Have You Read This One Yet?

If you’re a regular reader here then you know Lisa Ricard Claro. We met years ago at an open writer’s critique group and found that we had a lot in common.

I mean, seriously a lot. It’s kinda creepy, if you want to know the truth. But I’m used to it by now. And so when I read Lisa’s latest blog post, listing some of her favorite reads, I laughed out loud. Because on yesterday’s Cathy C. Hall To Do List was “Blog–books.”

Yep. I was too tired last night at 10:00 when I sat down to write the post, figuring I’d just check what was going on in the world. That’s when I read Lisa’s list of books; they sound like excellent reads. But first, I think you should read my list of great reads (because technically, I’ve had “Blog–books” on my To Do List for a couple of weeks now):

The Write Man by Lisa Ricard Claro

51FhOrynCpLI read Lisa’s novella back when it first came out in December or maybe early January, and it was an absolute treat to be transported to the breezy Barefoot Bay when the cold winds were blowing around here. (And truly, Lisa’s descriptive writing of this seaside setting is lyrical and lovely and downright passionate!) I loved, too, the kidlit writers and their romance, but I will happily admit that if you write about a pirate, I will follow you anywhere. (And if you haven’t been following Lisa’s romance reads, then you can start with The Write Man, but you’ll want to catch up with her Fireflies series!)

 

Blood Ties by J. T. Hardy

51M3pWDKBuLJ. T. Hardy is the writing team of Janice Hardy and her husband, Tom. And I expect they’ll be collaborating on a lot more novels to come because Blood Ties is a heckuva ride with a gritty (yet surprisingly witty) protagonist in Grace Harper, and I have to know what happens next. You can read more about the particulars, but all you really need to know is this: if you’re a fan of supernatural, fast-paced, urban fantasy thrillers that read like screenplays (and P.S., the dialogue could be a master class in itself), you’re going to want to pick up Blood Ties. But clear your calendar, ’cause you’re not going to want to put it down till you get to the very end. Which really, is just the beginning.

The Falling Between Us by Ash Parsons

9780399168482Ash Parsons writes compelling Young Adult novels and her latest release, The Falling Between Us, is…is there a word for beyond a page-turner? Because there’s so much more to this story than its mystery-suggestive tagline, “What happened to Joshua Blackbird?” Though maybe that’s meant to suggest multiple layers of meaning, now that I think about it. Because this story, with its exploration of fame, fortune, and social media, exposes all the sides of our exploitative culture. It’s a provocative and eye-opening novel and a worthy read no matter what your age.

 

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The December Blues

Snowman familyDecember is a funny month for me, and not funny ha-ha. (Though I will watch Elf , maybe more than once, and laugh like crazy.)

As much I love the holidays, I feel more keenly the people who’re no longer around when December rolls in. And I’m not necessarily talking about the loved ones who’ve passed on, though I miss them dearly.

No, it’s the friends who were once in my life and now have moved away. And for me, most of those friends are writers.

Which is a good thing, I guess. I can keep up with Janice Hardy over at her Fiction University. Whenever I read Debra Mayhew’s blog posts, I can hear her voice. And Robyn Hood Black’s over at Artsy Letters, creating one-of-a-kind literary gifts and I see her in each one of them.

But it’s not quite the same as a long, chatty lunch or a night of writerly talking at an SCBWI conference, is it? And before I know it, I’m stewing in a big ‘ol mug of Blue Christmas.

Oh, great. Now I’m missing Elvis, too.

I think I need to pull myself up by my little Elf shoes and be thankful for all the lovely times I’ve been blessed to have with all kinds of writer friends, no matter where they are now.

And maybe call one of my writer friends who lives right down the road. Yeah, I think a long, chatty lunch with Lisa Ricard Claro will be just the ticket. She can tell me all about her next book in the Fireflies trilogy and I’ll celebrate with her by stuffing my face with Christmas cookies.

But I’ll watch Elf, too, just to be on the safe, holly-jolly side. So how about you? How do you dispel the December blues and get your holly-jolly back on? ‘Cause honestly, I’m starting to think about lots more writers I’m missing. And you’re probably one of ’em.

Tooting My Horn Tuesday Over at Fiction University

ImageSo I was going to share my latest good news when I heard from Janice Hardy at Fiction University. Ack! she said. Did I remember I was scheduled for a guest post on the 17th?

