Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Origami Yoda, Chris Flemish, Star Wars, and Letting Go

First and foremost, I want to thank the universe that all my loved ones (and internet literary friend types) on the eastern seaboard are safe. Not everyone made it, and even for those who did survive, there is still plenty of struggle ahead. You are in our thoughts and meditations.

Now, to today's blog post, can you tell what that it up there? It's an Origami Yoda! I don't know whether it relates to the book, but I don't really care, I think it's awesome.

It was a gift from my friend Chris Flemish. Chris just recently released his debut work of fiction. The Devil's Whorehouse lies short of novella but long of short story, and is a work of horror. I had the honor to critique this tale before it went to Chris' editor, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

However, it was an interesting experience, as these things often are, because I really didn't know Chris, and moreover, because English is not his native language. Chris and I met on Facebook, because we are both friends and fans of Andrew Smith, and after a while we got to talking, and he asked if I would read his story. It sounded intriguing, so I agreed.

It needed some work, but the underlying plot was awesome. Chris hadn't really asked for a critique, so I was nervous about giving him one (we all know how these things can go), but when I did, he took it very well, and thanked me.

In fact, I think this Yoda he sent me is is thanks for the feedback I gave him. Or maybe it's just for the friendship, either way, congrats on your release, Chris!

Disney buys Lucasfilm

In goofier news, Disney has purchased Lucasfilm for some 4 plus Billion (with a B) dollars. Does that photo not make your inner child as sad as it does mine? It seems to make George sad too (look at his face).

There's been plenty of discussion on the internet about this, most opinions leaning toward thinking it's a good thing, and I'm not here to disagree with them, but I do want to talk about Star Wars, sadness, and leaving well enough alone.

I was born in 1977. I was 5 years old when The Empire Strikes back was released, and I have been a dyed-in-the-wool Star Wars fan and geek ever since. My eldest daughter was three years old when I took her to the premiere of Episode I in 1999. I was disappointed, of course, but she loved it, and we slogged our way through the poorly written, terribly performed remainder of the trilogy without shedding too many tears.

Looking back today, and being a bit of a creative person myself, I have to wonder: when should we just leave well enough alone? J.K. Rowling seems to know how to do it. Yes there were 8 movies, and there are toys and video games, and there are heaps of money, but none of it has tainted Harry Potter for my children (or me). But Lucas never seemed to be able to let go of Star Wars.

I'm not saying I blame him, I don't. Had I been in his position, I probably wouldn't have been able to let it go either. And I'm not even sure I would have completely wanted him to. After all, where would die-hard Star Wars fans be without properties like Knights of the Old Republic, The Force Unleashed, and Fanboys?

Would I trade those games and films for an alternate history where the prequel trilogy was never made? I don't know. Maybe. What about one where the prequel trilogy was done right? I'm not sure, but probably.

Anyway, the bottom line here is that I'm not sure how I feel about Disney buying Lucasfilm and making Star Wars VII. I'm still pretty mad at George for selling out my childhood, but like John Scalzi, I'm willing to accept that it's probably a good thing.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Perfectly Chilling Morning

When I stepped outside today, long before the dawn, there was a chill in the air, sharp against the ears, that carried a certain tang to the tip of the tongue. My dog's ears tracked leaves blowing in the street like radar dishes, panning this way and that.

The sky was a river, clouds blowing across the morning moon as they rode atop the currents of the heavens. Orion stood high and proud, further over my left shoulder than he does during the warmer months. His belt shone through the swirling mists, a stoic line demarcating autumn's grip upon the world.

I looked across the street, where tiny ghosts hung from the trees like so many legless horse-thieves dangling from the gallows. They danced in the chill wind. Beside them, skeletons clawed their way out of earthen graves, their animation suspended as if the cold had taken hold of their old bones, and locked them into permanent suffering, halfway buried, halfway free.

I turned to the house next to me, and smiled at the web of the giant spider that had enveloped it, wondering how anyone could get through such a thing without an enchanted elvish blade to hack free of the fibrous netting. Then I looked at my dog, shook my head at her reluctance, and brought her back inside the house.


Just a little bit of free writing today. Happy Monday, everyone!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Simply for the Love

Inspired by my dear friend Bryan's series, here's some music for your Friday. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Mistaken, by Nancy Thompson Blog Tour

Thanks for having me over, Matthew!  My host asked me to write about organized crime in fiction and why I chose members of the Russian Mafia as my antagonists.

