Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I've been doing since Christmas Eve

Cooking and eating and doing dishes and cooking and eating and doing dishes and running around with the kids and hubby and trying to have my long winter's nap as well as do some READING of my huge stack of books!!!

There is lots to post about but I'm not home long enough to do anything but - cook and eat and clean up! Oh - and grocery shopping. I swear I'm at Albertson's practically every day of the week. I should get an award for Best Customer. And then I almost forgot to pay the bills.

Christmas gifts and photos, the 2008 wrap-up, and my New Year's Goals are comiiiiiiiiing . . . . .

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In which I will cook and eat and do dishes once again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Beautiful Christmas Video

I just wanted to share some of the spirit of our Savior's birth with all of you - the reason for everything. He actually did live - and He still lives and directs God's Plan of Salvation and happiness for us. We can become anything we want to become because of Him and His love for us. He gave us this world, the lives we enjoy, our agency, our talents and blessings and families and friends. Come unto Christ this year. The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2, tells the story of his birth. Snuggle up with your family on Christmas Eve and enjoy the story together.

If you don't own a copy of The New Testament you can find the story here: The Birth of Jesus Christ

Wishing you a peaceful, warm and loving Christmas!

With much love,

P. S. Donny Osmond sings the music on the video and it's gorgeous.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Great Author, Great Book, Great Contest!!!

FAR FROM YOU release celebration and contest!

Lisa Schroeder, author of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, is celebrating the release of her upcoming YA novel, FAR FROM YOU, and hosting a contest with LOTS of great prizes!

For three days leading up to the book’s release date of December 23rd, you can watch VLOGs and hear some excerpts read from the book. The VLOG schedule is as follows:

Sunday, December 21st – Liv’s Book Reviews -

Monday, December 22nd – What Vanessa Reads -

Tuesday, December 23rd – Lisa Schroeder, author - AND

Help spread the word, and you might win a fabulous prize!

Copy and paste THIS entire blog entry into your blog between now and December 21st, then come back to Lisa’s blog at either Livejournal OR Myspace and leave a comment with the link to your blog and you will get TWO enteries to win a number of prizes.

Wondering what you might win? Here is the list (there will be multiple winners):

~ An Advanced Review Copy of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, by Carrie Ryan

~ An Advanced Review Copy of SOMETHING, MAYBE, by Elizabeth Scott

~ Young adult novel GIRL, HERO by Carrie Jones

~ Young adult novel, THE POSSIBILITIES OF SAINTHOOD by Donna Freitas

~ Young adult novel, UGLIES by Scott Westerfield

~ Pair of YA fairy tale retellings by Cameron Dokey (BELLE and BEFORE MIDNIGHT)

~ TWILIGHT movie soundtrack

~ $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card along with some Harry & David’s chocolate moose munch

~ And of course, a signed copy of FAR FROM YOU

For more chances to win, watch one or all of the VLOGs and leave a comment on that vlogger’s page, and you get another entry. That means if you post the schedule on your blog AND comment on all three VLOGs, you can have FIVE entries for the contest!

A live drawing with winners announced will be done by Lisa Thursday morning, December 24th, in a special holiday VLOG.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Buy Books!!!

So far I've bought these for Christmas gifts and I'm so excited to give them out!

Book buying is way fun. And keeps us all in business!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm in love . . .

Please Santa can I have this for Christmas???? Pretty please????

(Go to link for cool demos)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Mondays Get a Bad Rap

Or maybe that should be a bad REP.

Mondays, for me, are usually full of possibility. I get home from teaching my early morning class and tidy up (why is the kitchen always cluttered with dirty dishes again after I've already *done* the dishes the night before? I fear I live with midnight snackers who have not been taught how to stick their cups and plates into the dishwasher sitting right under their nose) and check my email and skim some blogs and think about all the things I'm dreaming about accomplishing.

It's a New Week.

A Fresh Start.

New Goals.

New Schedule.

A Clean Day Planner. (Well, make that a CLEANER day-planner before it all gets filled in).

I love writing down my chores and errands AND THEN CROSSING THEM OUT. That's the best part.

Not that I usually ACHIEVE my writing goals - but the POSSIBILITY is always full of promise.

I just need to get better about keeping the promises I make to myself.

Maybe I should just take Gertrude Stein's advice: "It takes a heap of loafing to write a book."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Just, um, Wow.

Wow, it's December already. Big breath here.

I've done nothing, absolutely NOTHING yet about Christmas. This happens to me every year. December hits as I'm frantically revising a novel and I have 3 weeks to do ALL the shopping, ALL the decorating, ALL the long-distance mailing, ALL the Christmas cards, ALL the baking, ALL the parties and church events, YOU NAME IT - I STILL GOTTA DO IT!!!

And I'm way behind on some promised emails . . . and I have my Classic Book Club this week . . . and the doctor . . . and a wedding . . .

And I came home from Arizona to 375 Bloglines to read and 12 pages of LJ Friends . . . Becky's Book Reviews had 24 posts alone! How does she do that in 4 days and still cook a turkey??? That's what I want to know. So spill it, Becky!


The Albuquerque Public Schools has invited A WHOLE SLEW of local children's/YA authors come TODAY to the Albuquerque Museum for a "Meet and Greet and Get to Know the Author Afternoon. Officially called Author Illustrator Winter Fest!

Come on down and see my books and what I do for school/library visits and chat and have some holiday goodies. I was invited last year and it was way fun.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2008, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Albuquerque Museum, 2000 Mountain Road.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Great New Agent Blog

Rants and Ramblings is Rachel Gardner's blog about books, agenting, writing, and the literary world. She's fun and informative and there's a great crowd of commenters, too. Rachel posts on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. No weekends.

Here's a taste:
(This post on November 17th got 47 comments if you want to read the discussion.)

And heeeeere's Rachel . . .

I was having lunch with a writer friend of mine, and she didn’t seem like she was in the best place emotionally. “I’m starting to question whether this is really my calling,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because some days… it just isn’t fun.” (She said this with a straight face.)

“Hmm,” I said. “Is your marriage fun everyday?”

“Uh, no.”

“Every time it’s not fun, do you question the entire marriage? Do you consider divorce?” I asked.

“Of course not.” My friend rolled her eyes at me.

“Well, I think your calling as a writer is similar,” I told her. “Every time it gets hard, you certainly have to look at the issues and see if there’s something you’re doing wrong, but you don’t question the whole darn thing every single time. Every time you have an argument, the whole marriage doesn’t fall apart. Every time you have a bad day writing, you don’t have to question your entire calling.”

“But…” she argued, “I thought God is supposed to give us passion for the things He calls us to?”

“Are you passionate about your husband?” I asked.



She laughed. “No, not everyday. I get your point.”

Obviously my point was that your calling to be a writer is bigger than simply a “feeling” that shifts with the wind. Once you decide that you are indeed called, you have to avoid using every roadblock as a reason to question it. Instead, look at whether your calling is being confirmed.

