Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's 2010

It's the eve of the eve of New Year's! The time of year when we reflect on the past and look forward to the future. Many people set their new goals now. I am not a big resolution person, but it is as good a time as any to refresh and refocus my goals. So here goes...

In the coming new year I'd like to...

  • Spend more quality time with my family. Not just the drive by eating and relaying of important information time that we pass for as being quality. Real, memory making moments :)
  • Take another cross country train trip, which would also help with the above goal.
  • Set aside my own time for writing everyday and then unplug all outside distractions. This also includes unplugging that nagging inner voice that says I should be doing anything but writing.
  • Start seriously researching and seeking representation. Realizing that this is a big ole publishing world was the first step, now it's time to get help navigating it properly.
  • Read with more attention and write with more passion.
  • Expand my writing, not only in genres, but in subject and character exploration also. I want to learn more with each story and eventually write books with deeper emotions and meanings.
  • And finally, I want to follow Rita Mae Brown's great advice and work harder than I hope for all of these things to happen this year.

And in the true spirit of New Year's Resolutions I will toss in a few that I'd love to see happen, but won't hold my breath. Kind of sacrificial resolutions ;)

  • Exercise more. This one has a 1/2 a chance of happening since we now have Wii Fit. It's fun to compete with the kids and doesn't feel like you're working out.
  • Be more consistent with my blog. Especially my Memoir Monday posts. I love doing them, but have a hard time finding the time every week. Might be reasonable to make this a monthly event.
  • Spend less time on Twitter. This goal should be in the above list, but I am weak ;) I will make a real effort to only Twitter after writing.

As far as last year's goals. I can't complain. With my family I grew and learned more about myself and my roots. With my first book I learned what I'm capable of and where I want to go next. Not bad if I do say so myself.

What are your goals/resolutions for 2010?

Thanks for all of your support and comments in 2009. It means a lot to me that you would share your time and thoughts with me. I hope we all continue to share with each other in the future.

Happy New Year! May it bring you all love, health, and success!

Kristin : )

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Review: Horrid Henry's Christmas by Francesca Simon

Horrid Henry lives up to his name the latest book. His target this time is Christmas.

Horrid Henry's Christmas by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Tony Ross is a humorous look at a not so funny topic, bad behavior. It's a chapter book aimed at children from age 7 - 10.

This edition contains four stories that will have you shaking your head and laughing out loud.

Horrid Henry's Christmas Play Henry gets a part in the Christmas play, but he decides it's not a big enough part. When he adds his own lines he makes a mess of the play and of his teacher's nerves.

Horrid Henry's Christmas Presents Henry has done something really horrid this time. He has used or eaten all of the Christmas gifts he had for his family. What will he do now? You won't believe what he comes up with. The poems to his parents are hilarious.

Horrid Henry's Ambush It's Christmas Eve and Henry is worried that he won't get the presents he wants. He comes up with a horrid plan to capture Santa, so he can have ALL of the toys for himself. The outcome is not what he imagined, but well deserved.

Horrid Henry's Christmas Lunch At last, it is Christmas Day. It's time to exchange gifts. Henry is surprised that no one seems to like his horrid, last minute gifts. He urges his parents to read their poems out loud, while he beams with pride over the fact that he found so many great words that rhyme. They are not as pleased with the words he chose.

These stories are fun to read but also serves as a model for children of how not to act. My 10 year old daughter and I read this together. She was giggling and laughing out loud through out the book. I think most kids love reading stories like this because they get to watch another child (although fictional) act in all of the inappropriate ways that they are taught not to in real life.

Thanks for stopping by and hope you and your little ones have a great holiday season.

Kristin : )
* Horrid Henry's Christmas was given to me by a publicist of Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. It will be donated to a public school or a non profit childcare program. For more information see the book disclosure to the right of my blog.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Memoir Monday: Rita Mae Brown

I know, it's been a while since my last Memoir Monday. I have finally finished reading Rita Mae Brown's writing memoir, Starting From Scratch. This is an older book, published in 1989. But even at 20 years old it still has some useful information for writers today.

The first thing that's obvious is Ms. Brown is a highly educated woman who is full of wit and great, straight forward advice about every aspect of the writing and publishing process. With that said, I have to admit that some of this book is intimidating to say the least. Her fluency in languages, mythology, and the history of literature is astounding.

I consider myself an education lifer, both in traditional classrooms and in learning new things in day to day life. but at my pace I would need another lifetime to achieve the levels she has. Although I am tempted to take a Latin class and the mythology also sounds interesting.

Outside of her education, I am also impressed with her dedication and self motivation when it comes to writing. She believes that writing comes first, above all else in your life, and that you need to be in the best physical and emotional condition to do it well. She actually follows a routine to get her mind and body ready to start a new book.

As I have said before, we all take something away from every book we read. Here are some of the points that stuck with me in Starting From Scratch.
  • Writing the truth can be harder than speaking the truth.
  • Don't get hung up on reading every review of your work. They come after the book is finished and therefore too late to do you any good.
  • Never hope harder than you work.
  • Stories can find life in other forms, outside of novels and short stories. Brown also enjoyed writing screenplays.

Compare & Contrast

Both Stephen King and Rita Mae Brown believe that you have to read a lot of books, good and bad, to understand what works and what doesn't in your own writing.

Brown believes the craft of writing can be taught; that a competent writer can be turned into a fine craftsman...if not a blazing genius. As opposed to King, who believes there are set levels of writers and no amount of education can change a competent writer into a great one.

Twitter me this...

As I read these memoirs I can't help wonder what these authors would think about today's on line social networks, which have become common place for writers and others in the book world. I imagine that Rita Mae Brown would not like Twitter. She is very strict about not talking about her writing and says that if you're talking you're not doing.

Have you read Starting From Scratch? If yes, I would love to know what you thought. Was it helpful to you or did you have a hard time connecting with her advice?

I'll finish with a great quote from Rita Mae Brown.

Creativity comes from trust, trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.

Thanks for stopping by.

Kristin : )

Mrs. Claus Explains It All...just in time for Christmas

Tis' the season for giving and spending time with our friends and family. Christmas means different things to different people. It's rooted in history as the birth of Jesus Christ and for many religions it remains a holy day. The holiday has evolved over time and now is celebrated by many people, regardless of religious belief or background. But no one knows the magic and excitement of this season like children. This is what (for me anyway) the holiday is all about. Seeing the wonder and awe in a child's eyes as they look at the tree all lit up and the presents wrapped neatly underneath on Christmas morning is truly a magical thing. It's the time when fantasy snuggles up with reality in front of the fireplace and creates a kind of hope in children that only exists this time of year. They hope that Santa will come and leave them gifts and good cheer for being good all year. Well, for the month of December anyway :)

This is also the time of year for questions about Santa and how the magic is made. For those parents of children with inquiring minds I have the Christmas book for you.

