Archive for the ‘The Class of 2k12’ Category




LA 2016 SCBWI Conference Part 2 (Saturday) #LA16SCBWI

Filed under: Check-it-out, Class of 2k12, Conferences, Kim Sabatini, Kimberly Sabatini, Publishing, SCBWI, Stuff I Love, The Class of 2k12, Writing for Children

I’m back! And ready for #LA16SCBWI Part 2–Saturday.

You can’t start your day wrong with Jon Klassen: FINDING YOURSELF IN THE WORK


In case you live under a rock, Jon is the fantabulous author/illustrator of the hat books and more.



And according to Lin, he’s also one of the two hottest Canadians on the planet.

And we have one of them with us at #LA16SCBWI! LOL!



NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 16: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends the Catalyst Awards Dinner at Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 16: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends the Catalyst Awards Dinner at Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)


The laughs never ended after that comment, but Jon also brought his depth to the table in addition to his humor…

*”The worst thing you can think about when you’re working is yourself.” Agnes Martin

*Don’t think about your style.

*Your style is mysterious and should be opened up–but not by you.

*Take care of the machine that makes the style.

*Write the stories your brain is able to produce then evolve with your instrument.

*Stop trying to be creative. Don’t try to get a butterfly, you’ll get a car. Embrace the car. Force vs. Flow


Next up was Marie Lu: THE CREATIVE LIFE


Marie was fabulous–I can not begin to tell you how professional, charming, sweet, honest and adorable she was. I was blown away by her work ethic and her ability to speak so eloquently about her experiences. Here’s some of her take aways…

*Was born in China and moved to the US when she was 5.

*New Orleans was VERY different than China LOL! Her first time out exploring was during Mardi Gras. ROTFL!

*Starting writing as a teen.

*Went to work at Disney and was surrounded by creatives for the first time in her life.

*Being published is NOT relevant to being a writer.

*Every writer proceeds at their own pace, in their own way. The process itself should be reward enough.

*Marie has received well over 500 rejections in her writer’s life so far.

*You can’t perfect something that doesn’t exist.

*With time and practice you will get there, but you have to finish something in order to progress.

*Rejection comes for all of us–don’t fear it. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you will thicken your skin in preparation for the really tough criticism.

*Talent is over rated–most of what gets you there is passion, perseverance and hard work.

*Accepting criticism is the key to growth.

*If the critique isn’t “correct” it only means that something isn’t working.

*A high tide lifts all boats. It’s difficult to tame the envy monster but know that books lift books and writers lift writers. <3

*Be brave and listen–none of know everything or are always right.

*Never defend yourself–listen.

*It’s scary to be called out but remember no one goes out with bad intentions.

*As scary as it is to put yourself out there as a writer–think about how scary it often is to be the reader.

*Those readers are worth the work of being brave. <3

*We are all in this together.


Then this happened…


My Eastern NY SCBWI RA was chosen to give the keynote from last year’s crop of Crystal Kite winners!!!


Hahahaha! I took no notes during Nancy’s speech. I was in the audience cheering, smiling, preening and proud. It was an  excellent speech. It had dogs and writing inspiration. It was fabulous. You should book her for your next event.



Saturday’s first Break-Out session was with Justin Chanda: PRO-Track CAREER LONGEVITY



Justin is the Vice President and Publisher of the four flagship children’s imprints at Simon & Schuster: S&S Books for Young Readers, McElderry Books, Atheneum, and the new Salaam Reads. AKA—BAMS! Here’s a look at publishing through the Chanda Filter. As always, I could listen to him talk for hours.

*Always keep communication lines open. Establish the chain of command.

*Communication from an assistant is coming from your editor. Treat them with respect.

*Never think of your agent as a tool.

*A good editor is there to challenge you–not rewrite your book.

*No one wants an unsuccessful book.

*Creative differences happen, but we are all on the same page.

*Always be realistic about achievable deadlines. Advance notice of realistic expectations is better than missed deadlines.

*Make sure your working on your book, not just working on marketing it. At the end of the day readers want books, not marketing.

*Advertising doesn’t work–especially with children’s books. And $10,000 doesn’t even move the needle.

*What does work? Word of Mouth.

*If you do book tours, it’s inevitable you’ll be at an event where no one shows up. Use it as an opportunity to be professional, make connections and be charming.

*School Visits–there is an entire other industry set up to support us.

*It takes time to get traction as a speaker at schools and conferences.

*Social Media–don’t get caught up in the echo chamber.

*Twitter is the best/worst thing to happen in Kidlit.

*Unforgivable Practices–Never air your grievances on social media.

*The most important thing you can do for self promotion is to get other people to talk about your work.

*Keeping the book alive after the first year–work on the next book. Your next book promotes your first book.


Even at #LA16SCBWI there’s time for Lunch!!!! But then we are back for Carole Boston Weatherford: THE POWER OF PREMISE


I’m so sorry–I don’t have a lot of notes from Carole–she had one of those keynotes you just sit and soak in. She had me at… A premise is a promise that your manuscript will deliver on…

Next up was a panel discussion: INGREDIENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL PICTURE BOOK


MOD-Laurent Lin–LL

JB–Jessixa Bagley (author/illustrator)

JP–John Parra (illustrator)

SR–Susan Rich (Editor–Little, Brown)

BS–Barney Saltzberg (Author)

DT–Don Tate (author/illustrator)



JB–the book has a completeness to it.

JP–magical feelings

SR–it has to stand up to weary parents and antsy toddlers.

BS–Rhythm of the page turn, element of surprise.

DT–Connection through emotions

SR–If we knew what the secret ingredient was we’d replicate it.

