Showing posts from September, 2016


I am writing something new. It has dual narrators, two major settings, a fair number of secondary characters and, oh yeah, blackmail and murder. Not my usual teen romance! I was struggling to keep things organized and well-paced when I remember reading Justine Larbalestier's comments about writing her amazing novel, LIAR, in Scrivener. Daisy Whitney, Maureen Johnson and Lisa Yee can all be found gushing on Scrivener's "Testimonials" page. So, with feelings of hope and desperation mingling inside me, I clicked over, paid my forty bucks and became... The manuscript isn't finished yet, but here are my first observations: It was pretty easy to learn, despite my mediocre technology skills I have found myself WRITING DOWN more of my backstory and preparatory stuff (e.g., character worksheets, setting pages, chapter title ideas) and am glad they are there for reference and to offer a central place to record changes, especially things like names and subplot de

Mid-Career Mondays: Barbara Dee celebrates TRUTH OR DARE

Disclaimer: I have been a huge Barbara Dee fan since reading SOLVING ZOE (smart girl + theater geekery + puzzles + mystery = GoReadIt!) six years ago. Since then, I've discovered that Barbara is not only a marvelous middle-grade author but an altogether awesome person and champion of writer- and reader- and teacher-people. Don't believe me? Check out her website  where you'll find one of my favorite AUTHOR FAQ entries ever: So, I asked her... Was there ever a time in your writing life where you obsessed more about your "CAREER" than the books you wanted to write? BARBARA: I did. Around the time of my third book (THIS IS ME FROM NOW ON), I tried to develop my career by blogging in the cute, confessional manner of a very young author selling well at the time—and swiftly discovered that it wasn’t for me. I think that whether you’re writing a novel or a blog post, you have to be careful about looking over your shoulder at what others are doing, and stay

Your Writing Community

Writing is a lonely business. A butt-in-seat, fingers-on-keyboard, tuning-out-the-world lifestyle filled with rejection and uncertainty. So, despite often being viewed as an occupation for introverts, the fact is that writers need community, perhaps more than most. This morning, I was reminded of a what a lift one's community can offer. I attended this year's first meeting of KCLS Woodinville's Second Saturdays Writing Workshops, a series I have the pleasure of helping to curate. I arrived at the library, saw the welcoming face of Youth Services Librarian Pam, walked into the aptly named Community Room and there they were: Faces, familiar and new, all excited to put pen to paper. Guided by the smart and charming  Trudi Trueit , we spent two hours exploring the development of strong characters. We shared and were afraid to share. We talked about our summers. We laughed, hysterically and ruefully. We admitted our attraction to Jean-Luc Picard as well as (in ways overt and


S ATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2016 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM   Second Saturdays Writing Program at Woodinville Library  17105 Avondale Road NE, Woodinville Join the amazing  Trudi Strain Trueit  for this dynamic class: BEGINNING WITH CHARACTER An irresistible main character is an essential component of any great book. How does one develop a believable, compelling, unique protagonist? Trudi, author of nearly 100 fiction and nonfiction books, including THE SISTER SOLUTION (Aladdin MIX, 2015), is here to kick off this year’s SECOND SATURDAYS PROGRAM with answers to these and more compelling character questions! Trudi’s workshop is open to writers in grades 7 to adult. Registration is not required but, if you're so inclined or want more details, click here . Hope to see you there!

PB Reading List: Big Feelings

Fear, beauty, art...despite the occasionally uber-adorable protagonists, these slim volumes often tackle deep, dark issues. Here are three favorites that delight, soothe and, ultimately, encourage young readers to embrace the truth of their own identities. A nearly-wordless homage to nature and emotion .  The ultimate tale for anyone, of any age, facing a new adventure . Making art trumps making war . Need I say more?

Reading Guilt?

Between client deadlines and self-imposed manuscript word count minimums, I could literally spend all of my waking life typing into a keyboard. But I don’t. Sometimes, I step away to do a bit of yoga or, less often, to take a rainy stroll around the block.   Other times, I take a break with a book.  Even when my own words feel far from perfect, I find solace and inspiration in the work of others. I know that, despite that nagging feeling that I should get my nose back to the grindstone, I am doing something important to hone my craft—to keep growing in my mind and my heart. This week, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is tucked into my purse and Jennifer A. Nielsen sits on my end table.  And I won’t feel guilty because none other than Virginia Wolf has given me permission!  
Book Commentary Policy: From time to time on this blog, I will comment on titles for which I have written marketing materials, or by authors I know personally. The opinions are entirely my own and I am not being compensated in any way for noting these titles. They are simply relevant to the topic I am discussing or worthy on their own merits.

Privacy Policy: Should you choose to enter a giveaway or contest via this website the information will be used solely for the purposes of drawing and contacting winners. Information collected at this site is never sold to third parties.