Monday, April 11, 2016

Anticipated Releases in 2016

Hello, Blogger my old friend. It's been too long!

2016 is flying, bringing us closer to some of the most anticipated releases of the year. Here are the top three books I can't wait to read in 2016:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Expected publication: July 21, 2016

I know, I know, there is basically no way it can live up to my expectations. But I just can't help myself. We're getting another Harry Potter book!

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Expected publication: April 26, 2016

The Raven Cycle has been a wild ride full of lovable characters, and I can't wait to see this series reveal all of its secrets.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Expected publication: September 27, 2016

Six of Crows had an excellent ensemble cast and tons of adventure. I can't wait to see where the band of outlaws goes next.

Do you have any books you're excited to read as we rush on toward summer?

Monday, January 18, 2016

SCBWI Florida 2016 Regional Conference

Happy New Year, everyone! If you write children's books, I have one more resolution for you for 2016. If you don't belong to SCBWI, join. If you're a member but not an active one, get involved. And if you're already involved, step up and volunteer to help or join the regional team. I promise you won't regret it.

Click here for more info.

The SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) is a fabulous organization. Since joining, I've learned and grown as a writer and found my tribe as a person. At this year's Florida regional conference in Miami, we heard from so many fabulous faculty members: Jonathan Maberry, Michele Hodkin, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Debbi Ohi, and Tammi Sauer--and those are just a few of the authors, not mentioning the agents and editors.

My top three takeaways from the conference this year:

1. Help other people in the industry as much as you can. The publishing business is a business, but it's not a competition. Helping each other matters. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help writers in my local critique group and celebrate their successes. I often learn even more from them in the process.

2. Step outside of your comfort zone. Maybe this means striking up a conversation with someone in the field, even if you're an introvert. Maybe it means writing ambitiously or accepting well-considered feedback. As your comfort zone grows, so will other areas of your life.

3. Tension is everything. Whether internal or external, in the setting, tone, action or in relationships, keeping tension on every page of your manuscript will keep your readers turning the pages.

If you're a member of SCBWI, what are some the reasons you love it? Do you have other organizations that have made a huge impact on your writing life? Feel free to share below in the comments!

Music for today: I Know What I Am by Band of Skulls