Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Three Questions with Laura Pauling

Published by Pugalicious Press
When Bianca and Melvin brave the jungle to rescue their grandfather, they stumble upon the ancient Maya city of Etza, where the people haven’t aged in 2,000 years. They must learn to work together as they face loincloth-wearing skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy that says in three days the city will be destroyed. No problem. They’ll find Zeb and zip right out of there. The fact that a crazy king wants to serve Bianca up to the gods as an appetizer is just a minor technicality. But this ancient evil dude has finally met his match.


Interview with my blog buddy Laura Pauling

1. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while researching or writing your book?
I learned that in some respects, the Maya culture wasn’t too different from ours as far as taking care of family, reacting in fear to climate changes, loyalty, troubles with government. They experienced seasons of recession after drought, which led to panic and battle with other city-states. They might’ve sacrificed prisoners in order to have rain for crops and good fortune with the gods, but we can go to extremes too for financial peace and good fortune.

2. What are three adjectives that would best describe your main character?
Impulsive. Loyal. Adventurous.

3. What would your main character's favorite song (or songs) be? :) 
Bianca adores her grandfather, Zeb. Enough to brave the Ancient Maya to rescue him. He’s smart and collects artifacts that are extremely appealing to her. Ever since Bianca stumbled on Zeb’s collection of jazz records in the attic, she’s a total fan. Of course, when she’s alone in her room, she likes a little Taylor Swift too. She just doesn’t tell her cousin, Melvin.

Thanks, Kelly!
How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings released last week. Pugalicious Press did a fantastic job, and I’m extremely happy with the results. This book would make a fantastic gift for boys or girls who enjoy adventure stories with lots of excitement! You can purchase it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can read the first chapter here. Thankfully, my journey is just beginning and I’m excited to see where it leads. Click here for the list of blog tour stops! Enter to win these prize packages!

Prize Package One (signed paperbacks)

Prize Package Two (signed paperbacks)

Prize Package Three

Refresh the page if you can't see the Rafflecopter form! a Rafflecopter giveaway

I recently finished reading HOW TO SURVIVE & enjoyed it. Check it out! Thank you for stopping by the blog, Laura! Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prairie Writer's Day 2012

This month I was fortunate enough to attend the SCBWI-IL yearly conference, Prairie Writer's Day. Not only was it fun to mingle with other writers, but the speakers were phenomenal.

Guest speakers included  Dianne Hess (Scholastic Press editor), Beverly Horowitz (VP/Publisher of Delacorte), Meredith Mundy (Sterling Executive Editor), Elizabeth Parisi (Creative Director at Scholastic Trade), Lisa Yoskowitz (Disney-Hyperion Editor), and Marietta Zacker (Nancy Gallt Literary agent). Most of these professionals were greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy, so we were even more thankful that they were still able to attend.

Favorite quotes of the day

"It's not publishing that makes you a writer; it's writing that makes you a writer." - I forgot to write down who said this (I want to say it was Susan...) so my apologies to the wonderful speaker who said this! Anyone there remember?

"Our lives are a daily improvisation." - Diane Hess

"I am who I am because of where I was when." - Susan Campbell Baroletti

"Every decision you make counts." - Beverly Horowitz

Agent Marietta Zacker was a delight, too. She was informative and funny. She and Susan staged an Editor/Agent negotiation which was very interesting.

The packed day included a workshop and two breakout sessions so the conference definitely tailored to individual needs, (though I would suggest a marketing breakout at the next conference). I was also lucky enough to have a manuscript critiqued by the Sterling editor and have lunch with her,  Lisa of Disney/Hyperion, Marietta (who is Hilary Wagner's fab agent) and my picture book pals, Lori and Laura. I cannot say enough how wonderful it was to talk with and learn from leaders in the publishing industry.

Have you attended any writing conferences or events lately? Which ones do you recommend?

