#Kindle Countdown Deal – Beginning Today 8am pst. Get GANGSTERLAND at a great price! Check out the reviews and see why it’s a great book for tweens 10+
Both books are wonderful reads for very different reasons. But one theme ties them both. Each book deals very closely with family.
In Al Capone Does My Shirts, Choldenko writes about a 1930’s boy whose older sister has autism. They have recently moved to the island of Alcatraz where their father now works as an electrician and guard. Our main character, Moose, loves and protects his sister throughout the story, even when things get rough.
The same can be said for Gregor in Suzanne Collins’ novel. Although this story is about a fantasy world that Gregor and his baby sister fall into, Gregor protects and shows his love for his sister, and his family as he searches the strange underworld for his missing father.
Both stories show the strength and bonds of love of family especially that of brothers and their sisters, and sons and their fathers. I highly recommend both novels for these wonderful themes as well as the adventures contained within their pages.
Have you read these books, what did you think? What are some of the themes in the books you’ve recently read?
I just had a chat today with the wonderful Laura Pauling and we came to a conclusion. As indie authors we should always be writing.
I’m actually in the throes of revision right now but I really want to be writing. Especially as I watch all the Nano-ers rack up the word count. I love writing that first draft. Actually I have a love hate relationship with drafting. Most times it comes out of my brain like a fury and I have to hurry and write everything down as fast as my fingers can fly across my ergo keyboard. Other times it’s like pulling teeth.
But one this is certain. As an indie author we need to PRODUCE.
<<<——————– NOT this!
WRITING is really the key to success. Get books out to your readers. I’m not saying to create and publish books quickly, hurriedly and in a rush. At some point you realize your own production schedule for what creates a great quality book and I think you should stick with quality first and foremost.
But as writers we need to write new stuff. I realized this after I spent the majority of last year not writing but focusing on promoting. In reality the best thing to sell a book is to have another book available for sale… and another and another.
So, my plan that I plan on implementing is to write new material (drafting) in the morning about 1k words and revise about 10 pages in the afternoon. I’m aiming high so let’s see what happens.
How about you, as an indie do you have a production schedule?
Good Day everyone!
As promised here I am with my update on my classroom visit that I did in early October.
The experience was awesome in many ways. Awesomely rewarding. Awesomely awesome.
I was scheduled to present to the first period class at 8:20am. The school was about an hour away, and if you know anything about Rt.495 rush hour traffic in the ‘burbs of Boston, you’ll understand why I was a little anxious about being on time. So to avoid this I woke up at 5:00am and got in the car by six. This avoided traffic altogether, and thanks to my handy dandy GPS, I arrived an hour early. I figured I’d sit in my car, listen to music and go through my presentation. But luckily the teacher was in his room and we chatted about his favorite subject and mine, BOOKS!
Things I learned:
I also learned from him, when I offered to donate books to the school library, that his school no longer has a library. This is where I almost cried. More on the importance of libraries in a moment.
Things I brought:
I brought with me 10 extra books. The teacher had informed me that some kids and teachers may bring in money the day of the event. And I did end up selling every single one that morning. I also brought about 100 signed bookmarks to hand out to the classes in which I presented. I gave the extras to the teacher. I’m glad I remembered to bring 2 bottles of water with me, because I drank them both!
I am very glad I emailed a copy of my presentation to the teacher. His room was all apple products and I have a PC laptop so I would have had a hard time setting up quickly. I’m sure I would have figured it out, I’m a former IT tech, so that was my job at one point. But I’m all for going with what’s already working, so we used the presentation I had sent him that was already connected to the projector.
More things I learned:
The classes were wonderful. The first period class was a much quieter class than the two classes I had that came in after their gym class. But everyone was supportive and the kids asked the best questions.
