Monday, August 30, 2010

WRITING IN TANDEM with Kirby Larson & Mary Nethery

For the final writing-in-tandem in interview this month, I am delighted to welcome Newbery Honor winner (for HATTIE BIG SKY) Kirby Larson and New York Time's best-selling author Mary Nethery, co-authors of two award-winning picture books.

SWK: What made you decide to embark on your first joint writing project, TWO BOBBIES?

KIRBY: We'd both had long, dry spells in terms of publishing. I know I was awfully discouraged and beginning to wonder if the universe was telling me to get a job a Starbucks and hang up my writing dreams. Then I went to a local SCBWI meeting where a writer named Pamela Greenwood talked about her (positive) experiences working with a co-author. I thought collaborating might be the answer to ending my slump and I couldn't think of anyone else in the world I'd rather partner with than Mary. Thankfully, I caught her in a weak moment and she agreed! ;-)

MARY: When Kirby proposed we write together I remember feeling it was a decision that had already been made— like it was meant to be...Since we both write fiction, narrative non-fiction which also has a story arc sounded exciting and challenging, with the capacity to take us into untested waters. We chose inter-species friendships because we're both passionate animal lovers. We wanted and needed that passion to carry us through.

SWK: What was your process for writing together?

KIRBY: Because we didn't want to do anything that might hurt our friendship, we first spent some time talking about ground rules. Bottom line: we agreed that nothing would go into a book unless we were both okay with it....One of us--neither of us remembers which one--wrote a first draft of the opening and we were off. We'd each tackle a section, then send it to the other person...and every Friday we had a looooong phone chat to go over that week's work.

MARY: I think Two Bobbies was the perfect story for us to cut our teeth on because finding the arc for their story was such a demanding process...Our two very different writing styles were given the free rein they needed to work for us, to fuse into one style that reached beyond either of us. When we write together, we seem somehow to be able to flow as one and stretch beyond what either of us might achieve separately.

SWK: How do you think writing as a team affected working with your editor?

KIRBY: It was terrific to have Mary to bounce my reactions to editorial comments off of and it was great to present a unified front when we had a different take than the editor. I think our working well as a team inspired the whole crew that worked on the Bobbies -- including illustrator Jean Cassels, editor Emily Easton and all of the marketing folks -- to work as a team.

MARY: I think having two brains working on the story helped us to focus in like a laser on the decisions we'd made at each point along the way in writing the manuscript, and that certainty brought clarity during the editing process.

SWK: What was the best, worst, scariest or funniest moment in the co-writing process?

KIRBY: It was scary to fly ourselves to San Diego -- on our own dimes -- to introduce ourselves to Brian and Nubs in hopes they would let us tell their story...Best moments were meeting the Two Bobs and meeting Nubs, as well as being honored with the ASPCA Henry Bergh award for the Bobs and the Christopher Award for Nubs.

MARY: One of the high-flying moments of our work together was going after the story of Bobbi and Bob Cat! It was our first, we'd never gone after a true story before. This story had hit the national news and we passionately wanted to tell it...Every step along the way was a new experience and we just went for it, figuring things out together. Uncovering new material not disclosed to the public was exhilarating. Meeting Bobbi and Bob Cat for the first time was inspiring. Working with Kirby was over the moon!

SWK: Is there one particular aspect of the story, or of the writing process, that you feel was better because you wrote as a team?

KIRBY: Well, I feel the stories are better because of Mary's input, that's for sure. She has a gift for being able to see the story arc and worked her darnedest to keep me on track.

MARY: Kirby is such a gifted writer that she can write and propose multiple solutions on the fly, so to speak, which I can't do...She also has a real gift for interviewing people...It's this odd combination of so many differences and yet so many similarities that works so well for us!

SWK: Clearly you enjoy co-writing, as you've jointly written another great book, NUBS. How did you select this second topic and was it easier to write because you had already completed a book together?

