Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Author Success Stories-Good News To Prove It Can Be Done

Do you love to read author success stories as much as I do? Well, here's one from The Washington Post that gave me a boost in the arm when I read it. It's proof that even in this economy debut authors can still sell books and make a name for themselves.

On Web, A Most Novel Approach - With Promotion Money Tight, Authors Take to Online Sites To Toot Their Own Horns

Thanks to Ginger B for sharing this on her blog!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Writing In Different Genres - What's the Answer?

So does anyone else have this same dilemna? I love to write, many different genres, and yet I find that each book project I have in the works would require a different agent and publisher. Argh - is anything in this industry easy?

Here's what I mean. Here's a list of my current writing projects and the genres of each:

1. POETRY: My first book, "Do You?", was a collection of original poems & photographs. It has gotten acclaim as a finalist in two contests (The NY Book Festival, & The Writers Digest International Self-Published Book Awards), and I'd like to compile a second volume.

2. CHILDREN'S: I've completed a children's book, "Petunia Wiggles, Giggles, and Hops". I'm preparing to send it out to agents.

3. YOUNG ADULT: I'm completing revisions on my YA sci-fi/fantasy novel. The plan is to submit to two upcoming contests, and then to agents.

4. SELF-HELP: I've got rough draft pages on a Self-Help Management Book I've been preparing over the last few years. It still needs a lot of work before it's close to completion and I need to map a plan to finish it.

5. ADULT: I've got plans to write an adult novel for NaNoWriMo in November.

I just love to write, and I love to experiment with different styles. I know most agents will want me to associate myself with one genre to gain momentum with that particular fan base, and I'm certainly willing to commit myself to writing more in one genre once I get committments, but why not keep myself open to all writing styles, because you never know which one will be the ONE. Right? Anyone else have an opinion on this?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Schools Building Readers and Writers for the Future

Tonight was "Back To School Night" at my son's school, and it reminded me how important teachers are to all of us. I was amazed at how much a 1st grader is expected to learn in one year, and even more amazed at the grace, enthusiasm, and skill of the teachers that tackle this task.

It was also nice to see a strong emphasis on writing and storytelling at such a young age. In first grade, kids are already learning to craft stories, explore their opinions about character & plot, and even to debate key elements of the stories they read. They have individual and group reading time, and are expected to read 20 minutes per day every day.

Teachers and schools are building platforms for great readers and the potential for great writers into the future. Keep up the great work!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On a Roll with Novel Revisions

I'm happy to report I've been on a roll with novel revisions lately. My son was home sick the past two days and I was able to somehow sit in front of the laptop and get some writing done. I'm still working hard to make the October 31st deadline I've placed for myself, so that I can focus on a new project for NaNoWriMo.

Hopefully tonight I'll be able to carve out more time to write. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

National Punctuation Day

Have you heard about this...National Punctuation Day is coming on September 24, 2009. Mark your calendars! :

1. Become familiar with the punctuation rules and issues on the website.
2. Organize punctuation activities at your school, library, or office.
3. Share punctuation peeves with NPD founder Jeff Rubin at Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com

4. Send photos of incorrectly punctuated signage to Jeff Rubin at Jeff@NationalPunctuationDay.com

5. Forward this website to your friends, teachers, and co-workers as a way to spread the importance of proper punctuation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Crafting a Press Release That Gets Results

Press releases are an essential part of any book marketing program. I blogged about my press release formula back in July, but here's some additional information on crafting a press release that gets results. Check out this article on nypress.com called  "Anatomy of a Pitch-Perfect Press Release - How to craft a release that gets results"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Writing at 2:44 am

It's 2:44 am and I'm writing. Can't sleep. I tried everything to succumb to sweet slumber but alas nothing has worked. It could be the soda I drank in the afternoon, it could be the stresses and anxiety of daily life, or it could just be my time to get in a little writing.

Either way, I have opened up my novel on my laptop and I am working on revisions.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What is YA Literature Anyway?

I was over at Tor.com today and I stumbled on a great post by Mary Pearson, "What YA Lit Is and Isn't". I found it to be a great read, especially considering I write and love to read YA (young adult) books. For any of you that fit that category, or are intrigued by it, this post is worth a gander. And while you're at it, read through the comments that follow, because there are some good gems there too (and some books suggestions to add to the reading list).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Books and Movies

Every time I see a movie based on a book, I wonder if my book will one day have the same fate. There have been some great movie renditions: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Harry Potter, Twilight (just to name a few). And then there have been some flops, poor adaptations of the original story: Eragon is the first one that comes to mind for me.

It always makes me think about my own book. Will my book have the opportunity to make it to the movie level? And if so, what could I do to ensure it has a movie that is true to my vision and a sound recreation of the story. Right now I don't have the answers to those questions...I don't have the experience to know what the right decisions would be.

Anyway, there are some upcoming movies, that started as books, that I am anxiously awaiting the release of: The Lovely Bones, New Moon, and The Lightning Thief.

