Monday, December 30, 2013


Crusty pink scabs. Explosive diarrhea. Black, swollen bumps. These symptoms aren’t just the stuff of gross out stories and horror movies. They are real symptoms, caused by real diseases. And some people are suffering from them right now.

Doesn't it sounds gross? I love it.

It was scary research, but so interesting. I'm so grateful for my editor Jennifer Besel at Capstone who pushed me to get the voice of this book to the right combination of high-interest and authoritative.

This is my fourteenth nonfiction book (my 11th with Capstone Press) and is available early in 2014.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Paths to Publication: A Hybrid Author Panel -- January 25, 2014

I'm thrilled to be serving alongside Brendan Halpin and Ansha Kotyk for a panel discussion on bringing your work into print in today's market at the Writer's Loft in Sherborn, MA on January 25.

Just a few years ago, I couldn't have imagined having enough experience to offer anything to this sort of presentation. At this point, however, I've published a picture book with a small press, I've published nonfiction for the school library market, and I've got a YA novel coming out with a traditional (digital) press.

I also have a lot of experience with querying--so I'm happy to answer those questions as well.

If you're in the area, we'd love to see you on January 25 at the Writer's Loft in Sherborn, MA. Both Brendan and Ansha bring their own different experiences to the table, so between the three of us, we have a wide range of experiences. In 2014, there are MANY ways to bring your work to market.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Every Wins!

Happy New Year--everyone wins! I just looked at the comments from my last post, and I wanted to give everyone who made a comment (and who wanted one), a query crit. Email me krisasselin (at) gmail (dot) com with "query crit contest winner" in the subject line!


p.s. I realized I made a mistake in my email address, so this is an edited post! Please feel free to send your query if you commented on my post last week!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

After the Twitter Pitch Contest Request participated in #pitchmas or #pitchmad or some other twitter pitch contest. Halleluiah, an agent or editor favorited your pitch!!

This is a great way to start a dialogue with publishing pros. Be aware, now that you're on their radar, they are going to be looking at your twitter feed, and likely your blog as well. Be sure you're presenting yourself in the most professional way possible. The way you conduct yourself online might make or break you at this point.

Jump up an down. Have a glass of wine. Be excited. But wait...Oh my gosh. Now what do you do?

Clearly you had a great short pitch. But here's what you need to do next.

Take a breath. You don't need to get them something the second after they request. However, you do need to get them something within a professional period of time. My rule of thumb would be within a couple of days, maybe a week at the most. This is why you really want to be sure your work is complete before you pitch.

After someone requests your work, you need to have something to send them.

1. You need to have a query letter--yes, you still need a professional query/cover letter.
2. You need to have a completed manuscript -- please make sure you have a completed MS before you pitch!
3. You might need a synopsis, not everyone requests a synopsis, but it's a good idea to have one.
4. When you're ready, send the query and whatever the requesting person has asked for (partial, synopsis, etc.). Be sure you mention the #pitch request in your subject line and the query. Be specific--there are a lot of these things happening these days. Remind them of the date and the hashtag. 
5. It's okay to send to your work to more than one person. If you have editors requesting, as well as agents, be sure to disclose that. I'm a big believer in full-disclosure.
6. As a general rule, you shouldn't be querying editors and agents simultaneously. My only exception to this rule is when something is specifically requested--but use your best judgement when it comes to submitting. In other words, if you're querying agents, and an editor requests from a twitter pitch contest, I would submit it to them and then tell the querying agents that it's with an editor as requested.

Now you wait. Good luck!

As a congratulations to anyone getting a request from a pitch, I'll do a query critique for someone who comments on this blog! I'll do a random number selection on Christmas Eve -- Tuesday -- at noon.

Kristine Carlson Asselin is a writer of contemporary YA & MG fantasy. She's the director of SCBWI-New England 2014. Her debut YA is due from Bloomsbury Spark in 2014--and the initial contact with Bloomsbury came from a twitter pitch contest. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Bloomsbury Spark Launch List Seven

Today, Thursday, December 19, is Launch Day for Bloomsbury Spark. All of these titles are now available for purchase! 
I have been so fortunate to get to know these fabulous women through my association with Bloomsbury Spark. These are the Launch List Seven. I'm so happy for each of them as they embark on being part of the launch of this great new imprint.