Here are some ways to know you’re on the right track: You’re taking little baby steps toward possible publication. You know that your writing's improving. Someone important has given you encouragement. Rejection letters are getting nicer and more complimentary. Your critique group is saying good things and they know what they're talking about and you don't think they're blowing smoke. You've published something smaller like a magazine article or a contribution to a book. You’ve got an agent interested in your work. Any of these types of things can serve as confirmation of your calling.

Unless you have a total lack of anything resembling confirmation... stop questioning your calling and get to work!

My personal thoughts . . .

I think the marriage analogy describes the process well. Some days you just do not "feel the love", but you don't give up or get divorced at the first sign of trouble or a bad writing day. BUT I worked on my writing for years without much confirmation.

During those early years when you're just beginning to learn the craft of writing and story and trying to discover how the publishing business works, you do have to "feel the calling" and get your love out of the writing itself.

You have to love writing. You have to enjoy the process. You have to take joy. You have to WANT IT. And after you've done that for a few months/years, then you'll start getting your "confirmations" that will keep you going.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Teaser Tuesday

So my mailbag is HUGE, absolutely BURSTING at the seams with people asking me what my three books are about that just sold to Scholastic Press. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but I get to because I'm still bruised from all the pinching, K?)

VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION : No, the three books are not a trilogy, they are all stand-alone novels, although the two Middle-Grade novels take place in the same setting and one of the characters is the same . . . the mysterious swamp traiteur. But I still have to WRITE that book, oh my! To have a book sold merely on the basis of a synopsis is still REALLY WILD to me.

I thought I would feel more pressure over this fact, but I'm just really excited because I love the idea and I think it's going to be a fun book to write. AND I just got the idea in September and whipped up a synopsis in a couple of brainstorming and writing sessions. I think all that synopsis writing and rewriting I did for my queries gave me an edge. See, nothing goes to waste, even if the learning curve is extremely painful. So keep writing those query synopses. One day you'll be glad you did!

The novel actually opens with a Recipe for a Healing Spell, but I'll save that for the published book - or maybe later . . . can't decide. Aren't I so mean?

Brief Synopsis of THE HEALING SPELL:
Deep in the Louisiana bayou country, Livie Moulaison’s mother arrives home from the hospital in a coma. Daddy is determined she will only get better surrounded by the people who love her best, but Livie is terrified of her mother’s lifeless condition and wracked by a guilty secret.
The household is turned upside down when Aunt Colleen comes to nurse Mamma, but Livie and her younger cousin Thibodeaux clash from the get-go. It drives her crazy how this annoying kid seems to know what her worst fears are - and plays on those fears to torment her.
Mostly, Livie is afraid she and her mother will never be able to heal their hurtful past if Mamma never wakes up again. Summoning her courage, Livie travels into the forbidden recesses of the swamp to seek out the mysterious traiteur, hoping that if she buys a healing spell, she can bring her mother back to life.

Ta Da! Here is the First Page:

"What in the world is J.B. thinking bringing Rosemary home from the hospital? What a foolish old coot!” Mrs. Guidry talked in one of those loud whispers, like someone who pretends they don’t want anyone to hear, but it carries across the room anyway. “If you ask me, there ain’t no way a man with a sixth grade education can care for someone with a coma.”

There was that word again. I plugged my ears wishing Mrs. Guidry would stop saying it. Mamma looked like she was dead, but she wasn’t really dead. More like stuck somewhere between life and death. As if her body didn’t know which direction in the road to choose.

“Just old, traditional Cajun, Charlotte,” Mrs. Martin answered, a pink flush creeping up her neck when she saw me listening. “It drove J.B. crazy having to leave the hospital when it was time for his shift at the oilrigs.”

Headlights swung into the gravel driveway and Daddy tooted the horn of his Chevy. The dark blue truck looked like a bruise in the dusk. Finally he was home. And this time he was bringing Mamma with him.

My chest got so tight felt like a gator squeezing my heart between his jaws. Drooling to eat my innards up and then spit me onto the muddy bayou banks, leaving my brand new Montgomery Wards red sneakers floating in the hyacinth. That happened to a little boy down the Bayou Teche last year. He was only three years old, and his mama cried her eyes out for more than a week straight.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My hands are shaking!


I'm thrilled, stunned, crying, laughing and pinching myself purple.

I just sold a THREE-BOOK DEAL TO SCHOLASTIC PRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Actually, my AMAZING agent did. But I sweated over them!!! Over the last 6-7 years that is.

I've had so many rejections It would take me an hour to count and list.

So I'm not.

I kept failing. But I kept failing BETTER. Rewriting so many times I can't even tell ya that either.

Please celebrate with me!

There's tons of food, drinks galore, a whole table loaded with every kind of dessert you can think of! Please eat - it's all non-caloric - throw balloons at each other, high-five with me. Toss confetti, dance, wiggle your hips, cry, weep, laugh. OH YEAH, BABY!!!!

I am blessed to know you all and to have gained so much wisdom, advice and much-needed doses of perseverance over the past couple of years when I was seriously ready to give up.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

For Writer's Only

The book by Sophy Burnham: FOR WRITER'S ONLY. (You can buy it used at Amazon for only a penny!)

It's a lovely book with advice for writers to get through each day and to know that they're not alone in their singular, lonely occupation to bring a story alive. And to know that what they do is important and worth it. No matter what the outcome or the struggle.

Here's a couple of quotes:

Gustave Flaubert said: "Writing is a lonely life, but the only life worth living."

Not so lonely anymore with all of you lovely, lovely LJers and Blogspot friends. I wrote for 15 years all by my lonesome without knowing another single writer - before the Internet boom (Um, I started as a toddler - ha!)

Samuel Beckett said: "Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail BETTER."

That has been my motto the past several years. And my non-stop failure is finally being rewarded.

My promised *news* IS coming . . . been waiting for the go-ahead! (I've never known it to take so long with anyone else! I've had butterflies for weeks!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?

This is pretty funny - from politicians to TV personalities to scientists to writers.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

SARAH PALIN: Before it got to the other side, I shot the chicken, cleaned and dressed it, and had chicken burgers for lunch.

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn’t about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don’t really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where’s my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken’s intentions. I am not for it now and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken doesn’t realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he’s acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I’m going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he’s guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer’s Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I’ve not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn’t that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart-warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken 2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken 2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never crash or need to be rebooted.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Great Agent Hunt!

Stats and The True Story:

I will attempt to be semi-coherent in giving you my humble story of how I found my agent, Tracey Adams of Adams Literary. (Find my name on the client page and read my new bio there.) She is absolutely terrific, very friendly, in my corner, knows all the best editors, chats me up with fantastic editors, *gets* my work better than I’d ever dreamed. In short, things are going swimmingly and I’m thrilled to pieces to be working with her!

In the Fall of 2006, my agent of 10 years and I decided to part ways. She had sold three books for me, which you can see here at my website: (But don’t forget to come back for the rest of the story.)

