Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blog Hop for Children's Authors

Welcome to the children’s author blog hop! Thanks to Middle Grade author S.D. Keeling at http://sdkeeling.com who invited me to participate. After you finish here, I invite you to read about Sharon's MG fantasy adventure. Blog hops are a great way for authors and readers to connect, plus by adding links to each other’s pages, we create some dynamic group marketing.

The blog hop rules are simple. Each author answers four questions and invites three other children’s authors to participate the following week. I invited some entertaining, talented authors to participate. You'll see their names, book titles and links to their sites below.

First up, my job is to answer four blog hop questions as follows:

What are you working on right now?
I always juggle several projects simultaneously but I’ve just submitted my first-ever children’s holiday picture book to my publisher. I’m anxiously awaiting the illustrations for SANTA’S SECRET. It’s such fun to watch your words come to life and Christmas is such a special time for kids. I can’t wait to share it with you. My previously published picture books (say that three times!) are WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE? a book I wrote to inspire children to dream big during our country's high unemployment and THE MISSING KEY, a wee mystery where Mother and Amy turn the house upside down in search of an elusive key. Both are available on Amazon and BN.com.

After 20 years in marketing in corporate America and now as an author, I see a great need for a marketing book for authors. I’ve given talks on marketing and authors crave this information. Many don't know where to begin, so I’m in the process of drafting such a book tailored to authors.

I’ve also just submitted my debut novel, THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS, to a few agents and editors who are currently considering it. I tend to write very long (350 pages) or very short (6-word memoirs)! I enjoy mixing it up and encourage everyone to do the same. That way, you are never, ever bored.

Why do you write what you do?
Several close friends know my story. I started out writing novels (women’s fiction, contemporary romance and romantic suspense), but a horrific tragedy struck our family. It was heartbreaking and I had to set my novel aside for nearly three years because I couldn’t bear to edit my own tragic scenes. It was just too much. I wanted to keep writing so I switched gears (genres) and researched writing for children.

Now, I can’t think of anything more important than children’s literature. I loved reading as a kid and would check out piles of books at the library. I also enjoyed reading to my toddler daughter at bedtime. When I get fan letters, smiles and hugs from children who have read my books, it’s much better than receiveing a huge diamond necklace. I’m finally getting back to novel writing but I will ALWAYS write for children. It has been my therapy, my joy and my honor.

What is the hardest part about writing?
For me, its distractions like social media (especially Facebook) and chores at home. When I worked in healthcare, banking and education, I had weekly deadlines, a boss and board of directors to answer to, so it was much easier to stay on task and churn out volumes of work. I had to be disciplined and organized. Now, that I work for myself, I start later, play longer, throw in laundry, and get mad at myself for being unproductive. Maybe I should hire a pretend “boss” or lease office space and dress up!

What scares you?
Public speaking scares me (as it does 99 percent of the population, apparently). I force myself to speak to groups but I’m usually a wreck for two weeks beforehand. When I figure out what I’m going to say and have my handouts prepared, I’m fairly calm once I get to the meeting. In fact, most participants tell me I do a great job. A secret: I even find it a little intimidating to walk into a classroom but once I start reading and see the kids’ faces, I relax and always leave with a smile wrapped around my head. Still, public speaking is scary. I know we have to put ourselves out there as authors and what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

I hope you got to know more about me. Now, don’t forget to hop over to my fabulous friends’ blogs next week. All of their books are amazing!

Shirley McCann, YA mystery writer and author of The Necklace

Rob Myers, Picture book author of Ignor Ramus - A Curious Rhyme

Phyllis Griggs, Picture book author of Bob Beetle Book Bug

Tim Hill, Picture book author of a three-book series. First book: Joe the Crab Takes A Walk

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Article in Flash Fiction Chronicles & A Contest!

I have one more non-fiction article in Flash Fiction Chronicles! It's entitled "Five Tips For Writing Six-Word Memoirs." I know. It should be Six Tips For but this is an ongoing column where the editor posts "Five Tips For" on various writerly subjects.

Read my article and learn my tips for writing six-word memoirs. Believe it or not, I had a New York Times' bestselling author tell me she couldn't write them. Many other writers have told me they think six-word memoirs are difficult. I agree.  It's sometimes hard to tell a story in just six words. This very short genre forces us to be concise, which is a good trait for writers.

I hope you'll read my five tips and enter my contest.  http://www.everydayfiction.com/flashfictionblog/5-tips-for-writing-six-word-memoirs/comment-page-1/#comment-31412

  • Tell me about YOU or YOUR CAREER using just six words.
  • Deadline: Friday, July 26, by midnight
  • The winner will receive his/her choice of IT ALL CHANGED IN AN INSTANT (six-word memoirs from famous authors, celebrities and aspiring authors) or SIX WORDS ABOUT WORK which is a fun gift for yourself, graduates or bosses.
Have fun and good luck!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flash Fiction Chronicles Featured My Article & A Contest!

My non-fiction article, "Get Published Using Just Six Words" was published in Flash Fiction Chronicles. http://www.everydayfiction.com/flashfictionblog/get-published-using-just-six-words/

Learn how (and why) I discovered six-word memoirs, read Hemingway's famous sixer, and see several examples of six-word memoirs by famous authors and celebrities.

To celebrate the publication of my article, I'm running a contest--a six-word memoir contest, naturally.

Tell me about your favorite--or worst--summer vacation whether it's boating on the lake, going to a theme park, picking up shells on the beach, visiting an historic site, a staycation, a family reunion, a romantic get-away or whatever. Just tell me your story in SIX words.

Deadline: Sunday, July 22.

Winner will receive their choice of an autographed six-word memoir collection, IT ALL CHANGED IN AN INSTANT or SIX WORDS ABOUT WORK.