I asked each of them how they planned to celebrate Launch Day for their Bloomsbury Spark debuts. Here are their answers…and links to their websites and goodreads pages for each of their books.

“I am celebrating with a great book blitz that is going on right now with a $50 Amazon gift card giveaway And also, a glass of champagne with some good friends.”

“With Frankie Brown (author of Until We End) at Avid Bookstore! And a book blitz.”

“Partying at Avid Bookshop with all closest friends.”

“Packing to travel the next day & probably some bacon cheeseburgers My book tour, #12daysoffalling, is happening now & I might do something in person in the new year.”

“I'm kicking off 12 Days of Scotland on my blog, getting a massage, and meeting some friends for wine and chocolate that night. The perfect blend of pampering and play!”

“Kicking off my release with a big facebook, twitter and goodreads blitz and shoveling out from this snow storm we're having today!!”

“I'll be packing, and hanging out with the family! I'm excited to travel for the holidays and see family and friends!”

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review of THE ART OF FALLING by Jenny Kaczorowski

In honor of the launch of Bloomsbury Spark, the fabulous new digital imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, I've been given the opportunity to preview several of the launch titles. Of course, as fate has it, I haven't had enough time to read them all!

Because it's Contemporary YA, I read THE ART OF FALLING by Jenny Kaczorowski first.

Goodreads blurb: For seventeen-year-old Bria Hale, image is everything. She’s a militant vegan with purple hair, Doc Martens and a permanent scowl. Kissing captain of the football team Ben Harris? Definitely not part of that image.

Now with each secret kiss, she’s falling deeper for the boy every girl at Oceanside High is crushing on. Throw in a few forbidden bacon cheeseburgers and she’s facing one major identity crisis.

Ignoring Ben should be easy, but when a flashy display of artistic spirit lands her in close quarters after hours with the boy she’s too cool to like, she can’t keep pretending those kisses meant nothing. With her reputation and her heart on a collision course, Bria must either be true to herself or to the persona she’s spent all of high school creating.

First of all, the cover. Isn't the cover gorgeous? It's such a great image and so true to the book. Second of all...the writing. This is a lovely, YA romance. I loved the main character. Jenny does a superb job of crafting a a complicated, strong, and utterly charming protagonist. And yet like real life, Bria isn'tperfect. I loved everything about her. Her friends are awesome. The boy for whom she falls in love is awesome too. And none of them are perfect. Just like real life. 

I wanted to fall into the book and hang out with them.

The book is available on Thursday! Add it to your "to read" list on Goodreads here:

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Need an extra Christmas or Holiday gift? Let me know, and I'll personalize a copy of WORST CASE OF PASKETTI-ITIS. Cost: $11.00. I'll ship it for an additional $1.50.

It's classified as a picture book, but it's the shape and size of an early reader, so it would be perfect for a child who's ready to start reading herself. I've been told picky eaters relate to it! 

DM me on twitter or leave your email address in the comments.

Happy Holiday! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Things I learned from NaNoWriMo 2013

I won my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My "official count" was something like 50,004, so basically, I limped across the finish line and fainted in the middle of the road.

But I did it.

Here's what I learned.

1. I can do it. You *CAN* do it. Really. If *I* can do it, anyone can do it. You just need the proper motivation. You need to figure that out for yourself.
2. It doesn't have to consume your life for the month. My strategy was to get up at 5:30, make coffee, and pound out between 1000 and 1500 words. Somedays I had time to do more later in the day. A couple of times, I sprinted and put out 3000 or more.
3. It's okay if the words are crappy.
4. It's okay if the POV changes tense.
5. It's okay if some of the words are backstory or your characters "talking" to you.
6. If you get stuck, walk away. Call a friend, go for a walk. Ask your characters what they want. Ask them what they need from you.
7. Did I mention, it's okay if the words are crappy?

