Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What's On Your Nightstand?

I recently discovered What’s on Your Nightstand? at the  5 Minutes for Books fabulous website.

On the fourth Tuesday of each month you share what you are reading!

Here's what my July looks like.

This month I read WATERCOLOR by Leigh Talbert Moore on my Kindle (Check out the awesome Dragonfly series here!). Then I read THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green. (Yes, I cried.) After my 9 year old son purchased the Gennifer Choldenko books at Alcatraz last month, he read them quickly and raved about them. He told me I had to read them. So on Saturday I read AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS. I am almost done reading AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES. Such great historical fiction and so amazing that they are set where we just visited last month! What is cooler than a book set on Alcatraz!?

Also on my nightstand is Maggie Steifvater's THE DREAM THIEVES from the library. And after that, I plan to read WISHING FOR WASHINGTON by Shelley Sly on my Kindle. I also just bought SAVE THE CAT to read and learn from at some point.

You might also see Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly on the nightstand, too. I do enjoy pop culture. And I also see my new nonfiction picture book WORDS ON BIRDS peeking out! Yes, I did turn the books so you could read the titles, but I hate to say that my nightstand usually is as cluttered as this!

So, tell me. What's on your nightstand this week? Check out a list of blogs featuring nightstand reads here!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Bird Day to Me!

Tweet! Tweet!

Guess what? My children's nonfiction book about birds is now available online!

WORDS ON BIRDS is a collaboration between my dad and me that we had been talking about for years. It is finally here! My dad is an award-winning nature photographer whose work has been in many magazines and catalogs.

Interesting facts about common American birds are set to rhyme for easy reading and enjoyment in this picture book. Young readers will be introduced to fourteen backyard birds in an entertaining manner. The beautiful, bright photographs will further entice them in wanting to search their own backyard for these lovely creatures.

The book is now available in paperback and will be available in hardcover in a week or two!

Perfect book for the summer! Read then spot and identify these birds in the backyard! Also, super primary teacher gift, too!

You can purchase it here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

My Writing Process

Hello, writer friends! I hope you are having an amazing summer. Recently I was tagged by fellow SCBWI-IL writer, Beverly Patt, to write about my writing process. Beverly is the author of BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A WWII SCRAPBOOK and HAVEN. Check out her post about the writing process HERE!
If you would like to write about your writing process, too, let me know in the comments and I will add your link at the end of my post!
This is how I roll, dawg. This is how I do!

1. What are you currently working on?

I currently have three projects going on. I’m preparing for my next picture book release next week (WORDS ON BIRDS). I recently revisited a middle grade novel that I started co-writing with someone and we got busy and dropped it for a few years. Having fun getting back to that -over halfway done!  And I am also revising a picture book I wrote in the spring.

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?

My last couple of published projects (ROCKABET picture book and ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK mg) differ as their themes are rock ‘n’ roll which is a different little niche in kids lit.

3. Why do you want to write?

Writing is a creative outlet for me. I have SO many ideas that I want to put out there. I feel so accomplished when I finish a chapter, my goal for the day, or when I see a book of mine on a bookshelf! Also, being a mom and educator, I want to promote literacy any way I can, and let people know that READING ROCKS!

4. How does your individual writing process work?

I actually do not have any regular writing process. I’m more of a pantser than a planner, but my next project I am going to try to plan more. J For picture books and poetry, I generally write in a notebook and erase, scratch out and revise as I write. Also, I enjoy being outside and it’s easier to write in a notebook instead of the laptop there! But in general, I write, revise, revise, revise, revise, and then revise like most writers!

And that is how I roll.
Don't forget to let me know if you want to join in on the fun!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Hope all of you are enjoying summer between thunderstorms!

Last night I toyed with iMovie and created this trailer for my middle grade novel,

Edited: For some reason, Blogger is only showing 3/4 of the screen so if you want to see the full screen trailer click here!

Let me know what you think!

The ebook is now on sale at $2.99! You can purchase the ebook or paperback online at  amazon, barnesandnoble and kobo!

