I read for 10 miles yesterday!!! Wait that sounds a little weird. Let me clarify–I ran my longest run ever and the whole time I was running I was listening to a really awesome audiobook!!!!!! There are not enough exclamation points for a sentence like that. LOL! And it gets even better because I’ve acclimated to having a brain where half my attention is completely absorbed in the awesomeness of the story, but the other half is studying writing technique. *fist pump*
So, if I wasn’t clear about the awesomeness of what was going on, I spent about two hours of my busy day multitasking in the best of ways. I got to exercise while being simultaneously entertained and educated. And the bonus plan was that I didn’t have to feel bad about my Wednesday night bowl of ice cream because I burned 1,000 calories on that run. The only thing that was kinda tough was staying awake long enough to get my own writing done for the day–especially when everything (including my fingers) hurt LOL! I think today I’ll read the old fashioned way…snuggled up on the couch.
Anyone else reading for distance? Any audiobook lovers in the crowd? They are great in the car (can still be measured in miles) LOL! And they also make folding laundry a much better experience. Any guess about what book I finished on my run? I’ll give you a hint…it’s an adult apocalyptic novel getting a lot of well earned buzz. I really loved it.
There are lots of things I’m super excited about–fall foliage, apple cider donuts, Thanksgiving stuffing and mashed potatoes, my first Christmas in my new home and of course–book babies. In 2015 I’m going to be a Book Auntie for a few of my very special writer friends and you’re going to hear me squeezing about all the book baby stuff. That’s what Book Aunties do–so be prepared.
Today’s act of Book Auntie Braggery is the very intriguing book trailer for WHEN REASON BREAKS by my good friend Cindy L Rodriguez. But before we get to it, here’s a little bit about the book…
WHEN REASON BREAKS
13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.
A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.
In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.
Age Range: 12 – 17 years
Grade Level: 7 – 12
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (February 10, 2015)
And here is some early praise for WHEN REASON BREAKS…
“When Reason Breaks is infused with a rare blend of suspense and sensitivity, despair and hope. The poetic spirit of Emily Dickinson shines through the gloom of daily struggles faced by modern teens, as they discover the possibilities where they dwell.” –Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree
WHEN REASON BREAKS is available for pre-order. I’ve already got my copy saved, but you can reserve yours here…
Indiebound | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Powell’s | Book Depository | Books-A-Million
You can also add WHEN REASON BREAKS to GOODREADS!!!
For ARCs & publicity, contact Lizzy Mason at Elizabeth.Mason@Bloomsbury.com or (212) 419-5340.
Now I need to know–what was your favorite part of the trailer???
Today’s Bookanistas Review is THIS IS W.A.R by Lisa Roecker & Laura Roecker.
This is W.A.R. begins with a victim who can no longer speak for herself, and whose murder blossoms into a call-to-arms. Enter four very different girls, four very different motives to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan, and only one rule to start: Destroy James Gregory and his family at any cost. Willa’s initials spell the secret rallying cry that spurs the foursome to pool their considerable resources and deliver their particular brand of vigilante justice. Innocence is lost, battles are won—and the pursuit of the truth ultimately threatens to destroy them all.
Kimberly’s Review of THIS IS W.A.R.:
THIS IS W.A.R is an intriguing creeper of a read. It’s loaded with suspense, twists and turns. And I never quite knew exactly what was going to happen next and who was going to be responsible. If you want a plot full of conniving with a side dish of revenge, be sure to check out THIS IS W.A.R.
You can find THIS IS W.A.R here…
*Barnes & Noble
Lisa and Laura Roecker are sisters-turned-writing-partners with a love of all things Young Adult. Some call it arrested development, but the sisters claim it keeps them young. Plus, its cheaper than Botox. Lisa and Laura live in Cleveland, Ohio in separate residences. Their husbands wouldn’t agree to a duplex. THE LIAR SOCIETY is their first novel.
You can find out more about THIS IS W.A.R. here…
Want to know what other intriguing books the Bookanistas are reading? Check this out…
I’m not super well read in the YA Thriller/Mystery department. Let me know about you’re favorite creepy YA reads.
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.
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…
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.
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
Ohhhhh! Bright and shiny and new! Isn’t that how things always start off?
Think about back to school–everyone starts off perky and excited and about two weeks in the fluffy, fun, get-to-know you stuff is over and the focus is work. I’m not trying to say fun things won’t happen over the course of the school year–but lets be truthful–people are already posting on FB about having kids frustrated and in tears. Two weeks in and parents already need wine to get through their child’s homework challenges or to recover from the after school activity schedule. I know that even though mine are loving so much of what’s going on, they would trade it all in for homework free lazy summer days in a heart beat. And the novelty of making school lunches is sooooo over? Oh, wait–that was NEVER fun!
