Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Review of Katie Didn't, by Colleen L. Reece

Katy Witherspoon lives happily with her family in a little farm. She loves to listen to the katydids--large green grasshoppers that sing a song that sounds like "katy did, kady did." Katy wonders if the insects will ever tell what katy did, but of course they don't, they just keep singing their song. Katy shares the farm's playing grounds with her six siblings. They all love playing around the farm... all except Katy, who nevers seems happy, no matter what she does... that is, until one awful night, she discovers the meaning of the Golden Rule.

Children will fully enjoy this sweet tale about a little girl who discovers, all by herself, the secret to friendship and companionship. The colorful illustrations by Oregon artist K.C. Snider harmonize perfectly with the story, making this a book that kids will want to enjoy more than once.

Find out more about this book from the Publisher! www.tips-fb.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing workshop

Muse Online Conference

One-Week Workshop: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing

By Mayra Calvani & Anne K. Edwards

Registration is FREE!

Is your nose always stuck in a book? Do you enjoy sharing your ideas about books with readers? Become a book reviewer!

Topics to be covered…

Day 1: Why do you want to become a reviewer? What makes a good reviewer?

Day 2: What makes a good review?

Day 3: How to write a review/Learning the ‘formula’ while developing your own style

Day 4: Benefits & rewards of reviewing for both aspiring and experienced authors

Day 5: Problems you may encounter as a reviewer (Ex. Terrible books, angry authors, etc)

Day 6: Attendees submit review for critiquing for hands-in experience

Day 7: Final Q&A pertaining to reviewing

To register, visit the Muse Online Writer's Conference website.


The Psychology of Revision

Hi all,

There's a great article on the psychology of revision by freelance writer Irene Roth at the Working Writer's Coach blog.

Be sure to check it out! www.tips-fb.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

Interview with Katie Hines, author of GUARDIAN

On the hot seat today is children's author Katie Hines, here to talk about her first novel, GUARDIAN, just released by 4RV Publishing...

Do you consider yourself to be a born writer?

I’d like to say that I was, but I don’t really think so. I know I’ve always wanted to write, but thought journalism was my only option. I don’t know who I thought wrote all those books I was reading!

Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it?

Guardian was originally inspired by a real-to-life treasure story about a place on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, called the “Money Pit” because so many treasure hunters had spent millions of dollars trying to recover what is believe to be a huge treasure trove. As I researched, I discovered facts that I used in my story, and it evolved from there.

Some writers go on long walks, others keep a journal, write at a café, or listen to music. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?

I brainstorm with my husband.

Describe your working environment.

I’m fortunate to have a great working environment. I have my own office, a couple of printers, several bookshelves, a filing cabinet, desk and credenza. I also have papers stacked everywhere, although they are loosely “organized”--at least I know (or think I do) where I can lay my hand on any paper I want. My husband, while currently unemployed, is working on some college courses, I take his study time and make it my writing time.

Do you like to outline and plot ahead, or are you more of a stream-of-consciousness writer?

I plot ahead, but only a couple chapters at a time. When I get stuck, I sit and think about the story, where it is going and what should happen next, especially what fun kinds of twists and turns I can invent to make the story more enjoyable for the reader. I always have in mind the ending of my story as I write.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your works?

Yes, www.katiehines.com.

What are you working on now?

I have a young adult novel in the hopper. It is on slow-cook, I think, and isn’t quite ready to work on. I do have a couple of chapter books in the mix, but am mostly working on another middle grade urban fantasy called Glassblower.

Where are your books available?

You can buy Guardian at my publisher at http://4rvpublishingllc.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and your local bookseller. You can also request it from your area library.

What type of book promotion works for you? Any special strategies you’d like to share?

I’m doing a lot of different things promotionally speaking. I created a blog, a web site, a Facebook page, joined several yahoo and ning groups, and a media kit. I have also been interviewed on the radio, and folks have read the book and written reviews about it, and went on a blog tour the first 10 days of March. All of this adds up to exposure. I’ve heard tell that it takes a person 7 times of seeing or hearing about your book before they buy it. I don’t know if that is true or not, but if it is, I’m doing the best job I know of to get that cover seen and excerpts read. I really believe in my book and believe it to be destined to have a lot of readers...not a J.K. Rowling type of success, but success nevertheless. I have also hired a publicist to do some of the marketing for me.

What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

To continue to polish, and garner critiques from some sort of critique group. I think that’s number one. I was always amazed at the things my critique group pointed out to me that needed changing. When they pointed them out, it was obvious and a “duh” moment, but it is true, you simply do not catch all your errors.