Friday, November 2, 2012

ROUGE is red hot

Have you seen this beautiful cover for Leigh T. Moore's newest book? Amazing! I started reading Leigh's book this week, and I CANNOT put it down. Thanks to Leigh's descriptive writing and compelling story, I have bags under my eyes, and I am not getting enough sleep. Thanks a lot, Leigh!  Seriously, Leigh's YA/new adult novel pairs memorable, likable characters with a unique story. I love it! It's not a light hearted, fun romance like her first novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT FAKING (which also kept me up late reading at night), but both books include Leigh's excellent writing and characters you truly care about. I can see this being a movie one day with gorgeous costumes and a steamy New Orleans setting.

ROUGE will be released on NOVEMBER 11! Visit Leigh (or LTM as she is known in blogland) at her blog "That's Write."

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Treat

Happy Halloween to you!

Halloween is big in the Polark household. In the photo above, we are battling over the Reese's peanut butter cups.

My 15 yr old blind dog Goofy and my 3 year old dog Daisy love getting dressed up. Can't you see the excitement in their eyes?  (Leia is thinking, "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi. You are my only hope.")

Other exciting Halloween happenings...I got to meet one of my teen heartthrobs last night. I attended a John Taylor book signing in Chicago with my friend Sue. John is the bassist of Duran Duran, and now author of In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran. John read some excerpts from his book, told some entertaining stories, and even had a brief Q&A. John is quite charming and that British accent had everyone swooning.

John Taylor

I meet him for the first time. (big smile!)

He signs my book!

Enjoy the spooktacular, wolfmantastic festivities today. May the force be with you.
Are you dressing up today?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Picture Book App is Available!


Hello, friends!
I am thrilled to announce that Meegenius has published my picture book app titled, BIG SISTER, BABY BROTHER. You can get the Meegenius app for free (it's the number one picture book app), and then you are able purchase my book for only $2.99! Go to Meegenius to check it out!

From Meegenius: Meegenius books are available as a website, an application created for the Apple iPhone, iPad or iTouch, as well as Google TV and the Google Chrome Web Store, MeeGenius offers a selection of classic children's stories - both old and new - and enhances them with technology, with features such as word highlighting, audio playback and personalization.

You can preview the book here!

A little background information about my picture book. This was the second picture book that I ever wrote. I met author (now author/agent) Tina P. Schwartz at a local SCBWI meeting. I then took an online writing class from her, and the assignment was to write a story about the first time of doing something. I first titled the book, "THE FIRST TIME I SAW MY BABY," and the story is about a little girl who holds her little baby brother for the first time in the hospital. Many revisions later, it is now available for all to read, and I couldn't be more excited!

Thank you for sharing in the excitement with me! Please spread the word about my picture book! It's a great idea to have a book on the go for busy parents and grandparents, and could also be a great baby shower gift!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Genre Favorites Blogfest

Cassastar Ninja Alex Cavanaugh is hosting today's spectacular GENRE FAVORITES BLOGFEST! Fun, right? I didn't plan on blogging here this week, but I had to join the partay!

My go-to movie is a comedy. I love to laugh. Some of my all-time favorites include Old School, Vacation, and Elf. Some of the more recent movies that made me giggle are Bridesmaids and The Change Up. I want to see Ted. I heard that was a funny one.

I am all over the place with books. I love picture books, middle grade, young adult, and adult novels in all different genres. The only genre I generally do not read is non-fiction. I love a great story! Some of my all time favorite books are The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Guess Again by Mac Barnett, The Hunger Games, The Outsiders, and A Time to Kill.

If you know me at all, you know that my favorite genre of music is ROCK! My last four concerts over the summer included

Daughtry and opener, new fave musician, Mike Sanchez

New Medicine (this is the bassist, Brady)

Buckcherry (for the sixth time!)

and Motley Crue (also for the sixth time!).

Rock 'n' Roll, baby!

I subscribe to Us Weekly and look forward to every issue. It's just my little slice of pure mindless entertainment. I sit outside on the patio or couch and zone out for an hour. I also read it to get celebrity book recommendations for my other site, Book Recs of the Rock & Famous, too!

Also, my guilty pleasure TV show is True Blood (Eric Northman, need I say more?)

