Friday, July 30, 2010

Query Critique Contest!

I am so thrilled to be on Matthew Rush's blog today! I've posted my query and he's given his critique/feedback along with my thoughts on it. It's fun and he's is amazing, so you HAVE to check it  out HERE!

In conjunction with the theme of queries, we're doing a Contest and there will be TWO winners! And this is one is very simple. Here's the rules.

1. Leave a comment on this post saying you want the query crit


2. Leave a comment on Matthew's blog on todays post saying you want the query cit.

3. Winner will be chosen on AUGUST 3rd

Easy, right? I will randomly pick one winner from Matthew's comments and one winner on this post. You can double up your chances by commenting on both.

Just be sure to say you want the "query crit" in the comments though or else I won't know to add you to the contest since not every person needs/wants one.

Now, if you would like to tweet, facebook, or help get the word out, it might not help you with extra points, but I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER!

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Don’t Have An Art Attack!

So last night this art piece was flung off my wall, for no apparent reason. I think it’s another poltergeist. This one I’ll call Arty. Either he didn’t like it or…it symbolized something. When I paid attention to the actual picture, it does seem quite familiar. Perhaps similar to my dream of the Octopus that ate my husband? Hmmm.

Image done in charcoal and ink
decoupaged on wood, 8x10

I always love seeing the beginning stages of an illustration or art piece and thought I would share that with you. And I know, the picture quality isn’t the best since I took these on my iPhone. Okay, and my angles are off a bit so for best viewing quality, you may need to tilt your head.

This piece below is a perfect fit with my post from yesterday, Are Writers Crazy? Her cat thinks she’s crazy too, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. The final piece is framed in wood and with white matting. I used a panel canvas, decoupaged with handmade paper, then decoupaged her onto that panel framing. The image itself is done in ink and charcoal. With framing measures 11x14.
Crazy Girl in just ink

Crazy Girl all finshed!

This image of Thumbelina I had done originally on an 8x8 for a Gallery Showing (Fairytale themed) and I wanted to draw her again on a bit of a larger scale. This was my first time experimenting with my drawings on wood and I love the natural look that showed through the image after I used the fixative gloss and protective coatings. She’s done with charcoal, ink, and Prismacolors, unfinished edges with wire hanging. She measures 11x14.

If you sign up for my newsletter, I have more images like this, with before and after shots, that I’ll be including. I also have a couple of art pieces from the a gallery showing that I decided to not show, so I will be giving everyone a sneak peek at those in my newsletter. Don’t forget, you still have till Friday to win a free print of your choice if you haven’t already entered.

Oh, and if there’s one way to embarrass your 6th grade son, it’s to draw on his lunch bag.

My son's exact words were, "Do I HAVE to bring my lunch today?"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are Writers Crazy?

By crazy I mean, do writers think on a whole different level than non-writers? I think absolutely! Who doesn’t evesdrop on conversations thinking it would make great material for their next book? Maybe a friend comes to you with a problem and instead of offering advice or a solution, you think about how you could use that in your book too. I think our minds are wired differently. We see things from a different perspective and sometimes it’s only other writers who can truly appreciate this.

An example. Last night me and the hubs went through the drive thru. The car in front of us, at the ordering menu opened up his car door. Without thinking and just observing, what is your immediate thought?

Me: Oh look, that guys is gonna rip off the menu or something.

Hubs: What are you talking about?

Me: I don’t know. He’s suspiciously doing something. Just wait for it.

Meanwhile, my mind is running through all these possible scenarios, some unrealistic, but I’m totally watching this guy with his car door wide open. I’m waiting for him to pounce. To do SOMETHING. Because I know there must be a movtive. Why else would he be doing this?

Hubs: Yeah, wait for it. He’s ordering.

Me: Ordering? What do you mean? Just watch. Something is about to happen. I KNOW it.

Hubs: The only thing that’s happening is he’s ordering his food.

Me: Ya, right. With his car door wide open?

Hubs: (rolls eyes) His window is broke. It doesn’t roll down.

Me: Oh.

But in my mind, I had a whole story figured out for this guy. And the fast food menu. And maybe he had vengeance for one of the workers inside. But the boring reality of it was he was hungry, his window was broke.

Imagine the kind of world we would live in if everyone had boring brains? We need writers with overactive imaginations and dramatic thinking skills. So tell me, who’s with me? Who’s crazy too?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Writing Distractions

I’ll be the first to admit, I have bad writing habits. I’m distracted easily. It’s called the internet and cell phone.

