Happy Halloween, from me… and my favorite costumed characters!
The Crimson Five’s skit was one of my favorite scenes to write, and their costumes were so much fun to think up. Need a last-minute costume idea? Spin the Golden Light Bulb has you covered:
• Kia: a dreamy-eyed little girl in pigtails, yellow overall shorts, and 10 rings
• Ander: a silly dancing jester in baseball pants, a vest with pointed shoulders, and a jester’s hat
• Jillian: a dramatic towns woman in a sparkly pink flapper dress, pearls, long white gloves, and a feather boa
• Mare: a bratty teen in a mini skirt, boots, choker necklace, and snapping gum
• Jax: an eccentric gatekeeper in a black top hat, cape, and very serious face
• Or you could always dress up as my personal favorite, their team preceptor: bubbly Seraphina, who would never be seen without a purple outfit of any type, purple platform heels, purple lipstick, and purple nail polish.
Have a fun day, everyone…I hope you see lots of creative costumes tonight!
And ready or not, it’s almost
that time… Let’s hope they come! Or I’ll be forced to eat all this candy
myself, along with the five extra bags that are waiting in the wings!
If you happen to be on Instagram,
check out my post tomorrow. I’m doing a paperback giveaway of the Crimson Five
books and I’d love for you to win!
Stay safe tonight! And don’t
forget to save some candy for the kids!
A few months
ago, a dear author friend, Vivian Vande Velde said something that made me
laugh. We were talking about our upcoming book releases and she asked me why publishers
refer to publication dates as release dates. She said something to the effect
of, “It’s like our books our being held hostage or in jail.”
If you aren’t familiar with Vivian’s books (or her sense of humor) you should be! She’s the sweetest person and the author of 39 books! I can only imagine having that many stories in me or such amazing longevity as an author. She’s written mostly middle grade and YA, though she’s written a picture book too. So needless to say, she has been in the publishing business a very long time, and apparently, the term release day is sort of new. But it got me thinking. It does feel like our books are held hostage for a bit. We’ve written them, revised them, and edited them. We’ve done our job. But then we send them off to our publishers so they can do their jobs. We have to let go.
So maybe held hostage isn’t quite right. It feels to me like they’re sent off to college. Like my kids. I know they’re there. I try to keep my distance and let them live their lives. I try to let go. But soon my book will be released. My kids will come back home. Both are cause for celebration! So much happens to books while they’re out of our hands—all necessary things. It’s incredibly hard to send a manuscript off for a final time, but that’s just it. When it’s time, it’s time. But the good news is, the next time you see your manuscript, it will be a book. Of course, it’ll be a galley or an ARC first, but once it’s released into the world, it will be the best version of itself. It will be published. Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh!
I’m almost in that stage right now. I’ll have one more pass at Pop the Bronze Balloon before I have to let go of it completely. But the incredible news is, I now have a release date!
February 18. 2020
It may be the start of glorious Fall right now and the sparkly crisp season of winter will be here before we know it. But just as the dreariness of slush sets in, I’ll have this to look forward to. Pop the Bronze Balloon will be released into the world…finally soaring into the hands of readers! Ahhh, I’m so excited! I cannot wait for that day!
That’s really all I had to say today. My long-winded round about way of telling you that in just over four months, the third book in the Crimson Five series will be available. And readers will finally learn what happens to Kia, Ander, Mare, Jax & Jillian when they embark on a globe trotting adventure. I hope you’re just as excited as I am! Okay, probably not, but thanks for being happy for me! You guys are really the best!
Have you ever thought about who you’ll dedicate your book to once it gets published? Or dreamed of writing the acknowledgments page? I bet you have. Writers imagine all sorts of things while writing their manuscripts and especially while out on submission. I most definitely did! Only, I never imagined the process of writing them would be so hard! Yesterday, I began the process of writing mine for Pop the Bronze Balloon and a couple of thoughts overwhelmed me: First, I cannot believe I’m writing this page for my third book, and second, this is just as difficult as it was the first time around!
So because your book will get published one day, and I
want you to be ready for it, I thought I’d tell you what it’s really like when
you get that email from your editor that says: “Hey, just thought I’d check in.
I meant to ask you… do you want a dedication page and an acknowledgment page
in your book? If you do, I need them both ASAP!”
Um, yes! And oh, no!
That’s when you drop everything and take a deep breath because you
need to get your thoughts on paper like yesterday!
Okay. It’s fine. No big deal. Just one of the most important pages you’ll ever write. But you’ve got this. You’ve written a whole book. How hard can it to be to write a few paragraphs thanking a few people?
