Saturday, November 30, 2013

Last few hours to enter THE SOUND OF LETTING GO Goodreads

This is for a signed, annotated advance review copy (arc) of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO. Comes with a pack of TSoLG sticky notes and a signed postcard, too!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

The Sound of Letting Go

by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Giveaway ends December 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Before going on TURKEY HIATUS WEEKEND...

just a quick reminder that, once I've recovered from my tryptophan coma, I'll be spending some time annotating a copy of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO for one lucky winner!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

The Sound of Letting Go

by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Giveaway ends December 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Contest ends soon, so click if you want to win a gravy-stained arc (just kidding, it'll be a pumpkin
pie-stained arc!).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Book Birthday to PUSHED by Corrine Jackson!

Go visit Corrine's WEBSITE
and learn about her many levels of awesome!
THEN, check this out!


Remy O’Malley was just learning to harness her uncanny healing power when she discovered the other,darker half of her bloodline. Now she lives trapped between two worlds, uneasy among her fellow Healers—and relentlessly hunted by the Protectors.

Forced to conceal her dual identity, and the presence of her Protector boyfriend Asher Blackwell, Remy encounters a shadow community of Healers who will put her loyalties to the test.

Pushed to the limit, with the lives of those she loves most on the line, Remy must decide whether to choose sides in a centuries-old war—or make the ultimate sacrifice and go to a place from which she may never return…

I know you want to read this. And you can. Today! Just click on over to AMAZON, B&N or INDIEBOUND.

Monday, November 25, 2013

WHY I'M INSPIRED BY… @sarahockler

Weeping is not the same thing as crying. It takes your whole body to weep, and when it's over, you feel like you don't have any bones left to hold you up. 
Like the stars, fading with the halo of the vanishing moon. Like the ocean, falling and whispering against the shore. Nothing ever really goes away - it just changes into something else. Something beautiful.


Thursday, November 21, 2013


Through grade school, high school, college and grad school…at writing conferences and seminars…on author websites and educators blogs…one encounters the old saw that if one wants to be a good writer, they have to be a good READER.

Sometimes hearing that lesson gets annoying.  Even if I enjoy reading, being TOLD to do something kind of takes away my ownership of the act--even if I choose the books (which I don’t, always, since I read a lot for work). Two of my sons are dyslexic and telling them to be “good readers” is fraught on so many levels. One of those boys is a terrific writer, too, but reading a novel takes him an epic amount of time. So, it’s asking a lot.
Here’s the thing, though: Reading does help me as a writer. It helps me appreciate beautiful words strung together. It helps me grasp concepts like pacing, and develop strategies for presenting dialogue, that are nearly impossible to understand without good examples. When I’m not being nagged, I do love reading.

I love that feeling of racing to the end of a great book all the while dreading that last page because then it’ll be over and you’ll have to say goodbye to those characters who are breathing in your heart.
I love the way men and women all around the world put fingers to keyboard (or pen to paper) to tell their stories, leave a mark on the world, share an idea. I love to bear witness to that act by turning pages.

For the next 10 Mondays, I’ll be posting a series called WHY I'M INSPIRED BY… in which I share quotes from authors whose work I admire and from whom I have learned (and basically behave like a shameless fangirl).
Feel free to join me by leaving a comment and I’ll pop by your blog and say hello!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Pretty in Pink

This fun-tastic meme comes courtesy of Breaking the Spine. I haven't participated in awhile, but I thought I'd give a little WoW cover love to some gorgeous jackets in creamy and rosy hues.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Craft Chat: Researching Your Fiction

I'm deep in the muck of a new manuscript. I KNOW my protagonist and, on my best days, really hear his voice in my head. The imaginary people and places splash onto the page sometimes faster than I can type. What gets me stuck? FACTS!

I discovered when I was writing THE SOUND OF LETTING GO that there was a LOT I didn't know about trumpets, Youth Orchestras, and especially autism. To write the best work of FICTION I could manage, I needed information to be sure my scenarios were plausible, my characterizations and descriptions authentic. What did I do?
  • PRIMARY RESEARCH: Sought out and interviewed teen trumpet prodigies, psychiatrists and psychologists who treated people with autism in residential settings, parents and siblings of teens on the low-functioning end of the autism spectrum.
  • READING: I read non-fiction books about autism, musical prodigies, family therapy strategies. I read fiction about and by folks on the autism spectrum.
  • ONLINE EXPLORATION: I scoured the Autism Speaks and Autism Society websites, connected with some amazing people, including the director of the Sibling Support Project.
  • VERIFICATION: I had my manuscript vetted by readers who worked in the autism field to make sure my finished product held up.
In the service of my new w-I-p, I am now interviewing police officers, and reading a lot about all kinds of things (secret for now). Although it takes time and effort, in the end, having a solid grasp of the facts frees me to write my very best fiction.

