Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays!!!

Tip of the day: We will be taking the next two weeks off to celebrate the season, but we'll be back in 2010 with more fun, fiction, and food for thought!!

From us at Author2Author to all of you, wishes for a very merry holiday and a happy, healthy and successful new year!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just Call It Research

Tip of the Day: Books make an awesome gift! And if you sign up at or they'll start e-mailing you coupons every week. Or, check out Amazon where they always have a discount and you can get free shipping if you spend over $25. Or, visit your local indie and see what deals they've got going on.

I don't know about you but with the holidays zooming up on me (Yikes, is Christmas really next week?!) I can't concentrate on writing at all. Which then makes me feel kinda guilty and we can't have that. Thus, I'm telling myself everything is research:

Like Christmas shopping. It's so hard trying to find that perfect gift. And if you think you know just the right thing what would you do to get it? Would you do this?

To get this?

Some did! And maybe that type of person will be a future character in a book.

Then of course there is the cheesy Christmas movies on fa la la la lifetime and Hallmark etc. I looooooove these movies. They are a holiday must. And they always only get the top notch actors like Roseanne Barr's ex husband and that guy married to Tori Spelling and starring on her reality show.

And I have to say it was good to see Dawson again. Oh, how I've missed him.

Ahem, back to research. These types of movies provide a clear and easy example of plot structure. They're all pretty typical (really, I dare you not to know where the movie is going in the first two minutes) but enjoyable.

And the cookie making. Ohhhh, the cookie making. Let's see, that could be a practice in thinking up colorful adjectives. Like, delicious, delectable, scrumptious, tasty, yummy, succulent, delightful...

That is, until after the holidays when you're at the gym cursing out the evil little sugar balls of death.

Finally, the family get togethers. Families provide an abundance of crazy characters that you can pick interesting traits from. But like Deena has mentioned before, make sure you change them enough that your family doesn't get wise. Or you could have a situation like I had on my hands this past Thanksgiving when everyone cornered me at the table and accused me of putting various people in the book. :-) That's when you keep repeating, it's fiction people! It's fiction!

Happy Holidays!

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why New Moon (or You Can Do No Wrong/In My Eyes*)

*With apologies to Thom Yorke (see link below)

Tip of the Day: After making your holiday cookies, immediately package them up for whoever will receive them to detract from your desire to keep snacking on them....

I saw NEW MOON. In the theater. Twice.

Now before you judge, the first time was bc I wanted to see it and a group of us went for my friend's bday night. The bday girl is a HUGE fan of the series, so of course we had to go.

The second time was bc that same bday girl asked if I would go with her again. I don't see her much so I said yes as long as we had lunch first so we could catch up on gossip. And I have to say, I enjoyed the movie better the second time than the first. It is still too long, and the parts of Bella pining and looking forelorn could be cut down, but overall there are some parts of the movie -- and the story -- that remind me of why the series is such a popular YA phenom.

One reason is that the layers of the story fit together, are relevant with each other, yet represent Bella's personal story and the greater good of other people of Forks. And bc the reader cares about the minor characters like Charlie, we care about the micro and macro stories: Bella missing Edward, Bella liking Jacob, Jacob and Edward being enemies, Victoria coming back, Charlie hunting Jacob, Jacob hunting Victoria....

There's this great montage scene in the movie -- my fave scene -- set to this song by Thom Yorke (Hearing Damage): The melancholy of the music, plus the chase/hunt scene that switches between Charlie, Victoria, the wolves, and Bella -- the micro and macro stories intertwined -- sums up so much with no dialog, and leaves me wanting more of it.

How does one write the equivalent of the powerful, emotional, action-filled movie montage in a novel?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009 was tough, but all that means is 2010 will be better

Tip of the Day: don't forget to schedule in vacations through the coming year! They are much needed and great stress relief.

I started to think of many things to write today, but I kept going back to Kate's post yesterday and couldn't help but add my two cents. She said it far better than I could, but this year has definitely been tough on everyone.

Many people have lost jobs, houses, loved ones, and more than I could imagine.

For me personally, it was probably the toughest year of my life. One in which I lost someone very close to me and almost lost my own life as well. Nothing like a life-changing experience to give you perspective.

The sad part is that many people had stuff happen to them that was far worse this year. I have my health now, a job I love, and family to support me, which is more than a lot of people out there.

In the midst of all the toughness and sadness of this year, though, I think I've grown leaps and bounds as a person, despite the many days when all I felt like doing was snuggling up in my bed and avoiding the world. I really do believe our struggles only make us stronger and when we pick our selves back up and keep on going it shows our true character.

And as a result 2009 has also been one of the best years, if not at least the most eye-opening.

Just as in life, it's the same thing with writing.

So if you are out there and afraid to submit your work, afraid of the rejection, then just remember there will be a time when it gets easier. And don't forget that each one is making you a stronger writer and person (even if it doesn't feel like it at the time).

Also, when bad things happen it's hard to find joy in anything, and if writing does that for you, then please stick at it. Don't worry about no one buying your work or getting too many rejections. Just think of it that maybe someone needed it more than you right now. And if you stick with something, continue to find enjoyment from it, then your time will come.

Here's to a much better 2010 for everyone!

-Emily, Miss Querylicious

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Was a Tough Year

Tip of the Day: Can you believe people are buying out Justice snuggies and reselling them on eBay for twice the retail price? I don't know what my tip is here. Oh yeah: establish an electronic alibi so when your kids don't get the number one item on their Christmas lists, you can prove it wasn't for lack of trying.

2009 was a tough, tough year.

First of all, I had to deal with rejections. I know, poor me, everyone deals with rejections. But if you're like me, the Monday Miss without tons of experience in querying, this rejection thing stings.

I think I'm supposed to toughen up. I'm not sure that's going to work for me. I'm not type to read a rejection and say, pfft, what do they know? They'll regret rejecting me someday! No, I absorb criticism when it comes from sources I trust. I like to think that's how I managed to improve as a writer.

The only thing that's going to work for me will be to get so many rejections that I can say, eh, I've gotten a bunch of these before and lived through it. Is that toughening up? I don't know. It seems like the long road to toughening up right now.

When I get bummed out on a rejection, my husband says, "It's a tough time for buying out there." Ugh, don't I know it. And I worry. What am I expecting when established authors are having trouble selling? When bookstores are closing and publishers are cutting staff?

Will anyone ever read what I write? If not, what am I doing this for?

And then it snows and I think, boy I sure wish I was home in my pajamas writing. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing right now. So I guess I'll keep going, and I guess once it's written, I might as well send it out. Let it snow.

The economy has been tough before and books have lived through it. Media delivery has changed before and writers have lived through it. That's why I write for young people, I think. Their lives seem tough to me. They don't have the confidence that comes from having survived tough times that are now harmless memories. So here's to us all getting that confidence in 2010.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, December 11, 2009

We must say farewell to Kirkus

Tip of the day: When you walk the dog in 15 degree weather, it's a good idea to put on the old long johns. Brrrrr....

In case you didn't hear the news yesterday, Nielsen Business Media has announced it is closing its book review publication Kirkus Reviews.

I find this really sad. As much as people bashed Kirkus because of their often times harsh and negative reviews, I know a lot of librarians relied on their reviews to make their purchasing decisions. And it starts to feel like the walls of the publishing world are crumbling just a little more around us.