How about you? What are your favorite genres?

Monday, September 10, 2012



Take it away, Sheri...

Today, I invite you to celebrate with me!! I've signed with Literary Agent Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary! And because our literary community is so freaking fabulous and generous, I'm having a Bigger-Than-A-Shopping-Mall GIVEAWAY!! The giveaway consists of:
  • two separate Rafflecopters with multiple giveaways
  • and one grand prize Rafflecopter giveaway - to enter for the grand prize, you must enter either giveaway #1, #2, or both.
There's only one mandatory entry. Everything else is up to you!! I know Rafflecopters can be a pain, but it was the only way to organize such a huge giveaway. The giveaway is open until September 27th. WINNERS will be announced on September 28th. (Entrants may win more than one prize!)

Thank you so much for entering, spreading the word, and celebrating with me!!

Giveaway #1: a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway #2: a Rafflecopter giveaway Grand Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats, Sheri! I'm proud of you, girl. I'm so happy to be part of your celebration! 


And while we are talking about awesomeness in the literary world, I want to congratulate these wonderful people on their new releases!

The Storyqueen herself, Shelley Moore Thomas, released her TENTH book last week! Check out her new middle grade novel, THE SEVEN TALES OF TRINKET!
One of my favorite poets, Douglas Florian, recently released his pirate book of poems, SHIVER ME TIMBERS!

And also congrats to Leigh Talbert Moore! Her new young adult novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT FAKING, is available now!

So there you have it, something for everyone: a picture book, a middle grade, and a young adult novel to read! Check these reads out! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hey Jenny Hey

Please help me welcome the very funny author and blogger, Jenny Baranick to my blog today. Jenny regularly blogs at "Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares" and the book of the same name was recently released. Congrats Jenny! Her book is a great way to learn about the do's and don't's of grammar in a no snooze way!
Today Jenny is going to educate us on the correct usage of the word, "lay."
Have at it, Jenny!
Lie Dylan Lie

In Bob Dylan’s autobiography Chronicles, Vol. 1 he wrote, “All I'd ever done was sing songs that were dead straight and expressed powerful new realities, I had very little in common with and knew even less about a generation that I was supposed to be the voice of."

Basically, Dylan just wanted to sing folk music; he never wanted to be heralded as the voice of his generation. So, in order to dispel his reputation as a guru, he confessed to doing things like pouring whiskey on his head (what a waste of whiskey!) and walking into department stores and acting drunk.

But I think Dylan went beyond trying to negate his guru status; I think he did something very subtle to get revenge on the citizens who made his life a living hell by stalking him in hopes that he’d bestow upon them the meaning of life. And I think the revenge was grammatical. 

You may have heard of the song “Lay Lady Lay.” The first line says, “Lay Lady Lay. Lay across my big brass bed.”

Thanks to the fact that many considered Dylan the trusted voice of their generation, they must have trusted he used “lay” correctly in his song. Well, he didn’t. And I believe he did this on purpose to mislead the generation. I bet he laughs himself to sleep every night when he thinks about how he tricked an entire nation into misusing the word “lay.”

In hopes of being the grammatical voice of this generation, I am here to tell you when to use “lay” and when to use “lie.”

On second thought, buy my newly released grammar guide Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares. You can find the answer on page 7!     
You can purchase Jenny's book HERE!! Thank you for gracing my blog with your grammatically correct presence today, Jenny! You rock!           

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I've now published fifty posts on my celebrity book recommendation site, BOOK RECS OF THE ROCK AND FAMOUS! Woot! If you aren't familiar with it, I compile book recommendations from magazines and post what musicians, actors, or athletes are reading so fans might read what their favorite stars read. I am also pleasantly thrilled and surprised when celebs tweet or email me their favorite reads. Just promoting literacy in a unique way!

