Jan

29

2015

How to Make an Author’s Day

Filed under: Book Auntie Braggery, Book Reviews, Check-it-out, Community, Critique, Fan Mail, In the Wild, Pondering, Publishing, Reading, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I recently tagged a couple people in a Facebook post about a friend’s book trailer. I knew the subject matter of the book would highly resonate with them AND I know this author is an amazing writer. Win-Win for everyone! In less than ten minutes there were several people interested in ordering the book who never would have known about it before.

Initially, there was a little confusion because the book is available for pre-order but it won’t be out until 2/5.  But one of my friends jumped in and clarified the way a pre-order works and how it’s VERY helpful to the author to have pre-orders. Was it wrong that I wanted to kiss her on the lips? I forget not everyone eats, sleeps and breathes publishing. So, today I thought I’d give some simple tips about how you can make an author’s day.

Many books

*Buy their book. Pre-order it if it isn’t out yet.

*Buy the book as a gift for a friend or a donation to a school or library.

*If you loved the book, tell everyone who has ears they should read it ASAP! Nothing can compare to word of mouth for the success of a book.

*Write a review for Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any place that sells books. It does not have to be an insanely long and complicated essay. You can write one sentence and have the eternal gratitude of the author. Reviews make us feel good, but they also are important to the gods of Amazon and it’s algorithms.

*Help the author spread the word when they run contests or share information.

*Tell the author their books had in impact on you. You may not realize it, but fan letters make our hearts grow three sizes when we read them.

 

Now go forth and make an author’s day. And feel free to share any additional tips in the comments.

 

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Jan

27

2015

Bitching up a Blizzard Makes You Batshit Crazy

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, In the Wild, Pondering

I was just a part of the Blizzard of 2015–which  didn’t quite blow into what would even be considered a hearty storm in my area. To be fair, in some parts of the northeast, they got completely walloped. But in my neck of the Hudson Valley, we only got a couple inches. No one’s power was out for a week and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the only injuries have come from a family member grabbing another family member by the neck during a hot headed game of monopoly.

But for today’s blog I’m not actually writing about the storm. I’m here to talk about why I would never want to be a school superintendent, a city or state official, a weather person, first responder in a storm or the driver of a snow plow.

Straight Jacket

It’s because the rest of the population is batshit crazy.

Don’t be offended. Just learn to laugh at yourself, because honestly, if we don’t laugh, we’re going to be very embarrassed. The poor people who hold the jobs responsible for these decision-making weather calls, have a snowball’s chance in hell of looking like a hero. Even the ones out there, braving the elements and putting in sleepless nights. They can not possibly win in the decision making game. And I repeat, it’s because the rest of us are batshit crazy. Hell, we’ve proven that just by how we play monopoly, right?

If you don’t believe me (but I suspect you know exactly what I’m talking about) I could pull example after example off the news, Facebook and Twitter supporting my theory of batshit craziness. The internet was flooded this morning with all kinds of deep batshit thoughts like…

-we could have had school.

-the roads were unnecessarily closed.

-we could have gone to work.

-our insane need to swarming the grocery store and the home depot could have been avoided.

I can only imagine the conversation that the couple from the Home Depot parking lot must’ve been having this morning, after their huge melt down yesterday, when their newly purchased, unboxed generator (they drove an hour to get) wouldn’t fit in the car AND THEY DIDN’T EVEN GET A FREAKING BLIZZARD.

It’s enough to make a person batshit crazy.

But here’s the thing, I’m pretty sure that if things had gone the other way, we’d all be bitching up a blizzard about our fearless leaders not being safe enough. In fact I heard that two weeks earlier when we were hit with an unexpected ice storm. There were an insane number of accidents on the road and NO ONE PREDICTED IT OR DID ANYTHING TO STOP IT!!! But we can’t have it both ways, my batshit crazy comrades. We can not complain about both sides of the same coin. I mean we can, but as you might suspect–that makes us batshit crazy.