Who are your favorite authors?

Tolkien, Terry Brooks, David Eddings (all in the fantasy realm), but I also love bestselling thrillers and J.D. Robb, David Baldacci, Debbie Macomber, Barbara Delinsky, and so forth.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Island of the Blue Dolphin. I know now it was a Newbery award winner, but as a kid I just thought it was cool, and pretended I was shipwrecked on the island and met the protagonist.

What is the best advice on writing you've ever received?

To learn the rules of writing - that means actively studying about plot, scenes, character development, and so on.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

"What to Include in a Query - You Need MORE Than a Great Idea! " by Suzanne Lieurance

"What to Include in a Query - You Need MORE Than a Great Idea! "

by Suzanne Lieurance

If you're not having much luck with the magazine markets, consider this--What do you have to offer magazine editors that they can't get anywhere else? A unique idea for an article is good. But generally, that is not enough to get an editor to want to see your article. You need something else. Something like:

1. Little-known or hard-to-find facts and statistics to include in your proposed article. Dig around until you uncover something about your topic that isn't common knowledge. Even a topic that has been covered dozens of times before can become fresh again if there is new information that will allow you to give it a new spin.

2. Firsthand experience related to the article you are proposing. For example, if you're proposing an article about what to do if you are robbed overseas, and this has happened to you, be sure to let the editor know that. If you don't have firsthand experience yourself, the next best thing is to find someone else who does.

3. At least 3 to 5 experts you can quote in your proposed article. You don't have to know experts personally in order to contact them. However, before you query an editor, make sure you've lined up at least 3 to 5 experts as sources for the information you will include in your article. And don't just tell the editor you plan to interview 3 to 5 sources. Give the editor the names and qualifications of these sources (so be sure to contact your sources ahead of time and ask for an interview).

4. Other good primary source materials for your article. These materials might include diaries, journals, transcripts, and other personal and public documents. Check out the archives at your local library and also at many local museums and historical societies. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised at what you uncover.

Before you send out your next query, make sure you can supply your editor with much more than a great idea. If you do, you'll probably see your luck with the magazine markets start to change.

Try it!

You'll get more writing tips like this one in The Morning Nudge. For a 5-day free trial subscription to The Morning Nudge, go to http://www.morningnudge.com

Suzanne Lieurance is a freelance writer, the author of 22 (at last count) published books, and the Working Writer's Coach.


Monday, March 8, 2010

"Writing from My Immigrant Experience," by René Colato Laínez

Writing from My Immigrant Experience

by René Colato Laínez

When immigrant children come to the United States, they experience a variety of emotional and cognitive adjustments in the new country. They have left behind a language, a culture and a community. From one moment to another, their familiar world changes into an unknown world of uncertainties. These children have been uprooted from all signs of the familiar and have been transported to an unfamiliar foreign land. In the process of adaptation, immigrant children experience some degree of shock. IN THE INNER WORLD OF THE IMMIGRANT CHILD, Cristina Igoa writes:

"This culture shock is much the same as the shock we observe in a plant when a gardener transplants it from one soil to another. We know that shock occurs in plants, but we are not always conscious of the effects of such transplants on children. Some plants survive, often because of the gardener’s care; some children survive because of the teachers, peers, or a significant person who nurtures them during the transition into a new social milieu."

I use my experience of being uprooted from my country of origin, being transplanted to the United States and my adaptation to a new culture in order to authentically and realistically portray the immigrant experience my picture books such as WAITING FOR PAPÁ, I AM RENÉ, THE BOY, RENÉ HAS TWO LAST NAMES and my new book MY SHOES AND I.

Stages of Uprooting

Immigrant children go through stages of uprooting to adapt to a new country:

1-Mixed emotions
2-Excitement or fear in the adventure of the journey
3-Curiosity, culture shock that exhibits as depression or confusion
4- Assimilation/ acculturation into the mainstream

During the first stage of the uprooting, children experience mixed emotions when the parents tell them that they will be moving to another country. Sometimes they are not informed until the actual day their journey begins. Most of the time the children do not know where they are going. They only know they must go because their parents are going. They do not have a choice.

In the second stage the children experience excitement or fear during the journey by train, car, plane, boat or on foot. They are usually with a parent or relative, and there is much discussion among them in their own language. The long and tiring journey begins.

MY SHOES AND I takes place during the first and second stages of uprooting. Mario is informed by his father that they are moving to the united states to meet Mamá.

For Christmas, Mamá sent me a new pair of shoes from the United States.