We’re all familiar with the Mafia, but although the Italians are the most well-known, they don’t hold a monopoly on organized crime.  There’s the Yakuza of Japan, The Triads of China, and the Cartels of Mexico and South America.  Lesser known are the Jamaican Yardies in Britain, as well as the Albanian, Serbian, and Israeli Mafias.

Second in size and influence to the Italian Mafia in the US is the Russian Mafia (Mafiya).  Though they’re less prevalent in pop culture, they’ve made appearances in movies such as Eastern Promises, Boondock Saints, and Training Day.  And while there are plenty of non-fiction books on the Russian Mafia, there are very few novels…until mine. 

I drew on this particular group because of my own experience.  They’re the only bad guys I’ve ever met personally.  I was inadvertently privy to information they were interested in, info that could have endangered the wellbeing of a friend.  I chose to withhold that info and was threatened as a result.  It was only natural for them to become the antagonists in my book. 

So when I set The Mistaken in my old hometown of San Francisco, I drew on that frightening experience.  Just like in real life, my Russians, the Solntsevskaya Bratva (brotherhood), deal in human trafficking and offer my protagonist—who seeks revenge against the woman who killed his pregnant wife—a deal. 

In exchange for this woman, the Russians agree to finally let his brother leave the business for good, with his debt wiped clean and his heart still beating.  It’s a deal he can’t refuse, that is until he kidnaps the wrong woman.  Now he must protect this innocent woman from the very enemy he’s unleashed.  But the Russians are holding his brother as leverage to force him to complete their deal.  Somehow he must find a way to save himself, his brother, and the woman, but with the Russian Mafia, even two out of three makes for very long odds.

Have you ever had to deal with any bad guys in your real life?  If so, have they ever found a way into your writing?   (If you want to learn more about my personal experience with the Russians, tune into Lisa Regan’s blog on Tuesday, 10/30 for the full story.)

Visit Nancy’s blog, follow, and leave a comment during her book tour for a chance to win an ARC of The Mistaken.  Plus, 5 runner-up winners will each receive an ebook. 

You can also find her on her publisher’s website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. 

Purchase here:  (I’ll send you the active buy links once they go live on 10/15 or 10/16.)
Amazon Books
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble
Also available at Sony, Kobo, iBooks, Diesel Bookstore, and Baker & Taylor in 2-3 weeks

Praise for The Mistaken:
“A deliciously slow burn that builds to a ferocious crescendo, Nancy S. Thompson's THE MISTAKEN kept me riveted until the very last page. Tyler Karras is a complex and flawed protagonist, and his redemptive journey makes him the perfect anti-hero. This psychological suspense is a standout, and I can't wait for Thompson's next book.”
~ Jennifer Hillier, author of CREEP and FREAK

“Nancy S. Thompson's debut novel, The Mistaken, is a first-rate thriller full of hair-raising twists and turns.  Pursued by the police and the Russian mafia in San Francisco, brothers Tyler and Nick Karras are fascinating, fully-drawn, desperate characters.  The action is non-stop.  Thompson's taut, intriguing tale of revenge, mistaken identity, kidnapping and murder will keep you enthralled and entertained.” 
~Kevin O’Brien, New York Times Bestselling Author of DISTURBED and TERRIFIED

“Fast-paced and emotionally gripping - once the ride begins, you won't stop reading until it ends."  ~Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of CASSAFIRE and CASSASTAR

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Surprise! Kids are Reading (Duh)

Just something quick for you today. All you authors out there, but especially we kidlit authors, will be glad to hear: kids read.

Haha, I know. Obvious right? But according to this story, on NPR's Morning Edition today, kids are reading more than adults. And that's great news, isn't it?

Seriously, check the story out. It's not even a full story, really, just a quick bit about books and readers. The audio won't be available until 9 AM, but you can read the transcript at that link, above.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest Announcement

So, I am yet again involved in hosting a blogfest spearheaded by Alex. Yes, Alex J. Cavanaugh, blogger of note, and Ninja of prominent reknown.

However, this fest is actually the brainchild of Andrew Leon. Yes, that Andrew Leon, from Strange Pegs. Teacher, writer, blogger, and author extraordinaire of The House on the Corner, and the Shadow Spinner series.

Anyway, here is the description we've agreed upon, for how to go about this fest, and why we started it in the first place:

I Miss You Blogfest

November 16 2012

Hosted by Andrew Leon, Matthew MacNish, and Alex J. Cavanaugh

The bloggers we really miss…

and the ones we would really miss!

Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them!