I once heard Cynthia Leitich Smith speak at a conference. One highlight I remember very clearly is hearing her talk about her first draft. She writes the first draft and then hits delete. HITS DELETE. There was an audible inhale of breath from the crowd as we all imagined hitting delete.

But here's the thing, I get it now.

Don't panic, I'm not going to delete my NaNo book, but I am going to rewrite the whole thing. There's not one thing that won't get revised/rewritten. I understand what Cynthia was talking about now. This is the warm up. This is the clay from which I will sculpt. This is *not* the book. This is the crappy first draft.

And I love it. I'm *never* not writing a book this way. It was brilliant. I love fast drafting. It took me four years to write a passable first draft of my first novel. And then the revision started. It took me one month to write this first draft. I'm much less attached to the crappy words. Much more willing to make the hard choices and hard changes that revision requires.

Because revision *does* require hard choices. Now, I'm going back to the revision cave. How did you all do at NaNo this year?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


So happy to make the official announcement this it's posted on Publisher's Marketplace.

Kristine Carlson Asselin's ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT, pitched as MYSTIC PIZZA meets THE CUTTING EDGE, in which the pizza business is all a fifteen-year-old knows until a chance meeting with a hockey player and a lucky shot opens her up to a new world on the ice, far away from the responsibilities and pressures of the family restaurant, to Meredith Rich of Bloomsbury Spark, by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. 

I'm thrilled to be working with Meredith Rich on this project. I can't wait for you all to read about my hockey girl!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Revision: A Guest Post by Anna Staniszewski

Thanks to Anna Staniszewski, the author of the MY VERY UNFAIRYTALE LIFE series, for being here today to talk about her revision process. Anna's final book in the UNFAIRYTALE LIFE series, MY SORT OF FAIRYTALE ENDING, comes out from Sourcebooks in early November 2014.

Here's Anna!
Confession time: I used to hate revision. I was in love with every word I put on the page and thought I knew what I was doing from the first sentence. Then I got serious about writing and realized I had a lot to learn about the process of creating a novel.

Now I can honestly say I love revision. I think of it as solving a puzzle. I have all these separate pieces that need to fit together neatly by the end.

Once I have a draft, the first step for me is outlining what I have. (I write a synopsis of the story before I start drafting, but that usually changes as I write.) I list what happens in every scene, along with chapter length, setting, etc. This gives me a larger picture of the story and it helps me figure out if there’s anything missing.

Then I start reading through with an eye for character development, plot holes, etc. I can’t help fixing wording and grammar issues as I go, even though there’s a big chance I’ll be cutting some of those sentences later. And yes, during this process, I cut A LOT. Nothing on the page is sacred.

When I’ve gone through the manuscript several times and am happy with it (or, more likely, sick of looking at it) I hand it over to my husband who is always my first reader. Based on his feedback, I do a round of revision. Then I send the manuscript to a critique partner and revise based on her comments. I keep going like this until I’m finally ready to send the manuscript to my agent and then to my editor. The process is long and tedious, but it’s worth it.

When I think back to that young writer who was tied to every word on the page, I have to smile. She was in love with telling the story. I’m in love with getting the story right.

 Anna's Bio:

Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Stanszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston with her husband and their black Labrador, Emma.

When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of My Very UnFairy Tale Life and its sequels, My Epic Fairy Tale Fail and My Sort of Fairy Tale Ending, all published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Look for the first book in Anna’s next tween series, The Dirt Diary, in January 2014, and visit her at
She even has a cool trailer:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reflecting on Peter Reynolds' DOT Day

Russell Street Elementary School in Littleton, MA celebrated Dot Day last week. Spurred on by elementary art teacher, Andrea Romano, the Dots were amazing and showcased the orginality and creativity of the kids from first through fifth grades.

I was so excited to see the Dots last week. I asked her if I could share some of the fabulous art and if she would comment on the experience. Ms. Romano reflects on Dot Day in Littleton:
“Everyone IS an artist!” has been my belief from the very beginning of my career. This statement is the backbone behind how I live and teach. I often hear young people say, “When I grow up I want to be an artist!”. What they don’t realize is that they already are! My goal through my teaching is to help develop that awareness.

the dot, by Peter H. Reynolds, captures that inner struggle of a young child. I incorporated the story into the first week of classes this year throughout grades 1-5. All of the students were invited to simply make dots...big dots, small dots, one dot or many dots! Each dot was an authentic expression of the artist and proved to be a meaningful start to the school year!

