Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Happy Monday Everyone!

Follower News

Krysten Lindsay Hager's book Best Friends…Forever? just released. It’s part of the Landry’s True
Colors Series, a clean reads series about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, and self-image. In this book, Landry, an eighth grader, deals her fear of failure and having her best friends getting excited about beginning high school next year—something she finds terrifying.
Buy links:
Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/krysten-lindsay-hager/id890673226?mt=11

And I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of Kristin Nelson's Query Critique is Danielle H!

And the winner of UNDER THE PAINTED SKY is Natasha D!

Congrats! E-mail me your address for the book giveaway. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I'm thrilled to have Caroline Rose Starr here to share about her time management tips and about BLUE BIRDS, her new historical MG story told in verse. Details about the giveaway will be at the end of the post.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

It’s 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldn’t be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.

Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two don’t even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind.

A beautiful, tender story of friendship and the meaning of family, Caroline Starr Rose delivers another historical gem.

So here's Caroline!

In 1998 I showed my sixth graders at Southwest Middle School (Orlando, FL) a video about Roald Dahl. In it he discussed his writing habits -- how he always used a yellow legal pad, stopped when the writing was strong (so it would be easier to pick up the next day), and wrote two hours a day, whether he had
something to say or not.

For years I'd talked about writing a book. After watching the video, and with summer just a few weeks away, I decided to give it a try. I checked out a dozen or so books on the Oregon Trail, researched for two weeks,* and started writing.** Dahl's advice to write for two hours a day felt doable. It's been a pattern I've kept up ever since.

Except when I haven't, which is most of the time.

It's far too easy for me to get distracted by the computer, life responsibilities, and the like. Last spring,I needed to be better about using my time well. The idea of juggling two novels at once was an overwhelming one. I needed a plan, something straightforward, like Dahl's two-hour approach.
while researching my second book for Putnam, I realized

I started by simply writing down the amount of time I was researching each day. It was frustrating at first to see exactly how much work I was (and was not) doing. But it was a good, honest start.

Later, when working on editorial revisions for BLUE BIRDS, I had the luxury of ten weeks to get my first round done. I aimed for three to five hours a day, five days a week. When the amount of work necessary to pull the book up to what it needed felt insurmountable, would lead I tried to remember the small, daily work to something better in two months' time. Hour by hour I was moving forward, or as Anne Lamott might say, bird by bird.

The act of writing down my hours pushed me to keep going. On days where writing was cut to just a few hours or squeezed out entirely, it was also good to refer to my calendar. I had meetings, a boy with a broken wrist, and a retreat to pull together and facilitate in August and September. Seeing those full days helped me chill out a little. I wasn't eating bon bons or wasting my time. I was busy living life.

What strategies do you use to meet writing goals?

* do not try this at home
** terrible manuscript but great learning experience!

Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. As a girl she danced ballet, raced through books, composed poetry on an ancient typewriter, and put on magic shows in a homemade cape. She’s taught both social studies and English in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. Caroline’s the author of the ALA Notable book, May B. (2012), Over in the Wetlands, (2015), and Blue Birds (2015). Visit her at www.carolinestarrrose.com

Caroline  generously offered an ARC of BLUE BIRDS for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through April 11th. I’ll announce the winner on April 13th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is for US and Canada.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. Find all the other middle grade bloggers on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Tomorrow I'll be participating in the Fools for Books Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great book choices for you.

On Wednesday I'll have a guest post by publicist Samantha Lien and a 15 minute marketing consultation contest.

Next Monday I'll have an interview with debut author Fonda Lee and a giveaway of ZEROBOXER, her YA science-fiction book.

And the Monday after that, Alex Cavanaugh will be here to share about his new adult science fiction book, DRAGON OF THE STARS, and to give advice about social media and blogging.

Hope to see you tomorrow!


Jemi Fraser said...

Yay for Caroline!! The book sounds like a winner to me.
Getting that time in is so important.

Greg Pattridge said...

