children's writer

Cover Love: Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull

Sep 28, 2012
Good morning and happy Friday. It kind of took me a while today to figure out what to blog about. After a few minutes of pondering I decided to do a book related post because I haven't done one in a while. I feel like a kid in a candy store when I'm on Goodreads, and the other day while lurking my appetite was definitely whet by the stunning cover for Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull. The book itself sounds absolutely whimsical, and is just the kind of story that could brighten a dull day.


When their parents disappear in the middle of the night, young sisters Summer and Bird set off on a quest to find them. A cryptic picture message from their mother leads them to a familiar gate in the woods, but comfortable sights quickly give way to a new world entirely—Down—one inhabited by talking birds and the evil Puppeteer queen. Summer and Bird are quickly separated, and their divided hearts lead them each in a very different direction in the quest to find their parents, vanquish the Puppeteer, lead the birds back to their Green Home, and discover the identity of the true bird queen.

Be sure to check out Summer and Bird on Goodreads

Help Me Polish My Pitch

Sep 26, 2012
I know you guys must me sick and tired of hearing about this novel. I think might be sick and tired of working on it. I've been thinking about entering the GUTGAA Small Press Pitch Contest though. And after reading some of the pitches and first 150 by you guys, I've made some minor changes yet again. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Is there anything I should add or take away? Is there any way I can make it better? I recently cut a lot of backstory from the first pages, which I didn't realize was unnecessary before.

Updated Query:

A week before her seventeenth birthday, sixteen-year-old Mary Love Taylor’s father left for work and never came home.

Mary Love suspects her mother might have said something to make him run off. Mary Love’s parents fought a lot, but her father always tried to make it work for her sake. Maybe this time it was different. Hours turn into days without a word from him, and the missing persons report Mary Love filed doesn't bring up anything. While Mary Love refuses to give up on her father, she realizes her mother’s all she’s got.

Mary Love's mother doesn't feel the same. Behind the mask of perfection she wears lies a woman whose words sting as much as her slaps. She blames Mary Love for her failing health and wrinkled skin. If it weren't for the boy she still loves, who’s sweet and kind and has loved her since she was awkward and thirteen, Mary Love would have given up on her mother. On everything.
                                                                                                                                      
Mary Love knows the only way she and her mother will ever be okay is if her mother gets the help she needs, and if she finds out what really happened to her father. But the truth might send Mary Love’s world crashing down around her and her mother to her deathbed, whereas never knowing the truth might make life at home even more hellish than it already is.  

Updated First 150:

It’s a week before my seventeenth birthday, and though I know I should be glad there’s a sickening feeling in my gut. For the first time in days, I’m worried.

I’m worried about Daddy because he’s running late and he’s never late. I’m worried about Momma because she’s on her second pack of cigarettes for today. But, most of all, I’m worried about myself because I think I might be turning into one of those girls Momma calls a harlot.

His name is Tommy Baker. And like I told my best friend, Lucie Mcroffey, over lunch the day before, there’s nothing worse than being kissed by a boy who’s called you string bean since the day you first met. Still, while I wait for Daddy to come home with his latest workplace tales of sorrow and glee, I can’t help but think about Tommy.

The Novel You Want To Write vs. The Novel You Should Write

Sep 25, 2012
The other day I came across a blog post called Write A Beak-In Novel. You guys should definitely check it out if you haven't read it already. It left me stroking my chin. We've all heard before that we should write the novel that's in our hearts and never succumb to trends. My question: With publishers and agents scrambling to find the next major hit do we writers who listen to our hearts rather than our heads even stand a chance? 

I've been thinking about this a lot, especially now that I'm ready to work on something new. There are two novels I've already started and could be working on at the moment. The problem is, my head says one thing and my heart says another. I'm aware, just by reading the synopses, that one of these novels is a lot more break-in than the other. 

As a writer, would you put aside the novel that's in your heart for a novel that would give you the better chance of being published?

Currently...

Sep 24, 2012
Hey guys! So I've seen a lot of other bloggers do the Currently meme. I thought I should give it a go because it looks pretty fun, and I do love a good meme. You guys should check out Jaime's if you haven't already.

Loving...
Featherstone by The Paper Kites. This song was recommended by another writer, and I've had it on repeat since hearing it. The video is lovely and kind of reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are. I guess because of the costumes.


Reading...
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and Persuasion by Jane Austen. I've had this sudden urge to read more classics and so far so good. Both of these novels have been keeping me entertained. 

Watching...
I recently saw Howl's Moving Castle, and I'm looking forward to watching Spirited Away. I think I've officially fallen in love with Anime. On TV, I've mostly been watching reruns of The Office. Personally, I love the earlier seasons the most.

Thinking About...
My writing. I'm giving NEVER A HAPPY ENDING one last read through before putting it aside and working on another one of my many ideas. There are two novels I could work on, but I just haven't decided which yet. 

Anticipating...
Another finished novel. I really love that feeling of accomplishment that comes with typing The End. One of my resolutions was the write one novel a year. I've started three, but I've completed none. Last year I completed two. I'm so looking forward to writing and finishing another novel.

Wishing...
That I can get some interest for NEVER A HAPPY ENDING. 

Making Me Happy...
Being able to sample a novel before I decide to purchase it. There are so many new books on my wishlist because of this. 

