Wednesday, May 30, 2012

UNBREAK MY HEART by Melissa Walker - plus links

Today I'm pleased to welcome GCC sister and friend Melissa Walker to the blog to celebrate the release of her new book, Unbreak My Heart. Melissa's the author of Small Town Sinners, the Violet on the Runway series and Lovestruck Summer. She has worked as ELLEgirl Features Editor and Seventeen Prom Editor. Melissa manages the e-newsletter I Heart Daily, and blogs for ReaderGirlz, an online community for teens. A Chapel Hill, NC native, Melissa now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

The book:

The year that broke her heart. The summer that healed it. A dual love story.

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams' heart. She fell for her best friend's boyfriend and long story short: he's excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents' plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.  Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he's just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem's walls and heal her broken heart? Told in alternating chapters that chronicle the year that broke Clem's heart and the summer that healed it, Unbreak My Heart is a wonderful dual love story that fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Susane Colansanti will flock to.

(Susane Colansanti agrees, BTW. She calls Unbreak My Heart "A super cute love story!" and says, "Melissa Walker will inspire readers to never stop believing in true love.") : )

Melissa's Tip: 

"Let the scene play out in your mind a little bit before you put ink to paper (or, um, fingers to keyboard). Sometimes I do this in the shower, and thinking through a moment can really help!"

(P.S. You can enter to win an iPod loaded with the Unbreak my Heart soundtrack (and a copy of the book!) courtesy of Bloomsbury Teen here: Unbreak My Heart Playlist Contest. AND, you can find Melissa online at the links above, and on her website, on her blog, on twitter, on pinterest, and on facebook.)

This Week's Link roundup: (I don't know why they appear highlighted and I don't have the time to figure out how to change it, but I figure you won't mind to much, as long as the links are working, which they are. Enjoy!)

Ginger's up on the SiWC Blog! (Surrey International Writers' Conference)

33 Things to Do When You Are Angry With Your Novel (YA Highway) : )

22 Storytelling Rules via Pixar (The Pixar Touch) Awesome!

20 Tips for Creating Lovable Romance Heroes (Writing Novels)

8 Dialog Mistakes to Avoid (Fiction Notes)

7 Reasons to Kill Your Characters: Murder 101 (Fuel Your Writing)

7 Steps for Creating Suspense (The Write Practice)
7 POV Basics (Jody Hedlund)
5 Proven Tactics to Increase Your Productivity (WorkAwesome)
3 Mighty MacGuffin Generators (Red Pen of Doom
Visceral Reactions: Emotional Paydirt or Melodrama? (WordPlay)
Fears and Tears (Write Anything)
Keep Readers Close to Action and Emotion (Editor's Blog)
Expressing Thought-Reactions in Fiction (The Blood-Red Pencil)
Characters Need Goals (Editor's Blog)
Becoming Your Characters (WordPlay)
Revealing Character Through Detail (Publishing Crawl)
Opening Image (Elana Johnson)
Creating Villains or Other Bad Guys in MG Novels (That's Another Story)
Smart Writers Expand Time (Writers in the Storm) (Love Margie Lawson!)

Writing Dangers: Shiny New Idea Syndrome (Writability)
Writers Must Write Every Day (Editor's Blog)

Writing Credentials (and why they don't matter) (Adventures in YA Publishing)

Why Writers Must be Observers (Writability)
Another Take on "Show, Don't Tell" (Writers' Digest)
Filter Words (Laptops and Latte)
Conference Etiquette (Navigating the Slush Pile)
Writing a Marketable Children's Short Story (WOW!)
Picture Book Revising (Notes From the Slush Pile)
Quit Wasting Time (Author Media) (This is for you, social media junkies...)
Avoiding Homonym Headaches (Blood Red Pencil)
Mapping Out Your Story (DIYMFA)
Writing Scenes: Stepping Forward and Falling Back (Writers' Digest)
Literary Devices: Foreshadowing (Fantasy Faction)
Focus (Tight Scenes) (Edit To Rent)

What it Takes to Get Writers Writing (LA Times) (Fun distraction - with links.)