BS–Put Jon Klassen’s name on it. ROTFL!


SR–there are hooks (curricular and seasonal) that can make your books stand out–don’t start with that.

BS–You have to be careful who you share your work with and at what stage.

JP–it’s up to us to define ourselves–be unique.

BS–Take your ego and bury it in a box in the backyard. There is wisdom out there to be heard. Show up daily.


And I was waiting all day for this one…



Neal started with an “adorable” representation of his 3rd Grade Teacher…


I’ll let you use your imagination on how she influenced Neal. The good news is that he had a strong and persistent personality.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Neal also talked about the fallacies he believes surround the writing process.

*This is how you do it.

          -There isn’t one way. Do what works for you.

*Focus on your strengths.

           -If you want to be a writer you have to be well rounded and work on your weaknesses.

*Writer’s Block is real.

           -There’s no such thing. It’s writing when it’s hard and calling it that gives you permission to walk away. Being stuck it part of the process.

*If you build it, they will come.

          -They’ll be walking by on their phones *snicker* Keep building over and over.

*Never ask for feedback from someone you feed.

          -Family can be honest. My kids call me out.

*If traditional publishers won’t publish you, then e-pub.

          -I know this probably isn’t a popular view, but if e-pub was available  I never would have been traditionally published.

          -Gate keepers are there with there rejections for a reason. When I look back, my work deserved to be rejected,

           -traditional to e-pub is a little different.

*You must have your writing place

            -In high school I had that–it was called detention. Now I write everywhere and get inspired. Check it out…

Why Do We Write?

-It’s all about the reader.

-Deep down we have a belief we have something to say.

And a reminder…If we are doing it right, we are always terrified we aren’t doing it right.

And that was the end of the instructional part of the day, but it don’t worry–the day was far from over…


I got to hang out and chat with Marie Lu and she signed my book!

I also got to check out all our fabulous illustrators at the Portfolio Showcase.

There were also Happy Hour Hangouts with the agents and editors.

Followed by the Red Carpet Ball


Our costume goal for the costume contest was to pull out all the stops and glam it up Hollywood style. Nothing says glamorous Hollywood then Fred Astaire!


I even had my tap shoes on.


A class of 2k12 fancy meet up for me and Lynne Kelly or maybe Ginger?


And I wasn’t the only one dressed up. The fashion police were on the scene. Some body was getting ticketed.


There was also a long line of red carpets LOL!


There were loads of people on the dance floor.


And even the balconies were full.

And later when things wound down, it was lovely to take off your top hat and sit outside.


And when you think there are no surprises left in the day…


You come back to your room and wonder if you’re having some unexpected company LOL!

Hoping all this good advice resonates with you. Which bit of inspiration speaks the loudest for you?

And don’t forget to stay tuned for #LA16SCBWI coming soon.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,




LA 2016 SCBWI Conference Part 1 (Friday) #LA16SCBWI

Filed under: Check-it-out, Class of 2k12, Community, Conferences, Publishing, SCBWI, Stuff I Love, The Class of 2k12, Touching the Surface, Uncategorized, Writing for Children

Hello… it’s #LA16SCBWI time…is there anybody out there? I know. I’ve neglected the blog, but for a good reason. Blogs are secondary to the writing and the writing has been my priority. But I LOVE my SCBWI conference blogs. They help me process everything I learned and I also love sharing a bit of the magic and insight with those who couldn’t make it. Plus I missed you. So, let’s go to #LA16SCBWI together!




Compared to last year, my journey to #LA16SCBWI was a breeze. No hassles. Everything was on time. The Jet Blue snack was blue chips. I even had my roomie picking me up at the airport and we defied the laws of LA rush hour and made it to the hotel in a record amount of time for the afternoon. Everything was perfect until…


My luggage lock wouldn’t come off. Really???? I think what happened was I accidentally twirled and twisted when I should have pushed and clicked–resetting the combo to a magic number I did not know. Grrrr. I thought about trying all the possible combinations then called the hotel desk and had a lovely gentleman cut it off for me. Crisis averted. Dinner was had and friends caught up. Easy Peasy. And when all was said and done, I fell asleep and never rolled over until morning. Not even the Biltmore ghosts could wake me.

Yes, the Biltmore hotel, the sight of #LA16SCBWI is supposed to be haunted. Do you see the wee ghosty on the SCBWI folder? I wouldn’t lie. Totally haunted. I’m positive, although I didn’t see, hear or sense a thing.


But any building that looks like this inside must be haunted, right?






BTW–sorry for the grainy pictures–I left my good camera at home by mistake. Boo!

But the ghosts aren’t really the important part–unless they inspire some fabulous stories. We were there to get our kid lit on and we took off running on Friday.



Steve Mooser and Lin Oliver were on the scene–Lin entertaining us with stories of her senior prom and bachelor party at the Biltmore. Which by the way, was built in 1923 and was originally a cathedral. And this past weekend it housed…

-952 Full Time Attendees (with a 950 seat ballroom) Good thing there were always spatially challenged writers who had trouble finding their way around the building LOL!

-348 Published

-603 Pre-Published

-47 States. (West Virginia was absent and Vermont. But Lin figures they were still too busy feeling the Bern)

-15 Countries

-And there were some interesting primary occupations listed: 101 Full Time Artists, Cake decorator (because frosting is a legit medium), 93 FT Writers, A Writer/Shepherdess (and obviously a good one–never saw a single sheep in the Biltmore), 3 Paper engineers, a Bonsai Artist, a cluster? herd? swarm? flock? pod of lawyers? and a Retired Housewife. Lin didn’t know that last one was an option. Sign her up!

