Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Deserted Sale Ending!

Happy New Year, Readers!

If you are looking for a .99 ebook deal, DESERTED is on sale for just two more days so get it while it's cheap!

Buy books here.

Wishing you a healthy, happy New Year full of love, light, and peace.


Monday, December 29, 2014


After years of writing, rewriting, revising, and rewriting again, my YA ebook SISTERS DON'T TELL is now available! Thanks to my LJ readers who have been supportive of my writing and reviews for so many years. Happy New Year, all!


Sisters always have the best secrets.

Sixteen-year-old Mel wishes she and her little sister could be close again, but when Annie spills that she’s knocked up, Mel loses any hope of that happening. There’s just no way Mel’s life full of girl friends and cooking can compare with Annie’s world full of boyfriends and sex. Still, Mel promises she’ll keep Annie’s secret, figuring it’s the only way to save their remaining bond.

Enter Devon, the first guy ever to make Mel feel like the special sister. But the closer she and Devon get the more Mel has to pepper their relationship with little lies to hide her sister’s pregnancy. When Annie drops another bomb, Mel’s afraid she’ll lose Devon if she keeps the secret, or lose her sister for good if she doesn’t. Her only other choice is to stay true to herself, something she hopes she can remember how to do on her own.

SISTERS DON'T TELL is available through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, and Smashwords.

Monday, December 1, 2014

DESERTED is ON SALE for $.99!

Get it while it's desert-hot!

The desert can be dangerous...especially when you've been deserted.

Seventeen-year-old Kara is done spying on people for her father, the wealthy and morally corrupt businessman Dr. Ellison. Last summer, when her father’s project literally blew up, she fell hard for one of his victims: Leo, the hot musician who made her question her family’s rules. Now Leo’s clear across the country, and Kara’s ready to reinvent herself in Las Vegas.

Of course her father has to mess up that plan, too. He claims a rogue environmental group wants him dead because of his latest alternative energy business venture, and that he needs Kara back on his payroll as the only one he can fully trust. With nowhere else to turn, Kara sends Leo a distressed text message – just before she’s kidnapped, a bargaining chip of the vigilantes who are determined to end her father’s moneymaking plans.

Leo is battling the pains of his last run-in with Dr. Ellison but he wastes no time hopping a plane to Vegas to rescue Kara. As he struggles to find her, the pair tries to learn all they can about the project Dr. Ellison is directing in the hopes of using the information to free Kara. Because if there’s one thing they’ve learned from Dr. Ellison, it’s that no risk is too big when it comes to fame and fortune, life and death.

Thanks, readers, for your years of support!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Library Lost&Found #6: Why Did the Turkey Go to the Library?

In honor of Thanksgiving weekend leftovers, today's LL&F is not an abandoned object, but rather someone who got lost and then found the library.

In the words of a favorite blog's ( turkey cakes, "Goble, goble!"

Have a great holiday season, aka Buy Books For All!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Library Lost&Found #5: I Don't Like the Drugs But the Drugs Like Me*

*with apologies to Marilyn Manson

Tip of the Day: Check out the fabulous authors and illustrators coming to the Rochester Children's Book Festival on Saturday, November 19!

Sometimes the items found inside the library are unidentifiable without using the human sense of taste, like this baggie of [basil? oregano? crushed bud?] greens tucked inside a book, apparently from lot #7166:

Or this pile of [flour? crushed chalk? coke?] white powder in the parking lot:

And just in case you were uncertain on this, the best place to keep your tobacky tin is inside a book on CD case:


Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Library Lost&Found #4: Happy Birthday!

Tip of the Day: Need some book suggestions? Check out my reviews on LiveJournal and Rochester & Genesee Valley Parent Magazine

I've mentioned library donations before -- those boxes of books, DVDs, & CDs that patrons bring us to resell in our Friends store. We get some awesome new materials that bring in cash flow so I can keep offering programs like my upcoming Hallow-Teen Psych Night (my favorite YA program of the year!).

But sometimes you can tell when a donor is merely cleaning out a family member's house -- or their own -- and just can't bear to throw anything away. So they figure they'll bring their crap to the library.

Because really, as much as outdated technology makes me sad in some ways, we can't easily sell VHS tapes anymore.

You know what we really can't sell? VHS home videos.

You know what we really really can't sell?

Thank the lords they also gave us the sequel. I didn't want to be left hanging!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Library Lost&Found #3 (or Send In the Clowns*)

*They're already here!

Tip of the Day: Ask your local public library when they hold their used book sales. Not only will you find some true gems at these events, but you'll score great deals and support the library for the coming year!

Some Library L&F items fall into the category of "lost in the stacks" and "found while staff were weeding/searching for something else legit."

