Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blogfests are fun...when's another taking place?

Okay, I haven't been as good about trolling the blogsphere lately. You can also translate into --> Kris hasn't blogged much lately either.

I really, really, REALLY (did you get that?) participating in blogfests. So, do you know of any?

Monday, June 27, 2011

MC Blogfest continuing for me!

Like I mentioned on Friday, there were two characters just banging on the door to be interviewed. And because I don't like conflict that much, I agreed to interview TK (aka Toby Karlson). TK is just back from fifth grade camp, so he's a little bit tired, but just as excited. Please give a warm welcome to Toby Karlson of TK's Hockey Rules for Life!

TK: I'm so happy to be here. Thanks for including me.

Mrs. Y: I'm glad you could make it. Are you exhausted from camp?

TK: Just a little. But I appreciate you thinking of me. (Puts head down, acting like he's shy)

Mrs. Y: Umm..what's up with this new attitude? Before camp you were all gung-ho and in my face. Telling me all about your hockey team, your best friend Drew, and how you loved ruling the school.

TK: (blushes) Yeah, well, stuff happened before I left for camp that really made me look at things differently.

Mrs. Y: All right. That's a good segue into our first question - what's your greatest fear?

TK: Segue? You mean that motorized thing you stand on?

Mrs. Y.: (Laughs) No, it's a smooth transition from one topic to another. So, what's your greatest fear?

TK: Oh, okay, sorry. I know it's not being kicked out of the cool group. Done that already and survived. And not having the only kid talking to me be the smartest kid in the school. Done that too. Actually gained a friend who I never thought would be one. Maybe it's that once I finally get over to middle school, the secretary will be there and every day I'll be reminded of what I did.

Mrs. Y.: I'm going to mix up the questions here because I think you've given us another perfect segue. What's your biggest regret?

TK: You would think that being only in fifth grade I'd wouldn't know how to answer this question. But before camp, I was sort of involved in an incident. (He puts up his hands defensively.) YOU know it wasn't my fault I hipchecked the district's oldest living secretary, but EVERYONE else thought I did it on purpose. But worst of all when my best friend Drew wouldn't even come clean, I didn't treat him very nicely. So, I guess that's my biggest regret.

Mrs. Y: It's a good lesson to learn. But what about your greatest accomplishment--AND please don't include winning any hockey trophies. I know you have a lot. I want you to tell us something about YOU.

TK: (Snaps fingers and scrunches his lips together) Dang it...I have some pretty sweet trophies, but I get it. I do. Hmm...well, I'd have to say I feel pretty darn good about getting Drew to admit to his oldest brother that he's afraid of his other brother - which really was the reason for the hipcheck to the secretary. But can I say one thing about hockey? Please??!?! (pleading and begging uncontrollably).

Mrs. Y: Of course. You know how we feel about hockey here.

TK: Thanks, Mrs. Y! You're the best. (huge grin) Okay, so another accomplishment is that I've learned so much playing hockey for the last four, five years, that I think I'm becoming a better person. I mean, I know that I shouldn't hipcheck little old ladies, that arguing with the ref won't get me a dance trophy, and that sometimes taking one for the team means putting your head in the toilet. What I'm trying to say is that I can relate the rules I've learned playing the game to my life off the ice. Hope that makes sense.

Mrs. Y: It does to me, and if one of those publishers who has TK's Hockey Rules for Life ever decides that they must have it for their list, everyone will know what you're talking about.

TK: Yeah, well they'd be---(standing up and getting way overexcited)

Mrs. Y: (interrupting quickly) Thanks for stopping by, TK.

TK: Yeah, I get it.(nodding over and over) Thanks, Mrs. Y!

So there you have it. Hopefully someday you'll all get to learn more about TK.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 24, 2011

MC Blogfest TODAY!

I'd seen a few weeks ago over at Elizabeth Mueller's blog that she was hosting a blogfest about getting to know our main characters. I thought that this was a fantastic idea. She has 3 questions that the main character needs to answer. They are:
  1. What is your greatest fear?
  2. What is your biggest accomplishment?
  3. What is your biggest regret?
Since I've got two main characters who are bugging me to chat with you all, I'm going to post one today and another on Monday.

I'd like to introduce to you Nick Stevenson. Nick's eleven and is the main character of Saving Redwind. Please give him a round of applause!

Nick S.: Thanks, Mrs. Yankee! I'm glad to be here. So, you've got some questions for me? Hope they aren't too hard. This is summer and I didn't expect a test.