Thank you Ms. Romano!

I've had the pleasure of meeting Peter H. Reynolds--he owns and operates The Blue Bunny, a wonderful independent bookstore in Dedham, MA.

He's an amazing artist, generous with his time to fans (children and adults alike). If you're not familiar with his book, THE DOT, it tells the story of a young girl who gives up her dream to be an artist because she thinks she's no good. Through the inspiration of her teacher, she learns that anyone can make a difference.

Actually, the description on Peter's website is better..."The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing."

Since 2009, children have been celebrating making their own marks on the world on or about September 15. According to, International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

The rest is history.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Twitter Pitch Contest Advice

There are so many opportunities in the twitterverse for pitching your work, and networking with agents and editors.

Back in May, I participated in #Pitmad organized by Brenda Drake. Over a couple of months, I entered a few twitter contests, and I learned a few things. Since #PitMad is happening again this week, I thought I'd reflect.

1. Have a few different pitches, try to mix them up and space them out.
2. Don't over pitch - it's annoying to others to see YOUR pitch more than once an hour or so.
3. Pay attention to the contest rules.
4. If you don't get tagged or favorited, don't let it get you down. I've had pitches favorited in some contests, and the SAME pitches completely ignored in another. It's all about timing, spacing, and what people are looking for that day.
5. Be supportive of others--RT things you like, and let people know if you like their pitch. a result of that #Pitmad in May, I had a request from Meredith Rich of Bloomsbury Spark. This past Tuesday, I announced the sale of my YA,  THE SWEET SPOT, to Meredith. All as result of that Twitter pitch. Here's the link to my announcement:

So keep on keeping on and Good Luck with your pitches!

UPDATE: Instead of THE SWEET SPOT referenced above, ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT, my YA contemp about a hockey-playing pizza shop-working teenager will be published by Bloomsbury Spark instead. See the announcement here: ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Book Deal Announced: THE SWEET SPOT

I've signed with Meredith Rich of Bloomsbury Spark for my YA novel, THE SWEET SPOT!!!

I have been holding onto this news for weeks. I'm still pinching myself that it's actually real. Here's a screen shot on Publisher's Marketplace from yesterday that proves it's real (September 9, 2013):

Here's the text, if you can't read that tiny print.

Kristine Carlson Asselin's THE SWEET SPOT, in which it is hard enough being a sporty girl in a guy's world without having to figure out who wants to destroy her family business, especially when it could mean accusing her best friend… and secret crush, to Meredith Rich of Bloomsbury Spark by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.


Some of you may remember reading excerpts of this YA manuscript on WriteOnCon, or years ago when it was a short story on Critique Circle. There have been various versions of the MS, and some of my fabulous friends have read multiple versions (I'm looking at you, Laura Pauling, Natasha Sass, and Jennifer Carson). Thank you to all of you who provided critique or insight!

I want to thank my amazing agent Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency for working out the details of the contract. I'm so thankful to Meredith Rich for falling in love with a twitter pitch, and then the novel. And thanks to Brenda Drake and her team for #Pitmad this past May--Meredith favorited my pitch and the rest is history.

Actual tweet favorited by Meredith from #PitMad: A near-miss kiss from Scott, Dad hires a hot new Brit & SOMEONE torches the 8th green. How can Kate focus on her golf game?

I looked back in my archives. The very first words of this story were written from a kernel of an idea in August 2006. I've learned a ton from reworking the words over the last seven years. Some day I'll post those early words as an interesting comparison.

In the meantime, I'm ecstatic about working with Meredith to polish up the novel. And I really can't wait to share THE SWEET SPOT with the world. I'm dying for you to know and love Kate and Scott, like I do.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Peter Reynold's Dot Day

Do you guys know about Dot Day? It's September 15 this year. It rocks. I spent a modified Dot Day (it wasn't the actual day) last year volunteering in my daughter's 4th grade classroom. She still has dots on her wall from last fall, including "celebri-dots" Barack O-Dot and Mitt Rom-Dot.