Even if I’m on a deadline, it happens. And it usually happens like this:

1. I go to my writing place and set up
2. Fire up my laptop and open word doc
3. Write a few sentences…
4. Hey, I got an email!
5. Check email.
6. Check Facebook.
7. Check Twitter.
8. Starting writing in doc again
9. Oops, my phone went off. Got a text. I MUST check.
10. Yay! Another email.

So of course I’m going to give a suggestion-Turn off your distractions! If you’re like me and the internet is just too tempting, then go to a café that doesn’t have wi-fi so you’re forced to write. And leave your phone at home. Or on silent.

But if you’re also like me, you might need to do a little bit of research on the internet, or ask your online writer friends for some pointers. And that phone-what if you HAVE to make an emergency call? My phone is a double threat because I automatically get emails too, so what if I get a super important "must read now" email from my agent or editor? Not like that’s ever happened, but just sayin’.

Maybe I’m better at making excuses than getting rid of distractions. But I still make my deadlines on time and I work well under pressure, minus all the stressing and freaking out.

Well,  maybe I should start to work on some of these habits. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just got an email….

Monday, July 26, 2010

Too Serious & Honest for a Monday

Today I'm super excited to be on Alice Pope's SCBWI Blog, where I talk about the Mixed-Up Files..of Middle Grade Authors. You can check out the interview HERE!

If you don't already know about this site, From the Mixed-Up Files...of Middle Grade Authors, you should really check it out. Not just because I'm a member of the site (even though that's a BIG reason!) but because it features so much awesomness for anyone who's interested in MG, whether you're a reader, author, or a professional. And did I mention, there's LOTS of givewaways? 

As a member, we have rotating topics today was my first. So that should be another huge reason why you should visit this site out right this very second! Confession-I was super nervous about this first post. If you read it, leave a comment letting me know what you think. Honestly! My post is titled SERIOUS ABOUT SERIES, any guesses as to what it's about? No? Okay, I'll give you some clues. I have some terrific MG authors--Sammie Barry and Trudy Trueit-who answer some questions about writing series, and quotes from wonderful readers too!

Coming this Friday, to a blog near you...

I will be a guest blogger on Matthew Rush's blog, where I will be posting my query letter and he will give his feedback on it. AND since the subject matter will be so appropriate, I will be holding a query critique contest here on my blog.

Friday is also the concluding day for two more contests. My art giveaway--if you haven't already entered (and why haven't you?), and the Candyland Contest for Charity-seriously, this I haven't come across a more deserving contest than this.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Painfully Obvious

Okay, this is something i've never been able to quite wrap my head around. You know those warning labels that are attached to just about everything? Have you ever paid real close attention to what they say? Some Most are so painfully obvious and you really have to wonder what "inspired" these.  

Sorry, but I HAD to add my own thoughts to the end of these! Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts as well!

*If you are one of these "Inspirations" I so want to meet you!!

1. Under arm deodorant: Caution, do not spray in eyes    Is the nose okay? and really, who uses spray   anymore?

2. Curling iron: For External Use Only    I won’t even go there.

3. Frisbee: Warning. May contain small parts.    Um, where?

4. Silly Putty: Do not use as earplugs     Huh? Did you say something?

5. Hammer: Misuse may lead to property damage and bodily injury     Don’t give me any ideas during my deadline.

6. Children’s Cough Medicine: Do not drive or operate machinery.   My two year old will be so disappointed.

7. Nytol (Sleep Aid): Warning, may cause drowsiness.    But I can operate machinery, right?

8. String of Christmas lights: For indoor or outdoor use only.   Can I chose neither?

9. Package of peanuts: Warning: Contains Nuts.     Glad I checked before I bought.

10. Label on baby stroller: Remove child before folding.     Oh yeah, that’s where I left him.

11. Scooter (kids): This product moves when used.      Refund. I wanted the stationary one.

12 Label on hairdryer: Do not use while sleeping.     Ever heard of beauty sleep?

13.Printer ink cartridge: do not eat toner     There goes my diet and hopes of becoming fit and toned! Eww, I know so cheesy! We can forget I said that.

14. Bottle of drain cleaner: Warning: If you do not understand, or cannot read, all directions, cautions and warnings, do not use this product.      Does this label came in Braille?