My agent informed me she was moving to Costa Rica, and that from now on I was going to have to do all my own submissions (which I’d already been doing a lot of and not enjoying it too much). She had started her agency in the adult literature world, specializing in mysteries, sci-fi and fantasy, and falling accidentally into the YA world,. We’d also met at a local conference. Along with her move to Costa Rica, she was going to emphasize blockbuster adult thrillers and women’s fiction and she wasn’t keeping up much with the children’s world. She hadn’t been able to sell any of my current manuscripts and I heartily believed in them and didn’t want to give up.

Fact: Currently I have complete manuscripts for 6 novels, partials for 3 books and synopses for 5 more(!) and I was being told to just write a new book. Um, it was time to move on.

Moving on is not so easy to do . . . Finding a new agent – even harder.

I began researching agents and agency websites, discovered the world of writers through Blogspot and LiveJournal and many writers who let me email them and ask questions about their agents. I compiled a huge master list, which kept being added to over the next 18 months.

I did my homework – continued to research for new agents, definitely a constant in this saga - and three months later sent out my first batch of queries.

To make a long story shorter, by the time I was offered firm representation I had queried 39 agents. As I write this, that number is staggering to me.

So how did the 39 break down?

Fact: I queried with two different manuscripts, but the majority of queries were for one novel in particular, Secret Rites of the Goddess. The other manuscript, The Healing Spell, I started querying much later in the game – basically the last 6 months.

Fact: 90% were query emails with synopses, some included a few pages. The other 10 % were snail mail. I thought about querying several other very well-known agents, but just did *not* want to do the snail mail routine with a SASE and a run to the post office and purchasing more nice letter-head paper. That is for the olden days!

The Numbers Game:

13 Agents wanted Fulls

12 Agents wanted Partials (several wanted partials of both projects)

7 Agents never bothered to acknowledge or respond to the query at all. Amazingly high number - and from some very reputable, big agencies.

7 Agents never asked for anything, but I did get a personal rejection letter. A variety of reasons. Too full with clients right now, not the right kind of project for them even though it sounded interesting, etc.

Most of the agents read right away within a few weeks and most gave very nice comments. I did revise twice on my own during the 18 months of submitting. After that, I had 6 agents request specific revisions and asked me to resend, but I never did revise for anybody while I was still waiting to hear from others. I figured I’d revise/resub after I finished my entire list of agents.

Fact: I still have 20 Agents on my list that I researched, but never queried.

Fact: After a year, I got discouraged waiting as well as the whole, excruciatingly long process so I subbed partials to 8 editors that I carefully researched who might like my books. I had great success. Several asked for fulls, and 4 of them or 50% asked me to send them my new projects in the future. I was psyched about that!

Fact: The previous fact proves that editors are still reading their slush piles! And asking for fulls and writing personal letters to authors.

Fact: I entered into some lovely correspondence with several agents. I knew they would take me on with the right project.

Fact: On August 27, 2008, Tracey Adams and I had a two-hour phone conversation and we signed each other up!

Fact: Tracey never had me do ANY revisions before submitting to editors.

Fact: This blog will have some most excellent news next week. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

Fact: If anybody would like to see my list of agents, I’d be glad to email it to you so that you can see if any of these agents might be right for you. Don’t forget to do your research/homework though!

The Last and Best Fact:
I attended SCBWI LA in August 2007, mostly because I wanted to meet Tracey Adams since she was only accepting submissions from writers who attended the conferences she spoke at. It took a year and several emails over the summer with her when she offered representation, but she was always my Number One Choice Agent, although her offer suddenly got 5 other agencies jumping, too. It was obvious after corresponding with all the interested agents that I’d picked the right agent as #1. I couldn’t be more pleased.

End of Story!
Or maybe just the beginning . . .

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Haunted Houses

Halloween is in only 10 days and Albuquerque has TWO haunted houses to scare the bejeebies out of you!

I am getting my arm twisted to go to 13th Street Manor:

Who's twisting my arm? My new daughter-in-law (!) who works there seven days a week scaring people until Halloween is over.
I've never been a person who seeks out horror movies. I love mysteries and suspense and thrillers. The Bourne Identity, Mission Impossible, Dial M for Murder - but HAUNTED HOUSES with people screaming and blood dripping and zombies chasing you and vampires rising out of the dark and ghouls grabbing at your ankles? Thank you very much but I think I'd rather hit the dollar movie down the road and see Traveling Pants 2! (Watch the very cute trailer at this link.) Anyone seen it yet? Carolee Dean and I are going to go see it for a girl's night out soon.

Anyway, Milyssa really, really wants us to go, and I'm feeling guilty putting her off. I said maybe I'll go if my hubby is on one side of me, and my boys on the other three sides. And I'll hide my eyes. And run really, really fast!

See, when I was eleven years old I had a *bad experience* at our local haunted house in Concord, California. I went with my best friend, Starr, and I got so scared by people grabbing at me and getting electrically zapped on a bench that I was near tears and begged to leave. They let me out a side door. I was sooooo relieved. But my friend Starr FINISHED the tour ALL BY HERSELF. And didn't seem terribly freaked out at all.

I guess I'm a wimp.

I'll let you know next week if I went and if I survived.

If this blog goes dark, you'll know the outcome . . .

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Daydreaming Book Covers

Surely I'm not the only one who makes up potential covers for their manuscripts . . . this was way fun to put together while I'm waiting to hear about my submissions . . .

Isn't it gorgeous? I wonder what the actual novel will look like after the story SELLS and the art department gets a hold of it. I can't wait!

Course the title could end up changing, too. That seems to happen a lot these days.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We're on Submission - and it's my 100th Post!

Yep, my new and awesomely amazing agent has officially submitted two of my completed novels, a MG called The Healing Spell and an edgy YA with crossover potential titled, Secret Rites of the Goddess. My wonderful agent went to New York two weeks ago and pitched/chatted up my books with 7 various editors from dynamite houses - and they ALL wanted to read the manuscripts. Picking and choosing who gets what and when needed a bit of discussion, but we managed to figure it out. :-D

The blurbs for you curious folks out there . . . actually, these are the synopses I wrote for my query letters to editors and agents. I usually got requests to send the full manuscript.

Secret Rites of the Goddess
Kimberley Griffiths Little

On the night of Jayden's blood ritual, she learns about the ancient Mother Goddess as well as the forbidden secret rites celebrated at the goddess temples of Ashtoreth - idol worship that daughters of Abraham have been warned to shun. The stories are curious and terrifying, especially when Jayden's older sister Leila seems determined to join the temple priestesses and experience the seductive, sexual rituals.

Jayden's character is tested as she loses her family one by one to the harsh life of the desert, finding herself raising her infant sister after her mother dies in childbirth. She's also mesmerized and confused by Kadesh, the stranger who unexpectedly appears as if conjured by desert spirits. Is the young man a heathen or a believer, and what is the truth about his elusive tribe in the distant Southern lands?

