Friday, June 29, 2012

Fan Mail Friday

I've never posted fan mail on my blog or Facebook before, but I thought it might be fun to do after seeing some other writers post a few of their precious letters.

I've also realized that I'm actually a very disorganized person (yes, this epiphany has *come* to me for about the thousandth time now!) 

Because I've never created a folder in my email box to hold all the lovely and adorable letters I've received from kids around the country. I've also gotten a bunch of snail mail, too. Which is actually quite silly and stupid because it would take a whole lotta time to find them now . . . 

There are so many ups and downs with a writing career (mostly feels like downs - at least they last a whole lot longer!) that I need to keep my letters to remind me that I actually created something important and special and to have the proof that I touched someone's heart or life with my words.

So I've been digging around and rustling up a couple here . . . and a picture! I received an email from a teacher who said she had some girls who'd read THE HEALING SPELL and anted to write to me. About two months later, the letters arrived AND the teacher took a picture of them holding their very own copy of the book in their hands! Wow. It brought tears to my eyes. I keep it sitting on my shelf next to me and take a peek once in awhile to remind me of who I'm writing for - and that they're waiting for the next book.

And aren't they absolutely BEAUTIFUL? I wish I could reach through the picture and hug every one of them! Just. Adorable.

Letter #1:

Dear Mrs. Kimberley Griffiths Little:
I recently finished reading The Healing Spell.  I loved it. Usually I wouldn't finish reading a book because the beginning would not get me hooked but the second I started reading your book I couldn't put it down . . . (there's more but in the interest of time/space . . . )
P.S. When I would check out a big book I would freak out. But all you have to do is forget how many pages are in the book and just enjoy the great book for itself.

Great advice! 

Letter #2:

Dear Mrs.Little,

Ok first let me say hi hows its going? Ok. I would like to say Circle of Secrets is the best book made in history beside the bible of course. But i really love that book and it will be soooooo awesome if you made a book similar to that. Oh and i have read the last snake runner to loved it. But i really love Circle of Secrets. I'm a 11yr old girl who my mom came from Louisiana and my dad mom is is creole so new orleans and i can relate too the setting. And i can imagine this story in my head so i love the imagery. So i think your the best author ever. Really outstanding. i read books everyday i am very well a book worm. But Circle of Secrets is a truly outstanding book. Please right back Mrs. Little.

 *love*, *love*, *love*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Second only to the Bible? I think I scored a home run. :-)

P.S. I just created a Fan Mail Folder in my Inbox.

Happy Weekend!


P.S. I'm off to celebrate my wedding anniversary! Do you have any big plans this weekend?

Monday, June 25, 2012

What I'm Working On

It's been a REALLY long time since I wrote about my current book projects or what I'm working on/researching/revising at the moment. Like, a LONG time. And maybe you don't really care!:-)

And then again, maybe you're curious. I personally like reading blogs where the writer *leaks* a few juicy tidbits of their current WIPs or manuscripts they're working on with their editor or crit groups, and how they work, etc. Actually, any real juicy stuff will have to come in a later blog post because this one ended up super long.  The past year has been one of the craziest of my writing life so far so I thought it would be an interesting exercise to do a quick timeline of projects and see how much I actually accomplished.

Here's my last year, approximately 18 months since January 2011- in shorthand: 

1. During the time I was revising CIRCLE OF SECRETS with my editor at Scholastic and doing copy edits and all that fun, painstaking stuff, I wrote a synopsis and First Chapters of a new MG idea during the spring of 2011 (February/March) which then sold a few weeks later to my editor. That's the book, WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME. 

2. Once more, I revised the first book of my YA trilogy (the title keeps changing so it will remain *unnamed* at the moment) during the summer of 2011. (This book has been about 8 years in the making with research and rewriting the manuscript so many times that I've lost count. I really have.)

3. Write Synopses for Books 2 & 3 in the trilogy.

4. Begin drafting BUTTERFLY over the Summer of 2011 too.

5. Trilogy goes on submission last week of September, 2011.

6. Launched CIRCLE OF SECRETS with book events and charm bracelets and castle cakes and a book trailer and bookmarks and postcards to hundreds of schools. (Scholastic, October 1, 2011)

7. Sold my YA trilogy to Harpercollins (October 15, 2011 - wild month!)

8. Finish drafting and revising - turn in the full manuscript of WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME to my editor December 7, 2011.