As always, thanks for reading. 

Full-length Novel

Sep 20, 2012
Hey guys! So yesterday I set out on a mission to get my 45,000 word novel up to 50,000 words. Today, I just so happened to achieve that goal. I couldn't help but do the happy dance. This novel of mine started out as a wee thing, only 42,000 words long. After receiving some very helpful advice in the WriteOnCon forums I managed to bump up the word count some. Now, for the very first time in my writing career, I can say that I've written a novel that is actually novel length.

I once thought there was no way I could possibly make this novel longer, but I did. My motivation for this was the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I've been thinking about giving the 2013 contest a go. I'm happy to at least have the option to now that my novel is long enough. I think 50,000 words is a safe word count for contemporary YA. One of the things I focused on while I was adding was dialog. There were a lot of places where I could add more action, so I did.

One thing I learned from all of this: I definitely can write a longer novel. All it takes is a little more patience.

That's it for me guys. Congrats to those of you who made it into the GUTGAA pitch round. Congrats to those of you who made it into the final round. I read some of the entries and there's a lot of talent out there. I haven't forgotten about my 200th follower contest, which I think is going to be more of a giveaway.

Have a wonderful day! I guess this means I'll be blogging frequently again.

Just Checking In

Sep 12, 2012
Hello everyone! I just wanted to check in and say thank you to all of the people who commented on my GUTGAA Meet and Greet post. I've been in kind of a slump for the past few days. I haven't felt like blogging much, writing, or even commenting on many blogs. I hope to be out of this slump soon. I really want to get back into the swing of things.

Have a wonderful day you guys!

Fashion Meets Fiction: Bedtime Stories

Sep 4, 2012
Hello everyone! For those who are looking for it, my Gearing Up to Get an Agent post is right here. Today I'm featuring the Fall 2012 Red Valentino collection.

I can't remember ever being read bedtime stories when I was a girl, but that doesn't mean I don't have my favorites. When I saw the Fall 2012 Red Valentino collection my mind immediately thought of a simpler and playful time. I was actually going to call this post The Age of Innocence, but I didn't want to confuse you guys. As a young girl I can remember being in love with books such as Goodnight Moon, Corduroy, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Henny Penny, Rumpelstiltskin, Alice in Wonderland, and so many more. The Red Valentino collection reminds of those stories and being a kid again. Of course my childhood wasn't this perfect, but I can pretend it was.


The question begs to be asked, what was your favorite bedtime story?

Images courtesy of style.com.

GUTGAA Meet and Greet

Sep 3, 2012
Hello all! Today is the very first day of the Gearing Up to Get an Agent Blogfest. 


Questions for the Meet and Greet

First A Little Bit About Me (I'm never good at writing these things).

I'm a twenty-year-old studying Writing and Literature at a little college in NY. I've never been good at math, but I love reading as long as it isn't required reading. I enjoy the smell of grass, making wishes, and daydreaming. I recently discovered that I love to watch Sex and the City, but my all time favorite show is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love horror movies, scarey TV shows, anything that will scare me. I just like being scared. I'm afraid of heights and the dark, which I know totally contradicts the previous sentence. I'm a lover of words and art. My dream career would be to be a children's and young adult author and create pretty things part time. 

-Where do you write?

I just wrote a post about this. Most of my writing takes place in my room, lying in bed. Sometimes I write on the couch or at the table.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

A wall. It's light green.

-Favorite time to write?

I like to write in the afternoon and at night. My morning hours are spent browsing the web. 

-Drink of choice while writing?

Tea. My favorite is Lipton. It comes in a yellow and red box and I have it with three scoops of sugar and milk.

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

Sometimes I listen to Pandora, but nothing too loud. I like listening to the soundtracks for movies because the music usually doesn't have lyrics.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

My latest manuscript was inspired by another manuscript I'd been working on earlier this year. It was a southern gothic, and I wanted it to be more YA.  

-What's your most valuable writing tip?

My favorite quote: "Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there'll always be better writers than you..." -Neil Gaiman. 

Thanks for stopping by and reading.

Delectable Links: 9.1.12

Sep 1, 2012

Another week has come and gone and it's a new month, my birthday month. I can't believe in just a few days I'll be the big TWO ONE. I hope I can make the best of my new year.

This week, though, there have been a lot of great finds. These were some of my favorites.

1. I am a major dessert enthusiast, and these homemade Oreos are right up my alley.

2. This veggie burger is definitely the best I've ever seen. The recipe is included.

3. On my wishlist is the French Hen Sweater from J.Crew.

4. My favorite non-writing blog of the week is Creature Comforts. It's a haven for creativity.

5. If your'e into DIY projects, What I Wore shows you how to make a chevron stripped tee. It's super stylish and it's gotten a lot of pins on Pinterest.

6. If you love books, foxes, or both check out these free printable fox bookmarks. The owner's site isn't in English, but if you use Chrome you should be able to translate.

7. This quote is by far my favorite quote of the week, from The Fresh Exchange. Creative people are awesome.

8. The Colenimo A/W 2012 lookbook is a breath of autumn.

9. My most popular pinboard this week was They Grow Up So Fast.

10. I've definitely fallen in love with Gregory and the Hawk. I've played Doubtful and The People Who Raised Me more than once this week.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sweet Delicious Fruit photographed by Lena.