Tuesday, July 31, 2012

WriteOnCon--The Bggest Online Writer's Conference ever!

Write On Con is coming in TWO WEEKS!!! August 14-15, 2013. About Page.

If you don't know about this terrific and amazing online writer's conference then go here ASAP to get the scoop! www.writeoncon.com 

Editors galore!
Agents galore!
Authors galore!
Live Chats!

And it's FREE!! (You can even go back to read through last year's conference at this link.)

This is WriteOnCon's third year put on by some amazing gals who sacrifice writing and family to organize and carry this out. Go here to see who they are PLUS the visiting Authors for this year's event.

(And I'm one of your Authors this year! So excited!)

Read all about the Faculty! 

Find out who the Editors and Agents are!

Amazing, isn't it! And a ton of fun. (Just don't laugh at my Plotting Video.)

Our Theme this year is: "Back to Basics"

See you there!!!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Fan Mail Friday & Obsessions

Some of my obsessions lately . . . 

And these secret keys . . . 

And because these kids are just SO adorable! I get giddy every time a fan email pops into my Inbox. They make me laugh and they make me teary-eyed. Hopefully they'll put a smile on your face, too.

Hello Kimberley Griffiths Little,

Hi my name is Megan and I am 10. I just finished your book called Circle Of Secrets.

I loved it. I loved it. I loved it.

How did you get your great ideas?

The mystery type, adventure is my type of book. And you mastered it.

Can you tell me a little bit about your self for me?


Now I'm off to revise a chapter. And I'm talkin' DEEP revision on all levels. I'm scared and I'm excited.

Have a great weekend, dear friends. Cloudy and hopefully cooler today! My little writing cottage is getting a few minor things completed on it, too. At last the hubby is home and isn't fixing a car or a toilet. :-)


P.S. Go to my Facebook Pictures to see the building of "The Writing Cottage" in my backyard. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Editorial letters and Planning the Attack!

Hi Everyone!

Hope you're having a lovely summer. I just returned from hubby's family reunion in Arizona where it poured rain, but we had canopies up and just kept on going, eating, talking, and having our very own mini Family Olympics, complete with medals and cheers in celebration of the Summer 2012 world-wide Olympics.

The day before I left town I received my first editorial letter from my brand new editor at my brand new publisher, Harpercollins. Exciting stuff! It's really happening! My book of eight years of research and writing and revising, of selling and then not selling (long story I won't go into here) is scheduled for Fall 2013. And I've recently learned that it will be a LEAD TITLE!!! Wow. It's hard to take that in. My little ole book is important to a major publisher like Harpercollins. I'm blown away, thrilled to pieces, grateful and humbled.

The pressure is on to make it rise even higher in story/plot and suspense and writing and characterization. I want it to sparkle, shimmer and shine. I want readers to enjoy it. Actually I want readers to LOVE it and talk about it to everyone they know like crazy! Ha! I want them to fall in love right along with Jayden and Kadesh. I want them to feel the sweat and danger and hardships of desert life in 1750 BC. I want them to belly dance and shimmy their hips right along with Jayden in the fragile and emotional world of the women and the goddess temples.

So I'm reading my 8 page, single-spaced letter, digesting the pencil-edited manuscript, and am going to begin my own personal compilation of notes for the changes I need to make. About several pages worth. Even though I refer to the editorial letter often, I usually like to do one of my own. As I accomplish each task or goal, I can cross it off and feel that I'm making progress.

I also take the number of pages - 325 - and divide them by the number of days I have been given to do the work - 20 Days Total, Mondays thru Saturdays (I never work Sundays) - and then I know how much I need to do each day. For this project this means I need to revise 16.25 pages per day. Which doesn't sound like much, but there are some big questions to answer, dozens of them, and I will be focusing on plot, character, setting and timeline for each and every scene. So the pages will be painstaking to cut and line-edit as well as enlarging and honing.

