Monday, August 29, 2011

Author Interview: Sidney Gale (Unto the Breach) - MG Fiction

I was lucky enough to get the author of the middle grade novel, Unto the Breach, to answer a few questions for me regarding his book and the writing process.  Weeks ago I posted a review of the exciting, adventurous book.  If you haven't read it, make sure that you do!  The action of the novel takes place in the Great Lakes on a sailboat known as a Shark.  With terrific characters and endless suspense, this is definitely a book for young teens and tweens.

1.  Most aspiring writers or fans of fiction are curious how stories come to be.  Explain your writing process.  What is the easiest and most difficult part of writing for you?

It may sound kind of hokey, but I loved writing Unto The Breach. I guess what helped make it so fun was that it was a hobby for me so there was never any pressure; no deadlines, no one looking over my shoulder, ... (Heck, if it wasn’t fun I don’t think I would have done it – or I would have abandoned it soon after starting.)
Writing a novel was so very different from writing my non-fiction books. Being fiction, I could control the story. It made me feel like I was operating marionettes…if I wanted a character to do something, they did it. If I wanted a character to say something, well, then they did. Kind of a weird experience after writing non-fiction books where everything is about facts. The one thing I kept reminding myself as I wrote the novel was to always be true to the characters I had created;…I would constantly ask myself “would Rob (or Eric, or Anthony, or…) really say that? Would they really do that?”
The hardest part of writing the book was, when writing ‘rapid-fire’ dialogue, to make sure it was always clear to the reader which character was speaking without constantly writing in the name of the person.

2.  Considering that most of your work has been in non-fiction, what inspired you to write a young adult novel?

I guess I always had a dream of writing a novel. (I think very many people do.) So I thought ‘what the heck;’ why not try it? I also noticed that amongst teen boys there seemed to be a lot of ‘reluctant’ readers. I thought an adventure where kids could act as surgeons and save a life would attract their interest and, hopefully, make them less reluctant to read. But I didn’t want to write ‘just another adventure novel for kids’ of which there are so many. I wanted a book that would challenge kids, wouldn’t talk down to them. I kept thinking about a book that one of my son’s and I read together when he was in Grade 7; Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. This was a complex and lyrical novel yet my son, like so very many other boys (and girls) his age, loved it. It was an eye opener for me and made me realize that a book could have unfamiliar and challenging words and situations but still engage a youngster. So I didn’t hide from using vocabulary that wasn’t always going to be easy.  I hope I struck the right balance between flat out excitement and adventure, and having young readers challenged with some words they may not have seen before.

3.  The action of the book takes place on a sailboat.  How much research did you have to do about sailing?  How much was based on personal experience and knowledge?

I’ve been sailing for, egads, more than 40 years and the particular type of sailboat (a Shark) on which the action takes place is one I sailed for many years and in all manner of conditions so the sailing part didn’t require much research. As for the medical disaster the boys have to deal with, being a doctor certainly helped. But, of course, this is a work of fiction, so I did have some leeway.

4.  You have three very different characters in Anthony, Rob, and Eric.  Which character do you most identify with?  How?

Before I wrote this book I always wondered what authors meant when in interviews they’d say their novel’s characters were composites. But now I know exactly what they mean. As I created and developed Anthony, Rob, Eric, Mr. B and the others I realized that they started out, in my mind anyhow, as being very much based on a single individual, but as I wrote – and rewrote – and rewrote and rewrote - the story I realized that the characters differed dramatically from the way I had first envisioned them. I can think of at least three or four people I’ve known in my life that have ‘gone into’ each character in the book.
Who do I most identify with?  Gee, tough question. I’m not nearly as brave as any of the boys, that’s for sure. If anybody, I think  I’m most like Anthony’s dad.

5.  I love the ending of the book.  It is finished, but . . . unfinished.  There is much left to the reader to imagine.  How did you come about writing the ending?  Had you planned to end it that way all along? 

I am soooo relieved you loved the ending of the book! One of my very close friends told me she hated my book. I was devastated at first…until she then said she loved the first 225 pages; it was only the last page of the book that she hated! I had to smile. Gee if she liked over 99 percent of my book that’s not too shabby.
I decided to take a chance with the ending. I didn’t want the book to be an ‘open and shut’ story. I would like to think that I ‘set the stage’ so that the reader can project how things will, at least in their imagination, unfold. (The best work of fiction I have ever read in my life was also the shortest; Ernest Hemingway’s famous six word story: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”  Oh my, how brilliant is that?)

