children's writer

Reading Challenge Update and Award

Jan 31, 2012
I've started reading Jellicoe Road and it is as magical as everyone says it is. I think my heart stopped when I read the prologue. Unfortunately, I haven't finished any books yet which is sad because I realize a lot of you are making great progress with your reading goals. But I have read some great samples on Amazon if that counts for anything. One of my favorites was The Secret Life of Bees. What a beautiful book. I hope I'll be able to read the entire thing someday.

On to the award part of this post. Kelley over at Between the Bookends gave me this award. Thanks Kelley. The rules are to name one thing you like about yourself.

One thing I like about myself is the amount of empathy that I have for others. It's very hard for me to hurt someone deliberately because I can always imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes. I'm not perfect. No one is, but I try to care about the way I treat people.

I'm supposed to pass this award on to as many people as I like. This was hard, but I chose three.

Cynthia at Random Thoughts
Angela Brown at In a Pursuit of Publishness
Cortney Pearson at Writer by Day Mommy Always

Now, what books have you read lately?

Middle Grade Movie Recommendation

Jan 26, 2012

Vada Sultenfuss is obsessed with death. Her mother is dead, and her father runs a funeral parlor. She is also in love with her English teacher, and joins a poetry class over the summer just to impress him. Thomas J., her best friend, is "allergic to everything", and sticks with Vada despite her hangups. When Vada's father hires Shelly, a makeup expert, in his funeral parlor, and begins to fall in love with her, Vada is outraged and does everything in her power to split them up.


This isn't a review, but I remember watching this movie as a kid and even now it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's a great movie about love, friendship, family, and dealing with death. I think it's one of those movies that everyone should see at least once. When I think about favorite childhood movies it's definitely at the top of my list. When I think about the kind of middle grade stories I aspire to write I think about My Girl. It's a coming-of-age movie that will make you laugh and cry. It's truly inspiring.

Have you seen My Girl? If you have, what did you think about it?

Old Projects: Alice and Olivia

Jan 25, 2012
While going through my shelved manuscripts I came across a novel that I thought I had put away for good, but something tells me that I'll be working on this manuscript again pretty soon. Although, I could tell while reading it that it needs to be rewritten. I'm only about eight thousand words in so rewriting shouldn't be too bad. I don't won't to put my other WIP aside, so I'll probably work on them both. It just sounds oh too sweet to leave lying around. Summer Spell is one of my middle grade novels I hope to publish someday, but when I think about Alice and Olivia my mind goes to wonderful places, mostly I see a lot of pink.

Here's the query:

Everybody thinks Alison's gone for good but twelve-year-old Olivia knows better. Even her cat Milo knows that sharing a double-sized strawberry muffin from Dillard’s Bakery makes you bonded for life. And what kind of friend would Olivia be if she believed her best friend was dead.

Just ask Olivia who she's been spending all of her time with when her parents are too busy dodging neighbors and shining their knick-knacks to notice. Only Alison knows where Olivia’s been hiding the pills, the secrets they'll never tell anyone, and their plans to run away to the Wild West.

But when Alison doesn't show up for their daily game of Wizards and Toads, something smells like catnip, and Olivia sets out on a mission to find her only friend. Except, how do you find someone who doesn’t exist—at least not anymore. But don’t try telling Olivia that. She knows everything about Alison and Alison would never leave. They pinkie promised. Bad things always happen when you break a pinkie promise, you know. Especially when you’re Olivia Jenkins and Alison's your best friend.

Alice and Olivia is a magical realism MG novel.  

So tell me, have you ever fell back in love with a project that you shelved?

Novel Too Short

Jan 20, 2012
If there's one thing I've learned during my writing journey it's that I have the tendency to write short, really short. My last novel came in at 43,000 words. Truthfully, when it's all said and done and that novel is ready for submission to agents I get a bit nervous. No, a lot nervous. I worry that my writing style might be a less of a pro and more of a con.

I know that 43,000 words is fine for a YA novel, especially YA contemporary, but I've been looking up ways on how to "beef" up novels that are lacking in the word count department.

Some of the articles I found said to:
  • Add a new subplot 
  • Add a new character
  • Flesh out an existing character
  • Or, add a twist to the story line 

They're all awesome tips, and they've helped me pinpoint exactly what could me lacking in my novels. Sometimes though the word count of a novel may be lesser than average simply because it has to be.

Does anyone else out there write "short?"

Three Contemporary Novels

Jan 17, 2012
For a long time fantasy and paranormal fiction were my genre of choice. I had a major thing  for vampires and fay, and I still do. But more than once in a while I come across some awesome contemporary novels, and I just have to share.

There's just something about contemporary fiction that makes me love reading and writing the genre. Contemporary fiction will always be loved by many, especially contemporary YA.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
If I Lie by Corrine Jackson
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Are there any contemporary novels you've got your eye on?

Waiting on Wednesday: Someday Dancer

Jan 11, 2012

A ballerina tale with a thoroughly modern twist!

Casey Quinn has got more grace in her pinkie toe than all those prissy ballet-school girls put together, even if you'd never guess it from the looks of her too-long legs and dirty high-top sneakers. It's 1959, and freckle-faced Casey lives in the red-dust countryside of South Carolina. She's a farm girl: Her family can't afford ballet lessons. But Casey's dream is to dance in New York City. And if anyone tries to stand in her way, she's going to pirouette and jeté right over them!

Casey's got the grit, and Casey's got the grace: Is that enough to make it in Manhattan someday? Or might the Big Apple have something even better in mind? When she meets a visionary choreographer she calls "Miss Martha," Casey's ballerina dream takes a thoroughly, thrillingly modern twist!


I've had this novel bookmarked for awhile. I just knew I wanted to blog about it. I don't think I've read any ballerina novels as of yet, so I was pretty excited to come across this one. The best part, it takes place in an era that I love, the 50s. I think this is going to be a very sweet novel. 

Image and description from Goodreads.

2012 Reading Challenge

Jan 9, 2012
One thing I've noticed is that since I've started writing seriously the amount of books I read per year has gotten smaller and smaller. Last year I stared my own personal reading challenge, which was an epic fail. I don't even want to mention how many books I read in 2011 because it's too embarrassing.

This year something needs to change. I've officially started querying Summer Spell, so this would be a great time to catch up on some reading. Especially when I'm not checking my email every second. It's true what they say, waiting is the hardest part.

I've been on the prowl for some reading challenges to enter, to really give myself the push that I need, and I couldn't really find any that were perfect for me. So I've decided to enter the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge. My goal is to read at least 30 books this year. I know 30 is a small number, but I want to start small and work my way up. Let's just hope that I stick to it.

I have a ton of books in my TBR pile to get to that I bought last year, so they should keep me pretty busy. And I also have a ton of books that I have my eye on, so this year should be a very exciting year in reading for me.  

How many books do you plan on reading this year?