15. TV remote control: Not dishwasher safe.     What about the washing machine?

16. Iron: Do not iron clothes on body.     Why not?

17. Foaming face wash: May contain foam      And if it doesn't?

18. Windex: Do not spray in eyes.     Safe to spray in the mouth though.

19. Toilet brush: Do not use for personal hygiene.    Unless you're homeless.

20. Digital themometer:Once used rectally, the thermometer should not be used orally    Yum!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Life After Published

Okay, so i'm not published yet. I will be as of 01-11-11. But i've gone through the publishing process with my first book and now i've started the process with  my second book (actually, i'm writing the second book and then the whole process will start again).  But I've always wondered how life changes after you're published. Looking back, I realize my life started changing after I signed with my agent. But even more so, I notice differences now.

1. I'm an email-aholic. Seriously. You think it's bad when you check your email every five seconds after sending out queries? It only gets worse. I fed into my addiction by getting an iPhone which immediately alerts me to emails. I'm totally joined at the hip with that thing.

2. I'm online all the time now. Most recently i've been focusing much more on my blog and web presence. Realizing you have a book coming out makes you understand the importance of having your name out there, and your book.

3. I'm a hermit. Any socializing I do is usually online. I don't like being around people much unless I have to. I love going to Panera or coffee shops to write, but again, not socializing. It's like i'm stuck in my own world and i'm writing. Twittering, blogging, okay. Just leave me in my cave. This is usally only when I have a deadline though. After deadlines i'm back to my normal outgoing, social self, screaming at strangers in dark parking lots and talking non-stop at art shows to the point of loosing my voice.

4. I think, dream, and eat writing. It totally consumes me. More than ever. If I'm not working on a deadline, i'm thinking of something new to write. I was passionate before, but now it's much more than ever. It's hard to put into words.

5. Never have I wanted to quit my full time day job as much. Sure we all have moments where we don't want to work (if you have a non-writing day job) but since I know i'm having my books published, it gives me that motivation so all I want to do is write all day long. When I'm at work I'll look forward to leaving just so I can write.

6. Less time with friends and family. This part is tough. I have to put aside special time to spend with my husband and boys. He usually watches the boys so I can write. Without him, there would be no writing time. My sons have learned to say "mommy is writing again." which is heartbreaking but also makes me want to work that much harder towards my deadline. It's also hard to turn down invites from my friends. It's always the same excuse, "sorry, I have to finish my book." I feel like a flake and it seems like they don't always get it. I think it is harder to understand when you're not a writer.

7. Groups of friends seem to change when you're status changes. When you're a beginner, you usually stick with that crowd. Same as when you're agented, published, etc. It seems as I move along the road to publication, I meet more incredible people along the way. I think it's so important to share what you know with writers just starting out because we were just there ourselves.

I think one of the biggest changes in myself along this journey has been the confidence that i've gained in myself and my writing. Of course you couldn't tell that by yesterdays post about my writers dream turned nightmare! But I think it's normal to still have anxiety and self-doubt at times.  

I can't wait to see what changes await me once my book is finally published. I know i'll be faced with a whole new set of challenges and I'm excited to see where that takes me. I will never forget how much hard work it took to get to this point and I'm grateful every single day for all the wonderful things that have come my way to make this dream come true.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Writers Nightmare

I had a dream. The happy kind of dream where I had my ARC’s and I got to see my actual book for the first time. At first glance, the bright pink and black colors popped out at me, so it seemed to be my book. But when I held it closer, the cover was made of stretchy nylon, and most of the image was missing. I remember thinking, “my book is supposed to be hardcover. And it looks nothing like the way it should.”

The back cover was blank. Just a solid color. I started to “slightly” freak out. I opened the first page and it gave a description of the book. But it wasn’t mine. It described something so completely different (which of course I can’t remember now) but it made me frantically flip through the pages. And there I found random stories from other books thrown together. Every story but mine. So I went around snagging my ARC’s out of everyone’s hands …then my alarm went off.

So I wonder how it would’ve ended if my alarm didn’t interupt this….dream? It started off so happy and ended up a writers nightmare. It’s almost like those dreams you have when you’re starting the first day of school (or work) and you show up without clothes, or you’re expecting a baby and dream that you forget your baby in the mall (sorry, Alex!).

So any dream interpreters want to make a guess on what my book dream could mean?  Do all writers have nightmares about their books or is it just me?

