Thursday, November 6, 2014

Win 50+ books on a free Kindle. Sound good?


Attention teachers, librarians, tweens, and parents of tweens! Announcing a contest just for you... The Emblazon authors are giving away a brand new touch screen Kindle loaded with over 50 of their books. That’s a $300 value and hours of reading entertainment! Emblazon is a collection of authors who seek to create lifelong readers by creating top-notch literature for kids. They have a particular focus on ages 11 to 14. They’re hosting this fabulous giveaway to celebrate their first year and to treat you, the readers. The Rafflecopter contest runs November 3 through November 17 and is open to anyone who loves tween literature. a Rafflecopter giveaway Note: Signing up for the catalog is required for entry. Current subscribers are also eligible for entry. Winners must reside in the United States or Canada. 



List of Stops on the Blog Tour:

November 3rd:


November 11th:

November 12th:

November 15th:



You can help even more by sharing this post with your friends and family. If you know teachers or librarians let them know about how awesome the Emblazoners are by sharing the link to their website: http://emblazoners.com/
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Keeping it Real

There’s more to writing “tween” books than making characters come to life, crafting unique plots, and weaving suspense and humor throughout.
You also have to keep up with the times—what’s cool nowadays? What do nine to thirteen year olds think about? Are you using phrases or similes that relate to them?
This concept became obvious to me a few weeks ago when my husband and I decided to take my kids on a hike in Southern Utah.
photo 4
We were in an area with lots of natural red-rock formations. Some of them were high up on mountain tops, like the “elephant rock.” Other face-like formations were on the sides of dangerous cliffs. There was one outcropping of rocks on the top of a plateau, however, that was within our reach. By the locals it’s called the “milk bottles.”
“Huh? Milk bottles?” my kids asked. “What are those?”
It’s true. My children have never seen a milk bottle before. To them, milk comes in one gallon plastic jugs at the local grocery store.
We pointed to where the milk bottles were. They couldn’t see them. We then explained the precise location. Still nothing. Then we did one simple thing that changed their entire perspective.
“Think of them as water bottles,” I said.
“Oh,” my children said, “we can see them now!”
So, in the morning hours of that late summer day, I hiked, with my husband and children, to the “water bottles.”
Fifty years ago kids would have been stumped if you’d called them water bottles. Who drank their water out of bottles? But in 2014, that’s what our kids know.
One word can make all the difference.
photo 5 (2) photo 2 (2)photo 1 (2)
Sunday, September 7, 2014

Nerd Eye Candy

Salt Lake City had its 2nd annual Comic Con this last weekend. From the reports I read, it is now the 3rd largest Comic Con in the U.S., only behind New York and San Diego.

Members of Writers Cubed (creators of the Teen Author Boot Camp) were there raising awareness for teen literacy and lending support to budding teen authors. (Or flowering in some cases.) On Friday, I talked with at least fifty teens who are writing books all on their own. They have so much ambition and creativity. Kudos to each one of them!

Here are a few photos I snapped when I wasn't at the booth. I have to say, I caught the professional wrestlers at a good time, especially considering how bad the camera on my phone is.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why does summer always feel like this?

video

During that first week of June, just when we're all trying to re-adjust to everyone being home all of the time, sometimes I think the next two and half months are going to be a long time. Then things begin to pick up: family reunions, scout camp, girls camp, youth conferences, overnighters, art classes, drama classes, camping, parades, late movie nights, and the list goes on.

All of a sudden it's nearly the first of August, school will start in two and half weeks, and I ask myself, "Where did time go?"

Here's to summer and all the fun we've had!
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Morphing: In books and real life

Morphing characters (not to be confused with morphling, the powerful painkiller in The Hunger Games) seems so easy to do. A character begins as one person and turns into someone or something else. There is a popular MG series based on this concept called Animorphs.
In real life, however, morphing is not so simple. I have two children that are morphing into something new at this graduation time.
Sixth grade grad
My sixth grader will be entering junior high next year. It always amazes me how much change happens in a tween’s life as they move from elementary school to junior high. Some of the changes are great. Others not so much.
Second of all, my oldest is graduating from high school and moving onto college. It's a big change that is laden with many bittersweet emotions--excitement, regret, hope, worry, etc. She's going to be moving out on her own, which is going to be so awesome for her, but she is so much fun and responsible that I am really going to miss her.
Senior grad announcement
In writing, when we morph a character into something else, the idea is that the transition needs to be seamless. Sometimes the morphing takes a while, like a person slowly becomes someone else over time. An example of this is in the classic book, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Other times, the character morphs abruptly like going from a teenage boy into a werewolf. I’m sure you all know a book or two where this happens. If not, ask yourself where in the world you've been for the last ten years. :)
Regardless, to make a seamless transition there needs to be preparation, build up, and a clear explanation of how it happens. If not, it doesn't sit well with your reader.
My husband and I were listening to an audio book once when, at the very end of the story, the author had written herself into a corner. So what did she do? The main character all of a sudden realized she had ESP and talked to the mind of another character to get out of the climatic problem.
It BOMBED!

Just as I have tried to prepare my real children, build them up, and explain (as best I could) what the new stage of their lives will bring, we can do the same with our characters, only we have a lot more control (which, let’s be honest, is really nice sometimes.) 
Friday, May 16, 2014

The Adrenaline Rush


Eloise at Hershey Track
Attending my kids’ Hershey Track meets at the end of the school year  always reminds me of my elementary school’s “field day”—that’s what we called it 30+ years ago where I went to school.

Field day was always a big day for me. I’m not sure why, except for the fact that since running took little skill, it was something I could do.

Unlike many of the kids when I was growing up, I was never involved with dance, gymnastics, karate, soccer, softball, etc. . . In my family we mostly just did chores, watched reruns on TV, and had an occasional game of ping pong.  (Yes, we also walked uphill both to and from school.)

But running was easy for me, and I loved the feeling it gave me. I still do. There is nothing better than putting in my earphones or meeting my running buddies and taking off for jaunt around the neighborhood.

I have one of those bodies that about 10 minutes into my run, I get an amazing adrenaline rush and feel like I could keep going for forever. Yet sometimes I still drag my feet getting started. It doesn’t make much sense because I know I’m going to feel better, so why do I fight it?

Larson at Hershey Track
I’ve deciding writing is a lot that way. Often it is a battle for me to get started. I bake bread. Do a load of laundry. Clean up the kitchen. Move junk from corner of the house to the other. I do anything but write. Why do I put it off? I know once I’ve started I’ll get a rush of adrenaline that will make me feel like I’ve had a “complete” day. When I got to bed at night and haven’t written a thing, I feel like a failure. But even if I’ve written only a page, I go to sleep at peace with myself.


With summer coming on, there will be even more distractions in my life. So I’m trying to think of a way to inspire myself to write every day. I’m not sure how to do it yet, but once I’ve figured out my system, I’ll post it for anyone else that struggles like I do. If you have an idea, please pass it along.
Monday, April 21, 2014

The book club phenomenon

“The first rule of a book club is that nobody
really wants to talk about the book.” 
When my youngest child entered first grade, it was a bittersweet moment for her. She was sad because, as she explained, she wouldn't be able to go to "book club" with mommy anymore. True story.

For the last fifteen years, my book club has not only influenced each one of my children, but it has given me an anchor to the most amazing bunch of women I know. Thank you. I dedicate this short note to you and to your shining examples.





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I'm a mom and author, among other things. I enjoy writing middle grade and young adult books.

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