Monday, August 18, 2014

Meet My Character Blog Tour



I have been tagged by Sherrie Petersen, author of middle grade novel, WISH YOU WEREN'T, to participate in the MEET MY CHARACTER BLOG TOUR! Read her post HERE!
 
Let me introduce you to Stef, the main character of my middle grade novel, ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK (you can purchase here!)
 
1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
The main character in ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK is 12 year old Stefani Lucas. She was named after the fabulous Gwen Stefani.  I thought I was so clever in naming her this (I started writing this 6+ years ago) until I watched the DVD BABY MAMA starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. At the end, Amy's character names a baby Stefani (pronounced like Gwen's last name). I may or may have not said an expletive when I saw that! But I still kept my main character's name. Which is pronounced Stephanie though, and she is usually called Stef.
 
2) When and where is the story set?
The story is a contemporary novel so set in current times and also set somewhere in the Midwest!
 
3) What should we know about him/her?
Stef is a huge music lover, loves to read, and plays piano. She loves to wear the color black because it is cool and because it's easy. Her best friend is Gabi Rivera, and they have a strong friendship.
 
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?
Stefani Lucas is a rockin’ sixth grader who loves music and dresses like a mini hipster in all black, but there's one thing cramping her style - her lame baby brother who manages to hog all the attention from her parents. When classmates tease her about her clothes and even double dare her to (gasp!) wear another color, Stef decides a minor makeover may be in order. Can Stef change for others and still stay true to herself? Will she continue feeling left out at home?
 
5) What is the personal goal of the character?
Stef just wants to have a conflict-free life at school and more attention from her parents. Typical junior high angst.

Thank you, Sherrie, for tagging me! You can purchase ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK at amazon, barnesandnoble, kobo, and select bookstores!
*SALE* The ebook will go on sale for 99 cents starting this Wednesday for a week!
 
 
If you would like to hop on this tour, post one week from now and tag Sherrie and me in it! I'd love to get to know your characters, too! This tour highlights a main character from one of your WIP/recently published or soon to be published work. The person who invites you will have a set day to post. You will post ONE WEEK after that. The authors you tag will post one week after you, and so on.
 
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kickin' It Like the Girl That I Am

I'm joining in on the Kicks Like A Girl blog tour. Thank you Suzanne Casemento for inviting me!Check out KICKS LIKE A GIRL by Melissa Westemeyer here, and check out Suzanne's post here!

Now for this blog tour I tell you a little about myself.

First thing ever published in a magazine was this in Us Weekly back in 2000! :) (Yes, McConaughey is one of my all time faves). Okay, technically not a paid piece. My first paid piece was rhyming bird riddles in Nature Friend magazine!


My first picture book was published in 2012 by Meegenius. I wrote this story for an assignment for an online writing course. Several years and revisions later, it became BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER.

I'm also the author of Meegenius book, HOLD THE MUSTARD. My other picture books include ROCKABET: CLASSIC EDITION and  the most recent, WORDS ON BIRDS. My debut middle grade novel, ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK, was published in March. (See cutie patootie Francesca Capaldi from Disney Channel below holding it!)












Lastly, after spending time with my family, my favorite thing is going to rock concerts. See below a depiction of all the bands I've seen and how many times! (This is actually from 2013. Since then, I've seen Buckcherry one more time plus Alter Bridge and The Toadies for the first time!)













Thanks for stopping by! If you want to hop on this blog tour, let me know and I'll link to your next Monday's post!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Birds, Books, and a Bog


Yesterday I had a lovely afternoon at a beautiful state natural area near our home called Volo Bog. My dad and I signed books for visitors that came for International Bog Day! (Yes, there is such a thing!) A blues band played, refreshments were enjoyed, crafts were made, and we met many lovely people who also love nature. Kids made a cute robin craft that I found on Pinterest (see below), and we were signing right by the buttons where you can hear various bird calls.


Special day with my dad and family!

You can purchase our picture book WORDS ON BIRDS online at amazon, BarnesandNoble, and select bookstores.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Double Negative


 
Do you know C. Lee McKenzie? If the answer is yes or no, I have some Double Positive news for you. She is one warm, friendly and talented author, and she has a new book!
 
Lee takes on modern issues that today's teens face in their daily lives. Her first young adult novel, Sliding on the Edge, which dealt with cutting and suicide was published in 2009. Her second, titled The Princess of Las Pulgas, dealing with a family who loses everything and must rebuild their lives came out in 2010. Her short story, Premeditated Cat, appears in the anthology, The First Time, and her Into the Sea of Dew is part of a collection, Two and Twenty Dark Tales. In 2012, her first middle grade novel, Alligators Overhead, came out.
 