I also dreamt that an octopus ate my husband.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hair Pulling, Eyeball Poking & Guts

My deadline for RUMORS is August 1st, so this is how I spent the last five days:

Day 1- rewrote the first 10 pages
Day 2-rewrote the first 10 pages again
Day 3-still didn't like the beginning, rewrote
Day 4-thought beginning might work, revised more
Day 5- revised a bit more, perfect!

From Day 1 to Day 5, I accomplished absolutely. Nothing.

For each rewrite, I would open up a new word doc and start over. I had several several new docs that I opened and by day 5 I was reading through all of them, out of order, and decided hands down that the best beginning for the book was--the very first one I had!  I spent all that time revising and rewriting just to end up with the exact same beginning.

Aside from nearly pulling my hair out and poking my eyeballs with my flashdrive, I realized it wasn't ALL for nothing. I mean, I did learn the reason why deadlines are called DEADlines now. Kidding. Deadlines aren't bad at all. For me, it's still a learning experience of putting the date out of my mind and having fun with the writing, or else I stress too much and all creativity stops.

But I did learn that I shouldn't second guess my writing like I did with the beginning of my book here (and now that I think back to it, I've done the same thing with others and end up with nearly the same outcome). Sometimes its best to go with your first gut instinct, whether it's with writing or certain life choices.

Like, my gut tells me I don't need that piece of chocolate cake even though I really want it. Sigh.

BUT, your gut is telling you that you totally need to sign up for my newsletter (in the left column) or enter my art giveway details here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gossip, Rumors, & Super Secret Spies

Gossip and Rumors go together. Kind of like a cell phone and texting. Or pickles and ice cream.

I think no matter how old you are, you tend to do a little of both, even if you try to stay away from it. But sometimes it's more fun to be on the receiving end (that's how I get inspiration sometimes!)

Okay, so come clean. What's the worst/most interesting thing you've overheard? Maybe you "accidentally" overheard like my character Sofia in Gosisp from the Girls room, or you sent in a super secret spy to do the dirty work for you. Maybe you're cubicle walls are too thin or people just talk overly loud around your way too sensitive ears. Whatever the reason, I'm sure you've heard ome good stuff. Just don't list any names. Everyone here is called Bob so if you need to refer to a person, it's Bob.

So here's your chance to 'fess up and have that heavy weight lifted from your shoulders. And bonus points for creativity!

Here, I'll start. I heard Bob in the girls room on her cellphone (who talks on their phone while in the stall in a public restroom???)  talking about fighting someone at a club because they looked at her the wrong way. When Bob came out of the stall, I made sure not to make any eye contact with her. At all.

Your turn!

*Don't forget-you enter my art giveaway until August 1st! Details here!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Art Giveaway!

Here's the deal: Anyone who signs up for my newsletter this month until August 1st will be entered to win a free signed art print of their choice.

You can view the art here and here.

To sign up for my Blogtastic! Newsletter, simply click on the enthusiastic girl in the left column. If you want other reasons why you should sign up, you can view those reasons here!

Sign up for Newsletter (+5)
For extra entries:
Post on blog (+2)
FaceBook (+1)
Twitter (+1)

You must post a comment with the link(s)

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Blogtastic! Newsletter: Just do it!

Aside from the awesomeness that is known as my blog, this Blogtastic! Newsletter will ooze awesomness. Such as:

1. Super cool contests (different from the ones I’ll have on my blog)
2. First look at new art pieces and a chance to win the very first print. Ever.
3. Get a copy of my ARC’s before anyone else has a chance.
4. A super secret comic-like graphic featuring Sofia from Gossip From the Girls Room, which will not be   featured anywhere else. At all.
5. Other super secret stuff like glimpses into new works, new story ideas, and my next project.
6. Behind the scenes info—including photos. Oooh. Ahhhh.
7. And other stuff that is so super secret I can’t even mention it here.

Still need convincing? My newsletters are actually healthy for you! See for yourself:

1. Laughing 15 minutes a day could help you lose weight. No joke!
2. Laughter is contagious (and the one thing you actually want to catch).
3. Laughter may reduce your risk of heart disease (this is totally serious stuff!)
4. Nobody has ever died laughing. Have they?
5. Smiling reduces tension, improves your immune system, and makes you look pretty. And even if you’re a guy, we all you know still like to look pretty.

Well, just reading all this makes me want to sign up for my own newsletter. Which would be kind of strange to get emails from myself. But it would still make me all excited to know I just got the uber coolest newsletter. Ever.

