So. It has been eons since I have updated my blog. But, oh, I have been busy writing. I have a freshly revised middle-grade novel, a young adult novel still in progress, and many, many (many!) picture books. And oh, yeah, one more shiny, new, wonderful addition…an agent. MY agent. That sounds just as awesome as I dreamed it might:) I am ecstatic to report that I am now agented by the amazing, witty, wonderful Jessica Schmeidler of Golden Wheat Lit! She gets me. She gets my writing. She believes in me, and is excited to help me get my books out there, in readers’ hands!
I started writing for kids fifteen years ago. Mostly poetry, in the beginning. It took a long time to break into the magazine market. I remember my first Highlights acceptance. I think that’s when I felt I could legitimately call myself a writer (I was wrong, by the way. If you are actively writing and learning and writing some more…you are a writer!) Over the years I was fortunate to have more magazine sales. I joined SCBWI. I worked hard. I kept writing. I frequented Verla Kay’s amazing Blueboard, (which has now merged with SCBWI and is THE message board to hang out at, for anyone writing for children).
I started to have *almosts* with agents. I had R&Rs. I had personal rejections with great feedback. I MADE AMAZING WRITER FRIENDS WHO HELPED ME GROW AS A WRITER. That really does warrant all caps. Being actively involved in crit groups and socializing online with writers at all stages was crucial to getting to this point. Learning to take–and give–constructive criticism, staying abreast of the ins-and-outs of the ever changing KidLit market, and cheering on writer friends each step of the way…these things are all part of the journey. Necessary, life-changing, character-building steps along the path. And I hope to never stop growing as a person, as a writer.
Here I am, on the children’s floor of the beautiful Kansas City Library, signing my author-agent contract…and another shot of the children’s reading area. #LoveThisLibrary
And in front of the 25-foot book spines that line the library’s parking garage
And this is the giant chess board on the rooftop terrace of the library. That’s right, they have a rooftop terrace! I could have spent the entire day in this library, but only had a couple of days in Kansas City. Put it on your library bucket-list! It is truly amazing!
Even when I’m working on a novel, I can’t stop writing picture books. I. Love. Picture. Books. Playing with words, creating fun characters, telling a funny or quirky or touching story, all in just a few hundred words. It’s the best kind of magic.
I’m super excited to be participating in PiBoIdMo again, and coming up with more fun picture book ideas! It starts in just a few days, so if you love writing picture books and you’d like to learn more about it, click on one of the PiBoIdMo images in the sidebar. Hope to see you there!
Looking to be inspired? Work at your own pace? Have access to webinars and great info from successful kidlit authors and illustrators?
Oh yeah, and it’s all FREE. The focus is on writing great characters. There’s still time to sign up for Nerdy Chicks Rule: Summer School 2014. Here’s the link: Kidlit Summer School 2014
I was honored to be named First Runner Up (North America) in the 2013 Greenhouse Funny Prize contest, recently! I’m excited and hopeful…for my Ninja Baby series, my current YA WIP, and my new teaching position:-)
Congrats to Lisa and all the short-listers!
Also, thrilled to have sold another poem to the wonderful folks at Ladybug/Carus!
Happy Writing, friends!
I write middle grade and young adult novels, but my first love was picture book writing. I love the challenge of telling a complete, entertaining story in a few hundred words. One that children and adults will want to read again. And again.
At least, that’s what I strive for.
There’s a small window…not more than a couple of weeks…when the colors are this pretty. That sliver of Fall when we see some reds, oranges, yellows. For the past several years, I’ve wanted to venture out over the bridge, brave the traffic rushing past, and inch my way along the narrow ledge to take this picture. I’ve missed the window every year, until now. Fingers crossed that soon there will be other windows of opportunity I hit just right:)
Writers and book lovers, mark your calendars for this fabulous, free event next year. I took my daughters, 11 and 14, and all three of us were bubbling over with creative inspiration by the time we left. This is the first year I’ve gone, and I didn’t know what to expect. Here’s a rundown:
Amazing, kick-a$$ opening keynote by author, Libba Bray. She gave us a bullet-point list for life that included such gems as, “Testing is bullsh@#!” (referring to teachers being forced to stick to a strict curriculum focused on standardized testing, which leaves no room for encouraging the kind of creative, out-of-the-box thinking that really makes a difference in the world), “Be nice!”, “Writing is revising!” and, “Serial killers are always interesting.” Here’s a link (thank you, Laura, for this post!): Libba Bray’s Opening Keynote ATBF12
Oh, and there were light sabers and a great video sing-along to Total Eclipse of the Heart (remember that one?)
There were six different panels, based on genre, with authors giving us an inside look at their writing process and a short Q&A with the audience. I had time for three panels…
“We’re Not in Kansas Anymore” panel, with authors Sarah Rees Brennan, Libba Bray, Leigh Bardugo, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, and Rae Carson.
“Real Life Happens” panel, with authors John Corey Whaley, Jesse Andrews, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, EM Kokie, and Jessica Lee Anderson. (John and Jesse were SO funny! And weird. And FUNNY!)
And of course we had to get in the giant Reached bubble for a picture, before we left! (Oh, and spend a small fortune on new books, autographed by the authors. Money well spent:)