When Jayden's cousin Horeb, her betrothed, raids Kadesh's caravan and kills the young man she loves, the pressure to turn herself over to the temple cult where there is luxury and comfort despite its hidden vices is more than she can bear. Only the promise Jayden made to her mother and her devotion to the True and Living God keeps her sane, even when she is shunned by the women of her clan.

Then Jayden learns there is a chance Kadesh might still be alive, and she sets off on a dangerous journey to find him, even though he hides a tragic secret of his own. In this story of peer pressure and cults set against the weaving tapestry of the ancient art of belly dance, Jayden discovers strengths she didn’t know she had and a faith that will help her stay alive, even as the world around her falls apart.

NOTE: My agent calls this book the YA equivalent to THE RED TENT, one of her all-time favorite books and every editor in New York said the same thing. It's a sexy, girl-power book about peer pressure and an ancient form of an all girl "gang" inside the Temple of Ashtoreth. Along with a romance and lots of danger.

The Healing Spell
Kimberley Griffiths Little

Deep in the Louisiana Cajun country, Livie Moulaison’s mother arrives home from the hospital in a coma after a terrible accident in the bayou. Daddy is determined she will only get better surrounded by the people who love her best, but Livie is terrified of her mother’s lifeless condition and wracked by a guilty secret.

The household gets even more tense when Aunt Colleen comes from Montana to nurse Mamma, and Livie and her younger cousin Thibodeaux clash from the get-go. It drives Livie crazy how this kid seems to know her worst fears--and plays on them to torment her. Mostly, Livie is afraid she and her mother will never be able to heal the hurtful past between them if Mamma never wakes up again so she takes her pirogue into the darkest part of the swamp to seek out the mysterious traiteur in hopes of buying a healing spell that will bring her mamma back to life.

Stuck in the middle of three sisters, hiding a forbidden pet alligator, and afraid to disappoint her daddy whom she loves more than anyone else, Livie struggles to find her place within her own family as she learns about the power of faith and redemption.

NOTE: One editor said she LOVED the mysterious title and another said she could feel the steamy setting rising off the page.

And now we are playing the waiting game . . .

Friday, September 26, 2008

Go! Arts Festival in Albuquerque

I'll be at the Go! Arts Festival in downtown Albuquerque all day TOMORROW!

There's a children's booth with 5 terrific local writers reading and autographing our books! WAY FUN!!!

The Festival is located on Gold Street and our booth is between 3rd and 4th streets on the south side in the Children's Activity Area

Who will be there?

Kersten Hamilton
Neecy Twinem
Kris Litchman
Edith Tarbescue

Please come say hello! Enjoy the gorgeous fall weather! Buy an exciting book! Eat a Snickers!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Books Read Over the Summer

Children’s/YA Fiction:
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr *
Breathe My Name by R. A. Nelson *
Peeled by Joan Bauer
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry *
Total Constant Order by Crissa-Jean Chappel
Love me Tender by Audrey Couloumbis
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman
Undercover by Beth Kephart *
How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
Remembering Raquel by Vivan Vande Velde *
Seer of Shadows by Avi *
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson *

Adult Novels:
The Twelfth Transforming by Pauline Gedge *
Lady of the Reeds by Pauline Gedge *
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella *


The Secret by Rhonda Byrne *
Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing: A novelist looks at his craft by David Morrell *

* My favorites of the Current List

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm Signing at the New Mexico State Fair!

I'll be at the Children's Pavilion at the New Mexico State Fair TODAY at 2:30 p.m. and MONDAY, September 15th at 2:30 p.m.

I'll be doing a reading from THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER and then autographing books! I will also have copies of BREAKAWAY and ENCHANTED RUNNER, which won the Southwest Book Award.

Please come on down! I'd love to meet ya!

I have candy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We have a winner!

The winner of THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER is . . . .


Please email me your name and address at kglittle(at)msn(dot)com and I'll send that to you right away!

Thank you for playing, everyone, and and enjoy a good book today!

Monday, September 08, 2008

If you don't know this site yet, you need to!


It's my good friend Cynthia's 10-year anniversary of her web site - packed with everything you ever wanted to know about Children's Books and Authors and the publishing world. It's for readers, writers, librarians, parents, booksellers, anybody interested in the Children's/YA market.

Bookmark it.
Enjoy it.
Learn from it.

Most of all, have fun!

P. S. Enter my book giveaway contest below. Now. That's an order, people!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Book Giveaways!

Don't forget to enter my book giveaway in the post below for THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER!

And here's another one at

Enter both!!!

Friday, September 05, 2008

In Celebration of my Agent Signing!

Hi gang,

I'm still running around playing catch up after a wild August and I need to go spend a few hours up in Albuquerque this afternoon taking care of *business* so my post on "How I Came to Sign with The Adams Literary Agency" will appear on Monday. (Because weekends are tough for blogging). And I need to write a bio for the agency website and take a photo to send to Tracey, which is going to take some time. I have a first draft written, Tracey - in case you're reading this! Gulp.

But I gotta keep the partying goin'!!!

I've never done this before and it's high time I did so . . . to celebrate my agent signing, I'm going to do a giveaway of my YA, THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER pictured here.

The book in hardcover is shiny and has gorgeous cover art by the internationally famous artist, Joel Nakamura. The story is time travel and exciting and dangerous and there's a love story. And it's based on actual events from 1599, too!

All you have to do is post a comment and tell us something you love about your agent - and if you're not agented tell us something you're hoping for in your agent-to-be!

Feel free to link to my journal and spread the word. Announcements on your journals/blogs will automatically enter your name twice!

A *second* copy of THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER will be given away on my mirror blog as well! Whoo hoo!!!

Deadline: Tuesday, September 9th at midnight!!!

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's Awesome News Day!!!!!!

Yep, I think I left you all hanging long enough. I'm sorry! I was dying to tell, but I had so many things going on and I've been physically fried for awhile.

So I'm home from my trip, said goodbye to my darling son at college, ran a million errands, helped him solve a few problems, drove long days in the car, survived a Mount Timpanogos hike, awed over the beauty of Arches National Park and all the while I was TINGLING with excitement because . . .

I had just signed with Tracey Adams of Adams Literary Agency!!!! Yes, the one and only Tracey Adams, agent extraordinaire!!!

She wants me! She loves my novels! She *gets* my stories! She's going to start calling editors about my novels and get me great deals!

YES, YES, YES!!!!!!


Tracey was always my #1 choice - and I got her!

More of the backstory tomorrow . . .

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A little news

We're taking off at the crack of dawn to take my son back up to BYU, and I'm madly packing and falling over with exhaustion from a wild week AND I have good news, but I'm going to spill next week when I have more than 10 seconds to write a blog. So stay tuned - and have a great Labor Day weekend!

Okay, here's a nugget:

Good stuff on the movie front: I have a new idea for a murder thriller film based on a true story from 1967 that happened right here in my own little town on Route 66 - and the movie producer is very excited about it and cannot wait to see it! I've been researching, figuring out characters, and trying to finish up a short treatment to send to him when I return from the wilds of Utah. It's going to be a cross between No Country for Old Men and Chinatown! How about that?!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I can't keep a secret

I was going to wait until things were more official, but . . . I got an offer of representation from an agent last week and we're having a phone interview next week!!!!!!!!!