Mrs. Claus Explains It All by Elsbeth Claus and illustrated by David Wenzel answers the real questions many children ask about Christmas. Things like, How does Santa do it all in one night? and How can Santa get in if I don't have a chimney?, and many more. This is the inside scoop, because who knows more about the holiday and the man in red than his wife, Mrs. Claus. She even reveals some personal things I didn't know, like the fact that Santa is actually very health conscious and exercises everyday.

This book is written with the young child's imagination in mind and the illustrations help bring that to life. The illustrator David Wenzel's art work can also seen in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May and in J.R.R. Tolkien's graphic rendition of The Hobbit.

Mrs. Claus Explains It All makes a great addition to any family's holiday reading list.

On a personal note:

I read this book to my two younger children, ages 10 and 11. They are at that tender age when other kids say there is no such thing as Santa. If your kids have already hit that point, this book may not be for you. But if you are a parent who believes in preserving the innocence and magic of Christmas and Santa in your children for as long as possible then this is a must have.

I'm not saying my kids don't believe, they all do (even my teenagers). Santa lives in the heart and the imagination. That is something I have always taught my kids. If they don't believe that then Santa really doesn't exist and we wouldn't bother making Christmas morning so special. I want them to be able to share that magic with their own children one day...later, in the future...much later ;)

Thanks for stopping by and hope you take the time to share your favorite Christmas book with me.

Kristin : )

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CONNECT THE DOTS is coming!!

SO, It's December and my friend and fellow author, Denise Robbins is at it again. The 3rd book of her techno-romantic thriller series is being released this month. I had the pleasure of reading her first two, It Happens in Threes and Killer Bunny Hill. These are some steamy reads for sure and packed with suspense. When Denise mentioned doing something fun for the release of Connect the Dots, I jumped at the chance to help out!

I know you were all sent here to find an answer to a question on Denise's blog about Connect the Dots. So feel free to look around. It's a little like playing Where's Waldo? Except there is no lanky guy running around with elfish clothes... or is there? ;)

Here's why I can't wait for Connect the Dots to be released.

It Happens in Threes is the 1st book in Denise's series. We meet Ruby, a confident woman who is as comfortable behind a computer as she is wearing nothing at all, and Michael, an undercover agent for the government. Ruby and Michael have different reasons for ending up in the same place. She is escaping a relationship gone bad and he is searching for an ex partner.

Things heat up quickly between Ruby and Michael, but it's too dangerous for them to be together. When it becomes clear that Ruby is in danger Michael calls his trusty friend and bodyguard, Jake to keep an eye on Ruby. Jake is good, but no match for Ruby.

The twists and turns in the plot are not the only thing that will get your blood pumping in this story.

Killer Bunny Hill, the 2nd book in the series, keeps the action going. In this one we meet Samantha, who isn't sure who she is, and Max, an agent who works under Michael. In the opening scene Samantha is attacked and left for dead on Max's doorstep. Max nurses her back to health only to find she has lost her memory. Max needs to find his brother, but he doesn't know if he can trust this dangerously hot woman to help him or if she is partly responsible for his brother's disappearance.

Again, good ole Jake is called on to save the day. Unfortunately it is him that gets saved, by Samantha. Max and Samantha have the right amount of hot and cold to keep you flying through the pages.

So, anyone seeing a pattern? The reason I can't wait for Connect the Dots to be released is the main character is Jake. The nice guy finally gets his girl, or does he? This is what I want to know. I happen to have an inside scoop that Jake is Denise's favorite hero, so I'm going to guess that he does get the girl. But, then again, Denise may want to keep him all to herself. You just never know. And since you made it this far you are now rewarded. The name of the pizza restaurant is Waldo's (No lanky man in elfish clothes). It was named after it's owner, retired fighter pilot Waldo Pepper. Good luck!

Here's your next dot in the Connect the Dots book tour. On Wednesday go to and find the answer to this question...
"What game does the heroine play in Connect the Dots whenever she is at her computers doing work?"

Thank you for stopping by. Don't forget to stop back at Denise's Blog to tell her your answers. Good luck!

Kristin : )

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Booking Through November!!

November is jam packed with things going. As many of you already know I'm doing NaNoWriMo , which is a month long commitment. November is also the month of my beautiful daughter's 10th birthday, Thanksgiving, and a few book events too. What book events? Well, thanks for asking :)

On November 13 -yup that's Friday the 13th- I am participating in a Whodunit type murder mystery with 4 other authors (Denise Robbins, Cj West, David Daniel, and Carla Snow). It is taking place at Zorvino's Vineyard in New Hampshire. We are not only going to be there signing our books and chatting with guests, we also wrote the mystery. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds. More information can be found on Zorvino's Website.

Above is a picture of Carla Snow, Denise Robbins, Kristin Callender (me), and CJ West from a meeting at Zorvino's Vineyard to plan the event. Not pictured is David Daniel, who could not be there due to work commitments.

The second book event I have planned is the very next day. On Saturday, November 14th I will be signing copies of my book at the Somerville News Writer's Festival (outside of Boston). Check out the beautiful building it's being held in, The Somerville Armory .

November is a busy month, filled with new adventures and comfortable traditions. I am looking forward to them all.

Thanks for stopping by,

~ Kristin : )

Friday, November 6, 2009

CBRS extended: Dezzer the Gasser by Lorraine Florido and Illustrated by John Ewing

Dezzer the Gasser by Lorraine Florido is a laugh out loud story about a baby's extreme flatulence. Yup, that's right...GAS!

When Dezzer was born his family was so happy to welcome the first boy. His 2 older sisters, mom, and dad couldn't wait to bring him home. It didn't take long for everyone to figure out that there was something very unique about Dezzer. He was a gasser!

Not your cute pooter; no he could clear a room of people and furnishings with one blast. His family loved him so, but were finding his explosions hard to ignore. Word and aroma of Dezzer's problem spread fast through the town. His family decided a vacation was what they needed. A big bad bear had other plans for them. Dezzer surprises everyone by using his pungent powers to save the day.

Dezzer the Gasser is Lorraine Florido's first children's book. She has since written a humorous chapter book titled, Hugo the Punk. The illustrator, John Ewing worked on a Walt Disney Studio creative team that produced many memorable feature films like; Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh and more. Together they have crafted an vividly hilarious story sure to tickle any child's funny bone.

An added bonus is the author generously donates a portion of book sales toward college scholarships for children of breast cancer victims and survivors. More information about Lorraine Florido and her books can be found on the Dezzer the Gasser website.

This was a cute story that takes an unpleasant bodily function to the extreme. While I was writing the review I gave the book to my kids to read. They were giggling and laughing the whole time. It is sure to be popular with kids of all ages. I know some adults who would get a laugh out of it too.

If you have read Dezzer the Gasser or plan to please stop back and share your opinion of it.

~ Kristin : )

Friday, October 30, 2009

Your Invited to A Twitter Halloween Party

Knock, Knock...

"Who's there?"


"Who's me? What's your Twitter ID and password?"

"My what?"

"Oh, it's you. The Twitterless one I've heard of. Come in, come in. Here, put this on."

" What's this?"