I won’t force you to sign up, but it’s the right thing to do. Just sayin’.

**To sign up, just go to the left column and click on the picture of Sofia (just like the one in this post). Once you enter your email and "subscribe" you will get a confirmation email that you must confirm to actually and offically be signed up. And that's it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Personal Poltergeist

I have a poltergeist. And it lives in my laptop. Lets just call him Mac for now. Yesterday Mac made it pretty clear that I should NOT be working on my book. And then I made it pretty clear that I wanted to throw my laptop through the window. Except I would have to buy a new one and, well, that costs money.

So the first thing that Mac did to frustrate me was this. I’m happily typing away, thinking I’m actually getting a lot done and the moment I stop typing, POOF! My entire ms is completely reformated. How? It wasn’t me. I did not touch a single button and this happened right in front of my eyes . In about five seconds flat. And by reformating, I mean it shifted everything so far over to the right side of the page that my word doc now hows 20 extra pages. I try to click the “undo” button but it. Doesn’t. Work. So I try the next easy solution, just shift everything back over. Nope. All the sentences run into each other when I try, the paragraphs will not indent no matter what I do (I can’t use the space bar, tab, not even backspace).


So I reboot my computer.

And it freezes.

Mac so doesn’t want me to even write. So I decide I’ll just handwrite the rest of my story in my sketchbook like I do sometimes. But guess what? My sketchbook isn’t in my bag. It’s always in my bag! So I’m still waiting for my laptop to reboot. And no sketchbook. So I HAVE to do something while I wait. So I take my iPhone out which has internet connection since I’m in a wi-fi café, but everytime I go into the app for twitter or facebook, it kicks me out. It’s not the internet that’s doing it, it’s the app. Which has never happened to me before. EVER. So I turn my off to reset.

Waiting for computer to restart.

No sketchbook.

Waiting for iPhone to restart.

Tapping fingers on the table.

I really despise my poltergeist. He’s not spooky and hair-raising but more like frustrating and hair-pulling. And loves all things technology. I never did get my laptop to work properly. It will most likely take me an hour or two to reformat my entire ms, and my iPhone only started working correctly this morning. And I’m on a deadline. August 1st.

Does anyone have any poltergeist friends that can keep mine busy until at least after my deadline?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Operation Joy 2 the World: Contest for Ghana Charity

Today I have a guest blogger and she's a real person, not a cartoon-Yay! Candyland (aka Candace Ganger) is a YA author whose debut novel, 9:59 Rewind has yet to find an official home. She's just finished writing a YA Novel Writing for Beginner's course for KSURF online (that she'll also be teaching) and is in a constant state of Mommy brain, being a stay-at-home-mother of one very tenacious three-year-old princess. Today she's here to tell us about a fabulous contest she's running, with all proceeds going towards a very worthy charity.

So without further ado, here is Candyland explaining this terrific contest:

Today through July 31st, I'm running the "I Heart Joy Like BR80" contest on my blog, The Misadventures In Candyland. Inspired by New Medicine bassist, Matt Brady (hence the BR80), and his HUGE heart via his work with the non-profit Joy 2 the World, my goal is to raise as much money and awareness.

Joy 2 the World generates micro-loans for the women and girls of Ghana, West Africa to help empower them. It's a huge thing to be able to make something of yourself and take care of your family. And for them, having clean water is even an issue-something a lot of us take for granted.

With my contest, everyone wins and there's FOUR ways to enter: Donate, Create, Buy or Listen. For all the details, on what that means, please go to my blog!

The prizes so far are AMAZING. Aside from Rose's generous donation, Michelle Wolfson, Sean Ferrell, T.H. Mafi and Tawna Fenske just a few of the names contributing. I'll continue to add prizes as they come in, and the more you enter, the more you can win. From gift cards to books to critiques and even a conference call so far.

So please enter! Spread the word! And help make history! If you choose the BUY or the LISTEN options of entering, you don't come out empty handed, and the difference you'll be making in these women's lives is priceless.

Candace Ganger

Monday, July 12, 2010

The query that got me published

The first step to nabbing an agent is a query letter. You could have the best manuscript in the world, but if it's not presented right, it won't catch the interest of an agent and you're not any closer to your goal. There are so many sites out there that give you the Do's and Don'ts and How-To's of writing the perfect query letter. And if you read most of those sites, you're bound to get conflicting information and end up even more confused. Sure, there are some general guidelines you should follow such as:

1. A query should be one page or less
2. You should address the agent by name and make sure the name is spelled CORRECTLY
3. Include the title of your book in the beginning of your query
4. Don't go out of your way to try to make your query stand out (pink paper, glitter, small font, fancy font, perfumed paper, etc.).