After 18 months of querying, stopping to revise, querying, revising (on my own that is) it's finally happened!

So I contacted all the other agents who had fulls and partials and they are all madly reading (and some asked for more - since I just finished my In a Paris Minute novel two weeks ago!) . . . I'm excited and nervous and sort of dazed.

Please pray for me that I won't sound like an idiot on the telephone. ;-D

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Movie Update!

I've been traveling the past couple of weeks and now I'm getting ready for some family to drop in on us for a week. I thought I'd better write a blog before I forget how!

WHAT A CRAZY SUMMER THIS HAS BEEN! Seems like everyone I talk to has had the same kind of nuttiness in their lives.

So about the movie and the producer . . . I heard back from him very quickly, unlike the book publishing business where your manuscripts get sucked into a black hole without a map.

The good news: He *loved* the story and my writing and my characters!!!

The bad news: He has a very small budget and doesn't produce historicals because they are way too expensive and mine is time-travel and involves snakes and horses and 16th century armor and guns and cannons.

The good news: He emailed again to assure me that he wants to see more treatments from me and would love to work with me - meaning he wants to buy a movie from me. Just send him a contemporary Southwestern story.

Uncertain news: I gotta come up with a new idea and write it!!! No problemo. Think, brain, think.

Good news redux: My *movie* friend has more potential producers to send the completed treatment of The Last Snake Runner to - yay! And we're brainstorming new ideas tomorrow.

More good news: I did three more revision rounds on my YA novel, IN A PARIS MINUTE - and an editor at Candlewick wants me to send it to her so she can read it during her vacation next week! Now *that's* something that doesn't happen very often!

Gooder news: The manuscript was sent today at 2:51p.m. via email attachment.

I'm trying to catch up on blogs now . . . and I'm sinking fast . . . hope you're all good though!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

An Historic Writing Day

This morning I emailed off a 20 page screenplay treatment and resume to a REAL, LIVE MOVIE PRODUCER who WANTS TO READ IT!!!

My treatment (which is another word for a very long developed synopsis with character development and all the plot twists and turns and climax and resolution written in present tense) was subbed to this producer with a recommendation from a writer this producer knows well. Which is even better.

It all started about a month ago . . .

Well, maybe 6 years ago when I thought, hmm, my book, The Last Snake Runner, is certainly a visual, exciting war story and love story. Maybe I'll try my hand at a screenplay just for kicks. I read a few screenplay books, then sat down and wrote it in about two weeks. Very fun experience, but what do I do with it? Screenplay gets shelved in my files. After all, I don't know a soul in the movie business and neither did my agent at the time.

Zip Fast Forward: A few months ago I met a screenplay writer who newly moved here and has sent the last 15 years writing his own or developing ideas or fixing screenplays for various producers. I mentioned I'd written one based on my novel and he said he'd like to read it. He thought it was terrific and the writing was wonderful.

Him: Are you sure this is your first screenplay?
Me: Yeah. I promise!
Him: It's so well done. You've got all the special formatting down, great dialogue, good descriptions, action. I'm impressed. I think I may know somebody who would like to see this.
Me. You're kidding.
Him: Nope, let me help you do a treatment.
Me. Sure!!!

After an intense month of brainstorming, writing, revising, adding many more cinematic elements, a new beginning, a very dramatic, magical climax, it's done. Got resume put together, was introduced to said producer who WANTS to do a movie set in New Mexico with Native Americans. (He's German after all, and Germany LOVES Native American stories) and it's off across the Atlantic.

Best part is: Producer said he's got a two week window to read it and I'll know what he thinks very soon. Not in 8 months. Like some editors and agents I know. Not naming any names . . .

Second best part: He actually has some funding - one of the biggest hurdles to a movie actually getting produced.

Third best part: If it's a go, the movie will be produced and distributed in Europe AND the U.S.


Now you know where I've been the past month of absentee blogging . . . and I'm almost done with final revisions on my novel, In a Paris Minute, too. Can't wait to mail it out! But I'm just a little tired . . .

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fun Video!

Please feel free to just erase/ignore my last post about beautiful cool mornings because this week it's SO hot and muggy! Muggy in dry, deserty New Mexico - sheesh! But it's true. About 100 degrees every day with about 85% humidity. I have to take cold showers at night just so I can sleep. We use swamp coolers - which are terrible in humidity, of course.

Moving right along . . . tell me I'm crazy because I'm sure it's true or else the heat has gotten to me and I'm not responsible for my actions . . . BUT I now have over 100 blogs I'm keeping up with via friends on Live Journal and all the blogs I've put into my bloglines for daily reading. I'm getting carried away - literally. I feel myself going down The Mighty River of Blog Land. Nary a rock or branch in sight to save myself.

So I mostly read other authors, agents, editors, but I also have some historical stuff and I peruse a few adult romance sites since I'm writing romance (of sorts) myself - except they're YA.

I came across this video today. All the authors who have been nominated for the RITA Award (which stands for something in the romance genre, but my brain is too woozy to remember exactly WHAT.) made this and it's hysterically funny.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mornings by the Rio Grande

Mornings are so beautiful here. I got up early, opened all the windows and doors wide to the let cool air rush throughout the house and then laid down on my bed listening to birds chirping, the cats scratching around - or on top of me (I swear their favorite thing to do - or push their heads under the covers with me), and watched pale morning sunlight make shadows and drops of yellow on my bedspread.

I actually spent a few moments ENJOYING the beauty of the day.

I tend to get up quickly, check email, exercise, eat breakfast, shower, throw laundry in, do dishes, write out bills, make any necessary phone calls, catch up on everyone's blogs, do my scripture reading, run errands, etc. and then it's 95 degrees and I try to write.

I'm making a promise to myself that before the summer is over I'm going to lie in bed enjoying the morning with a book. I mean, I only have 25 in the stack waiting for me. I know because I counted yesterday!

All during the school year I'm up at 5 a.m. to teach and I need to indulge in a good *lie-in* with a book at least ONE summer day. All I need to go with my book is a box of chocolates.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Book Purses - you know you want one

I've always been a girl that would LUV to purchase more cute shoes and more cute purses, but when I go shopping I always feel so $$$ POOR and come home empty-handed or with something cheap and then I'm disappointed.

Then I found this!

Now I'm wondering if my brand new daughter-in-law would help me make one of these. Turns out she's quite the seamstress and very creative. Can you imagine a conference or ALA or BEA or Bologna where everyone (the girls at least) were carrying a purse in their favorite book?

(Full instructions with pictures and supplies needed at the link!)

How to Make a Book Purse

This is a featured article. Click here for more information.
Here's a novel purse that is perfect for the bibliophile in your life!