"It's your badge so no one will mistake you for Spam and throw you out."

"Oh, what's Spam?"

"Never mind, just don't talk about white teeth or your perfect credit score."

"Ok. Wow there are a lot of people here. Who's that angry looking old guy?"

"Oh, that's @Shitmydadsays. He's funny."

"Ha ha, that guy is freakin' funny...Did you read what @arjunbasu said today? HA HA!" Yells a guy dressed like a skeleton with flames for eyes.

"No, but did you read what @PowerofNo said about...?" The man is already gone; moved on to jump into another conversation.

"That was rude. He didn't even answer."

"He will later. Maybe next week. You never know."

"Oh my! Who's that lady? Is she chewing on what I think she is?"

"That's no lady. Ok people...who let @Brit n ey in? I blocked her three times already from this party!" Just then 3 little blue birds surround her with a large screen that says, There is nothing to see here. They wrap her up and toss her out the door.

"Why are those people in lines over there?"

"Oh, those are my lists."

"Your what?"

"Lists. That one is all the writers doing Nanowrimo with me. There's @CrystalPosey @BookobsessedGrl @coffeewithkate @skylarkade @cbrett60 @dkrobbins @cswriter59 @SavvyVerseWit @KarenCollum @HVLong @Shannan79."

"Why are some jumping from list to list?"

"That's because they are on more than one."

" why do you say at in front of every one's name?"

"I don't know. You get used to it though."

"Oh, look at all those new people coming in."

"Yeah, that's a lot. This isn't going to be good."

"Why? Oh, there's that lady again. She brought a bunch of friends too."

"Oh no, were being @Brit n ey spam slammed and there's way too many people."

"What's wrong? Why is everyone moving so slowly?"

"Oh God, the whale is gonna come!"

"The Whale? What the..."

A bunch of little blue birds tweeting in perfect harmony fly in carrying a huge whale by strings. They hover over head as everyone scrambles in slow motion to get out. The whale drops... the Twitter party is over.

Thanks for coming to the party.

~ Kristin : )

Halloween is Here! That Means It's Time For NaNoWriMo!

Happy Halloween!
It's hard to believe that it's the end of October already. For me the end of this month not only means Halloween-a night surely made up by candy craving children with no care for teeth health- but it also means the beginning of a very busy month for me.

November 1st is the start of NaNoWriMo. Haven't heard of it? Neither had I before last month. It is National Novel Writing Month. It is a competition to write 50,000 words or more of a novel in 1 month. Sounds crazy? I think so, but it also sounds like a challenge worth attempting.
There are many reasons for writers to join NaNoWriMo. Here are a few of mine.
  • I have been sitting on an idea for a new story for a while and this challenge gives me the motivation to get it down on paper.
  • Writing 50,000 words in 1 month means I need to do 1,667 per day to complete. I hope that doing this will help me form a strict writing schedule that will stick after the competition.

Any of you interested in braving NaNoWriMo with me? If so, let me know and I will add you as a buddy. There is a lot of support among writers and I think it will be as much fun as it is a challenge. The rules are not strict, just guidelines for the most part. So don't be intimidated.

If 50,000 words for 1 novel sounds like too much, many people are splitting their writing into 2 smaller novellas.

Are you a writer of YA (Young Adult) chapter books? There is an additional contest being held during NanoWriMo for you! YA literary agent Regina Brooks, along with editors at Sourcebooks will be accepting submissions of your first 250 words of a YA novel.

Regina Brooks and editors will read all of the entries and determine the top 20 submissions. These submissions will then be read by Dan Ehrenhaft, head Acquisitions Editor at Sourcebooks Fire; Alisha Niehaus, Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin); David Linker, Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books; Michele Burke, Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House); and Evette Porter, Editor at Harlequin. These judges will whittle the top 20 down to four winners and a grand prize winner—all five will be provided commentary on their submissions.

Follow this link for more information about this YA Novel Contest and good luck if you enter.

As always, thanks for taking time to stop by. I will do my best to respond to all comments.

~ Kristin :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Casey and Bella Go Green by Jane Lovascio & Autumn Varca

I have talked about these cute pups a lot. They are two of my daughter's favorite characters. She loves the books and was able to meet the real Casey and Bella, along with Jane Lovascio at this year's BEA09 in New York City. That's not the only reason I love sharing these books with everyone. This series and yearly writing contests that author Jane Lovascio offers to children also makes them conversation worthy. If you missed my previous reviews and contest news you can find them through the following links.

Casey and Bella reviews

Casey and Bella Writing Contest

Casey and Bella are at it again! This time their adventures are even more special because this is the first book to come out of the Casey and Bella Writing Contest. That's right, this book was co-authored by 10 year old, Autumn Varca. Jane not only welcomed Autumn's help in this book, but she also included her original contest entry in the back of the book. I can imagine how exciting this is for her. Congratulations Autumn and Jane!

Now to the book.

The playful pups find a new adventure and new friends in Casey and Bella Go Green. They meet an environment friendly mouse named Melvin. While helping him take out the trash they run into a group of animals who all belong to a group called KONC, which stands for Keep Our Neighborhoods Clean. Co-author Autumn introduces readers to her own pets. Spaz, her tabby cat, and her boxer Rocky are members of KONC. The group takes Casey and Bella to a recycling center to show how glass, plastic and paper is recycled and how it benefits the earth and all of us.

Casey and Bella Go Green is a great story to introduce recycling to children and it lists different ways to conserve energy and water. It sends the message that even the small things each person does can help to make the future brighter and cleaner for everyone.

As always, Jane takes her role in the communtiy seriously and dedicates this book to Autism Speaks. For more information about the books, Jane Lovascio or the Casey and Bella Writing Contest go to .

The Casey and Bella Writing contest is open to all 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students and ends April 15, 2010. I have encouraged the librarian at my children's school to bring this creative contest to the whole school. It's a fun way to get kids actively involved in reading and writing.

I would love to know if you decide to have your children or school enter.

Thanks for stopping by,

~ Kristin : )

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Memoir Monday...with Stephen King's On Writing

Thanks for stopping by for Memoir Monday. Today's memoir is Stephen King's On Writing. So let's get right to it.

I have to admit that I put off reading this memoir for a while. Not that I have anything against Stephen King, I'm just not a big fan of horror. I assumed that because he wrote mostly scary stories that his memoir would be similar. I was wrong.

What I did find in this memoir was a lot of great advice and real life experiences from his own writing journey. The best for me was reading about his rejections. This is a normal part of writing, but so many of us take each one like a brick being thrown through the front window of our writing career. So, it's great to read that even an accomplished and prolific writer has rejection scars.

As in all reading, we take from it what pertains to our lives at that specific time. A good book will have a different effect each time it is reread. Different ideas and details will be noticed depending on where we are in our lives. These are the things that stood out for me in this memoir. You might have similar points or might have been drawn to something completely opposite. Maybe you didn't find anything at all you could relate to in this book. I don't think that's the case, but I also am a firm believer that every book has something -even the smallest bit of something- that teaches us a valuable lesson. Yup, even really bad ones can teach you what not to do in your writing. That's what we're here to discuss. What did this book do for you?