The work usually begins slowly, tentatively, because I haven't worked on this book for over a year, and that was just a light edit before my agent submitted the project to editors (the trilogy sold in a significant deal in 2.5 weeks!). The last time I did any sort of bigger changes to this book was about 15-16 months ago. During these past many months I've written another book, gone through editorial production with it as well as written two new proposals for my editor at Scholastic so my head has been elsewhere for a long time. 

So, as I begin, I cling to the first paragraph of my editorial letter and my new and brilliant editor's generous words

"When I first read this, it was unlike anything I had read in a long time. It thoroughly captivated me—the setting, the culture, the romance . . . You have a wonderfully complex, deep story here . . . a sweeping epic romance! 

Smiling and chewing my fingernails at the same time!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The process of creating/designing a book cover by the very talented artist, Erin McGuire!

What a treat it was to get a Twitter message from Erin McGuire mentioning a blog post she wrote about the making of the cover art for WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME! 

Erin cites her process, shows off her first-idea-brainstorming drafts as well as let's us take a peek at several more finished sketches for the publisher to choose from. And then how the final cover happened. Superbly interesting stuff.

Go here to read and *see* with your very own eyes: http://emcguire.blogspot.com/2012/07/when-butterflies-came-process.html 

Also check out Erin's other artwork and book covers she's done. I love them! She did the cover for BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu and LUCKY FOR GOOD by Susan Patron as well as my current book out CIRCLE OF SECRETS. I do believe my spectacular cover is in great company. Okay, yes, I did say *my* cover when actually it is Erin's cover art, but I'm taking a teensy bit of possession since I love it so much. The first week my editor showed it to me I stared at it for hours - and it's also my screen saver on my computer so I can see it *all* the time.

Am I the only one who does this? Ha! I think not!

I'm supremely lucky. (I adore the girl, the butterflies, the sparkly bubbles, everything!)

A few of my editor's comments: "I think it is STUNNING," and "I think it's perfect for such a magical story."

Hope you have a stunning lovely, magical day, everyone!


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independance Day! (With a 4th of July excerpt!)

Happy Birthday to the United States of America!!! 

Lookin' good after 236 years! 

I pray we keep our freedoms and liberties for another 236 years - and counting . . . 

Here's a little excerpt from The Healing Spell. Near the end of the book, Livie's older sister Faye gets married and since it's her fiance's favorite holiday they get married on the 4th of July and have fireworks at the reception in the backyard that sits along the bayou. 

Just then, a rocket shot off into the sky, arching above the live oaks. It exploded into the air, shimmering with red.
“Fireworks!” Crickett cried, clapping her hands.
Another one exploded with a shower of white. Then there were red, white, and blue ones for Independence Day, then green and orange, pink and yellow, booming across the bayou.
“They’re beautiful,” Faye murmured. I watched Travis put his arms around her waist as he bent to kiss her neck.
I glanced away, feeling funny watching them, but then I peeked back again, curiosity getting the better of me. I wondered what it would be like to be that in love with someone. Since I couldn’t answer my own question, I went to go have another beignet  and sausage. I’d just filled my plate and found a spot on the lawn when a tall, dark-haired boy walked up and sat down on the grass next to me. I looked up and stared into the eyes of T-Jacques Landry. I was so startled I swallowed a piece of sausage wrong and started coughing. T-Jacques thumped me on the back and then I took a gulp of punch.
 “What are you doing here?” I managed to splutter.

 Have a great day, everyone! Raising my hot dog and Dr. Pepper to ya!



Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Do Childhood Books Influence Us?

This is reprised from a post I did in April on the site From the Mixed-Up Files of . . . Middle-Grade Authors.
So I’ve been “thinking” the past few months . . . (“A dangerous activity!” my husband likes to tell me!)  Since I’m a sloooooow learner it’s taken me many years to realize something about myself, and I had an epiphany of sorts after the recent launch of my newest middle-grade ghost story, Circle of Secrets (Scholastic), and the manuscript I just finished editing last week, When the Butterflies Came (April, 2013, Scholastic).
Both of these books have elements of magical realism. (Well, maybe not *that* magical because ghosts are actually real, aren’t they? I like to think so! Does anybody remember the movie, Ghost with Demi Moore and the late Patrick Swayze? Oh my! )

I digress.