Ways to find out more about Dot Day:
Website and registration for International Dot Day, visit  
For official Dot Day Twitter feed, follow @DotClubConnect.  
Find International Dot Day on Facebook at
On September 15th, nearly a million children and adults around the globe are expected to celebrate International Dot Day – a grass roots “creativity & courage” movement, which has generated support around the globe, including all 50 U.S. states, all seven continents, and even on the International Space Station.  Inspired by Boston-area author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds’ classic “storybook for all ages” The Dot, International Dot Day inspires young and old to embrace the power of personal creativity to change the world.
The Dot is a heartwarming story of a perceptive and caring teacher who reaches a reluctant student who thinks she can’t draw by encouraging her to trust in her own abilities and to be brave enough to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” Exploring the themes of creativity, bravery and self-expression, The Dot has been translated into many languages (including Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish and even Braille) and the animated film of The Dot (produced by Reynolds’ multi-media design and development firm FableVision and co-producer Scholastic) earned the Carnegie Medal of Excellence.
International Dot Day began four years when Iowa teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Reynolds’ book on September 15th, because the original publishing date of The Dot is September 15, 2003.  Shay, a public school teacher for over two decades, notes “In The Dot, it is the teacher’s invitation to be creative becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage for the student, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing. Every great teacher works for those transformational moments.” 
International Dot Day has garnered attention in schools, libraries, and communities around the globe. Registrations reached 17,500 in 2011 – and last soared past the 850,000 mark.  Reynolds notes, “There’s even an entire town in Connecticut celebrating – connecting the dots between the schools, public library and community at large – truly amazing.”  Indeed, Dot Day celebrations now take many forms; from short art workshops where students make dots and sign them to animating dot-inspired art/stories on the computer, from weeklong school-wide celebrations to a year-long theme for a school district. 
Earlier this year, a copy of The Dot book was even rocketed to Canadian Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield serving at Commander aboard  the International Space Station.  Reynolds explains, “Commander Hadfield snapped a few photos of The Dot book floating in the cupola of the space station. On his last day of his recent Boston visit, he handed me my book, which he had signed, noting that this copy…had made 2,500 trips around the big blue dot – planet Earth.”
This year Reynolds will be honored by the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. on Dot Day with a museum-wide celebration of the book.  The day-long event will include special dot-making and sharing activities for all ages, as well as a special showing of award-winning animated film version of The Dot, a co-production between Reynolds’ children’s media firm FableVision and Scholastic. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My New Agent Announcement

I am thrilled beyond belief to announce that I am now represented by Kathleen Rushall of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Honestly, I'm still pinching myself. I'm awake, right? If not, don't bother waking me.

At some point, I'll post the story of my query process. Until then, suffice it to say that I am honored to  have the opportunity to work with Kat and to be a part of the MLLA family.

In the meantime, you should totally follow Kathleen on twitter. She's a little slice of awesome. @KatRushall

Here's a picture of a fancy drink to celebrate! Seriously, anyone close enough to Massachusetts--I'd love to see you at the meet up on August 27 in Chelmsford. We can toast in person!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Intro to Children's Writing WORKSHOP

I'm excited to announce that I'll be delivering a noncredit workshop for Mt. Wachusett Community College at the Devens, Massachusetts campus on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

Here's the course description.

INTRO TO CHILDREN’S WRITING | CRN 96369 Participants will learn the basic framework for writing children’s literature from a published author’s perspective. You will be given a comprehensive reading list, a hand-out of recommended websites and writers’ blogs, and an action plan for how to get started in the writing industry.

If you'd like to register, click here.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

On Querying (with links)

Querying can mess with your mind. It can crush your confidence. It can halt your productivity. And when you get a request or a "I love this" it can make the world sunshine and roses and rainbows. Like I said, it messes with you mind.

First of all...try really hard not to let it. Stand up straight. Shoulders back. Query with confidence.