First of all, this book made me laugh. King started off with quick glimpses into his childhood and although they had a certain sadness to them they are told in a way that you find yourself chuckling. I mean, a babysitter who sat on his head and farted? That's gross and comical. His description of being buried in marsh-gas fireworks, and the fact that he credits her with preparing him for future literary criticism, is just plain funny. Other parts made me laugh too, but this one was right in the beginning. Make me laugh right away and I'm hooked.

Next thing that stood out for me was the reoccurring advice to "write with the door closed and rewrite with the door open". What he says is to write the story by yourself, get it all down on paper and then let someone else read and comment. He warns that letting people in before will make you write to please them and that will change your story. I related with this message because I have a hard time letting anyone see my writing until I feel it is done. Not completely edited, but done to the point that it's not floating around my head anymore; it is securely anchored to the page. I thought it was just an insecurity of my own, which probably is part of it. When I was working on my first book I could only write when everyone was out of the house. I have since forced myself to get over that. With 4 kids and a husband finding time alone is as rare as finding $20.00 in the dirty laundry pile. It happens, but not enough.

Another section that caught my attention was about King's struggles with writing The Stand. I can relate to many of the things he said and the frustrations he felt trying to get the story to come out right. I am going through this with my current WIP. After writing the 300+ page first draft I found myself unhappy with some parts. After a lot of rewriting I still didn't love it. I have gone back and forth with killing the idea all together, but I always come back to try again. I know there is a better story still hiding somewhere inside of this one that hasn't come fully to light yet. After reading chapter 10 of On Writing I had a new outlook on it. King was having problems with his novel The Stand and turned his focus to theme to get it back on track. It got me thinking what was the theme, the main idea, or lesson of my story?

I wrote down some things that repeated themselves through out my WIP; really starting digging for the deeper story underneath. I kept thinking about it until finally it hit me the other night while making dinner. I knew what was missing and I actually got goose bumps. Also almost burnt dinner when I ran for my notebook to write it down, but that is a different story :)

There are many other things I learned and liked about this book, but these were the main ones that jumped up and grabbed me by the collar. Here's my question to you.

After reading Stephen King's On Writing what parts jumped out for you? Or if you couldn't relate, what disappointed you most?

I would love to hear your thoughts and will respond to all comments left today. Please be aware that my comment page can be touchy. It often gives me hard time publishing my own comments. If it rejects your comment, please click publish 1 or 2 more times. It usually works then. It it stubborn sometimes ;) If you still have a hard time you can drop me a note on Twitter, @KCBOOKS or email me at .


~Kristin : )

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Memoir Mondays: Stephen King

I have been reading a lot of authors' memoirs lately. I love hearing how and why different people write and their experiences in the publishing world, good and bad. Each one has taught me something about my own writing. Some offer a wealth of information and others only bits here and there that I can relate to. That is the basis of all reading; finding something we can relate to. What that is exactly may differ from reader to reader. So, with that in mind I want to start a weekly discussion about author memoirs. I will announce the author and his/her memoir and post my thoughts every Monday.

Monday October 19th discussion will be on Stephen King's On Writing

I hope that you will stop by to discuss your thoughts on this book. Was is very helpful to you or did you only find bits and pieces that related to your own writing? I have not found a book that I could not learn something from; some by good examples of what works and others by displaying what doesn't.

Hope to hear from you on Monday.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Now for Something Positive. Why I Write...

I started the 8 Deadly Demons of a Writer as a self journey through the challenges that get in the way of creative energy. T first the exercise was helpful for me. I worked through some of my creative blocks, but as I continued it stopped being as helpful. I felt like I was spending too much time with these demons. Although most writers do get side tracked by one or more of these, it's not constant and there are so many positive things about writing that out weigh the negative by leaps and bounds. So I'm stopping the series for now, maybe I will feel the need to go back at another time, maybe not. I want to get back to why I write in the first place and stop giving so much time and energy to what gets in the way. Why I write is a happier subject all together and much more fun to explore.

I write because when I don't the stories in my head keep me up at night.

I write to get an idea out on paper and feel that I have brought a story and people to life.

I write to feel that flow, that glow when the words come out just as I saw the story playing in my head.

I write as an expression of what I know, what I want to know, and what I want to share with the world.

I write first for me. If I am happy with the words, story, and characters then I write to share these with readers.

Finally, I write for the smile on my face, the truth in my heart, and for feeling at the end of a long day that, yes it is so worth it to write.

I should have just written this post instead of a series of negative ones. Because these are the reasons I love writing and they make the demons not so bad after all. That's the beauty of life, you can't learn without trying and sometimes making mistakes along the way. That's also another thing I love about writing; it is an ongoing learning process. Everyday I learn something new and it all helps my writing get a little stronger and a little better...word by word.

So, my live and learn this time is: Stop focusing on what stops me from reaching my goals and amplify what brings me closer to reaching them.

What do you like about writing?

Thanks for stopping by.

~Kristin : )

Monday, October 5, 2009

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer #6...OVERWHELMING

Can you relate to this picture? You may not have a pile this huge towering over you, but sometimes it can certainly feel like it. If you can then you've already met today's demon...

Overwhelming - to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything *(as defined by

We are all busy with our daily routines: work, family, house chores, friends, etc. but then we keep adding more things to our already packed schedules. Trying to get it all done can be tough and feeling like it's not going to get done is when the demon really thrives.

Being overwhelmed from time to time is normal. Everyone has that tipping point when their To Do list becomes Too Much To Do, or at least it feels that way.

What can be done to keep this demon from crushing our creativity and halting our productivity?

We could grow more arms. Hmm, while that may be in our evolutionary future we have a long wait. We could say no to all new projects and commitments. Did you just laugh? I know I did. That's not an option. So, what is? Here's a few things I do when I feel the Overwhelming demon getting too big.
  • Write a To Do list in order of importance. (If you haven't noticed by now I love my lists. The more overwhelmed I feel the more lists I write.)
  • Say NO more often. (We can't and don't want to say no to everything new, but once in a while we need to be honest with ourselves about how much more we can take on.)
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate. (Whatever chore, project, favor you can pass on to someone else, do it. Don't feel bad about asking for help when you find yourself getting too overwhelmed.)

The most important thing to remember when you feel overwhelmed is...

This too shall pass!

I would love to know what you do when you feel overwhelmed.

Thanks for stopping by,

~Kristin : )

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer #5...PROCRASTINATION

Today's battle is huge. I said in an earlier post that FEAR was one of the biggest demons a writer has to face. Well, this one is the biggest. Everyone has been side tracked, derailed, and nearly buried alive by this demon at one time or another. What is it?

