One Degree Away From a National Book Finalist

I didn't attend the NY SCBWI Conference; however, I met my agent for breakfast across the street from the conference. He had just finished listening to Sara Zarr's keynote speech. He said he was still choked up; it was such an excellent speech. He shared a few tidbits from the speech, but we moved on to discuss my MS. It was really great meeting with him, and I felt more confident and hopeful about my writing and future.

This afternoon, I came across Sara's speech.
If you read the comments, you will notice how many writers felt as if Sara was speaking to them. Though, Sara and I share an agent, I don't know her personally; but I too felt as if she were speaking to me.

If you didn't attend the conference or haven't read the speech, I suggest you check it out. For those of you who are where I am in your writing journey, Sara is speaking to you as well.

Normal is Boring

I often share books with my teen daughter, but she passes on them many times. She tends to go for longer novels. Mostly those with blood, guts, and drug addiction. When my daughter was younger, I did my best to monitor the books she read, but she is such a voracious reader, I decided to let her read some YA books other parents might not feel comfortable allowing their young teens to read.

Today, I offered DD a book I just finished.

Me: Here's a good book for you.

DD: No thanks.

Me: Why not, you need a new book, and I liked this one.

DD: Mom, I read the first page and I can already tell you what the middle will be and the end. I don't want to read it. Books about regular kids with stupid problems and normal lives are boring. I'd rather read about meth addicts, hence Ellen Hopkins!

Me: O . . .kay.

Some parents might find her comment disturbing, and for a minute I did. Then, I realized I didn't need to sensor her reading. Just because she likes reading about meth addiction doesn't mean she's going to be tempted to try meth, and reading about vampires isn't going to make her try to bite someone in the neck. All the reading she's done has increased her love for words, inspired her songwriting and educactes and entertains her.

Now, if I could only get her to read my book. It is definitely not about regular kids with normal lives.
Maybe one day. :)

Another NYC Adventure

Today I went to NYC again with my DD for another meeting regarding her music career. I can't share much, because it is her career after all. However, the music industry is a little different regardless whether or not she is a minor. She has a manager who is always with her, and if my husband is accompanying her musically at the particular meeting, which he often does (though she plays guitar too) there is no need to have me along. (sniff sniff).

Anyhow, I couldn't just sit home. So, I went along for the ride and fortunately for me, there was a B&N up the street from her meeting. Perfect place for me to hang out. Otherwise, I would have spent money I didn't have in boutiques I shouldn't be shopping in. Or, I might have gotten a $200 haircut which I've always wanted to get just to see if more money could really do magical things to my hair.

But B&N was it for me. The meeting ran very long and I couldn't call and interrupt. I started to think the staff might have thought I was some kind of weirdo hanging around reading books and mags for three hours! B&N in NYC is so much more noisy than it is by me in NJ. And I couldn't find a comfy seat either. Luckily, I found a wooden chair in the teen section and sat their for awhile with a few mags. I analyzed the new set up of paranormal/fantasy takeover with books facing out and realistic fiction books lined up on a bottom shelf, spines out. (Sigh)

After I finished reading my literary mags, I had no choice but to risk my seat for new reading material. When I got back, I was not surprised that my chair was taken. Though in NYC, people sit all over the floor; so I did too.

I noticed a section of the store roped off. I figured it was for an author visit, but the only picture I saw was for Julie Andrews. I didn't know she wrote children's books. I heard an announcement on the loudspeaker introduce the person introducing her. (I can't remember his name, but I'm pretty sure he was famous from Broadway). Then, I listened to Julie. She looked the same and sounded the same. She was so sweet. She spoke about her father being a teacher and how he read to her as a child. After about fifteen minutes of listening to her, my husband called and said he was outside. As much as I would have liked to listen more to Julie, for the first time, I had had enough of B&N for the day!

DD's meeting went extremely well! We went out to dinner in Little Italy and came home to my two little doggies who left us presents at the door.

It was a lovely day. :)

Friday Five

1. I started a new WIP. It is for MG readers. I feel like I just made some new friends. :) New characters are so much fun to create.

2. Someone gave me an unauthorized biography on Angelina Jole. I read it and found it quite interesting.

3. Visited my DS in college yesterday. He attempted to grow a beard and mustache. LOL I think he just got lazy. At least he keeps his side of the room clean.