Ever Get Jealous? The Green-Eyed Writer (Beyond the Margins)

Writer/Reader Contracts (Writer Unboxed)

Why Write Strong Female Characters (i09)
Road Closed: When Writer's Block Takes Out the Bridge Pt. 1 (Genreality)
Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better (The Brilliant Blog)

Now go read a great story (like Unbreak My Heart!) and WRITE!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Claire's Day - Inspiration

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in the Claire's Day Book Festival in Maumee, Ohio. I've never seen such a fantastically-organized and well-attended book festival! The venues for Claire's night (the Toledo Library) and Claire's Day (The Maumee Library grounds) were awesome. But what makes this festival so amazing is the mission of Claire's Day: "... to honor Claire Lynsey Rubini by inspiring children and families of all ages to be lifelong readers through exposure to a variety of literary opportunities and experiences."

Claire Rubini was a young girl who loved books, music, and storytelling. Sadly, she died much too young of a heart condition. Her parents, inspired by an article about former First Lady Nancy Reagan's involvement with the Texas Book Festival, decided to honor Claire's memory by sharing her love of books, and creating a major book event to Ohio. Now, 11 years later, the Festival impacts over 15,000 children each year. Not only does it provide a free venue for young readers to get face time with their favorite authors, it also established the C.A.R.E (Claire's Awards for Reading Excellence) Awards to encourage students to up their reading game, and be recognized for their efforts.

You can read more about Claire's Day here:

One of the things that struck me this weekend was how something that began with such a sad event turned into something magical that impacts the lives of countless kids.

I think if we look outside ourselves, we can find the inspiration to make great things happen around us. As writers, we have the opportunity to reach and impact readers every day with our work. Can you imagine anything greater?

So, this week's writing tip is: Be inspired!

This Week's Links:

"I'm Bored" Shop - (Proceeds to benefit Breaking the Chain, a nonprofit literacy cause founded by super teen and literacy advocate, Riley Carney. Breaking the chain works to put new books in high-risk, high-need elementary and middle schools. (Zazzle)

Writer's Butt Wednesday: Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater! (Ginger Calem)

12 Deadly Grammatical Errors (ReadWriteWeb)

11 Mistakes Writers Make When Approaching Literary Agents (Huffington Post)

10 Commandments of Writing a Thriller (Writer's Digest)

7 POV Basics (Jody Hedlund)

7 Ways to Write a Stand-Alone Book with Series Potential (Writer's Digest)

3 Things to Know About Exposition and Telling (Victoria Mixon)

2 Tips That Will Make Plotting Easier (The Other Side of the Story)

Open Ended (book endings) (Gail Carson Levine)

Writing and Illustrating a Picture Book for S&S, pt.1 (Inky girl)
Writing and Illustrating a Picture Book for S&S, pt.2 (Inky girl)

Respecting Your Natural Rhythms (Writer Unboxed)

It's the Details, Writers! (The Book Deal)

Think Like an Author (Query Tracker)

How a Book is Born (Weldon Owen)

Confusion is Not The Same as Mystery (

Editing: Crossing Words off Your List (The Other Side of the Story)

How Not To Write a Series (Jennifer Laughran)

Creativity Under Pressure (Writing and Rambling)

Thrum Me, Baby, One More Time (Knight Agency Blog)

Words That Should Never Appear in Your Query (Janet Reid)

Flesh it Out (Genreality)

First Page Analysis: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Project Mayhem)

Developing a Story Idea (Mystery Writing is Murder)

How to Free the Genius Inside You (James Killick)

How to Choreograph Direct Action Scenes (Writers University)

Undercover Soundtrack (Discovering Characters Through Music) (Memories of a Future Life)

Now go be inspired (or better yet, inspire someone) and write!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

For writers - More RAOKs

I loved the launch idea Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi came up with for the release of their new book: celebrate by asking people to do random acts of kindness. On Monday, the RAOK Blitz went into effect, and it's still going. It's amazing. Participants on both ends of the RAOK are having great experiences, and the RAOKs are being paid forward, and forward, and forward.

Several of us thought a great RAOK would be to gift copies of THE EMOTION THESAURUS to our intended RAOK recipients, but Becca and Angela asked that we not do that. The purpose of the movement was to share joy to others in the writing community, not just to promote their book.

I'd like to say, however, that the Emotional Thesaurus they've compiled on their blog, The Bookshelf Muse, does share if not joy, certainly great benefit to others in the writing community. I've used it countless times to avoid my tendency to populate my books with grinning bobble head dolls. So, while I will respect their wishes and not give the book away, I'll just tell you, I've ordered my copy. You can get yours, too, through smashwords, itunes, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. And if you haven't promised Becca and Angela not to use the book as your RAOK, you could give copies of it to your friends. I'm just saying...

This week's writer's tip is to enjoy doing a random act of kindness everyday. It will make you a happier writer, and that's why we do this thing in the first place, right?

