Friday, September 30, 2011

I found...

I just found an uneaten dog biscuit in my purse. What's the strangest thing you've ever found in your purse?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I once caught a groundhog...

Tell me something about yourself that no one probably knows. Here's mine.

When I was a kid, I chased a groundhog and caught it by the tail and wanted to bring it home and keep it as a pet.

Now your turn:)

Google launches Dynamic Views

Google launches Dynamic Views/Buffy's World

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Changing pairings for fun

There are lots of famous pairs, things that go together. Like Lucy and Desi or Amos and Andy. Below, I've listed some pairings. What I'd like you to do is change something in the pairing. Do as many as you'd like, pasting your answers in comments.

Think outside the box. And tell me if this was a difficult exercise. We are so used to seeing these things together that to think of them in another combination is challenging. And yet, a great exercise in creative thinking.

Spaghetti and meatballs
Macaroni and cheese

Chips and dip
Rum and coke
Field and stream
Puss and Boots
Fork and knife
Hugs and kisses

Sunday, September 25, 2011

About that blogging...

I’ve been a little scarce around the blogosphere lately, mostly because what little time I have I’ve been working on my latest YA book. When you work full time and have a family and tons of other commitments, time is a scarce commodity. I’ve had to prioritize in order to meet my writing goals, often at the expense of reading and commenting on blogs. For this, I apologize. I’m headed down the homestretch, though, and I hope to get back to visiting all of your blogs soon.

I once read a comment from an agent (not mine) who said something along the lines: No offense, but most of the time writers who blog are just talking to each other. I was a little taken aback by the comment, mostly because I had hoped that I was reaching a much larger audience. And I wondered if what she said was true, did it matter that I was only reaching fellow writers? Did it matter that maybe no agent or editor would ever read one of my posts? Why was I blogging in the first place?

In the end, I decided that my blog was a way to share a little part of my world, and I hoped that in doing so my posts would speak to others or help them in some way. Are my posts always great? No. But the blog provides a platform on which to share one of the most important things in my life – my writing.

What do you think? Do you think we are just talking to each other? And if so, does that matter? What sorts of things do you do to reach a wider audience?

I think that cross promotion is essential to our success. We should be tweeting about our blog posts with links to send people to them. Same for Facebook and Linkedin or any other social media platform you use. And as a writing community, we can help one another by cross promoting. Several of you do this extremely well with what I call “link salads.” These weekly link roundups, such as this one from Adventures in Children's Publishing, helps to get more eyes on our blog posts and drive more traffic to our sites, hopefully increasing our followers.

I’ve seen your blogs grow in followers over the past few years, and it warms my heart to witness their growth. You are reaching more people each and every day. How awesome is that! Keep up the great work, and I hope that the ink is flowing and that you're proud of all that you do.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A peek at my winter look

Here's my winter look, thanks to my good friend Sam. I've also included my fall and spring/summer look. Which do you like best?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New agent alert: James Schinke

James Schinke has joined AKA Literary as an associate agent. This is awesome news for the agency that represents me.

From AKA website: James studied writing, psychology and business at Clarke College. After working in corporate America for nearly 20 years, James is the newest Associate Agent to the AKA Literary team. While he looks forward to working with authors writing all genres, he especially enjoys YA, thrillers, mystery and cookbooks.

Good luck to everyone who queries James.

Don't miss reading AKA author profiles.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Goodbye Borders, it's been grand

I walked into the local Borders for the last time. Just had to step inside one more time before saying goodbye for good. There wasn't much left, and I didn't stay long. To be honest, it was too despressing. I had dreams of being published one day, of walking into Borders and seeing my book on display. I always try to find  good in bad, hope in despair, life in death. And I pray that out of the ashes the phoenix rises, its a tail of gold and scarlet heralding a grand rebirth.

Where do you buy most of your books? Online via Amazon or Barnes and Noble? An independent bookstore?

Friday, September 16, 2011

I got a new 'do for fall

Sam gave me a fall makeover. What do you think?