And our joke contest was Books in the Olympics–write your own headline!

In LA the faculty also marches in and shares their word of the conference. Here are some of my favorites from #LA16SCBWI…


David Diaz–melarchy

Arthur Levine–personal

Justin Chanda–inclusivity

Ginger Clark–Brexit

Peter Brown–awkward

Nancy Castaldo–noble

Lisa Yee and Martha Brockenbrough–Wonder Woman

Alvina Ling–Breathe (she was congested)

Linda Sue Park–(for anyone who cares about kids) VOTE!


The first Keynote Speaker of the conference was Drew Daywalt of crayon fame.



Drew was funny and sweet as he talked to the group. Here are some of the most interesting things Drew had to say…

*Jack Gantos wanted Drew to write for children–he was his Obi Wan Kanobi

*Did you ever notice how crayons are in your house but you didn’t buy them?

*20 years later..”I told you so, idiot!” Jack Gantos

*First school visit he panicked but the librarian told him he could bring THE box of crayons LOL! A boy raced past”security” and jumped in his lap and said…”I love you, Mr. Daywalt.” It changed his life. <3

*Hollywood kicked me for 20 years and knocked me down and a million little hands caught me. <3

*Be true to your voice.

*Be vulnerable.

*Authors find meaning in the meaningless and define meaning in the meaningful.

*Don’t overstay your welcome. *waves*





Next up was Pam Munoz Ryan: ONE WRITER’S CONFESSIONS


Things she’s learned along the way…

*Getting published and discovering I could still fail.

*If you’re not struggling to learn something new, you’re failing.

*If you aren’t struggling, you’re setting your goals too low.

*I wasn’t self actualized to feel marginalized. (On not seeing herself represented in the books she read)

*Things that get you out of writer’s block–a deadline.

*I don’t have a muse, but I’m still waiting.

*I don’t write every day. A writer has a relationship with writing.

*Goal: I want the reader to sit down and turn the page.

*It still stings–writing doesn’t get easier for me.

*I write in a feeble attempt at immortality.

*I read to forget and I write to remember. <3


Every conference has those bathroom breaks between speakers and they are perfect for coffee and meeting friends you’ve only loved on line. So pumped I FINALLY got to meet Lynne Kelly on of my fellow Class of 2k12 siblings. <3 Such a lovely treat.


The next Keynote belong to Justin Chanda (VP & Publisher of four children’s imprints at Simon & Schuster)


Justin took the stage fighting the urge to suggest we unify the party. LOL! Here were a few things going on in the industry…

* 2015-2016 was a great year for independent books stores.

*Kid lit is doing well, but blockbusters are driving the overall sales while the mid-list are struggling.

*Blockbusters keep the lights on.

*It’s a big leap of faith to acquire a picture book. Because of that editors are selectively looking for character drive, humorous books that appeal to adults as well as kids. You have to be the best of the best to get a deal in this market.

*Advice: Write, Illustrate, Rinse, Repeat.


Sorry it’s a little dark. Remember I forgot the one with the telephoto lens. Grrrrr But even so, I can vouch, this is my first break out session of the conference. It was a Pro-Track session with Don Tate on SCHOOL VISITS.

Don gave a sample of his own presentation, followed by advice and tips from himself and multiple experienced authors/illustrators. It was a wealth of knowledge.


He also shared the fabulous Debbie Gonzales who works with the academic standards to create projects, presentations and study guides. She’s currently working with TOUCHING THE SURFACE and I’ll be excited to soon launch some fabulous new ways that TTS can be used in the classroom.




SB-Stacey Barney–Senior Editor (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin)

KB-Kat Brzozowski–Editor (Swoon Reads/Feiwel and Friends)

AL-Alvina Ling–VP and Editor in Chief (Little, Brown)

MM-Melissa Manlove–Editor (Chromicle)

NP-Neal Porter–Publisher (Neal Porter Books)

MR-Matt Ringler–Senior Editor (Scholastic)

SS-Sara Sargent–Executive Editor (Harper Collins)

RS-Reka Simonsen–Executive Editor (Atheneum)

KS-Kate Sullivan–Senior Editor (Delacore)

Moderated by: ED-Emma Dryden (Dryden Books, LLC)

Each editor was asked to talk about three books they proudly published and talk about why they were meaningful. They also gave advice to the audience. I missed a few here and there and I can’t possibly effectively duplicate their gushing–but here’s what I can give you…

SB–Firebird, The Lions of Little Rock, A Crack in the Sea

      *Breathe, publishing is a marathon. It teaches patience. Work on your craft.

KB–RL Stein’s Fear Street Series, When the Moon Was Ours

       *Build a strong network of people. Publishing is small. Reciprocal relationships.

AL–Thunder Boy Jr, The Year of the Dog, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

       *Rejection is not personal.

MM–Picture This, President Squid, Josephine

       *Inspiration is electric, but it’s the lightening bolt that hits the person grinding the generator. You have to do the work.

NP–Giant Squid, School’s First Day of School, Ideas Are All Around

       *Do I HAVE to write this book? Is there intense feeling?

MR–Kill the Boy Band, The Hero Two Doors Down, Puppy Place Series (Because you can’t have a bad day picking out puppies for book covers ROTFL!)

          *Rejection can feel personal, but it’s an industry thing. Editors can’t always get what they want.

SS–Cruel Beauty, The Museum of Heartbreak, Last Year’s Mistake

          *Look for the window where you know what an agent/editor likes but then make it different.

RS–Enchanted Air, THE WICKED AND THE JUST (In caps because it’s a fabulous book by my Class of 2k12 sib J. Anderson Coats) and Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal.