And then there’s running. I am determined to get back into shape and my best way of doing that is planning on running right after I get the kids off to school. Can’t go home until I’m put in some miles. (I don’t run everyday so this is a reasonable plan) And it’s been working. I’ve logged 33 miles so far this month when I only logged 7 in August! But let’s be honest, even though the more I run, the easier it gets physically, the more I run, the harder it gets because the first blush of young running love has turned into a kind of hum, drum begrudging relationship. *sigh* BUT once I start, I don’t feel that way. In fact, I feel great, but the starting–almost as bad as making lunches.
And let me tell you, the novelty of the 11yo’s fish tank has worn off completely. Now that I have two hamsters that are pretty low maintenance by comparison, I kind of wish that all the fish would peacefully die of old age in their sleep–tonight. Does that make me mean? Since all the fish are still alive, I prefer honest with the potential to write an aquatic thriller some day.
And speaking of writing. The novelty of a shiny new story ALWAYS wears off at some point in the process. But since I’m a more experienced writer than I used to be, I’ve also come to realize that the novelty of crying writer’s block has also worn off. I know too much to be able to shut myself down completely. So, here’s what I do when the novelty of a manuscript has worn off. These options may not be as good as writing 2,000 fresh and exciting words a day, but I think they are the bridges we use to carry us to the next high.
*Write at least a small amount of bad words even if you don’t want to. You might find something salvageable. You might jiggle loose a flood of good words. You never know. But at the very least, you’ll feel like you didn’t step away from the project for too long.
*Make a playlist, a Pinterest board, a map of your world, a character outline or take road trip to research something related to your manuscript. This is creative fuel for the road ahead and it helps to clarify your thoughts. It shines a light on your vision in a different way.
*Participate in mindless exercise and let your thoughts just float and see what happens. I’m a runner and this is a great brainstorming time for me. I never underestimate what comes out when I let my subconscious take the lead.
*Work on a different project. Be careful with this one. You can’t let the secondary project be a thing that allows you to never finish the original piece. But sometimes I find that I need to feel productive with something–any thing. And I do know that I will return to the MS at hand and get it finished. So I’ve been able to trust this method.
*Give yourself a break. Really. A day off here and there isn’t the end of the world. Just be working most of the time. Every once in awhile I notice that the dishes and laundry and all the other house and boy stuff has built up and it feels like Mt Everest is sitting on my chest. I’ve learned that taking a day off to right my world is better for my writing than trying to work while sitting in the shadow of a mountain of guilt.
*Be hard and flexible at the same time. Be tough–ask yourself to be professional and hard working and you’ll be happy you did. But don’t beat yourself up when something doesn’t go according to plan. It never does for ANYBODY. It’s never about always being right–doing things perfectly. It’s all about how you pick yourself up and drive forward, even when the novelty has worn off.
Got any other tips for what to do when the novelty wears off? Time to share–I can always use a few more.
Today is the 13th Anniversary of 9/11 and I’m always reminded of how I was glued to the TV–holding my infant son–my oldest boy who was 7 months old at the time.
This past week I’ve watched my 13yo start a brand new school. It’s not easy to begin all over again in the 8th grade. In a K-8 school, most of the kids have been together since the towers fell–or at least it feels that way. And as if being 13 isn’t enough of an obstacle in life, it also takes courage to walk into a new place when you’re dyslexic. Especially when the world evaluates a child’s intelligence thorough reading and writing. But I’ve watched him closely and I’ve come to believe that everything has gone so well because everyone involved has remembered something very important…
“All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”
by Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten…
These are the things I learned:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.
Today, of all days, always seems like a hard spot to find some wonder when there is so much broken. My mind will wander and walk with the ghosts of 9/11 and I’ll think about my friends in the military who rearrange their families like a Rubix Cube, in order to deploy a loved one to the other side of the world. As a writer I’ll bow my head to the brave journalists who believe that truth counts for something–everything. I’ll think about how race divides us when most of us only want to be friends. And I’m also devastatingly sure I’ll watch the news and see something awful I never imagined before. But then I’ll watch my boy–my beautiful, brave, flicker of potential and I’ll remind myself that everything we really need to make the world a better place–we learned in Kindergarten. All we have to do is remember what we know.
I will remember you.
I will remember for you.