I looked at my stats, and I found out which celebrities got the most web hits in the past year.
Here are my top five most visited posts (click the name to read the post):

1. ANGIE HARMON - actress on Rizzoli and Isles (on TNT)

2. TYSON RITTER - lead singer of All American Rejects

3. NIKKI SIXX - bassist of Motley Crue and Sixx:A.M. (plus author and radio show host)

4. JOSHUA MORROW - actor on The Young and the Restless

5. DUFF MCKAGAN - bassist of Velvet Revolver, Loaded, and formerly of Guns 'n Roses

A beautiful actress/mom, three rockers, and a handsome soap star!

Who would you like to see on my site? I can't guarantee anyone (and not everyone is an avid reader), but I will do my darnedest to try and find out their book recommendation for you. Today's celebrity post is the incredibly hot Joe Manganiello from True Blood and Magic Mike. Thanks for checking out my other site!


On a writer's note, how awesome was WriteOnCon last week?! Thank you to the authors, agents, editors, and writers who participated! I received great feedback on a new picture book in the message boards, and the events were amazing!

Have a great week, everyone! Back to school for the kiddos and me tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Find me

over at The Writing Nut site today. Nutschell Windsor is interviewing me about my writing and workspace. She's even sharing a photo of lil miss Kelly at age four. (Awwwww.) Please stop on by! I'll be answering questions and comments there today! Click HERE to visit us.

Also, today's reading rocker is one of my fave musicians, Nikki Sixx. He's featured at Book Recs of the Rock and Famous today with a photo of him and a pregnant me from a concert eight years ago! What book is he reading this week?

Thanks! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Never Surrender

I'm a pretty lucky gal. I'm participating in Elana Johnson's SURRENDER Blogfest that entails writing about a time that you never surrendered. Click HERE to get the deets and see who else is participating (and there is still time to participate, too! Win great prizes, get some Surrender swag, and Elana is awesome so give that lovely author a shout out!).

I thought back on times that I never surrendered, and I first thought, "Dang. I'm pretty lucky. I haven't really been through terribly difficult times. I've had a pretty great life." As I said, I'm a lucky girl. But then I did some more thinking. Yeah, I guess I have had some hard times, but.... I stayed positive. I moved on. I fought on.

Even as a youth, I tried to make good choices. I worked hard in school and sports. I didn't do drugs. I was competitive in everything I did. I do believe that many times luck is the result of hard work plus good timing. But you can't control everything.
As an adult I realize I was faced with hard times (but thankfully more good times) as many of you did. My parents divorced. But I did see that it was best for them and moved on and got over it. I married young and have been with the same man for twenty years - through good times and bad. But we are still together. I've witnessed my child lose a kidney, have multiple convulsions from epilepsy, and  watched our children cry and laugh over small and big losses and gains. But I became my children's advocate, researched medical problems, talked with their teachers, stayed ever present in their education and their lives. In these awful economic times, my hubby and my careers have been compromised, we almost moved to another state, lived apart due to a job, but yet we are still hanging on. Times are tough for everyone. But you can't dwell, you just do what you gotta do.

My point in all of this ramble? Stay positive. Don't give up.

When life gives you lemons, throw that lemon in a tall glass of ice water. Honey, you are going to need it, because sometimes you have to work that much harder. Make some pink lemonade cupcakes to celebrate life's little joys. Mix some lemonade with a splash of vodka to deal with a bump in the road. Heck, make an Arnold Palmer, because it tastes so darn good!
Do stay positive. Don't give up. Smile more. Frown less.

Congrats to Elana on her second novel, SURRENDER.
And since I love me some tunes. Listen to some Corey Hart. And never surrender.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gay Parents in YA

Kris Asselin is hosting "Where Are the Gay Parents in YA?" this week on her blog, and I'm happy to be part of it! Please visit Kris's blog for her posts this week and links to other blogs (including to my buddy Jon Arntson's) that are participating this week.

I usually don't "review" books, because I just don't think I do them justice as a reviewer. Yes, I am a writer, but for some reason, I cannot eloquently write a review well. Go figure. So here is my take on a book.  Not necessarily a review (though it was excellent in my opinion), but my thoughts on it.