For better of for worse, we’ve created a litigious, judgmental society and it’s unrealistic to expect the decision makers not to cover their own asses. It’s the culture, us batshit crazy people, have created. If you don’t like it, it’s time to change the culture. Or get your ass to college, so you can try your hand at being a meteorologist.

Today, or any day like this, instead of complaining, try thanking the people who stepped up to try to do the right thing. It’s a novel idea–but maybe we should appreciate them for doing their best to try to keep our batshit asses safe. Now go shovel your driveway or strangle whoever bought Park Place and Broadway.

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Jan

22

2015

Drafting Series: Chasing a Hot Mess in the Dark

Filed under: Drafting, Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’ve spent the last couple weeks digging back into my WIP. After the crazy holidays and the introduction of the puppy, I needed to take my printed copy and read it while making notes. I needed to be reminded of where I was going and what I’d been trying to do as I strung words together.

But in typical fashion, every time I curled up on the couch with my pen and highlighter in hand, I felt myself getting nervous. What was I going to find as I sorted through the pages? What would I discover when I read what I had from beginning to end? The truth is that I’m always expecting a hot mess. And why shouldn’t I? It is a rough draft after all. Those are always ugly.

 

Businessman overwhelmed by paper

 

I finished the detailed read through today and got what I expected–something that still needs a ton of work. But I was also pleasantly surprised by what is coming out of my head when I’m not really paying close attention to the big picture. There is great stuff in there and I’m super excited. In fact, it’s giving me the incentive to push forward with the draft because, I know that when I’m done, I’ll have something worth revising. There will be avenues to explore, threads to weave and countless possibilities. I WILL make it to revision with this book LOL! Sure, CHASING ADAPTATION has sent me on a merry chase, but suddenly it feels as if it’s unfolding the way TOUCHING THE SURFACE did when it started to come together in my head. And that makes me very optimistic about the future of this story. It makes my soul flutter.

So, for all of you writers out there in the same position, stop focusing so much on the draft and just write. Think of it like driving in the dark. You can still make the journey even if you can only see as far ahead as your headlights. You’ll get there if you just keep moving forward.

 

 

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Jan

20

2015

Get Moving and Do What You Were Put HERE to Do

Filed under: Check-it-out, Pondering, Writing

I’m fighting off a cold and I feel like snuggling on the couch with a good book, but I still want you to be inspired.

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Today is the perfect day to get moving.

If you know what you were put here to do…just go and do that.

Which part inspired and spoke to you today?

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Jan

15

2015

Och Aye

Filed under: Book Reviews, Check-it-out, Reading

I started reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon back in the late 90’s. I was living overseas in Germany as a newlywed. And I know I’m dating myself, but WAY BACK THEN, the internet wasn’t a thing. We didn’t own a computer or a cell phone. Our international phone bills were very expensive so our families called for 30 minutes to talk on Sundays. You should have seen the bill the day my new kitten died. :( But anyway, back on track. My mom sent me the first three Outlander books and since I couldn’t waste time on Facebook, I devoured then and shared them with my best friend Kim. We were nuts about the books.  We had silver rings like Claire and matching Fraser Plaid scarves. Okay–I still have them and I may have even ended up with a kid named Jamie. LOL!

But in truth, as much as I loved the books, reading and rereading, it’s been awhile since I was engrossed in my favorite highlander time travel saga. But, with the new series on TV, my love of it all has reignited. And it made me realize I’d pushed the two most recent books to the wayside while reading so much YA. But, hold onto your kilts because I’m BACK and reading…

2832909And *fist pump*  I’m loving it.

But the real purpose of this blog post isn’t just to tell you what I’m reading. I had to share my dirty little secret–everything I say now has a Scottish accent when I hear it in my head. Och aye–you understand lass, don’t you? In fact, I bet you do it too. I’m only shocked I didn’t name me wee new pup Rollo.

What are you reading?

 

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Jan

13

2015

Puppy Perspective

Filed under: #lifeofriley, Family, Pondering

Yesterday the whole Sabatini clan was spending the day home because of icy rain. At points throughout the day the kids were able to slide down our steep driveway on their butts like they were bobsleds. The pup was not nearly as adventuresome and needed a helping hand every time he stepped out the door and onto the ice. Like his monstrous, completely uncontrollable, feet weren’t already enough of a problem. Once I almost went down with him LOL!