Well, it is a little daunting. So, before you get started, here’s
10 things that will most certainly happen as you write your acknowledgments:
You’ve probably read hundreds of books through the years including every author’s acknowledgment page, but once you sit down to a blank screen to write your own, you have the terrible realization that you don’t actually know how to write an acknowledgment page. So, you grab the closest books to you and flip through the pages hoping to find a formula. That’s when you quickly realize…they’re isn’t one.
You’ll sob uncontrollably while writing them. The process of thanking the people who played a role in getting your 1st book published will feel like a therapy session turned trip down memory lane. And you’ll have an impossible time seeing the keyboard as you write.
A few paragraphs? Not likely. When you finally do get your thoughts down onto the page, it will probably read like an academy award acceptance speech. But longer. How can it not? So many people have played a role and you’ll feel like it’s your only chance to thank everyone because you may never get another book published again. And to be honest, there are a lot of people to thank. From your family and critique partners to your agent, editors, and publishing team there’s so many! Not to mention your friends, pets, and favorite coffee. The list is never ending!
You’ll panic that you forgot someone. And panic some more. But trust me. You didn’t forget anyone because remember, your page is now is longer than your first chapter.
You’ll try to write it in a humorous, witty, or other authorly way and it sounds terrible. But soon you’ll discover that if you write from the heart, the theme or tone you use doesn’t really matter.
You’ll revise, edit, and proofread it more times than some of your chapters. Because it’s your first book… and you are determined to get it just right.
You’ll be overwhelmed with gratitude because even though you spent years and worked incredibly hard on this book, it would have never been possible without all of these people working just as hard on your behalf.
If you haven’t already, you’ll decide which person or people the book will be dedicated to. And it will feel like the most important decision of your life. It did for me anyway.
You’ll stare at the page and wonder what life this is that you’re living, that this is really real. Your book will soon be published and you’re not dreaming any more.
And then you’ll reread the page one last time, sob some more, attach it to the email, and hit send…probably with a very happy heart. ❤
Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I’m so grateful you did! I’m off to polish up my dedication page for Pop the Bronze Balloon today. But first, I’m cheering for all of you reading this who are hoping, dreaming, and wishing that someday you’ll be doing the same for your own book. Never stop believing it will happen. Your time is closer than you think and I can’t wait to read your acknowledgment page one day soon!
If you guys are interested in reading Spin the Golden Light Bulb, Flip the Silver Switch, or Pop the Bronze Balloon just add them to your Goodreads account or requests them at your local library. Both are free! The purchase links can be found on my book pages here as well so if you’re looking to buy them as a gift, or to read yourself, you can always do that too.
And as a nudge, if any of you have read any of the books (and like them!), it would help me out if you left a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads. Teachers, parents, librarians…any readers really, use those reviews to determine whether they should purchase . So if you have a second, I would appreciate it! As always…Thank you so much!
Dreaming is good. Doing is better. If you
want to reach your dream of getting your book published, then it’s time to get
back to work on your manuscript. Last week I talked about characters—making
your reader care about them by making them relatable, and making their goals
crystal clear with high stakes. But those are just a few things your can do to
strengthen your manuscript. Another is checking your dialogue—especially when
you have many characters who show up scene after scene.
When dealing with multiple characters,
it’s easy to assign dialogue to the wrong one. Each person needs to be involved
in the conversation in some way and that way can be spoken or with a gesture.
During the drafting stage, you just want to get the conversation on the page. Mare
says this. Jax replies that. Ander looks at Mare, but says nothing. But
once you’re in the revision stage it’s important to be sure the right dialogue
is assigned to your characters. You may wonder why it even matters. Just
getting the point across is enough, right? Well, no.
In Spin the Golden Light Bulb, the story revolves around a team of five kids. When they all speak in the same scene, it can be tricky to get the point across and make it sound natural. But it’s even harder than that because there are certain things that Jax would never say. Other things that Mare would definitely say. And Ander, well, Ander is Ander. He would never just look away without saying anything. How do I know? Because I know my characters like they are my own kids. Ander loves to be a part of the conversation. It would be very unlikely that he would be tongue-tied!
During revisions, I did a separate read through
for each of my five main characters. I also did a sixth read through for the
secondary characters. During each one, I would highlight their dialogue only and
ask myself, “Would Mare say that? Is that the best response she could give?
Does her response shed a light on who she is? Does what she’s saying move the
conversation forward? Does it sound like something a real person would say? But
most of all, I’m deciding if Mare is the person who should say that line,
rather than maybe Kia or Jillian.
The process may sound tedious, and it is.
But it’s so important especially with multiple characters in a conversation.
You want your reader to get to know each one and this will help it to happen.
You want your reader to be able to tell who is speaking, just by the sentence
that’s spoken. Ander calls Kia by a nickname. Always. So when a sentence
contains the nickname, it’s easy to know he’s speaking. The other kids never
call her that. So when I’m revising I make sure that’s what he refers to her
as. Ander loves to be the center of attention. He makes bold statements.