One such recent type of L&F item was brought to my attention by a fabulous colleague while she was weeding the stacks. It really doesn't need any more commentary than the item itself provides (circa 1984):

And in case you need to know what exactly what this entails:

Obviously the book wouldn't be complete without an appendix of clown face make-up ideas:

If my life as an author and librarian doesn't work out, you know I'll be going full Clown Ministry. Boo yeah!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Library Lost&Found #2 (or Car Alarming)

Tip of the Day: There's still time to enter my giveaway for two new YA novels!

Some items that are stashed in the library's Lost & Found wouldn't be humorous if they were encountered, say, on a street corner. Or the side of the road. Maybe even at a gas station. 

What makes them funny is that someone:

a) saw the items in the road/library parking lot, 
b) brought them into the library to be a good samaritan,
c) and our staff put them in the Lost & Found bin.*

Here is one such case:

Yes, one day I came into work and found a hubcap in our Lost & Found bin.

Immediate thoughts:

a) would anyone who lost a hubcap actually check inside the library for it?
b) omg take my picture with my eyes looking through the holes!

Anyone missing a hubcap?


*Please note I love my staff and adore that they put these items in Lost & Found, because what is the other choice? Tell the supposed do-gooder who brought it in to put it back where they found it? Immediately throw it in the garbage? No, we must respect the Lost & Found items!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Library Lost&Found #1 (or Cat-astrophe)

Tip of the Day: If you missed WriteOnCon this week, that's OK! Check out the archives and speaker list for current agent and editor information.

For the past six years, I have wanted to blog about this topic, and finally, after three years of collecting photos, I am taking the plunge.

What am I talking about?

Library Lost&Found, of course!

Background: I am in charge of the Circulation Department at my library, and with that I inherited "management" of the Lost & Found. This highly evolved area consists of a plastic crate (probably a lost & found item itself back in the day) sitting on a small table in the cart room.

At any one time the L&F may be full of the following items:

  • Mittens/gloves
  • Notebooks/pens
  • Umbrellas
  • Canes
  • Sunglasses/reading glasses
  • Action figures
  • Sippy cups/bottles
  • Flash drives
  • Etc.
However, there is the occasional time where something completely outlandish ends up in the L&F and I think to myself one/many of the following:
  • Who could forget that?
  • Who would bring that into the library in the first place
  • Who would own that in the first place?
  • Why did we even save that in L&F instead of throwing it out? 
While I am considering the above, I am also usually laughing hysterically and I thought I should share that hilarity with the blog-reading world.

I started collecting photos about three years ago, and it evolved from just items that were placed in the L&F to also include:
  • Notes/letters/school assignments found around the library
  • Items stuck in books
  • Items donated to the library
Now, to kick off Library Lost&Found, this is a recent item that was donated to the library. Keep in mind, we don't actually accept clothing donations...yet somehow these furry faces found their way into our building with a box of books....

A number of questions arise:
  1. Why did someone think printing cat faces all over the front of a giant t-shirt would be attractive?
  2. When they realized it wasn't attractive, why did they think the library would want it?
Oh, wait, I guess the library did want it since I'm wearing it. But only because it was too amazing to pass up adding the tongues and tail and then gifting it to my director. 

But the kitty print itself is all natural, baby! MEOW!

Until next time...

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Win Two YAs! (or I'm Not Above Bribing Readers for Reviews)

Tip of the Day: Get ready for WriteOnCon 2014, the free online kidlit writing conference August 26-27. I'm excited to check out the buzz again this year!

I want to start with a huge THANK YOU to all A2A readers who have read BLACKOUT or DESERTED! I am so grateful for the support and excited to work on book #3, which I never thought I'd say. (Me? A trilogy?)  I plan on releasing an unrelated YA contemporary novel this winter, and then Jenny and Zak's story in August 2015.

To celebrate other summer 2014 YA novel releases, I want to give away two of them that I loved:


THE FOURTH WISH by Lindsay Ribar is the sequel to THE ART OF WISHING but it also stands on its own. Why did I love it? Because Margo loves Oliver, a genie, regardless of the exterior form he takes. Margo is a positive, uplifting character who is fun to follow through her own transformation.

THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU by Lisa Schroeder is by our very own former A2A contributor! Why did I love it? Because the love story is sweet and non-angsty, and the dual povs from both Lauren and Colby are expressive and connected, but also unique.

All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a review on Amazon or B&N for BLACKOUT, DESERTED, or both, and leave the link to the review in the comments! You'll get one entry for each review you write and post below (for a total of 4 possible entries). Enter in the Rafflecopter below between 8/18-9/18. Sorry, open to U.S. mailing addresses only.