        *Write what you love.

KS–Ash, Rapture Practice, Passion Counts


Next up was another Keynote with Jenni Holm: IT TAKES A FAMILY

Jenni shared lots of personal stories but this fact was key…If you’re going to write about your family, write about your mother’s family first LOL!

And then, just when you think you can’t do one more minute of conference, we got to celebrate the Golden Kite Award Winners and have a celebratory dinner.


We even had a display in the lobby of our celebrated books for #LA16SCBWI


And don’t forget the pyramid of chocolate. It was very yummy.

And on that sweet note, I’ll leave you to digest this first day of #LA16SCBWI and I promise I’ll be posting more soon.

 Want to see a little bit more of the Biltmore and it’s Hollywood History? Check out this video…

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,




2015 A Bookish Year In Review

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Audiobooks, Book Auntie Braggery, Book Reviews, Check-it-out, In the Wild, Publishing, Reading, Stuff I Love, The Class of 2k12, The Ladies Noir, Wolf Pack, YA Books, YA Story Sisters, Young Adult (YA)

Here’s my 2015 Bookish Year In Review. Want to sign up for the 2016 challenge on Goodreads or learn more about the books I read in 2015…you can check it out HERE. One of my favorite part of this years reads is that the lion’s share were books by my peers. Represented were some of my closest writing buds, The YA Story Sisters, The Class of 2k12, The Apocalypsies and Michelle Wolfson’s Wolf Pack!!!! 

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.44.53 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.45.29 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.45.47 AM
Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.46.11 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.46.23 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.46.34 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.46.47 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.47.00 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.47.11 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.47.23 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.47.35 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.47.47 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.47.58 AM Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.48.26 AMScreen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.48.33 AMWere any of these on your 2015 book lists? Which ones did you miss that you want to read in 2016? Did you read as much as you wanted in 2015? What’s your goal for 2016?




Security Creates Sleepy Hamsters, Fuel for Publishing Adventures and Friendships

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Check-it-out, Community, Family, Pondering, Publishing, SCBWI, The Class of 2k12, Wolfson Literary, Writing

In August as the end of the summer drifted away and the impending doom of school lay before my boys, I noticed my 11yo become increasingly more anxious. He’d had a rough time with an abrupt school transition at the end of last year. And now there seemed to be a residual fear haunting him. So, I caved and got him the hamster he’d wanted for the last year. Part distraction and part incentive to stay positive, it did the trick. Perhaps sometimes all you need in life is someone who understands your secrets and shares a few of their own. There is security in friendship.



But once the 9yo laid eyes on the 11yo’s Blueberry Dwarf Hamster, he started saving for one of his own. And because I loved little Fredrick so much, I said what the heck–we went to get the next little furry friend on Sunday. This hamster is keeping me on my toes. This tiny, big-eared, baby girl name Herbie is a handful and she’s made me very nervous.

photo 10

First she was so shy, burrowing and disappearing for hours and I was sure she wasn’t eating or drinking anything. And she was soooo tiny, I thought for sure she was still nursing or too young to take home. I called the pet store and they reassured me she was old enough. I kept trying all kinds of things to help her feel comfortable. Then we gave her a chunk of apple. It was if she awoke from a deep slumber. She started eating and running. Not just a few trips around the wheel. I’m talking about almost TWELVE hours of running. Herbie is certainly the Louie Zamperini of hamsters.  No wonder she’s so skinny LOL! But the more she ran, even during the day when she should be sleeping, the more I worried. Hamster with OCD? Run, Eat, Clean, Small Hamster Nap on the Wheel–Repeat. So, last night after the 9yo was loving on her–I “rescued” the little imp and while I was teaching my boy more about her, I held her in my hand while stroking her head. When I looked back down…

photo 11


She was sound asleep. And I realized something very important. Sometimes we all need to feel secure. Challenges and hardships are how we move forward. Change is how we arrive at the better new things we’re usually too afraid to venture out towards. But in the middle of change and challenge–sometimes we just need a few moments to feel secure. This is true with writing for publication. Returning to a manuscript again and again without knowing if it will ever find a home is a lot like running non-stop on a hamster wheel. Am I really gong somewhere? And if you really do “arrive”–I’m here to tell you that as happy as I was to be dropped in the Habitrail of Simon & Schuster, it was confusing and scary and at times immensely overwhelming. But there were people who made me feel secure along the way. I’m fortunate, there were many of them, but I am particularly grateful to my family, my agent Michelle Wolfson, my editor Anica Rissi, the SCBWI and my fellow debut authors from the Class of 2k12 and the Apocalypsies. They fed me small bits of advice and chocolate and smoothed my fears when my heart was racing. They talked me off the wheel when I was a little bit excitable and just couldn’t stop myself.

And then let’s talk about “internet security,” but with a twist. Lets face it, publishing success and horror stories are easily accessible online–only a google search away. And the truth is that sometimes the good stories can mess with your head just as much as the scary ones can. We tend to be creatures of comparison, jealousy and insecurity at the worst of times. Be careful what you expose yourself to. I encourage you to use those resources to be well informed and learn things that will make you a better writer. I want you to read books and articles and interviews that will allow you to be inspired daily. Having access to that is a gift. But watch what you take in and what it’s consumption does to you. It’s important to find the people and places that make you feel secure. Surround yourself with people who care. They might not always get everything right, but more often than not they do. You’re not always looking for the person who speaks hamster, but rather the one who cares enough to try and understand.