It's PROCRASTINATION! Just look at the word. It's big and crasti. Don't let the prefix trick you; there's nothing professional about this beast. Although it takes an expert to know how to defeat it. So if there are any experts out there please help the rest of us :)

What makes this demon the biggest? Procrastination teams up with the other demons and bogs you down with excuses, distractions, and hesitations that interfere with reaching your goals. It tricks you into thinking it's ok to wander around aimlessly and not finish what you started. If you let it fester it will keep piling up around you until it becomes another creativity sucking demon... OVERWHELMING. We will battle that demon soon, but for now let's back up. We have to deal with Procrastination before it gets too big.

First thing we need to do is identify the enemy.

Procrastination - to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost. *(as defined by - to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done. *(as defined by

Now we have to recognize when this demon is attacking us. Basically, whenever we loose our focus on projects we need to do we are procrastinating. We all know that we're doing it, but aren't sure how to stop it. Even as I write this I find myself clicking over to Twitter and checking my emails; things I don't need to do right now. So, how do we kick procrastination in the pants? Half the battle is won just by admitting that you are avoiding or putting off important things. The other half is knowing why we do it.

The reasons we procrastinate vary so widely. For some, it is just a fun break from a stressful project or job we're working on. For others, it's more complicated and confusing. This is because (like I said above) Procrastination can team up with other demons and make you loose sight of your goals temporarily or permanently.

I could go on and on about this, but I would rather use my time to figure out how to stop puttering around and get back to writing. I did find this great article on procrastination and the underlying reasons we do it (fear, self doubt, overwhelmed). It also offers many suggestions on how to stop procrastinating.

Getting back on track could be a long battle with many demons involved, or it can be easy as writing a list and learning to be flexible with yourself.

Write a list of your priorities and keep it near your work space. Here's mine:

  • Family responsibilities/spending time

  • Finish WIP (Work In Progress)

  • Post regularly on blog

  • Clean house/laundry

  • Volunteer commitments

  • Prepare for November writing challenge (NaNoWriMo)

  • Finish preps for Wine Mystery (Nov)

  • Prep for Boston Book Festival

  • Work on marketing/promotion of The Truth Lies in the Dark

These are not in any specific order. The first 2 are the most important and are a daily goal. The rest vary in importance depending on the day. I would love to get everything done, but as you know that's just not possible. Tomorrow there will be 5 other things added to this list and some are ongoing commitments with no finish point. So I have to learn to be flexible with myself and my list. Some days the dishes, laundry, and even the family will have to wait for me to finish a chapter in my writing (As a mom, this was a hard thing to give myself permission to do). Other days, I have to unplug the computer, disconnect the Internet and just be Mom and wife.

I think the most important thing to do is be aware when you start to drift and ask yourself why you are loosing focus and looking for distractions. Is it simple because you're hungry or tired, or is because you're scared or overwhelmed? If you find it is one of your other demons getting in the way, revisit and conquer it again. If you missed any previous posts here are the links.

Intro to 8 Deadly Demons

Fear Post

Guilt Post

Self Doubt Post

This has been the hardest post to write in my Deadly Demons series so far. Maybe because it's Monday and I am dragging from a long weekend or maybe it's because Procrastination comes in so many forms and we do it for so many reasons it's hard to fight. It doesn't help that the Internet is an ocean of great distractions; Twitter, blogs, online writing groups, and many other forms of endless information and entertainment. Making it all too easy to procrastinate...even when I am writing about procrastination. That's pretty bad. On days like today, I may have to settle for baby steps toward my goals. A small step in the right direction is better than standing still.

Today's mini goal for writing is to edit 1 chapter in my WIP and start researching agents and publishers.

How do you deal with procrastination? What are your favorite things to do when you are procrastinating?

~ Kristin : )

Friday, October 2, 2009

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer...#4 SELF DOUBT

Today's post is a short one, because the battle with the self doubt demon is a personal battle; one we all have to fight alone. Why? Because we created it and only we have control over how strong or weak it's hold is on us.

Self Doubt -lack of confidence in the reliability of one's own motives, personality, thought, etc.*(as defined by

Self doubt is a battle that we wage on ourselves. It's that little voice that says, "you can't do that" or "that'll never happen". The only way to fight it is by following those thoughts with encouraging ones. Telling yourself you might be able to, or even better, you CAN do something is very powerful. Instead of saying, "that'll never happen" say "it really could". What's the worst that can come out of it? You don't succeed? Well, you had NO chance of succeeding with a negative attitude, so what's really the harm in failing with a positive attitude. No harm at all :)

Go on, give it a try. I am setting my mini goal for today at 3 chapters of editing on my WIP. What will you do kick your self doubt in the butt? You can do it! I can too!

I hope some of you reading these posts are finding them helpful. Doing them has been such a positive experience for me. With each demon I deal with I feel lighter, more creative. It really has been great.

Thanks and remember, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU SET YOUR MIND TO! So make sure you set your mind to something positive.

~Kristin : )

Thursday, October 1, 2009

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer...#3 GUILT

Today's battle is with guilt. This is not a big demon for me, but a slippery little critter that sneaks up and throws rocks once in a while. Still, the size doesn't matter, right? Ok, stop giggling. This is about writing, not snarky jokes. Oh, who am I kidding? There's always room for snark ;)

Alright, where were we? Oh yeah, we are entering the ring against our opponent of the day...

Guilt - a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.* (As defined by

Like I said this demon is not as big as the others, but it can toss a few bumps on your path to reaching a goal. Guilt can come from many places; family, friends, work, or even yourself. When you have a lot of different commitments, like we all do, we often feel guilt when we can't be everywhere and do everything for everyone.

My guilt is self inflicted. I am thankful to have supportive family and friends in my life. They encourage my writing and all the new places it has taken me. As I mentioned in my fear post yesterday, I have always been there for my family. My work choices included places that my young children could go with me or that had same schedules as their school hours. The decision to write and pursue a possible career was the first major time commitment that didn't involve or completely revolve around them. As a mom, just making that decision took a wrestling match with guilt. How could I take time away from my kids, my husband, and other home responsibilities to write?

This becomes a harder decision when you add the fact that there is no clear cut path to this career. Even well known best selling authors and established publishing houses are reporting that it's a changing industry. It's getting tougher for everyone, except maybe Dan Brown, to get noticed. The Internet has made publishing an even playing field for all new writers, if you know how to use it, but it has also made it an infinitely larger field. That's where this career becomes even more time consuming. Not only does the writing itself take time, but now authors have to market and promote what they have written. I have been told this is true even for agented authors. The avenues, advice, and opportunities are endless on line. Each person has to decide which things to try and how much time and money they are willing to devote.

I have been lucky and blessed by the opportunities I have been given. Having a film producer consider my book for a movie is an honor, even if the network executives do not accept it. Meeting new people in the book world has been fun and enlightening. Getting to work on exciting projects, like the Nov. 13th Wine Mystery with authors Denise Robbins (It Happens In Threes) and CJ West (Sin & Vengeance) and going to signings have been great. But with these opportunities come more time commitments, which means more time away from my family. In creeps the guilt.