Interesting how Caroline keeps track of her writing hours. That might be too much stress for me, but you have to go with what works. Unique story and I haven't read many books from this time period. Best of luck.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

what a schedule! But Caroline is doing something right - this book is amazing! (I got to read an early draft!)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Congrats to Caroline. Sounds like an awesome story.

Anonymous said...

Loved May B. Looking forward to Blue Birds!

Christine Rains said...

Congrats to Krysten and the winners! That is neat how Caroline keeps track of her writing hours. I can see how it would hold one more accountable. Thanks for sharing, Caroline, and good luck!

cleemckenzie said...

Great strategy. Seeing where your time's spent is a great way to help you organize and write more efficiently.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I'm easily distracted at times too. When I'm in the middle of writing, I find I'm very productive if I devote a couple of hours in the early morning--right after my coffee. Now I'm having to juggle that with a work schedule and other tasks. I'm having to get strict with myself with mornings. I still haven't found a good compromise but I'm working on it. :-)

I love the idea of a historical setting. Seeing the world through a little one's eyes. Very cool.

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Jessica Lawson said...

Love this post! It's easy for me to set goals, but when life intervenes, it's also easy for me to get off track. Thanks for sharing more about your process and writing strategies!

Rosi said...

This book sounds so good. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the good writing tips. I have a copy of the book coming, so please let someone else win.

Karen Lange said...

It's great to hear about Caroline's writing process. Wishing her well with the book! Natalie, thanks for hosting today - you are such a gracious hostess. :) I'll pass on the giveaway. Have a great week!

dolorah said...

I'm so jealous of the Kirsten Nelson query critique.

Congrats to Caroline, and thanks for all the tips.

Joanne R. Fritz said...

I absolutely loved MAY B. and can't wait to read Caroline's new novel in verse. But I've already ordered my own copy, so please give this to someone else. Caroline, this made me smile: "It's been a pattern I've kept up ever since.

Except when I haven't, which is most of the time."

Ha! It's so easy to get distracted by our busy lives and by the internet. But the internet also introduces us to a lot of wonderful people we wouldn't have gotten to know otherwise.

Jennifer R said...

Great post! Caroline is so honest and I really appreciate that about her. I loved May B and I'm sure I will love Blue Birds too. I will be posting on Twitter and Facebook.

Jenni said...

I can't wait to read BLUE BIRDS as I loved MAY B so much. This was such an encouraging post. I always get discouraged when my writing time gets eaten up by research, but I loved how you kept a calendar to keep track of your time, Caroline.
I will be definitely try that!

Krysten Lindsay Hager said...

Thanks for sharing my release!

Liz Brooks said...

Ooo, this sounds right up my alley! I love fifteen hundreds historical fiction, Roanoke has always fascinated me, and I can never find enough books in verse. Thanks so much for sharing! As for writing, I used to work for an hour a day, and forcing myself to be consistent like that was so helpful; now I have the luxury of at least four hours a day (though much of that is eaten up by aggressive procrastination).

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read this book. I really enjoyed May B. the year it came out. Two hours a day seems doable. It's good to establish a pattern.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You do have to schedule time to write but not beat yourself up when you know there are days you won't be able to do any writing.
Congratulations, Caroline!

Andrea Mack said...

Thanks for reminding me about the strategy of keeping track of time spent. I have tried that before and found it useful.

Really looking forward to reading this one! I absolutely LOVED May B.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a good read. Nice giveaway.

John from http://www.couponsmonk.us

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

Must! Track. Time! Thank you,. book sounds great.

Madeline Osigian said...

I would love to win a copy of Blue Birds. It's already on my to-read list.

Danielle H. said...

I so need to get a routine for my writing! Now I write to meet deadlines and then put it off to catch up on daily life stuff. Balance is what I need. Thanks for the inspiration and giveaway! I tweeted: https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/582973156803133440

Anonymous said...

Looks like a sound MG novel!

Krysten Lindsay Hager said...

Thank you very much, Christine!