This was my first time presenting to a classroom (I have lots of experience presenting to adults) and I found that I will need to create some room in my presentation for the kids to interact with me about what I’m telling them. Adults sit and take notes during a lesson. Kids want to share. I LOVED THIS. But I realized I hadn’t left much opportunity in my presentation for the kids to share their thoughts. But will definitely be tweaking my presentation accordingly.
As I mentioned before I worked with the treasurer of the PTO to handle the collection of money and the order forms. Because we were on a tight time constraint (the orders were placed the same week as my visit) the teacher was kind enough to send me the names of the kids who ordered autographed books. So I had them all personalized and signed before I showed up at the school.
I did sign those 10 additional books that morning but we fit it into the schedule. The one thing that surprised me the most was how much the kids treated me like a celebrity. I wanted to tell them I wasn’t a celebrity at all, but then they felt special that I was in their classroom. So I didn’t burst their bubble and tell them I still had laundry to do, a cat box to clean and dinner to make when I got home. The last class of kids asked me to sign their creative writing books! I hope meeting me inspired them to keep writing.
Later, I spoke with the treasurer and we exchanged funds. I donated a portion to the PTO, which, to me, is never enough for all the work that they do. THANK YOU PTO MOMS and DADS!!
If you guys have any questions about details of my classroom visits please feel free to comment or email me. I’d love to help!
Last time I posted for Indie Life I spoke about an upcoming Classroom Visit. I am definitely planning to let you in on all the inside secrets of the how-to’s and planning as well as presenting. Life has gotten “in the way” as they say, and I’ll be posting it on the 23rd during my regular Tween the Weekends post. I’ll also talk about the importance and benefits of being friends with your local library. Be sure to check it out!
Meanwhile feel free to visit the other awesome Indie Life posts going on today!!
(WP is giving me issues this morning, if you click the Indie Life banner to the right, it should take you to the linky list of Indie posts!)
As many of you know I have a classroom visit coming up where I’ll be discussing revision and it’s importance.I thought I’d take a minute today to show you some of the books I use during my revision process. Some more than others, but all are very helpful in learning the fine art of revision.
What is revision good for? Communication. As writers our job is to communicate our thoughts, our story, to our readers. Seeing as telepathy is hard to come by, we need to make sure that the story that we see in our minds is the same as the one on the page. Revision is the step required to get it there.
Over the years I’ve come across a number of books covering revision, revision techniques and tools. In no particular order, here’s a list of the books I turn to for help.
|1.||Michelle Isenhoff||11.||Stephanie Jefferson||21.||Hayden Hunter|
|2.||Ansha Kotyk||12.||Monique Bucheger||22.||Suzanne Warr|
|3.||Cordelia Dinsmore||13.||Mikey Brooks||23.||A.L. Phillips|
|4.||Lisa Orchard||14.||Susan Kaye Quinn||24.||Darlene Foster|
|5.||Sharon Ledwith||15.||Christina Mercer||25.||Katy Pye|
|6.||Lia London||16.||D. Robert Pease||26.||LM Preston|
|7.||Lynn Kelley||17.||J.L. Campbell||27.||C. Lee McKenzie|
|8.||Elise Stokes||18.||Ima Bratt||28.||Renata Suerth|
|9.||Alan Tucker||19.||D.M. Cherubim||29.||You’re next!|
My good friend and critique partner, Laura Pauling has a great new book that I hope you’ll check out. This is one of my favorites for it’s moodier feel that reminds me of Eoin Colfer’s stories. I also really love how she handles the time travel, reminiscent of The Butterfly Effect, only with a lot more hope at the end. Here are Laura’s thoughts on the time travel aspect of HEIST.
I’ve always loved stories or movies that involve time travel. Not so much the science fiction aspect behind it, but how it affects the characters and the storyline. But, that didn’t mean I could ignore the science in my time travel novel.
