Friday, September 29, 2017

The Draft is Done!

The draft of “Eye of the Peacock” is now finished. Huzzah!

I’m taking a week to read through one last time to look for silly mistakes before it goes to my team of beta readers. Besides my usual crew, I’ll have three teens on that team, and I’m excited for their input. I’ll be giving them several weeks to read and make their annotations.

Then begins the really tough work: comparing their notes page by page. If they all pin point a problem area, then it’s my job to rework it. Some will also spot some editing mistakes, and I’ll fix those along the way.

The next step is ordering proofs once the cover has been decided. Another team of readers will “red pen” those copies for editing mistakes.

Then it’s off to the publishers!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Have Adventures!

Writing teachers always tell new writers to write what they know. But that’s not exactly true. If it were, we would be so limited. How could you ever write about space travel, if you had never done it? Yet there are science fiction writers out there who have never travelled in space.

As writers, we need to combine what we know with our imagination. But we must also strive for a vast supply of experiences from which to draw. True, research can help fill gaps when writing, but you need to combine the research and imagination with your experiences. To have been there and smelled it and heard it, really helps a writer reach their readers.

My advice: I can’t encourage you enough to go out and have adventures – even if they are close to home. Take photos (your memory will fail you!). Even take notes if you have to – sniff the air, listen as you walk or ride. How would you describe it?
I took this photo on one such adventure this summer and think I will expand the terrain and use it as an environment on a planet in one of my next books!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Crafting the Ending

Crafting the ending of a piece, I believe, is the most challenging. It is not only the part where all the pieces of a story need to come together, but also the part where the writer needs to re-examine the reason for writing the piece. What was the message you were intending to give to your readers? Has that message been made clear?

So I often find myself going back through on the second draft and looking for places to shore up that message, looking for places where I can insert bits of information that I found necessary to include at the end, tweaking wording to cleverly hint at themes.

And that is what Beta Readers will be for as well – helping me find those holes that don’t exist in my head, but haven’t been made clear on paper.

This is the part that is more than just writing!

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Fav Book Store

Recently, I stumbled across an independent bookstore that has become one of my favorites.

Northshire Bookstore is located on Broadway in Saratoga Springs, New York, and it is a gem! Books are well displayed, and signage allows newcomers to easily find what they want. There is an amazing metal staircase that leads to the second floor, which is filled front to back with books for children and young adults.

The staff seems to genuinely love books. They have even left short recommendations on cards here and there on the shelves. Combine these with the inside cover of the book and you feel very confident purchasing a book you are going to love!

They have another store in Manchester Center, Vermont -- a bit of a hike for me. But I’ll be back to the Saratoga Springs store as often as I can!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fun Morning!

Thanks to all the wonderful parents and kiddos of Smallwood Elementary School for coming by and talking with me today!

I met some really nice kids and some great parents! One young man even asked if I was the author of The Magic Treehouse books, mistaking me for Mary Pope Osborne -- now there's a compliment! I really hope Relic provides some good reading for the remainder of the school year or maybe their first read of the summer for my newest readers.

Don’t forget – if you read Relic I would really appreciate a review on Amazon. And tell me how you really feel, what parts you liked and if there was anything you wished was different. But don’t be a spoiler!

Again, thanks so much for coming by – and happy reading!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pancakes and Relic

Part of the fun of being a writer is getting to meet your readers and your potential readers.

I have the awesome opportunity to do just that this Saturday, April 22, at Smallwood Elementary School, Amherst, during their PTA pancake breakfast. I’ve been to this event before – $5 for great pancakes, sausage, orange juice and coffee – all served by the teachers of Smallwood!

Look for me there between about 8 and 11 a.m. I’ll have some original art work from the book as well as some artifacts to help you picture parts of the story. If you’ve purchased Relic I’ll be glad to sign it for you! See you there!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Looking for a Good Read?

I just finished reading Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water.

A good, short read, but I thought the best part was the parallel story about Nya, whose day is consumed by two trips to a pond to fetch and deliver life-sustaining water for her family.

The main story is about Salva, a refugee from Sudan, who becomes a "lost boy" as he runs from his war-torn homeland searching for his family and safety.

Not one to spoil a clever ending, suffice it to say the two stories make sense in the end.

I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Sue Parks in November at the 2nd Annual WNY Children's Book Expo. She is also the author of  A Single Shard, for which she won the Newbery Medal -- I will make sure I add that to my “Must Read” pile.