KIRBY: We do love writing together! And we wouldn't have had either of these books without Mary's sharp eye... she found the newspaper article that talked about Nubs and Brian. She had the firm belief that we would find a story tied to Iraq and we did; because the story focused on the power of love and was a story of hope, we knew it was an important one to tell. I wouldn't say Nubs was easier to write -- in fact, it was more complicated than the Bobs -- but Mary and I had our system down and that was a real blessing as we tackled the challenges writing Nubs presented.
MARY: The process of writing Two Bobbies and Nubs has made it easier for us to make decisions about future stories. We know what we want—we look for stories where the animal does something extraordinary that illuminates people's understanding of life and helps them to be kinder than they thought they could be.

SWK: What advice might you give to other writers considering a joint writing project?

KIRBY: Well, I can only say what has worked for me and that is to partner with someone you trust implicitly and admire tremendously and to find a story that you're excited about telling.

MARY: Ditto!

SWK: Okay, now for the game show questions! Kirby- You can invite any two authors, living or dead, to Mary's house for dinner. Who's on the guest list and what will be the amazing entree?

KIRBY: If it's at Mary's house, her husband will be cooking, something gourmet like grilled Ahi and roasted veggies but Mary will be in charge of dessert which will be outrageously chocolate with loads of frosting (I'll give her my share of the frosting because I don't like it). The authors I'd invite would be Meg Rosoff for Mary, because she loves her book How I Live Now and Flannery O'Connor for me.

SWK: Mary-You have two plane tickets to share with Kirby. What is her dream destination? What three books will you tuck into her suitcase?

MARY: Ooh là là! What a fun question! I think her dream destination would be Paris, us together doing Paris--all the shopping and eating and coffees and pastries!...But then I'd surprise her. Instead of getting on the plane for home, we'd go to East Africa, to Loisaba Wilderness Lodge, where we'd sleep outside in Star Beds under a moon-lit African sky listening to the sounds of the night... Then as a last stop, we'd stay at Giraffe Manor in Kenya so she could experience the Rothschild giraffes joining us at breakfast...I'd tuck these three books in her suitcase: The Cat Who Went to Paris by Peter Gethers; Bemelmans' Madeleine; and Out of Africa by Karen Blixon.

Thank you, Kirby and Mary, for taking the time to share such great insights and advice about writing-in-tandem!

Friday, August 27, 2010

FICTION FRIDAY: Too exhausted...

...for originality.  Especially after multiple trips to the bookstore before MOCKINGJAY finally arrived :)  So, I'm borrowing some humor from writer and dramatist Gene Fowler...

Writing is easy:
All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper
until drops of blood form on your forehead.

Seriously, though.  I sent my revisions to my editor on Monday night and worked insanely the rest of the week to meet a freelance deadline.  This weekend I am going to READ words I have neither written nor been assigned.  Hopefully, I will make a dent in the pile of books by my bedside table and, next Friday, have something actually insightful to say about fiction!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


To my Frog Prince!

I've learned so much about writing-in-tandem from the folks I interviewed for the blog this month (AND DON'T FORGET TO ENTER for the Lisa & Laura Roecker LIAR SOCIETY Giveaway at Monday's post).  But I'm going to give a shout-out today to all those non-writing partners: significant others, kids who freely tell the world you're a writer (even when you feel a little funny saying it yourself), parents, and friends who dream along with us, don't complain about the burnt food, and even do the laundry so you can finish revisions for your editor (okay, bragging a little here about the husband). 

Monday, August 23, 2010


Who better to discuss writing-in-tandem than blogger-writer-sisters extraordinaire Lisa & Laura Roecker, whose first YA novel, LIAR SOCIETY (Sourcebooks Fire) lands on shelves in March 2011. Don't forget to leave a comment here between now and Sunday for a chance to win LiLa's LIAR SOCIETY Surprise Prize!

SWK: Thanks for stopping by to chat about your joint writing adventures. Let's begin at the beginning. What made you decide to co-write LIAR SOCIETY?
LiLa: After writing our first failed manuscript, we discovered how much we loved to write together. Instead of attempting to fix all that was broken with the first one, we developed an entirely new idea. This idea eventually became LIAR SOCIETY (after being re-written a ridiculous number of times).