Lots of great things can happen for people who have enough moments of security in their lives. Those special moments fuel the tank for adventure, create friendships and allow uptight hamsters to take a little nap. But even more important, you just can’t begin to imagine where those moments of security will lead you.

photo 8

I hope you find my blog a small, hamster-sized space of security that helps you get through all your adventures. I know that when you show up here, it certainly makes me feel like I can close my eyes for just a little bit and dream easy. Thanks for being a friend and follower. <3

Tags: , , , ,




TOUCHING THE SURFACE is out in Paperback TODAY! Enter to Win a Copy

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Author Events, Book Signings, Booksellers, Check-it-out, Class of 2k12, Community, Conferences, Contests, Dancing, Family, In the Wild, Publishing, SCBWI, The Class of 2k12, Touching the Surface, Wolfson Literary, Writing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)





TOUCHING THE SURFACE is out in paperback TODAY!!!!!

Where you can find it:


*Barnes & Noble


Can you believe it’s been almost a year since I became an author? And even longer since I sold my first book and got an agent. Here’s a little walk down memory lane. Humor me–I’m nostalgic today. So in no particular order because that would add a layer of organization I’m not capable of, here’s just a few of my most fabulous moments between finding my agent and birthing a paperback…


Standing outside the Simon & Schuster offices.

IMG_3530 IMG_3507

Apocalypsies at the LA SCBWI Conference!!!


Meeting my agent (Michelle Wolfson) and editor (Anica Rissi) for the first time. <3


The Class of 2k12!!!!!

The day I got my ARC of TOUCHING THE SURFACE!!!!

Came home from a run to find my ARC’s had finally arrived!!! Such a squee moment!!!

ARC-Touching the Surface

The ARC!


Authors, Simon & Pulse friends and Writer Buds at the NY SCBWI Conference. <3

Kimberly Sabatini_sm_B

Bookmarks!!! Thanks Jeff Fielder.


Bringing my book to the Golf Bag Holder (Eastern PA Poconos Mountain Retreat with Jodi Moore.)


First book I ever signed went to Laurie Halse Anderson. Love her.

photo copy 2

This made it feel so real.

YAmazing Race

Loved participating in the YAmazing Race with my Apocalypsies!!!


First author event, even before my book was out. LOL! With my buds from the Class of 2k12. <3


Making friends at BEA!!! Lisa and Kim.


First BEA was even sweeter because I got to spend time with my fabulous agent. <3


Blogger love <3  Finally got to meet Erica!!!!

yotlicon copy

Joining YA Outside the Lines. 


It was a BEA Apocalypsie event of awesome.


Ummmm I got to hear JOHN GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!


Made amazing new blogger friends. Kim and Grace. <3


Hanging with Jay Asher at LA SCBWI–Dude, it was awesome.

Bookanistas Button FINAL

Joining the Bookanistas!

photo copy

Kimmiepoppins met Mary Poppins!!!! I met Julie Andrews!!!!


Signing my contract!!!!!! I AM GOING TO BE AN AUTHOR!!!


My book was at Bologna. Takes my breath away.




My Yanni dance girls wearing TOUCHING THE SURFACE T-shirts. <3


Signing books at my book launch.

292773_4420084214186_1223200558_n 387884_506246456066770_1961295071_n

Good friends drove in from far away despite all the trouble with Hurricane Sandy.


Just an amazing experience.


Unable to thank my friends and family enough for their love and support on that special day.


More book launch at Oblong Books. I LOVE that bookstore and everyone in it. <3

Kim and Dad at Powell Point-Grand Canyon July 1998


Dad–there–even when he couldn’t be. The dedication.


On bookshelves in bookstores.


Kimmiepoppins finally gets a book launch in NYC after Hurricane Sandy delayed it. Mean Hurricane–awesome party.


Woo hoo!!! I got to speak at the NY Public Library.


I’m a fangirl–it’s A.S. King people!!!!!


I’m a fangirl–it’s Sharon Creech people!!!!


My first SCBWI faculty gig at the Eastern NY SCBWI Conference–where I got paid to talk with my hands about things I love.

photo 2

Connecting with teen readers and making hedgehogs. *grin*

photo 1

Loving on my writer mama, K.L. Going. <3 Wouldn’t be here without her.

And because you made it to the end of my reminiscing…you shall be rewarded with a chance to win a signed copy of the brand spanking new TOUCHING THE SURFACE paperback!!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,




Recap of the New England SCBWI Conference–NESCBWI13

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Book Signings, Class of 2k12, Conferences, SCBWI, The Class of 2k12

Here’s my recap of the New England SCBWI Conference for the second time. I got this half done for Friday when my oldest son’s school transportation had the drivers go on strike and then my other two kids came down with strep. I decided to postpone the post and finish it over the weekend.  I saved it and and then the gremlins that live in my computer erased only the part I’d finished. *head thunk*

I arrived at the conference at around noon on Friday and did all of the standard checking-in and hugging friends things. Then it was off to the first sessions.

Friday 5/3/13



I love attending events by my Apocalypsies and Class of 2k12 siblings. So much fun!

Favorite take-aways…

*Everyone IS buying bookmarks and everyone WANTS bookmarks for swag, whether you like it or not LOL!

*Twitter is the most popular place (debut author questionnaire) to focus your social media push, but tumblr is where the teens are.

*  *  *


This session started off with some relaxation and focusing techniques. I became so relaxed I forgot to take a picture and may have almost fallen asleep at one point LOL!

Favorite take-aways…

*Are you here?

*Women are great multi-tasks but being a multi-tasker is not in your best interest. You can get stuck on the bridge between the right brain and the left brain.

*Requests (received or given) should always include the right to decline and a clear expectation of fulfillment.



Favorite take-aways…

*Be true to the work.

