The First Draft Blues

I hate writing first drafts. I see other writers out there talking about how much they hate revising and think, “How could you hate revising? It’s so much fun!” Not kidding. I love to revise. It doesn’t matter if it’s my work or someone else’s. An unpolished piece of writing is like a big puzzle….

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MMGM: THREE TIMES LUCKY

I love getting recommendations from other writers. In this case, Krista Van Dolzer saw one of my MMGM tweets and said I should cover THREE TIMES LUCKY by Sheila Turnage. I immediately requested it from the library, and it was waiting for me when I returned from the cruise. (Krista also did a review. Go…

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How Do You Feel About Spoilers?

Like much of the world, I’ve been glued to my TV this week watching the Olympics. I made it through Monday without seeing any spoilers about the men’s gymnastics team finals, but every day since I’ve seen some kind of spoiler. I still watched in the evening, but it marred the experience already knowing the…

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MMGM: LIESL & PO

I had this book queued up on my Kindle when Shannon Messenger reviewed it a few weeks ago, so I was very excited to read it. I’m not sure what I expected. It reminded me of BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu–the language, darkness and magic. Despair is evident throughout, but the novel left me with a…

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The Questions We Ask While We Wait

Yesterday Susan Adrian wrote a great post on what to do while you’re waiting, with tips like work, read and observe, as well as what NOT to do. After I retweeted it, a fellow writer emailed me to check in on my agent search. It’s nice to have other writers who are in the same…

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Story Lessons from Pirates of the Caribbean

My husband and I decided to do a “Pirates of the Caribbean” marathon this week, which is appropriate since we just returned from the Caribbean. As you can see, our ship was a little bigger than the Black Pearl. This view is from an outlook on St. Thomas. As we were watching the movies, I…

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MMGM: A FAREWELL TO CHARMS

If you’ve read my query letter in a contest or my post on where I get my ideas, you already know I’m a big fan of Lindsey Leavitt’s PRINCESS FOR HIRE series. So of course I had to pick up the final book as soon as it came out. If you haven’t read the first…

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MMGM: THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM

As you’re reading this post, I’m somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on an epic family cruise (note to crazies: I have a house sitter and an alarm system). I’ve read so many great middle grade books lately I didn’t want to miss a week of MMGM and scheduled this one in advance….

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What I’ve Learned in a Year of Querying

One year ago today I sent the first round of queries for THE MODERN CAVEBOY’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING BATS, BULLIES AND BILLIONAIRES. In honor of this anniversary of sorts, I’d like to share a few tips from my querying journey. Titles are important. I did a number of things right when I started querying, but…

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MMGM: THE SEVENTH LEVEL

I’ve been meaning to read THE SEVENTH LEVEL ever since I saw it on the local authors table at the Missouri SCBWI conference in 2010. I’m excited to feature a book from a fellow St. Louisan. I’ve read a couple lately, although the other one (KATANA by Cole Gibsen) was a YA book. In both…

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The Querying Quandary: When to Wait

A couple of weeks ago I posted about why it’s so hard to get your first novel published, and I said I was having a different experience with the novel I’m currently querying. It’s because I have more experience this time. The key? Patience. I am not a patient person, but I learned in my…

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MMGM: THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA

I first learned about THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA on the agent’s* Twitter feed, but I didn’t decide to read it until I saw it crop up repeatedly in an impromptu Twitter survey of the best recent middle grade books. I figured if that many people recommended it, I should pick it up, too….

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