SWK: What is your process for writing together?
LiLa: We outline and develop characters/setting before we begin. At some point, we get bored hashing out the details and Lisa begins the first chapter. She always starts first because Laura is never fully on board with an idea until after she sees a first chapter. Laura then edits Lisa's work and writes the second chapter, sends back to Lisa who edits her work and writes the third. We continue on this way until the book is complete--or completely unrecognizable, whatever comes first!

SWK: Do you think writing as a team affected working with your editor?
LiLa: I'm not sure it had much of an impact aside from finishing things a bit quicker than we would have if we were only one person. All communication is handled together--we don't email or talk separately. Phone conversations are tricky and sometimes annoying. We have to conference in with our editor and there's a lot of talking over other people which is always fun.

SWK: What was the best, worst, scariest or funniest moment in the co-writing process?
LiLa: The best is beginning a new manuscript, when you're in that honeymoon stage. It's new and fresh and exciting...Scariest moments come when you've made a change to the outline, you love it and you're waiting to hear back from your partner to see if the change flies. We laugh a whole lot while writing. We make fun of ourselves, our writing and each other. We try not to take ourselves too seriously--we've made this mistake in the past with really embarrassing results.

SWK: Is there one particular aspect of the story or the writing process that you feel was better because you wrote as a team?
LiLa: Writer's block isn't as extreme when you're writing with a partner... It's nice when you get stuck to know that there is someone waiting to get you out of the hole that you've managed to dig yourself into.

SWK: What advice might you give to other writers considering a joint writing project?
LiLa: Edit, edit, edit. It is through our countless edits where we are able to create a unified voice. And communicate a whole lot...It is, after all, our manuscropt, so if something doesn't work for one of us, it doesn't work for both of us.

SWK: Okay, now for the game show questions!  Lisa-You're planning a suprise party for Laura. What's the restaurant (or type of cuisine)? Who's the famous author you'll invite to wow her?
LISA:'s kind of a toss up between pizza and Mexican. I think I'll go with Mexican so Laura can enjoy lots of Corona Lights. As for the famous author I think I'd have to say Jandy Nelson or Lauren Oliver. Laura adored THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE and BEFORE I FALL, so I have no doubt she'd be stuttering into her Corona if one of them showed up.

SWK: Laura-You can enlist ANY celebrity to style Lisa for your amazing LIAR SOCIETY launch party. Who's the famous guy or gal coming to make her day? And what color is the adorable dress?
LAURA: Jessica Simpson all the way. Kidding, kidding. No one should be forced to wear a jumpsuit to their launch party. I think I'd choose Tim Gunn to dress Lisa. He is so freaking picky and has impeccable taste. Hopefully he'd feel bad for me in my worn-to-five-weddings dress and take pity. I'm thinking the color would be kelly green. With pearls, of course.

Thanks for stopping by, Lisa and Laura! 

Have a comment about co-writing?  Would you wear pearls to a pizza party? 
ENTER to receive a surprise Countdown-to-LIAR-SOCIETY Give-away by leaving a comment at this post. Contest open to all ages-USA addresses only. Ends at 11:59 PM Pacific time on August 29. One winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on September 1.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Welcome writer and filmmaker Jennifer Wolf (linking you here to her wonderful post about the agent experience) and author Angela Morrison . They are stopping by today to talk about the process of making the book trailer for Angela's second YA novel, SING ME TO SLEEP. Watch the trailer on YouTube here.

SWK: Describe the first conversation you had about creating this book trailer.

JEN: Angela knew that she wanted to do the opening scene from the book for her trailer from the beginning, so the initial conversations were more about where and how we would shoot the scene then what kind of a trailer she wanted. (Usually, initial conversations about trailers are more along that line.)

ANGELA: In retrospect, I think it would have been much better for me to have kept my mouth closed more and listen to Jen. She's the video expert. But I had this vision--we authors are like that--and Jen really worked hard to make my impractical vision into an effective trailer.