 In the spirit of continuing RAOKs, and being happier writers, I'm going to share a little joy with you in the form of a video I discovered this morning. I hope it makes you smile and sit a little sexier in your chair as you churn out the words. Enjoy!

Source: via Linda on Pinterest

This Week's Links:

Cotton Candy Pride (Ginger Calem) Great advice

Digging Deeper, A Process Rather Than a Technique (Writer Unboxed)

Bob Mayer Talks Dollars and Good Sense (Twisted Minds and Dark Places)

The Pendulum Swings Back (toward print) (

What Services Publishers Provide (Nathan Bransford)

Fiction vs Nonfiction - Must Writers Choose? (Beyond the Margins)

Readers are Reading! (The Atlantic)

Children's and YA Hardcover Sales up 72% (Media Bistro) Hooray!!!

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do (McSweeney's)  : )

Creating Faceted Characters (Writer Unboxed)

You Are What You Read, according to this study (MSNBC)

4 Ways to Hook Your Readers and Keep Them Wanting More (Jody Hedlund)

Excessive Detail Can Kill Your Story (Moody Writing)

Does Deviating from the 3-Act Structure Keep Me From Getting Published? (Wordplay)

What Happens When Your Books Goes to the Pub Board? (Publishing Crawl)

Never Stop Asking Questions (Lucky 13)

Mamaless Epic Heroes (Shannon Hale)

Now go do a RAOK, and write!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Act of Kindness BLITZ!!!

A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community
Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.
So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.

Kindness ROCKS!
To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. If you've read my blog very often, you've seen me talk about the Emotional Thesaurus blog a lot. It's a fabulous and valuable resource for writers, so I'm thrilled to help celebrate the book's release. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating in the ROAK blitz too!

I am randomly picking Joanne Levy, who is always positive and supportive to all writers and never ceases to make me smile. Joanne, for my ROAK gift, I'm sending you a thank-you note and promising to super-blitz your SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE release this summer so everyone else can enjoy your humor as much as I do.
I really appreciate Joanne's positive energy online. You can find her on twitter, facebook and on her blog. If you have a minute, please stop in and tell her how awesome she is!

Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)

Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.

Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Maurice Sendak and Other Writerly Links

' Photograph: James Keyser/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image
Maurice Sendak brought a wild rumpus to my house. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE was one of my kids' favorite books because it was strange and different and wildly (ha) entertaining (plus I had to read it with sound effects, gnashing my terrible teeth and roaring my terrible roar). We often checked out Really Rosie from our small library and sang along to CHICKEN SOUP WITH RICE and PIERRE. We dreamed along with Mickey IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN.

Even though it's been years since we've read or watched any of the above, Maurice Sendak's characters and quotes became a part of our family culture. He was honest, irreverent, and thoroughly unique. He will be missed.

Here's some Sendak love from around the Internets:

Maurice Sendak, Author of Splendid Nightmares, Dies at 83 (NY Times)

Wild Thing, I Think I Loved You (School Library Journal)

Maurice Sendak, the Author Who Scared a Generation of Kids (Jewish Daily Forward)

Maurice Sendak and the Soul of the Artist (The New Yorker) (Includes words of wisdom on writing for children)

The Creative Legacy of Maurice Sendak in His Own Words (CoDesign)

Remembering Maurice Sendak (Wired)

Memories of Maurice Sendak (Salt Lake Tribune)

Fresh Air Remembers Maurice Sendak (NPR)

Art Spiegelman's Visit with Maurice Sendak  (the NewYorker)

Awesome Sendak story (facebook)

10 Things You Might Not Know About Maurice Sendak ( Digg)

This Week's Writing Links:

****Wield a More Subversive Sword (Slate) Writing Advice from Maurice Sendak

****4 Lessons on Writing (and Life) From Maurice Sendak (PR Daily)

What Builds Excitement?  (Genreality)

Defying Logic (Adventures in YA Publishing) Inspirational post

What Can Stop Your Career From Ever Starting (Jane Friedman)

Dare to Suck (Writer Unboxed)

How to Find and Choose Ideas (Writing Forward)

****Hunger Games Beat Sheet (Story Fix) This is an excellent learning tool, even for pantsers

The importance of A Writer's Notebooks (Spilling Ink)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Main Characters (Beyond the Margins)