Kris Y.: I'm sure you'll do fine. The first question is, what is your greatest fear?

Nick: That's easy; SPBMs for sure. Or, maybe it was the Dream Birds. No...wait!! (pointing in the air) It had to be Sartung! That dude was NASTY.

Kris: Whoa, slow down. You need to explain yourself. Not everyone knows what SPBMs, Dream Birds, or who Sartung is at this point.

Nick: Why not? (scrunching his nose up and looking quite distraught)

Kris: Well, they may not have read the book yet. Just tell us about  your fears.

Nick: They are missin' out for sure. Anyway, SPBM stands for Stay Puft Boulder Men. They are these huge boulder dudes who live in Keyra Forest. They pretty much like to crush everything that comes in their path. They taller than a couple of hockey sticks put end to end, and when they walk the whole ground shakes. (shaking himself). They really scared me when I went over to Redwind the first time.

Kris: Sounds frightening.

Nick: They were, but in the end not so much. But you have to read the book to know why.

Kris: All right, now what about these Dream Birds. I've never heard of that.

Nick: Yeah, they don't exist here in our world. Or at least I don't think they do. (looking over shoulders). Anyway, these really pretty blue and yellow birds look innocent enough until they land on your shoulder.

Kris: What happens then?

Nick: They start singing their mesmerizing tune while picking you up. It's crazy because these birds look like they weigh five pounds, but they can actually grab onto your shirt and carry like almost a hundred pounds! As their song gets stuck in your head, you'll start thinking about one of the best times in your life. You may even smell something - like I smelled chocolate chip cookies! I totally thought my mom was baking. (nodding with wide eyes). But she wasn't! She wasn't even there.

Kris: Then what happens?

Nick: It didn't exactly happen to me, but my friend Jacob told me all about it. When the Dream Birds were near me, I started thinking about this one time I spent with my dad. He was home, which isn't very much, and we were doing something with his new camera. I was really happy because he was there. (smiles). But Jacob told me that if I kept on thinking while the Dream Birds were touching me, they'd steal that memory from me. And, man, I don't have a lot of those with my dad since he's always gone. I swatted those darn birds off of me as hard as I could and ran away!

Kris: Sounds scary! What about this Sartung person?

Nick: (shudders) Sartung is the ultimate creepy idiot of Redwind. He wants to rule the land and be king or something. He's a wizard, so he's way crafty. His powers are super strong and he can trick almost the entire nation. He's mean and scary and all-around a bad dude. He gets the SPBMs to work for him, so you know that's a bad combination.

Kris: Wow! You're lucky you survived. Now, what about your greatest accomplishment?

Nick: Really? (cocky stance) Isn't it in the title?

Kris: I suppose...let's go to the final question-what's your greatest regret?

Nick: Hmmm...this is a hard one. I mean, I don't regret that I helped my new friends. But I do feel bad that I didn't tell my mom where I was going each time I flew through the wallpaper. And, I was sorta mean to my little sister. But that's what they're here for, right? (Kris shakes "no"). Well, that's probably it.

Kris: Thanks for stopping by, Nick.

If you'd like to learn more about Nick, SPBMs, Dream Birds, and Sartung, please check out Saving Redwind!

On Monday, I'll interview Toby Karlson of TK's Hockey Rules for Life.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Print Book to come

On the advice of my agent, I will be creating a physical book of Saving Redwind through Amazon's Createspace. I have to figure out how to format the file, order a proof, and then it will be ready to purchase. I've had a small inkling that's been bothering me - how many MG readers have an e-reader or want to read a book on a computer? To combat not having the physical book, she convinced me to do Createspace.

Have any of you used Createspace? Please let me know of your experiences.

Trust me, this is not how I wanted to publish a book. But when my agent tells me that nothing is moving (being sold), I guess this is the only way if I want to get my writing out there.

What do you think of the publishing industry these days?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Writing with the Seasons

Does your writing schedule change along with the change of the seasons? Mine usually do, at least for part of the year. The coolness of fall coupled with the kids going back to school, make me want to hole up and write. But the same can be said about the start of summer (or summer vacation). Our routines change- no more packing lunch and carpools - so I feel like I have more of the day to devote to my craft.

I don't notice a huge difference when spring or winter come around. Perhaps because those are the busiest times of the year for me.