Hopefully, if guilt is one of your demons, it is a small one. If that's the case, you and I don't have to do much. When ever it tries to sneak up we just need to remember not to be so hard on ourselves when we can't do everything. And *poof* that little guilt critter is gone. It will be back, but we'll be ready to shoo it away again.

If you guilt is deeper and can not be shooed away with an encouraging thought you should read this article. . I found it while looking for a picture to use for this blog. It lists the different kinds of guilt and how to deal with them.

Ok, now to finish off the battle with guilt. Set another mini goal for today that brings you a little closer to achieving your main goal. I am going to edit 2 more chapters of my WIP. I will do this, guilt free, no matter how long it takes me to finish.

If you missed any of the previous 8 Deadly Demon posts I have included the links to them below. Thanks for stopping by.

~Kristin : )

Intro to 8 Deadly Demons:

Fear Post:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

8 Deadly Demons for a Writer... #2 Fear

Yesterday I started a short series about overcoming some of the inner demons that get in the way of writing or any goals in life. Here's a recap of that post.

So let's jump right in with Deadly Demon #2... FEAR

Fear - a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. (*as defined by

Out of the 8 Deadly Demons fear is one of the biggest. Think of a tall tree that looms high above while most of it's mass is firmly rooted beneath the surface. Like these roots, most fears are out of sight, but still powerful. People have been trying to battle fear forever. Leaders, poets, writers and many others have given us weapons in the form of words and actions meant to empower and encourage.

“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” The famous quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt encouraged a nation to stand up and take an active part in ending the depression. More of his 1st Inaugural Address can be found here: .

But even with all that history and inspiration fear still rears it's ugly head. So, how do we stop it from interfering with our goals? We don't.

Fear is a natural reaction; a built in safety feature to ensure our survival. In small amounts it can be a great motivator, but when fear gets too big it can be crippling. Finding the right balance with fear is the only way to tame the beast so we can get back to creating. Easily said, right? Now let's do it.

First you have to list the fears that are getting in your way. Decide if they're real or imagined, and then find a way make each one less scary. Ok, here I go.

Fears as a writer...
  1. People won't like my book

  2. Publishers/agents won't like my writing

  3. I won't like my book when it's done

  4. Everyone will love my book and my entire life will change

  5. My kids will spill something on my keyboard, sticking the caps lock key, and I will write an entire book screaming.

Ok, so now I look at my list and decide what is real and imagined. Obviously #5 is not going to happen. (at least it better, you here me? Keep your stickies away.) I joke but we all have some irrational fears and it does help to write them down. Sometimes just seeing them on paper makes them a little less intimidating.

#1 & 2 are fears I can overcome by rationalizing. I think all writers fear rejection, whether it's a negative review or the 'no thanks' from an agent or editor. As much as I fear it, I know they are a natural part of the process. I take comfort in the fact that many famous authors have their own rejection scars.

#3 is more complicated. It is a fear that, at the end of it all, I will think my book sucks. But before I toss it in the closet or the fireplace I have to be sure that another demon (Self Doubt) hasn't disguised itself as fear. For anyone with a tough inner critic, this can be a common mistake if not an excuse to stop. So, until I deal with the self doubt demon I can't be sure how to deal with this one.

#4 may not sound like a fear to some. One of a writer's goals is to be published and to have their work read and loved by the masses. But with the recognition comes a new fear; of the unknown. What if my book is loved, I land a great agent, and a big publisher offers a contract? What happens then? How much will my life change?

Don't get me wrong, being published again is my goal. My first book, The Truth Lies in the Dark was contracted by a small publisher, so things have been happening slowly; which means not so many changes in my life. I think of this book as a great learning experience. I wrote it knowing nothing about the publishing world. I am proud to have come this far with it, but still feel like I am only at the base of the publishing mountain. It's scary not knowing what's next.

Another part of this fear is whether my family is ready for what may be next. I am a mom first and foremost, and have always been there for my family. Any work outside of the home I have done revolved around them. When they were young I worked as a preschool teacher at a neighborhood community center and as they grew I became a substitute teacher in our town's elementary schools. Writing is the first time consuming work I have done that is just for me. So, there is a fear of change for my family as well that I can't ignore. This is the point where fear starts to grow fangs and transform into another demon, Guilt. This is a now a whole new battle for another day.

Ok, we're almost there now. We have hopefully squished down our big bad fears so that they are not a deadly demon, but more like a Chiwawa with an occasional bad attitude. Just enough bite to keep us moving toward our goals, not running away.

There is one more thing to do to keep fear from bubbling right back up again. Set a reasonable mini goal that can be met today. Prove to yourself that you really did concur your fears. For me it is to to read and edit 2 chapters of my WIP. What will you do?

Writing this out was a very helpful exercise for me. I hope it helped you too. If you want to share your fears or comment on mine I would love to hear from you.


~ Kristin : )

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer

I've been slacking when it comes to my blog lately. I took a break to work on my WIP, which is so close yet so far from being finished. I seem to have hit a wall. Not with the story; I know where that's going. Not with the characters; I love them too. My wall is inside of me. At first I blamed outside forces for my inability to sit down and write. With a large family, both in my home and our extended families, there is always something going on. Always someone who needs a ride, a helping hand, or even a shoulder to cry on. I have no problem being there for them. Of course, not every call is an emergency and if I told them I was busy once in a while they would completely understand. So, I can't blame them, right?

I have been wrestling with finishing this story for a while. I have rewritten it a few times; really trimmed out a lot of fat from it. When I do make myself sit down and write I fall in love again with Brad, Jessica, and even have softened up on Diana. But as soon as I get up to do something else it's so hard to get back to it.

I have been trying to figure it out. Asking myself all the questions I imagine every writer does. Is this story so hard to finish because it's crap? Should I toss the whole thing in the fireplace and start something new?

I always come back with the same answer for myself. If I accept that this is crap and toss it in the fire I will always allow myself to do that when I face a writing challenge. So, now I have to figure out why I am having such a hard time. What's holding me back? What are my inner demons that get in the way of writing. I came up with 7 (well 8 actually, but 7 that I have to overcome). Here there are in no particular order. I will list them today and then spend the next week or so battling them , one by one.

8 Deadly Demons of a Writer

1. Plagiarism - the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.* This is the one demon I don't worry about, but felt that I couldn't list deadly demons of a writer without at least tossing this ugly beast into the mix.

2. Fear - a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.*

3. Guilt - a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.*

4. Self Doubt -lack of confidence in the reliability of one's own motives, personality, thought, etc.*

5. Procrastination - to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost. *

6. Overwhelming - to load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything *

7. Quitting - to stop, cease, or discontinue; to stop trying, struggling, or the like; accept or acknowledge defeat.*

8. Self Sabotage - any underhand interference with production, work, etc. *

Over the next week or so I will talk about how these 7 demons affect my writing. Like I said, #1 Demon: Plagiarism is pretty easy to battle; you just avoid it. If you feel it is creeping up on you, keep it bay with something as simple as an asterisk (*) followed by a footnote like this...