6.  What do you most want young people to learn from reading your book?

Gee, I hesitate to say that anyone will learn anything at all!  My main goal is to simply entertain people.
But, having said that, I must admit I would be thrilled if kids read the book and came away feeling that, like the boys in the book, they too could find it in them to rise to challenges that come their way. And I’d be equally thrilled if adults who read the book came away recognizing that kids are a heck of a lot more resourceful and insightful than many adults give them credit. Best of all, though, would be if young readers enjoyed my book enough that it gave them incentive to go out and find other books to read.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kids and Teens Can Get Published!

One of my goals this year as a teacher is to get my students’ work recognized and (fingers crossed!) published.  It is wonderful for students to share their work within the classroom, or within the school, or to their parents – but the experience of getting their work read by the community, country, or world is invaluable.

Through some research, I was able to find some websites accepting children’s writing and/or illustrations.  My students are in middle school, so I left off most of the sites geared towards high school students, but I did include some which accept work from 13 – 19 year-olds. 

I was astounded by the number of publication opportunities available and encourage every teacher and student to look into these sites and set some goals.  You CAN be published!

Teen Ink

TeenInk Channel (Youtube)

The Claremont Review
Annual Writing Contest – Spring Deadline

Skipping Stones

Stone Soup

Amazing Kids Magazine

Brick Rhetoric

Creative Kids Magazine

Frodo’s Notebook (13-19 years old and adult submissions)

Ink Pop (young adults 13 and older)

Kid-Cast (a safe place for kids to upload and share their podcasts)

Kids Spirit Online Magazine

Launch Pad

Liminal Journal (13-19 year olds)

The Louisville Review

Middle School Beat

My Hero Project

The Redwing’s Nest

Speak Up (13-19 year olds)

Teen Voices (for girls 13-19 years old)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

YA Review: Fact of Life #31

A Review:

This novel revolves around a unique girl who is trying to find her place in the world.  She wants a stronger relationship with her mother, but her mom spends more time helping others as a midwife, than she spends focusing on her children.  When Kat is faced with an enormous task – helping deliver the baby of one of her mother’s clients, she balks and her moment of weakness in front of her mother and the expectant family plagues her as proof that she isn’t good enough.

Kat is not what you might call “normal.”  In fact, most of the time, she feels as if she is invisible.  She walks the halls at school being pushed aside and ignored – even when she’s striking a yoga pose in an effort to “center” herself (she becomes known as the weird Yoga Girl).  But that doesn’t stop her from observing the world around her.  In fact, it is her insight and quirky behavior which makes her a memorable and likable protagonist.

She watches the popular crowd and makes assumptions about them, particularly the beautiful Libby and her boyfriend Mitch.  In her journal, she creates an out-of-sequence list which she calls the “Facts of Life,” creating a fact – or rule – to relate to her life experiences and her observations of this popular group.

Unexpectedly, her world changes when her crush of a lifetime starts to notice her and her sarcastic comments to the most popular guy in school begin to make him smile. With one she enters into a secret relationship and with the other she develops an unlikely friendship.  All the while, her mother is quickly developing a close relationship with the infamous Libby – a closeness that Kat has only dreamed of having with her mom.

Despite her envy of Libby, within Kat’s reach is everything she’s ever wanted: love, acceptance, and self-confidence.
But with it comes drama, heartbreak, and the inevitable question, who does she want to be at the end of the day?

Who is Kat Flynn?  And is she a person worth knowing if even her own mother prefers another girl over her?

In the journey of life, nothing is a definite.  One rule, fact, or stereotype cannot define every person, situation, or event.  The fact is, there are no rules in life. And as Kat learns, no one is ever exactly who he/she seems. Not her crush, not Libby, and not even her mother.

I thought this was a cute book, although the pregnancy facts and imagery threw me a bit at first.  Once I
got past it, I found the characters complex and the plot interesting.  With its theme of coming-of-age and complex
family dynamics, it is reminiscent of Sarah Dessen’s writing, which I have always loved.

