What’s Next??

Wow. Yesterday was an amazing experience. My first book signing! I want to start by thanking everyone that came out to support me. It meant the world to me! My very first customer was a little boy named Jacob from Zionsville. I had a blast talking to him and all the kids that came after – including my cousin’s kids Aidan, Kendal, and Parker. Other visitors included Eric, Matthew, Ben, Lydia, and Alex, who all belong to colleagues of mine. Of course, my little boy Noah and his cousin Colby also came to join in the festivities. Thank you all!! I hope this is the first of many signings for many different books that I write. Which leads me to my topic today…what’s next?

So when I first wrote BoilerMAKER, I didn’t think I would have any interest in doing another school–unless it was Seton Hill where I completed my MFA. But the idea has been thrown out there by several to do something similar for other campuses. With the overarching goal of getting kids excited about the idea of going to college, I am open to the option of creating something for other universities.

So the big question is…what school should be next??? I know what I am thinking, but I want to hear what you have to say. Let’s take a vote! Which institution of higher education will be the most popular and should be the next on the list for a children’s book??? Please post your answers in the comments section. I’ll be anxious to see what you all come up with! I’ll be back… 🙂

2013 National Book Award Judges

The judges have been announced! Check out this article to see who will be on the panel this year. I always like reading through the lists for various award panels to see what the qualifications are to be a judge. I hope that someday I will have some of these credentials! 🙂 What it would be like to be on the inside for these discussions…if nothing else, educational! And entertaining I’m sure. Have you or do you know someone that has sat on the panel to judge one of the many book awards that are given out each year? Any thoughts to share?

What’s New?

It’s time for an update today! I have so many things going on, I decided I want to get my thoughts in order. Where better to do that than on my website for the world to see? So first I want to talk about my goals for this year. There are several conferences I would love to attend (you can see several of them on my upcoming events page), but I can realistically only attend a few. Lucky for me, two of the big ones are in my neighborhood this year. The regional SCBWI conference is in Fort Wayne, and the ACFW national conference is in Indianapolis. Both of these are excellent opportunities for me. God willing I will be there!

Speaking of, the next thing on my list is updating my memberships. Both SCBWI and ACFW are up for renewal, so I need to get on that here in the next few days. I find these memberships to be very valuable; the organizations keep me up to date on what is happening in the publishing world as well as the good fortunes of those around me. I love hearing the success stories; they are such an inspiration! Do you have any other suggestions on professional affiliations to become active in? What organizations have you found valuable?

Finally, I need to prioritize. What should I take with me to the conferences? What books should I push? I know for sure I need to take Crystal Clear; it is the most polished piece I have. It made it through my thesis defense and was endorsed by two well published authors, so it’s gotta be worth something, right? 🙂 I think I would also like to promote my Hattie Henry series, at least at SCBWI. I’m not sure what else to take or to work on right now. I would love to have your feedback! Please go to my ‘work in progress’ page and read the descriptions of my books. What sounds interesting to you? What would you like to see in print?

As always, thanks for stopping by! I value your feedback more than you know. Have a blessed week!


To Win the Newbery…

What a great article on Publisher’s Weekly today! I love reading about the successes of other authors; it’s so motivating! I especially liked reading that 2011 winner Clare Vanderpool is a new author. Longevity in the publishing world isn’t required (although I’m sure it helps). What it takes is a good book!

I know it won’t be long before I recognize the names of the winners as my own acquaintances. Seton Hill prepared us too well for it not to happen! Who knows, maybe one day I will receive the honor. I know I’m a good writer (my mom said so! 🙂 ), and I know I will publish a book someday. That is my goal; I just have to make it happen! Winning an award would be the cherry on top. I’ll keep working on it!

Who is your favorite Newbery award winner? In your opinion, what are the best books that author has written?

Up for the Challenge?

I came across this YouTube video on my lunch hour today. It seems like as the months go by, I have less and less time to work on my books. I was looking for some tips to jumpstart myself into getting back into the habit–establishing a routine and sticking to it. I think Marie has some great ideas! I’m also going to try and commit to this 750 word challenge. Maybe ot every day, but as much as possible.

I would love to hear from you on this subject! How do you find time to write with all of the other commitments you juggle in your life? Another job or career? A spouse? A parent? I know time management is the key, but what strategies do you use?

Thanks for stopping by!

The Next Big Thing!

Thank you so much to Aileen O’Conor Latcham for tagging me in the Next Big Thing! This blog hop asks authors a series of questions about their current manuscript. Be sure to check out Aileen at www.aileenerin.blogspot.com.