On November 16, list one to three bloggers you really miss and one to three bloggers you would miss if they stopped blogging. Then go leave a comment on those blogs.

Our blogger friends are special – time to let them know!

Sign up below:

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Integral Trees, by Larry Niven

To complete my series of gigantic covers this week, I give you The Integral Trees, by Larry Niven. I've never actually read this book, but I remember seeing it in the Queen Anne Library as a child, and the cover has fascinated me ever since.

Anyway, that is all. Have yourselves a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cracked, by K.M. Walton

Continuing in my series of giant covers, today we have Cracked, by K.M. Walton.

I finished this book the other day, and just wanted to briefly recommend it to all of you. Before I go into my reaction, here is the copy from Amazon:

In this gripping debut, a teen takes a bottle of pills and lands in the psych ward with the bully who drove him to attempt suicide.

Victor hates his life. He’s relentlessly bullied at school and his parents constantly ridicule him at home.

Bull is angry. He’s sick of his grandfather’s drunken beatings. And he likes to take out his rage on Victor.

Determined to end it all, Victor takes a bottle of his mother’s sleeping pills—only to be disappointed when he wakes up in the psych ward. And his roommate? None other than Bull, whose loaded-gun effort at self-defense has been labeled as a suicide attempt. Things go from bad to worse—until the boys discover they might just have something in common: a reason to live.

I loved this book. It was a very short, snappy read, but what it "lacked" in length, it made up for in depth. These characters are so alive with humanity, and so authentic in their portrayal of life as a male teenager, I can't believe the author is a woman (full disclosure: Kate is an internet friend of mine, but still).

They both start out a bit unlikeable. Not in the sense that you can't sympathize with them as a reader, but in the sense that these are real people, who are not perfect, and therefore might be annoying in real life. Bull is a bully, and an asshole, and Victor is weak, uncomfortable in his own skin, and afraid of his own shadow. This works perfectly though, because you can still completely sympathize with both their situations, and fully understand why they are the way they are. I don't want to go into too much detail and give away the plot, but suffice it to say, both boys have plenty of reason to be the way they are.

When the boys end up in the hospital, and are forced to face the hard truths about why they are the way they are, the story grows so honest that it moved me to tears several times. Having spent many years as a scared, lonely, angry, confused young man, I really felt for both these boys, and could relate to both their coping mechanisms.

I won't go on forever, but my favorite thing about this book was that it did not have an easy, happy ending. Yes, things get better for Bull and Victor by the end, but they're not perfect, and they go on about their lives much the way I expect real people would in this situation.

I recommend this book to anyone who has ever been in pain, and is willing to admit they might not always be proud of how they handled it. So, essentially ... everyone.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cover Reveal: Taking Back Forever, by Karen Hooper (designed by Alexandra Shostak)

I'm super excited and incredibly honored today to be one of the hosts for this reveal. Karen and Alexandra are two of my best internet writing friends who I've never met. Together, we're also three tenths of the authors at YA Confidential, being a part of which has been an amazing experience for me, so I'm very thankful to be a part of everything we do over there.

Anyway, all gushing aside, today is the big reveal for Karen's next book in the Kindrily series: Taking Back Forever. Is this not the swirliest, stompingest, most gorgeous cover ever?

I know. When I do covers, I go big. I can't help it. I love this cover just as much as I loved the first one (or maybe even a little more, since I think that might be Alexandra in the photo, rocking those killer stompers).

I've read both of Karen's previous books (the unrelated Tangled Tides, and the first in the Kindrily series, Grasping at Eternity). I recommend them both.

And now, some more about the book, and the lovely ladies who created its cover:

Forever is worth the fight.

Maryah erased all memory of her past lives, but she couldn’t erase her soul mate Nathan, or his undying love. Now, Maryah and Nathan have a second chance at a future together, but first Maryah must remember the person she used to be and embrace her supernatural gifts—more than one kindrily member’s life depends on it.

Maryah’s power is Harmony’s best hope of finding her kidnapped soul mate, Gregory. But Harmony isn’t big on asking anyone for help, and she’s tired of waiting, so she’s taking matters into her own hands. Heaven help anyone who stands in her way.

To celebrate, Karen and Alexandra are giving away signed paperbacks of Grasping at Eternity. (Signed by Karen AND Alexandra!)
Contest is open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Karen was born and bred in Baltimore, frolicked and froze in Colorado for a couple of years, and is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She's addicted to coffee, chocolate, and complicated happily-ever-afters. Due to her strong Disney upbringing, she still believes in fairytales and will forever sprinkle magic throughout all of her novels.
Twitter: @karen_hooper

Alexandra Shostak is a writer of dark and fantastical things, mostly meant for teenagers. She is a freelance cover designer, and is available to do covers and interior artwork directly for authors. She is also a former Irish dancer, a guitar player, and the person who can get you through the zombie apocalypse without getting bitten.