*Should the parent be the gate-keeper or do children effectively police their own reading material?

Saturday 5/4/13


Keynote–THE WORDS WE CHOOSE TO SAY by Sharon Creech

A HUGE fan-girl moment for me!!!! Yes, she really glows in real life. <3

Favorite take-aways…

*Find your own voice, your own rhythms–it makes you a better writer.

*Use it all (great ideas) when you’re writing. New stuff will grow. Words generate words.

*Don’t be in such a hurry to publish your story. Time may allow you to deepen it. There could be something profound under there.



I LOVE Kate! That’s all.

Best take-aways…

*Revision is finding and strengthening the heart of your story.

*You can’t revise, to bring about the heart of your story if you don’t know what the heart is.

*Writing off-draft can help you understand things.

*Trying something you’re not great at can free you up.

*Use a mentor text to guide your way.

*Make what you need to explore and fix your book. (Charts, maps, timelines and outlines)

If you want to learn more about Kate’s amazing revision tips–check out her book REAL REVISION.


Time for lunch and another amazing Keynote with author/illustrator Grace Lin


Stephanie, Megan and Kendra


Annie, Me, Jodi and Eileen

Best take-away from Grace Lin’s keynote (sorry I don’t have a picture)…

You’ll be your best self when you are yourself in you writing and art. <3


Workshop G–THE ART OF THE OUTLINE with Elisabeth Papdemetriou

Best take-aways…

*Don’t confuse learning the skill (of outlining) with the act of outlining.

*Plot and character are inseparable.

*Outlines should include every single scene in your book.

*Have your closing scene echo your opening scene.


 And I FINALLY got to meet Jo Knowles. I’ve participated in JoNoWriMo for years and Jo was one of those warm and giving authors who mentors those around her–plus I love the books she writes. Check out her latest, PEARL which won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award!



Workshop H–THE POWER OF POINT OF VIEW with Linda Urban

She is hilarious by the way.

Best take-aways…

*I believe we are living in an increasingly 1st person world. 1st person is only going to grow. Writing in 3rd person may allow you to stand out.

Saturday’s Autograph Party!!!!!


Katie chatting up the awesome Nova Ren Suma.


Sharon Creech signing for my friend’s daughter who is her BIGGEST FAN!!!!!


Of course I’m I HUGE fan too!!!!!


Jodi chatting with Jodi.


Kate Messner signing a book for the Fishkill Frogs!


Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of the MG novel ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, signing and making friends.


Greg Fishbone (Class of 2k7) and AC GaugheBrendan (Class of 2k12) hanging outIMG_5096

REVISING A CAREER: TIMING, TRUST & TEAMWORK with Brenda Reeves Sturgis, Emma Dryden and Karen Grenick

Favorite take-aways…

*Don’t quit–ever. <3


Some down time in the Sheraton while waiting for the Ballroom to open up.


The Books for Boston collection bin.

Check out some of the inspirational messages written in the books going to Boston.

Sunday 5/5/13


Sarah Lamstein, Jeannine Atkins, Padma Venkatraman and Pat Lowery Collins (Boo my picture didn’t come out!)

Favorite take-aways…

*I tried to pack Padma in my suitcase. All four authors were great, but she stole the show. LOVE her!

*When story and history collide–story always wins. (PV)

*The attitudes of the times plays a role in the story/plot. (SL)

*The reasons writers aren’t diagnosed as schizophrenic is that we listen to the voices in our head instead of conversing with them. (PV)

*Create a LOVELY FILE to put all the darlings you cut–then you will always have them. (PV)

I Intensive–ADVANCED PLOTTING with Chris Eboch

I was very busy in this small, pro-track class and you guessed it–I forgot to take a picture. *smacks own hand*

Favorite take-aways…

*If your main problem can’t be introduced early, find a way in, something that gives a hint.

*Be careful not to open too fast. Give the reader a little time to get acclimated.

*Action without context is not a good thing.

*Likable character plus a bad situation makes the best story.

*Real life drama needs to be set up correctly to be believable to the reader.

You can find our more about Chris Eboch and advanced plotting HERE.


More Apocalypsie love!!!!! And yes, I was too busy meeting Kami in person for the first time that I…didn’t take a picture. Should have gotten one of us together. Drat!

Favorite take-aways…

*Add believable traits to your characters.

*Characters with both good and bad motives and traits naturally create much desired tension.

*Books are about physical, emotional and spiritual journeys.

Kami posted some stuff on humor from another of her sessions on her blog. You can catch it HERE!



And because I always have to buy one more book LOL! Hanging with the AWESOME Padma Venkatraman, author of CLIMBING THE STAIRS. <3

Me, Padma, Jodi and Megan

And then it was time to say goodbye and drive home. NESCBWI was an amazing conference and I’m so glad I got the chance to grow. It truly had the feel of an International SCBWI Event but with the intimacy of a smaller conference. Lots of fun and I hope to be able to attend again next year too! Have any of you been to NESCBWI before? Any new authors that you’ve now got to put into your TBR pile?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,




I’m Back and 2012 Makes Me Grateful!

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Blogging, Class of 2k12, Community, Family, Reading, The Class of 2k12, Touching the Surface, Wolfson Literary, Writing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Sorry I’ve been off-line for the holidays. I contemplated taking the week off but decided not to, then my server was getting work done and I couldn’t get a post up. After that, I had family in, kids sick and lets just face it, I spent some extra time reading. I remember the first Christmas (1999) in my current home. My brother bought me the first Harry Potter book. I was teaching 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at the time and I kept seeing all these kids carrying around these Harry Potter books but I hadn’t actually started reading them yet. I can remember opening up the book on Christmas morning and thinking how much I love it when a gift giver knows you better than you know yourself.