9. Editorial letter for BUTTERFLY arrives in January (well, actually right before Christmas, but I have no time to look at it.)

10. Editorial revisions during January, February and March of 2012. 

11. Revisions for an ancient Egyptian thriller for middle-grade readers. (I researched and wrote it originally about 3 years ago.) Did a major overhaul during February, March, April of 2012

12. Attend the Tucson Book Festival in March 2012 and present two workshops and have two signings.

13. Turn in the Egyptian thriller to Scholastic in April, 2012

14. 3x5 Card Plotting/Outline for Book 2 & 3 of the YA trilogy, April 2012

15. Egyptian Thriller rejected May 2012. Looking at career trajectory, but maybe it will fit somewhere else at some other time . . . still thinking.

16. Begin brainstorming for new MG ideas.

17. Attend International Reading Association in Chicago as a Presenter.

18. Attend LDStorymakers conference in May 2012

19. Copy edits for BUTTERFLY in May, 2012

20. Begin drafting synopses for two new MG ideas; one a magical realism contemporary story and the other an historical set in 1926. (Yes, my Scholastic editor wants to see both proposals.)

21. First Pass Pages for BUTTERFLY in June 2012

22. Finish drafting and revising two proposals for Scholastic in June 2012

23. Make plans and book and ticket my trip to the Middle East for Fall 2012

24. Turn in two MG Proposals June 20, 2012 - well, my, my, that's today!

25. Receive Editorial Letter from Harpercollins later in June. 


 26. Begin Drafting Book 2 & 3 of the YA trilogy. My Goal is to finish before October 27th - because that's when I leave the country for 3 weeks and then it's Thanksgiving and the holidays. (This is where I'll be jaunting off to the Middle East where I will get to see Petra in person, ride camels, and stay with a Bedouin family as well as see the Holy Land and Cairo/Pyramids and Luxor and Queen Hatsheput's Temple -. (SO very excited!!!)) But I digress . . .

27. I also want to draft the new MG project, too, (whichever proposal gets accepted that I turned in today) and turn that manuscript in to Scholastic by December 2012 so I'll be on target for a Spring 2014 book. That's how much ahead we have to work.

28. Editorial Revisions this summer, too, for the first YA with my new Harpercollins editor - very thrilled to work with her! She keeps telling me that she's "over the moon" about my book. Wow. And Gulp!

So . . . if you're not lost yet . . . I will have drafted 4 new books, revised those plus 2 others, launched a new book and turned in several new proposals within a 20 month span. 

I also won the Whitney Award May 2011, visited various schools locally and around the country, did several Skype visits (a new thing for me!) was a contributing member of FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MIDDLE GRADE AUTHORS and co-wrote SPELLBINDERS: A Newsletter for Teachers and Librarians on a weekly basis.

After twenty years working toward becoming a Published Author (selling dozens of short stories as well as three books a decade ago that were all orphaned, changing agents, writing my derriere off, studying my craft, getting a new agent, I'm finally back on track again. 

Beginning in 2013 I will have a MG title published each Spring and a YA title launching each Fall - and writing two new books each year so they can be launched in 2014, 2015, etc. What a whirlwind of a ride! Big Highs and Major Lows. But I survived. I didn't give up. I became a better writer. I get to work with amazingly wonderful and generous and talented people and maybe now . . . now . . . I can begin to call myself a Career Writer.

The Career Writer by Donald Maass is one of my favorite writing books and one I reread frequently for advice and hope and information. (The link takes you to a listing of all of Maass' books - ALL of which are simply brilliant. If you want a career in writing, you simply must read his books.)

Happy Wednesday! And now fingers are crossed and my stomach is nervous as I wait to see which proposal my editor likes. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm on a Jet Plane . . .

Today I left at 4:30 a.m. for California to visit my brother who's been battling brain cancer for a year now (every set-back imaginable AND unimaginable has happened to him) and I need to see him. I'll be gone a week.

It's been awhile and I'm eager to see him as well as visit and help my sister-in-law and see the 5 year old twin boys as well as the very cute 12 year old son - AND my sister and nephew who's coming down from the Bay Area, too. I hardly ever get to see her and I'm excited! 