For the purpose of this blog post, I’m going to lump platform, marketing and social media into one big ball of extrovertedness. For short we can call it Publishing PMS. And believe me when I say there are days when publishing PMS is about as pleasant as a bout of the hormonal blues. *sigh* Putting yourself and your book out there isn’t always easy and it can often make you moody and irritable. Since I first signed my contract for TOUCHING THE SURFACE, I’ve tried out lots of PMS approaches to enhance my foothold in the world of publishing. There are some that I stand behind for their effectiveness. There are some that I have no idea if they benefit me, but I certainly enjoy them. And there are some things that have proven to be an epic waste of time. I don’t have time to go through every little detail but I thought I’d share a few Publishing PMS bits of wisdom with you…
*Have a website and keep it up to date.
*Blog only if you like to do it and you can show up regularly. It isn’t about how often you blog, but more about how reliable you are to your readers.
*Pick your social media outlet of choice (twitter, FB, Instagram etc…) and make genuine relationships on it. If you’re dong it right, you should be giving to that community more than you are taking.
*The swag item I use the most is my bookmarks. Leave room on them to sign your name or add a small message.
*Create eye catching and informative displays for when you have a presentation table for an event such as a book fair.
*Try to find a unique and affordable supplementary piece of swag that helps you to stand out. (I used origami cranes with a sticker of my book and the phrase DARE TO DELVE written on the wings)
*Spend more time writing the next book than marketing the one that’s coming out.
*I think it’s worth the time to send out postcards to Indie Bookstores. Plan ahead and do a few at a time. If you are involved with a group of authors, pool your information and resources on bookstores and libraries.
*Join or create a support group for your debut launch or any launch for that matter. Banning together is great for publishing support, but also for emotional support.
*In retrospect, I would have taken the lions share of the money I spent on marketing, pre-ordered X number of books before my launch and then distributed them as charitable gifts to local or school libraries. While it’s hard to say if a book placed in a library will increase sales, it it likely to at least get your book in front of real readers. This may possibly create positive word of mouth and future fans who just might be looking for your next book. Plus–all those pre-orders don’t hurt either.
Those are just some of my thoughts. What tips would you pass along to deal with Publishing PMS? Do you have any questions about a certain PMS tactic? If time and money weren’t an option, what would you do to make your book a big ball of extrovertedness?
Ahhhh last night was the season finale of one of my favorite shows–So You Think You Can Dance. As many of you know, I’m not just a writer–I’ve been a dancer all my life. And the one think I’ve found is that the making of any kind of art stimulates the creation of more art.
My absolutely favorite dance last night involved the Top Ten contestants dancing with the All Stars. And the performance made me smile–it made my heart soar. That one dance perfectly captured the way I feel about life and the things I try to accomplish with my writing.
The secret is there’s as much joy in creating a ripple as there is in being touched by one. We are all drops in the same pond. Never underestimate what can happen when you replace fear with hope.
So, tell me. Did you watch this season’s SYTYCD? Did you have a favorite dancer? Favorite performance? How do other forms of art stimulate your writing? And even more importantly, do you understand the powerful effect just a drop of kindness can have on someone else? It’s time to rain down on those around you–whether you are dancing, writing, or just breathing–make ripples.
Normally Tuesday blogs are a problem when I’m coming off of a three day weekend. But this isn’t just any big weekend, it’s back-to-school week in the Sabatini house. And that mean’s yesterday, September 1st, was the official kick off to Kim’s New Year. January 1st might be for resolutions, but September 1st is always about fresh starts, organization and motivation. At least for me. So, because I’ve had this date on my mind, there was no way I was going to be late or miss this blog post.
Maybe you’re wondering why am I so super focused on my own private and personal back to school reset button? It’s simple–UNINTERRUPTED WRITING TIME!!!! Something I haven’t seen since last November when I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time. *fist pump* It was right after NaNo that we dropped into hard-core, preparing to move mode. There were also holidays, the actual move, an epic ton of snow to shovel thanks to the polar vortex and then my kids switched schools. Before you know it they were all home for the summer. Writing still happened in the middle of all the chaos, but it became this thing I did while unpacking boxes or in the middle of a noisy pile of boys. And it made me appreciate the days when I was allowed to have stretches of time to day dream in silence. At least between the loads of laundry.
Pulling on a few of the many writing lessons I learned from last year, I formulated my plan for this year.
*During NaNoWriMo I learned that showing up to my writing almost daily is very important to staying firmly entrenched in the world I’m creating.
*I learned that I’m competitive with myself and more likely to keep myself honest when I declare my intentions.
*Starting small usually results in larger than anticipated output for me.
*Supportive groups are my thing.
*I love calendars, charts, stickers, markers and spending time in Staples or the craft stores.
Sooooooo here’s my plan.
Right in front of my favorite writing spot, I’m posting a monthly calendar with my daily goal. If I reach my goal for the day–I get a sticker!!! I found some of the cutest stickers ever so this is highly motivational. What’s my daily goal? I have two works in progress that I’m having a blast writing. My daily goal is to write at least 200 new words on each project. Or if I’m in a place where I’m revising, I need to revise at least two pages of either project a day. This is not an unmanageable goal on most days. But the upside is tremendous.