Interestingly enough, just last week, my editor sent me a very nice review from Kirkus for CHASING BROOKLYN. I don't know how soon the closure takes effect. Is it immediately? I have no idea. The review is scheduled to be in the December 15th issue. In case there isn't going to be a December 15th issue, I thought I'd post it here.

Schroeder, Lisa


New Year’s Day breaks hard for Brooklyn as she faces the one-year anniversary of the car accident that killed her boyfriend Lucca; across town, Nico, Lucca’s younger brother, also mourns. Rocked hard by this grim anniversary, both teens are further aggrieved to learn that on this same day their friend Gabe, the driver of the car, has committed suicide. Following Gabe’s death, Brooklyn and Nico are drawn together, not by familiarity but instead by supernatural visitations from the two deceased boys, who seem determined that Brooklyn and Nico must continue to live. Written as a novel in verse, the text alternates between Brooklyn’s and Nico’s voices and thoughts, dreams and fears, creating an intimate and raw snapshot of their evolving relationship. Capitalizing on the elasticity of the form, Schroeder masterfully creates a parallel structure within the text, the energy and emotion of each scene heightening its overall drama, underscoring the sorrow and, above all, strengthening its final message of hope. (Fiction. YA)

Thanks for letting me share.

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Group Signings=FUN!

Tip of the Day: Online shopping is so much easier than going store to store. But you have to buy your gifts now to get them shipped to you in time!

Last weekend was my first group signing ever! (Well, two signings. And really it was my first signing in a bookstore too.). The first signing was at the Borders in Bolingbrook, IL. It was Cynthea Liu, Lara Zielin, Aprilynne Pike, Me, Darcy Vance, and Saundra Mitchell.

Things I learned:
1) We brought way too many cookies and candy. And my giant coffee cup is HEAVY to lug around.
2) Aprilynne & Cynthea's idea that we each only talk for a few minutes was brilliant! It really kept things moving at a nice pace and nobody got bored. And it left lots of times for questions and funny stories.
3) Prizes are a fabulous idea! We let people pick something from the basket for each question asked. Such a good idea. I'm glad I was with these super smart experienced authors!
4) It's smart to sign whatever stock is leftover at the signing. That way the store can still sell autographed books.

This signing went really great. It was nice and relaxed and fun and we really got to talk a lot with the audience. And it was great to see book lovers, librarians, and bookbloggers.

After this signing we went downtown for this yummy, yet incredibly expensive pizza and then to our next signing at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Park.

The Book Cellar was awesome! Lots of really fun people and a great atmosphere. It's the kind of place you want to spend oodles of time just chilling in.

Things I learned:

1) A bookstore that serves both coffee drinks and alcohol is a fab idea!
2) How to deal with hecklers. This woman kept yelling that we weren't starting on time and she had places to be. It was quite adorable actually. Once we got going she seemed to love our talk and asked lots of questions but alas, abruptly stood up in the middle and announced that she would be going to the library to check out all of our books. Like I said, she was adorable.
3) And finally, group signings are PERFECT for the debut author. Face it, when you're new no one knows you. There aren't going to be long lines of fans waiting to see you. But when you're in a group each person will attract a few or more and even if you only have a small group there it will still be like a great fun party because there are others up there sharing the spotlight.

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holidramas (or We Are Fa-mi-ly)

Tip of the Day: If $10 electric beaters seem too good a deal to be true, they probably are.

Real life family dramas can be draining enough, but when they are rampant through the holidays, well, get the wine bottle opener ready. Or lock the liquor cabinet, depending on your guests.

Because of the amped-up drama surrounding times that are supposed to be Jolly and Chipper and full of Good Cheer, adding a holiday family gathering into your manuscript can be a great way to increase tension or set the scene for a solid familial blow-up. Besides, you can get the whole family in one location for the ultimate audience for your MC's explosion/revelation/meltdown!

(Ellen Wittlinger's PARROTFISH is an excellent example of using Christmas as the backdrop for a climax/beginning resolution scene. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Ellen Wittlinger)

I need to follow my own advice on this. So far I have two books that feature Independence Day, and one that features a birthday party. Good, but not nearly as potentially theatrical as Thanksgiving through New Years.

However, in writing such scenes since they often do include family, be careful not to too accurately portray your own Crazy Aunt Luella or Drunken Grandpa Pete, lest they recognize themselves upon publication. Unless they thrive on that sort of thing.

This year, family dramas are abounding, but I don't want to exploit the fam's holidrama even if I do find it somewhat amusing. How do you find the balance between writing real minor characters who mirror your own family and flat-out stealing Cheating Cousin Kyle's exact hilarious personality and situation for the sake of your story?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holidays and writing

Tip of the Day: have your had a cup of hot apple cider lately? Yummy.

The holidays are always a stressful time. There's so much shopping to do, so many activities, so much family to visit.

So why is it that holiday time always brings the desire to write?

At least for me.

Maybe it's because you can't help but people watch this time of year. And the things you see are much stranger than fiction. As in people sleeping out at tents, just to get into Walmart on Black Friday.


Is it really worth that 10 dollars saved?

These questions and others seem to pop up all the time during the holidays. There's just so much going on and so much different stuff happening all around us, I think it's second nature to want to capture it.

Either it's that or watching all those Christmas movies as Kate mentioned yesterday.

Whatever it is, don't forget to take time to write during the holiday. Your brain will appreciate the break from all the other craziness.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas Backstory

Tip of the Day: Books for Christmas! Sure, you know your YA and MG and even adult bestsellers, but you probably have younger kids on your shopping list. Check out the School Library Journal's Top 100 Picture Books. Something for everyone!

So I watched a LOT of Christmas specials this weekend. (We're Christmas crazy
in my house. Every room smells like pine and sugar cookies!) I began to notice that a lot of Christmas movies follow a pattern. They have a narrator ... who starts by telling us something strange and/or wonderful happened in the past. Then he brings us through the main character's entire childhood until we finally, finally we get to the main story. (I guess in the case of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, the wonderful thing is about to happen, which is sort of an improvement on the pattern.)
Could you imagine writing a book like that? Okay, it can be done. TALE OF DESPEREAUX was written like that. But man, talk about pressure. Your main character has to be really unusual to get away with that.

ELF worked for me because the backstory was so funny (and I love Bob Newhart). And in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, every selected instance from George Bailey's life is so bittersweet. And in RUDOLPH, well, we all know what's going to happen anyway and I can distract myself by wondering what the snow was made out of. (RUDOLPH has to be watched in High Def.)

But you know where the pattern gets really annoying? SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN. Santa was a baby once, did you know that? He learned to make toys, did you know that? Yawn! Also, he adopted a penguin who eventually got him arrested. What the heck? How does that fit into anything?

As a writer, SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN really irks me. Don't tell me it's just kids watching; that's the world's worst excuse for poor craft. That whole entire hour is nothing but backstory.

Dickens had it right. Get a ghost to take care of the backstory for you. You don't even have to worry about transitions!