I love my new shoes. They walk everywhere I walk. They jump every time I jump. They run as fast as me. We always cross the finish line at the same time.

“Mario, these are very good shoes for the trip,” Papá says.

Papá tells me that it is a very long trip. We need to cross three countries. But no matter how long the trip will be, I will get there. My shoes will take me anywhere.

In MY SHOES AND I, I am telling my story and the stories of thousands of children who need to cross borders in order to accomplish their dreams.

About the book:

Mario is leaving his home in El Salvador. With his father by his side, he is going north to join his mother, who lives in the United States. She has sent Mario a new pair of shoes, and he is thrilled. He will need good shoes because the trip will be long and hard. He and his father will cross the borders of three countries. They will walk for miles, ride buses, climb mountains and wade a river.?? Mario has faith in his shoes. He believes they will take him anywhere. On this day, he wants to go to the United States, where his family will be reunited.??René Colato Laínez’s inspiring story, dramatically illustrated by Fabricio Vanden Broeck, vividly portrays a boy who strives to reach a new land and a new life.

Review: School Library Journal

LAÍNEZ, René Colato. My Shoes and I. illus. by Fabricio Vanden Broeck. unpaged. Boyds Mills. 2010. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-385-6. LC number unavailable.

K-Gr 3—In this story of an arduous journey, Mario and his father leave their home and friends in El Salvador for a reunion in the United States with Mamá. The child is sad to go, but his mother has sent a pair of new shoes that "will take me anywhere." Along the way, they face many obstacles: a pack of hungry dogs steals their food in Guatemala City and Papa loses his wallet at the bus terminal in Mexico City. They cross deserts, mountains, and rivers—and three borders. Mario's shoes become soiled, torn, and water-logged, but with each setback, he croons a lullaby: "Sana, sana, colita de rana" and reassures himself that everything will be okay. On the banks of the final river, Mario summons his resolve: "I become a horse. My shoes will ride on me. They are on my shoulder. "'Don't worry, shoes, we will cross the finish line,' I say to them." This inspiring tale soars with real emotions, even as it celebrates the resiliency of children. Vanden Broeck's color-drenched illustrations on weathered backgrounds add immediacy and detail. This moving, heartfelt tale of courage and perseverance will be embraced by a wide audience of readers, young and old.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

Visit the author's website.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Review of Good Enough, by Paula Yoo

Book Description

How to make your Korean parents happy:

1. Get a perfect score on the SATs.
2. Get into HarvardYalePrinceton.
3. Don't talk to boys.*

Patti's parents expect nothing less than the best from their Korean-American daughter. Everything she does affects her chances of getting into an Ivy League school. So winning assistant concertmaster in her All-State violin competition and earning less than 2300 on her SATs is simply not good enough.

But Patti's discovering that there's more to life than the Ivy League. To start with, there's Cute Trumpet Guy. He's funny, he's talented, and he looks exactly like the lead singer of Patti's favorite band. Then, of course, there's her love of the violin. Not to mention cool rock concerts. And anyway, what if Patti doesn't want to go to HarvardYalePrinceton after all?

Paula Yoo scores big in her hilarious debut novel about an overachiever who longs to fit in and strives to stand out. The pressure is on!

*Boys will distract you from your studies.

My review:

GOOD ENOUGH is about a brilliant Korean-American teenaged girl who has a dilemma: should she attend an Ivy League school and pursue a career in law or medicine--as her strict and ambitious parents want her to do--or should she follow her heart and go for what she loves most, playing the violin. This last choice may not bring her much money or success, but it may bring her joy. So the novel has an universal theme: Money and status doesn't necessarily define success and happiness.

The story begins when Patti is in her senior year of high school. She's in the process of applying to universities and preparing for her college entrance exams, all the while trying to keep up with her demanding classes and position as the second violinist in the All-State orchestra. Her parents only add to her stress. Though it's clear they love her, they push her to the extreme, afraid she won't 'make it'--and to them, the only way to 'make it' is to be admitted to Harvard, Yale or Princeton.

Then she becomes infatuated with a boy at school. Though she's enough focused on her work not to be too distracted by him, their friendship sends her parents into utter panic, especially when she escapes Sunday church club to play in his rock band!

Finally Patti has to make a decision: will she live her life or the life her parents want her to live for them? Will she choose happiness over money and status?

I enjoyed reading this young adult novel so much, I finished it in two days. Not only because the protagonist is a violinist, but because of the way the author brings her to life with all her struggles and dilemmas and also because the writing is, put simply, very good.