I’ve been working on a few new stories, but I chose the sequel to my YA novel Crystal Clear to share with you here. Please enjoy!

What is the working title of your next book?

Far From Home

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This idea stemmed from the first novel I ever wrote, Crystal Clear. I didn’t write the first book with the intention of a sequel, but it happened that way because of how the story ended. One of the main characters left with no explanation, so I decided I would write a sequel to share her story and answer the questions I left hanging at the end of Crystal Clear.

What genre does your book fall under?

Far From Home is Christian Young Adult, but it has some edginess to it for this category. Lauren (the heroine) has spent her life about as far away from religion as one can get, but finds herself stepping closer and closer as she searches for answers.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Yikes. This is tough because Lauren changes so much! I would want her portrayed perfectly, and the first actress that comes to mind is Kate Hudson. But I’m afraid she’s too sweet for that role. Maybe Lindsey Lohan? She fits Lauren in the beginning but I’m not sure she does in the end. Maybe it could be a transformation for both of them! 🙂 I have no clue on the other characters, so I believe I would leave that decision to the experts.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Well, considering I’m not done with the first draft, I’m not even close to a one liner! I’ll have to share this one with you later. 🙂

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I hope it will be represented by an agency, but if that doesn’t happen in an acceptable amount of time, I will consider self-publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I am not done with the first draft. In fact, I’m not very far at all! Still have a long way to go for this one. 🙂

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m not sure I know of a story that fits this one closely. I feel like it is someone unique because of the edginess, but the closest I can come up with is Robin Jones Gunn or Jenny B. Jones because of their characters’ personalities.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Well as I said earlier, the idea came from my first novel. However, the inspiration from that novel came from a situation a very dear friend of my lived through. She lost both of her parents in a car accident a few years ago. Even though the situation was nothing short of tragic, she never lost faith in the Lord. I could only hope of having the same kind of strength in a similar situation. I wanted to write a story to show just what strong faith can do to heal the broken-hearted. Once I got through the first book, I was inspired to continue with Lauren’s character to find out just what I could do with her.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Lauren finds herself pregnant here, which is usually not an element in Christian Young Adult. Through heartache and confusion, she ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and has to decide between herself and her baby. Hopefully that makes you want to read it in order to find out what happens! 🙂

Here are the amazing writers I’ve tagged to tell you about their Next Big Thing. Visit them on January 2nd to see what’s upcoming for them. And until then, I hope everyone relaxes and enjoys the holidays!


Shelly Adina: http://magnificentdevices.wordpress.com/

Beth Keyes: www.eakeyes.blogspot.com


Carle Museum Here I Come!

With as much as I love children’s books and writing for children, I’m sad to say that I had no idea this museum existed! After reading this article, I know I have to visit sometime soon! It sounds amazing, and the activities that are planned for the upcoming year motivate me even more. I want to be featured here someday!

Have you been to this museum? If so, please share your experience with me! I would love to hear about it.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow!

I think I know where to start my Christmas list…

It has been awhile since I browsed the Publisher’s Weekly site, so I decided to spend some time there this evening. I was pleased to find an updated list of the best books of 2012! Isn’t this a fabulous place to start my Christmas wish list? I think so. I love using these books for inspiration in my own writing. It always amazes me how many new ideas spark in my mind just by reading the words of another distinguished writer. Check out the selection!

Let’s start a discussion. What books have sparked writing ideas for you? Have you published any material off of these sparks? If so, please share!


Hey fellow bloggers! I hope the writing is going well. I have been extremely diligent this week, and as a result, I’ve made progress! I’ve actually started three different books, which I know isn’t the best strategy, but the ideas were coming and I just couldn’t dismiss them. Now it’s time to pull back and focus on one project at a time; I just have to prioritize what I want to work on when.

Which brings me to my question this week. What is your writing schedule? Do you have multiple projects or do you work on one book at a time? Does it vary depending on the day of the week? I find that all writers are different, but they find their own unique ways of being productive. For the most part, I work on one project at a time. (Obviously not this week!) If it is a lengthy project, sometimes I will set it aside just to have a break and work on something new. When I return, I usually have a fresher perspective and I can focus better.

I started the sequel to Crystal Clear this week. I’ve done some planning, but after writing a few pages I realized that I need to go back and plan more. It’s been awhile since I’ve written a novel, so this is a new challenge for me! I’m ready for it though. And even better, I am preparing for the upcoming Christian writing conference in Indy. If you haven’t heard about it, check out the details on my ‘upcoming events’ page. It’s going to be a great opportunity to get to know my fellow Hoosier writers!

Looking forward to reading about your writing habits. Now it’s back to work! 🙂