So which Christmas special gets on your writer's nerves, and why?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, December 4, 2009


I'm a little excited. Can you tell? Lisa has the day off today so I thought I'd sneak in and tell you guys about the Holidaze with the Debs Tour that starts tomorrow!! Authors that debuted in 2009 are grouping up in different areas for super fun signings. I'm so lucky that 5 of them are coming out to me tomorrow in Bolingbrook, IL (at Borders, from 1-3) and then we're all heading downtown for a signing at The Book Cellar (7-9pm). And then I'm having a sleepover. Yep, that's right-- a YA author sleepover. Maybe I'll blog about that next week? :) Anyway, here's the schedule- if you're near any of these areas please come!



Dec. 6, 1-3 p.m.
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th St.
New York, NY
Including: Megan Crewe, Sarah Cross, Deva Fagan, Neesha Meminger, Kate Messner, Shani Petroff, Jon Skovron, Michelle Zink


Dec. 5, 1-3 p.m.
161 N. Weber Road
Bolingbrook, IL
Including: Cynthea Liu, Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Kristina Springer, Darcy Vance, Lara Zielin

Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m.
The Book Cellar, Inc.
4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL
Including: Cynthea Liu, Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Kristina Springer, Darcy Vance, Lara Zielin


Dec. 5, 3-4 p.m
588 Francisco Blvd. West
San Rafael, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Malinda Lo, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang

Dec. 8, 7 p.m.
Menlo Park Public Library
800 Alma St.
Menlo Park, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang

Dec. 9, 12 p.m.
Petaluma High School*
201 Fair St.
Petaluma, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Malinda Lo, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang
* Open to the public, but visitors should check in at the school office when arriving

Dec. 12, 2-4 p.m.
The Shops at Tanforan
1150 El Camino Real Space 277
San Bruno, CA 94066

Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Malinda Lo, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang


January 7, 7pm
Yorkdale Indigo
Yorkdale Mall
3401 Dufferin St.
Including: R.J. Anderson, Megan Crewe, Neesha Meminger

Jan. 9, 2 p.m.
Eaton Centre
220 Yonge St.
Toronto, Ontario
Including: Megan Crewe, Neesha Meminger, Sarah Ockler, Rhonda Stapleton, Lara Zielin

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A2A The Teen Years: Which Way Do I Go?

Tip of the Day: I'm doing two fun signings this Saturday with a great group of authors. If you're in/near Bolingbrook, IL or Chicago, IL please come by!

As a teen, I had no clue whatsoever what I wanted to be when I grew up. I always kind of assumed I'd go to college and do something but never gave much thought as to what. The big plans I had with my BFF at that time was for us to graduate high school, get an apartment together next door to our future boyfriends (who would also be BFFs), and go to school somewhere.

And then one my day, I think either late junior year or early senior year, the school guidance counselor called me in and asked what my future plans were and I said I was going to go to college. He told me he didn't think I was smart enough for college and that I should look into being a secretary. Um, what? Nothing wrong with being a secretary but let's back up here-- did you tell me I wasn't smart enough to do something?

So of course I was now on the path to prove him wrong and not only did I go to college, I went on to get my Masters and ended up teaching college courses for six years. So PBBBBBBT! to that guy. I still think I need to track him down on facebook or something and be like um, what was that about me not being smart buddy? :-)

I think it was ok that I had no clue what I wanted to do for a long time. Because I got to try lots of careers to figure out what was the right one. I taught high school, taught college, wrote freelance articles for magazines/web sites, and did technical writing. And now I'm an author, which I LOVE being, and I never saw that coming when I was a teen.

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A2A The Teen Years: What Will You Be When You Grow Up?

Tip of the Day: Don't deny the powers of the neti pot during cold and flu season!
In junior high, my friends and I played the Ouija Board all the time. One question we liked to ask was "What will we be after high school?" It told Kim she'd be a "sex queen." It told Shaunna she'd be a "nun." It told me nothing! Not that it mattered, I guess, since its predictions for my friends were completely wrong.

In high school, my friends said I was like Daria. She was a book nerd who ripped on social norms and had big hair. Uh, yup -- except unlike Daria I swear I had a sense of humor! (Photo of me is from 10th grade; I must have forgone my glasses for this snazzy pic.) Still, it was no big surprise to anyone when at age 15, I got my first job at the local library.

During this time, I wrote a lot of short fiction for English classes, and when my family got our first computer with Word Perfect, I was psyched to type type type my own social commentaries for the amusement of myself and my friends. That was when I think people first started telling me I was going to be a writer "when I grew up."

Did people say I was going to be a librarian? Despite my six-year tenure at the Parma Public Library as a Page/Processor, I'm not sure anyone did.

At least my friends who guessed were half right. And I'm glad they were!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My future, according to a teen

Tip of the Day: hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

From the time I was five till seventeen, I only had one career aspiration. I never dreamed of being a princess, firefighter, doctor, or even a wife and mother. Aside from the short stint around age six of wanting to work in a grocery store, because using a cash register seemed like the most exciting thing in the world, I’d always wanted to be a lawyer.

Arguing was in my blood. If my parents stance was my bedtime should be 8 pm, mine would be it should be 9 pm, and I’d have a bulleted list of reasons to support it. Mainly because I loved a good debate, even from a young age.

Plus, lawyers wore suits everyday, got to use words such as “objection” and “your honor,” and always seemed put together on television or in books. And in my mind, they lived alone in the big city, which when growing up in a small town seemed more appetizing than anything in the world.

There was only one type of law I thought of practicing: criminal. To be honest, I’m not sure I realized there were other forms of law until high school and even then they didn’t seem appealing. I loved trying to understand the human psyche and getting to the bottom of a case, so to speak. I’d always loved mystery books, and watched Perry Mason and Murder, She Wrote before crime and law shows became the norm.

It wasn’t until I was looking for colleges my senior year that I really began to think about my future and what I wanted to study. I looked at several pre-law programs and ultimately decided I’d make a horrible criminal lawyer. There’s no way on earth I could defend someone I thought was guilty or prosecute someone that might be innocent.

Ultimately after several major changes, I landed on journalism, advertising, and public relations. And I couldn’t be happier.

Ironically, I turned back to my days of Murder, She Wrote and decided to try my hand at writing after graduation and found my niche in the mystery world. From behind the scenes in making up characters and having the ending turn out exactly how I’d like. And now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I never made it to the big city to live, but travel to them frequently instead. And ultimately I married way younger than I ever imagined. But it’s funny how things work out and you end up doing exactly what you’re meant to.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Monday, November 30, 2009

A2A Teen Years: Back in Time and Forward Again

Tip of the Day: Forget about New Year's Resolutions this year. I'm going to choose one word for the year. I haven't quite decided what it is yet, but I'm mulling it over.

It's time for Author2Author: The Teen Years, when we mine our memories for what it was really like to be a teenager and how that impacts our writing. This week, we're talking about what you (and your friends) in your teen past thought you'd be like in the future--meaning now, the present. (Did that make sense? I feel like I should be inventing time travel appropriate verb tenses.)

It's good for me to remember that when I was 15, I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up and that was OK. I didn't lose sleep over it, you know? My friends and I figured we'd probably live in Manhattan and see a lot of live music. We expected to be at Madison Square Garden when the Rangers finally won the Stanley Cup again. Those were great goals.

What I really, really secretly dreamed of was writing for the best show on television: Days of Our Lives. I was willing to make the sacrifice of leaving my friends and moving to California for this.