Jillian is dramatic. Very. Mare is blunt. Dry. Kia is intense. She’s a worrier.
Jax is quiet. Introverted. These descriptions don’t sum up all the reader knows
about the five kids, but they are examples. And these types of things help me
decide who would say what, when they’re interacting.
So that’s my best tip for dialogue. Make
sure the right person is saying each line. Your story (and characters) will
make more sense that way. I hope this helps as your revise your own manuscript.
It’s definitely helped me!
On an author-life note, I’ve been paired
up with a lovely teacher and class of fourth graders from Ohio for the Kids
Need Mentors Program run by Kristin Crouch, Kristen Picone, and Jerrott Lerner.
I’m so excited to work with them this year! I had an amazing experience last
year with a class of fifth graders. It’ll be fun to see what comes of this new auther/
educator collaboration! I’ve also hit the 5,000 word mark on my new middle
grade WIP. Not bad for just a few weeks. Hopefully I’ll get a few thousand more
words in this week and get to a point where it feels more like a story and not
just a premise. Wish me luck!
I hope you’re making progress on your writing projects too. Keep at it. Don’t give up. Even a few words a day makes a big difference. I’ll be in my corner of the internet cheering for you…as I pour another cup of very creamy coffee and get back to work myself!
Thanks for checking in today. I’ll see you again next week!
Hello there! I’ve missed you guys. I mean, I’ve really have! I hope this summer was all you hoped it would be—or at least some of what you hoped it would be. I hope you were able to read a little, write a little, or even travel a little. I hope you were able to enjoy the sunshine and spend time with your favorite people—or revel in some alone time too.
The last time I checked in with you, our family was in the process of moving. My husband and I sold our house of twenty six years (I know, right?!), packed it up, and moved with our two college kids about thirty minutes east to a brand new area—a brand new house. No small task when you’re dealing with so many years of memories and so many years of life. The move was some parts easy, some parts stressful, and a really long process. Some days I was an emotional mess, some days I was physically wrecked, some days I floated on cloud nine, some days I worked on auto pilot. My writing and blogging took a back seat, that’s for sure. But now that we’re in and mostly settled, I’m so glad we made the move. I love our new home and even though a few boxes are still sprinkled throughout every room and we have projects galore to tackle, I feel energized by this new space and refreshed. And definitely ready to get back to writing. How lucky am I that this is my new writing view?
I had a long
conversation with my husband and son about goals recently. It was the night
before my son moved back to college for his second cross country preseason. He
was struggling with his running goals, trying to pin-point what he hoped to
accomplish this season. He was worried that after running for so many years, he
had lost his love for the sport—not a good feeling the night before his
official training was to begin. My husband had some wise words for him…ones
that got me thinking about my own goals for writing.
He asked him
why he had joined the cross country team way back in seventh grade. Was it
because he loved running? Or something else? He responded, “I joined because I
wanted to be on a team with nice kids and I had a feeling I could be good at it…
I wanted to run in college.”
to talk about goal setting and my son soon realized he had set a goal for
himself way back in seventh grade. His whole high school life revolved around
doing what it took to achieve his goal. And he did it! He was recruited to run
for his first choice college and he did. He achieved his goal.
But the funny
thing about goals is that once you achieve them, what’s next?
sometimes there’s a bit of a letdown. It happened to my son and it happened to
I know exactly
how it feels to flounder and lose focus after you achieve your goal. It feels
As some of you know, I spent 8 years trying to get an agent. If you don’t know my story, you can read about it here. It was ten years before I got a book deal. You can read about that story here. My dream came true when my middle grade novel Spin the Golden Light Bulb debuted in January, 2018 and because my book deal was for two books, the second, Flip the Silver Switch released later that summer. It was a whirlwind for sure and I’m still trying to believe that I really do have two published books!
But for the
last year, I’ve sort of worked on auto pilot when it comes to writing and all
that comes along with being published. I signed a contract for a third book in
the series, which I know is a very huge deal, and I’m so grateful. But writing
that book was so much harder. I wrote it on proposal. I wrote it on a deadline.
I wrote it while trying to help promote two books, do Skype classroom visits, in
person classroom visits, a bunch of book signings, and mentor a fifth grade
class. It may sound like a dream come true for some writers and believe me, in
some ways it most definitely was! I still pinch myself that this is actually
But at the
same time, it’s been a little overwhelming. My writing hobby quickly turned into
a job and a crazy juggling act. And I’m a terrible juggler! I found myself
saying yes to more than I can handle and no to things I love. I found myself
reacting to my own life instead of choosing my own path. That’s why this chat
about goals really resonated with me.
