! Great site all about indie books.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A to Z: Love Your Library

Libraries -- the most amazing collections of imaginations!

What would we do without libraries? Suffer greatly. True, a shift to ebooks has hurt the libraries for a time, but there is nothing that can compare to the joy and feel of a physical book in your hands. 

Turning the pages, 

          smelling the paper, 

                    feeling the texture as you flip through a book for the first time, 

                              the rustle of the paper as you turn it to discover what comes next, 

the excitement on a child's face as they insist you haven't turned the picture to them fast enough or long enough.... 

Priceless for sure.

Our children experience the abundance of books, the love of sharing and respect for taking care of them at the library. 

Story time is popular, computers with interactive books and other educational programs are generally available. 

Sadly, there are many children who have never owned their own book. With the number of illiterate adults in the world, it's not really a surprise, but the shock of handing a child a book and seeing the awe fill their eyes when they thank you and say, "I've never had my very own book before!" is enough to bring you to tears.

We need to treasure our books, the millions out there already and the countless still to come. Treasure them and share them. Do our part to make sure that some day no school aged child will ever be able to say those words again.

Perhaps if your local library doesn't have a program, you can encourage them or even start one up yourself. Summer is coming. Schools will be closed. Take your kids to the library. Encourage them to read. Pass along unwanted, gently used books that they've outgrown to other children. You may be surprised at how much a bound collection of paper can mean to someone. 

Trust him... he's the Doctor.

"But you don't have to take my word for it." - Reading Rainbow

Today's three selected blog by librarians

  1. Jenny Arch - Lively, easy reading from a librarian. Not an every day post, but consistent.
  2. Mr. Library Dude - In depth posts on the "behind the scenes" of library "life"... Informative & enjoyable.
  3. Screwy Decimal - Cute, entertaining, librarian obviously in the kids section. Love it!

Friday, May 22, 2015

A to Z: Kirkus


One of, if not THE, biggest, most influential reviewing companies around.

Some interesting info I got from their site...

For starters, I love that they have an indie program! Kirkus has been reviewing as a trusted and influential source of reviews since 1933. Virginia Kirkus started reviewing for the publishers and sending it out to only bookstores, but a couple years later to libraries too.
It's been 82 years now and their distribution has grown to over 5000 of the industries influencers.

I'm not 100% sure when, but some time after 2011 they began accepting works by indie authors!!!

"Today, Kirkus reviews more than 7,000 books published by traditional houses and more than 3,000 self-published books every year." - Kirkus Reviews website.

To get a review from Kirkus, as an indie author, it's steep. Over $400. Still, if you have a good book and they give you a good review, it's more than worth it. The influence they carry in the industry definitely makes people sit up and pay attention when they really like a book.

If you're fortunate enough to get a starred review... wow... what an honor that would be.

Another interesting thing is that they don't consider the cover when reviewing. It's completely based on the content, how well it's written. This is great for those that don't have the best covers.

What is a Kirkus Star? What does it mean? Well, I went looking for info on it and I found a blog post of an indie author who earned one. Her link is below. Here's what she said in her blog about the statistics of a Star review:

"A Kirkus Star, according to this Washington Post article, is awarded to about 2 percent of the 3,000 independent books it reviews. That's 60 books." -- taken from Louise Esola's site. Her entire post is great, as is her book apparently! Definitely go read it. 

You may be wondering WHY I'm writing about Kirkus Review... Well, I've submitted a book (To Eris - Human) and I'm waiting anxiously for the review. I'm trying to stay positive, but much like Louise, I'm worried it will be a bad review despite the responses of those who have read it and told me.

My review is due on or before July 13th.... Yes, that is the first day of my blog tour. SO, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, which is why it's taking me so long to type this post. LOL. 

Today's picks for blogs I've found are....

  1. Louise Esola writer - Found her in a search about Kirkus Starred Reviews. Congrats!
  2. Claudine Carmel - Another Starred review winner with a blog. Congrats!
  3. Kirkus Reviews - This is a link to another author's review (not a star, but it caught my eye and I can't find anything other than this review and the amazon page with it listed)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A to Z: Jewels for Juveniles


It's amazing and wonderful how enormous the children's book industry is! I'm proud to say I'm part of that. These are the formative years of our lives -- when we learn the basis of everything in our lives.

These books are gems hidden in words and colorful pictures. Just as precious, if not more so, than any jewels you'd put on your finger.

How many of us, no matter what age, still remember our favorite childhood stories? I'm certain everyone does.

Do you remember a specific book or time when some special magic happened and your love of books took on a new level and dimension in your hearts? Opened the doors to your endless imagination?
We need to make sure quality books reach the hands of our young people. Reading is an essential skill that is honed by practice. The more we read, the more we learn. Our language skills increase. Our mind is our greatest tool and books are my weapons.

Today's three blog choices are: (drum roll please)

  1. Escape into Words - Not a huge site, but I like it. Very honest feeling.
  2. I am a Reader! - Adorable site! Lots of reviewers and reviews!
  3. Just One More Chapter - Love it! All levels of children's books covered. Very cute graphics too. (love the butterfly review ratings!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A to Z: Inspiration to Ink

nspiration to Ink

YAY!!! My first meet and greet. It’s not until June 20th, but I’m so excited about it! Inspiration to Ink is the meet and greet organized by the MidAtlantic SCBWI. I’ve been thinking about becoming a member, but want to see first-hand and talk with others passionate about books!

The event is in Richmond, Virginia and a friend of mine is going with me because my husband has to work that Saturday. It should be very interesting and informative and I hope lots of fun. Do any of you have experience with SCBWI or any other industry organizations that you can share?

It’s an amazing time to be in children’s books. At least for me it is. I feel liberated and invigorated with a feverish desire to write more and make them come to life.

This is my first time dealing with the issue of finding and working with an illustrator. I knew there are many, many artists and styles, but when it came time for me to begin my search and try to relate my vision with the illustrators I’ve met…. WOW, what a challenge.

One of the wonderful parts that I’ve discovered is when you find an illustrator whose art inspires you to write more and stirs up the embers of the imagination. I’ve narrowed it down to two illustrators and it’s not an easy task! They’re both amazing! How do you do it?

Well, I’m hoping to get more insight and support when I meet those at the Inspiration to Ink event.


For those of you following my journey with this A to Z Challenge, don't forget to enter again in the contest under Goodreads & Giveaway! For those of you just finding me, follow the link and enter!

Today's pick three blog choices!

  1. YA Novel Reader - More promos then reviews from what I see, but a nice reference site. 
  2. Katie Lynn Johnson - Nice list of reviews,an entire page of YA Indie Bloggers, and her books look interesting too.
  3. The Crazy Bookworm - If you only check one of these, I recommend this one. Love the tagline too!