For links to the books on Amazon and B&N, go to

Happy Second-Half-of-August!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 2, 2014

On Celebrating EVERY Writing Accomplishment (or Bigger Isn't Always Better)

Tip of the Day: Love deals on discounted ebooks of your choice genres sent to your inbox daily? Check out and subscribe to Ereader News Today

As online social media sites have moved from MySpace to FaceBook to Twitter to Tumblr, I am still a loyal reader and user of LiveJournal. I post all of my book reviews here and enjoy reading the occasional posts by other stalwart LJ users, such as author and poet Kelly Fineman.

Last month Kelly wrote two posts that made me think. The first was about how she had good news to share; three of her poems had been accepted into two publications. I commented that it was fantastic and every little piece of writing news is something to celebrate when you are a talented, driven writer! Kelly replied that yes, it is good to remember to celebrate and share every achievement, no matter how small.

The second was a post called "Why is it so hard to own the good stuff?" and it truly spoke to me and made me start thinking about writing a post of my own, where I knew I'd link to Kelly's post because she is such an eloquent writer. Go ahead, read Kelly's post now. I'll wait. :)

I've been a writer all my life, but I first began writing with the idea toward publication (YA novels) in 2004, the summer after I finished my MLS and fell in live with YA lit in the YA Materials class. By 2006, I had three manuscripts and was sure that after a couple of years, I would have a YA novel on store shelves. Why wouldn't I? I was reading a ton, writing a ton, had a critique group, started up this group blog, went to conferences, knew how to edit and revise, took an online class, researched the market, signed with my first agent in 2008, kept writing more books, my crit/blog partners got book deals....

Um, yeah. And here I am now 10 years later without a book deal.

I am not writing this for pity or because I am fishing for encouraging remarks!

I AM writing this because, holy crap, I have accomplished a LOT in 10 years in the writing arena and these things need to be celebrated:

  • April 2011 -- Accepted as a VOYA reviewer; 1-2 of my YA book reviews are published monthly in this national professional librarian journal
  • July 2013 -- Self-published my YA ebook BLACKOUT and created a book trailer*
  • January 2014 -- Hired as a freelance Rochester & Genesee Valley Parent Magazine Book Nook writer; 1 article per month of kidlit book reviews is published in this local free Rochester-area magazine
  • July 2014 -- Self-published my YA ebook DESERTED and created a book trailer*
* To date, I have sold approximately 135 copies of my books, which is about 130 more readers than I would've had if I hadn't epubbed. Woo hoo!

So basically since spring 2011, I've had something professionally published every month, and since 2014 I've had at least two publications released per month. And you know what? That's pretty freakin' cool! I LOVE writing book reviews and while yes, they do take away time from writing my own fiction, there is a certain satisfaction in knowing they will be seen in print. Plus the librarian in me adores gushing about good books and telling people what to read. :)

Other cool things?
  • I have a fantastic agent who is working hard with me to polish my next MG novel. We are, of course, hoping the one on sub will sell, but either way it is exciting and motivating to have someone enthusiastic in my court with great ideas for making my books the best they can be. Also, she is a talented author herself so I know she "gets" revision and the work it takes to make your book baby solid for submission, from both sides of the business.
  • I have a fantastic core of talented writers who critique and edit my work, both online and in-person. I would not be where I am today without the years of input they have given me. I never take them for granted.
I do not plan to ever stop working toward traditional publication or self-pubbing ebooks at this point in my life, and I'm sure if/when I do get that elusive book deal, I will be ecstatic. 

But I also know that realistically, after the initial push, printing, and distribution of that one book, I will still need to write another and another and another. Not only to sustain a writing career, but because I have stories to tell. And one month, two months, three months after the book comes out, to the general population it will just be another book on the shelf at the library/store/house. Does that mean that the book and the accomplishment and hard work it represents still shouldn't be celebrated just because it is not "new" anymore?

I say no. I mean yes. I mean: Continue to relish that accomplishment and also celebrate all the small goals reached on the way to the next book deal or journal publication or poem completion or query letter sent. Because book deals and the publications of said books are too few and far between to be the only thing writers are celebrating.

As longtime A2A reader and awesome YA author Jenn Hubbard said in Kelly's comments:

"We're stopping to smell the roses, instead of saying that they're small roses or thorny roses or there could be more of them. They smell sweet."


Now excuse me while I finish up the October monster-themed Book Nook for Rochester & Genesee Valley Parent Magazine. :-D

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Friday, August 1, 2014

DESERTED Book Trailer (or Watch it for the Music & Pics)

Tip of the Day: BLACKOUT is on sale for .99 for two more hours...and DESERTED is officially on sale for $2.99.