Make this purse out of an old (preferably cheap and unloved) book. It's sure to be a conversation starter wherever you take it and you'll get to recycle a discarded book in the process.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Five

It's 95 degrees and our swamp cooler is not hooked up yet. I sweat all night long. Or is it hormones?

2. I'm getting very frustrated about still not getting paid for a school gig in April and trying to run down the right people for my check!

3. The Sounds of Summer - birds singing outside my window. Along with other unknown chirping insects and the chugging sprinklers.

4. I can't wait for BEA to get done this weekend since I'm supposed to be hearing some *news* next week.

5. My stack of books got even higher. How did that happen? Oh yeah, I ordered these last week and also went to the library. Can I just read for the rest of my life?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A writer's breakfast gab fest

So where do poor writers meet up for breakfast? I-HOP, of course!

Such cute gals! We had some fun getting-to-know-you talk as well as writing talk and stimulating conversation about being a book publisher. Karlene actually had her own publishing company for several years! I was impressed.

From left to right: Candace Salima. She's even more gorgeous in person than her official blog photograph.

Yours truly.

[info]sarah_create who flew in from Iceland for graduation stuff and family stuff and some writing events, too. She is now seriously jet-lagged.

And Karlene Browning, creator of many blogs and businesses, just take a peek at her profile!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dream a little dream with me . . .: Thoughts on Being an American

Here's a link to a wonderfully inspiring post from a new writer friend. I got to meet Candace in Provo, Utah when we were picking up my son a couple of weeks ago from BYU. This is the kind of thought processes and patriotism that created our country and made us great!

Dream a little dream with me . . .: Thoughts on Being an American

(Tomorrow I'll post a pic of Candace and me and a couple of other writers when we met each other for the first time.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

French Pastries to die for

Here's a link to my French trip on my web site if you'd like to take a peek. There are too many to post here.

Near the bottom is an example of the fabulous French pastries we ate every day.

The awesome thing was, we walked so much for those two weeks I didn't gain a single pound even though I ate these every day.

Au revoir and have a great weekend!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Moi funny?

I found out I could write humor last Friday night at our local SCBWI New Mexico Handsprings conference.

My favorite event at Handsprings is the Friday evening EDITOR PANEL (this year with editor Alisha Niehaus at Dutton and Rebecca Sherman, agent from Writers House, and Tim Gillner, Art Director from Highlights/Boyds Mills Press.)

Attendees get to send in a first page from their YA novel, MG novel, or picture book and have it read anonymously for the panel to make comments on. The visiting agents/editors give tips, pointers and helpful information about what makes a good first page. What happens when and editor or agent reads that first page? What are they thinking, feeling – and will they want to turn the page?

I sent in the First Page of my WIP, IN A PARIS MINUTE, which I am completely revamping at the moment; a total restructure of the time line and events.

I was biting my nails wondering if the panel was going to tell me to go get a new day job. I envisioned comments like, “This writers thinks she can write YA chick lit from a teenage girl’s POV? Ha, ha, ha! It’s obvious she hasn’t seen her teen years in about 3 decades.”

I was worried I’d be laughed out of the room.

But the room laughed at my story, my writing instead - at least 3 times - during just one page! They laughed at parts I didn’t realize were even funny. I was dumbfounded and thrilled. Perhaps it was the deadpan voice of the SCBWI woman who was reading, I dunno, but I’ll take it anyway.

Then Agent Rebecca Sherman said, “This first page does all the things right we’ve been talking about. Establishes, setting, character, voice, situation. It’s a GOOD first page. No, it’s a GREAT first page. I’d want to keep reading.”

Alisha Niehaus heartily concurred - and said she loves anything to do with Paris. Score a big one for me. My first page got the best comments of the whole evening. I'm so psyched to finish this book now!

Here it is, dear blog readers:

In a Paris Minute


Kimberley Griffiths Little

I have a confession to make: I’ve become a total idiot over French pastries.

They’re my new favorite food.

My new favorite souvenir.

My new favorite sin.

The Eiffel tower, the Louvre—all of them must-sees like the tour books claim—if you don’t mind heights that make you dizzy and enough paintings to saturate your brain for the rest of your life—but once I discovered La Patisserie the rest of Paris became mere backdrop for my indulgence.

Drizzled chocolate, sugar-dusted raspberries, flaky crusts with perfect crimped edges. I’ll have to run the New York City marathon when I get back just to burn off my new five pounds. French beignets are the worst temptation, like Prada handbags call to my mother from Fifth Avenue. Dunkin Donuts—so yesterday.

Kara and I even ate warm, oozing chocolate crepes for dinner one night while we analyzed French boys on top of the Arc d’Triomphe. If you’ve heard the expression, they’re to die for, well, I’m here to tell you, it’s true. Trust me. The crepes, I mean. Not necessarily French boys.

I've restrained myself from checking out Parisian males because I'm already taken--by Mathew Perotti, the hottest guy at Eleanor Roosevelt High via Lubbock, Texas.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Doing the MEME thang

I haven't been tagged but saw this on my friend Barbara O' Connor's terrific blog and it looked like fun so I'm doin' it. ;-)

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing ten years ago?

Homeschooling three rambunctious boys who liked to read, think up Imagination games (and tell me to be quiet so I didn't interrupt their daydreams) and play Hide n'Seek with their friends through the house. Wasn't I a nice Mom?

My first book, BREAKAWAY, was just coming out and I was nervously biting my fingernails.

Doing revisions on ENCHANTED RUNNER for my editor.

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

1. Go to Los Lunas Middle School to talk to the kids in the Book Club about the process of book publishing.
2. Grocery shopping (found some great sales at Albertsons).
3. Talk my son through a school final crisis. Not on the "to do" list but it happened.
4. Make spaghetti for dinner.
5. Wash my hair. Seriously.

What are some snacks you enjoy?

Chocolate chip cookie dough.
Donuts, especially chocolate frosted ones with sprinkles

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Hire a maid
Travel to Egypt. Hit every European country.
Lounge on the beach for a couple of weeks
Buy any book I want
I'd definitely donate to several charities as well as medical research for cancer. That stuff scares me.
Give my mom (who only has a small social security check every month) enough money so she'll quit worrying
Take my whole family (my brothers and sisters, and their kids, too) on a big, splurgy vacation

What are three of your bad habits?

Fretting/Nagging ;-(
Eating too many sweets
Not having enough confidence in myself

What are five places where you have lived?

San Francisco, California
Concord, California
Provo, Utah
Ponca City, Oklahoma
Albuquerque, New Mexico

What are five jobs you have had?

Saleswoman at a clock store (grandfather clocks and imported clocks from Europe)
Piano Teacher
Kelly Girl
Office clerk for a CPA
Seminary teacher

What six people do you want to tag?


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Gotta Add a P.S.

About CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT by Laurie Viera Rigler. Check out Laurie's adorable, fun website, too! Good stuff and contests even.