Where was my
focus now that my publishing dream had finally come true? What was my goal
anyway? To sign with a literary agent? Yes. To get my book published? Yes. But
what then? Was my goal to do school visits? Book as many book signings as
possible? What were the things about being published that I was hoping to
achieve that I couldn’t as an unpublished author?
It took some
serious thought, but I’ve realized a few things. One is that I just really love
to write stories. I also love to blog here and interact with other writers. And
I love talking to kids and writers about chasing their dreams—even when those
dreams seem so far out of reach. My goal is to write things that resonate with
readers and inspire them to chase their dreams—through my middle grade books
and through my writing focused blog posts.
signings and in-person school visits are a bonus, but they take time to prepare
for—time away from my family and from writing. Skype visits are more manageable
and they still allow me time to interact with kids. That leaves me more time to
blog to my heart’s content which will hopefully inspire more of you! It also
leaves me more time to write middle grade books.
So this fall, I’m getting back to the basics. I’m re-focusing my writing. I’ll be writing more and blogging more. Just saying this makes me feel more energized than I have in a very long time! So stay tuned because the swirl and spark blog is about to sparkle once again! I’ll also be posting more on Instagram (because I love it!) so follow me there if you aren’t already. I love the positive, creative vibe there—so many great accounts to follow! You can find me by searching Jackie Yeager.
reading this post helps you to realize that if you’re in a writing funk or just
feel like you’re floundering a little in your every day life, maybe it means
you need to find the joy in what you’re doing again. Or maybe you need to re-focus
your goals. Fall is the perfect time to do both. We weren’t put on this earth
just to flounder. We were put here to thrive. So use this first week in
September to re-write your goals. Make a plan to chase your dreams. They’re
yours for the taking!
I know you
can do it. If I can write a whole book you can. If I can sign with a literary
agent, you can. If I can get a book published by a fantastic publisher,
illustated by a spectacular artist, you can. If kids all over the country can
read my books, someday they can be reading yours too. I believe that and I hope
you do too!
If you’ve been clicking around my website, you may have noticed that the release date for POP THE BRONZE BALLOON has been pushed back to 2020. Publishing is a crazy business sometimes and this is one of those times! But it’s all good. This book will be worth the wait , I promise! I’ll keep you posted on the actual release date when I have it. In the meantime, if you haven’t had a chance to read Spin the Golden Light Bulb or Flip the Silver Switch and you’d like to, they are now both out in paperback! I’m still pinching myself about that one too! Click on the links below for the details.
Thanks for stopping by the blog. Now I’m off to work on copy edits for Pop the Bronze Balloon and then my WIP, a new middle grade project that’s un-related to the Crimson Five books. I’m over the top excited for this one! Wish me luck and have a fantastic week, everyone… I’m wishing you luck on your projects today too!
After gushing about my literary agent, Rebecca Angus for so long, I finally get to gush about her as a writer too! Tomorrow is a HUGE day for her…she becomes a published author! I’m so excited to help her celebrate by welcoming her to the blog today and telling you about her book. But first, here’s a sneak peek…
Inspired by Texas history, WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN is Rebecca’s debut novel—a retelling of the Alamo with a modern twist. Published by Red Adept Publishing on July 9, 2019, it features Texas A & M University as well. I can hardly wait to read it myself!
Congratulations, Rebecca! Your hard work, perseverance, and
patience have paid off. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with all of
us today. Cheers to you tomorrow on release day. I have a strong feeling that
your story will be read far and wide!
Before I share the gorgeous book cover, Rebecca’s Bio, the book blurb, and the purchase link, I thought it would be fun to pick her brain a little with 9 quick questions…in honor of her book’s July 9th birthday!
1. You’re a writer and a literary agent. When in the world do you find time to write? Is it every day for a few minutes or do you write in spurts when you have a pocket of time?
I actually find the author part more daunting. I have a really good routine when it comes to working as an agent. However, when it comes to prioritizing my own books and writing, I definitely feel the pressure. I have to schedule writing time, and that can be difficult. Most days I find time after Mini Agent has gone to bed to put in an hour or two of writing, but I do try and write wherever I can hide from the 3-year old. Sometimes it’s the bedroom. Other times it’s the bathroom. Possibly under the bed or in the closet if that is the only space available. I’m kidding… partially. Really it just comes down to when I have time to write.
2. I’m seriously in awe of all you accomplish in a day! Did you start writing before you were an agent or after?
I started writing before I was an agent, although, writing definitely played a big role in helping me become an agent. My writing journey is pretty typical. I was a book obsessed teenager with a writing dream of my own, but it wasn’t until right after college that I started writing seriously. I am a military spouse and I met my husband at Texas A&M University. We got married our senior year of college and he deployed to Afghanistan the year after. While he was deployed, I had been living in Washington away from my friends and family and I turned to writing as a way to combat the stress and loneliness that I felt during that first deployment. I actually wrote WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN in 28 days during that time, and dove straight into revisions shortly after. A few months later I found my literary agent, Jessica. She has been an amazing champion for this book!