Today is the official release date for DESERTED, the YA ebook sequel to BLACKOUT!

In honor of its release, I have created a book trailer with the help of my sister Andrea Lipomi (she took the Vegas photos -- follow her on FaceBook/instagram @feetishspa for more of her pics), and to my husband John Viviani (he wrote the music and produced the video -- follow Blue Falcon on FB for more new tunes

Thanks to all my readers, friends, and family for the continued support!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kids Are Reading (or Go On, Blame the Kids*)

*With apologies to Pink Floyd

Tip of the Day: BLACKOUT is still on sale for .99 through the end of July at Amazon and B&N!

I feel like every other week I hear about a news story or opinion piece saying that kids don't read anymore. Well, I can say from working at my library this summer, I don't see it so I won't believe it! :)

So far for our Summer Reading Program we have approximately 1,000 kids and teens (ages birth through 17) registered, and our circulation desk has had a check out line every day.

What books are the kids asking for? The ones that stand out as having multiple requests in the past few weeks are:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder
The Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin
Who Was/Who Is biographies

What books are the kids and teens in your life clamoring for?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Thursday, July 10, 2014

BLACKOUT is ON SALE! (or 66% Off Now!)

Tip of the Day: Join BookBub for daily ebook deals emailed directly to you!

In anticipation of the upcoming official release of DESERTED, BLACKOUT is on sale for just $.99 for a limited time on Amazon and B&N!

Read about bro and sis Leo and Jenny's NY and PA adventures in book #1 before being whisked off to Las Vegas in book #2....

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Friday, July 4, 2014

DESERTED Is Coming! (or BLACKOUT #2 Is in the Pipeline!)

Tip of the Day: Make sure to check out your local library's Summer Reading events for all ages! Participating helps boost library use statistics, which get reported to the state and help with funding -- plus they are fun and free!

On August 1, DESERTED, the sequel to BLACKOUT, will be available wherever ebooks are sold!

Want some hints on what it's about?

Las Vegas 

 Fremont St., Las Vegas

  Downtown Las Vegas


The desert

Environmental extremists

And here's the official blurb:

The desert can be dangerous...especially when you've been deserted.

Seventeen-year-old Kara is done spying on people for her father, the wealthy and morally corrupt businessman Dr. Ellison. Last summer, when her father’s project literally blew up, she fell hard for one of his victims: Leo, the hot musician who made her question her family’s rules. Now Leo’s clear across the country, and Kara’s ready to reinvent herself in Las Vegas.

Of course her father has to mess up that plan, too. He claims a rogue environmental group wants him dead because of his latest alternative energy business venture, and that he needs Kara back on his payroll as the only one he can fully trust. With nowhere else to turn, Kara sends Leo a distressed text message – just before she’s kidnapped, a bargaining chip of the vigilantes who are determined to end her father’s moneymaking plans.

Leo is battling the pains of his last run-in with Dr. Ellison but he wastes no time hopping a plane to Vegas to rescue Kara. As he struggles to find her, the pair tries to learn all they can about the project Dr. Ellison is directing in the hopes of using the information to free Kara. Because if there’s one thing they’ve learned from Dr. Ellison, it’s that no risk is too big when it comes to fame and fortune, life and death.

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing
*Photo's by Andrea Lipomi of Feetish Spa Parlor, Las Vegas

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Best Book Club EVER

It's been such a long time since I've posted but last we've talked I mentioned I had moved. That was like a year ago. And my kids go to this really great school and they get to do a lot of cool things and have amazing experiences. Like author visits. They've probably had half a dozen+ authors come to talk to them and each time it's a big deal with everyone wanting signed books and they all read them voraciously so it's a good thing.

I've never been the kind of author mom to push my books on them. But at one event we were at when the kids were going on and on about the authors, "Did you hear how he gets ideas?" "Isn't that amazing how she thought up that title?" I looked at them and said, "You guys do realize I write books for a living, right?"

Fast forward a couple of months and a few more author visits. I was leaving to do an author event in Chicago and something clicked with the kids. "Omg! You write books! Can we read them?!"

Thus started the Springer Family Book Club. The kids all demanded their own signed books. How do you sign a book to your own kid? I wrote smooshy love notes to each and signed it Mommy, aka Kristina Springer. And each night we gather in one bedroom (all 4 kids plus us parents), books in hand, and we take turns reading aloud a chapter from My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours. And it's pretty darn cute I must say. Especially since my kindergartner can only read the fast words he knows (like, for, and, the, you, where etc.) and the girls have to fill in the rest. And the kids laugh at all my jokes. And talk about what could possibly happen next. It's awesome. 