I actually didn't move to California, as life got complicated with college and true love and the compromises both required. Also, I was not at Madison Square Garden when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup. But teenage dreams don't need to compromise, baby.

The last thing my friends and I expected was that I would have kids. I had two younger brothers and two younger stepsisters, so I was always babysitting while my friends were off doing (what I imagined were) exciting things. The only positive in this was that I honed my craft reading this masterpiece over and over again:

I don't want to spoil the ending for you. It has a great twist.

Friends were so much more important than career goals, weren't they? How about you? What did you and your friends envision doing together as legal adults?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We're taking the week off from blogging to celebrate American Thanksgiving. We'll be back next week, as witty and topical as ever. Have a great holiday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A little itchy

Tip of the day: Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday next week! We’ll be taking a blogging break for the week, but don’t worry! We’ll be back November 30th with another fun week of A2A, the Teen years!

I had a good conversation with my agent this week, about a finished project as well as a proposal and some pages I’ve been working on the past couple of months.

She is excited about both of these projects, and that makes ME excited. So yes, sometime soon, I will be out on submission again. It’s been a year or more since I’ve had a sale, and I admit to itching just a little for some good news of the “Sold” variety. Ack, does that make me greedy?

Maybe. Sorry, can’t help it. My mind is already thinking ahead to the year 2011 – it will be a very sad year if there are no new book babies to look forward to! Anyway, stay tuned, I guess. Although I don’t suspect we’ll hear anything until after the holidays at this point.

Honestly, I still pinch myself when my agent e-mails me and says, “Let’s set up a time to talk.” Really? You want to talk to ME? About my work?

I don’t think I’m more talented than most writers. I think I just kept writing and working at it. And it’s what I do even now.

I can remember the days when I wanted so desperately to have a sale. Or even to have an agent who loved my work. It wasn’t really that long ago. I know it seems like the publishing business is mostly gloom and doom these days, but take heart. Books *are* still being sold.

So, keep writing. Keep working at it. And if you’re itching for some good news of the “sold” variety, I hope you get some very soon!

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to do a Drive-By Signing

Tip of the Day: Always carry a signing pen with you. You never know when you'll be asked to sign a book and the average ballpoint just doesn't cut it.

Drive-by signings. You either know exactly what I'm talking about or you're scratching your head. This post is directed to all the head scratchers.

Once you're a published author you can stop by bookstores wherever (in your town, somewhere you're vacationing, at that store around the corner from your office etc.) your book is carried and ask to sign it. This sounds a little bizarre at first and I was really hesitant to do it until I went with Aprilynne Pike on a drive-by signing while she was in town for a signing. She, Kristin Walker, and I were walking to get a drink and were about to pass by a B&N. She said let's do a drive-by. I said what?! Are things that hard right now? Ok, we didn't say that stuff. :-) But she did suggest stopping to do a quick stock signing. After I witnessed her doing one it gave me the courage to do it myself. See, at first I thought maybe the stores wouldn't want me coming in and mucking up their merchandise. But then I was reminded that I wasn't mucking up their stuff but adding value to it by signing it. Oh yeah. :-) Someone else told me that a signed book is a sold book. I'm not sure who originally said that or if it's true but it sounds good. Anyway, on to how to do a drive-by signing.

1) Stroll into a bookstore.

2) Locate all of your books on a shelf (in my case it's only like 3 to 5 at a store).

3) Carry all of your books up to the information desk.

4) Say to the person working there, hello, I am the author of this book and I'd like to sign it. Do you have any signed by author stickers?

At this point they'll give you a huge smile, whip out a strip of the stickers, and say fabulous! Or some such scenario like that. This actually happens often for them.

5) Sign each book.

6) Sticker the book (or the employee might sticker the book for you).

7) Ask the employee, would you like me to re-stock the book?

And they'll (hopefully) say no, no, I'm going to put them on display up here at the desk.

And that's all there is to it! Bonus tip: you can go online to or and type in your zip code to see if the stores near you have your book in stock. Might save a trip!

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How BAKE Came To Be (or Warning: Sappiness Ahead)

Tip of the Day: It's not too late to enter THE ESPRESSOLOGIST contest! All you have to do is snap a pic of the book at a coffee shop. It's too good a deal to pass up!

I've got an exciting, Subbing for Pubbing news bite for you!


I got my first rejection.

I know, I know, you're all in tears for me, but I'm not! I have faith. Just send good vibes into the publishing world for my MG, BAKE, SET, MATCH if you have a spare minute. Can I tell you how much I love this book? I really love this book -- and what it has become through all of its visions.

Oh, you want the whole saga in abridged form? Of course! Here it is.

When I was in 3rd grade, I met another 3rd grader named Beth. She, her older brother, and her parents were new to the neighborhood. And both her parents had cancer. Her dad's was really bad and her mom's was a passing thought as she spent all her time caring for her family. My 8-year-old self didn't even know her mom was sick, but Beth and I became super friends.

At some point, Beth began spending nights at my house. Sometimes weeks. Of course to me this was fun and new and exciting to have a friend over 24/7! But the reality was that her dad was in the hospital all the time and her mom was there with him and she didn't want to leave Beth alone.

Mix in what happens when pre-adolscent girls spend tons of time together (bff love + sisterly beeyotching), a step into the tumultuous fourth grade, best friend necklace drama, and material jealousies and you have the makings of an MG novel 20 years later without even knowing it.

Very sadly, Beth's father passed away while we were in fourth grade, and her mother while we were in sixth. At my older, wiser age of 12 I couldn't believe all the materialistic, trivial stuff I thought about and went on about with Beth in elementary school. I mean, her parents were really sick and I would get upset when my mom let her eat candy before dinner but not me.

So a few years ago in super hindsight, I wanted to explore the relationship between two girls who are trying to forget about the scary cancer surrounding them. Yet if they completely forget about it, nothing else is really in perspective anymore. It's a balance between what's real, what's right, what's important. And I think it's a good lesson for ALL of us at any age to think about.

BAKE, SET, MATCH is not a memoir of my time in 3rd through 6th grades, but rather a story about friendships and baking and tennis based on that kernel of best friends who are forced to become nearly sisters in the midst of drama and heartache. OK, so my first drafts were a bit more true-to-life, but once I got that out of my system, the true plot of the book came out and I think it says what I want to say and have needed to say for all these years.

Fortunately, Beth and I remained friends after she had to move away in sixth grade, and are still friends today despite the miles between us. She also gave me permission to keep the name "Beth" for the Beth-like character in my book. What friend could ask for a greater gift than that? :)

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Joining a Writing Group

Tip of the Day: joining a writing group can be fun and encouraging.

I've been writing fiction seriously for about four years now (wow has it really been that long?), but I've yet to join a writing community such as the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators or Romance Writers of America.

I've kind of dabbled a bit by going to meetings, but just when I started to feel a part of something, I moved and had to start all over again. And I've justified not joining because there's such a wonderful writing community online that I've gotten a lot of great information from and I didn't feel I needed to spend money.

Until now.

Recently, I decided to attend the Winter SCBWI conference coming up in January (with Deena!) and thought what better time to join when it would help get me a discounted rate at the conference.