3. 28 Days? That’s amazing! Writing can be such a blessing in the toughest of times. It sounds like it certainly was for you. Where did the story idea for WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN first come from?
Well, I knew this question would come eventually, but my husband inspired this story… yes—that is very awkward for me to admit. I drew so much inspiration from our time at Texas A&M, and my experiences as a military wife. Our love story began at A&M, so the love story central to WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN also parallels to those same themes. The main character, Tapley, was actually inspired by Tapley Holland who was the youngest defender of the Alamo, and played a significant role in the history of the Alamo itself. We loved the name Tapley so much that we named our son after him as well. There is so much history in this story, but there is also so much of my own life in it as well that it’s very personal. It took me awhile to come to terms with the fact that people are going to read these words that I wrote and experience my own feelings in their own way. It’s a very vulnerable but exciting feeling as an Author.
4. Is it awkward for me to say that I can’t wait to read about your love story? The time period, the setting, and your inspiration for the story have me dying to read this immediately! Tapley is such a great name too. How cool it is that your son now shares the name too. I seriously love that! So, how long did it take you to write the manuscript (including revisions) … and to get it published?
WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN was a solid 28 days of writing from the heart. Every emotion, insecurity, and frustration I felt being a military wife was put into that story, and I didn’t outline any of it. While I knocked the book out very fast, I will never pants an entire story again. I definitely prefer going into a story more organized. However, sometimes the characters in the story have a mind of their own and your plan of action can completely change. Don’t be afraid of change in the story—work with your character. After all, it’s their story. I found my agent a few months later, but it took us a solid year of revising and changes before it was submissions ready. I received the publication offer in January of 2018.
5. I’m guessing that’s a day you’ll never forget… and that’s such great writing advice for any writer drafting a novel. Who’s your favorite character in the story?
Definitely Tapley. You can’t help but fall in love with him. He’s loyal to a fault, but he’s brave and honest and he’s not afraid to fight for what he wants.
6. Tapley sounds like an amazing MC, with such noble qualities. In your spare time, when you’re not writing or working as a literary agent, what do you like to do?
My happy place is on the back of a horse. I have been riding horses since I was five, and I have the most amazing tall, dark, and handsome one my life named Marcas (I’m talking about my horse, of course). He’s my shoulder when I need to cry, my best friend. When I’m not at the barn you can most likely find me chasing my son around or building garages for his hot wheels out of Legos.
7. Marcus sounds almost as amazing as your MC…and I can picture the Lego’s scattered around your house while you write! Do you have any writing rituals like a favorite drink, spot to write, or music to listen to?
Wine. All of the wine! Writing is my calm down ritual for the day and I always partner it with a glass of wine in my favorite Doctor Who mug. As for my favorite writing spot…I think the answer is wherever it’s quiet. I do create a playlist for each of my WIPs that I listen to while I’m writing.
8. My mug is usually filled with coffee and flavored creamer, but maybe I should try wine. That does sound like a better writing sidekick! What will you do to celebrate on release day?
Can I use wine as an answer again? We have a special Texas bottle of wine that we’ve been saving for my release day. My husband is actually out in the field this week doing Army things, so we are going to celebrate on Saturday when he gets home.
9. That sounds lovely and just know that you have a whole team of clients, including me, and so many others who will be toasting you tomorrow! You, without a doubt, deserve the celebration! So lastly, for all the writers who are wishing for the news that their manuscript will one day be turned into a book, what piece of advice would you give them?
Everyone has their own
writing journey. It can happen at different stages of your life, at different
paces, and at different levels. Whatever your writing journey is, focus on your
individual successes and try not to get caught longing for the successes of
others. I know I give that speech to my authors on a weekly basis, but I
frequently have to remind myself of the same thing. This is my writing journey
and it will be what I make it, not what others perceive it as.
Thanks for the reminder, Rebecca. That’s such an important message for all of us to remember. Especially in this world of social media where so many other writers are sharing their journeys. It’s a blessing and a curse to know what else is happening around us!
On that note, here’s a little bit more info on Rebecca, including social media links, so you can learn even more about her as an author and as an agent…and her debut novel. It sounds amazing and I seriously cannot wait to crack my copy open!
Rebecca Angus is a Senior Literary Agent with Golden Wheat Literary, and romance author. Rebecca has over five years of experience in the Publishing industry, and she’s excited to work with new authors and illustrators. She started as an editorial and submissions intern at Entangled in 2014, and from there she moved into an intern position at Golden Wheat Literary. After interning on both the publishing side, and the agent side, she set her sights on becoming a Literary Agent and found her home at Golden Wheat Literary.