The writing is clever, witty, yet emotional and sensitive at the same time. I laughed out loud many times. The protagonist comes across as a genuine person. I'm not not surprised, since in my previous interview with the author she mentions that the story is based on her own life growing up. Another great aspect of this book is that all references about music and violin playing are so real. When the author is a violinist herself, that makes all the difference. The prose shines with authenticity.

GOOD ENOUGH is a light, fun read--but it also has the substance of a serious work of fiction. Perhaps this is what impressed me most about this book.

Violinist of all ages will surely enjoy Patti's story. Highly recommended!

Purchase the book HERE. www.tips-fb.com

Thursday, March 4, 2010

National Latino Children’s Literature Conference

National Latino Children’s Literature Conference: Connecting Culture & Celebrating cuentos


This April 23rd and 24th celebrate the rich traditions and diversity within the Latino cultures at the National Celebration of Latino Children’s Literature Conference. Discover how to meet the informational and literacy needs of Latino children via high quality, culturally-relevant literature and the latest educational strategies. Engage in unique networking opportunities with librarians, teachers, educators, and researchers from across the nation as we explore how to make intercultural connections and serve this rapidly growing, uniquely diverse population.

As the number of Latino children and their families continues to increase, so does the need for understanding these diverse cultures. This exclusive conference provides a forum for sharing current research and practice addressing the cultural, educational, and informational needs of Latino children and their families. At the same time, the conference also examines the many social influences that Latino children’s literature has upon the developing child.

Beginning Friday April 23rd at 1 p.m. on the historical University of Alabama campus, nationally-recognized Latino children’s literature expert Oralia Garza de Cortés will launch the recurring conference theme “Connecting Cultures and Celebrating Cuentos” with a powerful keynote address. Participants will then have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions related to Latino children’s and young adult literature, library services to Latinos, and literacy education for Latino children. Immediately following these small group sessions, award-winning Latina author Monica Brown and award-winning Latino artist Rafael López will discuss the collaborative synergy behind their work.

Friday evening, award-winning Latina author and storyteller Carmen Tafolla will celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), Latino children’s literature, and cultural literacy with a free community event at the Tuscaloosa Public Library. This Noche de Cuentos (Evening of Stories) begins at 7 p.m. and includes storytelling, refreshments, and free books for the niños.

On Saturday April 24th, Dr. Monica Brown energizes participants and opens the day’s events with a keynote address at Mary Hewell Alston Hall. Breakout sessions for both practitioners and researchers as well as graduate and undergraduate students will follow and include a variety of topics related to Latino children’s literature and literacy. Research posters will also be on display throughout the conference.

Lunch will be served at the Ferguson Center and will be followed by an engaging keynote at Mary Hewell Alston Hall with award-winning artist and illustrator Rafael López. Afterwards breakout sessions will include topics related to education, literacy, storytelling, and library services for Latino children. Storyteller and award-winning author Dr. Carmen Tafolla will bring down the house with a grand finale performance followed by a book signing with conference authors. Attendees will have additional opportunities to talk with first-time, Latina children's literature authors: Jennifer Cervantes, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall.

By attending the Connecting Cultures & Celebrating Cuentos Conference, you have the chance to meet award-winning Latino authors and illustrators, participate in exciting break-out sessions, engage in exclusive networking opportunities, and celebrate cultural literacy in a Día community event. Come deepen your understanding of the Latino cultures and celebrate their rich diversity within our classrooms and libraries. See you in April!

Dr. Jamie C. Naidoo
SLIS Assistant & Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor
Conference Chair

For more information and To Register for the Conference Please go to the official Conference webpage: http://www.latinochildlitconf.org/

Sponsored by the
School of Library and Information Studies
@ the University of Alabama

Link to original press release HERE.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Writing Between Diapers: Tips for Writer Moms

“Nothing has a stronger influence
psychologically on their environ-
ment and especially on their children
than the unlived life of the parent.”
--C. G. Jung

After a bad night of hardly any sleep, you’re sitting at the computer staring at the blank screen. You wonder if you’ll be able to do it—finish that article, short story or novel which you started months ago. The urge to write is overwhelming, yet you freeze. Not only are you exhausted, but the baby, who you put to sleep less than half hour ago, is whimpering in the crib. Your four-year old has just barged into the office and is tugging at your elbow begging for a snack, even though he had lunch an hour ago. This is hopeless, I may as well quit, you say to yourself while trying to suppress a scream. To your horror, you suddenly find yourself sympathizing with those animals that eat their young…

Read the rest of my article on BizyMoms.com.

Let's keep those pens moving! www.tips-fb.com