I just received by packet of information and I have to tell you that I actually kind of feel like a real writer now. It makes me feel official that I'm going to a conference to better my writing and my career and that I'm part of such a great group of writers. I'm kind of amazed I hadn't joined before and I'm so excited to meet writers in my area and future events. And to get the most out of membership that I can.

Are you all members of writing groups? And what benefits do you see and how do you get the most out of your membership?

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Monday, November 16, 2009

Time to Type "The End"

Tip of the Day: This is a periodic public service announcement. Backup your word processing files. Have you saved your writing to a stick drive lately?

Revisions are done, line editing is done, and it's time to virtually step away from another huge folder on my c drive. I've spent lots of time on my tween paranormal, but now it's completed. It's time to work on a new project.

I always feel weird when this happens. It's almost like moving to a new town. I have to meet new people, figure out where all the important buildings are, and say goodbye to the characters I knew so well.

To make it worse, I have a few projects competing for what to work on next, and I'm having a hard time making up my mind. I have a haunted house novel that I feel needs an entire rewrite, a graphic novel script I started in Fast Draft January, and a shiny new idea that needs a lot of research.

To paraphrase Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb, I need a Brain Switch Gearerator.
I always feel happy the first time I type "The End" on a project, after the first draft. Yahoo, finally, I can start revising!! But the last time I type "The End" makes me feel a little adrift. I guess it's time to be the new kid in a new town again.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, November 13, 2009

When bad things happen to good authors

Tip of the day: Check out this GREAT post by Agent Rachelle Gardner on how much it really costs to publish a book.

October was a hard month. And until now, I haven’t talked about it publicly. But what happened to me is something that happens to authors quite often, and it’s part of being an author, hard as it can be. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about it a little bit.

See, my editor was let go from my publisher. The editor I made three beautiful books with. The editor who I had a wonderful connection with – who got my books and my writing in a way I had only dreamed of.

Some will say editors don’t really edit anymore. I can’t say that’s untrue all the time, but I know in my case, with this particular editor, it wasn’t true. When I flip through each of my books, I see a little bit of him on every page. And it’s a little hard to imagine having books in the future without those fingerprints, so to speak.

I really went through the stages of grief when I heard the news. I was in denial, I was mad, I was sad, and finally, I think I’ve come through to a place of acceptance. You know what they say – the only thing that’s constant in life is change.

I’ve been assigned a wonderful new editor, and now, after I’ve had some time to grieve a little bit and process everything, I do think it will all be fine in the end.

Interestingly enough, months before this all happened, I felt the need to dedicate CHASING BROOKLYN to my editor. He knew how much I appreciated him, because I told him a few times. But I'm so glad the world will know that too. Especially now.

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Launch Party Re-cap: My Favorite Things

Tip of the Day: The 2009 Debutantes are doing group signings in a number of locations across the country this holiday season. See if they are coming near you! Check Holidaze with the Debs.

I survived!! Actually, I did better than that-- I had so much fun at my launch party!! I couldn't wait until today to blog about it so the big post is on my personal blog here.

Today, I'm going to share some of my favorite things from the party.

First, signing. I signed my arcs at ALA this summer but this was different- it was the actual book! And it was really, really fun. People started coming about ten minutes before the party started and it was pretty steady for the entire time.

Speaking of books, don't they look so pretty all set up in a big ol' stack like this?

Then of course there was all the pink. I love pink! (Did you spot the plates I was freaking out about last week?)

And I loved that so much family came! My parents and all three of my brothers (even the one from Seattle, WA) and their families, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and godparents. And of course my family, Hubby was taking mega pictures and the kids were SO good. I was very relieved!

Although my 3-yr old kept taking advantage of my being distracted to steal chocolate hearts again and again. And again.

And the writers! I love getting to chat with other writers and I was especially happy that local writers came out. Below is Kristin Walker and Trina Sotira.

And finally, I was so excited to see so many old friends-- some I hadn't seen since high school!

Thanks for the support everyone!

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Polishing Two Novels in One Month (or How the Heck is it November 11th Already?!?)

Tip of the Day: Take Tina's THE ESPRESSOLOGIST out for coffee for the chance to win great prizes!

After writing my post about how to overcome my setting deficiencies, I decided I need to revise my YA novel SURVIVING LAKE NEADE. Not that it needs a huge overhaul, but I know that I want to immediately ground my readers in the setting. That means giving the first page a solid intriguing setting, then adding in the four best friends, followed by a continual sprinkling of more setting. Right now it's mostly characters and dialogue; I need to change that.

BUT! I after having my MG novel BAKE, SET, MATCH go on sub, I decided I need to revise my MG novel 24 HOURS TO POPULARITY to beef up the main character's point of view, motivations, and general character; what makes her tick and why is she doing what she's doing. Again, it doesn't need a huge overhaul, but I know that I want to immediately ground my readers in the MC's life. That means reading through the whole novel, page by page, and adding internal dialog so the reader knows what the MC is thinking despite what she's saying.

Oh man, that's a lot of work. Especially since I'm also a third of the way through a rewrite of my first ever novel.

There's only one way to fix that -- blast through the revisions and polishing of both novels in one month! NaNoREVMo! WOO HOO!

I am also a fan of NaNoWriMo, but this year with all my hot projects just burning a hole in my laptop, it didn't make sense to create another document to dilute my attention from the others. :)

So far I'm on page 108/184 of 24 HOURS and page 0/159. Hmmmm...looks like I've got a ways to go. If others can write a 50k-word novel in a month, I can certainly add some details to two mere manuscripts in the next 19 days!

Anyone else doing alternative NaNo challenges this month?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MG vs. YA

Tip of the Day: try to enjoy the nice weather, while it lasts!

Most of us at A2A have dabbled in writing both Middle Grade fiction and Young Adult. They seem so similar, but yet so far apart. The reading level for an average 9-year old versus a 13-year old is vastly different, and at the same time much of their interests differ as well.

Trying to write my first MG novel, I've found I'm enjoying discovering the differences between the two writing styles and getting into the head of a younger character.

So far, here's where I've found these two writing styles differ (at least in my own writing):

  • MG has to be a bit speedier. With shorter chapters and a quicker plot. Most 9-year olds get distracted very easily and if you don't keep them constantly entertained they might put the book down. At the same time, 9-year olds tend to have slightly more energy and your characters need to reflect that as well.
  • You can have more fun with strange characters. I think younger readers are more forgiving of the unusual and quirky characters and tend to enjoy them.
  • You're plots can be even more far-fetched. This is the case with YA too (as are all these bullet points), but I think you can go even further and push the limits with MG fiction. The crazier the plot, the more enjoyable and fun the book could be.
  • Friendship is really important at this age.
  • Parents play a bigger role in MG fiction than YA fiction.
  • The romance definitely has to be light if there is one.

These are ever changing points and things I'm picking up, but what do you all notice in the differences in MG and YA? With so many cross-over genre books for these age-ranges, there's so many different types of books out there. There's definitely something for everyone to read and write.

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm All Ears (and Eyes and Shoulders)

Tip of the Day: Win a copy of ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr and THE ESPRESSOLOGIST by Kristina Springer in Tabitha Olson's cool contest here.