I posted my blog this morning and then this afternoon Laurie herself emails to tell me she's seen my blog - my blog, no less! - and thanks me for mentioning her book. I was very glad to do it because I really ADORED this novel. No, it's not YA like I write, but it's juicy, suspenseful, un-put-downable with twists and turns and a surprising conclusion. It's sort of like time travel and historical wrapped inside as well which I love (and which my last book from Knopf is all about, The Last Snake Runner.)

A young woman (Courtney) wakes up one morning in Regency England remembering her life back int he 21st century and wondering how she got there. THEN she starts realizing that she has memories of the woman (Jane) whose body she is inhabiting. But what happened to Jane - the woman Courtney took over? Is she in her old body two hundred years into the future. And will they switch back - or not?

A terrific novel with first rate writing and yes, tons of fun, as well as romance and handsome men.

I hear a sequel is in the works . . . yay!

Go grab CONFESSIONS from your nearest bookstore and have a great read!

Life/Blog Updates You've Been Waiting For

But ya ain’t gonna get ‘em - at least not quite yet! I’m doing the catch-up dance after a month of school travel, personal travel, illness and family crisis - and I’m boogying away like mad.

For now, here is a list of books I’ve read in the past couple of months.

I can’t keep track of dates anymore – are you kidding?

THE TALENTED CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker, illus. by Marla Frazee

Absolutely darling!


Great American historical fiction


A classic – what else can I say?

THE WELL OF ASCENSION by Brandon Sanderson

Intriguing new Adult fantasy with a brilliant world, yet the main character is only 18 years old so it reads like sophisticated YA.

RED GLASS by Laura Resau

The imagery and writing is wonderful in a whole new setting in Mexico

THE WHITE DARKNESS by Geraldine McCaughrean

I never knew you could describe the snow and white colors of the Antarctic in so many ways.


Very fun read if you love Jane!


Elaine Konigsburg will go down in history as one of the best writers of the last generation

REPOSSESED by A. M. Jenkins

Wicked and delightful! Love her work.

OPHELIA: A NOVEL by Lisa M. Klein

Fantastic retelling of Hamlet by Ophelia herself. Love this kind of historical fiction, rich and wonderful.

THE LUXE by Anna Godberson

A fun gossipy read, but doesn’t live up to all the hype. Don’t buy it. Use your library, that’s what I do.

REACHING FOR SUN by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

A wonderful new poetic writer!

COLLISION COURSE! Cosmic impacts and life on earth by Fred Bortz

Fascinating non-fiction!


An Australian author who tells a story using about 10 different points of view brilliantly. The first 50 pages is sort of slow, but it doesn’t disappoint as it begins to get more complex and all the pieces fit together at the end.

CATASTROPHE Great Engineering Failure – and Success by Fred Bortz

More great non-fiction with fabulous photos

THE SECRET by Rhonda Byrne

Intriguing way to look at success and happiness and your personal dreams and goals.

THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Read this for my book club – it’s been decades since I’ve read it, but it’s still timeless and healing.

GOOD MASTERS! SWEET LADIES! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz/

Really different kind of format with little known medieval facts and information.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Book Giveaways this Week!

Go to Author2Author to post a comment and win a great YA novel! Be sure you sign up to read the wonderful posts about writing and publishing, too.

Today's book: FRENCH KISSES by Aimee Friedman.

I'm writing a book set in Paris on a class trip about Sasha who misses her bus and gets stuck for 24 hours without her tour group in a city where she can barely speak the language. But she meets Jean-Paul and is mesmerized by a boatload of decadent pastries. So what about Matthew, her boyfriend back home in New York? Is destiny pulling her in a totally different direction? In a Paris Minute. Life can change in a minute. On the turn of a dime. Or in the seconds it takes to miss your tour bus.

See how much I NEED to read this book? It's called RESEARCH.

Fingers and toes and eyes crossed that I will be the winner. Hear my plea, oh Universe . . .

Monday, April 07, 2008

P. S.

For some reason I can't get Ally Carter's link to work. Just Google her name or book title and you'll find her. I promise. Cross my heart.

Two blogs in One

Good Answer! Good Answer!

Ever watch the TV show "Family Feud"? Each team enthusiastically claps every time one of their team member comes up with an answer to the question - whether it's a good answer or not.

But Ally Carter, author of I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU and it's sequel, CROSS MY HEART AND HOPE TO SPY, has written a perfect answer to the question kids like to ask visiting authors in their school library, "How can I get published?"

I got that question last week after my writing workshop with 8th graders. I know how they feel. I was there once - writing and dreaming of the day I'd be a published author. In 8th grade I was barely producing stories that made any kind of sense with their earnestness and struggling metaphors. But I - they - WANT to be published - desperately.

Ally's blog answers writers who are currently under 18 years of age and their concerns completely and honestly. Take her advice. She's right. She's inspired. Go to: and click on the Diary link.

Then go read her books. They're FABULOUS! She's already spent TWELVE WEEKS on the New York Times Bestseller list! Congrats, Ally!

May the spies be with you . . .


Weddings, babies - it's been a roller coaster, my friends. Throw in a big Easter choir program I accompanied, Spring Break, and a hugely awful, terrible, no good very bad cold to boot. But I am better!

And frantically finishing the final touches on a handout and goodies for my upcoming school visits tomorrow and next Tuesday. "The Creative Diary" is a fabulous writing workshop that I've been honing and perfecting for the last couple of years and it's amazing how excited the students get to write during the presentation - even the ones who DON'T LIKE writing. It's great! Imagination exercises, fast writing, and an exciting premise for them to write about.

I'm visiting 250 8th graders tomorrow in the library (in two different shifts) at John Adams Middle School and the teacher whom I met in February is giving it all a fabulous unique twist. Over the next month the kids will have the chance to finish, revise, and polish the two stories they will write with me tomorrow, put them together like a book, then display them at an Evening Dessert Reception with their parent's on May 1 when I will return and give a keynote speech and autograph books.

Since the students will have a month to take this piece of a story and turn it into a full-blown project, I'm adding several new things to the talk tomorrow to help them think about the elements of a story and how to build a story with all of its many pieces. I hope they will be inspired and excited!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Great New Books!

Pulling your hair out over trying to help your youngster learn the basics elements of doing a research project or paper? I have just the book for you! Or maybe you're an elementary school teacher with a class full of blank stares as you try to explain what to do. Then check out this new book by my friend Toni Buzzeo!

by Toni Buzzeo
Publisher: Upstart Books

My wonderful friend Barbara O'Connor has a book birthday today! She's an extraordinarily gifted writer of middle-grade Southern family novels that have been on dozens of state award lists and wins all kinds of awards. Go to your nearest bookstore and grab a copy and curl up with a great read! Then check out all her other books on her website. You won't want to miss a single one. Promise.

by Barbara O'Connor
Published by: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Friday, February 29, 2008

Ancient Egypt and Me

VERY GROOVY ANNOUNCEMENT!!! I have the lead story in the March issue of Cricket Magazine. "The Mummy Tent" debuts with fantastic artwork and inspired the cover art, too. It's GORGEOUS!

Looky, looky . . . Here's the front cover!

