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You never saw a girl more anxious to spread the word of her latest book...THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY doesn't release until February, but I'm already beginning to organize an online tour!
Click on the page I recently created
to learn more about the tour, and to view the stops already I've already planned. How
many more days until February????
Summer and autumn seem to both be here at the same time in the Ozarks. It's blazing hot, but yellow leaves are starting to fall, too.
|Flip-flop-shaped sarong clip holding a fallen leaf...|
That's pretty much where I am with my work right now, too. I'm organizing blog tours, promos, etc. for THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY while writing my next MG. It's kind of a funny place to be, half my head dealing with a finished product while the other half is focused on the basics of plot outline and character development.
That's life as a writer, though; juggling projects in various stages of development makes you feel like you always seem to be dealing with two "seasons" at the same time...
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We're still a good five months away from the release of my debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. But I'm already thinking about a tour!
Right now, I'm gathering the names of those who are interested in participating and
what their ideas or interests are. I haven't been on a blog tour since the release of my last YA, PLAYING HURT, in '11...and I've never been on an online tour for a middle grade novel before. In many ways, this is all brand new to me.
So I need your help: fill out the form at the end of this post to let me know if and how you'd like to participate. If you know you want to take part, but aren't quite sure how yet, tell me that, too! By signing up, you'll be put on my mailing list; I'll be corresponding with everyone on my list to bounce ideas as we get closer to the book's actual release.
I had a blast on my last online tour, and think this tour could be even more
fun. I can't wait to get some ideas rolling.
To learn more about THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, visit my author site
or the site I created just for young readers
Thanks in advance for your interest and your hard work...I can't tell you how much I adore my incredible bloggers!
(If you have trouble viewing the form below, click here
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The kind and talented Naomi Kinsman
invited me to participate in a Children’s blog hop.
I love both Naomi and the questions, so of course I jumped right in!
What are you working on right now?
A new middle grade novel. Earlier this summer, I turned in the copyedits for my debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY (which is set to release on February 6, 2014). I’m honestly having a blast writing the new MG, but I have to admit, I also really miss Auggie (the protagonist of THE JUNCTION). I initially drafted that book in ’05, and it’s hard to let such a sweet character go.
How does it differ from other works in the genre?
Right now, the MG genre as a whole seems pretty keenly focused on magical or fantasy-oriented books. Books that feel like or play with the conventions of fairy tales. THE JUNCTION is contemporary realistic fiction, no magic, no fairies. Just a girl and her own smarts, talent, and moxie.
Why do you write what you do?
When I got my MA in ’01, I dove headfirst into my writing. To pay the bills, I started teaching music lessons out of the house. It was the perfect setup: I’d write all day, then start teaching in the afternoons when the kids got out of school.
I was really surprised to find that the kids were just so…familiar. The technology and fashion had changed, but the struggles hadn’t! I tried my hand at writing in the juvenile market—my first two published books were YAs, and I have a third YA forthcoming with HarperCollins.
I thought those music lessons were going to give me a little extra cash—I never knew they’d actually give me career direction! Just goes to show that living your life is as important as putting your fingers to the keyboard.
What is the hardest part about writing?
For me, the hardest thing is reigning in my metaphorical / descriptive writing. I’m a junkie for literary writing, descriptive writing. As I’m drafting, I often don’t realize how much description I’m piling on. I’m really forcing myself lately to cut it back. So often, less is more. I don’t want to turn so many authorial tricks that I keep my readers from connecting with my work.
...It's not a blog hop if you don't tag other authors! I've invited Darlene Beck-Jacobson, a writer I met through my own blog; she sent me some fun prompts for a flash fiction challenge some time ago. Her own MG, a piece of historical fiction titled WHEELS OF CHANGE, will be out with Creston Books in '14. I also tagged the fabulous Jody Casella, whose debut YA, THIN SPACE, releases this month! I adore Jody, and literally cannot wait to get my hands on THIN SPACE. I've already got my copy pre-ordered. Aaaand, because one of the best part of blogging is meeting new people, I put out a call for participants on Facebook, and was happy to meet Jennifer Anne Davis. I'm looking forward to getting to know her more...
I'm gearing up to add a bunch of new videos to both my main author site and my site for young readers for THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY...what better way to warm up to the process than with some new video content for my previously-released work?