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As much as I love my ice skating pup, I did have to stop and take note of how “less than pleasant” it was to venture outside in the freezing rain at pretty regular intervals all day. Even though Riley’s learning fast and is eager to please, he’s still not completely potty trained yet.

So, while I was outside, just passing the time, I started to think about about how people in cities potty train puppies. What the heck happens if you’re on the umpteenth floor of an apartment building and your pooch has to run outside every 20 minutes? Are puppy bladders even capable of waiting for elevators or jiggling down multiple flights of stairs? Sometimes my little guy barely makes it out the door. Suddenly, my situation was looking a lot more desirable than it had 30 seconds earlier.

I know you’re fist pumping the air for me, but I also bet you’re wondering how puppy whiz training relates to writing,

Perspective.

In the world of publishing, everyone has a tendency to compare their journey with someone else’s. Most of us try to put on blinders so we can focus on our own work and our own journey. But as you can imagine, it isn’t always easy. So, today’s bit of advice, for when you’re feeling “crappy” is to adjust your perspective. If you can’t stop peeking at what everyone else is doing, mix it up. Choose to measure yourself against the people who have it harder than you–the ones who have a lot more steps to travel to get to the same place. It won’t actually make your publishing adventure any easier, but it will give you a wonderful sense of perspective and that might just be enough for you to feel okay standing in the rain.

If anyone knows the poop scoop on urban puppy training policy, please feel free to enlighten me. Just don’t mess with my perspective and tell me it’s easier than I think.

 

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Jan

8

2015

A Range of Different Things

Filed under: Blogging, Community, Pondering

I’m cross posting at the YA Outside the Lines Blog today.

yaoutsidethelines copy

 

But this one felt important enough to also post in it’s entirety here…

 

Today I’m going to talk very briefly about diversity in YA, but in a way that is bit different than what I expected to touch upon. Initially, I’d planned on talking about being a girl. It interests me how girls are constantly trying to break glass ceilings in life, but in the world of YA literature, the lion’s share of what is produced tends to be very girl-centric. It bends my mind a little bit to play around with the implications. I wanted to discuss it. I wanted your thoughts.

But unfortunately I can’t really focus on that today.

I’m too disappointed.

When I looked up the definition of diversity it said…A RANGE OF DIFFERENT THINGS.

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The word range was the link I needed to write about my growing concerns. More and more it feels like people all over the internet (even in my beloved YA community) are taking pot shots at each other. It feels as if cyber lynch mobs, toting guns that shoot high powered words, are running wild. There is a mob mentality that feeds off the frenzy of taking someone down a notch–of putting them “in their place.” But for what? It appears to be for being “wrong” or dare I say DIFFERENT.

I’ve been watching it unfold for quite some time, but recent events have kickstarted my thoughts. I don’t want to take up your time discussing why so many of us act so deplorably. It makes my head hurt to think about it. Instead I’d like to do one small thing to at least attempt to be part of the solution. I’d like to publicly acknowledge that there are moments when we absolutely should stand up and fight for our beliefs. Those moments are–wait for it–diverse. They mean different things to different people. But I’d like to believe the things worth fighting for (for most people) are good intentioned. Which leads me to bullying. Bullying never comes from good intentions. It is selfish and cowardly. It is small. And it’s not just something children do. I’ve seen a room full of PTA moms make another woman cry. I’ve watched as authors, teachers, police, soldiers and many other dedicated professionals are disrespected when they are trying to give. Perfection is not interchangeable with intention. I can’t remember the last time I was perfect. But there aren’t enough stars to mark how often I’ve tried.

Taking pleasure in making other people hurt is disturbing.

I don’t know how to stop it.

But I believe that small acts, done by many, have the power to make big change.

Haters are always going to hate, but let there always be more of us who are doing something great.