An exotic golden back cover!

And here is the first page with my byline!

I feel like a kid when I get something published because it's so flippin' THRILLING!

I still remember those long ago days before I was published sending out dozens of short stories and dreaming about the day I *might* have a story in the most prestigious children's magazine, Cricket. Now I've had three with a fourth story scheduled for July.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Wanderings

As I get to know the Live Journal community better I've enjoyed the writers out there who have *tagged* days of the week for certain topics to write about. Teaser Tuesday, Thankful Thursday, Five Things on a Friday, etc.

So I'm dubbing today as Wednesday Wanderings:

Wandering #1:
School To World Event on Saturday went great! 2,500 middle school kids came through the convention center in groups, or with their teachers and parents all wanting to look at my books and talk about writing careers and what to do while they're in high school. It was super fun to talk to them! Such a range of thoughtful and excited students. (Of course there were other areas to explore such as technological careers, but writing is way more fun!)

Sold a couple dozen books, and RAN OUT of ALL my handouts and business cards and candy by late morning! I had no idea there would be such a huge turnout or interest. Next year I will bring twice as many!

Since the event I've been contacted by a librarian wanting to buy 25 copies for a class set of Enchanted Runner, recently back in print. And another teacher who is arranging a school visit for May 1. Cool!

It was SO great to visit with Carolee Dean and Lois Ruby, too. I rarely get to talk with other writers so that was a real treat for me. They've both got some great books so check out these two wonderful writer women.

Wandering #2:
We don't get much in the way of conferences and publishers in our neck of the woods and our local SCBWI schmoozes are mostly populated by beginners so author extraordinaire Kersten Hamilton, has started arranging a luncheon for any published writer located in New Mexico or coming through to meet so that we can talk "shop". We'll have a chance to discuss school visits, editor/agent problems, the publishing business, etc with other writers who know the pitfalls and problems and angst of selling a book and having it published. Our first one was last month and it was a great start. Lois told me on Saturday that the discussion we had last month about her current WIP was most helpful and she is going back to rewrite the story with an older character and make the story YA instead of Middle-Grade. Good luck Lois!

Next meeting/luncheon is Tuesday, March 25th at the Jewish Community Center in Albuquerque. Straight up NOON, pardner.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tomorrow - School to World!

I'll be at the Albuquerque Convention Center Saturday, February 23rd from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. for the annual School to World Fair. I'll be in the Arts/Entertainment/Communications Cluster where students, families, teachers and librarians can learn about the various careers in these areas.

I'll have books for sale, Career Information about writing, Information about my school visits, Postcard magnets and lots of other goodies - along with authors Carolee Dean and Elsie Kreischer.

I'd love to see you! Please come say hello and visit with us!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A cute fan letter

I got this letter last week and am posting it exactly as I received it. I found it amusing that the salutation is not the usual "Dear Author" or "Dear Kimberley", but just "Hey".

hey, i am emailing you to inform you that i have jus finished reading your book entitled THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER. This book was a little bit interesting. it did kind of draw my attention, but at some times i did get distracted while reading it, as does any book. i really dislike reading, but this book inspired me to read more. i would like to take but 5 minutes of your time to ask you a couple of questions relating to this book. first off, i am wondering how you got so much information about Acoma. another question i have is, how long did it take you to get this information? i know that i am just another person in this world, but if you could jus take a few minutes to reply, please do. i really enjoyed the part where Kendall outran the horses. Please reply.

Fan letters are VERY FUN! I feel like a *real* author.

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's Friday and your LAST CHANCE TO WIN A BOOK!

Go here to AUTHOR2AUTHOR blogspot to enter the drawing for the YA novel Lost It by Kristen Tracy. Sounds like a verrrry interesting and funny book. A provocative cover, to say the least!


1. It's a three day weekend and I get to sleep in on Monday. I'm so relieved, and I need sleep. BAD.

2. I've gained 5 pounds the last two days. At least.

3. The massage and girl talk yesterday was heavenly. And I got to play and read books to three adorable little girls, 18 months, 2 years, and 3.5. I always wished I'd had 3 girls to go with my 3 sons. I guess I'll have to hope for adorable daughters-in-law.

4. Watch Pride and Prejudice on Sunday night on Masterpiece Theater. Yes, it's the one with the devastatingly mysterious Colin Firth.

5. I'm going to go finish off my box of chocolate Turtle candy now. And have another piece of my fudge marble birthday cake. Here's to a SECOND 5 pounds!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I love having my birthday on Valentine's Day!!! :-)

As a kid, I always knew how to decorate my birthday parties.

I always received a heart-shaped box of chocolates from my grandpa until I turned 12 and he died later that year.

My darling husband picked up the tradition when we got married and he surprises me with it somewhere - like under my pillow. Today it was hidden under my computer keyboard when I got home from class this morning. Gosh, is my computer habit that obvious? Hubby knows what I like - Turtles! Gooey, chocolate, carmel-ly, nutty Turtles. I get the whole box. I usually eat nothing else all day until the birthday dinner.

When our three boys were younger hubby gave them instructions NOT to eat any of my birthday chocolates. But I get each of them their own box and everybody is happy. ;-)

Today darling husband got up at 5:30 a.m. to bake my heart-shaped Valentine Birthday Cake. Heart-shaped cake pans. My mom found them somewhere when I had my first birthday and passed the cake pans to my husband when we got married.

At 1:00 I'm getting a massage. And girl-talk. Aah, heaven.

Today I'm extremely grateful for my LIFE, my FAMILY AND FRIENDS and God's incredible blessings!

Go tell the people who matter most to you that you love them. Go eat chocolate, go read a great book - or go write one.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Author@Author Book Giveaway!

This is a great Journal to read about several recently published, soon to be published or aspiring writers. Very fun and intriguing women with good posts about the writing and publishing world. They're also running a book give-away contest every day this week. Some great YA books to snatch so run over and post a comment to enter the drawing. It's as simple as that. Hope you win! And I hope I win, too! ;-0

Author2Author book Giveaway Link HERE!!!

Friday, February 08, 2008


REJECTIONS always arrive in brown manila envelopes – unless you purchase the pretty white 9x12 envelopes which is only slightly better than manila because it’s still a REJECTION after all.

We hates seeing big manila envelopes in the mailbox. (I'm channeling Golum for some weird reason.)

GREAT things come in #10 size envelopes. I got two of them this week.

#1. A lovely fan letter from Abby, Age 10, who reads Cricket magazine and wanted to let the editors know that she liked my story “Rattlesnake Rain” from the August issue. Cricket made me a copy and forwarded it my way. Thank you!

#2. A second envelope from Cricket WITH A CHECK!!!

My story, "The Mummy Tent", about ancient Egypt will appear in the March issue and "Crawfish Boil on Alligator Swamp" will be in July - YAY!

That means two more #10s with MONEY coming my way. I’m so mercenary. But I like the cash validation. Who's with me?



Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

Time travel, war, love, rattlesnakes, magic . . .

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