4. DS finished the video he directed and edited of my DD singing one of her originals. It is called, "Numbers in the Alphabet." The words are deep and meaningful.

5. Just started reading DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS by C. J. Omololu. Thumbs up! And DANI NOIR by Nova Ren Suma just came in the mail. Planning to read and float on the boat this weekend. Happy Friday!!

Which Way Do I Go?

Since I completed my third book, I have been collecting ideas and starting new WIP's, but I have not sunk my teeth into anything yet. My last book stretched me further than I have ever gone as a writer. It had many dark elements as well as sarcastic humor and realism; needless to say, it was draining. Now, I feel the need to write something on a lighter note, but I keep getting drawn into dark stories. Why? The only time I seem to be able to keep it totally fun (even though I still can't avoid issues) is when I write for MG readers. My last two stories were for the YA market.

I do like mysteries and a little paranormal . . . maybe I'll write an issue-related, paranormal, humorous mystery. Now, I'm going to the gym. I get my best ideas on the treadmill. Happy Friday everyone!

Pimping Books I've Read by You!

I thought it would be fun to share a list of some of the books I've
read and loved by authors I've met or learned about through "Live Journal" or "Verla
Kay's Board." Networking is definitely the reason I've read each one of
these books.

This list also displays my reading taste and in the genre I write. Unfortunately, you probably won't find any faeries or vampire stories. It's not that I won't read one, I've read a few, but they're not my preference, and we all know there are more books than time, so I have to be choosey. I love to support the writers of the community I've been a part of for the past four years. There are many that are not listed, because I got them from the library or I can't remember. These are the ones I bought.

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian - Sherman Alexie
Speak - Laurie Hulse Anderson
What I Saw and How I Lied - J. Blundell
Stuck in the 70's - D. Garfinkle
The Band - D. Garfinkle
Looking for Alaska - John Green
An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
Wake - Lisa McMann
Fade - Lisa McMann
Teach Me - R.A. Nelson
Graffiti Girl - Kelly Para
A Crooked Kind of Perfect - Linda Urban
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Story of a Girl - Sara Zarr
Sweethearts - Sara Zarr

I just got JUMPING OFF SWINGS by Jo Knowles and YOU WISH by Mandy Hubbard in the mail!!


Well, I did not stick to my committment to post consistent informative material for writers on my blog. I suck at committment. Well, not all. :) Though, don't count me out yet. I don't give up easily.

However, I've had quite an eventful summer which has kept me busy. I went to Virginia, took many trips to the beach, NYC, two rock concerts and on Thursday, saw my daughter's first show where she played for nearly 1,000 kids. My son, who has his own band (Aetherial) also plays bass for my daughter. It was so awesome to see them both up there doing what they love, and the kids they played for screaming and clapping. The day could not have gone better!

Now, I am preparing to send my son to college on Sunday. He will only be a little over an hour away, but I will not get to see his sweet face every day. I won't get to ask him how his day was when he comes home and hear all the stories he's shared with me since he could speak. I know he'll call me, but it is obvious he is a young man moving on. I knew this for sure at the end of the school year during the NJ State Jazz Finals, which ironically was in Princeton, where my daughter's end of the summer concert was.

DS was preparing to play. His girlfriend was sitting next to my husband. My son blew a kiss in our direction. I smiled. His eyes did not catch mine. The kiss was not for me. (: Silly, I guess I didn't realize he grew up.

But that's okay. I watched, "Everybody Loves Raymond" last night, and I don't want to be like his mom. LOL

Soon, I'll be back to my old writing schedule and I'll make another attempt to blog some blogworthy material. :)

A Mishmash of My Week

I’ve been reading interviews with debut YA authors and thought it would be something of interest to other writers. I found this one to be very interesting. I found it on, “Scribblers on the Edge."

When I Was Joe, tells the story of 14 year old Ty, a London boy who has witnessed an incident of knife crime. Doing what he believes is the right thing, Ty gives the police evidence. As a result, he and his mum are forced into the witness protection program, are given new identities and Ty becomes Joe. As Joe’s life spirals out of control he attempts to cling to some semblance of normality and his own identity, all while events and his own decisions seem to do nothing more than lead him further down a path of destruction.