Last week I read PEARL by Jo Knowles as I knew it featured a gay parent. As I started reading the story, I was so into the story that I forgot the reason why I chose this book in the first place: because I wanted to participate in this week's "Where Are the Gay Parents?" Okay, I had also heard it was a great book. But as I was reading the story, the mom has a close friend, and because I was so immersed in the storyline, I didn't realize that the "close friend" was more than that until further into the book (but before the main character realizes it). Jo Knowles wrote this book in first person from teenager, Pearl's (nickname, Bean) point of view. Since Bean didn't realize who this close friend of her mother's really was, neither did I as the reader, because I was inside Bean's head. (The realization that Bean's mother is gay may be considered a spoiler alert, but due to the topic of the blog post, it does need to be addressed here.)

What is the story about? It's about two families: Bean's family and her best friend Henry's family. Both families have secrets of their own. Both families are a bit dysfunctional but in different ways. Bean and her mother don't get along, but not because of her mom's choice of lifestyle. Bean has no idea about that until further into the book, and I really like the way how Bean handles that.

Three reasons I love this book:
1. Love the friendship between Henry and Bean. They are saviors for each other. Plus they are just regular kids. Not a hot vampire. Not the star of the swim team. Just two regular kids.

2. I do like the way the homosexuality is addressed in this book. Even though it is a plot twist, it isn't sensational. The female couple just seem like two people who love and care about each other. Best friends who are lovers, too. Very straight forward.

3. This book was a quick read, and there were many well written relationships within the book: Bean's close relationship with her grandfather, Bean's tumultous relationship with her mother, Bean's friendship with Henry, Bean's relationship with Henry's mom, and of course, Bean's mom and her partner. Each relationship was unique and interesting and added a twist to the story and interesting facets to the plotline.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, very much! Don't forget to stop by Kris's blog for more posts!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Five Easy Questions

with me today at Jill Kemerer's blog! Please stop on by HERE and say "HEY!" :) Thanks for having me, Jill!

Also, rocker Josh Todd tells us his current read at Book Recs of the Rock and Famous today!
Who is Josh Todd you ask? He's the sexay lead singer of Buckcherry. And that man can dance. He also has "Stay Gold" tattooed on his knuckles. And speaking of, The Outsiders and That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton ebooks were released yesterday! Greasers go digital!

Okay, now check out JT and his bad boy moves.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Act of Kindness BLITZ

A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community

Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.

So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums, make us laugh and spit on our keyboard, and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.

Kindness ROCKS!

To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!

**I am randomly picking SHARON MAYHEW, who is so generous and kind to others, and she one of my fab critiquers. Sharon, for my RAOK gift, I'm offering to buy you coffee (or drink) when I finally meet up with you in Iowa one of these days and of course, a critique whenever you need one, Sharon! 

I really appreciate Sharon, who blogs  at Random Thoughts. She is so sweet and is a cheerleader for her writer friends. If you have a minute, please stop in and tell her how awesome she is!**

Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)

Also a big thank you to Shannon O'Donnell! I won a Mirror, Mirror book and a Fandango gift card on her blog last month! Another thank you also to Carrie Harris! I won a critique and signed book at her blog recently, too. You ladies rock!!!

Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up. Congrats, Becca & Angela on your book release!!

Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


No, this isn't about the movie Seven (the only Gwyneth Paltrow movie that I like), but a fun Meme award bouncing around the blogs. Thank you to Lori Degman, Kris Asselin, Susan Fields, Rena Jones, and one other lovely, kind person who tagged me (and I forgot to write down, I'm so sorry! Let me know if it's you and I'll add you to this post! :)

The Lucky 7 Meme award is for writers, and it's a chance to showcase your latest manuscript.

Here are the rules ...
1. Go to page 77 of your current manuscript.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy the next 7 sentences exactly how they're written. No cheating!
4. Tag 7 other writers to pass this meme on to.

Here is an excerpt from page 77 of my completed middle grade manuscript, Rock 'n' Roll Princesses Wear Black.

“Ewww, Dad,” I said handing him a cloth napkin. “Could you please keep the food in your mouth?”