For a wonderful and poetic musing on this topic, check out Caroline Starr Rose's ODE TO A RESEARCH NOTEBOOK here!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Back to Business: KEEPING UP WITH THE (no, not Kardashians) PUBLISHING INDUSTRY

So, you shouldn't waste too much time on the interwebs. YOU SHOULD BE WRITING! But just in case you (like me) need a break from time to time--and, in truth, if you're serious about being in the children's or YA literature business--here are a few helpful industry links:

PUBLISHERS LUNCH on FACEBOOK (nice, free updates on the industry, book deals, etc.)

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Children's page (on the web, great info and links to blogs)

SCBWI (if you don't belong already, go join today!)

If Twitter's your thing, I recommend

And, if you're so inclined, click one more time and enter to win a signed, annotated arc of THE

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Although writing commitments have taken me away from my beloved Bookanistas this year, I decided to post this review on a Thursday all the same. And hop on along to the Bookanista site for more great reviews!

Plot without spoilers...Sixteen-year-old, motherless Blue Van Meer has spent her life traveling from one college town to the next with her noted professor father, living a loner's life at the many schools she attends. Then the pair land in Stockton, NC, where Blue begins studying at the elite St. Gallway School, and finds herself becoming part of a powerful clique known as the Bluebloods who themselves seem to operate under the spell of a mysterious adjunct professor named Hannah Schneider. Plots of death and deception play out between engaging line-drawn art by the author and voluminous citations from masterworks of literary fiction and nonfiction.

Of literary interest...Pessl's language is delicious. From  "...weird, grown-up youth, which was like gardenias blooming in January" (p. 70) to a "soft, wisteria-fairy-pin of a smile" (p. 198), and on and on, I found myself turning the book I thought would be donated to the library into a dog-eared underlined keeper-of-deliciousness.

Finally, just gotta say...The novel, to me, is a musing on the WHO we want to be remembered as (sorry for that bad grammar). The plot-twist at the end was satisfyingly surprising if a little breathless. While I continue to struggle to unravel my feelings about the ending, it is with certainty that I encourage you to read Special Topics for its spectacular language.

And a question...With its sixteen-year-old protagonist and prep school setting, WHY COULDN'T ONE CATEGORIZE THIS BOOK AS YA? It is far less steamy than a lot of YA/New Adult I've seen. And I think the footnotes and literary allusions are comprehensible to those with weaker personal bibliographies (starting with me!). Selfishly, I wonder if being categorized as literary fiction gives the book stronger legs (I think so). This question isn't a judgement on this novel. Titles like THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES and THE BOOK THIEF also seem to me to be equally categorizable as YA or adult. Maybe some books are just both.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


On November 4th, I proposed a week-long experiment here on my blog. I also emailed a group of my author friends about what I was proposing and asked that they tweet about it to help spread the word.

Here are the results:

  • My AMAZON ranking moved up from the dark, depressing 4 millions to the 137,000s. At last check it had wended its way back down to the 900,000ks.
  • On the GOODREADS YA BOOKS of 2014 list, I traveled up from 137 up to a peak of 109 and is now at 110. There was a small uptick in additions to peoples' "to read" lists and a few other nods. On the GR February 2014 list, TSoLG remained solidly at #69. No additional votes.
  • Not enough blog comments to do a giveaway.
  • The needle did move but the absolute numbers (additional GR votes, additional pre-orders or whatever changes your Amazon score?!) were small.
The aforementioned needle is very sensitive to even the slightest motion. Therefore, aside from the top and bottom outliers, these rankings are pretty insignificant.

Were the results worth the time, effort and imposition on friends' goodwill the required? Not really (but thanks everybody!). In fact, the more the needle moved, the more I realized its insignificance for a midlist writer such as myself.

If your stats really bother you, you can probably just as easily move your Goodreads/Amazon stats by getting people like your mother-in-law to pre-order your book and your neighbors to click on your Goodreads links.  Or, see if somebody like Dr. Who can morph you into Cassandra Clare.  Either way ;)

Still running this, though...

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

The Sound of Letting Go

by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Giveaway ends December 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Goodreads arc giveaway fun.!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe

The Sound of Letting Go

by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Giveaway ends December 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Act of Poetry

Hope you've joined the Amazon/Goodreads Author Shaming Experiment of Fun already but, if not, you can CHECK IT OUT HERE.

I am thrilled to be writing today's post in support of VERSENOVELS.COM hosted by the inimitable Gabrielle.

I wrote standard, prose-form manuscripts (never published) for years before meeting Ellen Hopkins at a conference and never turning back. Just hours after taking attending her break-out session, I began a self-directed crash course in "Great Works in Verse." I read Karen Hesse and Sonya Sones, Sharon Creech and Jaqueline Woodson, and on and on.