You rock!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How Marketing and Writing Go Together with S.R. Johannes

Today I have YA author, S.R. Johannes, to help us with marketing! Read on for some amazing tips to get your book seen! You can buy Shelli's third installment in the Nature of Grace series, UNSTOPPABLE, on amazon.com. Visit Shelli at her website, her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter!

Thanks for the great info, Shelli!

How marketing and writing go together.

Every writer loves to write. But not every writer loves the business side of publishing.

These days it's important to know all aspects of the business (marketing, sales, taxes etc) - especially if you decide to indie publish at any point.
First, it's important to understand the basics of marketing. You need a web site, you need some form of social media, and you will want to start an email list. But this is all online marketing.

You need more than that and this is where it can get overwhelming.

But if you think of "marketing" in a different way, maybe it can be fun. Think of marketing as networking with your target audience - AKA our readers.

Basically, marketing your book is about finding your audiences and just letting them know about your book, about the themes in your book. Marketing is about connecting to your readers. And that's why we write! You first need to understand your writing, the genre, and all the secondary topics your book addresses - directly and indirectly.

All YA have similar audiences at a high level - teachers, librarians, teens, parents, and bookstore owners. But you can't stop there. If you want your writing to touch people, you have to focus on the next level of readers. For example - My Nature of Grace series is for young adults and it is a thriller. But it also touches on animal conservation, nature, going green, survival, outdoors, and the region surrounding the Smoky Mountains. These are all possible targets for me to consider. Here's what you need to do to break it down into smaller chunks.

Once you have targeted the audiences listed above, then do this:
• List out the topics/themes your book covers.
• Pick the most dominant theme
• List out what 3-5 audiences would want to read it.
• Find out where they hang out most (forums, ezines, festivals etc)
• Document who to contact
• Then figure out how to contact them

Hope this helps you realize that marketing can be fun especially if you break it down into smaller chunks. It's about connecting to your readers on a more personal level.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Wish, A Gator Boy, and a Princess

Well, hello, peoples!

Do you love middle grade novels as much as me? Yeah?
I've got two new fun middle grade novels to share with you.

Have you ever wished upon a star? When you were little, have you ever wished that your brother or sister was never born? Check out this clever story by Sherrie Petersen about just that!

It's WISH YOU WEREN'T! You can purchase it here and click here to have a chance to win an ebook! 

Also, another pal, Samantha Verant just shared her cover of her upcoming middle grade novel, KING OF THE MUTANTS. Looks crazy cool, right? You can win an ebook and gift card here!

And speaking of middle grades, you can have a chance to win a copy of ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK on Goodreads! If you want to read it, you can click that, too!

The first chapter of RNRPWB is now on here on Wattpad. If you are curious about it, give it a quick read!

And not only do I love middle grade novels, but of course Young Adult books are on my Kindle and nightstand as well.

Here are some cool new YA releases!

If you loved Suzanne Casamento's FINGERPRINTS, the companion novel was just released!!

Also, just in time for prom season, check out Laura Pauling's PROM IMPOSSIBLE!

Happy reading, and thanks again for all of your wonderful support! YOU ROCK!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Last Leg of the Rock 'n' Roll Princess Tour

Happy Monday, people!

Thank you to Blog Tours by Elana, we have the last stops of my ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK blog tour! RNRPWB is now available in paperback! Woot!

Please stop by these wonderful ladies' blogs this week!

Guess which bands I got to hang with plus win an ITunes gift card!

Sherrie just released her debut middle grade novel, WISH YOU WEREN'T. You can purchase it here!

ELANA JOHNSON - Last stop is Elana's tomorrow! Check out what she has to say about ROCK 'N' ROLL PRINCESSES WEAR BLACK!

Elana's novel in verse, ELEVATED, has been getting rave reviews! It's only 99 cents for a few more days! Buy it here!

Both of these books are on my Kindle, and I can't wait to read them!

Have an amazing week, everyone! Thank you so much for all of your wonderful comments and support for my new middle grade novel! YOU ROCK!