Author's Website:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Review of The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Recommended!)

This science fiction novel is about a girl trying to rediscover what it means to be alive and come to terms with the accident that led to her year-long coma and the deaths of her former best friends.  Unfortunately, the answers she seeks aren’t ones that her parents want uncovered.  
This novel is full of mystery.  Author Mary E. Pearson gives us a glimpse of a future after rampant disease has killed millions due to the world’s built-up immunity to antibiotics.  This is a world in which an organization has been developed to keep researchers, scientists, and doctors in check, because it is believed that their unmonitored actions within the healthcare community caused this great plague.  If antibiotics hadn’t been handed out so recklessly, this super-virus would have never evolved. 

And unbeknownst to Jenna, her entire existence lies at the heart of the debate.  In fact, her survival after the accident is itself illegal, which is why when she wakes, she finds her parents have moved her to the other side of the country and bought a house under her grandmother’s name.
After some weeks spent recovering – remembering fractions of her old life, relearning commonly-used words, and recognizing and recreating facial expressions in an effort to understand emotions, Jenna demands to attend school.  Instead of enrolling her in the public school system, she finds herself in an alternative education setting with other misfits of society. 

Through her interactions with her new, out-casted peers, her friendship with an elderly neighbor, and her complex relationship with her grandmother, Jenna begins to piece together a puzzle, which threatens her moral integrity.  In the end, she is faced with a great decision – one far more complicated than simply life or death.  And it is this intrigue and suspense, which keeps a reader captivated throughout the entire book.
Pearson manages to meld moments of verse – Jenna’s internal battle – with prose to make a book that is not only fascinating and exciting, but also beautifully artistic in its delivery.

It is through her struggles to adapt to her new life, her determination to find answers, and courage in the face of great ethical choices that we learn to love, respect, and yes, adore Jenna Fox.  In fact, the question begs to be answered:  Can a person be loved too much?

Great read!!!!!  I read it in one sitting. ;)

Author's Website: 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why do we write?

I am pondering the question. ;)

This question has been brought up a number of times in the past few weeks. 

For example, today I told my husband about a writing mentorship I would like to enter with my work-in-progress novel.  Having just returned from a not-cheap, but wholly rewarding annual conference, the thought of investing more money into my writing stopped him short for a moment (understandably).  “Well, if it will help you get published . . .” he sighed.

“There’s no guarantee I will get published from it,” I chattered on, “but it would be such a wonderful learning experience.  Besides, even if I did get published, it’s not like we could sell the house and move into a mansion.  I’d really be lucky to make much money from it.”

Stupid, stupid.  Why didn’t I just shut up?

“What?”  Now I had his full intention.  “So, why would we spend more money on this unless we eventually get it back and then some?  Why throw our money away?”

Ouch – like a knife to the heart.  He attempted to soothe my artistic ego:  “I mean, I love that you have a passion, but maybe we should hold off on the conferences and stuff for a while.”

Those were not the words I wanted to hear.  Of course I wanted him to say, “Here’s a blank check – live your dream!”  But the reality is, writing often isn’t published and while it would be great to be published, that isn’t why I write.  And he’s right.  I have a passion, but do I need to attend every writing event there is and invest hundreds (or thousands) of dollars towards something that ultimately may never be – the elusive book deal? 


At one of my writer’s group meetings, a woman’s work was being critiqued and someone asked her why she didn’t change a particular aspect of her story to make it more marketable. 

She responded, “Because this is for me.  I’ve done the work that everyone wanted me to write.  I’ve learned the craft and revised and revised and revised my work for others.  This one, it’s for me.”


I know another person who went the self-publishing route.  It is the newest trend and many writers are finally getting the opportunity to share their work.  In a matter of months the entire process is complete from sending it in, having it edited, and getting it published.  It’s like rubbing a magic lamp. 

“I heard publishing through a publishing house takes years and years,” she told me. 

Well, yes, that’s true.  But the method of self-publishing to me seems to be instant gratification for a generation that has lost their ability to wait.  I know there are many people who have various, valid reasons for choosing self-publishing and I certainly respect them.  To each his own. But for me, again, it begs the question, why do we write?  More specifically, why do I write?

