Friday, March 29, 2013

Texas Book Festival-San Antonio Edition

Two upcoming events where I will be participating with other authors:
On Saturday, April 13, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Texas Book Festival is partnering with the San Antonio Central Library to host a day of “literary happenings for book lovers.” Fifty Texas and national authors will do readings, sign books, and participate on panels. There will be food and musical entertainment as well. The event is free and open to the public. Visit the link above for more details. 
I will be one of the authors participating at this event. Hope to see you there. 
Mexican Pan Dulce
On Tuesday, April 16, 2013, from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., Rooms 204/207, I will be on an author’s panel at Texas A&M-San Antonio University Library speaking on the topic: “Writing for Today’s Child: Voices from San Antonio Authors.” This event celebrates National Library Week. The location is on the Main Campus, One University Way, San Antonio, TX, 78224. For more info, call 210.784.1500 or email

"I don't want to write for adults. I want to write for readers who can perform miracles. Only children perform miracles when they read." -- Astrid Lindgren

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Illustrator Notes and Fall 2013 Children's Books

A month ago I attended the Austin SCBWI writer’s conference where one of the faculty was the illustrator, E.B. Lewis. On Illustrator Mark Mitchell’s blog, How to be a Children’s Book Illustrator, he summarized a lot of what E.B. Lewis talked about at the conference. Even if you are not an illustrator, you might want to read this excellent post because if you write picture books, you will be collaborating with illustrators on that book. 
Santa Fe
 And here’s a treat. You just have to take a peek at the Fall 2013 Sneak Previews of children’s books coming out in the fall. The list is published by the online Publishers Weekly.

If I made a chore of (writing), my enthusiasm would die. I make it an adventure every day.
-- Willa Cather

Monday, March 18, 2013

Story Structure

In his online editor blog post, Brian Klems writes about the structure of a story. Like I always tell the students when I do a school visit, everyone has a story to tell. And we all know that a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But how do you get from here to there?
In Klems’ post, “The Two Pillars of Novel Structure,” on the Writer’s Digest blog, he uses a visual bridge to explain how story structure works. This is just an inkling of what he wrote:
A Bridge to Somewhere: My favorite visual representation of story structure is the suspension bridge: The key foundational elements here are the two pillars, or pylons. These pillars are set down in bedrock, allowing the suspension cables to support a solid and secure platform—the bridge itself.
Think about it: Every story has to begin, and every story has to end. And the middle has to hold the reader’s interest. The craft of structure tells you how to begin with a bang, knock readers out at the end, and keep them turning pages all the way through. When you ignore structure, your novel can begin to feel like one of those rope bridges swinging wildly in the wind over a 1,000-foot gorge. Not many readers are going to want to go across.”
There is much, much more in his article including excerpts from great novels to get his point across. A must read.

New Mexico

“Novella: Shorter than a novel but longer than a long story—approximately 50,000 words.” – Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Making money as a writer

If you’ve written and submitted a manuscript for publication, you’re probably wondering what happens once you get a contract from the publisher, i.e., how will you get paid? You’ve heard talk about advances, royalties, flat fees, etc., etc. Wonder no more. In a brief, concise article on the Writer Unboxed blog, written by Chuck Sambuchino, “11 frequently-asked-questions-about-book-royalties-advances-and-making-money,” he addresses this topic including foreign rights and film rights. Very interesting article.
And by the same author on the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agent blog, check out his other blog post, “Your job is to write, not to worry.”

“Multiple contract: Book contract with an agreement for a future book(s).” Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner

Friday, March 8, 2013

Starting Your Novel

Are you ready to start that novel? Are you having problems with the first sentence? Here’s a blog post that might help. The Writer’s Digest article, “Famous First Lines Reveal How to Start a Novel,” by Zachary Petit lists first lines of books by famous authors, which is interesting in itself. Then Petit summarizes seven steps or “7 Ways to Start,” written by Jacob M. Appel. In Step 7: A statement that serves as a frame, the author notes that “… sometimes, the best way to begin a story is to announce that you’re about to tell a story.” 

And here’s an interesting article on the Institute of Children’s Literature blog. Titled, “If I Could,” by Jan Fields, she focuses on the ten myths starting with #1: If I Could Just Get Published the First Time, It’ll Get Easier. She finishes with “So What Does Make Things Easier?” You’ll be surprised.
Graphic novel: "A self-contained, book-length story told through a combination of text and illustration." -- Writers' Digest Weekly Planner

Friday, March 1, 2013

List of Publishers

Here is an excellent source for you writers. The Children’s Book Council (CBC) has an online directory or Member List of children’s book publishers. This includes the link to the publishers’ websites. Granted, many of those on the list do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, but some do. You might want to browse through the list and find out which ones publish the type of book you are working on. Researching publishers is part of the writing process. Best of luck!
Another inspiring school visit. Here are some pictures I took of some of the posters the students made to welcome me to their school yesterday. They had all four of my books in their library. What an honor!

"I like the idea that magic can be hidden under the surface of everyday life." -- Trina Schart Hyman