I do have to bring some work with me. I've been scrambling to finish up a couple of book proposals for my editor at Scholastic and I'm revising now, even though the synopses and sample chapters are drafted.

I'm in that stage where I'm excited about the ideas, but very leery that I've pulled together something exciting and coherent enough for my editor to read - which will make her want to buy them! Ha.

Submitting still makes me very nervous! I'm not sure it ever goes away no matter how many books I've written or published - or how many unpublished manuscripts I still have sitting in my drawers.

And I get nervous flying. Say a quick prayer for me!

See you all next week! Be good, be safe, and don't eat all the cookies in the cookie jar. Yeah, I'm talking to *you*! (I see that hand reaching for the last one . . . ) :-)


Monday, June 18, 2012

**COVER REVEAL** Winners Announced!!!

Thank you again SO much, everyone, for entering my big ole giveaway and for following me and sending me so many lovely, wonderful, and excited comments on my new book's cover. I loved reading them! And I emailed everyone who posted a comment - unless there wasn't an email address attached to your comment or blog profile so I couldn't write back to you. 

So if you would like an email response to your comment, PLEASE email me again and send me *your* email addy! Thanks! I always feel bad when I can't respond.

 (I also never get tired of looking at it - and yes, I admit: it's my screen saver!!!)

Here's a few fireworks to celebrate our winners! 

 Our NINE Winners are RIGHT HERE!!!!!!!!!!!

Three Winners who will receive a signed hardcover of THE HEALING SPELL are: 

1. Tori 

2. Jennifer Hodge

3. Julie DeGuia 

THREE WINNERS who will receive a signed hardcover copy of CIRCLE OF SECRETS:

4. Rhonda Laney

5. Shari Green 

6. Krupa Chandrashekar

THREE WINNERS who will receive an ARC of WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME (when I receive the ARCs from Scholastic - not exactly sure when, probably 2-3 months from now)
7. Seaside Book Nook 

8. Karlene Wells Browning

9. Jess Keating


Saturday, June 16, 2012

I my writing life I will . . .

In my writing life I will...
  • Write the stories that speak to me: I will continue to write what nourishes and interests me first and worry about the market second.
  • Seek guidance, support, and direction when needed: I will ask questions of my agent and editor when I’m unsure or need help. I will go to other writers in the same life phase or those older and wiser when I need assistance.
In my writing life I will not...
  • Lose my love for story, kids, or words: Once you’re published, art becomes commodity. It’s not right or wrong, it just is. I want my motivation and passion to remain firmly in the place it always has been. While there are no guarantees of success in writing this way, their is much joy, and this, in the end, is more important to me.
  • Compare one book against another: I choose not to be paralyzed by comparing my titles to previous books I’ve written. Each deserves to stand alone and has its own merit. The rest of the publishing world has the freedom to compare if they choose. For me to do so is unfair to new stories beginning to form.
  • Despair: If you know me well, you know panic is a part of my writing when I’m drafting something new. I fret that I don’t know how to write or have nothing new to say. But I can’t let that panic lead to despair. Reminding myself that things always start this way keeps things in perspective. Allowing myself to play with language and ideas is much more doable than telling myself I’m writing an entire book. Choosing to nurture rather than berate gives me permission to try.
It’s my hope that holding to what I’ve processed these last few months will keep me grounded, help me grasp the deep satisfaction writing brings, and hold at bay the things that only lead to disappointment.

ME, TOO, Caroline!!!

These three posts by my friend have been incredibly inspiring. I got a chance to spend three days with Caroline during IRA at the end of April and she is the real deal in these posts. These truly are her beliefs - and mine - when I can keep the imps of fear and envy at bay, that is! 

Beautifully done, Caroline. These are truly words to live by. 

So go forth and embrace your life!

Be grateful daily for your blessings!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Calling all Teachers, Librarians, Parents - and Writers!

Many of you might know that I was one of the founding member of the blog FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES . . . OF MIDDLE-GRADE AUTHORS which began June 2010 (we just celebrated our two-year anniversary last week!) If you don't follow that blog and you read or write Middle-Grade books you *must* get yourself over there. :-)

So I blog over there every quarter - along with 35 other Mixed-Up Authors . . . and down below is my blog from this past Monday.

It has so many great links to helpful tools for teachers as well as writers and parents that I thought I really need to just copy it here for y'all.