Tonight we're reading the last chapter of the book and they're all dying to know what happens. I keep pretending like I don't know which makes them giggle. They asked if we can start one of my other books tomorrow but I'm hesitant-- I think the YA is a little too mature. I did just finish a new middle grade recently so I'm contemplating printing out a copy of that for us to read.

I've been asked in interviews for years, what do your kids think of your books? And I'd always answered, oh they're too young. Now I have a new answer-- they're the best book club ever. :-)

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Two Months Later (or I Ain't Missing You At All*)

*with apologies to John Waite

Tip of the Day: Mark your calendar for the Greater Rochester Teen Book Fest on May 16, 2015 -- there are already 8 authors confirmed to be here in the ROC!

For anyone who knows the song "Missing You" by John Waite, it should be clear that I AM missing Author2Author even though it's been two months since I last posted! Where has the time gone? Well, I guess into the following things:

1. Greater Rochester Teen Book Fest! How could I not have had an amazing time volunteering at this event on May 17? Look at all the YA authors who showed up to talk to over 3,000 teens?

I myself saw over 200 teens in the Debut Author Panel starring Tess Sharpe, Michelle Madow, Cristin Terrill, and Amber Lough. Those ladies were amazing and you should definitely read their books!
 2. Writing, writing, writing! I am loving my Book Nook gig for Genesee Valley Parent Magazine, as well as my VOYA Reviews. My MG novel will be ready for my agent in the next month, and I finished my YA sequel to BLACKOUT. It is called DESERTED and is due out as an ebook on August 1 and it takes place in Las Vegas. Here's the blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Kara is done spying on people for her father, the wealthy and morally corrupt businessman Dr. Ellison. Last summer, when her father’s project literally blew up, she fell hard for one of his victims: Leo, the hot musician who made her question her family’s rules. Now Leo’s clear across the country, and Kara’s ready to reinvent herself in Las Vegas. 

Of course her father has to mess up that plan, too. He claims a rogue environmental group wants him dead because of his latest alternative energy business venture, and that he needs Kara back on his payroll as the only one he can fully trust. With nowhere else to turn, Kara sends Leo a distressed text message – just before she’s kidnapped, a bargaining chip of the vigilantes who are determined to end her father’s moneymaking plans.

Leo is battling the pains of his last run-in with Dr. Ellison but he wastes no time hopping a plane to Vegas to rescue Kara. As he struggles to find her, the pair tries to learn all they can about the project Dr. Ellison is directing in the hopes of using the information to free Kara. Because if there’s one thing they’ve learned from Dr. Ellison, it’s that no risk is too big when it comes to fame and fortune, life and death.

 3. Reading, reading, reading! I am up to 79 books read this year, not including anything younger than MG novels which I just don't have time to record. I did YA book talks for Rochester area teachers, which is always fun and feeds my desire to talk about YA novels and non-fiction for an hour to a captive audience.

4. I slightly redesigned my website but it needs a lot more work...I am just not a good web designer. It is a WIP for sure, but for now it at least contains needed information and reconciles my Viviani and Lipomi names and the librarian and writing work I do under each.

I promise not to wait two months until I blog again! What is everyone else up to?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Getting Into the Writing Zone (or For the Love of Music)

Tip of the Day: Scrivener, the Must Have Digital Writing Tool, is on sale for only $20 for a limited time through AppSumo! I just bought my copy and can't wait to use the Save the Cat outline + Scrivener to write my next MG novel; I'm sure the novel will practically write itself.

I have committed myself to e-pubbing DESERTED, the sequel to BLACKOUT, on August 1 -- if not before! In order to make this deadline, I need to finish writing it, get crit partner feedback, get it copyedited, send it for formatting, and upload it in just four short months.

Can I do it?

Of course I can!

What do I need to do to make it happen?

Write like there is no tomorrow!

Or at least write like there is no internet/Candy Crush/distractions.

It's not like writing DESERTED isn't fun -- it totally is! It takes place in Las Vegas and involves rogue environmental groups and secret chemical experiments to harness natural energy. I get to call on both my sister and brother for their Vegas and chemist expertise.

Still, like many people with 21st century technology at our disposal, it's easy to get -- oh, wait, it's my turn on Words With Friends. I'll be right back.

Oh, right.

What helps me tally up my word count is going to the library (not where I work; that would be the opposite of productive writing time) or Panera, plugging in my earbuds and pumping up the tunes, and cranking on the keyboard for 2-4 hours. Not only does the location make me stay on task (since I'm not on my couch getting too comfy), but the music helps, too.