In these stories, I write about charm bracelets and secret notes in a bottle tree and old porcelain dolls and keys that unlock mysterious doors, and it suddenly occurred to me that the books of my childhood—the books I read over and over again—have influenced me more than I ever realized. Because as a kid I *loved* books with these kind of magical and mysterious artifacts. OR is it that all of these elements are things I already loved so I gravitate toward books with those elements in my reading—and now I’m writing books with those elements? Sort of a chicken and egg phenomenon . . . but still.

How much do our favorite books as a child influence what we read as an adult? Have your tastes changed much? I do find that I read more widely and eclectically as an adult, and I like to try unusual books I’ve heard good reviews about. I mean, I don’t *just* read books about magical dolls!
And for the writers out there, how have your childhood favorites influenced you in the topics you choose to write about now?

But here’s the thing: As I was writing Circle of Secrets and When the Butterflies Came, I never consciously added the various elements of dolls, charm bracelets, and old-fashioned skeleton keys to the story. After all, I haven’t actually perused my childhood favorites in many years. (Too busy reading all the fantastic new books in the children’s lit scene!)

No, my story ideas evolved as I was first thinking about complicated mother/daughter relationships. Girls and their moms who were carrying secrets and hurts and guilt that keep them apart. And I was thinking about what it was like live in a small town on a bayou. Or an island in the South Pacific. And I was thinking about families and sisters and forgiveness and love and how complicated people are and our relationships. And my brain was doing things like, “Ooh, what if this happened? Or this! Or that!” as I furiously scribbled notes, having small epiphanies, and getting excited as a kid when all those elements start clicking into a real story with twists and turns.

It hasn’t been until AFTER I plotted, drafted, revised and copy-edited that the final epiphany came—that I’m writing the kind of books I loved to read as a child. And that’s been a really satisfying epiphany. So now that we all feel warm and squishy, here are three favorite books from when I was a kid (not counting Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy!):

MAGIC ELIZABETH by Norma Kassirer is about a girl named Sally who has to stay with a cranky old aunt for a few weeks. Feeling lonely, she finds a mirror in the attic that transports her to the past where she sees the life of a girl unfold—a girl who lived in this very house long ago. Sally experiences what the girl from the past, Sarah, experiences over a period of strange, dreamlike weeks—including the disappearance of Sarah’s beloved doll named Elizabeth. As Sally becomes embroiled in the events of the past—she eventually figures out the clues that will lead her to finding Elizabeth, the lost doll from sixty years ago.

THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE by Elizabeth Goudge
Who says Moms can’t find great books for their kids to read? My mother read a review of this book in a kid’s magazine when I was about ten-years-old and thought I’d like it. Oh, boy, I LOVED it! Read it over and over again. Set in what I used to call the “olden days” about an orphan girl going to stay with her unusual Uncle at Moonacre Manor;  in parts both realistic and magical. In fact, this book has so many unusual and wonderful characters and plot threads it’s difficult to summarize.
Imagine my surprise to read this by J. K. Rowling: “The Little White Horse was my favorite novel as a child. I absolutely adored it. It had a cracking plot. It was scary and romantic in parts and had a feisty heroine.”

TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE by Carol Ryrie Brink (Yes, the author of Caddie Woodlawn fame!)
This is the story of two best friends during the turn of the 20th century who receive a pair of dolls for Christmas and together begin writing a story about the dolls, letting them experience adventure and danger and romance—as the girls grow up and deal with school and friendship and family. The dolls show up again decades later when the two girls are old and widowed—with a surprise for the reader.

So I’m curious about all of YOU. What were your fav books as a child? Do you read the same kinds of books you did as a child? Have you found that those books have informed you and your life in any particular way?



Winner of The Southwest Book Award!

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

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