If you’re especially worried about the zombie apocalypse, you can find her in one of these places:
or on Twitter as @a_shostak

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy Book Birthday: Sanctum by Sarah Fine

Go get this book. Seriously. It just released today. I started reading it about a week ago, and while I still haven't finished (because work and life and family and ahhhhhh everything have just been crazy lately), I can still tell you: it's so awesome!

That is all.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Are There Even Words for Such a Thing?

UPDATE: Here are some quotes and remarks about the jump that my friend Maine Character sent me:

"When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about of breaking records anymore, you do not think of about gaining scientific data. The only thing you want is to come back alive."

Brian Utley, a jump observer from the International Federation of Sports Aviation, said preliminary figures show Baumgartner reached a maximum speed of 833.9 mph. That amounts to Mach 1.24, which is faster than the speed of sound. No one has ever reached that speed wearing only a high-tech suit.

"I know the whole world is watching now. I wish you could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to be up really high to understand how small you are. I'm coming home now."

Baumgartner has said he plans to settle down with his girlfriend and fly helicopters on mountain rescue and firefighting missions in the U.S. and Austria.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Gooey, Shameless Fun

What? It's Friday. It's late. I haven't posted since Wednesday. I'm feelin' good, and I'm feelin' a little Gangnam Style.

I love this stuff. One of my best friends back in Seattle is a Korean House DJ. DJ Nobel. I love that guy. His music is sick, but I love his culture too. They have such a finger on the pulse of American pop culture, and they have such a fun, light attitude about making light of us.

Besides, Bul-Gogi.

Anyway, have a great weekends, Qweeps.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

TKP Has a Blog!

I wasn't going to even post today, but The Kindness Project Blog (link is also permanently in my sidebar, under Group Blogs) has launched, and I want all of you to go follow it, STAT. Sure, my Google Reader and the Blogs I Follow in my Blogger Dashboard still seem to be broken, but I'm sure they'll fix them eventually, so I haven't stopped following blogs.

You shouldn't either.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Query Workshops, by Barbara Jolie

Okay. You guys know how against guest posts by strangers I normally am, and I know I bombarded you with one last week. And with Barbara linking to her online education website at the end of this post, it's clear this is all about SEO, but she took the time to write a useful post that is actually relevant to my blog and my readers, so I'm letting her take over today.

Please do not assume that because I'm putting this post up, I personally vouch for any of these workshops, or even that I recommend paying for query advice at all. There are plenty of links to free query letter resources on the sidebar to the right, and there are, of course, always the critiques I do myself.

But, for those who have the money, or are just curious to hear a professional's opinion, a paid query workshop might be worth considering.

Take it away, Barbara.

Writing a Query Letter? Consider Attending An Informative Course or Workshop About It

When aspiring writers want to get their work seen, read, posted or published, they must first send a query letter to the literary agent or editor in charge of those decisions. For those unfamiliar, a query letter outlines the author's intent and often an outline of his or her intended piece.

Being such an unfamiliar first step, query writing often thins the herd of potential writers, as many shy away from it. However, you no longer have to struggle in the dark over how to approach this daunting task. Many colleges and institutes now offer workshops and seminars on the subject, giving you and others like you the opportunity to fraternize with others in the same position you find yourself in. Before I get into any of the specific programs offered for those interested I wanted to explore some of the benefits of partaking in a query-writing workshop.

Benefits of Query-Writing Workshops

First and foremost, attendees will learn exactly what makes a good query. This is important, especially for those just starting, because how can they be expected to know where to begin if they don't know what "right" looks like. Granted there is no end-all, be-all for queries, as it inevitably depends on the person reviewing it, but there are certain things one should try to implement and these workshops will cover just that.

Also, attending a query-writing workshop allows you to get honest, unbiased feedback. The people there likely have no personal tie to you. They are just professionals in the field who know their stuff. So they will not sugar coat when something doesn't work or could be approached in a different way.

Think of all of the tips you'll be walking away with. Learning what you're doing wrong now will save you loads of time and effort in the long run by helping to decrease the likelihood your work will be rejected. So, now that you know some of the benefits these sessions offer, let me list some examples of opportunities—both past and present.