PLAYING HURT - BEING A PLOTTER AND LISTENING TO MY CHARACTERS:
A BLUE SO DARK - THE CREATIVE PROCESS
My MG group author blog, Smack Dab in the Middle, will be featuring creative posts throughout the month of October. Instead of our usual nonfiction on the business of writing, we'll be posting flash fiction, poetry, photography, short vids, etc.! But in order to do that, we need a prompt from you!
Fill out the form below; if your prompt is chosen we'll link to your blog from the sidebar throughout the entirety of October. (A blog is not a requirement, though.)
Also, Sheila O'Connor
is starting a new regular interview series at Smack Dab called Between Writers; the series will begin on the 21st of August. Be sure to check in on the blog on Wednesday to catch the first installment!
To add to the building excitement around the forthcoming release of THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY, I got a copy of the Winter '14 Penguin catalog...
It's thrilling to see THE JUNCTION featured on a couple of different pages throughout...
...And an honor to see my book listed in a catalog beside so many authors whose work I've long admired...
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Look what came in the mail last week:
JUNCTION ARCs are out in the world...Feels good...
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You can always tell how successful a day of work has been just by looking at my nails as evening rolls around. (Bigger chips = bigger word count.)
Here I am at the end of the work day yesterday:
Seriously, Sally Hansen...where is
that manicure-friendly keyboard???
This is pretty much how the ol' brain feels after a full day of FERAL rewrites...Still pink from all the feverish activity...
But that's the sign of a good day's work, I think...
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Just a quick shot of my summertime flowers...We're all keeping busy around here...even the bees!
Jake and I were going to model our red, white, and blue T-shirts...
...But it quickly turned into a kiss-fest...
I'm so excited, my heart's about to bust out of my chest! I just got the go-ahead to share the fantastic cover of my debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY!
Jacket copy will be revealed on Monday, July 1 on my MG blog, Smack Dab in the Middle!
It's been a wild couple of weeks around the Schindler abode...many of the goings-on have centered around recovering from a lightning strike. (My house got struck when I was little; by now, I've had my fill of the stuff.)
Once calm settled, I headed outside to get some shots of the supermoon...and man, were they superbad!
So instead of the moon, I'll post some of the prettiest shots I've taken lately...One of our tulip tree in full bloom this spring:
|I can't remember the last time we had so many flowers on our tree...|
And one of our hibiscus in bloom right now. These things are so cool; they're quickly becoming my fave flower:
Ah, the glamorous life of a writer. When not at my desk, it's all bonbons and massages.
Actually, it's more like coveralls and bags of diatomaceous earth. Nothing like a camo hat with lights and glasses with gobs of glue on the sides to complete the look...
|Me just moments before heading into the crawl space beneath the ol' Schindler abode.|
A question, gentle readers:
WHAT THE FREAK DOES A GIRL HAVE TO DO TO GROW SOME HERBS???
I MEAN SOME DECENT HERBS THAT SHE CAN ACTUALLY PICK AND PUT IN A DISH???
I'VE BEEN TRYING FOR YEARS...YEARS! AND I HAVE YET TO GET A SINGLE STUPID HERB INTO ANY DISH. EVER!
DO I NEED A DEGREE??? DO I HAVE TO HAVE MY BLACK THUMBS SURGICALLY REMOVED???
SERIOUSLY. WHAT IS THE DEAL???
The last time I embedded a video, it was visual (I wanted to show our unusual May snow). This time, I had to share the sounds of the Ozarks...
I've noticed lately that the birds here have been singing like crazy! (Even this short clip doesn't quite do their music justice.) Maybe they're all just glad it's finally started to look like spring...
...Having problems viewing the clip? You can watch it on YouTube.
Catherine Ryan Hyde's got a new one! ALWAYS CHLOE
is her first sequel (it promises a continuation of her novel BECOMING CHLOE
), and it'll be free from the 22nd through the 24th. More info on the collection is available on her website
A new Catherine Ryan Hyde book? For free? Oooooh, yeah...
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Every spring, I cut our backyard hyacinths and put them somewhere close to my current work space, mostly because I love the smell of hyacinths. It's my all-time favorite scent:
This year, I also saved our hyacinths from this:
...the snow currently falling at a blizzard-like rate.Spring
In honor of April being our "cruelest month," I'll admit, I've been pretty cruel to my characters in the past. I gave Aura, the MC of my debut YA, a schizophrenic mother (who is, as the book opens, in the midst of a downward spiral into the darkness of her illness), and I gave Chelsea, the MC of my second YA, a horrific injury that put a screeching halt to her basketball career.