In September, if I write just 200 new words for each project, I can accumulate 6,000 words on each manuscript. BUT…when I sit down to start writing, I almost never write just 200 words. Yesterday I exceeded my goal on a day I might have normally considered a non-writing day because I had company coming over for a picnic. Yeah–I wanted that cute little dog sticker. LOL!
Another part of making this method work for me is the power of accountability. I don’t just have people (aka my kids) walking through my kitchen, looking at my stickers and cheering or *gasp* shaming me because I have too many blank spaces. As if that isn’t enough LOL! But now I’ve also blogged about it. And at the end of each month I’m going to post my sticker chart. Let’s make this clear–I DO NOT WANT ANYONE SEEING ME NOT WRITING!!!!! Especially with my kids back in school. NO EXCUSES!!!! This will be a HUGE motivator for me to be productive. Maybe I’ll even have some banner days where I can draw in stars or hearts for uber excellence. BTW I can do that since I’m in charge of my own behavior modification.
But even public shame and humiliation has it’s limits. I mentioned I do better when I’m involved with supportive groups. Time to step up writer buds. Get your own calendar printed out ASAP! Go buy some stickers. Set a daily goal that is easily reachable. You are free to use or work off of mine– 200/2r x2. It stands for 200 words or 2 pages of revision for the two manuscripts that I currently an working on. Feel free to use the twitter hashtag #writesticky You can tweet to show me your calendars, shout out your successes or feel free to beg for motivation–I’ll be doing that too. Just remember, this is a no-brainer, with a whole lot of upside. So come be brainless with me and let’s get some writing done!
PS–If you’re not a writer, but have a goal and you’d like to participate–you know you can #writesticky too
I’m as sad as the next person about the end of the summer. *scratches head* Then again maybe I’m not. Sure I’m not looking forward to regularly scheduled morning wake ups, making lunches, three kids whining about homework, after school sports and the logical reduction of my ice cream intake. But gosh darn it–the summer makes me feel so unorganized. And that’s saying a lot–I’m pretty scattered on a regular basis. With a 6th grade orientation today and a bunch of other things, it took me until 2:53 in the afternoon to realize–hmmmm it’s Thursday–I kinda have a blog due. (And I only remembered that because I was thinking about posting a Throwback Thursday photo on FB LOL!)
So, here’s your #TBT pic…
This was me back in the late 90’s on top of a tower in Coppenhagen. :o)
And here is my list of reason why–as lovely as it is–SUMMER NEEDS TO BE OVER!
*I need regularly scheduled wake ups and bed times. My body likes it and this year I don’t have to get up super early so I’m doing a happy dance!
*Making lunches–this is a stretch because I have to make three this year instead of two, but I can start catching up on all those grown-up lunches with friends I haven’t seen all summer.
*Kids whining about homework means their brains are engaged. By the end of the summer, it has become obvious that my kids will benefit from the mental stimulation. And so will I!
*Yes, after school sports are a bear, but I’ll get my work done while they are at school and that makes me less resentful about my whole evening feeling like we are running non-stop. And all three boys are on the same schedule and out of school early enough for homework and dinner to theoretically get done ahead of time. I’ll keep you posted on how this works out for real.
*Let’s not kid ourselves–there is NEVER a dip in ice cream consumption. Silly reader.
*Jeans!!!!! I love wearing jeans and a sweater. It’s my outfit of choice with a pair of comfy sneakers or clogs. Happy days are almost here.
*Cool night and breezes. Windows open but snuggled under a down comforter. *sigh*
*Autumn leaves. Can’t wait to see the changes at my new house. Pics to come.
*Publishing is back from vacation and bookishness is in the air. And there are stretches of writing time without feeling guilty about having kids home.
*Running!!!! It’s my favorite time of year to run outside. FAVORITE!
*Stew, soup, and chili–YUMMY!!!! And hot chocolate with whipped cream.
*Trading in my air conditioning for my wood stove. Not a big AC girl unless the humidity forces my hand. But I do love to be warm and toasty.
*The kick off to the year’s best stretch of holidays LOL!
*RAIN–I know it sounds weird, but I love a good rainy day when it’s not a chess pool of hot humidity. *see woodstove and throw in slippers and a cozy blanket.
*The “REAL” new year. I always consider the first day of school my new year. September 3rd is a fresh start for me. <3
*And on time blog posts. Why are you laughing? Okay, if not in the fall–definitely in the winter. Ha!
What’s you’re favorite things about kicking summer to the curb?