Is it to be published?  Then, yes, I should attend every conference to meet agents or publishers, or self-publish.

Is it to get my words out there – immediately, if possible?  Well, I have a blog for that, right?

Or is it because I need to, I have to, I love to? 

My attendance at conferences has been to learn, but I respect my husband’s recommendation that we keep costs to a minimum for a while – but I will still write. 

Of course, I would love to share my work with the world, but in the end, I write because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be happy.  When I’m not writing or creating, there is a void in me.  My life feels as if it is missing something.

That’s why I write.

Why do you write? 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shout-Outs to Great Books (from SCBWI conference speakers)


Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma 

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (to be released spring of 2012) 

Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

Lovesick by Jake Coburn 

Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen 

Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Lauren Myracle's series 

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield (to be released in spring 2012)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Looking for Alaska by John Green 

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan 

All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky by Joe R. Lansdale (September release) 

Ghost Buddy Series by Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler (upcoming) 

Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli
Song for Magdalene by Donna Jo Napoli

Stitches by David Small

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka
SPACEHEADZ by Jon Scieszka 

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool 

Winter Dancer by Gary Paulsen
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen 

Laurie Halse Anderson 

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sunday at the SCBWI 40th Annual Summer Conference

Although most of us were beyond exhausted at this point (especially after the festivities of the night before), Sunday brought the conference to a memorable and motivating conclusion.

Four literary agents discussed the state of children's book publishing, particularly in this ever-changing market of ebooks and self-publishing.  It was interesting to get their perspective.  I expected to feel discouraged, but instead was inspired by the dedication and passion of the agents to fight for their clients and their belief in the old-fashioned book.

Gary Paulsen was a very special surprise guest speaker.  Of all of the speakers, I may remember him the most in the future.  Tough, honest, opinionated, funny, and simply extraordinary, his life story is an incredible novel itself.  Actually, his life story could be multiple books.  What comes across immediately is, that while he seems a bit of a curmudgeon, he has a heart of gold when it comes to kids.  In his life, writing for children is his priority and his love of nature comes second.  He lives his life to the extreme, even in his 70s.  Listening to him speak, was a truly unforgettable experience.

Gary Paulsen - my new hero

SCBWI had an awards banquet over lunch.  Congratulations to the Golden Kite Award Winners:  Pocket Full of Posies by Sarah Stern, Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg, Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan, and Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm.

Another surprise guest speaker, during the luncheon awards ceremony, was the infamous Richard Peck.  An eloquent speaker, he emphasized the need to tell stories and the impact they have in children's lives. Again, as an audience member, it was an inspiring experience.

Honestly, I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the conference, but I know that this was an experience of a lifetime.  I heard and met literary legends.  I can't express how important and emotional this conference was for me.  I do know that I will never forget it.  And that I feel that I am no longer alone in my struggles as a writer.  Also, it has reignited my passion for writing.

If you ever get the chance, attend this conference.  And if you write or illustrate for children/teenagers, please become a member of SCBWI.  Personally, since joining, I feel like I've come home.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Update: SCBWI Summer Conference - Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Saturday's keynote speakers blew me away.  After each one, I kept thinking it couldn't get better than that speech.  But each speaker was unique and engaging.  In fact, I found myself on the verge of tears through each one.  Pathetic, maybe.  But I was moved and inspired.

Donna Jo Napoli could make anyone feel like a slacker.  With 5 kids (I believe), a Ph.D, and countless books published, I really have no excuse not to find time to write.  She spoke on censorship and the necessity of writing about hard topics, especially for young people.  She was eloquent and insightful.

Author/Illustrator David Small's presentation was powerful.  He began with a visual presentation of excerpts from his memoir, Stitches - a graphic novel, and it gave me chills.  The work is powerful.  I have never read a graphic novel and was surprised at how gripping and achingly honest the emotions come across to readers.  He ended with another visual presentation on the typical life of a newly published illustrator.  It lightened the mood considerably.  I went from being stunned and haunted by his first presentation to being amused and delighted.  He showed two very different sides of himself and it was compelling.

David Smalls - his book Stitches was sold out, but I couldn't resist his cute
 tale of a girl who believes she is a princess and has to say good-night
and go to bed.  