Enjoy! There really is some great stuff below. Just open up the links and use personally or with your students or kids. Go ahead and print, too!

Calling all Teachers! (and librarians and parents and writers and book lovers!)

About six weeks ago I attended my first IRA (International Reading Association) annual conference in Chicago.

I got to go as a Presenter, and not as an Attendee – a first for me at a major conference! Nine authors from around the country (moi included) were shocked to have our all day panel workshop accepted and after numerous phone calls and hundreds of emails to plan our eight-hour workshop, we were off!
We spoke to a room full of reading specialists, teachers and librarians, as well as teachers and librarians who aspire to be writers themselves and wanted all our inner *secrets* – which we gladly gave them. What was so great about it, is that everything we talked about and demonstrated can be used in the classroom or at home.

Our topic? Rekindling the Reading Fire – Using the Story Strategies of Professional Authors to Inspire a Love of Reading and Writing.

Please Raise Your Hand if you’ve ever attended IRA!! 25,000 people attend every year – at least – from all over the world. We had a women from Nigeria and England as well as all over the USA – and those are just the ones I personally got to chat with during breaks and lunch.
In the comments below, we’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions of any past IRA experiences and how it helped you as a teacher.

With eight hours to fill from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., of course we had to break the day into segments. We discussed aspects of story techniques, The Hero’s Journey, plotting, prose, poetry, verse novels, middle grade, fantasy, young adult novels, picture books, history, and research.We also did several hands-on writing exercises – things the teachers could take back with them to the classroom to use with their students. (Here’s a link to info about The Creative Diary; a classroom hands-on writing workshop as an example of what authors do when they visit schools.)

Since we have the most awesome readers here at From the Mixed-Up Files, I’m including links to a few of our handouts from the day. Use them for yourself or your own kids or the students in your classroom.The ones below were created by the wonderful author and former elementary school teacher, Caroline Starr Rose of MAY B fame.

1. Easy Stick Man Character Sketch

2. Where in the World are We Reading?

3. Book Travel Log with Specific Writing Exercises and Games

I paired up with Kersten Hamilton and we spent one of the slots of time discussing Fantasy: all types and genres, but more importantly, the great way fantasy books can be used with kids to expand their minds and their creativity. Books with even just a splash of magical realism can get kids to enlarge their reading horizons into other more *serious* books, like historical novels or straight contemporary stories – step by step. (See my Handout below for title ideas).

I created a PDF about fantasy books for Middle-Grade and Young Adult readers. I DEFINE each fantasy GENRE (there are 11!) as well give 3-4 EXAMPLES of current books for each genre. And here it is for easy download:

Our IRA Panel of Authors (in case you’re curious):
Carolee Dean
Uma Krishnaswami
Carolyn Meyer
April Halprin Wayland
Esther Hershenhorn
Caroline Starr Rose
Kersten Hamilton
Lisa Schroeder
Kimberley Griffiths Little

Hope the links and Handouts help you in your own reading and teaching adventures!


Bet you can guess which is my Fav. :-)

Happy Weekend! ~ Kimberley

(I turned in my proofread typeset pages of my next novel (Spring, 2013), WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME *today* and will be napping this afternoon. (*crosses fingers*)

If you’d like to see the dazzling cover Scholastic’s design team and artist Erin McGuire created, go here to take a peek! www.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Very Important Thursday Links!

You still have until midnight to enter my huge 9 book giveaway as a celebration of my book cover release for WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME (Scholastic, April, 2013)!!! Go HERE: Thrilled to pieces giveaway!

And go HERE ------> to read Caroline Starr Rose's second post in her "Navigating a Debut Year: Private Life

A quick excerpt: 

Compare or begrudge the successes, sales, or careers of others: About six months ago, there were a number of posts in the blogosphere about envy and contentment. There was tremendous response from readers confessing similar feelings. The drive to compare is such a gut-level thing it’s sometimes hard to avoid. Some people are able to use comparison as a sort of motivation for their own work. Not so with me. Comparison leads to frustration and feelings of inadequacy...or feelings of superiority, none of which benefits me. My friends’ successes don’t somehow negatively reflect on my own efforts. There is room for all of us. Just because my career will unfold differently from someone else’s doesn’t make it wrong and doesn’t give me the right to be bitter with others’ success.

If you missed the first post about Public Life as an new Author go here:

The third Post about Navigating Your Writing Life appearing tomorrow!

