Friday, September 27, 2013


If you loved Shannon Messenger's KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES and have been worried about whether or not the sequel will live up to your expectations, EXILE is even better than the first book. This is not a floppy sort of sequel or even an EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (if you know what I mean) kind of sequel. I love it.

Exile (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #2)

I especially love the friendship that develops between Sophie and Keefe and the alicorn. But for me, the most brilliant part of the novel is the way guilt cripples elves. I can't say more without spoiling.

If you haven't read KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, it's a series that would appeal to fans of FABLEHAVEN, HARRY POTTER, and PERCY JACKSON, a world within our world. It's fabulous.

And now, if you'd like to win a brand new hardcover copy of EXILE, tell me which character from the first book was your favorite (animals count). Or if you haven't read it, tell me which character most interests you. This contest is open internationally (as long as Book Depository ships to your address), but it closes tomorrow night, 10:00 PM (PDT).

There are a lot of great books coming out next month. Which ones are you most excited about?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My First Interlibrary Loan

I picked up my first interlibrary loan yesterday. It's a translation of THE ORACLES OF LEO & THE TALE OF THE TRUE EMPEROR, including illustrated poetry from the original, which was written over a thousand years ago. I am totally geeking out.

This is a photo of the cover. (I can't believe my library district put that big sticker on the cover, and I hope it comes off.)

This is a photo of Gratitude (a poem written in Leo's hand and illustrated with a fox). If I were to take a stab at interpretation, I'd say the fox is Basil the Macedonian. Both are characters in the story I'm writing. :o)

This poem is more obscure, almost an assigned role play, but hey, it's a unicorn. Right?

Whether I pull anything from this book or not, I'm enjoying it. I wish I could read the original Greek, though.

Are you reading anything interesting right now?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Adding Straws

Yesterday was my first day of teaching preschool for the year, and I have a ton of boys this year. In my most disproportionate class, the ratio is 12:4. They all seem like nice boys, though, so hopefully we'll get through the year without too many bumps and bruises. I like boys.

And over the last couple of days, my manuscripts have been returned with lots of notes to help me figure out my next revision. I think it's funny that Jen and Q were nearly within 24 hours of sending them back. I'm hoping to read through both of their notes this week.

But before I get started on my revision, I need to send out a batch of picture book submissions. Time runs out on the exclusive I sent within the next week. That's okay, though. I have a list of over 20 children's publishers who look like they'd be a good fit (who are open to unsolicited manuscripts from writers).

As for the writing challenge I've been participating in, so far we're all reaching our goals, and I don't want to be the one who messes that up. My new story is coming right along.

What have you been working on lately? 

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Writing Habit

Happy Labor Day!

Longtime readers of this blog know that the first two months of school and the last two months of school are my busiest times. So, when one of my critique partners said she was setting a daily word count goal to finish the draft she's working on and asked for motivational nudges, I said I should do something similar. We decided to nudge each other. Then she invited her FB friends to join in. So far, there are three of us who made our goals every day last week.

My goal is small and specific. I just started something new, and Q's challenge just happened to coincide with my first day of writing it. When I start something new, I write in a notebook. This may seem archaic, but it works for me. I think differently with a notebook than I do with a computer, so first drafts, picture books, and poems are usually conceived therein. My goal is to write at least two pages per day, Monday through Saturday, and those pages have to be Nightingale pages. It's a goal I can meet, even when my day is filled with teaching and my afternoons and evenings with soccer. It's something I can do while I'm revising TBW or submitting PBs to editors. One of the days last week, I wrote a brand new picture book and still made my writing goal. Most days, I exceeded my goal. Even with all of the interruptions that this time of year brings, I feel like I'm making great progress on Nightingale.

I can do this. (Thanks, Q!)