Workshops and Seminars

Numerous schools, writing groups and more across the world hold regular sessions, courses, seminars and workshops on various topics of interest to aspiring writers. One of these topics happens to be query-letter writing, because nothing will squash potential success like a poorly constructed query letter. After all, it's the first impression a potential editor or literary agent gets of your work, so it better be good, right?

Many workshops have already taken place this year, but there are still a few left for those looking to perfect or improve their approach. For instance, there's the First Impressions: Query Critique Workshop taught by Marisa A. Corvisiero of Literary Powerhouse Consulting.

Taking place in November, this workshop will allow aspiring authors to submit their queries for honest feedback and criticism. Numerous literary agents and industry professionals will be available to offer their own tips and tricks.

The Arts Center in New York also offers a workshop entitled Perfect Your Pitch: Writing Killer Query Letters. From sizing up potential editors to marketing your talent and credentials, this event aims to cover it all. Attendees also have the option to bring a query letter for review with them.

The Heritage Writers Guild of Utah will also be tackling the all-important subject of query writing at an upcoming conference taking place in October. In it they will discuss the dos and don’ts of good query-letter writing, as well as offer examples to attendees. It should be an informative event for all.

Overall, if you have a completed work or two you would like to see published but are unsure of how to go about that, do consider attending or at the very least further researching these options. You never know what you might learn.

Barbara Jolie is a full time freelance writer and blogger for She writes about advantages of online classes and is particularly interested in writing and language education. If you have any questions email Barbara at

That's it.

And that also ends my experiment with allowing strangers to write guest posts for me. Please don't email me about guest posting unless you actually know me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Please Help Me!

I know, this is lame. And it's a Monday, too. But I do need your help. I put a post up on YA Confidential on Friday, and it didn't get nearly the response I'd hoped for. It probably didn't help that I didn't link to it here, but I don't know whether that was the whole cause.

Please visit the post, and come up with a question for a college educator! I know, most of you are adults like me, but surely some of you have high school aged kids, or at least know some. Either way, we could us their questions!

There's also a free book involved, for anyone whose question is used, but surely the important thing is posterity, no?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Heather Gale's Current Query Critiqued

Okay, it's finally another Friday. Mom is out of town, so I have to come in late, after getting the kids off to school. I'm going to try to finish this tonight (Thursday), but if I don't, it may go up late. We'll see. Anyway, today we have Heather's query again, this time with my feedback, in blue.

Here's the query:

Dear Ms. B. Agent,

How old are early readers? Like seven? Is the character that age? Say so. Maddison Bernadette Maria Wiseman has the longest name in her family. It may even be the longest name in her neighbourhood! If you read my blog, you know that when I critique queries, I always harp on people for not introducing character first. Character, character, character. I normally want to know what kind of person a character is, before their story ever starts, because I want to know they're someone I can root for and sympathize with so that I care whether or not they overcome their plight.

However, first of all, this is an early reader (which comes before chapter books, if I recall correctly) so I bet the query can get to the point a little quicker. Furthermore, I think this actually works. It's not normal query characterization, but it is kind of characterization. You get the idea that she doesn't fit in her family, in her neighborhood, or maybe even in her own skin. Anyway, yes I just spent like a hundred words telling you your first two sentences work for me.

This year she can’t wait to be called Maddie B. except school doesn’t start for another two long days. This sentence would work better as two independent clauses (separated by a semi-colon), or maybe even two separate sentences. Being bored is not easy and keeping a promise can be harder still, even if learning to do your laundry sounds easy simple? When everything goes wrong, and her mother just never seems to be available, it is up to Maddie to clean up the mess. Too bad the scratchy-old towels give her the shuddery-jeebies! Other than the points I've mentioned, I like this. It's quick and to the point, but it does have a good sense of conflict and choice, and I don't think you need a lot more than that for a twenty-three-hundred word book.

To stand apart from other early reader stories, Maddie includes the reader as a confident confidAnt and seeks their opinion or thoughts. I'm curious about this. Of course this kind of thing is normally verboten, but I could see it working in a book like this. I'd like to know how you execute it though. Does she break the fourth wall completely? Does she address the reader in second person? Obviously any pages you get to include will show that, but it might help to include it in your query. Unless my other readers know better?

I am an unpublished writer with have a background in Orthotics and Prosthetics, however an established children’s author has critiqued this story and advised that it has the quality to be published. Nope. Don't do this. If the writer is represented by this agent, you can maybe ask them to refer you, but unless you know them very well, even asking can be bad form. But if they're not, this just looks ... I don't want to sound harsh, but it looks desperate.