...But in putting together a post for a blogger (Me, My Shelf, and I) who's running a 25-Things-You-Don't-Know-About-Me series, I was suddenly struck by the idea that maybe, we build our characters through unique quirks and traits as much as we build them through the events of a book.
Here's my own list of 25-Things-Few-Know-About-Me:
1. My first concert was Kiss. I’m firmly convinced this is the reason behind my deep wish that all author events could have more pyro. 2. I have a dog named Jake who likes to talk on the phone. (I’m pretty sure he gets more calls than I do.) 3. I have never pierced my ears—and thanks to the kind words of a boy I knew in high school, I never will. 4. In the hopes that I could guilt my mom into buying me contacts, I once bought the UGLIEST pair of glasses I could find (this was in the ‘80s, mind you, at the height of ugly glasses). Didn’t work—as my horrific seventh grade picture reveals…and will continue to reveal, for all eternity. 5. I change my hairdos like I change my socks. 6. I drafted my earliest manuscripts on a pre-Internet dinosaur of a computer from the Paleolithic Era. 7. Funky vintage costume jewelry? Yes, please. 8. Given the choice between writing and eating cheesecake, I’ll pick writing. (Anyone who understands my fanatical love of cheesecake understands the seriousness of this declaration.) 9. I truly wish Sally Hansen would make a manicure-friendly keyboard. 10. I swear you’ll never see skies prettier than the ones I see through my window every day in the Ozarks. 11. I “work” on manuscripts while taking walks. 12. I once got lost in a wooded area while filming a book trailer. 13. My mom is my first reader, sounding board, and official book titler. 14. I’ve been drinking coffee since my pre-preschool days. Not a typo. 15. I type really fast. Think “Flight of the Bumblebee” on a keyboard. 16. I once worked as a model. Favorite gig? Modeling fresh flowers. 17. I have double-joined elbows. 18. My debut YA novel, A BLUE SO DARK, features poetry I wrote as a teen, tweaked to fit the events of the book. 19. My handwriting is so bad, my family often calls from the store to ask me to translate my entries on the grocery list. 20. I blame the choice of many former boyfriends on my 20/700 vision. 21. I dig people who treat their pets like royalty. 22. My favorite place to write is on my back deck, barefoot, with my dog and a glass of sweet tea. 23. I love the smell of hyacinths. 24. I adored the hair bands as a teen—and still have the motorcycle jacket to prove it. 25. I believe laughing is the most important activity of every day.
I think this list starts to paint a pretty vivid picture...
What do you think? What's most important: revealing our characters through the events of the book or through their idiosyncrasies? Or do they share equal importance?
Holy Toledo, I can't believe it's been two weeks since my last post! All I can say right now is that I've been working hard, my manicures chipping off in giant chunks as I plunk away at my keyboard. I'm on another deadline now...wish me luck!
|I spent a good portion of the afternoon yesterday writing under this tree in the ol' backyard...|
I spent the last three weeks of April hitting global rewrites for my next YA...and when I clicked "send" yesterday, I hooted and hollered for joy. (That's what we do here in the Ozarks, hoot 'n holler...)
Nothing quite like the euphoria of meeting a deadline...
While I was whipping this revision into shape, I got a new doormat for my mom (because humor trumps all in the Schindler household):
|Front porch and toenails to be painted this week...|
Yeah. We think it's hilarious. In the past few weeks, though, NO ONE HAS RUNG OUR DOORBELL. Nobody. Neighbors won't. The mailman won't. A little boy stopping by with his school fundraiser actually shouted "DING DONG!" when he stepped up to our door. I'm not kidding.
It just shows, I think, the power of the written word. Shows how seriously we all take the written word—
whether it's in a book, a Tweet, a status update...or on a doormat.
May 3rd was a beautiful spring day here in the Ozarks...the birds were singing, the grass was green, the flowers were in bloom...and the snow was falling!
PS: Blogger's been acting buggy lately with embedded vids. If you have problems viewing, you can check out the vid of our spring snow on my YouTube page.
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I'm in the midst of proofreading my debut MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. Seeing my book getting so close to its final form just makes me want to burst open!
I can't wait to get this book in your hands!