When she’s away from books, she is an Army wife, science teacher, toddler chasing Mom, and equestrian. The military moves her family way too much. She lives in El Paso, Texas with her family.
Rebecca is a supporter of diversity and inclusion in publishing, and she is a member of SCBWI NM.
Here’s she is doing what she loves…
of WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN:
When Aubrey Harrison wrecks her truck on the side of a dark
Texas highway, she wakes up in the year 1836, in another woman’s life—someone
who looks just like her. Struggling to understand her new reality, Aubrey
connects with Tapley, a handsome cattleman with a tragic past.
As Mexican soldiers begin to fill the small settlement,
Aubrey recognizes the first sign of a deadly battle yet to come. A bargain to
save her new family’s cattle business leads to murder, and Aubrey is forced to
take shelter within the walls of the Alamo, even though she knows that’s the
worst place she could be.
The fate of Texas was sealed before the battle ever began, but with it, a new love may now be lost somewhere between the past and the present. An attempt to change fate comes with the high price of Aubrey’s future, but she’s determined to give history a fight it will never forget.
And here’s her gorgeous book cover…
To follow Rebecca and purchase WHERE WE FIRST BEGAN:
Thanks, everyone for stopping by the blog today. I hope you have a spectacular day, doing something you love! Don’t forget to connect with me on Instagram or Twitter if you haven’t already. That’s where I spend most of my social media time lately. The links are on the side bar. And until we chat again, as always…
I thought it was high time I checked in with you!
I hope you’re all doing well. I’ve been off the charts out of touch for a bit
and I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to. I may ramble a bit, but I guess
you’re all used to that—especially when we have so much to catch up on!
The last time I checked in with you here, it was
January. The snow was falling and I was chin deep in slush while drafting Pop
the Bronze Balloon, the third book in
THE CRIMSON FIVE series. At the same time, I had just brought my son back to
college for his spring semester. I was also getting ready to move my daughter
to Orlando for a semester long internship at Walt Disney World. Besides all
that, my husband and I were in the midst of house projects. So many house
projects. After 26 years in our current home, we had the brilliant idea to embark
on a new adventure…put our house on the market and move into something new in
So many people have asked us if we were bored while the kids were away. Well, if you know me at all, you can imagine that I missed them terribly! But we were definitely not bored. The house projects were endless. My draft took longer than expected. Revisions after that took forever. I’m only now at a place where I can truly say that I love this book! I’m gearing up for another small revision round before it goes to the editing team but we are getting there. The release date has been pushed back to November, but it’s totally fine with me. In the scope if things, a few more months won’t matter and the finished book will be better!
As far as the house projects go, they paid off! We put it on the market a few weeks ago and I can hardly believe it, but it sold in two days. We have a hot real estate market happening around here right now and it certainly worked in our favor. It’s been such a bittersweet process making the decision to leave the home we love though. It’s the only home my husband and I have ever lived in together and the only home our kids have ever known. We’ve made amazing friends here and I wouldn’t have wanted to raise our family anyplace else. But as amazing as it has been to call this house, this neighborhood, and this town our home… we’re all ready for a change. Even though the kids will only live with us for a few more years, we are seriously bursting at the seams and have been for so long! We’re all ready to live someplace new and to make more memories together. Besides, our family will only get bigger and it’ll be nice to have room for everyone—however often they stop by!
The neighborhood we’re moving to is only thirty minutes away from where we are now and our new house is perfect for us. It needs some updating and TLC but I’m on it. Besides writing, interior design is my secret passion. I’m so grateful that I’ll have a blank slate to work with soon and a new place for all of us to call home!
That’s pretty much why I stepped away from this blog for awhile. Between house and book projects, I was simply overwhelmed! But now that my revisions are turned in and we have a closing date, I can breath while I pack for a few weeks. I can also share some fun news with you…
Both Spin the Golden Light Bulb and Flip the Silver Switch are releasing in paperack! That’s right. The Crimson Five book series will be available on August 20,2019 in a sparkly new format! I’m so excited. As much as I adore hardcover books, paperbacks are so much more accessible to readers and for many people easier to read! Plus, they’re both updated editions. More on that later but for now I will say that I’m thrilled with these editions and I cannot wait to hold them in my hands! My author copies should arrive soon and I will definitely share pictures.
As we all know, our kids procrastinate when it comes to summer reading. So if you’re so inclined, both books are available for preorder from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and indiebound. All you have to do is order and they’ll magically appear in your mailbox, just in time for your kiddos to meet their summer reading quota—and discover a new series in the process! Besides, Pop the Bronze Balloon releases later this fall and they’ll definitly want to read the first two first.