Every day it is your opportunity to be diverse in your thinking and in your actions. Today is your opportunity not to be a bully. It’s your chance to be a range of different things.

Tell me something great, people…

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Jan

6

2015

I Want a Word Too

Filed under: Check-it-out, Pondering, Writing

All my writer buds are picking words. I know what you’re thinking. Writer’s pick words all the time–lots of them. It’s part of the job description. But this is different, everyone is talking about a mantra, goal or intention for the year. I LOVE this. And now I want a word too. An inspirational word is sooooo much better than a resolution, right?

Word block

 

As you might guess, picking one word to encompass a year’s worth of living is a challenge. As soon as I started to think about it, words began flying at me from every direction. Amazing, fabulous, exciting applicable words, but one stuck out.

internalize: to make (something, such as an idea or an attitude)

an important part of the kind of person you are

Why is this my word for 2015? Here are some of the random thoughts that connect the dots for me…

*Writing great books has to come from within. The true motivation can not be about my place in publishing. It can only come from knowing my own place in the world.

*What is inside of me is not contained within another person. It is my obligation to bring my unique voice to the table, where it can eventually move outward and connect with readers. This outward movement of my thoughts can only START from within.

*When I read books by A.S. King, I understand what it means to internalize the human condition and then share it with the world. Her books inspire me to pay attention to what is inside of me. I find the unique way she internalizes her thoughts to be fascinating and I want to be able to do that in my own right.

*I need to remember to slow down and move inward more often. The world moves at a speed that is almost incomprehensible. I need time and space to sift through the embers and fan the sparks. Day dreaming is a valuable use of my time despite what the rest of the world might think. I will not give it up.

*Making time to read more and more good books is not only a pleasure, but a catalyst for shaking up the things I have inside that have not yet marinated enough to be sufficiently internalized.

*Internalization is another word for truth in my twisted mind. I might be able to lie to everyone else and I may be able to pretend to lie to myself, but deep inside I always know the truth about me. Internalization is the brave acceptance of an undeniable truth.

*The “rules” I need to follow in the writing game are unfortunately always changing for me. What works one week may not work the next. Instead of letting that rock my boat, I need to understand that at my core, my needs are fluid. And because I truly can’t lie to myself (see above) I know when I’m living up to my own writerly potential. It is not healthy to compare my journey with anyone else’s. Internalizing this means knowing when to push and knowing when to cut myself a break.

I’m sure I could write ten more of these, maybe even twenty. The more I internalize one deep thought, the quicker another one steps into the periphery of my mind, reinforcing my word choice for 2015. I’m looking forward to next year already. This word thing is going to be addictive.

Did you pick a word for 2015? If you did, I hope you’ll share. If you haven’t, it’s never too late–words are free. And freeing.

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Jan

1

2015

A Decade of Missing His Little Things

Filed under: Family, Uncategorized

Today it’s been a decade since my dad died. At first I started to say it’s been ten years since I lost him, but that didn’t sound right. As much as I miss him, I never feel as if I’ve “lost” him. He never seems absent to me. Rather it feels as if our relationship has been altered to fit our new circumstances–like he’s crossed through a magical wardrobe or passed through a wrinkle in time. He’s no longer huggable, which is a definite downside to this phase in our relationship, but the trade off is that there’s a fluid, intuitive connection between us that exceeds what we had when we were just an arms length away. But despite the continued love between us, I really miss having him here.

Kim and Dad at Powell Point-Grand Canyon July 1998

In memory of my “old life” with my Dad, my husband helped me find this video. It reminds me of why his absence still feels so big–he’d always showed up in a million small places. He was this guy for so many of us. He’s my role model.

Love you and miss you Dad. <3
Today in the comments, please celebrate someone living who is doing the little things that mean the most.
Happy New Year and don’t forget what’s important in 2015.

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Dec

30

2014

Home is Where the Heart Is

Filed under: Family, Pondering

Because I believe…

If you get lost, you can always be found.

Just know you’re not alone.

Cause I’m gonna make this place your home.

Today my heart is happy. Hope yours is too.

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