How does the music help? I'm not sure exactly, but last month I went to an author talk by Heather Terrell and she said what helps her switch her brain from mom/household chores mode to writer mode is playing the same music that she's been writing to all along. She couldn't remember where she'd heard that the musical association worked like that, but once she said it, something clicked for me:

THAT'S why I keep listening to the Twilight Soundtrack!


To be fair, I alternate it with the rest of the saga's music, plus Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and The Great Gatsby. For some reason, albums with various artists work for me, as do those with a YA flavor when I'm writing contemporary YA fiction.

The other night I needed to get some writing done, and the library wasn't open and I didn't want to leave the warmth of my living room to head to Panera, and my mind was already wandering to Things Other Than Writing. So I decided to give the music association theory a shot. I queued up my Stephenie Meyer inspired iTunes tracks...and finished my outline in 2 hours while sitting on the couch!

I won't give up my library/cafe writing zone, but I do feel like I have another option that can work fairly well when I'm at home.

What helps trick your brain into being Writing Ready?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A View of Reviews (or What I Like About You, You Really Know How to Write*)

*with apologies to The Romantics

Tip of the Day: Only 82 days until the Rochester Teen Book Festival! If you are anywhere near Rochester, NY on May 17th, you must come to this FREE event featuring 30 authors!

As a book reviewer for VOYAGenesee Valley Parent Magazine, and the RACWI newsletter, and after commenting on a thread about starred reviews in the SCBWI Discussion Board (as created by picture book author Verla Kay), I've been thinking lately a lot about how I approach reviews.

Of course we all have favorite genres of books, topics we'll gravitate towards without question, and authors we'll pick up no matter what the book is about. But within those books there are aspects that make us really, really like some more than others.

*Please note that I'm focusing on novels in this discussion.*

And in books that are not part of my usual repertoire, I can still fall in love with them if they rock in one or more of three areas.

What are those three things?

Why voice, characters, and page-turning plots of course!

So if a book in any genre stands out in any of these areas as compared to the 150-200 other books I read each year, then I'll give it an above average rating or review. And if it stands out so much that I can't stop talking about it or telling others that they must read it, then I'll give it a glowing review.

A recent read that has made this most latter list?

Not only is main character Mo LeBeau smart, funny, honest, and caring with a sharp voice that makes me smile on every page, but she's joined by a cast of additional fabulous characters. If you enjoy middle grade novels at all, you must read this book and THREE TIMES LUCKY (the first Mo LeBeau book) as well.

For the sake of more examples, I'll tell you what I love about each of the Author2Author Misses' work and why they stand out to me. :)

Kate -- her plots are smart and make me think about new worlds, and her characters have witty lines that make me laugh out loud and want them to succeed.

Emily -- her plots are high concept and seem to write themselves, and her first-person voice is hilarious.

Tina -- her plots are well-crafted and fit together like a sharp puzzle, and her characters' honesty and naivete are refreshing and fun to follow as they get into hijinks.

Megg -- her characters kick butt and lead the plots instead of letting the plots lead them.

What aspect of a novel make you love them more than others you have read lately?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Book...Wha'?

Tip of the Day: A2A contributor Kristina Springer has a FREE young adult novel for download today. Check out Boy Swap on Amazon!!!!! Also for free is her short story, Cart Princess. And her novel Paparazzi Project is 99 cents!

All of my books up to this point have been female-oriented. Every main character has been female. All the books have been in first person...and I've faced a lot of criticism for having too little romance and too much action.!buybooks/c1xdrThey're probably right. I'm not a girly girl. I'm the girl all the guys want to hang out with. Not because I have big boobs or flirt or whatever - but because I'm into guy stuff.

The majority of novels I read are written by men, for men. They involve explosions, mysteries, and hot & fast sex with little romance. Not to say I don't enjoy a good romance once in a while, but, for me, that is an exception. I prefer action-adventure movies over sweet comedies. I'd rather spend an evening in sweats playing video games than be taken out.

With HIDDEN, I decided to let go of everything I thought I was supposed to do. I wrote with my man's mind. I wasn't gentle to my characters. I didn't have a lot of kissy romance (though there is some quick & dirty sex). I hacked creatures to bloody pulps. I exacted cruelty on my characters. They live and die by the sword. And things just get worse in the next book in the series, HUNTED.

For the first time in my writing career, I'm getting feedback from men. They love the covers (a few women have written me and said they hate them). Women who are readers of my earlier books are writing me and telling me their husbands and sons are enjoying HIDDEN even more than they are. I have male fans!

