My Favorite Reads of 2013

This year I read 115 books. 115! Although I didn’t set a specific goal for 2013, I expected I would end up at a similar number to 2012, which was 83. Imagine my surprise when I realized I had read 32 more books than last year. At first I was puzzled as to how I…

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How I Tackle Revisions, Steps 1 & 2

It’s been over a month since my last writing post and for very good reason–I’ve been taking the first step toward revising my work-in-progress: letting it sit. I’ve learned to set a first draft aside for at least a month. Often that’s hard to do, but with the holiday season, it was much easier. I…

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The Scholastic Warehouse Sale AKA Heaven on Earth

This must be heaven, I thought as I walked into the Scholastic Warehouse Sale in suburban St. Louis. Tables piled high with picture books, middle grade, young adult, and even adult best-sellers. Shelves lined with books and activities marked with stickers as low as $1. Long aisles with three or four levels of boxes filled…

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YA Series Recommendation: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

I came to this series later than most. I didn’t read the first book until September, but I’m actually glad because then I didn’t have to wait very long for the final installment. To be honest, I wish I could do this for all series–particularly those that deal in cliffhangers–but sometimes I get hooked in…

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YA Review: THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater

I read the first book in this series–THE RAVEN BOYS–earlier this year, but when I finished it, I had a hard time putting into words what I liked about it. I think I’ve figured it out, so I’m ready to review the most recent book, THE DREAM THIEVES. While you should read THE RAVEN BOYS…

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MMGM: RULES FOR GHOSTING by A.J. Paquette

I picked up RULES FOR GHOSTING after reading a blog post Ammi-Joan Paquette wrote about having several books release within a few months. I’d read one of her picture books but hadn’t read any of her novels. I’m so glad I did. Here’s the description: Dahlia has been the resident ghost at Silverton Manor for…

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MMGM: MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS by Lisa Yee

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I heard Lisa Yee speak at the Missouri SCBWI Conference. She was hilarious, and I was sure her books would be, too. Well, I started with her first–MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS, which earned the Sid Fleischman Humor Award–and am happy to share it as part of Marvelous…

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Subjectivity and Why You Should Get Multiple Opinions

When I first started writing seriously, I didn’t understand the importance of getting multiple opinions on my work. I wrote a draft, sent it out to one person, incorporated that person’s thoughts, revised, sent to another person, and so on. Can you see the issue here? I was relying too heavily on one person’s opinion….

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It’s Just a First Draft, Part 3

I finished my first draft! It ended up at approximately 68,000 words. I always let a first draft sit for a few weeks before I look at it again, although I already have a number of ideas about what I need to do with it when I start revising. In any case, here are my…

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Missouri SCBWI 2013 Conference Recap

On Saturday, I attended the Missouri Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. I would categorize this as more of an inspirational than a working conference. It consists of a series of keynote addresses with one breakout session. There was the option to attend an additional breakout session on Sunday morning, but as I…

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Patience: A Work in Progress

I am always in a hurry. Whether it’s getting the kids dressed and out the door, doing a freelance project, reading a book, critiquing, drafting, revising, or querying, I want it done now or possibly yesterday. This was a perfect fit for my first career choice. I worked for a public relations agency for seven…

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MMGM: EXILE by Shannon Messenger with a Giveaway!

It seems appropriate to come back from another break from Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with a review of EXILE by MMGM founder Shannon Messenger. And I have even better news: I get to meet Shannon tonight! She’s doing a signing at a bookstore five minutes from my house, and I’m taking along a middle school…

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