That's pretty much just common sense, but i've heard of a lot of people making those first time mistakes. Actually, I made one of those mistakes. Kind of. I used to address the agent by Mr. Or Ms. (which I stopped doing because of this) and the agent had a gender nuetral name. At the time, even though I had done my research, it seemed that no one knew if this particular agent was male or female. So you would think that I would've used my brain and addressed the agent by first and last name. NOPE. Instead, I picked one (Mr. or Ms.) and hoped it was correct. And it wasn't. And it was an embarrassing mistake. But we all learn from our mistakes, right?

Anyways, everybody has a different style of writing, a different voice. So of course you can't expect everyone's query to be the same. The formats should be similar, but you have to adjust it according to your needs as well. Say you meet an editor at a conference and you're invited to query them. Obviously your opening line in your query will be just that--reminding them of their open invitation and how grateful you are for the opportunity.

For some reason, I LOVED queries. I could write them all day. And I had about a 90% success rate. So really, my problems were never with my queries! But my favorite query of all is the one that got me my terrific agent and later got me published. I didn't realize that my query is the description of my book that editors would be reading. So I thought it would be fun to share with you my query letter for Gossip from the Girls Room, which at that time was called Bathroom Blog.

Dear Rosemary Stimola,

I am seeking representation for my middle grade novel, BATHROOM BLOG.

What is said in the Girls Room stays in the Girls Room. Until now. The unspoken law about bathroom gossip has been broken, by none other than 6th grader Sofia Becker. She can’t help but overhear (very carefully) the best kept secret in all of Middlebrook Middle School. And it’s so interesting that she can’t help but blog about it. The gossip gets better as Sofia begins staking out the girls room by spending embarrassing amounts of time in the stall.

Sofia first uses her pre-blogging notebook to jot down all the juiciness so she won’t forget any single important detail. Even if some of it gets mixed up or embellished a little before it hits the computer screen. After all, that just makes it more interesting, right? What Sophia doesn’t anticipate is what to do when she hears gossip about herself. Or her best friend. Or if her notebook falls into the wrong hands.

In BATHROOM BLOG, Sophia’s pre-blogging notebook features all the gossipy details along with humorous sketches and drawings from her point of view. She includes notes to herself, since she her brain goes numb when it comes to the super important things, her helpful lists and ranks of classmates, and not to mention the mixed up info she actually puts on her blog. Sofia may take things a bit far, but that doesn’t mean she’ll always learn her lesson. Hmmm, I wonder what’s being said in the Boys Room…

I am a freelance writer and artist with children’s stories that have appeared in Dragonfly Spirit, Whittle Tykes, and Wee Ones. I am published online and in print papers and magazines including Foolish Times, OnTopic Magazine, Cynic Mag, and Sacramento Book Review. I’m an online humor columnist with The NetWits and a previous editor of BellaOnline.

BATHROOM BLOG is geared toward the audience of Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and Dear Dumb Diary series. The sketches are similar to those books in the way that they are very simple, neat and clean. And it portrays the fantastic artistic talent of Sofia Becker.

May I send you sample chapters and/or accompanying artwork possibilities for consideration?

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.


Rose Cooper
(deleted my contact info)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

New Blog/Site Design!

I wanted to combine my blog and website and found the fabulous designer, Crissy who did just that for me, and she managed to make it look super fantastic (it matches my book exactly!) Crissy was really efficient and quick (her prices are so affordable!) and I loved how she communicated with me so well during the process to make sure I liked everything or wanted changes. I will definitely be going to her for any future services and would highly recommend her to any writer/author looking for a design change or new site. Thanks so much Crissy, you're the best!

You can visit Crissy here!

Friday, July 9, 2010

How do you say Gossip in Chinese?

That's right! Not only did we get a deal for Spain, but now GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS ROOM will be translated then published over in China! How cool is that? The timeframe is a little longer for publication there, but I don't mind that :)

Here's the official announcement in PM:

Complex Chinese rights for Rose Cooper's GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS' ROOM, to Dee Ten, by Franca Bernatavicius at Intercontinental Literary Agency, on behalf of Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Name Game

Some people might say naming their baby is a difficult decision. Or even their car (raise your hand if you know people like this). But for writers, naming their book and characters can be just a difficult.