I can't tell you how exciting this is to me. I know there are a lot of women out there like me who enjoy reading men's adventure fiction and would rather watch The Expendables than the newest romcom. I'm so happy they're reading my books!!!! if I can reach men, admittedly a smaller reading population than women, I'll be thrilled. My only concern........will men go out of their way to buy an action-adventure fantasy written by a woman? I don't know.

I seriously considered publishing HIDDEN under a fake male name. Or using initials. But, I figured, screw that. If indie publishing has taught me anything, it's that we can be and do anything we want. Why hide the fact I'm a girl? Just because I have a vagina, it doesn't mean I can't write with some grit.

I'm excited to see where these books lead me. It's been a blast writing them. Since I'm not writing specifically for teen girls anymore, I can let loose with the plot. I don't have to be afraid. It's so liberating.

Let's all keep our fingers crossed that my Dragonlands series can do it. I want men to take a chance on them!

Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Picture Book Remix (or Short and Sweet and Funny)

Tip of the Day: This has been seen in the wilds of B&N! Pick up your paperback copy and laugh hysterically today.

My first Book Nook column is up in the February edition of Genesee Valley Parent Magazine! I am very excited about this for a number of reasons:

1. It is my first review writing gig that is paying me in actual dollars

2. GVPM is a fantastic locally owned and run publication with quality articles, relevant ads, and great distribution. Plus they are a sponsor for the Rochester Children's Book Festival.

3. I was "forced" to spend time reading picture books

Some of you may be thinking, "Forced to read picture books? Don't you work at the Children's Reference Desk for seven hours each week in your library? How are you not reading picture books? Besides, don't they take about two minutes each to read?"

The answer to all of these questions is YES. But the truth of the matter is:

a. When I work in the Children's Center, people usually ask for books about a certain thing (trains, dinosaurs, trucks, etc.), not for general recommendations about anything...and if they do, I have some go-to titles that I love (books by Tammi Sauer, Audrey Vernick, Anna Alter, and Jean Reidy to name a few).

b. Believe it or not, librarians do not actually sit around and read all day at work. Not even if each picture book only takes two minutes each. Those two minutes add up to time you are supposed to be spending on ordering, doing reference, answering emails, doing PR, running programs, planning events, etc.

c. I focus most of my reading on YA and MG because they DO take longer to read, and patrons can more easily flip through a picture book to see if it appeals to them than a novel.

That said, reviewing picture books for GVPM has been so much fun! Article due dates have driven me to check out and read lots of them at home, compare them, and actually know and love some of the Caldecott Winners this year. And you know what else about picture books?

They are so stinkin' cute and funny! Don't believe me? Or do? Either way, try some of these:

Will this make me want to try my hand at writing a picture book text? I only have once and it was a disaster, but perhaps if inspiration strikes, I will now have some masters in mind to use as inspiration and motivation....

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The ONLY Right Way to Publish

Tip of the Day: Want one of my ebooks for free? Just sign up for my newsletter.

Anyone else tired of the debate?

Self-publishing versus traditional publishing! One is right, the other will lead to certain doom! Dun dun dunnnnnn!


It's been, like, four years since self-publishing took hold of the marketplace. I've been in it for three years (well, on Feb, 11th, it'll be three years).

At first, I was scared! What would people think? Would I lose friends? Would I become an outcast?

 Well, people thought I was nuts. I lost friends. I became an outcast.

Most of those people have come around now because they've realized self-publishing isn't evil. In fact, it's kind of fun!

 So, self-publishing must be the only right path since it's clearly proven itself to be so freaking awesome!


The right path to publication is WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU!

Look, anyone who says one way is the only way is um....

Do your research. Talk to as many authors as you can. Attend conferences. Learn about the industry. Figure out what works FOR YOU!

I'm tired of the arguing and the one-upping and the debate over who is better.

We're all writers. We're all lovers of books. Let's support each other. :)


Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

*All these amazing gifs via

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Let's Talk Money...Again

Tip of the Day: What would publishing look like if Hugh Howey was in charge? Check it out!

There's a lot of talk going around Facebook & the web about how much traditionally published authors make and how much self-published authors make. Wendy Higgins, a YA author, had a post up, but then was forced (?) to take it down, detailing her income over the last two years. Basically, she made $6,000 as a traditionally published novelist.

I can't link to Wendy's original post, but Google cached an image of it here:

(Just more proof that nothing can ever be deleted.)

I think Wendy sounds like a total sweetheart. I also think she's very happy with the decisions she's made in her publishing career, for the most part.

Here's what we need to take from this: assume NOTHING about how much authors make. Some make tons. Some don't. Just because a book is on the shelf at your local Barnes & Noble, it doesn't mean that author is rolling in dough.

