Writing

New Writing Barn class: Rethinking Your Nonfiction Picture Book: A Revision Workshop

Rethinking Your Nonfiction Picture Book: A Revision Workshop at the Writing Barn

I had such a blast teaching nonfiction picture book structures at The Writing Barn. Now I’ve created an entire six-week course focused on rethinking your nonfiction picture book from voice and hook to structure, illustration potential, and page turns. Learn more and register here. I hope you’ll join me.

#MentorTextMoment, Books, Writing

YouTube/IG TV Book Reviews

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Me, wearing my fancy t-shirt and ready to record a book review!

I read as many new nonfiction/STEM books as I possibly can, thanks to the library. And I miss reviewing them. But I don’t have the time to craft lengthy blog posts or create lots of pretty Instagram graphics. So, I’m trying something new.

Whenever I get a new library stack, I will:

  1. Read the books.
  2. Change out of my gym clothes, fix my hair, and MAYBE put on a little lip gloss.
  3. Record some 2-minute video book reviews in a single take.
  4. I’ll post the videos to YouTube as well as my IGTV channel. I’ll also share the links on my Facebook page.

Want to make sure you don’t miss a post? Subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me on Instagram. I can’t guarantee I’ll always update the blog with new videos.

So, here’s an initial batch of reviews:

Enjoy! And if you have 2020 NF/STEM book recommendations, let me know.

Books, News, Writing

A WONDER-ful New Book Deal

Wonder Girls Mar 1981Despite my serious look in the above photo, I adored playing Wonder Woman as a little girl with my sister Stephanie (left). I mean, just look at our ultra-hip Underoos plus homemade tiaras, bracelets, and lassos. We meant business.

When I read historian Jill Lepore’s SECRET HISTORY WONDER WOMAN a couple of years ago, I was intrigued to learn the origin story of my favorite childhood superhero. First, Wonder Woman was developed as an antidote to parental and teacher complaints about comic books (something we still hear today). For a time, Joye Hummel, a woman!, co-wrote scripts with Wonder Woman’s creator (and I got to speak with her on the phone).  Plus the character was a powerful influence on Gloria Steinem and appeared on the cover of Ms. Magazine. And there’s so much more!

Though I typically write biographies of people, I knew I could write a biography of a superhero and the evolution of what she’s meant to people over eight decades.

I am so delighted my editor, Jennifer Greene (a true fan!), has paired me with illustrator Katy Wu, who will be illustrating in comic book style. Stay tuned for more early next year.

(And shout out to my mom for this awesome photo circa 1981, which will appear in my author’s note.)

Here’s the book announcement:

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Writing

Sub It Club Blog: Competitive Analysis

Today on the Sub It Club blog, I talk about how to analyze your competition as part of your Nonfiction Book Proposal. However, even if you write fiction, this post provides helpful tips about how to find titles that compete with your book and ways to analyze them.

I hope you’ll check it out!

Arts/Crafts, Books, Cultivating curiosity, Writing

The Anti-Resolution Revolution

This year I participated in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas for Writers. As part of the process, Julie challenged us to reflect on our 2016 successes so we could build on them for 2017. This is a more positive path than creating New Year’s resolutions, which are often built on negativity and efforts to fix things that went “wrong” in 2016.

I enjoyed the time spent combing through my 2016 journals and reviewing all I was able to accomplish. Julie challenged us to share our lists, so here is mine in no particular order:

  • Signing with my wonderful agent, Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary. I couldn’t ask for a bigger cheerleader, better brainstorming partner, or tougher editor.
  • Having Lara submit my first picture book to publishers. Though it hasn’t sold yet, we have been close a couple of times, and many editors offered encouraging words about my work.
  • Finally holding nine of my books written in 2015 in my hands. They include the six-book Protecting Our People series (Amicus), my first book with Capstone (Special Ops), and my two latest from Rourke.
  • Receiving a good review from School Library Journal on the Protecting Our People series.
  • Writing six new books for the school and library market, including four for Amicus, one for Capstone, and one for Rourke.
  • Researching and/or drafting five new picture books.
  • Revising four existing picture books.
  • Finishing a young adult novel I started as part of 2015’s NaNoWriMo and partially revising it.
  • Reaching thousands of young readers and writers during visits to seven schools and one public library.
  • Taking two courses that stretched my writing: Novel Writing through UC San Diego and Renee La Tulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab.
  • Reading many books on writing and creativity, including Big Magic, Creativity Inc., Story Genius, The Originals, Year of Yes, Writing Poetry from the Inside Out, On Writing, In the Palm of Your Hand, The Artist’s Way.

Putting together this list has me excited to start work in 2017. What did you accomplish in 2016?