Thanks for stopping by to hear my life’s story—I mean
update! I hope your life update is a positive one too. But take it from me, if
you’re overwhelmed, it does get better—eventually!
Have a sparkly day, sweet friends and until we
Happy New Year! I hope 2019 has gotten off to a
good start for you. I absolutely love the first week in January. Maybe it’s the
daydreamer and planner in me, but I
always have such high hopes for the year and putting some of my plans into
action is just plain fun!
First of all, I’ve joined the 30 day Yoga With Adriene program called DEDICATE and I’m loving it so far. I’ve done several of her other yoga videos in the past, but re-committing to the whole yoga thing this way is just what I need (and want!) right now, so I’ll let you know how it goes. Besides Adriene’s videos are so encouraging and motivational. Check them out if you’re into that sort of thing.
I began drafting my WIP again this week also after
taking a few weeks off over the holidays. The story is coming together and I
love it so much! It’s nowhere near great yet, but I can see glimmers of
greatness here and there, so there’s that. I plan to keep writing every day for
the next several weeks. Butt in chair. Laptop on lap. That’s me for the
In my effort to check in with you more regularly
this year, I thought I’d kick off 2019 by sharing my very first pocast
interview. It seems everyone (but me!) has climbed aboard the podcast train—so
when the lovely Michele McAvoy, children’s author and the host of My Messy Muse pocast series asked me to
chat with her, I happily agreed. I mean, I love to talk with other authors so I
thought, how hard can it be?
I have to admit though, as the days approached leading up to our phone call, I did feel a little panicked. I haven’t done many “live” interviews and phone interviews are especially hard. There are no visual cues to tell you when the other person is done speaking, if you’re being too long-winded, or if they’re bored out of their minds listening to you! But Michele made it easy. She’s super friendly, and very easy to talk to. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to talk about her books, her writing tips, and life in general. I actually think we could’ve talked all day!
So if you’re interested in listening, here’s the link: http://www.michelemcavoy.com/podcast/ Hopefully something you hear will inspire you to keep working on your own writing goals. And if you have a chance, check out Michele’s other interviews… and her website too. Her books are as adorable as she is!
Enjoy the chat, my sweet friends and best of luck
this month with your endeavors—writing and every other kind too. I know you
have what it takes to get them done. Dedication, perserverence, and a “never
give up” attitude can go a long way. I’ll focus if you will. Hopefully together
we’ll get where we want to go. Thanks for checking in with me!
Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at an elementary school in my city…my first unofficial author visit. And it was so much fun! I spoke with two fourth grade classes about books and writing and inventions. Amazing! But I wasn’t sure it would be that way…
The Rochester Children’s Book Festival is a huge deal where I live. Rochester is not a big city, like Boston, New York, or Chicago, but we sure do know how to put on a children’s book fest! Now in its 21st year, the annual RCBF is host to 45 authors and illustrators, both local and not at all local and this year it takes place on Saturday, November 4th.
Over the years, I’ve spent many amazing Saturdays in November perusing the books, fan-girling the authors, and volunteering at this festival. As the main sponsor, the Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators group (a group I belong to) plays a major role and I’ve had the honor of volunteering in many ways like managing the flow of traffic in the busy main author area, being an author assistant, and announcing presentations by the authors. To say that being a part of the event is a writer’s dream of a way to spend a day (with books and the people who create them) would be an understatement!
As part of the book fest, published and non-published members of RACWI are invited to volunteer as visiting authors at the RCBF’s outreach program with the Rochester City School District. In my early years of writing I always passed up this opportunity. Even though I’ve always been very comfortable in a classroom setting—having spent years as a substitute teacher and also a reading teacher, I kind of felt like the kids would rather hear from a real author—a published author, not an wanna-be author like me. But the focus of the outreach program is to get inner city school kids excited about reading and writing, especially since many of them may not attend the book fest. Volunteers can present in any way they like from reading another author’s books, to talking about their own stories and their dreams of one day seeing them in book form. But still, for many years, I felt like there were writers many authors more qualified than me to speak to the kids about books.
But last year, while Spin the Golden Light Bulb was still out on submission to publishing houses, I took a deep breath and volunteered—hoping the children would not view me as an author-impostor. With my binder encased middle grade manuscript and a self created children’s story planner in hand, I dressed up, headed off the one of the city schools, and conducted my presentation to two third grade classes. I spoke to kids about creating memorable characters, reading excerpts from Spin the Golden Light Bulb; I spoke to them about my own ups and downs of getting publishing; I listened to their ideas for their own stories; and ultimately, I left them with their own story planners to use. I had a fabulous time chatting with them and I don’t even think they saw me as an author-impostor at all! In fact, before I left, they gave me all sorts of encouragement. Convinced that my story would be published one day, they made me promised to tell them if it ever is! Little did I know that one week later, my publication offer would come and my binder bound manuscript would soon be turned into a real book.
