Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

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

March 4, 2015

I’ve been hard to impress lately. Maybe that’s because I’ve been reading books that have been a little too formulaic—albeit from best-selling authors with great skill at weaving a tale. The standout exception this past month has been Bridget Birdsall’s YA novel, Double Exposure.

I really, really loved this book. At the heart of the story is something that is not talked about much (if at all). The main character Alyx was born intersexed, which means that she does not have the sexual anatomy/reproductive organs that fit the typical definition of male or female. In fact, Alyx was raised as a male until... Continue Reading

February 10, 2015

Hey, Everyone! I'm on tour right now. (Well - sort of.)

If you haven't heard of a thing called book blog tours, let me explain. Basically, I am making viritual stops on 19 different blogs this week where my book is being featured with either a review, guest post (by me), or an interview. A huge thanks to Itching for Books blog tour organizer Shane Morgan. I've had some great stops already this week and am looking forward to a jam packed Thursday and Friday. You can keep up with the individual posts if you follow me on twitter or like my facebook page. Or, you can find the... Continue Reading

February 2, 2015

Yes, it took me an entire month to get motivated (er – organized) enough to write about my reading goals for 2015.  First, you need to know that I take reading VERY SERIOUSLY. I’m a little neurotic about keeping track of what I’ve read. I started a spreadsheet in 2009 – yes, a spreadsheet. I should have just used Goodreads. That would have been so much more fun.

Goal One: Track all of the books I’ve read on Goodreads and actually give ratings and reviews to them within that community.

(I am so grateful for all of the reviews people have posted for my novel so far!)

I read a lot. Reading—especially from the same genre I’m writing in—is incredibly helpful in fueling my creative process. I have read as many as 100 books a year, but when I’m spending hours... Continue Reading

January 12, 2015

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and traveling and not a lot of writing. That will change very, very soon. Like Today!! (This counts as writing, right??)

My family has recently been to Harry Potter World. Wow – just wow! I can’t imagine how wonderful it must be for JK Rowling to see the world she envisioned first come to life in movie form and then as these intricate theme parks. Our family has spent countless hours enjoying everything Harry Potter and were finally able to make the trip to Orlando!

The attention to detail was fabulous. We started at Diagon Alley and rode Escape from Gringott’s first. This turned out to be a good move as while we were in line (45 min wait) the wait time rapidly doubled for those behind us to 1.5 hours.  The shops of Diagon Alley were... Continue Reading