I had no children at the time, so I settled into a comfy chair by the fireplace, eating clementines and reading HP1. Of course, then I had to run out to the store to grab the rest of the HP’s that were already in publication. This year, since I had sick kids on the couch for a few days, I pulled up the same chair in front of the fire, put in ear plugs and read, read, read. It was blissful. Sometimes it’s nice to be forced to slow down a little.

photo copy


You can see how I got distracted from my blog, right? *grin*

But I’m back!!!! Woot!!!! And isn’t that what a new year is all about? Reflecting and making some resolutions…

Last year at this time, I was biting my nails in anticipation of 2012–the year my book would be published. I can remember my husband leaning over as the ball dropped and saying…”this is your year!” And it was. It was amazing. So many wonderful things happened to me in 2012. What am I the most grateful for? I have a huge list, but for here, I thought I’d focus on a few of my favorite things involving my publishing journey. Here’s the format: What I’m grateful for, plus a tip or two for the aspiring or newly minted author.

*The first two things I’m grateful for aren’t things–they are very special people–my agent Michelle Wolfson and my former, but always editor, Anica Rissi.


Tip: This triangular relationship is more important than any book you write. Why? Because people are always more important than things. The book will be a common ground that you all share, but books happen in peaks and valleys. One day you are at the top of the world and the very next you are old bubble gum on someone’s shoe–it’s inevitable. But, you should never be old bubble gum to your editor and agent. They should be the type of people who love you for yourself–who see all the books that live in your soul–whether you write them or not. I’m so grateful–that’s exactly what I was blessed with.

*I’m also grateful for two very amazing groups of people–my debut author siblings–The Class of 2k12 and the Apocalypsies.





Tip: Do you remember the Who’s down in Whoville and how they needed each little voice just to be heard? That’s how it works. It is hard to stand alone in a sea of books and get noticed. It was awful nice to have friends to “amplify the noise.” But more importantly, it’s just lonely being all by yourself. It was such a wonderful thing to be surrounded by friends who knew exactly what you were going through. Prior to February 2011, I spent a huge amount of time dreaming of the moment when someone would buy my book. And of course I had day dreams of covers and book signings, but I never really had a clear picture of what happens behind the scenes and neither did any of my debut author friends. Honestly, it can be very overwhelming at times. We made ourselves a support group–a kind of family. We shared the bits and pieces of the things we did know. And we worked together to figure out the rest. It helped–it helped a lot. These are the people who I cried to when things felt bad. These are the people who prevented me from doing stupid things. These are the people who laughed with me and cheered for me. I love these people and I will be friends with this amazing group of authors for the rest of my days. Don’t pass up a chance to have a group of friends like this.

*I’m really grateful for my family and friends–my community.


Tip: This isn’t really a tip–just a joyful observation. My local book launch was a huge success. I felt like a rockstar. In the middle of Hurricane Sandy, my community came out to both of my book launch events. They came and they came and they came. And what touches my heart and always will–was that they didn’t come for my book–they came for me. I could have written a huge pile of poo and they would have come and given me that moment of joy. At that point, they had no idea if I’d written anything good. They just came and with their actions they said…you are one of us and we are proud of you. I’ve since gotten lots of wonderful feedback about TOUCHING THE SURFACE. Phew–most people seem to love it. I hoped they would. I dreamed that my book could be something that they were proud to share. I cherish every text message, every FB post, every comment that I get. It means the world to me, but I’ll always know–that even if they weren’t going to like my book–they came. They came for me. Priceless.

What were some of the best moments of your 2012? Did you have a wonderful holiday? Did you know I missed you while I was reading?






Tags: , , , , , , , ,




Class of 2k12/13 in the Spotlight–MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza with an ARC Giveaway!!!!

Filed under: Book Reviews, Check-it-out, Class of 2k12, The Class of 2k12, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I know a couple of you have been waiting for it, so I won’t delay. My copy of the MILA 2.0 ARC by Debra Driza is up for grabs!!!!!  Just in case you’re not familiar with my fellow Class of 2k12 (pushed back to Class of 2k13) classmate, here’s a little bit about MILA 2.0 and Deb Driza…



Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity–style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.

You can Pre-order MILA 2.0 here…

*Barnes & Noble




Kim’s Review of MILA 2.0:

MILA 2.0 made me nostalgic for one of my favorite shows as a kid–the Bionic Woman. Only this time, I got to be in the characters’ head and I loved it. Driza’s did a wonderful job expressing what it feels like when Mila learns she isn’t exactly who she thinks she is. Additionally, the tag line for the book is fantastic–No one suspects what she’s made of–I adore the play on words. While MILA 2.0 is a fun and exciting read, a mash-up akin to The Bionic Woman meets the Bourne Identity, there is a sweetness to Mila that made her very likable even though she’s kind of a badass underneath. It gave the story a very nice balance. I had a blast reading MILA 2.0, now I can’t wait for the next one!


Debra Driza

I’m a wife, a mom, a dog lover, a writer, a physical therapist, and the owner of the messiest purses on the planet. No, really. Sometimes I worry that I’ll reach inside for my keys and lose a hand in the process. My YA thriller series debuts in March 2013 with Katherine Tegen Books/Harper Collins. Oh, and when I grow up, I want to be Veronica Mars.


Now on to the really fun stuff–how to win the ARC of MILA 2.0. It’s not hard at all…


a Rafflecopter giveaway

See what I’m willing to do to make your Monday better. *grin* I hope you win!