Rejection is going to be a part of this. Know it. Own it. Your query is going to get rejected--at least once. Or if it doesn't, your book is going to get rejected by an editor as some point. No one makes it through it unscathed. Even J.K. Rowling had rejection. Realize that it's not you. Be okay with it. Or don't query.

Getting an agent isn't the end of the journey. It's really just the beginning. It doesn't mean a sale, it doesn't mean you've made it. It means you're one step higher on the ladder, and you're learning. Remember to not stop learning.

Sub it Club link on how to handle outstanding queries when you get an offer.
Post from Dahlia Adler about being back in the trenches AFTER separating from an agent

Agents are people, too. Which sounds dumb, I know. I got a very nice pass yesterday from someone who said my book was right up her alley. BUT, she's swamped with work and she's getting married in a month. Who knows, in another time and space, she might have loved my book and offered representation. In this life, it's "no thank you." This has NOTHING to do with me, and I can't do anything about it. So, say congratulations and move on.

1. Be polite
2. Be professional

If you can't do either of those things, you have no business querying or really interacting with anyone. This is a BUSINESS. You must know that going into this. You may be passionate about  your work--and you should be--but don't let your passion made you blind to professionalism.

Seriously, if you can't be professional, no one will want to work with you. And that means twitter, goodreads, your blog, and in person. This is a small industry, really.

Good luck out there!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wish List of Programs for NESCBWI14

As the Conference Co-Director for the SCBWI-New England 2014 conference, I have the awesome responsibility (along with my co-chairs Natasha Sass and Marilyn Salerno) of selecting the workshops for the conference this year.

The theme this year is CREATE BRAVELY: MAKE YOUR MARK

Taking risks with our writing or illustrating moves us forward. Sometimes it's a scary step, and it's hard to think outside our comfort zones. This year, proposals focusing on being brave, taking risks, and working outside our comfort zone will take center stage. New England SCBWI is one of the largest SCBWI conferences, and in past we have sold out within a few weeks. We welcome proposals from everyone involved in the world of children's writing and publishing.

If you're thinking of submitting--the submission form is here:

As always, let us know if you have questions. nescbwi14@gmail or tweet me at @nescbwi or @kristineasselin

We have a wish list:

Wish List:
  • Workshops that focus on taking risks
  • The pros and cons of Self Publishing v. Traditional Publishing
  • Writing outside your comfort zone--creating authentic characters from diverse backgrounds and alternate lifestyles
  • Technical workshops focusing on new skills
  • Pro level workshops for experienced (not necessarily published) writers and illustrators
  • Hands-on writing workshops that spotlight elements of craft: outlining, story arc, tools, tips, character, dialogue, sketching, etc.
  • Hands-on illustration workshops
  • Beyond the Basics Publishing for intermediate authors or illustrators
  • Developing an idea from conception to completion
  • How to complete a Detailed Novel Outline
  • Secrets of Story Arc
  • How to lay out a picture book dummy
  • How to start your own publishing company
  • Gesture and emotion for illustrators
  • School and library visits and promotion
  • Grassroots marketing strategies to libraries and other overlooked venues
  • Writing nonfiction articles and short stories
  • Mystery writing, organizing your mystery
  • How to write chapter books
  • How to design an eBook
  • Technical training such as Scrivener, Facebook, Creating a Website, etc.
  • How to apply for SCBWI conference speaking slots: Tips and Tricks
  • Balancing a social media platform
  • Running a small-business in the 21st century
  • How to Draw Children - Anatomy specifics
  • Other markets open to Illustrators - Licensing, magazines, etc.
  • Hand Lettering and how to include it properly in your illustrations
  • Researching Historical Novels - online and at archives
And some we haven't thought of yet! Please feel free to add your "wish list" for conference workshops in my comments!

Sunday, June 30, 2013


There are ups and downs in the publishing industry. I started writing children books about nine years ago…and have had my share of both. On Saturday, I had a party to launch my first picture book – WORST CASE OF PASKETTI-ITIS. The day ranked up there as one of the best.