Lee's newest Young Adult novel, DOUBLE NEGATIVE, is available TODAY!
 
Hutchison Mc Queen is a sixteen-year-old smart kid who screws up regularly. He’s a member of Larkston High’s loser clique, the boy who’s on his way to nowhere—unless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesn’t work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person who’s in on his secret—he can barely read. And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years she’s saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimer’s disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.
You can purchase DOUBLE NEGATIVE HERE!
 
Stop by and say hi to C. Lee McKenzie at her website, blog, and Facebook.
 
Congrats, LEE!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What's On Your Nightstand?

I recently discovered What’s on Your Nightstand? at the  5 Minutes for Books fabulous website.

On the fourth Tuesday of each month you share what you are reading!

Here's what my July looks like.



This month I read WATERCOLOR by Leigh Talbert Moore on my Kindle (Check out the awesome Dragonfly series here!). Then I read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. (Yes, I cried.) After my 9 year old son purchased the Gennifer Choldenko books at Alcatraz last month, he read them quickly and raved about them. He told me I had to read them. So on Saturday I read AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS. I am almost done reading AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES. Such great historical fiction and so amazing that they are set where we just visited last month! What is cooler than a book set on Alcatraz!?

Also on my nightstand is Maggie Steifvater's THE DREAM THIEVES from the library. And after that, I plan to read WISHING FOR WASHINGTON by Shelley Sly on my Kindle. I also just bought SAVE THE CAT to read and learn from at some point.

You might also see Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly on the nightstand, too. I do enjoy pop culture. And I also see my new nonfiction picture book WORDS ON BIRDS peeking out! Yes, I did turn the books so you could read the titles, but I hate to say that my nightstand usually is as cluttered as this!

So, tell me. What's on your nightstand this week? Check out a list of blogs featuring nightstand reads here!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Bird Day to Me!

Tweet! Tweet!

Guess what? My children's nonfiction book about birds is now available online!

WORDS ON BIRDS is a collaboration between my dad and me that we had been talking about for years. It is finally here! My dad is an award-winning nature photographer whose work has been in many magazines and catalogs.

About WORDS ON BIRDS:
Interesting facts about common American birds are set to rhyme for easy reading and enjoyment in this picture book. Young readers will be introduced to fourteen backyard birds in an entertaining manner. The beautiful, bright photographs will further entice them in wanting to search their own backyard for these lovely creatures.

The book is now available in paperback and will be available in hardcover in a week or two!

Perfect book for the summer! Read then spot and identify these birds in the backyard! Also, super primary teacher gift, too!

You can purchase it here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

My Writing Process


 
Hello, writer friends! I hope you are having an amazing summer. Recently I was tagged by fellow SCBWI-IL writer, Beverly Patt, to write about my writing process. Beverly is the author of BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WWII SCRAPBOOK and HAVEN. Check out her post about the writing process HERE!
 
If you would like to write about your writing process, too, let me know in the comments and I will add your link at the end of my post!
 
This is how I roll, dawg. This is how I do!
 
MY WRITING PROCESS
 

1. What are you currently working on?

I currently have three projects going on. I’m preparing for my next picture book release next week (WORDS ON BIRDS). I recently revisited a middle grade novel that I started co-writing with someone and we got busy and dropped it for a few years. Having fun getting back to that -over halfway done!  And I am also revising a picture book I wrote in the spring.


2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

My last couple of published projects (ROCKABET picture book and ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK mg) differ as their themes are rock ‘n’ roll which is a different little niche in kids lit.


3. Why do you want to write?

Writing is a creative outlet for me. I have SO many ideas that I want to put out there. I feel so accomplished when I finish a chapter, my goal for the day, or when I see a book of mine on a bookshelf! Also, being a mom and educator, I want to promote literacy any way I can, and let people know that READING ROCKS!

4. How does your individual writing process work?

I actually do not have any regular writing process. I’m more of a pantser than a planner, but my next project I am going to try to plan more. J For picture books and poetry, I generally write in a notebook and erase, scratch out and revise as I write. Also, I enjoy being outside and it’s easier to write in a notebook instead of the laptop there! But in general, I write, revise, revise, revise, revise, and then revise like most writers!

 
And that is how I roll.
Don't forget to let me know if you want to join in on the fun!
HAPPY SUMMER!