Most authors cannot make a living at writing. On top of that, most authors who make enough to support themselves have NO GUARANTEE they will be able to sustain it over the long term.

Publishing is a fickle lover. One day you're on top. The next, you're forgotten.

So, really, does income matter? Sure. It matters to me. I want to put my kids through college someday. If I can't make enough money writing, I'll have to get a job. It's that simple. I'm also lucky in that my husband is the primary breadwinner, so my income is a little less important.

In 2012 I made over $50,000 self-publishing.
In 2013 I made over $25,000 self-publishing.

Why the difference? Well, I put a lot more effort into 2012 than I did into 2013. In 2013, we had to deal with my husband's major health crisis and then we moved (and were between houses for nearly 6 weeks). I just didn't have the time or energy for as much writing and marketing as I did in 2012.

Even though it's less, my 2013 income was still more than what I would make at a part-time minimum-wage job (which is really all I can get since I've been an at-home mom for 12 years and my degree in medieval history is fascinating, but useless).

I hope to make more in 2014 than I did in 2013. With a little effort, I'm sure I can.

Now you know what I made. So what? It's not that big of a deal, really. One author's income doesn't correlate to another's. You can't assume you'll make what your friend does (or doesn't) make.

Publishing is a lot like gambling. You don't always get out what you put in. The best you can do is follow your heart, make the choices that work for you, and always remember that it's about the reader and entertainment. Try not to take yourself too seriously!


Megg, Miss Enchanted ePubber

Friday, January 3, 2014

That Obligatory 2013 Recap Post (or Writing Related Reality Check)

Tip of the Day: Want to see a author/businessman's trailblazing predictions for 2014? Check out J. A. Konrath's 12/28/13 blog post. Wild and crazy, or spot-on? Time will tell!

Welcome, readers, to 2014!

I thought I'd go back and update my post from about one year ago on my goals for 2013, but, um, I guess I never did one. So, starting from scratch, and so I have something to ruminate over at this time, here are the fab readerly/writerly/librariany things that happened in the past 12 months:

1. I read 180 books! To see my faves, check out my LiveJournal post here.
2. I attended the NYC SCBWI Conference with three other ROC ladies and had a great, inspirational, fun time.
3. I wrote a fast draft of a new MG novel, and mostly rewrote the second draft.
4. I launched my website
5. I self-e-pubbed my YA novel, BLACKOUT -- and people actually bought and read it! (THANK YOU!) (Of note: I've been writing fiction seriously for 9 years, and this is the first time I've made any money from it and am so glad I took the epub plunge.)
6. My husband created a book trailer for BLACKOUT with original music and it rocks.
7. I wrote more of the BLACKOUT sequel.
8. Teen Book Fest volunteering. Need I say more?
9. I signed with a fab agent after she read my MG novel -- which is still on submission...fingers crossed! She totally helped me nail the revisions and I am hopeful that an editor will fall in love with Joanie and Anna in 2014.
10. I met up in Dublin, OH with Tina, Em, and Kate for a writing/gossiping retreat.
11. I was offered and accepted a gig writing kidlit reviews for Genesee Valley Parent Magazine; they should go live in print starting next month! (Of note: this is my third review gig, but the first in which I will be paid in actual dollars! I am moving up in the world! :-D)
12. My husband bought me a MacBook Pro to replace my dear but failing Dell laptop that has been with me for the past five years. Man, is this machine slick!
13. I did YA Best Book presentations for Rochester BOCES and Wayne County/Finger Lakes Library Leadership Academy -- and got to see Steve Sheinkin do a keynote speech at the latter! Cool guy.
14. I got a YALSA grant for Teen Read Week and hosted A. S. King for the Fourth Annual Greater Rochester Teen Read. It was an amazing week!
15. I bought an iPhone and downloaded Candy Crush. Oh, wait, that's actually an anti-writing device....
Am I forgetting anything? Probably, but that's OK. It's been a busy year and I look forward to 2014. Thanks to all my friends, family, and colleagues who have helped make it great!

Writing things I plan to do in the coming 12 months:
A. Polish my next MG novel (hint: tween library volunteers + Native American artifacts!) and get to my agent for thoughts.
B. Finish writing and revising DESERTED, the BLACKOUT sequel, and epub it.
C. Read through two YA mss, run by my agent, and either prepare them to sub or epub.
D. Start rewrite of new MG novel, a rewrite of an old YA (hint: haunted cottage in the Adirondacks + Ouija Board + water wraith)
E. Anything that an editor asks me to do if they want to buy my MG (!). Just putting it out there for the universe! :)

Phew! Can I do it? Maybe with the new MacBook Pro I can!

And less Candy Crush....

Happy New Year!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing