Not quite two years ago, my blogging friend and I exchanged manuscripts. I knew hers was a novel-in-verse, but I didn’t know quite what to expect. Well. Let’s just say, I was blown away. Blown!
That, of course was a draft of Amy Sonnichsen’s RED BUTTERFLY. It was touching and delicate. Beautiful and surprising! I still think about this story. And even though Amy didn’t have an agent at the time, I knew it wouldn’t be long.
Last Summer it was picked up by Simon & Schuster, Books for Young Readers, and is slated for publication in Winter 2015. And I’m THRILLED to be part of her cover reveal! Go Amy!! [And I’m sure she’d love it if you stopped by her blog, The Green Bathtub, to congratulate her!]
So first, the book blurb:
And because I love this book so much, I want to give away a pre-order of it! Just enter in the Rafflecopter below, and feel free to spread the word. This contest is open to US and Canada addresses, and will close June 27th at midnight EDT. Best of luck!
Congratulations, Amy! I’m so excited for you and your beautiful book.
This is my normal posting day, but I’m kind of excited, because Amy Sonnichsen is having her cover reveal this week for RED BUTTERFLY, and I get to be part of it!
Sooooo, I need ya’ll to come back here on Friday, June 6 to see Amy’s beautiful cover. It’s beautiful guys. And perfectly perfect! I can’t wait for you to see it, and I even more can’t wait for you to read it. Will Winter of 2015 never come?!! 🙂
I’m so in love with this book, I just can’t even . . . yeah. I can’t.
See you on Friday! and P.S. if you aren’t following Amy on twitter, you seriously should be. She tweets here: @alsonnichsen
Just wanted to remember all the men and women who have served our country in the military, and give thanks.
Thank you, for your sacrifice! Thank you, for fighting for our freedoms!
Below is a picture of my grandpa:
|Grandpa Sumner is circled (in case you wondered)|
He had a limp from a horse-riding accident as a youth and so when he tried to join the Army during World War II, they wouldn’t take him. The Navy wouldn’t. The Marines wouldn’t. The Airforce wouldn’t.
But he felt so strongly about serving our country, that he kept trying. Finally, he was accepted into the Merchant Marines. During his service, his ship was torpedoed and he had to abandon it in shark-infested waters. Despite the chaos, he had the presence of mind to stop and grab his wallet, and because of that, he was able to help out his fellow soldiers when they got back to land (loan them money so they could get a hotel room, and eat and stuff).
I’m so proud of him and all others like him who give and have given of themselves selflessly. Thank you!
|There I am, circled. 🙂|
My husband found an indoor soccer place with a women’s league, and I convinced all my friends that they needed this in their lives. And it’s kindof been awesome.
It doesn’t matter that most of the women I play with have never played before. It doesn’t matter that our team is terrible (if we can keep the other team to single digits, we feel pretty good!). We are out there taking a risk. Doing something different and having fun!
And being on the field has reminded why I love this sport so much. You have to dig deep, and run harder and faster than you think you can. Even when you have nothing left, you push yourself, because if you don’t, you’re not just letting yourself down, you’re letting your teammates down.
The ball rolls free and it’s a race. Muscles tense, you fly to beat your opponent. In that moment, you forget the ache, forget the scream in your lungs, because if the other team gets it, the opportunity is gone.
If you don’t give it everything you have, you wind up like a puppet–yanked around while you, half-heartedly chase something you will never catch.
Writing is like this. As an author, you have to push yourself harder and dig deeper than you think is possible. It takes will power to make yourself sit in that chair and write. It takes focus to get those words from your brain onto paper.
And once it’s down, that’s only the beginning. Then you have to push yourself to find the story that’s hiding in there. The one that wants to come out and shine if only you can dig deep enough. If only you can get past that voice that says it’s too hard. Or that you aren’t good enough. Or that your story’s not good enough.
Push yourself! That ball is bouncing just out of reach, and if you don’t give it your all, you will wind up chasing a dream that is always just out of reach. Always so close, but never in your grasp. Instead of shining, you become a shadow of what you could be.
We won’t always win, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is knowing you gave it your all. You gave it everything you had and then you gave more. You didn’t quit. You focused. You conquered yourself and came out just a wee bit better.
And all those wee bits add up.
How do you push yourself?
I don’t know what it is, but April is akin to December at our house. Busy with all kinds of fun and crazy activities. I fully plan to tell you about my travels and the awesome writing conference I went to, but not today.
Today I wanted to share a little license plate fun.
First there was the one on the gray infiniti:
See it? In front of that white car? . . .
Okay, I was driving, and just couldn’t get the picture, but this was the license plate:
The contest is over, and we have two winners of GABY, LOST AND FOUND by Angela Cervantes:
Congratulations!! I’ve contacted you both with instructions for receiving your signed copy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Also, I’ll be taking a blogging break in the month of April as most people are busy with the A-Z blogfest, and life is extremely busy with kids activities and end-of-the-school-year stuff. You know how it is. 🙂
Have a happy April, and I’ll see you in May!
We make frequent trips to the library at our house (luckily it’s super close), and 10-year-old always leaves with stacks and stacks of books. I try to limit him to what will fit in the library bag–but it doesn’t always happen that way. I think it’s really interesting to see what others are reading, so here is a snapshot of just a few of his recent selections*:
What does your TBR (to-be-read) pile look like?
P.S. Don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a signed copy of Gaby, Lost and Found. You can find the Rafflecopter HERE.
*I may have read some of these, too. 😉
Back in August, one of my super sweet CP’s (Critique Partner’s), Angela Cervantes, published her debut middle-grade novel, Gaby, Lost and Found with Scholastic Press. If you haven’t read it yet, you should! It is a touching story about a girl trying to find her place when her life is flipped up-side down. Here’s the blurb:
Girlie: I’m trying to make people happy by playing with them and sharing my stuff. How do you make people happy?
Me: I love it! She definitely lives up to that. 🙂
Angela Cervantes is a poet, storyteller, and animal lover. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in various publications, including Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul. When Angela is not writing, she enjoys hanging out with her husband in Kansas and eating fish tacos every chance she gets. Gaby, Lost and Found is her first middle-grade novel. She is currently at work on her second book.
Now for the Giveaway! I have two signed (paperback) copies of Gaby, Lost and Found to give away to two lucky visitors. Just enter in the Rafflecopter below! The giveaway is open through March 31st. Good luck!
A year-and-a-half ago on a whim, I entered a little contest (under exaggeration there) called Pitch Madness. Amazingly I got in and had all kinds of interest, all of which led to an offer of representation! Woo hoo!!
Brenda Drake is one of the most giving authors I’ve ever encountered, and I owe her a lot, so today I want to do some giving back of my own. If you haven’t heard, Pitch Madness is open for entries TODAY! Right up until 11:59 EDT. All entries time-stamped before that time will be considered (no cut-offs!). You can find more information HERE. But seriously, if you are seeking an agent, you should enter. Really.
Now, I am not claiming to be an expert, but I have had a lot of success with my past pitches, SO . . . as a way to give back, from now until 4:00 PM EDT (of Monday, March 10th), I am offering to critiquing/helping with anyone’s pitch who wants help.
Simply send an e-mail to rjljohnson (dot) janet (at) gmail (dot) com with PITCH CRIT in the subject line, and the pitch you want critiqued in the body (remember, the pitches can only be 35 words). Feel free to ask any specific questions there, too. I will respond in the order they’re received.
Please spread the word, and wishing all the Pitch Madness entrants the best of luck!
So I’ve been revising . . . revising a work that I have revised A LOT. And I want to tell you something:
It has been hard.
I’ve spent a lot of time just staring at the screen, begging my characters to do something, because I had no idea what should happen next. I have spent a lot of time not staring at the screen, lost in deep, deep thought as I’ve reconsidered, oh, pretty much every scene. And then reconsidered it all again.
And mixed in there, there’s been a bit of typing, babysteps of progress, and slowly, slowly I’m getting through.
I’ve asked my husband more than once, “Why do I like this again?” Because in those moments when the plot feels impossible, and the characters feel flat . . . things can seem a bit bleak.
But then I came across this quote from Muhammad Ali:
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit.
Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
True champions push through the hard times. They don’t stop just because things aren’t roses and kittens all the time. True champions realize that the reward is greater than the pain.
I will never get one of those belts with the ginormous gold buckle on it. And I may never even get a publishing contract for this book. But when I finish, when I get to that point . . . I will be a champion.
Because I was stronger than the doubts and the fears that tried to hold me back.
What are you battling against right now?