SWK: In what ways did you continue dialoguing during the trailer-creation process?

JEN: A lot of e-mails...Angela wrote the script and I sent back my revisions. I sent her pictures of the actresses I was considering. She acquired video from Amabile, the choir featured in SING...Amabile also recorded one of the songs that Angela had written lyrics for in the book. I used that music in the trailer... I shot the trailer and sent her the “rough draft”...we made cuts and edited. In the end we didn’t use any of the dialogue we’d recorded.

ANGELA: See what I mean? Jen was hesitant about shooting the scene in the first place. We cut and cut my overlong script and then cut some more. She kept telling me that making a video trailer is a lot like picture book writing. There is so much you don't have to say because the pictures do it. (I've told lots of PB writers who I've critiqued that!) Jen did an excellent job of shooting brief moments that conveyed exactly what I wanted.

SWK: What was the best, scariest and/or funniest moment in your journey to producing the book trailer?

JEN: My wickedly favorite part was when Angela sent me the initial script. The main character started out describing the hallway she was walking down—very book like. I got to write—Cut this, in video we can show what she’s seeing. The reason it was my “wickedly favorite” part was Angela kept putting “cut this” on my manuscript that she was helping me edit.

ANGELA: The best part for me was getting the Amabile choir involved. They are featured in the novel and it was so great to have them record "Beth's Song" for the trailer...They've released "Beth's Song" on iTunes. My composer and I donated our royalties, so all the proceeds go to the choir.

SWK:  How did you know when the trailer was finished--that you'd made it to the final cut?

JEN: It was finished when we hit our deadline! Seriously, we had set a drop-dead deadline for the trailer to be posted to a bunch of blogs so it had to be ready. And I would recommend having a drop-dead deadline. A trailer, like a book, is never really finished...There will ALWAYS be something you can edit, tweak, reshoot with any project. When you reach a point where you’re both happy with the result and feel like it conveys what you want it to, then you’re done. (How’s that for a non-committal answer.) On that note, a book trailer doesn’t come to a conclusion like a book would. It’s needs to be something that will leave the reader wanting to find out what happens next. (Jacket copy.) It is not the full story, it’s an essence, a hook, a taste.

ANGELA: ...It was so exciting when it finally all came together, and we could both say, "Yes. That's it."

SWK:  Jennifer, what are three important things authors should discuss with their trailer production team?

JEN: (1) What is the essence/feeling of the book—the music, fonts, and images in the trailer need to reflect that. You absolutely have to be on the same page on this one. (2) Is there a scene or moment in the book that sums the whole thing up? Is there a juxtaposition of scenes or dialogue that convey the story? What don’t you want to give away about the plot? (Is that more than one important thing to discuss?) and (3) Know what kind of trailer you want and what kind of trailer your production team is capable of for the price you want to pay. Watch a lot of trailers so you know what you want...Remember the trailer is one of MANY tools you have to market your book. Don’t overspend on one thing.

SWK: Angela, what advice would you give to authors as they begin the book-trailer creation process?

ANGELA: If you work with someone like Jen, trust them...I thought I knew a lot more about the process than I did. Live video is a completely different medium than stills. If you hire an expert, listen to them. If you're making your own trailer, take Jen's advice and keep it short and simple.

SWK: What should you do with your finished book trailer in terms of posting or distribution? Do you have any other tips for using your book trailer to support your marketing campaign?

JEN: Put it on your own site first, then YouTube, then blogs, blogs, blogs. Share it on FB and get your connections to re-share it.

ANGELA: I sponsored SING ME TO SLEEP giveaways for many of the bloggers who posted reviews. I asked them to post the trailer on their blogs and give contest entrants extra entries for reposting the trailer on their own sites.

SWK: Okay, now for the game show question!  You're planning a joint party to celebrate your writing and filmmaking accomplishments. What is the location? What type of food will you serve? What two favorite authors and/or filmmakers will be at the top of your guest list?

JEN: Location: a sweeping cliff mansion overlooking the ocean. We’re serving bacon-wrapped shrimp and chocolate cheesecake. Top of the guest list is Sara Dessen and Stephanie Meyer (or Cecil B. DeMile and Jane Austin if I can include dead people!)

ANGELA: What about the pool complex at the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale--pools, gondolas (on their fake canal), waterfalls, cascades of scarlet bougainvillea, a classical guitarist playing in the background? Stephanie's just up the road, so she could come and endorse both our books and sign Jen up to direct her next movie. We could add dainty Tex-mex finger food and lots of fresh fruit. Oh, and (from TAKEN BY STORM) Leesie's famous apple pie smothered in hot carmel sauce. And we could invite Suzanne Collins and get her to write blurbs for us. Our books are both the next HUNGER GAMES--right Jen? No, no, no. We would have to fly in Markus Zusak from Australia. He's truly one of my favorites. And he's so cute. A gazillion more people would come.

SWK: I'd definite coming to both of your parties!  Thanks so much for stopping by, Angela & Jen!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordy Wednesday: WINNER, WITH and WHEN...?

First, a bit of business regarding last week's interview with Suzanne Williams & Joan Holub, co-authors of the Goddess Girls series.  The lucky WINNER of their fabulous swag bag is...


Congratulations!  Please use the "contact me" link at the top of this page to email me the mailing address for your prize. 

And here's a cool, in-tandem surprise: Writer-filmmaker Jennifer Wolf is not only stopping by the blog on Friday but she will also be sharing her interview WITH amazing YA author Angela Morrison for whom she created a book trailer.

NOW, on to the issue of WHEN.  As you may know, I am in the thick of revisions for my YA novel, Audition.  Thought I was ready to send it back to my editor.  Even emailed my agent to let her know.  Then, I chickened out.  Woke up in the middle of the night.  Made a list of, like, ten more verses with which I'd like to tinker, watched some bad 2AM television (I won't tell you what because, honestly, you'll think less of me) and then woke up my husband (he was thrilled!).  None of this resolved my concerns.  New plan is to give myself three more days to fix everything on my list before sending the ms to esteemed editor.  But, still, I wonder, will I suddenly feel it in my heart that it's truly ready to go?  Will I know WHEN...?

Monday, August 16, 2010


WRITE ON CON was my first experience with vlogging.  With the help of my tech-savvy fifteen-year-old and the amazing founders of the conference, it was really quite fun. 

Here's what I learned from my first foray into "film"...

1. I don't have many places in my house with good light, minimal kiddie-artwork on the walls, and enough quiet to videotape for four minutes without catching boy yells in the background.

2. To make a reasonably good point in just a few minutes took me MANY hours of script-writing, multiple practice sessions with the kitchen timer, and an embarassing number of takes.

3. Someone should have told me about that hair sticking out behind my right ear before I'd finished all the edits and noticed (at last) myself.

Here's what I wonder...

1. Do you enjoy watching VLOGs?

2. When, what kind and why do you watch vlogs?

3. Have you ever made a vlog and/or what do you vlog about?

Friday, August 13, 2010


Well, the amazing WriteOnCon is over.  Talk about writing-in-tandem, this was such an incredible event bringing together writers, editors, agents, bookstore people and many more.  The entire world of book publishing in tandem for 72 amazing hours!

In the midst of all their WriteOnCon madness, Lisa & Laura Roecker found the time to post this great Thursday "Bookanista's" interview with YA co-authors of THE IVY, Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur.  Click here to check it out!

Finally, as it's Fiction Friday, here are a few anthologies that bring together communities of writers or help us understand communities of teens.

Two by teens...

And two for those of us who've noticed that it's that, er, spooky Friday!

If you were an editor, what group of authors would you like to invite to write for a short story anthology?  What would you call it?  Fun food for weekend thought!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordy Wednesday: BOOK-TRAILERS-IN-TANDEM: An interview with filmmaker Jennifer Wolf

Okay, that's a bit of a stretch for a Wednesday word, but the important part is this update to the list of Writing-in-Tandem interviews at the blog this month: YA writer and filmmaker Jennifer Wolf will be stopping by on Friday, August 20, to discuss working with authors to create BOOK TRAILERS.  I met Jennifer when we took a terrific online writing course taught by Ann Gonzalez, author of RUNNING FOR MY LIFE, a couple of years back.  Jennifer is an incredibly energetic person and she's got some great information and tips to share.

And, if you've got a middle grade reader in your world, drop a comment below Monday's post for a chance to win this week's giveaway.  Just click here!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


An extra post this week to remind you that WRITE ON CON has begun!

Join me for the fun!

(Ooh, I love an accidental rhyme! - and, apparently, exclamation points!)

AND don't forget to check out Monday's post, below, for a chance to win a fun give-away and meet co-authors Suzanne Williams & Joan Holub.

Monday, August 9, 2010

WRITING-IN-TANDEM MONDAY: Chatting with GODDESS GIRLS co-authors Suzanne Williams & Joan Holub

Cute swag, huh?
Co-authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams are celebrating the upcoming release of Aphrodite the Beauty, the third in their delightful middle-grade Goddess Girls series. And they've stopped by today to share some insights about writing-in-tandem. Don't forget to leave a comment at this post between now and Sunday to be entered to win a fabulous Aphrodite the Beauty Swag Bag (including an autographed book).

SWK: Welcome, Joan and Suzanne. I can't wait to learn about your co-writing process. Let's begin with the question of inspiration. What made you decide to co-write Goddess Girls?

SUZANNE: Joan has always been interested in mythology, and thought a “school-based” series starring tween goddessgirls and godboys would be fun to do. Luckily, she also wanted to try writing a series with another writer and asked me if I’d be interested. Naturally, I said YES!

SWK: What was your process for writing together?

JOAN: We weren’t sure how we were going to collaborate in the beginning! Some writing teams trade off chapters, but that seemed too unwieldy for us.

SUZANNE: So, since we were initially contracted to write four books, we each did rough drafts for two, then traded the stories back and forth for several more drafts...We also made many long phone calls.

SWK: How do you think writing as a team affected working with your editor?

SUZANNE: We’re pretty careful to c.c. each other when replying to our editor, and she makes sure all her emails go to both of us, too...It’s a little extra trouble for her to have to send two copies of copy edits and galleys, but Joan and I usually compile our final changes onto one copy to make things somewhat easier for her.

JOAN: We take it as a vote of confidence in our writing partnership that our publisher, Aladdin, has recently asked us to write two more books for the series.

SWK: What are the best, worst, scariest or funniest moment in the co-writing process?

SUZANNE: I can’t honestly think of any “worst” moments. The best moments for me are when I’m struggling with some aspect of a story...then Joan supplies just the right “fix” or a suggestion that solves the problem.

JOAN: Those little moments Suzanne describes when she likes something I wrote or I especially like something she wrote...We have not had anything close to an argument, and I think that’s because we both do our work on time and try not to let the each other down.

SWK: Is there one particular aspect of the story, or of the writing process, that you feel was better because you wrote as a team?

JOAN: I send my work to friends or other authors for crit from time to time, but it’s different with a co-author. When Suzanne reads a draft I wrote, she doesn’t just suggest that I write something a different way. She writes the change herself. We both “write into” each other’s work... Our goal is a great book, so whatever it takes is fine with us!

SWK: What advice might you give to other writers considering a joint writing project?

SUZANNE & JOAN: Choose the right writing partner!

SWK: Now for the game show questions! Suzanne-You're planning the perfect getaway vacation for Joan. What's the destination and the perfect surprise to tuck into her suitcase?

SUZANNE: The destination for our perfect getaway would have to be Greece, particularly those lovely islands I’ve seen pictures of and heard so much about...The surprise? Hmm. I think matching gold double-G goddessgirl necklaces (like the ones our goddessgirls are wearing on the covers of our books) would be fantastic!