Judy Blume was a surprise guest speaker.  Judy Blume!  Queen of YA fiction!  That was some surprise.  She spoke on her writing process and how it has changed over the years - from a typewriter and 5 drafts to a computer and 21 drafts.  But people, she emphasized, people never change.  Teenagers still have the same fears and insecurities.  She has a way of touching people that is a true gift.

After her presentation and the other incredible presentations from the morning, I called my husband to check in.  He asked me how the conference was going and I could only blubber, fighting back tears, because I had just been in the presence of and learned from extraordinary people.  I've never felt anything like it.

Jon Scieszka was the afternoon keynote speaker and he was hilarious!  I don't believe I stopped laughing the entire time.  Originally a school teacher, he is really able to connect with young people and get into their mindset.  I can easily understand why young readers love him.

Jon Scieszka and his book The Stinky Cheese Man

Jay Asher - author of 13 Reasons Why.  I LOVE that book!

The evening ended with a pajama party.  I was hesitant to wear pjs in the very fancy Hyatt Regency at Century Plaza, but once I saw the outfits of some of the other attendees, I knew my ensemble was tame.  The dance party ROCKED.  I thought teachers partied hard.  No, children's book writers and illustrators party HARD.  I totally got my groove on in my plaid pjs.  The djs were awesome.  I think it's safe to say that EVERYONE - all 1,300 of us - had a blast.  (It made getting up early for the last day of the conference a little difficult, but was worth it!)

My flannel pajamas - my attire for the evening!

The SCBWI members get down, get down, get down tonight!

Carly and I represent Las Vegas at the conference.
What happens at the SCBWI pajama party, stays at the SCBWI pajama party! ;)

SCBWI 40th Annual Summer Conference: Friday's Picture Tour

Libba Bray (keynote speaker) - YA author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy,
Beauty Queens, and Going  Bovine
Bruce Coville (keynote speaker) - author of middle grade fiction:
The Magic Book series, My Teacher is an Alien series,
The Unicorn Chronicles,
and many more!

Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler - MG authors of the Henry Zipzer series
and soon to be released Ghost Buddy series.

Laurie Halse Anderson - YA author of best-selling book Speak,
award-wining Chains and Fever 1793, Catalyst, and Wintergirls. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Update from the SCBWI Conference

I'm here in Los Angeles for the first day of SCBWI's 40th Annual Summer Conference and man, am I tired!  It has been an exciting, eventful day.  I left the house (thanks, Dana, for letting me crash at your place!) at 7:15 a.m. and just got home at 10 p.m.

While I feel exhausted, I also feel inspired, motivated, and rejuvenated as a writer. In fact, if I had more energy, I'd start working on revisions of my book right now.

Bruce Coville commenced the conference with a great keynote speech, listing 13 pieces of advice for writers.  I took notes.  I think I'll type them up and post them to the wall for motivation.  Of course, I've already messed up his first piece of advice:  Marry rich.  But I'll keep it in mind for my second husband (kidding, honey!).

Publishers gave us a sense of the writing industry right now for children's writers and as expected, there is a lot of change happening due to the surge in ebook sales and self-publishing.  However, middle grade and young adult books seem to be holding steady in regular book sales - at least compared to adult literature, which is reassuring (at least, for now).

I've written down the names of upcoming books that editors/publishers are excited about and can't wait to read them as they come out in the next year.  Some mentioned were:  A Fault in Our Stars by John Green, The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (her already released book Hold Still got a shout-out, too), All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky by Joe R. Lansdale, and the upcoming Ghost Buddy series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver (the Fonz is rumored to be a character!).

Libba Bray's presentation was a survival guide to writing.  She was AWESOME!  She is an incredibly dynamic, funny, and inspirational speaker.  And I was lucky enough to get a picture with her! (Pics of me with her and other authors to follow soon).  If you are not familiar with her name, she wrote the Gemma Doyle trilogy (really good!), Going Bovine (which I just purchased and had autographed today), and Beauty Queens (which I am currently reading).  She reminded us that everyone - EVERYONE - can write badly sometimes.  That's why they're called drafts.  It's okay to "suck," as long as we work to make things better.  It is good to know that even famous authors struggle with the same writing dilemmas that the rest of the world face.