Why, no. No, I did not. But I am that rare combination of resourceful/lazy writer. And so if you read my guest post on Making a Buck With Your Writing While Waiting at the Dock, I’ll bet you can guess what markets recently paid off for me, thus saving me from having to write a whole ‘nother post.

And I hope you’ll also find some useful writing tips–though many of you already know the value of anthology markets and recycling your work. But for those of you who also tackle novels, you can’t beat Janice’s Fiction University. It’s a veritable treasure trove of novel-writing advice and how-to’s, from some of the most accomplished authors in the business.

Kinda makes me wonder how the likes of Cathy C. Hall ended up, guest posting there. (Ack!)

(And speaking of authors, you have one more day to get in on the giveaway of Nina Amir’s The Author Training Manual. Please check out the details at this post and comment there!)

Cathy-on-a-Stick Pops Up at Springmingle (And Runs Amok)

Usually, I go to writer’s conferences and walk halfway around a room to avoid the tables with all the books.

I sit on my hands, leave my wallet at home, eschew adult beverages–well, there are all kinds of tricks I use to keep from buying more books. But Cathy-on-a-Stick has a mind of her own. It’s not much a mind, and rather flat, but still. She would keep heading to the book table at Springmingle, the SCBWI Southern Breeze conference this past weekend. Every time a speaker finished, I felt this…this tug. And before I knew it, I had a stack of books.

2014-03-29 05.39.53Agent and author Ammi-Joan Pacquette had all these books about ghosts and they were picture books and middle grade (which come on, ghosts AND PB’s and Middle Grade? I was doomed from the start). Plus Joan was so darn sincere and engaging in her talk. She called to me–so I bought one of her books.

2014-03-29 05.32.26And then Vicky Alvear Shecter went on and on about Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead. She sucked me in with her humor and expertise and Anubis tidbits. Who knew the Land of the Dead could be so darn entertaining? So before I knew it, Cathy-on-a-Stick was in the line for an autograph.

2014-03-29 05.48.12Elizabeth Dulemba was nearby, explaining that her muse had grabbed her in North Georgia and wouldn’t let go till she told the story in A Bird on Water Street. You cannot argue with the muse. And apparently, you cannot argue with Cathy-on-a-Stick either. There she was again, stick-deep in Elizabeth’s book.

2014-03-29 05.53.44I was just about to make a dash for it when, out of the corner of my eye, I spied Ruth Sanderson’s books! A whole pile of books with the most gorgeous covers ever, of woods and castles and princesses and–oh. My. Word. Fairy tales. And stained glass windows of saints. Stick a fork in me, I was done (for).

2014-03-29 05.56.52Wait, I take that back. I was not quite done. Janice Hardy’s book, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, was calling my name. I tried to resist, I really did. But Cathy-on-a-Stick whispered in my ear, “Really? You think you can afford to pass on this gem of writing craft?”

Ahem.

2014-03-29 05.36.37And as I glanced over at Cheryl Klein (Executive Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, a Scholastic imprint), I thought how much her book, Second Sight, An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, had helped me on my writing journey. I’d won her book three years ago, so at least I didn’t have to buy that book at the writer’s conference, too.

But I’m pretty sure she and Cathy-on-a-Stick were up to something. I’m kinda afraid to check my credit card bill.

 

 

Tuesday Tips on Photo Use and Conference Do’s

When last we spoke, I shared about the upcoming WIK’12 conference and the lovely Doraine Bennett’s writerly wisdom. PLUS, I gave all the stops on the WIK blog tour. But I completely forgot to add a great post from Bonita Herold and Janice Hardy over at her blog, The Other Side of the Story.

Even if you’re not close enough to attend our Southern Breeze SCBWI conference, you’ll want to read their “ABC’s of Attending of a Conference.” It’s chock full of tips (well, 26 plus a couple extra) and advice on conference-going. And I guarantee there will be at least a few do’s that you haven’t considered.

When you have all that good info in your head, zip over to read Roni Loren’s post about the use of photos on blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr. She has some eye-opening information as well, specifically on copyrighted photos. Even if you’re sure about every photo you use, I guarantee there will be something you haven’t considered.

They’re both well worth a look and I’m sure you’ll be all the richer for checking them out. Much like Cathy-on-a-Stick who visited the Parthenon. In Nashville, TN. (But at least it’s my own picture.)