One of the things I struggled with then (and still do) is the WHY of choosing the verse format. Is verse akin to, say, Impressionism in painting--a choice of form? Or does verse require some greater argument? Haven't we all heard editors or agents say things like "to acquire a novel in verse, it has to be very clear to me that the novel HAS to be written in this style"?

Another struggle has been the tension between VERSE and linear PLOT. I feel like there are times when something akin to split-line prose--less imagistic, more pragmatic--is required to guide the reader and protagonist toward some critical plot moment. As a poet, can I give myself permission to let this type of writing in to serve the STORY?

I have found some answers in prose novels that deal with the act of creating poetry, or break the mold of form in a way that I find instructive to poets.  Here are four for your consideration:

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson - a grieving teen finds understanding and solace through releasing poetry into the world.

ADIOS, NIRVANA by Conrad Wesselhoeft - a gifted young poet and musician struggles to find his voice after the death of his twin brother.

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak - a musing on death and reading featuring chapter titles that are word lists and imagistic, poetic structuring of all kinds.

JUMPED IN by Patrick Flores-Scott - a novel about two slacker-loners who become unlikely friends as they try to write kick-ass verse for the class poetry slam.

As a verse novelist, I find these books instructive and inspiring. They lead me to conclude that verse novels and prose novels do not exist separately but as the ends of a beautiful spectrum of forms through which writers deliver story.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Trying to Photograph Seagulls

Last month, while visiting my son at college in Massachusetts, we went to a footballgame. We sat on the bleachers, watching his school team get crushed by the visitors, eating kettle corn and smelling the crisp fall air. I looked up and a saw a flock of seagulls swooping hungrily above the field.  I pointed my camera upward.

All I could capture were the clouds. But, I promise you, the seagulls were there. They were beautiful. And now, what's left for me, is to try to use words to paint the picture my camera could not grasp. Like emotions, like the passage of time, like the sensation of a kiss. Writing is like trying to photograph seagulls. Even if all you wind up with is a bright, blue sky, the effort is entirely worth it.

What's your "seagull photograph" experience?
If you want to play along and give my upcoming novel a lift, click HERE.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Author Shaming via Goodreads & Amazon--and a GAME with prizes

Should I care where my novel
ranks on Goodreads'
Most Popular Books of February 2014 list,
or the longer
YA NOVELS of 2014?
Should I wonder how many pre-sold copies moves a book from Amazon's millions ranks to the lofty 10,000s? Well, I do.  It's rough getting incessant statistical confirmation of your midlist status.
It's like officially getting NOT ASKED to homecoming in public! As I draft this post, the #1 slot on GR's 2014 roster is Cassie Clare's latest (47k+ votes). My book sits at #164.

Here's a game:  Wanna try to help move my baby up the charts? Click & vote via one of the two BIG links above. I'll Tweet and Facebook stats daily through next Sunday, so other struggling authors out there can get data about this effort. If you start a similar experiment on your site, please leave a comment below so I can stop by and click my gratitude right back to you!

Also: If you PREORDER THE SOUND OF LETTING GO ON AMAZON during this week, send proof (a screenshot of your Amazon preorder confirmation) in the body of an email, along with your address (US/CANADA only) to stasiakehoe (AT) msn (DOT) com and I will mail you a signed postcard and pack of super-pretty TSoLG sticky notes by way of thanks.

AND: If I have at least 15 comments, I will give away a signed copy of my first novel, AUDITION. All commenters will be automatically entered to win. This one IS open to international addresses! (Details: Deadline for entry 12:01 AM Pacific Time on 11 November 2013. Winner (drawn at random) will be announced on the blog by the end of the same day (11/11/13) and must contact me by 12:01 AM Pacific Time on Friday, November 15, 2013 to claim the prize.)

Finally (long post)...a Goodreads giveaway for a signed, annotated Advance Review Copy of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO begins on 11/10.  So, the gifty fun will continue!

Friday, November 1, 2013

You Are Invited to SCBWI INSIDE STORY - SUNDAY in Seattle!

I'd be delighted if you'd join me at...

Local Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators share the "stories behind the stories" of new and upcoming books! 4:00 PM on Sunday, November 3, at Mockingbird Books (7220 Woodlawn Ave, NE, Seattle).  Librarians, teachers, writers, bloggers & book fans are all welcome! Presenters include Dana Sullivan, Karen Lewis, Patrick Flores-Scott, Jaime Temairik, Roy Kindelberger, Elizabeth Rose Stanton, Nina Laden, Kathryn O. Galbraith, Dia Calhoun, Craig Orback, Brenda Z. Guiberson, Suzanne Williams, Richard Jesse Watson, Samantha R. Vamos, Stasia Ward Kehoe, Lorie Ann Grover, & Matthew Porter.

 If possible, please RSVP to