What about you? Does your writing schedule change?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What NOT to say in response to no response from an email query

We've all read that poor author who had her book reviewed and then disagreed with the review. Ranting and raving about a bad review will not win you any readers.

Neither will responding to an automated reply when you send in a query to an agent.

When I was looking for an agent, many times I would receive an automated reply that said something like, "Thank you for your query. If I am interested in reading more, I will contact you." It was short, sweet, and to the point. And, of course, it left me wondering if and when the agent would respond. Sometimes I would get a request for a partial, sometimes a full. Most of the time, I received no request. I took that as they were not interested.

Rule #1: If you do not get a response, do not email again.
They got it the first time and there's no need to keep resending and resending. I think the only time you should "double check if you received it" is if a partial/full is requested and you just want to make sure they got it. That's pretty acceptable.

Rule #2: If you can't follow Rule #1, don't send an inappropriate message in your response to a lack-of -response email.
These days I think people view the internet as some sort of invisible shield around themselves and an excuse to behave badly because they think no one really knows who they are. This is not the case when you are submitting queries. I think agents will remember your name for two reasons: (a) they are interested in your story or (b) your lack-of-response email to them was so riddled with obscenities, you made such a horrible impression. You may not think it, but the writing world isn't that big. If you put yourself out there as an idiot, people will know. Agents share this sort of stuff - and that's not GOOD publicity.

Rule #3: If you are still convinced that you must get a response and continue to email the agent, you should take up another career.
Listen, this is a tough business and just because you get an agent doesn't mean you are going to sell. BUT an agent is your business partner. They are the one person who truly understands how you feel emotionally about your work. They will be by your side during good and bad, and they will try their hardest to make both of your dreams come true (yours to be a published author, and theirs to be a successful agent). If you create this persona of being a difficult person to work with (i.e. 10 million emails of "Did you get my query? You're missing out! I'm the next NYT best-selling author! blah, blah, blah!") you will not receive a favorable response.

My advice: Research the agents who rep work that is similar to what you write and query them. If you receive an automated reply, don't take it personally. And realize that agents are humans too who live with only 24 hours in the day. They have established clients, are sweet-talking potential clients, and are dealing with one hundred bazillion things that I'm constantly amazed that my agent deals with on a daily basis. The automated reply is to help you know that yes, they did receive your email. It's the actual email from them that you need to be concerned about - not the auto-reply.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

MC Blogfest coming June 24th


Over at Elizabeth Mueller's website I found a really cool blogfest coming June 24th.

Here's the information:
First you need to read the post by Jeannie Campbell (aka the Character Therapist) on How to Connect with Your MC on Elizabeth's website. After that, you'll need to answer three questions as if you are your Main Character (MC). They are:
  • Question 1: What is your greatest fear? 
  • Question 2: What is your biggest accomplishment? 
  • Question 3: What is your biggest regret?
One lucky blogger will win a copy of Writer's Guide to Creating Rick Back Stories!

Click on over to Elizabeth's site and sign up. My MC dares your MC!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Woohoo...a new BlogFest!

I just saw this over at Sheri's website - it's another blog fest from Alex Cavanaugh. The idea is that you blog about 3 games you enjoy. I'll do like Sheri did and choose the games that reflect the genres I write in.

For picture books, I have to say that I loved Barrel Full of Monkeys. I mean, who didn't love stacking those monkeys to see how far they could hang from the barrel which was on the edge of a table?

Hmm...for middle grade, I guess I have to choose hide and seek on bikes. I used to bike all over my grandma's neighborhood with my friends trying to lose or find them. There were no cell phones then, so it took us a long time to find everyone. That was a lot of fun!

As an adult, I like playing the Wii even though I don't do it a lot. Favorite games are Guitar Hero (any of them), Just Dance, and some of the other fitness games.

Which games did you play as a child or are still playing?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saving Redwind E-book Now Available!

Looking for a fun summer read for the young boy in your life? Please consider my middle grade e-book, Saving Redwind. You can download a free sample or purchase a copy on Amazon. Here's the back cover summary:

All eleven-year-old Nick Stevenson wants is an adventure like his dad’s. Oh, and for the creepy ceiling in his new bedroom to stop storming and spinning. When he’s asked to help save a world that exists inside his bedroom’s wallpaper, Nick thinks he’s found his very own adventure. But he has no idea it will involve talking rocks, dream-stealing birds, and becoming friends with wizards. Can Nick save Redwind and his new friends before his mom calls him home for hockey practice?