Reading, wRiting, and Roaming with Author Valerie Biel

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

November 24, 2014

I’m so happy to feature fellow YA Author Kelly Risser in my blog today. (I knew I found a kindred spirit when I realized we both incorporate Celtic myths and legends into our novels.)

Kelly, tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I live in Muskego, Wisconsin with my two kids, my husband, and our dog, Clyde. While I work full time as an Instructional Designer, creating eLearning courses for a bank, writing is my passion and my biggest hobby. Coming in a close second would be reading. I prefer books to TV, and yes, I prefer the book to the movie, too. I’m the type of reader who vividly pictures the story in my head. Since it already plays out like a personal movie for me, I often find myself disappointed at either the casting choices or the actors’... Continue Reading

November 19, 2014

Super-smart characters combined with fast-paced action make Kelley Lynn’s latest novel One Wish Away a winner.  The teaser drew me in from the beginning—“Be careful what you wish for. . .”

High school student Lyra (great name!) is a budding astronomer who hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and work at Space Exploration and Discover. Abandoned by her mom years before and neglected by an incredibly distracted dad, Lyra spends most of her time with her best friend Darren.

Gazing through the telescope one evening Lyra notices that a star is missing. Her search to find out what happened uncovers a top-secret government experiment masterminded by her dad. When Lyra (and Darren) question the experiment’s goal to build a perfect world, they know they’re putting... Continue Reading

October 29, 2014
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Let me just say the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Fall Conference was weekend of awesomeness. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this conference, it’s a combination of great camaraderie with other Wisconsin writers (and illustrators), super smart national-level faculty, and break-out sessions that allow us to fine-tune our writing craft.

At the beginning of the conference we always have some kind of mixer. (Thank you MJ... Continue Reading