Lets start with titles. About 90% of the time I’m backwards with this. I FIRST come up with a title, then I figure out what the story will be about. This has worked great for me. It worked this way with GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS ROOM, when inspiration struck and I came up with the title from back then called Bathroom Blog. For other books in this series, I thought about which titles sounded good, worked them into the storyline of the previous book, and again, RUMORS FROM THE BOYS ROOM was born , as other titles, which I won’t bore you with those right now.

But then just recently I came up with a couple of story ideas WITHOUT a title (gasp!). Really, I don’t know what’s happening to me. And I felt stuck. I wrote down the concepts and then I lost a few nights of sleep because it didn’t have a title. And we all know titles can very easily be changed by your editor, and even after that. But we all like to have working titles, something we can identify the story with. Imagine if we all went around saying “I’m working on story #15 today, but i'm thinking tomorrow I’ll finish revisions on story #4.” Nobody would have any idea what anyone was talking about it, and lets face it, we would be so bored we wouldn't even care. And I don’t know about you, but I need a good working title. I can’t work on a story if I have to keep calling it by a name that is awkward or that I really hate.

Sometimes, I just have to wait it out. If I think too hard, it never pans out. For instance, I grounded my son the other day and it flooded my head with all sorts of title ideas! Thanks, Chris! Here are a other ways that help my mental block, since I sometimes get stuck on one specific theme:

1.  Asking a writer friend or critique group. Usually they can come up with a new direction of ideas and that will give you a whole new perspective to look at.

2.  Pick one or two words from your story. Is it about Zombies? And Midgets? There’s your working title! Maybe it’s about a girl who runs away to join a family of ghosts. You can’t call it GHOST GIRL since that’s already a book, so what about RUNAWAY GHOST? We don’t know enough about the story yet to determine if she is a ghost or considered one, that’s why its called a “working title.”

3. And lastly, you can always resort to using your characters name as the title. Worked for Harry Potter and Judy Moody!

Character names. These are way more simple, IMO. When I think of my character, a name usually just comes right to me. Every once in awhile I might need a little help. And if that's the case, then tihs is what I usually do:

1.  Keep a list.  I always write down words that I hear or see that might make a good name for future stories. So when I get stuck I look at my list and see if any of those names will fit my characters personality. I particularly like uncommon type names (not every time) but most of the time. That way the character will be more unforgettable.

2.  Name them after what you know. I have characters named after streets, cities, words I’ve made up, and my favorite-nicknames I create based on their character traits.

3.  If I need more of usual name but not a totally common one, I will go to the baby name  website and look up names there. And I love using first names for last names as well. Oh, and the name should always roll of the tongue easily. If it’s a tongue twister to say it aloud, it will probably be the same when someone is reading it and they will just skim the name instead of really wanting to get to know the character.

So, that’s my thoughts! How do you come up with titles and character names?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Magical Night with a Bit of Fright

4th of July was awesome! I actually didn't write for the entire day and spent it with family. In the early morning Hubby and I gathered up the boys since we were all going to be in a parade. My oldest son, Christian is a Boy Scout and theme for this year was Scouts & Family and the Scouts were celebrating 100 years.

Chris in his Scout Uniform

So we had to dress in patriotic colors and we carried little flags while pulling our youngest boys (ages 5 and 2) in a wagon. It was a lot of fun, even though it felt like 1,000 degrees outside. We walked for 1.7 miles, with the Fire Truck leading the way, who then got a call and sped away.

Yes, my 12yo is almost as tall as me. And yes, I do wear a type of flower in my hair on a daily basis just like one of my characters in GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS ROOM!

My little Sammy, 2yo.

My 5yo Alexander, either squinting against the sun or blinking. Either way, he has amazing blue eyes :)

Also in the parade were the old vintage cars--So cool! Dance groups, Karate groups, and so many cute dogs! They were encouraging people to adopt a pet and they dressed them up.

Hard to see, but there's a dog in the passenger seat. Better than the drivers seat, right?

Yes, he is a convict.

