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!
 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK trailer!

Hope all of you are enjoying summer between thunderstorms!

Last night I toyed with iMovie and created this trailer for my middle grade novel,
ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK!

Edited: For some reason, Blogger is only showing 3/4 of the screen so if you want to see the full screen trailer click here!

Let me know what you think!


The ebook is now on sale at $2.99! You can purchase the ebook or paperback online at  amazon, barnesandnoble and kobo!

You rock!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How Marketing and Writing Go Together with S.R. Johannes



Today I have YA author, S.R. Johannes, to help us with marketing! Read on for some amazing tips to get your book seen! You can buy Shelli's third installment in the Nature of Grace series, UNSTOPPABLE, on amazon.com. Visit Shelli at her website, her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter!

Thanks for the great info, Shelli!

How marketing and writing go together.

Every writer loves to write. But not every writer loves the business side of publishing.

These days it's important to know all aspects of the business (marketing, sales, taxes etc) - especially if you decide to indie publish at any point.
First, it's important to understand the basics of marketing. You need a web site, you need some form of social media, and you will want to start an email list. But this is all online marketing.

You need more than that and this is where it can get overwhelming.


But if you think of "marketing" in a different way, maybe it can be fun. Think of marketing as networking with your target audience - AKA our readers.

Basically, marketing your book is about finding your audiences and just letting them know about your book, about the themes in your book. Marketing is about connecting to your readers. And that's why we write! You first need to understand your writing, the genre, and all the secondary topics your book addresses - directly and indirectly.

All YA have similar audiences at a high level - teachers, librarians, teens, parents, and bookstore owners. But you can't stop there. If you want your writing to touch people, you have to focus on the next level of readers. For example - My Nature of Grace series is for young adults and it is a thriller. But it also touches on animal conservation, nature, going green, survival, outdoors, and the region surrounding the Smoky Mountains. These are all possible targets for me to consider. Here's what you need to do to break it down into smaller chunks.

Once you have targeted the audiences listed above, then do this:
• List out the topics/themes your book covers.
• Pick the most dominant theme
• List out what 3-5 audiences would want to read it.
• Find out where they hang out most (forums, ezines, festivals etc)
• Document who to contact
• Then figure out how to contact them

Hope this helps you realize that marketing can be fun especially if you break it down into smaller chunks. It's about connecting to your readers on a more personal level.