He wiped his mouth and threw the napkin at me.

I started to yell at him, but he put his finger to his lips. Oh, yeah. I probably shouldn’t wake Gerard and Mom.

“Gotta get movin’ so I can be home in time for band practice tonight,” he said as he crammed
 his dish in the last available space of the dishwasher.

“Gabi’s sleeping over,” I reminded him. Then I wondered if she could still come after Gerard’s episode last night. “Do you think it’s okay if she still comes?”

There's my sneak peek! This Lucky 7 Meme has been passed around like Lindsay Lohan lately so if you want to share your excerpt from page 77, consider yourself tagged!

Also, today I have Ashley Judd at my other site BOOK RECS OF THE ROCK AND FAMOUS today! Check out her current reads! Come follow me over there! I actually post more often at that site lately. Thanks, all! Have a fabulous day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

This Warms My Heart

to give away Samuel Park's novel THIS BURNS MY HEART today (care of Sam and his publisher). I used random.org to pick the lucky winner.
Congrats, LTM!
If you didn't win, believe me, you still want to read it. Buy it HERE!
Thanks again, Sam, for being my guest blogger this week!
Have an amazing weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Samuel Park Talks Critique Partners (& a Giveaway!)

I'm thrilled to share my blog today with author Samuel Park.
Samuel is the author of THIS BURNS MY HEART, which was chosen as one of Amazon’s Best Books of 2011, a People magazine “Great Reads in Fiction,” and one of the Today Show’s “Favorite Things.” I read this book late into the night this weekend to finish it. I seriously could not put it down. An incredible story and so beautifully written.

Amazing, right? His novel is also the Starbucks Bookish Reading Club selection for this week. This promotion allows Starbucks customers to read the book for free when signed into the Starbucks Digital Network at the stores. Nothing better than Starbucks AND a great book!

Sam is here to share some fun insight about critique partners!
Everyone knows how important a part of the process revision is—in some ways, that’s when the book actually comes together. And since it’s almost impossible to revise in the dark, everyone needs feedback from their writing teachers, writing group, or even their romantic partners. Here is my breakdown of the kinds of critics that writers often run into at this early stage:

LOVEY-DOVEY LAURA—this is the person in your writing circle who loves everything you write and usually offers very little to no feedback. It may be that she’s afraid of offending you, or values your friendship too much to risk being critical. Now, before you dismiss Lovey-dovey Laura and give her seat to someone else, I’d argue that she plays an essential purpose: she helps you rebuild your ego, keep faith in the manuscript, and she may be a valuable anti-dote to the next:

DESTROYER DEBBIE—Ah, this is a common one! Destroyer Debbie really doesn’t like your WIP. I mean, she really doesn’t. And she wants to make sure that you know that. And the better it is, the more threatened she feels and the more critical she becomes. The only manuscripts she likes are the really bad ones, so she can feel superior to them, and doesn’t have her own sense of self-importance destabilized. If you have a Destroyer Debbie in your writer’s group or your MFA class, better show up at the meetings with a shot of tequila in your purse. You may need it!

SCHOLARLY SUSAN—This is the one who was usually an English major back in the day and loves to find the themes and symbols in your work. One really helpful thing she’ll do is let you know what your story is about. That is actually very helpful, in the sense that it allows you to play that up (ideally, in an organic way) as you revise. Scholarly Susans, though, are tricky because they respond mostly intellectually, and you want an emotional response.

NARCISSISTIC NANCY—This is the partner who likes the parts of your manuscript that are the most like hers. She sees everything through the lens of her own work, and can’t really engage with your WIP on its own terms. If you make a choice that she disagrees with, however good that choice is, she won’t like it. But if you write the way she does, using similar style, or with similar characters, she will be your biggest fan!

EDITORIAL EDGAR—This is the partner who’s really more interested in being a copy-editor than a writer. He’s brilliant at correcting your usage mistakes, pointing out grammar errors, or checking your spelling. He is very useful in that way (free copy-editing, who doesn’t love that?), but just remember not to expect more substantial feedback, or you’ll be disappointed.