WC of P has had its own shares of ups and downs. I wrote it seven years ago for my daughter who was the pickiest of picky eaters. It went through countless revisions. It’s been workshopped and critiqued and almost retired to the depths of hard drive purgatory. Three years ago, I discovered 4RV Publishing and they seemed like a good fit for my little story about a picky eater. Lo and behold, they agreed!
The book went through a bit more revision and finally, yesterday, we celebrated. I still can’t believe that the room was standing room only for me and my little book.
My family pitched in and helped with sales. My Mom and Dad brought cake and balloons. My Sister brought crafts. It was the strangest mixture of family, local friends, and writer friends. My boss came. My daughter’s classmates came. Members of my Girl Scout troop came. My daughter’s godfather and his family came up from Connecticut.

I did a reading and signed copies of the book. It was surreal to say the least. And wonderful.
Thank you to everyone who read drafts through the years. Thank you to my critique group, the team at 4RV, and my illustrator (LuisaGioffre-Suzuki). It’s extraordinary to finally see my words attached to illustrations. She did an amazing job capturing my vision.
The book has been getting some great reviews on Goodreads…and the contest to win a book is ongoing until July 12, so check it out (click on the link at the right). Or you can buy it here.
My writer peeps, Alicia Gregoire, Heather Kelly, and Ansha Kotyk

The inspiration for the story

Friday, June 28, 2013

Secrets of the Query Process


It’s something that’s near and dear to my heart. I’ve been through it twice. Both of my agents were awesome…but life happens and each of them left their positions. Yes, I was agent-orphaned twice. 

So now, I’m querying for the third time. Back in February I was mortified to admit it. I’d made it to “the next level.” I’d been agented. To use a Chutes & Ladders analogy, I’d climbed up a bit of the ladder, only to slide down the chute at the next turn. I kept my querying secret…but gradually, as time passed, I’ve been wanting to share my story more and more. And of course, through twitter contests when you’re pitching like crazy, it’s hard to keep it a secret (“why is she pitching? Doesn’t she have an agent?”)

So here’s what I’ve learned from the Query Process:

  1. It’s truly subjective. The agent may list your genre on her wishlist, but it’s still may not be the right fit. It’s not you.
  2. Or it could be you…the book may need more revision…or better pacing…or something hard to pinpoint. You can spend years analyzing a rejection. But don’t. Cry to your CPs, dust yourself off, and keep on keeping on.
  3. Agents are people, too. Sometimes they are busy. Or on vacation. Or dealing with their lives. In your communication with them be polite, be professional, and above all follow submission guidelines. And let the process work.
  4. It’s okay to send a thank you note for a Full or Partial request rejection.
  5. Trust your gut…if it doesn’t feel right, don’t force it. This might be the hardest lesson...because you want it to feel right sooooo badly.
  6. I’ve heard of authors arguing or pushing back rudely to agents who gave them a personal, helpful rejection. Don’t. Please don’t. Because you ruin it for all of us if they decide to stop giving personal feedback.
  7. I’m a scattershot queryer. That doesn’t mean I don’t do my research. But I don’t overthink it. If it looks like my book might be in someone’s wheelhouse, I query. But I’ve done a lot of querying, I trust my query letter and my ability to be professional. I’m not bragging, but my request rate is at 42% this morning. Okay, I’m bragging, I’m proud of that request rate, but all that really means is my rate of rejections on Full manuscripts is higher than someone with a lower request rate.
  8. Those can sting. But again, back to #1. It’s truly subjective.
The thing that surprised me most is the number of people I’ve met with similar stories. People who’d been agented before and were querying again for a variety of reasons. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to share my story…to tell someone out there who might be the same situation that it’s okay. You’re going to be okay. It’s not the end of the world.

I’ve seen the ups and downs of the query process. I’ve had “the call” twice. It’s an amazing feeling that I hope to have again. But you know what else I’ve learned? It’s not the end of the world. This is a business…you have to treat it that way. As long as you conduct yourself in a professional manner, and don’t burn bridges, you’ll be fine. 

On a really positive note…my first picture book is finally out. Published with small press 4RV Publishing, it’s been under contract since before I signed with either of my agents. I’m doing a Goodreads contest here:

So tell me about your querying process?