*All definitions used above came from, a service of

It may not be accepted APA or MLA styles of citing material but it tells the reader: this is where I found the info. You can find it there too. In other words, it does the trick.

This is a personal battle for me, but I hope that you come along. If you are dealing with similar demons in your writing, or any aspect of life, leave a comment. If you feel I have missed some important demons please tell me and I will talk about them too.


Kristin : )

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Twistory: What's Yours?

What's a Twistory? It's a silly or twisted story in 140 characters or less. There's a lot of flash fiction contests going on around Twitter these days, so I figured why not do something similar. There are no winners or losers, just write a brief story that will make people laugh, cry, or think WT?? Kind of like a writing exercise but smaller. Join in and I'll ReTweet your Twistory on my Twitter account.

Here's my Twistory...

Pilot writes special message across sky: MARRY ME JANE! Plane sputters & crashes. Jane arrested 4 cutting fuel line.

Can't think of a Twistory? Try a Twitter version of a classified ad. Twittified Ad :)

WANTED: body double for live reality type Sit/Com. Housework exp. a must. Long hrs. Low pay.

Leave your Twistory or Twittified Ad in the comment box and I'll share them. Remember they have to be under 140 characters (spaces included)

Have Fun!

Kristin : )

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Monday Again! New Week...New Happenings!

It's Monday again. I haven't taken the time to chat about what's going lately, so here goes.

I've been busy planning some events for the next few months. It is looking like a very exciting Fall for my and my book. Before I share my up coming plans, I know there are some of you who are curious about my movie news. I am too. I haven't heard anything yet, but my fingers are crossed and my hopes are high. If I don't hear anything by October I will look into the progress through email. I will keep you posted. Some more potential movie related good news is I might have my book included in celebrity swag bags for events planned around the Oscar Awards in March.

Yup, you heard right, the OSCARS! A VP of a Media group that specializes in these events found my book and wanted to include it in Swag bags they were giving out at an event for the Primetime Emmy Awards this coming weekend. I had to decline. It was too soon to prepare for and honestly a little expensive, between the cost of books to send and the inclusion fee. I was honest in my response and was contacted again to be included in their events for the Oscar Awards. I am honored and seriously considering doing it. More on this later, now it's on to what's coming soon.


This past weekend my book went to the Florida Heritage Book Festival with my publisher, BlueWater Press, LLC. (


More copies are going out this week to be included in the Orange County Children's Book Festival in California on October 4, 2009. They will be displayed on the Authors Den booth and featured on their website. The festival is for children but is open to adult books too, which makes sense because who brings the children? The parents, right? More information can be found here:
* If you are a member of Authors Den and want to have your book included contact me and I will send you information and links about this. You need to act fast though. All books must be received by September 30, 2009.


In November I have 2 events planned that I get to travel to with my books. YEAH!! I was starting to get jealous ;)

November 13th: I am participating in a Murder Mystery at Zorvino Vineyards in New Hampshire. I am still getting the details on this, since I just agreed to it this morning. But here's what I've got so far. It sounds like a lot of fun.


November 14th: I have a table and will be signing copies of my book at the Somerville Writer's Festival in Somerville, MA.


That's what I've been up to, along with doing some on line interviews and guest posts at other author's blogs. Well that's the promotional stuff anyway. My writing schedule has been just as busy.

I have finished the bulk of my rewrite on my contemporary romance. Painstakingly cut 25 pages of writing. OUCH! It was needed but it hurt to see all those words disappear with one tap of the delete key. It was actually a lot of taps and very little was completely deleted, it was cut and pasted to a new document to be deleted when the story is finished. There was a lot of good stuff that just didn't fit into the rewrite for whatever reason, but some might find it's way back in to the final product. Now I am going back to the beginning to reread and polish.

I am also working on a short story that I am considering submitting to Writer's Digest 'Show Us Your Shorts' contest. It's an idea I've been thinking about for a while and it honors my grandmother, who passed away 5 years ago. She has influenced my life in countless ways, so writing this for her means a lot to me. Whatever the outcome, I will share it with everyone soon.

That about wraps up what I've been up to. Hopefully, I will have more news to share. In the mean time, thanks for stopping by.

Kristin : )

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New Resource for Authors & Publishers

Today I have a new on line resource for authors and/or publishers. It's easy to use, gets word out about your books, and best of all... it's FREE! If you haven't heard of you have to go check it out. uses BookBuzzr to display and allow readers a look inside books.

Here's how it works:

Easy to Use:
It walks authors or publishers through a simple uploading process. You can offer a portion of your book for readers to sample, or your entire book if you want.

Gets Word Out:
This is a fairly new website and it's creators are doing a really good and extensive job of promoting itself and it's authors.

It's FREE!
Yeah, you heard right. It's free. All you have to do is put your time into setting up your BookBuzzr widget and then do your part in directing others to it.

This is my part :)

Follow the link. Take a quick look at my information and then get started on your own.

Good Luck & Happy Sales to all!

~Kristin : )

Monday, September 7, 2009

Come with me to yesterday : )

A day late with this post... but better late than never, right? I should have posted about my latest blog visit with author Denise Robbins. But as you know, life gets hectic and we don't get to everything we want to. On those days we are happy to accomplish what we need to, and hope the rest can wait.

Denise read The Truth Lies in the Dark for her Book-A-Week Challenge and then interviewed me for her blog. This interview was posted yesterday (Sunday, Sept. 6th). It was a lot of fun. I hope you get the chance to stop by and read it. If you do, please leave a comment or question for me and I will respond.


Kristin : )

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Playing *a Little Blog Tag

Recently I was tagged by a fellow writer and blogger, Nick Daws. I met Nick (online) earlier this year when I started promoting my book, The Truth Lies in the Dark. His was one of the first blogs to have me as a guest for my Book Blog Tour in March. I have since become a member of his writing blog ( ) and receive helpful updates filled with advice and tips. Through him I also learned about another great resource for writers Stop by and check it out. There is something for everyone no matter what you write.

When Nick tagged me I was honored and of course more than willing to be a part. So, what does getting tagged mean? It is a way to share *a little about yourself and connect with other writers/bloggers. The best part about this is it's not just for published authors. This is for anyone who picks up a pen or pulls up to a keyboard to bring their thoughts and ideas to life and then is brave enough to share them with the world. More details and Nick's post can be found here:

I chose only a few of the questions to answer. I am trying to keep my posts * a little shorter and reader friendly. I know how busy we all are and appreciate the time you take to stop by.

Ok, here goes...

1. Which words do you use too much in your writing?

I try to cut out any words that I think are repeated too often in my writing. Most often cut are these: just or just about, had or had been, little (* I went back and crossed out 3 of these in this post alone).

2. Which words do you consider overused in stuff you read?

he said, she said alternatives. He/she spoke, orated, stated. I try to avoid fancy ways to say he said or she said, unless it helps clarify the characters tone of voice or mood. He mumbled under his breath or she screamed loud enough for the whole restaurant to hear.