SWK: Now, Joan-You can invite any two authors, living or dead, to Suzanne's house for tea. Who's on the guest list and what favorite Suzanne-snacks are on the silver serving tray?

JOAN: I love this, Stasia! I’d invite Fancy Nancy author Jane O’Connor and Rick Riordan, author of Hyperion’s Percy Jackson series, which also involves Greco-Roman gods, goddesses, and mythical monsters. Jane published my first book at Grosset & Dunlap and she is a smart, funny person I rarely get to see. We could have ‘fancy’ tea, with some of the talking Oracle-O fortune cookies served in Mount Olympus Academy cafeteria. And it would be fascinating to talk gods and goddesses with Rick.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, Joan & Suzanne!

ENTER THE GODDESS GIRLS SWAG BAG giveaway by leaving a comment (about the series, co-writing, or even explaining why you're a goddess!) at this post. USA addresses only. Ends at 11:59 PM Pacific time on August 15. One winner will be randomly chosen and announced here on August 18.

Friday, August 6, 2010

FICTION FRIDAY: Well, could you resist an awesome arc?

I took another freelance job.  Yep, in the middle of my revision.  Why?  Because the book description looked SO GOOD that I didn't want anyone else to get the chance to write the reading guide.  Plus, I've set a deadline for my revisions and I've promised myself I won't read ONE WORD of that tantalizing arc until I've sent my revised manuscript to my awesome editor.

BUT, the BIGGEST reason is...

I feel more normal and am more productive with less spare time and plenty of deadlines hanging over me.

Wishing all you fellow writer-maniacs a happily stressful weekend (if that's your scene)!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Schedule is my middle name these days: carpools, work, revisions, make some kind of food for my kids to never seems to end.

That said, here's one schedule I am thrilled to announce: Dates on which talented writers will be stopping by the blog to talk about WRITING IN TANDEM - and some are bringing swag! Ready? Here it is!

Monday, August 9: Suzanne Williams & Joan Holub, GODDESS GIRLS series (middle grade, S&S) (with a give-away!)

Monday, August 23: Lisa & Laura Roecker, LIAR SOCIETY (young Adult, Sourcebooks Fire, March 2011) (with a give-away!)

Monday, August 30: Kirby Larson & Mary Nethery, TWO BOBBIES (picture book, Walker Books) and NUBS (picture book, Little, Brown)

I'm especially excited to have writers of picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels on the schedule.  Hoping we can all learn from each other!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back-to-Business Monday: IN TANDEM WITH YOUR LIBRARY

AUGUST HAS ARRIVED and with it, my first theme month here at the blog. With editorial letter received, and encouragement from my agent, I'm hard at work on revising AUDITION for publication.  And, it's made me realize how much of the road to publication is not ridden alone.  From critique partners, to writing friends, to agents, to editors and their teams of people within publishing houses, it seems that it "takes a village" to get a book into the world.  So, here we begin a month of considering WRITING IN TANDEM.

Where do most of us begin this journey?  At the library, of course.  Libraries are the ultimate partners for readers and writers. You can go beyond borrowing books to develop a powerful and rewarding relationship with your local library.  For YA novelists, the time to do this is during Teen Read Week™, October 17-23.

This year's theme is Books with Beat @ your library®. The idea is to encourage teens to read poetry, audiobooks, books about music, and more (hear that all you verse novelists out there?). Libraries across the world host special events in celebration of Teen Read Week.  Visit YALSA's Teen Read Week page to learn more.

YA writers, published or pre-published, should mark this week in red on the calendar. Stop by your library SOON to discuss ways you can support local Teen Read Week efforts. Here are a few ideas:

  • Write up a Teen Reading List, perhaps featuring local authors or regional themes as well as "Books with a Beat" for online posting or distribution at your library or area schools
  • Offer to do a reading of your own work or selections from great new YA titles
  • Help publicize Teen Read Week events at area schools (perhaps including ones your kids attend)
  • Find out if you can support your library's online efforts to publicize Teen Read Week
What are you waiting for?  Go to the library!