An interview with Keren David:

When I Was Jo
by Debut YA Author
Keren David

The first thing that struck me when I started reading When I Was Joe was the strength and integrity of Joe’s voice, so I’m intrigued to know, what came first, the character or the idea?

The idea came first. I’d started an evening course in Writing for Children at City University so I was looking around for things to write about. At that point I thought I might write something for 8-12s.

I saw an item on the news one night about a young boy who’d been caught up in a robbery and had to be taken into witness protection and given a new identity. I was struck by the paradox that the witnesses suffered almost a worse punishment than the criminals, and interested in the possibilities that a false identity offered. I realized quite quickly that it fitted a YA book best, because it’s such a good metaphor for adolescence. To continue reading:

If you missed Lisa Shroeder’s Five Conference Tips check it out. It is very informative:

1. Try not to be shy!! If you see someone you recognize from on-line, go up and introduce yourself. This is the best part of the conference, meeting people you've only known on-line. And you can even introduce yourself to someone you don't know if you're hanging in the lobby and no one is around you recognize. I know it's hard for us introverts to reach out, but usually, you'll be really glad you did.

As for me, I’ve had an interesting week. I’ve discovered some old friends, old relatives and new foreign friends. I read, “Wake” by Lisa McMann which I thought was a fabulous page turner.

Throughout the week, I save things I am planning to share in a file. Sometimes they get mixed up. When I went to obtain my bible verse, it had been replaced. Though, it is not my words, and I have no idea where I got this from, I thought it was funny. It said:

I don't believe in the republican or the democratic party, I just believe in parties!!

Now that my manuscript has left the nest, I plan on reading and researching for the rest of the summer as well as enjoying my family and summer parties. :)

Mathew 15:4 KJV
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

Who Needs the Gym!

Who needs the gym when you’ve got weeds! I’ve got weeds so thick and so tall that I think a forest is establishing itself along side the curb of my house. A very long curb. So, instead of going to the gym I put on a thick rubber glove (I had no gardening gloves) and started yanking those weed/trees and weed/bushes. By the time I finished, I felt as if I’d done a hundred lunges and my right bicep muscles and triceps are definitely going to have better muscle tone than the ones in my left arm.

Book Review and Interview with Debut author L.K. Madigan:

There’s a photography quote in Flash Burnout by Henri Cartier-Bresson: “Your first ten thousand photographs are your worst.” We writers put it this way: “Your first million words are crap.” So get started writing those million words … because it’s only through actual writing that you will find your voice.

Breaking All the Rules from Jenny Bent’s blog

. . . I had within the last few years signed and sold two new writers based on queries that were not very strong, technically speaking, and didn't have the elements I like to see, like comp titles, but just had *something* about them that appealed to me; in one case a fun, confident voice, and in the other, good sample pages.

“You were wearied by all your ways, but you would not say, 'It is hopeless.' You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint.” Isaiah 57:10 NIV

A New Path

I've been searching for a way to stay connected with the writing community while I'm entrenched in writer's limbo and planning the conception of my next fictitious child. In the midst, I've cruised the web, read some books and checked out many blogs. What interests me most are interviews with YA authors, insight from those more experienced than me, and advice from agents, editors and debut authors.

Since I don't fall into any of these categories now, I've decided to compile snippets of information to make others interested in these subjects spend less time searching. So, from here on in, I will still be "Writing on a Prayer" and blogging a little about my life, but mostly my goal is to share what I find helpful and interesting to me as a writer.

Jim McCarthy from Dystel & Goderich on “Great Writing.”

For me, the phrase “great writing” brings to mind authors who can devastate you with a sentence, whose ability to find distinctive, rich, unique ways to use language are stunning in their own right. I think of people like Toni Morrison who blew my high school mind with this sentence in Song of Solomon: "When the little boy discovered, at four, the same thing Mr. Smith had learned earlier -- that only birds and airplanes could fly -- he lost all interest in himself.” Morrison is one of my favorite novelists. But the phrase great writing also makes me think of someone like Ian McEwan whose prose is always gorgeous and whose books I find tedious and overworked.

Holly Schlindler's interview with debut author Stephanie Blake:

Congrats Stephanie!!

Proverbs 3:5-7

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct your path.