10 most challenged books

Here is the list of the 10 most challenged books in the country from 2010 from the American Library Association. How many have you read?
  •   “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  •    “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie
  •    “Brave New World,” by Aldous Huxley
  •    “Crank,” by Ellen Hopkins
  •    “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins
  •    “Lush,” by Natasha Friend
  •    “What My Mother Doesn’t Know,” by Sonya Sones
  •    “Nickel and Dimed,” by Barbara Ehrenreich
  •    “Revolutionary Voices,” edited by Amy Sonnie
  •    “Twilight,” by Stephenie Meyer

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trash the trite

I hate when I read trite expressions or descriptions in writing or worse, when I write them. Make sure that part of your revision process includes trashing the trite.

Let's look at some examples and you see if you can come up with something better.

1. Lexie's plan was rotten to the core.

2. Becca noticed the red car as quick as a wink.

3. The dress was as white as snow.

4. The rumor spread like wildfire throughout the school.

5. Sean was as brave as a lion when the doctor gave him his shot.

6. Matt drank like a fish and smelled like one, too.

What trite expressions do you see in writing?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When fiction isn't fiction

"If writers stopped writing about what happened to them, then there would be a lot of empty pages." -- Elaine Liner
 How much of your fiction includes "real" life?  Very little? Some? A lot?

Here's a scene from WIP that came from "real" life:

Joe told me that the paramedics brought a toddler into the ER who had been bludgeoned to death by her mother’s boyfriend. He had whipped her repeatedly with a video game controller and she had so many bruises on her tiny body that the doctors couldn’t find a patch of white skin anywhere. He beat her because she had a dirty diaper. She was two.

The neighbors heard the toddler screaming for her mother. She was in the next room stuffing her face with potato chips and watching the soaps. The screamin' got so bad that the neighbors called the cops. But it was too late. Katie was dead.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Borders haul

I went to Borders again this weekend. I just couldn't stay away. Borders has been a part of my life since it opened, and I vowed to be with my friend until the end. I came home with a bag full of books and, to someone not-in-the-know, it would appear it was just the usual haul from my weekly trip. Only it was anything but usual. I paid pennies for the tombs and I felt guilty. They were worth so much more. The sales are up to 90 percent now. Anyway, I wanted to share this story I saw this morning.

A visit to Borders

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Meet AKA teammate: Eric M. Black

Here’s another one of my awesome AKA Literary teammates. Hope you check him out.

Name: Eric M. Black
Lives in: Chattanooga, TN

Family: Married to Gina; we have two sons, Dylan and Logan

Writes: I think I write thrillers and historical novels, but my work has also been described as fantasy. I wrote a lot of poetry when I was younger.

Day job: District Director, Boy Scouts of America

Titles of books you've written/sold:
1. The Fountain
2. The Fountain: The Book of Jubilees
3. Covenant
4. Jack
5. Intensity
6. Calling Babel
7. An Old Man (a collection of poetry)



Twitter: @ericmblack


Favorite books: "Eaters of the Dead" by Michael Crichton, "The Last Kingdom" by Bernard Cornwell, "The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger" by Stephen King, and "Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien

Favorite book character: Can I choose one of my own? The main character Jack from my novel Jack was the most fun for me to write. He really has no boundaries.

Book you've learned the most from: "The Book of Fate" by Brad Meltzer really gave me better sense of how to draw out suspense in a novel and not have it drag on. Personally, writing "Jack" showed me that I could branch out and write about more than just historical events.

Finish these sentences:

I wish I...was as good a writer at age seven as my oldest son Dylan. Watch out for him, folks!

If I to make it through life without sleeping (other than a short, mid- day nap), I believe I would.

Other AKA profiles:

Aaron Tate

Louise Caiola

Katie Lee

Lee Richmond

Robert Spiller

Edward A. Iannuccilli

Tasha Cotter

Gilda Evans

Luis Cruz

Penny Fletcher

Matthew Porter Dyer

Carrie Filetti

Jessica Robinson

Krista Krueger

Karen Cane

E.W. “Chip” MacEnulty II

Friday, September 2, 2011

Quote of the day

"I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams." --Dr. Jonas Salk

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Hunger Games website: What district are you in?

If you're a Hunger Games fan, hop over to my social media blog and read this piece. It's sooo cool!