Book Moods (with Examples)

I don’t think I’ve ever been what I would call an “adventurous” reader: someone who reads widely in genre, age, length, era–mixing it up with every new book they choose. I tend to go in waves–a pile of MG books, a stack of fantasy, a single author for as many weeks as they have books […]

Fall Writing Plans

For a while now, I haven’t put any real schedules on my writing. I had been in a bit of a slump for a year or so, and I was changing jobs, and…well, life. But the slump seems to have shifted away for now, and the new job came with new hours, which unexpectedly got […]

Relationships with Agents: Some Links to Good Information

Recently, there was news about a former literary agent and the ways in which they essentially lied to the clients they were supposed to be representing. I’m not going into details or names here; this is just context for a couple of links I want to share. The first is a link to a recent […]

Humiliation in Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea Trilogy

I know, right? Humiliation? But I have been hunting for the right word as I try to explain to my husband what these books are like, and, really…the thing that is making them feel like something new is the way Joe Abercrombie humiliates his heroes. Or, if I’m looking at it from more of a […]

Roshani Chokshi: In Which I Go Down the Fantasy Genre Action & Philosophy Rabbit Hole

I was griping on Facebook the other day about needing some new fantasy novels to read, and a FB friend recommended Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. I hadn’t realized until I looked up Chokshi that she is also the author of Aru Shah and the End of Time, the first book in her middle-grade […]

Shaking Things Up a Little

So I’m two weeks into the new job, and I’m loving it. I feel like, finally, I’ve found my day-job home. The job is also having some unexpected benefits on my other life, the writing one. In the past, or at least since I haven’t been driving the boy to school, I’ve scheduled my work […]

How Revision Sneaks Up on You: Case File #219

Here’s how it goes: You get a picture book idea in October. Halloween is in October. The story vibe starts with a gently spooky tone. The idea comes to you, of course, with a little black cat as the littlehero. You play with the idea for a while. The story becomes, on paper, less spooky. […]

Well, I Killed THAT Darling

It’s a special darling. It’s been in my mind for nine years and in a story almost that long. It was a darling in the first picture book I ever wrote when, as I was dreaming up imaginary picture books to “excerpt” in The Writing and Critique Group Survival Guide, I dreamed up one idea […]

Post-Conference To-Do List

Yesterday’s SCBWI California: North/Central Spring Spirit conference was wonderful. All the sessions I sat in on were very good, and I got the best manuscript critique I’ve ever gotten from a publishing professional.  Best in two ways–the agent gave me excellent, concrete, and clear suggestions, and he also gave me some seriously positive and complimentary comments […]

BLOOD RED, SNOW WHITE: Not Your Mother’s Arthur Ransome

Well, not my mother’s, anyway. When I was young–maybe 7 or 8?–my family took a trip to Canada. The trip included at least one bookstore. And there, my mom–who spent some of her childhood in England–found new editions of books she had read during those years: Arthur Ransome’s SWALLOWS AND AMAZON books. She bought the […]