Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Books to Classroom and Other News

Hi Everybody!

I took new books to a great classroom last Friday and I spoke to the class. They asked more questions about my writing and my nonprofit than any group of kids have every asked! They were great, and their teacher, Terri, was amazing! Here are some pictures:

In other news, I will be presenting at the Douglas County Libraries Writers Conference on October 2nd. Stay tuned for more updates!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Release and Other News

Hi Everybody,

So much has happened since I last posted here! Most importantly The Water Stone, the second book in The Reign of the Elements series, was released. Check it out on Amazon!

Also, on August 16th I’ll be participating in an event at Castlewood Library in Centennial, Colorado with authors Amy Efaw and Terri Clark. For more information look here.

I had a great author’s event last week at Koelbel Library. The kids and adults asked great questions and the librarians were amazing. Check out the great map they made of Mundaria.

Right now, my nonprofit organization, Breaking the Chain, is buying books for all of the classrooms in three high-need elementary schools in the Denver area. I’m looking forward to delivering those in the fall! I’m currently putting together my speaking schedule for the school year, so I’ll keep you updated.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Books for Kids

Hi all!

The past two days my nonprofit for children's literacy, Breaking the Chain, has delivered books as part of our Bookin'It Program to two high-need classrooms here in Colorado. Below are pictures from a 1st grade class at Turman Elementary School and a 5th grade class at Arkansas Elementary School. The kids were amazing and they were so excited to get books for their classrooms!

We'll be making some more book deliveries next week, so check back soon for some pictures! If you'd like to support our program, please vote for us in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge. Help us get $25,000 to put books in 100 classrooms by voting every day in May here!

Until next time,


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Summit Middle School

Hi Everybody!

On Monday I visited Summit Middle School in Colorado Springs. The kids were great and I really enjoyed talking to them. Also, check out my guest interview with several other authors at Wastepaper Prose every Thursday for the next few months.

Here are some pictures from Summit Middle School:

I'll be back soon!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Blogger Award

Hi everyone,

Author Elizabeth Varadan was nice enough to award me The Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award. First, thank you so much Elizabeth! Check out her blog here. Second, because of this, I am now required to give the award to five other bloggers, as well as post ten unusual facts about myself.

Below are my blog picks. They are all written by talented authors, amazing people, and great bloggers who continually post helpful information and tips. Check out their blogs!

mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com written by author Elizabeth Craig
mitaliblog.com written by author Mitali Perkins
annemazerbooks.com written by author Anne Mazer
debralschubert.blogspot.com written by author Debra Schubert
lynsouth.com/wordpress written by author Lyn South

Below are the ten requisite unusual facts about myself:

1) My older brother, Nick, is exactly one foot taller than I am. Just when I’m starting to feel tall while he’s away at college, he comes home and reminds me that although I’m 5’6” I am really quite hobbit-like next to him (without the hairy feet, of course).
2) I love Coldplay. It’s the only music that I can write to.
3) I have a Bernese Mountain Dog, Ben, who looks like a baby black bear. He’s about the size of one, too, at 125 lbs.
4) I am a terrible artist. Obviously, my creativity is limited to the written word.
5) I love history. It’s feels like one enormous story.
6) I love basketball and I’m a pretty decent three-point shooter.
7) I have an unhealthy obsession with The Lord of the Rings movies. I bet I could quote all three movies straight through. Extended editions.
8) The strangest thing I have ever eaten was sea urchin soup and the bowl was the actual sea urchin shell. I was eight years old, and believe me, it was not of my own choosing.
9) I only got my driver’s license because I bet my brother I would get it before I turned seventeen. I only got it last week, 10 days after I turned seventeen, so I guess I lost the bet.
10) Throughout elementary school, I was convinced that a magical being would appear and whisk me off to some far-off land and take me on a grand adventure. I guess when that dream wasn’t fulfilled, I decided to take matters into my own hands and write a story about one.

So there you have it. Check out those great bloggers and I’ll post again soon!

Until next time,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Florida Pitt Waller School

Hi all!

Today I spoke to the sixth-graders at Florida Pitt Waller School. The kids were great and have big dreams! I have high hopes that they will achieve them!

Here are some pictures. Click on them to enlarge:

Check back soon!

Until next time,


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Denver Venture, Lewis Palmer, and Virtual Book Fair

Hi All,

Long post, but bear with me! First off, last week I spoke at the Denver Venture School and Lewis Palmer Middle School about my books and Breaking the Chain, my nonprofit for literacy. Both groups were great! Here's pictures from Lewis Palmer Middle School:

Also, I will be participating in a Virtual Book Fair on 2/26, 2/27, 2/28 with the group of authors listed below. The site for the fair is http://www.virtualbookfair.net.

Be sure to visit our other participating authors/illustrators involved in this year's fair! Purchase signed copies, get give-a-ways and more!

Tara Michener- author of the "Who I Am Series" that promotes self-esteem & diversity in kids. "Who I Am Not What I Am" Meet Janelle, A fun girl who discovers the secret to happiness is loving herself for who she is, not for fitting into what others want her to be. 100% Real-What does it mean to be real? Meet Zoey who wonders the same thing after her classmates question her about being adopted. With the help of a close friend in Janelle and her parents she discovers that she has more in common with her family than she thought. www.taramichener.com

JD Holiday-Janoose The Goose likes life in the barnyard very much. She is visiting her cousin, Molly duck and her baby, DeeDee. Her vacation is over and Janoose must go home because there are no job openings on the farm. When her flight arrives home she learns that the fox has begun a crime spree. Janoose is the only one who can stop him. ww.jdswritersblog.blogspot.com