After that, being the old person I am (I won't say my age but i'm over 31 and under 33) I had to take a nap. Seriously, I don't have energy like I used to. Later we had a BBQ with fam and friends, then we went to see a fireworks show, which was so great! The only downside was this:

We laid the blanket out on the grass. The sun just went down. The darkness covered us like a blanket. A certain chill of excitment ran through us as we looked up, waiting for sparks and glitter to magically light up the nighttime sky. My 2yr old sitting in my lap, grasping tightly onto my hands saying "now mama, now mama.” It warms my heart as it takes me back to the days when I was kid, that now I get to share the same traditions with my kids. I couldn’t smile any bigger or be any happier, until…


Something smacked me in the head. Hard. I scream, as usual. Not good to do this around kids though. So I try to play it off like I was laughing, which worked unitl I look up and see these…these…bugs? There’s not much light but I definitely see wings and I see these things zooming at my head, diving bombing me. Yes, my biggest fear ever is moths, but it has progressed to anything ANYTHING with wings. When people say “when pigs fly,” I shiver at the very thought. So I’m dodging these hard hitting bugs with my eyes closed (is this possible?) and one of my friends say “eww, they’re in my hair.” What kind of bugs are these? They say they’re June Bugs. WTH is a June Bug?? My mom screams “They’re nighttime bees!” Yes, her major fear since she was a child is…you guessed it, bees. So she’s freaking out. Has anyone ever heard of nighttime bee?!

So we endured this frightening end of the night until the firework show started, and that seemed to scare off the bugs. Well, most of them. I did hear my mom say “OW!” during the show and when I asked what happened she said “one of those bugs hit me in the eye. It felt like a rock.” So I scooted away from her, just a little and looked in the opposite direction to watch the magical show with my boys.

Intermission Post: Embarrassment

Okay, while I'm digging up pictures for my next post, this will be a brief intermission post. And what kind of thing could I briefly pull out of my hat and share? Yes, another embarrassing moment. I think i'm a sucker for punishment. Or maybe sympathy? Or maybe I just have so many of these moments that it's like a form of therapy.

Let me set the scene for you.

It's 11:30pm. I'm in a parking lot. It's dark outside. (aren't you glad I don't write books the way I blog?)

Hubby and I just left Safeway and we're heading back to the car. We're talking about something and just as we get to our car, another car pulls up next to us us and parks.

Me, I'm just blabbing away about nothing, not even paying attention to the fact that a car parked beside us. Or the fact that the car is the exactly the same as ours- a black Prius. The other car turns off the engine. The driver opens the door, gets out, and says to us....

"Hey, we have the same...."

She never completes her sentence, but I think she was going to mention that we were cool for having the same car.

The reason she never completed her sentence is because the moment she opened her mouth to talk, I freaked out, spun on my heels, looked directly at this young blonde girl, open my mouth, and screamed at the top. of. my. lungs.

I will never forget the look on that poor girls face. Her eyes were so wide from fright, her mouth made the "O" shape and she took off so fast, running towards the store, her one hope for safety, away from the crazy screaming girl with the matching Prius.

My husband laughed so hard. All the way home. I kept asking him, did I really scream that loud (my ears were ringing still). He told me my scream echoed through the entire parking lot and half way across town. He said if I ever tried out for a the part of a screaming girl in a horror movie, that I would get booked without a doubt.

Moral of this story: be careful who you approach at night in dark parking lots. Even if they do have the same car as you. And look sweet and innocent. And have fabulous hair. And terrific fashion sense. Because they might be a screamer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How do you say GOSSIP in Spanish?

Okay, so this news is a bit old and dates waaaay back to June 23rd, 2010. But the point to having a blog, besides meeting and sharing wonderful things with all you wonderful people, is to keep track of dates and all the cool things that happen. Um, and the lame and embarrassing things i'd rather forget but whatever.

So seven days ago this deal was announced in PM (Publishers Marketplace for non-writers out there):

Children's: Middle grade
Spanish rights to Rose Cooper's GOSSIP FROM THE GIRLS' ROOM, to Santillana, by Franca Bernatavicius at Intercontinental Literary Agency, on behalf of Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio.

*Happy Dance* So April 2011, which is only three months after my book is released here, it will be translated to spanish and published in Spain. So exciting! Since I'm still going through all the steps of publication for the first time, i'm learning a lot along the way. And what I learned here is that your book doesn't have to be published first to get foreign rights. Which is something I had always thought. And as always, I love my agent. She continues to surprise me and keep me on my toes.

So, it's no longer a secreto (well, as of seven days ago). Isn't that fab? Si, Si!