At first, when Heist was going to be a humorous upper middle grade novel, there was going to be a science lab, a failed experiment, an explosion – and voila – time travel. That didn’t quite fit with the story that was coming out on the page. After the first draft, while doing more in-depth research, I stumbled upon a sickness called, the Stendhal Syndrome. This is a psychosomatic disorder causing dizziness, fainting, confusion, and even hallucinations, when exposed to a large amount of art, and more particularly, beautiful art.
I had my answer. In Heist, Jack Brodie, the main character, has this experience. Copies of the stolen art from the Gardner Museum Heist, bring him back to the night of the crime, March 17, 1990. Also, this fit better with my realistic, gritty time travel, then trying to have an actual futuristic time travel machine.
HEIST, a young adult, psychological thriller, was released the summer of 2013.
Attention teachers and librarians! The Emblazoner’s New Catalog – filled with great middle grade and tween titles your students and patrons will love – is coming soon!
To celebrate, we’re holding a giveaway of stuff you can use: gift cards to add books to your collection and swag to hand out to your students and patrons.
Less Grand But Still Auspicious Prizes (8): SWAG Bags (bookmarks, collector’s cards, etc. to give away to your students/patrons)
Note: Signing up for the catalog is required for entry. Winners must reside in the United States or Canada. You must be a teacher or librarian to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am lucky enough to participate in a school visit with a middle school. The interested teacher won one of my books in a giveaway and I offered to visit his classroom. So keep giving out those books! Preparing for a classroom visit is exciting and I keep finding new things I need to consider. I thought I’d share some things that I’m learning as I get ready.
Here are a list of things you might not have considered when thinking about a school visit.
1. Contacts - Keep handy the contact information for your teacher and the school’s PTO point person.
2. Bookmarks – Order and bring enough bookmarks to hand out freely during the event. Sign some too. Kids love them!
3. Order Form - create an order form for your books that the PTO can distribute and collect monies. Later you’ll donate a percentage of the sales to the PTO as a fundraiser. Provide information about the book and an easy chart to order copies and offer to sign them.
4. Press Kit – This is for the local paper if they wish to promote the event.
5. Books - Order your books early. It usually takes 10 days or more for an order to process.
Besides preparing your presentation with props and fascinating information you’ll also need to know:
I am presenting to my first class in the beginning of October, so by the next Indie Post I’ll have a follow up on everything that happens!
How about you? Have you done a classroom visit? How did it go?
I posted this topic a number of months ago, but I think High Concept is something we writers want to strive for. We really want to find that magic that creates books that everyone wants to read.
I have a fascination with all things High Concept. I enjoy reading it and I absolutely love the elusive hunt for it as a writer. The best way I think to find your own unique high concept is to really review who you are as a writer. What moves you?
What are the themes in your writing? We all choose what we enjoy writing about and I don’t mean genre. Things like family issues, family relationships, friendships, external issues, etc.
Next what do you focus on in your genre. MG/YA, genre fiction have huge ranges of romance, fantasy, science fiction (hard or soft). Where do you sit inside your genre?
Now try something different. Focus on YOU as a person. Sit down with a lined pad or open up Excel or Word and create a numbered list. Write down every movie, book, TV show and song that has ever moved you emotionally either because it’s super fun or caused emotional upheaval. After each title place a dash and add the WHY. Why did it move you? What did you LOVE about this experience?
Take another step deeper. List all your personal experiences that had an impact on you. White water rafting, exchange programs, vacations… Now be open. This is your list and yours alone. You have every right to absolutely LOVE the Backyardigans for their use of opera in a kids show. Or claim undying love for the nerdy guy on Glee. This is the list of things that get your blood moving. This is what you should write about.
Now take a spoon and stir it up. Mix all of that culture, lit, media and pop together and let it stew for you. This list, this hodgepodge that makes up your experiences is vitally important to your writing because NO ONE ELSE can write about them like you can. THIS is where your high concept idea is going to come from.
High Concept is not a magic potion that someone created. It’s YOUR magic. It’s the boiled down essence of you as a person and your take on the world, made concrete on paper, for your readers to see.
So what’s on your list??