Adra Young-The Everyday Living of Children and Teens Monologues (Volume I and II)
This series is in a class by itself. These books address multifaceted issues that kids are faced with. Parents may utilize these books to address sensitive subject matters and establish stronger bonds and communication with their kids. These books have been acknowledged for creating an acting guide that addressees appropriate socialization skills. www.ardannyl.me

Grace Hatton-The Guys The Roses & The Regrets; the Girl to Girl Dating Guide Written by a teenage girl for teenage girls this book offers practical tips and real life stories that will help teenage girls and young women navigate the crazy world of dating, relationships and break ups. This book is an Amazon Best Seller! www.gracehatton.wordpress.com

Colleen Murray Fisher-The One and Only Bernadette P. This book promotes appreciating who you are, as well as accepting others. Does liking peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, or painting with your toes, or even havining an imaginary friendmake a person strange? that's what kids say about Bernadette. But when Bernadette meets her new neighbor, Sofie she realizes that her uniqueness is nothing strange at all. www.collenmurrayfisherbooks.com

Dawn Stephens-The Little Pot Soon after a potter forms a new pot and declares that he has important plans for his creation, the little pot begins to wonder what its purpose will be. Will it be used to hold important documents? Great riches? Beautiful flowers? As various expectations prove wrong the little pot is cautioned to see...The little pot is a simple profound story about inevitable reversals. www.DawnStephensBooks.com

Dan Bodenstein-The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle Based on the true story of a loggerhead sea turtle names Eartha, this enchanted tale tells the story of a young sea turtle who finds help in the last place that she expected. Through colorful imagery it helps kids to help injured animals... www.seaturtlestory.com

Patty O'Brien Novak-Engineering The ABC's Imagine a world without cars and computers, or toys and televisions, or movies and microwaves...then imagine a world without engineers. This book answers questions about how everyday things work and how engineering relates to so many parts of a child's daily life www.pattyobriennovak.com

I hope you'll check it out!

Until next time,


Monday, February 15, 2010

KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy and Other News

Hi All!

I apologize for the lack of posting of late. Things have been busy, as usual :) - I've been in full writing mode working on the second book of my YA trilogy, as well as dealing with the commitments of my nonprofit, Breaking the Chain (and of course, schoolwork).

On Friday, February 12th, I visited KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy in Denver, Colorado, and spoke to four different classes of six graders there. KIPP is a great school and the kids were so interested and engaging! I loved being able to talk to them and to hopefully inspire them to do great things! Here are some pictures of the event:

I also have some more events coming up - I will be speaking at Denver Venture School on Wednesday, 2/17, Lewis Palmer Middle School on Friday, 2/19, and Kent Denver School, 3/1.

In other news, Breaking the Chain, my nonprofit for literacy, is launching a new program called Bookin'It. We're putting books into classrooms and in the hands of elementary and middle school students. KIPP was a recipient of our book donations, but we currently have 20 classrooms requesting books. There is an incredible need! It costs only $250 to "adopt a classroom" and provide them with the books that they need. If you can help or would like to learn more, please visit out website at www.linkbylink.org. Anything helps!

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kidlit Contest

Hi All,

For those who are interested, there's a great Kidlit Contest going on. Your entry has to be for a children's novel (YA or MG, no picture books), it has to be for a manuscript that is FINISHED and could be sent out to an agent, and the entry must be under 500 words.

Here is the link if you're interested in participating.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Word on Outlining

I am often asked how I manage to write so prolifically. Many people think that I must have a great deal of time on my hands to write, but it's not abundance of time that has allowed me to write six books in the past year and a half, rather it’s the ability to plan. I’ve read a lot of blogs and articles lately that discuss the writing process, and more specifically, whether to outline or not. Many people think that outlining ties you down and restricts your story.

I would argue just the opposite.

An outline is not a prison. It does not restrict the writer's movement or creativity. It is merely a tool to ensure that your story actually comes to life. Before I wrote The Fire Stone, I had struggled for several years to write the same story. I would write about seventy pages and then it would occur to me that I had absolutely no idea where I was going with it. I did that over and over until I realized that I needed to have a plan. Could it be that I needed an outline?

The outline is an often dreaded, and frequently maligned, writing tool. An outline forces the writer to come up with a plot. We hate it because we are forced to come up with a fully formed idea instead of flailing about for days and weeks and years on end. This is actually a good thing. Without a plot there is no story. An outline forces us to have a goal. It doesn't mean we're locked into anything, it just gives us some boundaries.

When I outline I start with a very bare-bones sketch of what I think might happen. Then, I begin to add to that skeleton, a little bit at a time. Eventually, I begin to put in details so that everything fits together, but also so that I can remember important things that I want to add to certain scenes. I outline the story chapter by chapter, allowing half a page to a page of prose to describe each chapter.

Other authors may do less or more when they outline, but the point of an outline is to have an idea of where I am going before I begin to write. That certainly doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. I have as much freedom as I want to add, delete, or change directions. I have changed major characters and added whole chapters to my story that weren't in my original outline. The story and the author still have complete control over where the story will go, but using an outline ensures that the story actually gets written. After the story is written, it can always be edited and tweaked until it feels right. The editing is easier than than the writing process. So, my writing motto is: "just get it on the page", and the only way the writing will always get on the page is with an outline.

So that's my answer to how I write so quickly. I don’t feel that outlining limits my creativity; I believe it expands creativity because I have the freedom to add new ideas into a story that actually has a point.

On a very different note, I would just like to add that it is so important that we not abandon the people of Haiti during this catastrophe. It is very difficult for them to get the aid they need to recover from the earthquake. To donate to the Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti, you can text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10. It will be automatically added onto your phone bill.

Please help if you can.

Until next time,