Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I'm moving! That's right, this blog will be moving over to my official website, I hope you will stop by for a visit! Until then, happy writing.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My "How I Got My Agent" Story

Okay, so I'm REALLY late with this post. I've been an agented writer for about five months now. Better late than never?

My interest in my agent started months before I ever queried him. I had begun querying for a different novel, and I kept going back to his website. I was on a listserv that he was on, and he was always so kind and helpful when folks had questions. Not only that, but the authors he represented also seemed kind and helpful. And most importantly (who am I fooling, right?), he was selling books.

I didn't query him, though. I was sure he wouldn't be interested in that book. So I held off on subbing to him and started working on a new book. I never found an agent for that first book.

When my new book was ready I knew right away it was a manuscript this agent would be interested in. It seemed to fit with his other authors. I fired off a query and proposal. In fact, his was the first query I sent for that novel. It wasn't long before he requested the full. Then a few weeks passed. I got other full requests.

After three weeks I wasn't expecting much. Then, the email came! He wanted to offer representation! I wanted to be ecstatic! I wanted to jump for joy! The problem was that I literally read the email as I was walking out the door to take my 6yo to the hospital where she would be admitted for 5-7 days. Not exactly the most happy atmosphere.

I emailed Terry and asked for "some time", which he graciously granted. I needed to get my ducks in a row (or take care of my business, as they say!). By the next day, though, I was ready to give my answer. I said "YES!".

Then a funny thing happened. I got a full request from a publisher for that first novel I was querying. I held off on sending it so I could talk to Terry about it. I asked him if he was also interested in representing that novel (and held my breath because I was sure he would say no--remember, I hadn't queried him with it because I was sure he wouldn't want it). He took a look at the material and said yes! I was overjoyed.

So, there you have it. That is how I got my agent.

Monday, April 1, 2013

And the Winner Is...

The winner of my Villains to Love contest is Anne E. Johnson! Congrats, Anne. I'll be sending you your Amazon gift card shortly.
For the rest of you, thanks for entering, and I wish you happy (villainous) writing.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Villains to Love

I write a lot for kids, and let's face it, in many kid's stories the villains aren't that "villainous". My most favorite villain is Dr. Doofenshmirtz from the kid's TV show Phineas and Ferb. I love this show, and I love Dr. D. He may want to take over the Tri-State area, but he's a hoot! His wacky inventions are always thwarted, and you can't help but feel sorry for the poor evil scientist. Here are some of my favorite quotes of his.

"Curse you Perry the Platypus!"

"Lies are the glue that holds society together."

"If I had a nickel for every time I've been doomed by a puppet, I would have two nickels. That's not a lot, but it's funny that it happened twice."

"When I was a young boy in Gimmelshtump..."

"Perry the Platypus, I'm so sorry I hurt you when I wasn't actually trying to hurt you. If you give me another chance, I promise to hurt you in the right way with cartoonish physical violence and elaborate traps constructed out of strange things I purchased over the Internet. What do you say?"

Now it's your turn. Who's your favorite villain, and why? Everyone who comments will be entered for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card! EDITED TO ADD: Entry will run through midnight, Saturday night. The winner will be announced on Monday!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Writer's Conferences Part 3

You can see posts 1 &2 here...

No one can deny the perks of attending a writer's conference in person. The encouragement you get is just what you need to keep going, the uplifting atmosphere is fantasatic, and let's face it--nothing can beat an in-person connection. However, if you're still waiting for the wish of a writer's conference to come true, here are a few last tips to keep writing until then!

*Conference CD's: Many big conferences offer their sessions on CD. It's not quite the same as being there live, but you can learn a lot from the CD's.

*Critique Groups: The benefits of getting feedback on your work or priceless. Finding the right group can be hard, but when you find it, don't let it go! I am infinitely grateful for my crit partners.

*Local Writer's Groups: If you can find a group of local writers to meet with then you won't be sorry. Check with your library if you're not sure where to start. They can often point you in the right direction. I found my local group just by browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble. I found a book by an author in my area, looked up her website, sent her a message through the site, and the rest is history!

I hope some of my tips will help someone get an idea they hadn't had before. I don't think there are very many writers who never want to attend a conference, but until that can become your reality, don't give up! Keep writing, and happy contracts for all.

How about you? Share your favorite conference experiences with us!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Do You Need to Writer's Conference part 2

In the last post I talked about ways to improve your writing even if you can't attend a writer's conference (yet!). I focused on reading in that post. This post will talk about networking. After all, that's one of the big perks of attending a real-life, in-person conference.

There are many ways to build a professional network without the pricetag or inconvenience of a conference. The most obvious first step is social networking. Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger are all great places to start. You must interact in order to build relationships, though. That means posting but also commenting on the posts of others. The point is to get to know them. Remember, though, not to let it become a time waster. At a conference you would spend only a fraction of your time networking. The same rule must apply to online networking. (By the way, you can find me on FB and Twitter here!)

Another great online networking tool is the online writer's conference. These are often free. The first two that come to mind are the WriteOnCon and So You Think You Can Write conferences put on in August and September. They have been extremely helpful to me and my writing, and you can meet other authors, agents, and editors while there. The biggest bonus? You can do it from your living room. A great place to learn about other online conferences is Twitter.

Last of all is the online writer's forum. A few I love are Absolute Write, the Institute of Children's Lietrature Writer's Retreat, and the Verla Kay Blueboards. I have learned so much from the wonderful friends I've made there.

So power up that computer and get to building your network. And who knows? Maybe when you do get to attend a real-life, in-person conference you can meet up with a cyber buddy or two!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Do You Need To Writer's Conference?

I've heard the belief for years--if you are SERIOUS about your writing career then you must attend writer's conferences. Period. If you don't then you aren't really serious. I get this belief. I really, really do. But I don't necessary agree with it.

Is it wise to attend a writer's conference? Sure. It's probably a very important thing to do, though I have never attended one myself. It's not for lack of want, it's just that I haven't been able to. Period. Does that mean I'm not a real writer? I don't know, let's ask the 11 books I have under contract.

This summer I hope to attend my very first writer's conference. It is only a one day conference, and it is in my own state, but that is what's reasonable for me. If you are like me, and attending the "big" conferences is out of the question for you (for now), you can try some of the things I did. I will focus on just one in this post. Check back later for more info.


I read lots of books. Books in the genre I want to write (this includes picture books and novels), and books about writing. My favorites (meaning the ones I find particularly useful) are Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass, and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Brown and Dave King. Happy reading!