9 Ways to Outwit Writer's Block (Rachelle Gardner)

4 Ways to Hook Your Reader and Keep them Wanting More (Jody Hedlund)

****Tolkein's Tips for Creating Epic Heroes (Writing is Hard Work) Learn from the master

How to Keep Writing When the Sh*** Hits the Fan (Nathan Bransford)

Editor Interview: Andrew Harwell of Harper Collins (Cynsations)

Agent Spotlight: Susan Hawk  (Literary Rambles)

Squirrel Wisdom (Project Mayhem)

The Crow Flies and Midnight (on symbolism) (Write Brained)

Why Writers Should Seriously Consider Pinterest (Jody Hedlund) (Psst... You can find me there

Now go read a great Sendak book, and then WRITE!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Jessi Kirby IN HONOR and Writer Links

I'm pleased to welcome GCC sister Jessi Kirby to the blog today to celebrate the impending release of her new book, IN HONOR. (May 8.)

Jessi's a wife, mom, English teacher and former librarian, beach bum, runner, and lover of contemporary YA, strong coffee, and dark chocolate. Her previous book, MOONGLASS, came out last year to rave reviews (including this one from Sarah Dessen: "I couldn't put this book down. Kirby's voice is fresh and wise, all at once. An incredible first novel.") !

IN HONOR is earning similar praise. Here's what Sarah Ockler had to say about  it: "A beautiful, engaging journey with heart, humor, and just a pinch of Texas sass. Hands down my favorite contemporary of the year."  Lauren Barnholdt adds, "An amazing novel about first kisses, last goodbyes, and what it means to finally let go. I absolutely loved it." 

Here's the official blurb:
Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.
Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

You can find more about Jessi and IN HONOR on her website, on her S&S author page, on her facebook page, and by following her on twitter.

Sarah's advice for writers: "This might sound silly, but one valuable tip I learned this time around was that nothing says you HAVE to write the entire story in chronological order.  I kept getting stuck on transitional-type scenes, so I let myself write all the ones I was most looking forward to first, then went back and connected them all, and it was great!"

This week's link roundup:

Great review of LIGHTS, CAMERA, CASSIDY: CELEBRITY in Publisher's Weekly (PW) Yay!

Speaking of, Great CASSIDY sweepstakes for kids this month @ (Lipsmacker Lounge)

Beautiful "Group Hug" post in lieu of Writer's Butt* this week (Ginger Calem)

On living with a writer (Rachelle Gardner)

The Do's and Don'ts of Writer Conferences (The Knight Agency Blog)

10 Greatest Movies about Writers/Writing (Pop Matters)

8 Tips to Get the Most Out of Attending a Writers' Conference (Word Count)

5 Ways to Build Suspense Like a Master (The Other Side of the Story)

5 Pockets of Writing Time You Never Knew You Had (DIY MFA)

2 Tests That Can Help You Sort Through Feedback (Jody Hedlund)

2 Types of Key Question (The Science of Story)

On Noir and Genre Pigeon Holing (Beyond the Margins)

The Importance of the Right Title (Write it Sideways)

A Roundup of Advice about "The End" (Writer Unboxed)

On Writing a Quirky Historical Novel (Cynsations)

Revising vs Rewriting (Genreality)

Diversity in Storytelling (Writing and Rambling)

Interview with agent Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown (MiG Writers)

Interview with agent Marie Lamba of Jennifer DiChiara (MiG Writers)

Interview with Andrea Cascardi of Transatlantic (MiG Writers)

Interview with Jeff Ourvan with Jennifer Lyons (MiG Writers) << live on Friday

Interview with agent Becky Vinter of Fine Print (Janet Reid)

Donald Maass on premise development, part II (Writer Unboxed) (Part I here)

What Makes a Book Sell? (Jill Corcoran Books)

On Processing Criticism (Beyond the Margins)

Why Floundering is Good (TimeIdeas)

The Real Beginning (Kidlit)

Working Past Wordiness for Fresher Writing (Write it Sideways)

Every Writer Gets Rejected (Nathan Bransford)

Why Fiction is Good for You (The Boston Globe)

Power Words Save the Day (Seeing Creative)

GET IT DONE (Genreality)

Get Ahead of the Curveball (Janet Reid)

Report on Agent Panel at Desert Dreams Conference (Genreality)

Rock Your Writing With Checklists (Wordplay)

* Great news! Ginger will be taking #Writer'sButt on the road, joining the faculty at the Surrey International Writer's Conference (where I will be!) in October. Even more reason to come party with us!

Now go add IN HONOR to your reading list, and WRITE!