Almost exactly one year later, just last week, I volunteered again—this time with my ARC, my advanced reader’s copy of Spin the Golden Light Bulb in hand and presented to two amazing fourth grade classes at another city school. This time though, with a bit more confidence than the year before, I spoke to kids about all things books, writing, and publishing… I gave them a presentation on how writing futuristic books can help create our own future and I read a sneak peek preview of my first soon-to-be published book. It was an incredible day, meeting the children and hearing their enthusiastic ideas for their own inventions and stories. It was amazing meeting the librarian, and the teachers, and the volunteers from Altrusa who make the event happen each year. And it was especially wonderful to see how eager the kids were to talk about books.
The biggest lesson I learned in meeting the children and presenting to them was to get over myself. All those years I could have been volunteering for this program, I stayed away—worried I wasn’t author-ly enough to have something to offer these kids. When really, most kids simply want to be connected with…and books are one of the greatest connectors there are.
For privacy reasons, I wasn’t able to take pictures of the kids, but I was able to snap a picture of a few of them with my ARC. This photo will always remind me of the kids who listened to the first chapter so intently, the kids who became wide-eyed when I told them that no other kids had read this story yet…the kids who got a sneak peek at my first published book.
I plan to continue my author visits through this program, each year, as long as they’ll have me. I also plan on doing as many school visits as I can. I would have loved if an author came to my school growing up. I never knew that becoming a person who wrote the books I loved was even a tiny possibility. If I can inspire kids to write and to read—to open their world up to the millions of books that could make an impact on them—like so many other amazing authors do, then I will be so happy. Books are meant to be shared—and talked about. Author visits are a great way to do that.
So if any of you ever have the chance to share your love of books and writing with kids in any capacity, I say just do it. Your presentation doesn’t have to be award-winning. It just has to be genuine. If your love of books is there, it will most certainly shine through.
If you happen to be in the Rochester area this weekend, definitely stop by the Book Fest. I won’t be signing my book there this year, since it doesn’t release until January, but a little birdie told me that I may be signing both my books there next year. *squee!* Here’s the link so you can read all about the festival fabulous-ness! Rochester Children’s Book Festival.
Remember, Spin the Golden Light Bulb is available for pre-order now and pre-orders help so much—especially for authors of indie publishers, like Amberjack Publishing. So if you have any interest in reading it, or know a child who would, consider pre-ordering it. I would appreciate it so much!
And don’t forget to stop back on November 9th… two months out from launch day. Big things are happening. Big!
The debut of the Spin the Golden Light BulbBOOKTRAILER will be happening right here on my site!!!! Plus, there will be a giveaway attached to it’s debut also. So…lots of fun things happening next week and I’m so excited…in case you couldn’t tell!
Have a fantastic week, friends! Thanks for stopping by:)
It’s official! My second book has a title…and a release date!
Flip the Silver Switch is slated for publication one year from today—July 10, 2018!
The sequel to Spin the Golden Light Bulb (THE CRIMSON FIVE, Book 1) will also be released by Amberjack Publishing hot on the heels of Spin the Golden Light Bulb’s release on January 2, 2018. Needless to say, this next year is shaping up to be a whirlwind. I’ve worked for almost ten years to have my first book published and now 2018 will mark the release of two! Am I dreaming? I sincerely hope not!
I’ve always loved the number 18. My birthday is July 18th, and now 2018 is my pub year. So hooray…more reason to love my lucky number.
While I count down the days until the ARCs of Spin the Golden Light Bulb arrive, Flip the Silver Switch is in the hands of my sweet and amazingly talented editor. Cross your fingers that she likes the draft- or at least doesn’t hate it. The five kids of Crimson embark on an even more elaborate adventure in this book and I can’t wait to dive back in, rip it to shreds, and polish it back up again later this summer…AKA start revisions.
Let me know what you guys think of the title. I’m excited to finally share it with you. It’s been this same title since I first outlined the book almost three years ago and I’m thrilled my publisher likes it as much as I do, because as you know, that’s not a given in the land of publishing.
I’ll be sharing more info about Flip the Silver Switch in the coming months but be on the lookout for sneak previews of Spin the Golden Light Bulb before than though. The world of THE CRIMSON FIVE is a big one and I can’t wait to invite all of you inside!
I’ll be back later this week with another installment of Swirl and Spark Weeklyso be sure to check back if you can. Until then, thanks for being excited with me. I’m looking forward to returning the favor for all of you someday when your turn comes too—whatever your dream may be. 🙂