What is it with me, first drafts, and body parts? I'm hoping this is a common problem and you can all chime in and say, sure, Kate, we all do that, you're not totally insane. But all my first drafts sound like this to me while I'm writing them:

Their eyes locked. He tapped her hand. She hoisted the backpack on her shoulder and brushed her hair behind her ear. Their arms brushed against each other and she felt a shiver up her spine. He couldn't meet her eyes anymore and stared at his feet. Her back was against the wall. She banged her elbow. Pain shot up her forearm and she opened her mouth to yelp in surprise.

Alright, I'm exaggerating a tiny bit, but that's what it feels like. I mean, obviously I've got some dialogue and stuff sprinkled in there in real life. But man, my characters are extremely fidgety while they're talking.

Did you ever run Wordle ( over your manuscript to see which words you've used most often? I keep expecting to get back EYES in 38 point font. (Actually I usually end up with LOOK or some variation of it in 38 point font, which is close enough. You'd be surprised how many meanings I think that word has.)

So ... common problem? How does one edit out the body parts?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mine, all Mine!

Tip of the day: Have a great release party tomorrow, Tina! We look forward to pictures next week!

Someone at work recently asked me what I was working on as far as books were concerned. I said I’d been working on a project for the past 8 months or so, but I was hesitant to share anything about it yet. She asked me why that was, and wondered if it was because the person being told then projects their expectations about the book or something. I told her that might be part of it, but I couldn’t really explain it, that it’s just sort of a writer’s thing, to hold our projects close to our chests sometimes.

Muses can be very fickle things. At least, mine can. Sometimes simply releasing a story out in the world before it’s ready, even just a verbal description, makes my muse cranky. Suddenly, that sparkly project doesn’t look so sparkly any more.

And I’ve learned over the years that sometimes what I think is a great idea doesn’t sound as great to other people. I always hope it will be met with enthusiasm, but when it’s not, it can be a bit discouraging.

Finally, I think that since I now have other books out there for others to judge, it’s simply nice to have something that’s mine and only mine for awhile. No one else’s. Mine to do what I want, to build it up or rip it down, and not have anyone passing judgment on what I’m doing.

What about you? Do you like telling people what you’re working on, or do you tend to keep it under wraps, like I (usually) do?

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Launch Party Brain

Tip of the Day: Take the Espressologist out for Coffee! Check out the fun contest on my blog.

I've been trying to think up a blog post topic for this week but I'm having a hard time concentrating on anything else but my launch party this weekend. It has been on my mind 24/7, I swear. Here's my brain these days-- Must find pink paper plates. Where do they sell pink plates? This is the blasted fifth store I've gone to-- are they conspiring against me? Is someone two steps ahead of me going through my town and buying up all the pink plates? WHY CAN'T I FIND PINK PLATES? I have to finish the favors. OMG, why do they take so long to make? What was I thinking? They're awfully cute though. I love them. Did it really just take me that long to make five? What? You're hungry? When will you kids learn to use the microwave? (Kidding). Pink forks would be nice. Oh no, let's not go there again. I wonder who will come? What if no one comes? What if everyone comes? What am I going to wear? Should I make cookies or buy cookies? What? I should be writing? Yes, yes I know but I'm looking for pink plates! Priorities! I refuse to use white paper plates. I've put my foot down to white plates. Who is screwing with me and my search for pink plates? There are other towns with stores that might have pink plates. I need a table cloth. I should have thought of this last weekend. Kids, you promise you won't run in circles at Mommy's coffee party right? Right? I am not above bribery-- just name your price. OMG!! Pink plates!! I've found you, you beautiful beautiful disposable paper product you! What? You are way overpriced? I don't care. I must have you.

And that's how it's been going. If you want to see me and my pink plates come to my party this Saturday from 2-4pm at Fat Bean Coffee bar in Naperville, IL! Details on my Web site.

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Nationals! (or I B @ SCBWI NYC!)

Tip of the Day: Write an 8-line poem for a chance to win Rhonda Stapleton's debut romantic comedy, STUPID CUPID!

I did it! I registered for my first ever National SCBWI Conference! You'd think that between my (a) conference addiction and (b) physical proximity to NYC that I would've gone before, but alas, the timing never worked out. This year, however, I made NYC on Jan 30 and 31 the priority, and will attend panel discussions, breakout sessions, and will meet my agent. (And I believe Miss Querylicious may join me!) Fun! (More info is here:

I'll be at the Fantasy Novels, Literary Novels, and Teen Novels breakout sessions. My wrist will cramp from the notes I'll take!

Mosty what I hope to gain is (a) inspiration from dedicated editors, (b) encouragement from authors, (c) energy from the experience of being surrounded by hundreds of people who are in love with kidlit.

That means I won't be attending this year's local SCBWI winter con in Syracuse, NY, but it looks like it will be fab as well. (

Any tips from anyone who's been to the NYC SCBWI con before?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's NaNoWriMo Time!!

Tip of the Day: if you want to be NaNoWriMo buddies with me, my username is em.ma16. Go ahead and friend me.

It's that time of year again when the leaves are changing, fall is coming to an end, everyone is preparing for the big holidays, and almost 120,000 people attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.


And yet I can't seem to step away from National Novel Writing Month.

For the last three years, I've done NaNoWriMo in some capacity. Usually in a modified version, because November is the travel month in the Marshall household. This year, however, there are no trips and no excuses.

So this month, I'm whipping out a work-in-progress and am going to attempt this again. Except I'm working on a Middle Grade novel, so my goal is around 30K (which is slightly more manageable).

I've yet to "win" by completing all 50,000 words, but every time I participate I still walk away feeling I accomplished something. Either finishing a draft, pushing myself to write more, or making myself work on hard scenes that seem impossible during other parts of the year. Getting motivation to work on a project is priceless and having buddies and friends to share it with is even better. I love the feeling of seeing my word meter go up everyday and trying to reach my word-count goals for that day or week.

I highly recommend it, even if you don't want to do the whole 50K. Just set your own goals and pace yourself accordingly.

So who out there is NaNoing this year?

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Monday, November 2, 2009

Driving and Singing like I'm Kermit and Fozzie in one Great Package

Tip of the Day: The Rochester Children's Book Festival is this Saturday in Rochester, New York. It's a great lineup and the festival is free!

I drive from the suburbs into the "city" to work every day. (The "city" is Rochester. I grew up on Long Island so I'm obligated by birth to put quote marks around "city" when not referring to New York City.) This is a time of solitude. The kids are on the school bus and it's just me and my car and my tunes. And my works in progress, of course. Commuting time is prime brainstorming time.

Some people can listen to books on CD while they commute, but I always lose the thread. I get cut off by an oversized pickup or have to dodge an old Dodge, and by the time I gain equilibrium, I'm two chapters behind. So I gave up on audiobooks in the car and now I just sing along to my music and think about what I want to write when I get home.

To get myself instantly into fiction writer mode, I have playlists in my iPod named after my characters. I plug my car tuner into my iPod, push play on my playlist, and by the time I get to the highway on-ramp, I'm mentally deep into ideas for my next chapter. My playlists are sometimes music my character would listen to, but usually I don't have the same taste in music as my characters, being born in a different decade and all that. So my playlists are more like what I see as the soundtrack to the imaginary movie of my novels.

Here are some of the songs I heard this morning, from the Holly list:

  • Witch, by the Bird and the Bee
  • iDecide, by What Made Milwaukee Famous
  • Criminal, by Fiona Apple
  • Promises in the Dark, by Pat Benetar
  • Bang Bang Bang Bang, by the Soho Dolls

It's not that I listen to that kind of music on a loop while I'm writing. But if I'm doing something else (like driving), those songs will make me think of my story. Instantly, I'm in that story world.

So how do I find the right songs for my characters? Fortunately, I get to listen to internet radio sites at my day job. Check out,,, and for new music ideas. I keep a steno pad on my desk while I work. When I hear a song that reminds me of one of my stories, I jot it down. Then I periodically take the list home and download my favorites from iTunes or Amazon. That may seem like a lot of work, but with my particular job and commute, it's very convenient for me.

The key is to remember to write down my ideas before I get caught up in work or home life! So I keep index cards and pens just about everywhere.

So what do you do while you drive? Some people pay attention to the road, I hear. I hate it when I have to do that.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, October 30, 2009

Talk about scary...

Tip of the day: Have a safe and happy Halloween!

I can't stop thinking about this blog post by agent Kristin Nelson.

In case you don't want to click over (but I hope you do), she talks about how editors are saying very complimentary things about manuscripts, but in the end, declining because they don't see it as a "big book." She also says, "mid-list authors are getting hit the hardest - especially when it comes to option proposals."

Um, yeah. See, I am one of those mid-list authors.

So what does this mean?

It means I feel a lot of pressure to make the next book fantastic. Incredible. Out of this world awesome.

Except, I don't know if I'm really capable of all that. I will certainly do my best, which I do each and every time, but in the end, I don't know if I write the kind of stuff that equates to a BIG book.

I guess I just don't really get it. I mean, I understand, publishers have to make money. It all comes down to the bottom line. But books that aren't "big" can make money for a publisher too, can't they? Of course not as much as a book that hits the NYT list. But if I've earned out, aren't I making money for the publisher now? And surely they must realize, on some level, it's impossible to have a list comprised completely of bestsellers. Unless a house decides to have a very, very small list. And part of me wonders if maybe publishers will move to that? Which is sad because there goes a lot of choice in what we have to read.

In the end, I suppose we have to try and put all of that out of our minds and focus on the only thing we can, and that is writing a damn good book.

Yeah, it's scary out there. But pass me a Snickers fun-size bar, please. I have some writing to do.

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Release Day (in pics)

Tip of the Day: Take Zinc tablets to get rid of a cold faster.

My release day this past Tuesday was so fantastic! Since it was my birthday also I decided it was going to be a big fun wonderful day. It started bright and early with dropping off tot #1 at school (husband took the day off from work to watch tots #2 through 4) and then a stop at:

You saw that coming didn't you? :-) Yep. I didn't get my regular drink though. Instead I got a celebratory Venti Espresso Truffle. Yum. Then off to:

for a spa day! Oh my, this was HEAVEN.

5 hours of quiet and relaxation! Facial, massage, pedicure, manicure, and makeup. Awesome. I tried the steam room for approximately 13.5 seconds and thought I was going to die though. Do people really like that?!

After my spa day, there was still a little time before I needed to pick up tot #1 so I stopped at the local B&N. And look:

5th row down, 4th from the left. My book!! I just gazed at it with a stupid look until a woman came over and asked if I needed something. I told her that's my book!! She was very nice and asked if I would sign the five that they had. I said of course! And then she put these cute little autographed by author stickers on them:

After I got home with tot #1 we finished off the day with family birthday stuff: dinner, cake, and presents.

It was a super fabulous day!!

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Re-Agented! (or It's a Small World After All*)

*With apologies to Disney

Tip of the Day: Email the talented Cynthia Leitich Smith (go to her LJ for details) for a chance to win Lisa's FAR FROM YOU along with an armload of other great books! (FFY is a great winter read -- get ready! Snow is coming....)

Guess what? Guess what? After my agent left the agenting business this summer and I was left floating on my own in a world of editor research, I am now re-agented! And let me tell you, the way this went down was nothing but serendipity (and a little bit of talent, right? ;-)). Here it is, in list format:

1) After querying the BETH book and LAKE NEADE to select agents for about a month, I have nothing to show but rejections or no responses.

2) I email Miss Delighted to Debut, saying, "Tina! What is wrong with me? Two years ago I got requests for pages all the time, but now I'm a better writer and I'm getting nada! What is going on?" Tina assures me that bc of editor slow-downs, agents are taking on fewer clients/are being more selective, and to hang in there.

3) Less than 24-hours after my desperate email to Tina, I have a request for the BETH book. Not from an agent who I queried, but from another agent in the agency who the query was passed on to. Hey, she sounds excited so I email her the full ms.

4) As soon as I click SEND, I see the agent has already replied to me again. Her email says that she JUST opened a box of agent copies of books, saw THE ESPRESSOLOGIST and peeked at it, saw my name on the acknowledgements page, thought there couldn't possibly be two Deena Lipomis writing YA lit, and said to herself how crazy it was that she had emailed me right before seeing my name. WOAH!

5) I write back that it IS crazy, Tina is my CP, and that one reason I queried their agency was bc when Tina's agent was with them, she loved working with them. All true!

6) The next morning, I have an email from the reading agent. She says she loves the book and wants to know if anyone else is reading it, and either way she will get back to me on Monday or Tuesday. OMG! At this point, it is all happening too fast for me to even freak out too badly.

7) I work the weekend at the library so time flies by. Phew. Monday morning comes and I'm sitting on the porch working on my wip and checking my email about every, oh, 10-12 minutes. OK, OK, 5-6 minutes. Around noon there's an email from the agent. My heart races. I immediately go back to working on my wip until I have the courage to open the email, about five minutes later.

8) I read the email, scanning the long message in search of the words, "No thanks, not for me," or "I'll take it." And I find..."but if you are interested, I would like to take the project on." EEEEEEEE!

9) I write back in my oh-so-succinct way (right) that I am super excited but: I have some questions, here are some other concerns and thoughts, and could we talk on the phone before I formally accept or decline.

10) She immediately writes back that she'll call me in an hour. So far her communications in the past five days -- five MINUTES -- have answered one of my questions about her responsiveness and quickness!

11) We chat on the phone for a while, she answers all of my questions, and I'm super excited to make the revisions she has suggested. Small things that will help amp up the dimensions of the the minor characters and the drama of the climax scene. Cool!

12) What else do I learn during our phone convo? That before she worked for the agency, she was an intern for Tina's agent and had read THE ESPRESSOLOGIST as a reader before Tina's agent took it on. She had opened the published copy of the book to see how it turned out on that fateful Thursday (a mere 4 days before) when she requested my ms. That was when she saw my name. Such a small world!

13) At the end of our convo, I officially accept her offer of rep! YAYAYAY! The contract comes on Wednesday, I sign and return it on Thursday, and in the matter of 10 days from query to signing the contract, I have a new agent.