And now, this is the one partner you want:
CONSTRUCTIVE CAROL—This is the critique partner who spots the flaws in your manuscript, but addresses them in such a constructive, positive, kind way, that you don’t even notice it’s criticism. A lot of it is the tone in her voice (or in her notes), which shows that she really wants the best for you, and is rooting for you. (You can always tell when someone’s irritated in their notes, can’t you?) She’s not threatened, because usually her own writing is so darn good. So she doesn’t mind spreading the wealth. If you run into a Constructive Carol, hang on to her for dear life. Buy her cookies, give her a bottle of wine. They are rare! (And deep down, they know how lucky you are to have them in your life.) The best way to find a Constructive Carol, by the way, is to be one, and that will attract others like you.

Thanks, Sam! Critique partners are so vital to the ongoing process of perfecting your manuscript! Remember to use (or not use) your suggestions wisely depending on your type of critique!


PhotobucketTHIS BURNS MY HEART is set in South Korea in the '60s, and is about a young woman trapped in an unhappy marriage who is given one last chance at happiness. I am giving away one copy on my blog compliments of Sam and the publisher (open to U.S. residents only)! All you need to do is be a follower of my blog and tell me you want this book in the comments (and believe me, you do!), and you are entered! Contest closes on Thursday at 10pm central.
You can find Sam at www.samuelpark.com and on Twitter.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winner! Winner! Cold Cereal Dinner!

Thanks to all of you who entered my COLD CEREAL contest! I loved hearing all of your favorite breakfast choices.
Out of all the favorite cereals listed in the comments, Lucky Charms had the most votes (which is my favorite, but I only eat it a few times a year). Coincidentally, the next book in the Cold Cereal trilogy is titled Unlucky Charms!
Now let's get to the winner. I gave everyone a number, and random.org picked Nicole Zoltack's number! Congrats, Nicole! Email me your address, and I will send some Cold Cereal your way.
For those of you who didn't win, I'd be happy to send you a spoonful of cooked oatmeal in an envelope. I'm nice like that.
Listen to Adam Rex read a bit of Cold Cereal. (Note: The chapter is slightly interrupted in the middle as I spliced two video segments into one.) ENJOY!
Have a fabulous weekend, everyone! MWAH!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cold Cereal Giveaway!

No, not Lucky Charms! No, not Special K! It's an awesome, amazing book giveaway!
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a booksigning at Anderson's Bookstore for Adam Rex's newest middle grade release, Cold Cereal. I've loved Adam's work since I read Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. Rex writes and illustrates picture books, middle grade, AND young adult, all of which I've read and loved. His wit that shines in his writing was clearly evident at the book signing. He answered funny questions by kids with clever retorts, and the audience enjoyed his reading of a chapter peppered with an Irish accent (you'll see why he needed it when you read the book). Yep, I'm a huge fan of his. HUGE.
So, I was pretty excited to be able to attend the booksigning and finally meet the man.
Here's a pic of a drawing he did at the event. He asked kids to tell him names of animals and he did a cool mashup. A young fan named this a "bearger."
And here's the author and me before I sort of forced a hug on him. You think I'm joking don't you.
Lastly, for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday I have a signed book of Cold Cereal to give away to YOU! All you need to do is be a follower and tell me your favorite kind of cereal in the comments. That is it. Contest closes at 9pm central time on Wednesday!
So, what's your favorite kind of cereal?

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'll Tumble for Ya Blogfest

Ahhhh, the eighties. Good times. Like totally a fer sure awesome time to grow up. The purpose of today's blogfest is to meet new friends and show off the babes that adorned your walls in the eighties. Don't spaz. Just read on.

I was boy crazy in the eighties. Boy. Crazy.
And this boy had my heart.
Ponyboy Curtis. And C. Thomas Howell. Ponyboy is still my favorite literary character of all time. And Tommy Howell's photo is still on my bedroom wall (okay, maybe not, but his avatar is frequently on my computer screen. I follow him on Twitter! He's a hoot and a holler!).