Tags: , , , , , ,




Monday Morning Clean-up

Filed under: Check-it-out, Contests, Team Tipping the Surface, The Class of 2k12, Touching the Surface, YA Books

On Monday  mornings I usually find myself cleaning up from the weekend. Seems like my tiding up is extending to my online life also. Here are a few loose ends–all in one location.


*Just a reminder–Between now and THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 14th you can order a signed copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE right HERE!!!!!! Ordering a copy from Oblong books also means you’re supporting a wonderful Indie Bookstore for the holidays!

*The Class of 2k12’s year is almost over and our Class of 2k12 Epic End-of-the-Year giveaway of 20 Authors, 21 Books and just ONE winner ends on the 12-12-12. Don’t miss your chance to enter to win!!!! 

*I’m still looking for people to become Hot Spots for TOUCHING THE SURFACE. (Details HERE) I have one or more Hot Spots in…

FL, TX, SD, PA, CA, MI, NY, PA, AL, CT, IL, UT, NC, KY, IN, OK, NJ, SC, GA and WA

How was your weekend? Mine was great but went way too fast. Are you ready for the holidays or has your inner holiday elf run from the house screaming in fear? Have a marvelous Monday!


Tags: , , , , , , , ,




Class of 2k12 in the Spotlight–TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Book Reviews, Class of 2k12, Reading, The Class of 2k12, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’m so pumped–I’m one of the very first US reviewers for TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson!!!! I adore Cory and I am such a fan of her writing–I’m sure you remember how I gushed about her other debut novel IF I LIE. Loved it! Well, TOUCHED has been teasing me for quite some time now because it debuted in Germany first. And even though I lived in Germany for four years–I did not master the language. So I had to wait. But my waiting is over. *cheers* You on the other hand, you’ve got a few more weeks before you can get your hands on this one, but it will be worth it…

Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.
Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.
This is Book One in the Touched trilogy.

Publisher: Kensington/KTeen
Debuts: November 27, 2012
ISBN-10: 0758273339
ISBN-13: 978-0758273338

You can pre-order TOUCHED here…



*Barnes & Noble


*German Amazon

I also have to share the German cover of TOUCHED and TOUCHED 2 because I love them and that’s exactly how I picture Remy!!!!

Kimberly’s Review of TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson:

I have to start off by saying I just love the name Remy. I know it’s a silly thing, but a name can just set the tone for a book and the more I read, the more I unraveled the multifaceted girl behind the unique moniker. What I loved about Remy was that she was a beautifully balanced mix of strength and weakness. A also adored that she wasn’t a block head. By that I mean that I’ve noticed a trend where the MC is almost too heavily vested in fighting off the good things that happen. Realistically, we all make some dumb choices in life, but for me there also comes a point where I roll my eyes and say…

“Seriously? Well, that was just stupid. My cat even understands that this person cares about you.”

Remy wasn’t stupid–she had her insecurities and many legitimate reasons to be cautious, but she also was able to embrace some of the good things that were happening to her. I found that I really enjoyed that as a reader–even as a person who likes a little angst in her books.

I also loved the premise of TOUCHED. The concept of healers and protectors really took the paranormal into a completely different direction for me. I am intrigued by books that make me peek over my shoulder because I start to wonder if there really could be folks walking around with “unusual hidden talents”. I love to imagine worlds within my own existence and this book sparked that in me. TOUCHED was very fascinating and I can’t believe that I’m going to have to wait to find out what happens next. Grrrrrr

Corrine Jackson (pronounced Cor-een) is a young adult author repped by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency. Her debut young adult novel, If I Lie, will be published by Simon Pulse (August 28, 2012). Touched, the first book of her young adult paranormal romance trilogy, will be published by Kensington/KTeen (November 27, 2012).

Once upon a time, Corrine worked as a graphic designer before she switched to account management at one of the country’s top marketing agencies. She has a deep and abiding love for Anthropologie and intends to move into her nearest store when the employees aren’t looking and/or she can get her hands on a key (which she expects to find in one of their bins).

An education addict, Corrine has attended eleven different colleges, has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. A recipient of a West Chester Poetry Conference scholarship, she is also the former Editor-in-Chief of two literary magazines, including Statement (CSU, Los Angeles) and Dash (CSU, Fullerton). A member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators), RWA, YARWA, and AWP, she has mad skills in the kitchen, especially when it comes to pies and cupcakes.

 You can find out more about Corrine Jackson and her debut novels TOUCHED and IF I LIE here…









*Class of 2k12


I know–November 27th feels like it’s still a long time away, but to pass the time let’s chat. If you were a healer, but  you had to temporarily take on someone else’s injury and its pain in order to fix them, is there a certain injury that would be a deal breaker for you? Or would it be dependent on who you were healing? Would a skill like this be a blessing or a curse? How would you use it?

Tags: , , , , , ,

  1. Now Available

    Touching the Surface
  1. Follow Kimberly


  1. Archives



    agent Anica Rissi Apocalypsies blogging Bookanistas Book Launch Book Review Class of 2k12 Conferences Contest Dad drafting Drafting Series giveaway Jodi Moore John Green Kimberly Sabatini Kimmiepoppins Kim Sabatini LA11SCBWI Lin Oliver Michelle Wolfson NaNoWriMo Oblong Books reading revision running SCBWI Simon and Schuster Simon Pulse SYTYCD The Class of 2k12 The Opposite of Gravity Touching the Surface WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN by Jodi Moore Wolf Pack Wolfson Literary writing writing style YA Author YA Book YA Books YA Novel YA Outside the Lines YA Writer
  1. Links

  1. The Apocalypsies
    The Class of 2K12