And winners!

May the Force Be With You!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Must Read Blog Posts by Caroline Starr Rose!!! I'm serious.

I have very brilliant writing friends. They often put me to shame they're so good and wonderful and lovely and generous. I'm usually running around like a chicken with my head cut off - and getting nowhere.

Caroline Starr Rose (author of MAY B - one of the best middle-grade novels of 2012!) is running a series of incredible posts this week called:


(Private Life post coming soon as well as a Writing Life post)


It is a MUST read.

Go now:

Post it to your Wall, virtual or real.

Read her book, MAY B.

Watch a rising star . . .

Friday, June 08, 2012

Blessed Friday, Great Friends, and Cover Reveal Links!

It's been a lovely, crazy week with so many fantastic comments on my new cover for WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME. Thank you so much, everyone!!! 

And THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all my new followers and friends - I appreciate you finding me and getting to know you, too! If I inadvertently have *not* "followed" you back, please drop me a note in the comments because I'd love to!

If you missed it last week I'm giving away NINE books in celebration! Go here to Enter:

And here it is again . . . 

I've also had so many of my bestest online buddies do a *reveal* on their blogs for me an I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. What great friends I have!!! I'm very blessed. 

If you don't know these writers and bloggers, please go check them out - and their books!! 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Celebrating the Release of SURRENDER by Elana Johnson!!!

"Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the music!" 
 Hear that virtual ticker tape parade going?? That's the sound of the release party of SURRENDER, Elana Johnson's newest exciting novel published by Simon & Schuster!

Elana's work, including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER, is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. (It's absolutely fabulous - a "must" read if you are trying to get published!) She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and is a member of SCBWI, ANWA and LDStorymakers.

She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn.
Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque…. 

(P.S. I *love* the name Raine and Jag!!! Tres cool.)

Purchase your copy here: (This link includes quick and easy links to all the online retailers like Amazon and B&N, too! One stop shopping!) 

Enjoy the cake! 
Enjoy the party! 

Most of all, Enjoy SURRENDER!

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Secret to Keeping Up With It All

"It has been said that writers don't retire, they expire at their keyboard."

Don't know who said this, but I love it! (Make sure you visit Elana's Blog Today - she is featuring me! She is such a great friend! Thank you, Elana!)

There is a great discussion going on at Nathan Bransford's blog about getting it *all* done: Writing, revising, editorial production, blogging, Facebook, Tweeting, marketing, publicity, research, reading, family, life, outside jobs - and staying sane. Or not. 

Lots of great comments. 

No easy answers, of course. 

Like, I signed up for Pinterest a few weeks ago and haven't had a moment to even log in again! It looks like a really fun place to hang out and drool over Very Cool Pictures, but gee whiz, some days I feel like I can write/revise and respond to emails from my agent and editor and publicist - or I can work on marketing - get a tiny bit of reading done - and that is about it! Well, and a few minutes on Facebook and reading my friend's blog posts. :-)

If I have outside appts (car repairs, dentist, doctor, kiddo stuff,) or shopping, cleaning, laundry and cooking to do, I often don't get any writing done on those days at all because half the day is taken up with the life *stuff*. I'll get to the business end, but the writing or reading goes out the window. 

Add in church teaching, exercise, phone calls with my family, writing talks, prepping for travel, school visits, and you feel like you're a maniac.  

And we never feel like we're doing enough. Not writing enough. Not marketing ourselves enough. Not spending enough time with family and friends.

Emails multiply like rabbits.

I think we need to take time to celebrate our successes along the way, too, and that often gets dropped off the radar or To Do List. Like we're not Worthy. Or there is Too Much To Do! But what is the point of our goals and dreams and life and success if we're just crazy maniacs constantly and we don't even take time to enjoy it!? 

I speak for myself. I am so bad at this. So Very Bad.

This year of 2012 I set a goal to read, at least for a few minutes, every day. I have sorely missed the amount of reading I used to do.  For the most part, I have succeeded so I gotta feel good about that. And it does make me very, very happy. Kimberley is a grouchy girl if she doesn't get her hit of a novel every day.

I have no answers, except one:

Chocolate Chip Cookies. 

With Milk. 

That is all. 

Your Thoughts, Organization Skills, and Tips much appreciated! 




Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

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

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