Actually, unless the book includes a character with a prosthetic limb, you can probably cut this whole paragraph. It's fine to be an unpublished writer, agents sign debut authors all the time.

Besides, on a lighter note, this is, to me, already the makings of a great story, and a good query. Let it stand on its own. You don't need to cheapen it by including this other stuff.

Complete at 2,350 words, Maddie B.: Washing Clothes is Easy Peasy . . . Oops! is an early reader story, set in Toronto, Canada.

I believe this will appeal to fans of the Ivy and Bean, Junie B. Jones, and Clementine series. I'm pretty meh on comparisons. I don't use them, and I don't tend to like reading them, but some agents do like them.

Please note that this is a simultaneous submission. I hope you enjoy reading Chapter One as much as I did in writing it. You don't need any of this either. Mention exclusive submissions, but unless an agent's submission guidelines specifically ask you to mention that your submission is simultaneous, it's pretty much understood that it is. And whether or not you get to include chapter one will be up to the submission guidelines.

In advance, tThank you for your time.

Kind regards,

Heather Gale

In summary, I think this is mostly pretty good. Take my story related advice with a grain of salt, because I've never critiqued an early reader query, and I don't know a lot about the level.

I do know something about story though, and I think you have the basics down.

Do listen to me about these housekeeping details though, because I've read hundreds of queries, and I've seen what works. The main thing to keep in mind is that the story, and then the writing, must stand alone. None of the other details really matter.

That's it.

What do you guys think? Does anyone write early readers? What about chapter books? Anything below MG? Otherwise, see anything you disagree with? Please leave your feedback in the comments, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Heather Gale's Current Query

Happy Thursday, QQQEers! Today I have Heather's query. She doesn't have a blog, so there's nowhere to link you to, or tell you to go follow, but that's okay, we don't discriminate around here.

So here's her query:

Dear Ms. B. Agent,

Maddison Bernadette Maria Wiseman has the longest name in her family. It may even be the longest name in her neighbourhood!

This year she can’t wait to be called Maddie B. except school doesn’t start for another two long days. Being bored is not easy and keeping a promise can be harder still, even if learning to do your laundry sounds easy. When everything goes wrong, and her mother just never seems to be available, it is up to Maddie to clean up the mess. Too bad the scratchy-old towels give her the shuddery-jeebies!

To stand apart from other early reader stories, Maddie includes the reader as a confident and seeks their opinion or thoughts.

I am an unpublished writer with a background in Orthotics and Prosthetics, however an established children’s author has critiqued this story and advised that it has the quality to be published.

Complete at 2,350 words, Maddie B.: Washing Clothes is Easy Peasy . . . Oops! is an early reader story, set in Toronto, Canada.

I believe this will appeal to fans of the Ivy and Bean, Junie B. Jones, and Clementine series.

Please note that this is a simultaneous submission. I hope you enjoy reading Chapter One as much as I did in writing it.

In advance, thank you for your time.

Kind regards,

Heather Gale

That's it.

I've never done a query for an early reader, but a good story is a good story, and good writing is good writing, so hopefully I'll be able to help. Please save your feedback for tomorrow, when I'll share mine.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Today will be a very short post. I just want to turn you all on to something my kids have been obsessed with lately. Have you ever had to make a presentation for work or school? Have you felt limited or even bored by Microsoft's PowerPoint or Apple's Keynote?

If you have, check out's flash-based presentation software. It's, in a word, impressive:

My kids use it for school all the time. They even make presentations for fun in their free time. Anything that inspires kids to think, read, and research is pretty cool as far as I'm concerned. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy Book Birthday

Happy Book Birthday to two of my favorite authors (and friends)! Shannon Messenger's debut Keeper of the Lost Cities and Andrew Smith's follow up to The Marbury Lens: Passenger both release today!

If you know me, you know I love both these authors not only as people, but as writers as well. I read Passenger this summer, and boy is it a mind funk! I'm reading Keeper of the Lost Cities right now, and man is it a lot of fun.

I'm not going to review either of these books, at least not today, but I do encourage all of you to check them out. They're very different from each other, of course, but they're both excellent in their own ways.

My daughter Madi, did write a review of Shannon's book, but I just checked her blog, and I think she may have scheduled it wrong. I'll update this post if her's goes up.

UPDATE: Madi's post did go up, only at 9 AM, instead of 6. It's right here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Workplace Psych, by Alexa Thompson

This post has been removed at the request of the author.