The Three Rs: Reading, wRiting, and Roaming

September 29, 2015

Julie Mata is the author of two wonderful middle-grade books, Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens and Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man. I absolutely adored Night of the Zombie Chickens and am looking forward to reading Bride of Slug Man. These books would be great gifts for the teen/pre-teen readers in your life!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

As a child, I loved to read and write stories. I kept writing as an adult—I wrote news stories as a television reporter and then wrote scripts for clients after my husband and I opened a video production business. I wasn’t working on my own creative projects, though. I finally decided I couldn’t call myself a fiction writer unless I was actually writing fiction. I sat down and started my... Continue Reading

September 22, 2015

Today is the Autumn Equinox, also known as Mabon or Second Harvest. It’s one of the eight holidays on the Celtic Wheel of the Year that you see at the beginning of my novel Circle of Nine. Autumn is definitely one of my favorite times of the year, but I do get a little sad thinking that this day represents equal hours of light and dark and from now on the days just get shorter as we descend into winter. Brrrrr.

“Day of equal light and equal dark, time for winter’s chilling bark.”~ Onora Quinn/Circle of Nine-Beltany

I am left wondering what happened to the month of August and the first half of September. Oh, I know what I did with all of those weeks, but I am somehow surprised by the passage of time this morning as I see the browning corn, ripe apples waiting to be... Continue Reading

July 27, 2015

I’ve been reading, reading, reading lately and have a lot to say about those titles.  Are you surprised? To start with, I spent this past Sunday immersed in the world of author Gayle Forman. I read If I Stay initially on a flight home from Paris. As I bawled my way across the Atlantic next to my sleeping husband, a flight attendant even bent down to ask me if I was okay.  So, on Sunday I was NOT surprised when I watched the movie transformation of this book and yet again bawled my eyes out. If I Stay follows the story of 17-year-old cellist Mia Hall who hovers around the edges of her unconscious form following a horrific car accident. I absolutely refuse to say more because I WILL not be one of those people who spoils everything for the person who hasn’t read this title yet... Continue Reading

July 15, 2015

I am addicted to disaster stories, including any story that’s set in a big bad alternate world. Commonly called dystopian stories (as in NOT a utopia), these crazy, futuristic, survivalist, and sometimes-otherworldly tales are definitely my go-to form of entertainment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve just read in quick succession the first book in three different dystopian YA series and plan on reading the rest of them as soon as possible.   

Anyone? by Angela Scott follows the story of sixteen-year-old Tess as fire rains down from the sky, destroying... Continue Reading

June 30, 2015

Yes, it is the end of the month. Crazy that June is gone already. As promised, I am announcing future publication dates today! In addition to the wonderful requests for the sequel to Circle of Nine, many of you have asked for longer stories about some of the historical characters you met in Circle of Nine – Beltany.  I am happy to oblige. I am nearly finished with the first of four novellas following these historical characters.

Fans of Dervla Quinn will be happy to know that in this first novella we will find out what happens after she and Liam travel north to meet his family. I adore this character and was so happy to revisit her world!

The other three novellas are:

Bressa’s Banishment – where we learn of the events that led to her living on the... Continue Reading

June 4, 2015

This has been a hard week for me, full of memories and milestones. I haven’t been overly private about my family’s loss of two of my sisters to cancer. I’ve even written about how the death of my second sister spurred me into action on my writing, clearly reminding me that we have limited time here on this earth. 

This week marks the six-year anniversary of my sister Karen’s passing and the 21st birthday of my nephew, the son of my sister Marilyn who died in 2003. My nephew’s 21st birthday necessitated that I access some documents that my sister had written before her death. I am always surprised by how emotional I get when I see my sister’s precise, even handwriting in her detailed notes and lists.

So, while I was attempting to continue on with my own insurmountable... Continue Reading

May 27, 2015

Somehow summer reading lists have withstood the test of time, gleefully ignoring our transition to adulthood. They’re a throwback to those wonderful summers when school was out and there wasn’t much to do and we would proclaim “I’m bored” before we hit the 4th of July.

Everyone has a summer reading list . . . every publication, every blog, every library . . . you get the picture. I am not recreating those lists with my own picks, but I will share some of the good ones I’ve found. (After all, as someone who is woefully behind on my own 2015 reading goals, who am I to talk??)

For grades 6 to 8 from the American Library Association, you can find a wonderfully diverse list of... Continue Reading

May 7, 2015

It has been a whirlwind spring of not enough writing, but a wonderful schedule of author events, including a visit to Toki Middle School in Madison with fellow teen author Angie Stanton. We spent the morning there and talked about our books with nearly 150 kids. They had great questions and started some very interesting stories using the writing prompts we provided. I hope they kept writing those stories after we left! 

Toki MS has an impressive fundraising drive for the remodeling of the Library/Media Center.  Librarian Mandy Meloy is doing a great job getting the word out on this. It’s going to be a fabulous space when it’s finished!  Angie and I were happy to take part in the publicity effort for this project with a message for their campaign.

... Continue Reading

April 22, 2015

I am so happy to interview young adult novelist Silvia Acevedo. Her debut novel, God Awful Loser, officially launches on May 1. I am fortunate to be in a critique group with Silvia where she has offered wonderful advice on my own manuscripts for many years now. I feel like I’m in on a great secret having the opportunity to read God Awful Loser already. Here’s the quick description: “A careless Cupid gets dethroned and joins misfit fallen angels to battle hell’s army, save Olympus, and hopefully regain his crown.”

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I’m a journalist turned novelist. I spent 20 years as a television news reporter, anchor, and commentator.  I interviewed presidential candidates, reported breaking news for CNN, and laughed... Continue Reading

April 9, 2015

If you’ve been to a writing conference – ANY writing conference, you will have heard the sage wisdom that the first step of getting that novel plunked out on your keyboard is BIC – But In Chair.  I would agree that is true, but it should come with a warning about “The Perilous Broadening of Butt In Chair.”  Additional warnings ought to include, the “Hazards of Mindless Snacking While Plotting Scenes” or the “Crazy Calorie Consumption over Character Development.” 

So my life is kind of like this:

And then this:

To reverse this process which has occurred over the course of writing and editing one teen novel and two middle-grade novels and navigating the publishing and promotion of the teen novel – my daughter has convinced me to run a... Continue Reading

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