Are there some upcoming movies that you are looking forward to?

Monday, September 14, 2009

One Book in 168 Million!

My book is one in 168 million - how about those odds! Google is putting together this master database of all the books in the world and they've amassed a count of 168 million books. So what does that mean for us, the writers of those 168 million books? First off, the story had better be good, not just good, but amazing. It must be so full of life that it can hardly be contained between the front and back covers. It should be so engrossing that all it needs is that first reader, and that person recommends it to another, who in turn tells someone else...anyway you get the picture.

And our book had better stand out, we had better give it a voice outside the covers. Because getting published (or self-published) is really only the beginning. A book hidden in a warehouse or relegated to someone's back office is not going to become the next big thing if noone knows about it. So we have to actually tell people about it, jump on the social media sites, send out press releases, maybe hire a PR group, do book tours, and just talk to anyone who will listen.

And lastly, we need to believe. Believe in the book, and believe that your work is important enough to compete against all 168 million books...and counting.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sept 11th Attack Anniversary

I was living in NYC when the September 11th Attack happened. It is a time that I will never forget as long as I live. I worked only a few blocks from the location of the attack and for months I had daily reminders of what happened. Ultimately my husband and I moved out of the city, but we never moved too far.
I wrote this on the 1 year anniversary of the terroist attack on the World Trade Center. I posted it last year on the blog, and I feel compelled to post it again in honor of this years anniversary. May we never forget...

Can You Believe
Can you believe,
It’s been a year?
A year of tears,
A year of fear.
A selfish enemy took so much,
An ignorant enemy gave us much more.
Precious lives of many are gone,
Lives of so many more carry on.
We’ve gained a greater understanding,
Of freedom, love, and compassion.
It’s sad to say that tragedy alone,
Has the ability to set that tone.
We’ve cried tears together,
Remembered together,
And now we must heal and move on together.
Never Forget 9/11/01, Flags of freedom wave on.
photo credit: Michelle Reynoso

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quote of the Day - Dorothea Brande

"All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail."

– Dorothea Brande

Wow, what a quote! I think we need to follow those words all the way to success, even on the days that we have writers block, or we're feeling the writing blahs. In other words, just do it!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Writing is Like Starting A New Year at School

I sent my son to first grade today. It's a big accomplishment for him considering last year turned into a struggle. He got hit with challenges and he didn't know how to cope with towards the end. So after a summer of practicing and talking through it, I'm hoping he's much better equipped for this school year.

And even in that there is a lesson for writing. We may get frustrated, and get to a point in our writing where we don't know what to do next, but if we step back and practice, reach out to someone more experienced to talk us through the challenges, then we can step back in the game...and succeed.

So in this time of year of new beginnings, I wish you all a fresh outlook, and a new beginning in your writing. Think of it as starting a new grade in school, and stepping one level closer to the finish line.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Local Newspaper Features Me in an Article

Another local newspaper featured me in an article last week, and I am super excited! The County Seat ran a piece last week titled, Hackensack Author Earns NY Book Festival Nod. I've posted a copy of the article on my website for easier viewing.
Thank you again to everyone who has shown me such incredible support!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Contest Alert - Midwest Book Awards

For anyone who has published a book in 2009, the 20th Annual Midwest Book Awards is now accepting entries. For more information, go to the Midwest Independant Publishers Association (MIPA) website.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

How Can You Help a Writer?

How can you help a friend who is a writer? Well, the best answer to that is so eloquently said by Nathan Bransford in his recent blogpost Writer Appreciation Week: Published Authors!...and the short answer is to buy a copy of their book.

Here's a quote from Nathan's post:
"How can you help out these writers, the ones whose book you happened to hear about on a blog or picked up off the street or checked out at the library and loved? The best way: buy a new book."

I'm constantly buying books, it's just part of understanding what's out there, and learning about the craft of writing, and keeping the creative juices churned up. But I have to admit that sometimes I overlook supporting the "little books" as the big books are hyped-up so much more.

So, I turned the corner today and purchased a copy of "From Where The Rivers Come" by Terin Miller. He's a fellow finalist in the 2009 Book Festival, and I had been meaning to pick up a copy of his book. So I made today the day to do it, and now I can't wait for my copy to arrive. Check out Terin's website, and order a copy of his book on Amazon.

And by-golly help support writers by buying our books. Every sale helps us gain leverage in this topsy-turvy industry.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I'm Writing Again, and Not Just Revisions

"I'm baaaaaack!" And excited as ever! It feels good to work on some writing outside of just revisions.

I mailed out contest entries today to: The Emerging Writers Awards (with a copy of my children's story: Petunia Wiggles Giggles and Hops), and The Garden Verse Poetry Competition (with a new poem that I was inspired to write today titled, "Crickets Wings")

It feels good to have the creative juices creeping back in.

And on top of that I also did some revisions to The Hidden Force yesterday, and I have plans to work on more revisions tomorrow.

Woo-hoo!! I needed writing back in my life. If feels really good.