3. What are your other favorite blogs?

There are so many blogs out there and through Twitter I find more everyday. Here are some of my favorites. -A writer's blog by Nick Daws -A promotion/marketing blog by John Kremer -An inspirational blog by Janna Qualman -Hysterical blog by Cammie the Wine Queen -Follow the Ramblings of this funny YA writer -A mystery reviewer who also dabbles in writing -Author blog & friend to writers everywhere

4. Name three favorite words * these are subject to change depending on day & mood :)

happy, vacation, fluffernutter (peanut butter & fluff sandwich...yum)

5. ...And three words you're not so keen on *so are these, except rejection :)

rejection, uber(anything), douche bag (sorry... but this had a VERY different definition when I was a kid & now it's thrown around like idiot or jerk) On the other hand douchebaggery (yes, it's a real accepted word) is plain funny.

6. What would you like to improve about your writing and/or blog?

In my writing, I would like to be more focused on finishing one story at a time. I have a hard time fighting the urge to hop to the next idea that screams out. I have learned to control it better, but I still have to work on it.

As far as my blog, I want to learn some of the tricks I see on other blogs. Like linking to a previous blog or another website without having to show the whole address. I have tried it many times and can't get it to work. If someone can give me a quick lesson I would appreciate it.

That's my part. Now it's your turn. I tag the following writers/bloggers.

Janna Qualman

Jack W. Regan

Denise Robbins


Blog Tag, You're It... Janna, Jack, Denise, and misterreereeder. Can't wait to see what questions you choose and what your answers are. Have fun!

Kristin : )

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Contest For Kids! Winner gets to co-author next Casey and Bella book!

That's right, Casey and Bella are back! And this time author Jane Lovascio had help. A fourth grader named Autumn, is the proud co-author of Casey and Bella Go Green. How? She entered the Casey and Bella Writing Contest!

It's contest time again! All children in grades 3, 4, and 5 are able to enter. This is a great way to get our kid's creative juices flowing after a long summer.

Want to know more? Here are the basic rules:

Contest begins September 1, 2009 and ends April 15, 2010..

The 10 Finalists will be announced on May 15, 2010, and notified by phone and e-mail. Winners will be selected and notified beginning June 15, 2010. Finalists and winners will also be announced on

The Casey and BellaTM Story contest was created to foster creativity in 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. Therefore, entries will be judged on the following criteria:
  1. Creativity and originality of title and adventure.
  2. Creativity and originality of the 3 new characters introduced in the story.
  3. The moral or lessons learned in the story.

Questions as a guide

  • Where, when, or how do Casey and Bella travel?
  • Whom do they meet on their journey?
  • What lessons do they learn?

*Casey and Bella must be the main characters in the story.

  • No rhyming.
  • Describe your idea in 1000 words or less.
  • Full page format or page breaks accepted.
  • All entries must be the fully original creations of the entrants.

For complete rules and an Casey and Bella Writing Contest entry form please go to:

My daughter and I had the pleasure of meeting Jane Lovascio, Casey, and Bella ( yes, they are real, adorable pups) at BEA in New York City. We loved her two previous books, Casey and Bella Go to Hollywood and Casey and Bella Go to New York. For my reviews follow this link:

( )

So of course we are excited to read about their newest adventure. My daughter is already thinking up her own ideas for the contest. We are also getting my niece into it. Share this with a child you know.

Good Luck to all of the kids entering!

~Kristin : )

Thursday, August 20, 2009

CBRS: The Pink Locker Society by Debra Moffitt

Attention parents, caregivers, school teachers, and counselors: Are you looking for a book that helps preteens and tweens understand and deal with physical and emotional changes? One that looks at the time in a child's life before they are exposed to sexual activity and substance abuse issues? If your answer is yes, The Pink Locker Society is for you!

The Pink Locker Society (also known as PLS) by Debra Moffitt is a story about 4 girls, (Kate, Jemma, Piper, And Bet) who are chosen as new members of a secret society. They are expected to help other girls by answering their questions about changing feelings and body issues. Most of the questions involve the common things on most girls' minds; the PBBs (Periods, Boys, Bras). The problem the girls encounter is, how do they help other girls with issues that they are just learning about themselves?

In order to provide the best and most accurate information they research every topic they are asked about and are surprised with how much they learn along the way. But this book covers much more than body changes and first crushes. There are also important lessons about friendships and Internet scams.

The Pink Locker Society by Debra Moffitt was inspired by actual questions asked by tween and teens on a website with the same name.

This website was developed by the creators of to provide a safe haven for kids to feel comfortable about asking questions and getting accurate and straight forward answers. It is directed at kids, but can be a great resource for parents and teachers as well. A great way to find out what your kids are concerned about and to get some ideas on how to answer if you are asked similar questions.

I finished this book with a few questions in mind and thought what a great idea it would be to ask the author on line. We are both on Twitter, so I decided why not do a TwitterView. If you are on Twitter you can view the whole interview by entering this hash tag into the SEARCH box on your Twitter home page. #TV-PLS (It stands for TwitterView-PinkLockerSociety)

Please enjoy my TwitterView with Debra Moffitt, also known as @PinkLockerSociety

KCBOOKS: Q1. Are there more adventures planned for The Pink Locker Society?

PinkLockerMom: Yes, I'm working on book 2 now. The first one was periods, bras, and boys. This one is a lot about BOYS!

PinkLockerMom: Often, they [girls] don't feel comfortable talking to their moms. For instance, they're scared to say they have a boyfriend.

KCBOOKS: Q2. What issues, other than boys, would you want to cover in future books?

PinkLockerMom: Friendships are very important.I'd like to help girls get beyond the drama & know that friendships change. It's normal.

KCBOOKS: Great point, esp. when boys get involved. Changes occur in friendships & it is normal.

PinkLockerMom: Re: Boys have questions too... Here's a blog post from a boy. 51 girls were happy to help.

KCBOOKS: Boys on PLS website goes w/Q3. Do you think the girls [in the book] might recruit a boy to encourage more male participation? #TV-PLS

PinkLockerMom: A boy in the PLS? Not sure they'd give him full member status. But he would be a great advisor.

KCBOOKS: yes and could make a great tie in w/the girls having their first group crush & how to handle it.

PinkLockerMom: Exactly. In book 2, something just like that is brewing up!

KCBOOKS: oooo...we just got a sneak peak! Can't wait to see how it's handled.

KCBOOKS: My last question involves something I worry about as a mom. Internet safety. Between child predators & scams, there are real dangers.

KCBOOKS: Q4. PLS touched on computer safety & scams. Today's tweens live in a tech world. Are there plans to cover these issues more?

PinkLockerMom: RE: Internet safety, I agree. That's why we put a subtle message in the book. Don't want to overdo bc kids will tune out.

PinkLockerMom: I think kids see the Internet/texting like we viewed the phone. It just IS. But we do need to help them be safe.

I had a lot of fun talking with Debra over Twitter. I hope to do more interviews like this in the future. I would love to hear what you think about the book, the website, and the Twitterview.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep in touch.

Kristin : )