Total time from querying any agents to signing: about 6 weeks (with my 7th novel)

Total time from querying any agents to signing with my FIRST agent 1.5 years ago: about 20 months (with my 1st through 5th novels)

To all of you looking for an agent: rest assured that with each book you write and revise again and again, and with all you soak in from the writing world, critiques, conferences, and kidlit novels you read, your work will continuously improve. It will seem "easier" to get an agent as time passes, but in reality, you worked very, very hard to get to the point where things seem to come easily. Yes, I know some serendipity played a part in my query process, but without a polished novel, it wouldn't have helped me at all. Don't give up if you want publication to happen for you! -- I know I'm never giving up! :)

This week, Kerry Evans of LGLA read through the final tweaks of my newly titled MG, BAKE, SET, MATCH and we are officially subbing for pubbing! Woo hoo!

Anyone have any newly agented stories to share?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Release Day for The Espressologist

Tip of the Day: today is not only the release day for our own Kristina Springer's The Espressologist, but it is also her birthday. Happy Double Birthday Tina!!!!!

Happy Release Day!!!!!

Welcome to the world of books The Espressologist. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

--Emily, Miss Querylicious

Monday, October 26, 2009

Coping with Too Much to Do

Tip of the Day: Tomorrow is the launch date for THE ESPRESSOLOGIST by Kristina Springer! (*throws virtual confetti*)

Let's play a game today! Let's play "How many of these things go through your mind before you sit down to write on the weekend?" Check off all that apply.

1. I should really be doing the dishes.
2. I should really be doing the laundry.
3. I should really do some critiques for my lovely critique partners before I get to my own writing.
4. I shouldn't leave dinner until the last minute. What am I going to cook?
5. I should really be getting the kids' stuff ready for Halloween.
6. I definitely should not look at the carpet in this room before I start writing. When was the last time someone took out the vacuum in this house?
7. I should get the kids' papers off the dining room table and then I'll feel like I accomplished something around the house before I write.
8. This room is freezing. I should really put the summer clothes away for the year and dig up my sweaters.
9. I should pick up the kids' (choose one: new earring disinfectant, saxophone reeds, irish dance shoes, cleats, pastels for art class, or whatever weird thing is going to take you into a store in town you barely knew existed) before I totally forget again.
10. I should get more writing done than I did last weekend. Man, where do the weekends go?

Here are your test results. Count how many you checked off:
1-3: Congratulations, your significant other is a neat freak with anal retentive tendencies, leaving you lots of time to write. Just don't let him or her near your closet or your car.
4-6: Congratulations, your life is about in balance. Now tell yourself you're going to write until one of the kids or pets comes to you with an injury or problem of great tragedy. That should give you almost an hour!
7 - 10: Do you think that medicine for adult ADD really works? I wonder that. A lot.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, October 23, 2009

Congratulations Tina!!!

Tip of the day: Next Tuesday, go to your local bookstore and buy THE ESPRESSOLOGIST by Kristina Springer, then grab your favorite beverage of choice and curl up and read this GREAT book!

I still remember when I heard the concept for Tina’s book. Match making based on the type of you coffee drink you like!? BRILLIANT is what I thought. I knew she would have no problem selling it. And she certainly didn’t, with multiple publishers interested!

So, I’m very lucky in that I got an Advanced Review Copy at the American Library Association conference last July. I was having fun reading it during an especially hot spell and carried it over to our neighbor’s to read during an afternoon by the pool. Remember this photo? I have proof! (You’ll notice the ARC had a bit different cover than the final book).

But then, after carrying it around with me for a few days, I went to look for it, and couldn’t find it! Isn’t that tragic? There’s nothing worse than losing a book you were in the middle of! I don’t know what happened to it. Maybe I left it at my neighbor’s and she wanted to read it so badly, she didn’t let on that she had found it? Who knows!? But I do know I’m dying to find out what happens and will be going to the bookstore next week to buy my very own copy.

There were some cover changes along the way, but I really think what they ended up with is just so perfect, don’t you?

Congratulations on your debut, Tina! I’m so very excited for you! May your book fly off the shelves and into the hearts of many, many teens, coffee-lovers, and anyone who is looking for fun, sweet read!

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Espressologist: Concept to Pub Timeline

Tip of the Day: Want to read a fun interview with me and have a chance of winning a signed copy of THE ESPRESSOLOGIST plus a $10 Starbucks gift card? Go here.

Deena had the super fabulous idea that I should post a timeline of the publishing process for THE ESPRESSOLOGIST. Fun! So here goes:

7/19/06- I type up the idea for The Espressologist in a document cleverly titled “Another idea”. I open a new document, this one titled “The Espressologist is In”, and start writing the book.

12/20/06- Book is finished and I’ve revised as much as I thought it needed. Start sending chapters to critique partners for feedback.

2/2/07- Finished revising books based on critique partners’ feedback. Start querying agents. One agent asks for edits. Start edits for him.

3/1/07- Didn’t work out with that agent. Back to querying!

4/11/07- Receive two offers of representation from agents.

4/13/07- Signed with my agent, Jenoyne Adams (then, with Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. Now, BLISS).

4/14/07- Jenoyne submits THE ESPRESSOLIGST to 17 publishers.

4/19/07- An editor called my agent with verbal interest in having the book. Said more info to come.

4/25/07- First offer for book comes in! Whoo hoo celebration!

4/30/07- Second offer comes in! Yippee!

5/2/07- Agent sets up auction for 5/10/07 and lets all editors still reading know.

5/10/07- Auction day! Offers received from four publishers. Narrow it down to the two best offers. By the end of the day, decided to go with FSG for a two-book hardcover deal with paperback follow-ups a year after release.

6/27/07- Offer from German publisher comes in and we accept.

10/22/07- First Editorial Letter arrives and I start revising.

12/4/07- Turn in first edits.

1/31/08- First round of line edits arrive in mail.

2/28/08- Complete line edits and return to editor.

3/14/08- Second round of line edits arrive mail.

3/28/08- Complete line edits and mail back second round of line edits.

4/3/08- Third round of line edits arrive.

4/7/08- Complete and mail back third round of line edits.

4/9/08- Book goes to copyedits.

6/12/08- Copyedited manuscript arrives.

6/19/08- Make adjustments and mail back to copyediting.

7/1/08- Book flap copy arrives.

7/3/08- Second draft of book flaps arrives.

9/17/08- Book galleys arrive.

9/22/08- Make minor changes to galleys and mail back to editor.

10/6/08- Queries on proofread galleys come in.

10/7/08- E-mail back responses to queries.

10/31/08- First cover arrives.

2/20/09- Cover #2 arrives.

4/28/09- Cover #3 in the works.

5/2/09- Receive Advanced Readers Copies. So cool!

6/30/09- Final cover arrives and I LOVE it! Yay!

7/12/09- Attend ALA in Chicago for the weekend. Sign ARCs. First signing!

9/12/09- First copies of final book arrive! Beeeeautiful!

10/27/09- THE ESPRESSOLOGIST releases! Party!!!!!!

Phew. That was long. And it took me forever to compile. :-) I stuck strictly to Espressologist related stuff in this timeline but it wasn’t all I was up to. During this time I also wrote Revenge Queen, Boy Swap, Night at Claire’s, three proposals, My Fake Boyfriend is Better Than Yours, and the first draft of Pumpkin Princess. Fake Boyfriend is my book coming out next fall and is in copy edits at the moment, just in case you were wondering. It might seem like a lot when it’s all written in one post like this but this process took almost three years from start to finish. Wow, huh?

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut (next Tuesday. Whee!!!!)