Monday, June 30, 2014

When Does "NO" NOT Mean No?

This weekend was the New Jersey Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators annual conference. It's a great place to meet top editors, agents, authors, illustrators and people. It's a fabulous venue to network, get inspired, re-energize, rethink, revise.

And reconsider...

My middle grade novel had made the rounds to all the major houses and their smaller imprints and never found a publishing home.

(The main character of my novel.)

My agent said it had to go in the drawer, and I had move on.

Much as I didn't want to, I reluctantly agreed because there was no one left to send it to.

I began work on other projects and tried to forget that novel that owned my heart.

This weekend, I listened to so many people, including myself, encouraging writers to persevere. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep revising.

And then... I noticed one of the editors from a smaller house.Her house was ranked so high on the list of houses because of the number of young adult and middle grade novels they'd published. They were practically bullying some of the older, more well-known publishers.


You all must know the story of Stephen King; unable to find an editor for his novel, he threw it in the trash, giving up. His wife, Tabitha, picked it out and sent it to one last publisher...

That was his breakout novel, Carrie.

"Be consistent, and persistent."  I tell that to all inspiring authors when they ask what's the best piece of advice I can give them. It's time to follow the second part of that command.

One more try...


Monday, June 23, 2014

It's A Pandemic!

Today I'm hosting YA author Yvonne Ventresca (disclaimer: friend! fellow SCBWI member! Writing Wench!). With all the recent pandemic-related movies (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Last Ship, Helix, etc.) I thought it would be interesting to talk to Yvonne about her research for her novel, Pandemic.

My question: What five things have you learned while researching for your debut novel, Pandemic?

Influenza in general is a newsworthy item.  From the seasonal flu (the LA Times reported “8 things you need to know about the deadly influenza virus”) to the avian flu (which the World Health Organization monitors closely in China, although it has not been transmitted from human to human), the fear of a deadly disease is ever-present.

Here are five things I learned while researching Pandemic:

1. The first cases of the 2009 Swine Flu/H1N1 pandemic occurred in Mexico, California, and Texas. Most countries in the world have since experienced infections.
2. Because of airplane travel, germs can be transmitted almost anywhere in the world within 48 hours.
3. Waterfowl are carriers of influenza viruses. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls them “natural reservoirs.”
4. The Spanish Influenza of 1918 killed more Americans than all of World War I.

5. Too much research can cause worry! This was an emotion I was able to transfer to Lilianna, the main character in Pandemic. And I definitely wash my hands more than the average person.

Before becoming a children’s writer, Yvonne Ventresca wrote computer programs and taught others how to use technology. Now she happily spends her days writing stories instead of code and sharing technology tips with other writers. Yvonne’s the author of the young adult novel Pandemic, which was published in May from Sky Pony Press. She blogs for teen writers every Tuesday and for writers of all ages each Friday at

To connect with Yvonne:
Facebook Author

To buy Pandemic:
Books A Million

Coincidentally, I'm home sick, with the strep throat 'bug' I caught from my son. Take care!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Universe Has Gone Crazy....

That's what my last month + has been; everything off kilter, unaligned. People in the know about astrology talk about Mercury Retrograde and house of Cancer and such. All I know is that so many things right now, especially in the family sphere, are beyond FUBAR.

So bear with me. Now that my laptop has been repaired (Long, sad story. You know what I'm talking about if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter.), I'm back on the grid--way behind, out of the loop, and with a confused expression on my face.

I'm jotting this quick post so you don't think I'm lazing by my pool, have gone Ted Kacznyski because secret government agents are following me, or I've become a religious nut waiting for a comet to pick me up on the way to Nirvana.

I've updated the schedule post and Monday (hopefully if Armageddon doesn't arrive first) I will be back to my regular posts. I'll be featuring a post by Yvonne Ventresca about her research for her debut novel, Pandemic.

Thanks for sticking with me.