This musician had my eardrums.
Ahhh, John Taylor of Duran Duran. Even though I'm a rocker girl now, I still go see Duran Duran in concert. I'm No-No-Notorious for that.

But then my pop loving eardrums turned to rock 'n' roll. And this guy was on my bedroom door in the late eighties. Remember the band Winger? Yes, Kip Winger. Don't judge me. I was only seventeen. Seventeeeeeen.

Lucky for me, two/three of my 80's babes have tweeted me their fave reads for my Book Recs of the Rock and Famous site. Read John Taylor's book recommendation's HERE and Tommy Howell's faves HERE. Listen here, Kip. I'll be askin' for your picks next.

Check out more hotties from the 80's at the blogfest list at Nicki's blog!
Who is your 80's babe?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Music & Maurice

I finally got my concert fix Friday night (it's been 3+ months, people). My friend Sue and I ventured out to see Candyland favorite New Medicine with American Idol rocker, James Durbin. I've seen New Meds before, and yes, Candace is right, they do indeed rock. And yes, Brady is a sigh-worthy bassist. The girl don't lie! And he's as sweet as can be; he had just returned from Ghana a few days before the concert.

Here's James Durbin.

A couple of rock chicks

Okay, if you are one of the few who didn't see the Colbert Report with author Maurice Sendak, you must watch. It is flippin' hilarious! Love his candor. He even sings! And Stephen Colbert makes me laugh pretty easily anyway. Check it out here. Definitely worth your time.

Thank you again to Nutschell! I won a signed Ellen Degeneres book at her blog! Yes, I'm one lucky girl!

A poem of mine was accepted for a summer issue of Stories for Children magazine. I've switched gears for the last month (and next month) and have been concentrating on poetry and picture book writing instead of middle grade. I think it's good for my creativity to mix it up a bit!

Please check out Book Recs of the Rock & Famous at http://www.bookrecsthatrock.blogspot.com today. I have one of my favorite actors ever chatting books with me. He played my best loved literary character in a movie. Any guesses?? (Again, I'm one lucky girl!)

Have a fabulous week, you! Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top 7 of 2011

Happy freaking new year. No, really, I hope it's a great one! :)
Today is a post of reflections on the past year. What did I read, watch, and listen to in 2011? Tell me your faves of 2011 in the comments!
Why Top 7 and not 11? Because I care about you and your time. I'm a giver, people.
Top 7 Songs of 2011
7. "Walk" by Foo Fighters
6. "The Sound of Winter" by Bush
5. "Buried Alive" by Avenged Sevenfold
4. "Race You to the Bottom" by New Medicine
3. "Planetary (Go!)" by My Chemical Romance
2. "Burn" by Papa Roach
1. "This is Gonna Hurt" by Sixx: A.M.
Bonus fave pop song "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO
Top 11 Books Read in 2011
(in no particular order, I couldn't stop at seven)
I was so happy to read many books by fellow bloggers/tweeters this year. And the best part? I loved them! Here are my top eleven faves in alphabetical order by author's last name.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger, Untraceable by Shelli Johannes, Possession by Elana Johnson, On Writing by Stephen King, A Scary Good Book by Anita Laydon Miller, The Liar Society by Lisa & Laura Roecker, The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan, The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander, Forever by Maggie Steifvator, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner.
Top 7 Movies watched in 2011
Breaking Dawn Part One (I didn't love Eclipse movie, but this was better, especially ending)
The Change Up
Christmas Vacation with my kids for the first time
Elf for the umpteenth time
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2 (sniff...)
Horrible Bosses
Can you tell I love comedies or book adaptations?!
Also, thank you to Sherrie Peterson for the A Great and Terrible Beauty book I won at her blog. Plus I won Wildefire at Literary Rambles from Natalie and Casey! Thanks, ladies! What a wonderful way to start the year.
What are your faves of 2011?
Here's one of my fave songs of 2011 by MCR (I've already posted my first two faves on the blog at some point). "If my velocity starts to make you sweat, then just don't let go..."