Her speech was the last I heard before going into my dreaded, yet anticipated manuscript critique.  She helped me laugh my nerves away.  Bless you, Libba!

My critique was with the vice president of a publishing house.  I couldn't have had a better mentor.  She knows the business and her comments, advice, questions, and suggestions gave me a sense of relief and new direction and motivation.  I know my book has the makings of something good, and she helped clarify to me the ways I need to get there.  In a few sentences, she was able to simplify issues that I have been tackling for months.  I'm so grateful!  She also said that I am in the "strike zone," which I guess means that as long as I keep my novel moving in the direction she thinks it is - with strong characterization and a unique plot and setting - that I have what publishers are looking for.  I just need to do it.  This means, lots and lots of revisions, but I'm ready for it!  Bring it! ;)

Armed with a huge load of newly purchased books (Garrett, please don't kill me - it's a sickness!  Book addiction!), I entered the autograph room and got autographs and pictures with Laurie Halse Anderson, Libba Bray, Bruce Coville, Denise Fleming, Esther Hershenhorn, Lin Oliver, and Henry Winkler.

The published members of SCBWI had a cocktail reception at the end of the evening, which I also attended.  I would have really liked to browse more of the books being showcased, but I ran out of time and frankly, my feet were killing me.  It's been a long time since I've worn heels for any length of time!

To end the night, my friend and writing colleague from Las Vegas, Carly, and I had dinner at the hotel's restaurant.  It was the first time we'd relaxed all day.

Tomorrow, the fun begins again and the night will end with a pajama party (although, I am really hesitant about wearing pjs in public!)  Now, it's time for bed.

If  you're interested in more details about the day, check out SCBWI's blog:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book News: Michael Grant - author of best-selling GONE series - launches an interactive new series

"The missing son of a U.N. diplomat... the reemergence of a strange organization... a pair of society twins caught in the middle... this is just the beginning of "Go BZRK," a new transmedia experience from author Michael Grant."

Best-selling author Michael Grant (Gone series) is using technology in an entirely new way.  In the winter, he will be releasing a new series: Go BZRK.  In preparation for the release, he has created a world for his characters and hinted at the plot through websites and blogs.  This innovative idea combines traditional storytelling with the interactive world of the internet.  Readers can be actively involved with the characters and the story through blog entries, videos, pictures, puzzles, etc.  The characters become real. 

As a teacher, I know that this will appeal to my struggling readers.  It will make them care about the characters and the storyline.  And I've already checked out the websites related to this "transmedia" phenomenon and I can say that I am very intrigued and excited by the concept.  It's like a soap opera that plays out online, but readers can choose who to listen to and what to read.  It's almost as if they become investigators - participants in solving the mystery.

"Filled with video, puzzles, community collaboration, and more, "Go BZRK" put YOU the player right in the middle of the action as you join Nexus Humanus and unravel a mystery that may hold the key to the fate of all mankind."

The series itself revolves around the disappearance of Davis Morgenstein, son of a member of the UN Security Council.  His twin sisters, Sylvie and Sophie, have created a blog in an effort to raise awareness and get help from their readers in finding him.  They hint at aspects of their life, including their relationship with their parents and their wealthy social status, and mention an organization (or cult, as they refer to it) with interests in human evolution that may have sinister intentions.

I recommend getting involved in this entertaining mystery!  By registering to the following two sites you will be pulled into the lives of Sophie and Sylvie and their efforts to save their brother:


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Heading to Los Angeles tomorrow for the SCBWI Summer Conference!

Some of the Stoklosa clan (my maiden name);
Grandpa, Grandma, my parents, aunt, uncle, and some of my cousins
(in no particular order). 
I'm back!  Thank you, everyone, for your kind words.  My grandpa's death was a shock as he was killed in a car accident, but the family is strong and doing well.

On a more positive note, tomorrow I leave for the SCBWI Summer Conference and I am PUMPED!  This will be my first writing conference, so I am a bit nervous, but I'm looking forward to meeting great people and learning how to become a better writer.

I'll be sure to keep updates on my thoughts and experiences throughout the conference.  Also, SCBWI does have its own conference blog, which is worth checking out so that even if you can't attend, you'll get the scoop!

SCBWI Summer Conference Blog: