Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The power of the pre-order

Dear readers, I am going to tell you something you may not know.

Apparently, Ewoks speak Tibetan

What a surprise, right? (Ewoks might be my favorite thing about Star Wars, just FYI).

All right, so maybe I'm going to tell you two things you may not know. Are you ready for the second thing?

Pre-ordering a book is one of the very best things you can do for an author whose work you enjoy.

What does pre-ordering mean, exactly? It means ordering the book before its official release date. I'm pretty sure the most common way people pre-order a book is to buy it through an on-line retailer, but did you know you can also pre-order a book from your favorite independent bookstore? What's great about this is that it lets a local brick-and-mortar store know there is interest in this particular book. If they weren't going to carry it before, or were undecided, a pre-order (or two or three) may help them see the error of their ways.

Some independent bookstores have an on-line ordering system, and as soon as the book is up on their site, you can pre-order it. But you can also call the bookstore and pre-order it that way. I'm pretty certain that whatever works for you will work for them! They want to sell you the books you are excited about, trust me.

So why is the pre-order important? Because it makes the publisher happy to see pre-orders. And if the publisher is happy, good things might happen for the author. For example:

Pre-orders are crucial in helping a bookstore decide whether or not to carry a book. Yes, even the chain stores, because believe it or not, some books are NEVER picked up by the chains. Trust me, this is one of the worst things that can happen to an author. With solid pre-order numbers, the sales rep has a much easier time convincing stores to carry the book.

If another book the author has written is being considered by that publisher, pre-orders might help the publisher say yes to the next project.

If this book has a strong start, the author might get more publisher support/marketing dollars for the next book.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the NYT bestseller list. If a book is getting a lot of buzz and great reviews and there's a chance it could hit the list, pre-orders are vital in this situation, because pre-orders all count toward the first week's sales.

In short, pre-ordering a book is pretty much better than ordering a dozen cupcakes from Sprinkles Bakery and having them delivered to the author's home.

Better than cupcakes, people!! You know I don't say that lightly.

Okay, okay, so you really don't want to pre-order, for whatever reason. Maybe you don't have a credit card and are saving up your hard-earned babysitting money so you can buy the book when it comes out. (Anyone who buys books with their babysitting money is TOTALLY AWESOME, by the way). The next best thing you can do is buy the book in the first week or two that it's out. And then read it, and if you like it, tell all your friends about the book, too. I say this all the time - the best thing you can do for a book you love is to tell people about it. Tweet about it, talk about it, instagram it, whatever.

It's true that any time you buy a book, you are supporting the author, bookstores, the publishing industry, etc. and that is a *VERY* good thing.

But pre-orders? Better than cupcakes.

So there you go. A little Ewok trivia AND some things you may not have known about why pre-orders matter so much.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Verse Novel Week and a Poem by Moi

I'm thrilled to be a guest on the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast this week as they kick off Verse Novel Week. In this hour-long episode, we talk about verse novels and Friday Night Lights because, you know, that's how we roll.

I've found podcasts are great to listen to when you have boring chores to do, like mopping the floor or cleaning the bathroom. They have lots of other great ones to listen to - definitely check out their library of past episodes!

Here's the link to the one I'm on: http://cleareyesfullshelves.com/blog/podcast-22

National Poetry Month is almost over, and today I thought I'd share one of my favorite poems from one of my own books. This one comes from The Day Before, and I still remember how satisfied I felt after I wrote it. It was the perfect metaphor for what was happening to Amber at that point in the book. I also remember that when I got the (very) marked-up manuscript from my editor, this poem only had one mark on it - a big, red heart. Wheee!

tell me your story

Many times
when I read a book,
I want to savor
each word,
each phrase,
each page,
loving the prose
so much,
I don't want it
to end.

Other times
the story pulls me in,
and I can hardly
read fast enough,
the details flying by,
some of them lost
because all that matters
is making sure
the character
is all right
when it's over.

This day
is like the best kinds
of books.

I want to cherish
each moment and yet,
I've got to know
that this character
named Cade
will be okay
when this story

Friday, April 25, 2014

Progressive Poem, Day 26

For the past few years, Irene Latham has organized a progressive poem to celebrate National Poetry Month. She's at it again this year, and lucky me, I get to be a part of it!

The poem below has traveled across the kidlitosphere, visiting many different blogs and growing as each participant adds a line. So far, 25 people have added a line to create this masterpiece. I'm the 26th, which means it's my turn to propel our poem forward. 

Our dreamer has been hiking for days, but stops to rest for the night, when a wild ocean boy, of sorts, joins her. As I considered my line, and the fact that we only have four more days for the poem, I wanted an opportunity for our traveler to reflect on her journey, and perhaps impart some wisdom to our guest. 

Sitting on a rock, airing out my feelings to the universe
Acting like a peacock, only making matters that much worse;
Should I trumpet like an elephant emoting to the moon,
Or just ignore the warnings written in the rune?
Those stars can’t seal my future; it’s not inscribed in stone.
The possibilities are endless! Who could have known?
Gathering courage, spiral like an eagle after prey
Then gird my wings for whirlwind gales in realms far, far away.
But, hold it! Let’s get practical! What’s needed before I go?
Time to be tactical— I’ll ask my friends what I should stow.
And in one breath, a honeyed word whispered low— dreams —
Whose voice? I turned to see. I was shocked. Irene’s!
“Each voyage starts with tattered maps; your dreams dance on this page.
Determine these dreams—then breathe them! Engage your inner sage.”
The merry hen said, “Take my sapphire eggs to charm your host.”
I tuck them close – still warm – then take my first step toward the coast
This journey will not make me rich, and yet I long to be
like luminescent jellyfish, awash in mystery.
I turn and whisper, “Won’t you come?” to all the beasts and birds,
and listen while they scamper, their answers winging words:
“Take these steps alone to start; each journey is an art.
You are your own best company. Now it's time to depart!"
I blow a kiss. I hike for days, blue eggs pressed to my chest.
One evening's rest, campfire low, shifting shadows brought a guest.
A boy, with hair in wild waves and eyes blue as the sea
says, "You've traveled far. What did you find -- your best discovery?"

I'm so excited to see where we go from here. Take it away, Kate! (You can see the next line of the poem tomorrow at Live Your Poem).

Here are all of the wonderful poets who have helped create this magical poem. I'm thankful to have been a part of this great group. And a big thanks to Irene for organizing all of us!

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show--Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lisa Schroeder's top 10 things to do if you want to write a novel

10. You already know this, but it’s worth repeating --- read, read, read. Read books in the same genre as the one you want to write, and while you read, think about what makes the character(s) come alive, what makes the pacing work, what are the major and minor plot points, etc. Every time you read a book, you are learning something about writing, even if you don’t realize it. Reading is NOT wasted time. If only we could say the same about cupcake baking.

9. I also think it can be helpful to read some books on craft. Most teens who write to me seem surprised that you can get books at the book store or the library about writing a novel. Here are just a few that I’ve found helpful:


SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder (a screenwriting book, but I find it immensely helpful)

8. Before you start writing, try to get the premise of your novel into a short paragraph. If you can get it down to one sentence, even better. Yes, I do realize this is not at all easy. Too bad, says the evil author with a sly grin. This exercise helps you to cement in your mind what your book is really about. A couple of examples of descriptions I came up with in the early days of writing these novels.

The Bridge from Me to You (forthcoming w/ Scholastic, 7/29/14): In this small town story of learning to follow your heart, newcomer Lauren meets star football player Colby and, despite the obstacles in their way, help each other through a tense few months.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me (Simon Pulse, 2008): Fifteen-year-old Ava is heartbroken over the death of her boyfriend, Jackson. But it isn’t long after his funeral when she discovers while he may be dead, he definitely isn’t gone. 

7. It can be very helpful to have a road map of some kind so you know where you’re going in your story. You don’t have to do an outline, necessarily, as I realize outlining a novel can seem like an arduous task. But without some kind of road map, you are likely to get lost. Some people enjoy this - venturing out with no plan and figuring it out as you go. The longer I do this, however, the more I see the real benefit to having *something* to help you as you go.

You might find a 9-step plotting tool helpful, which you can read about here. Or maybe you decide to write a one-page synopsis. Or perhaps you use note cards and jot down your plot points in a more casual way. There are lots of options here - play around and find something that works for you. 

6. Your main character will be the heart of your story, so get to know him/her before you start writing. Write down what you know about your MC --- likes, dislikes, fears, background information that might be useful but won’t make it into the story. Think about how your past has made you the person you are today. This will be true of your characters as well. Some authors like to interview their main character, or fill out a character sheet, which you can find by doing an internet search.

5. Eventually, you must begin. You must start writing. This is the hardest part for many. The fear of doing it wrong wins out, and so nothing is done at all. Here is the most important thing to remember --- write the story for YOURSELF. Don’t think about anyone else. Write the story because YOU want to know what happens. No one else is reading at this point. This draft is for your eyes only. 

4. Don’t be afraid to play around in those early pages with voice, tense, format, etc. Pretend you are in a sandbox and you’re trying to figure out what you want to do. This is your book. There is no right or wrong way to write it. When it feels right, you’ll know!

3. Some pages will flow like water and others will only come with a lot of sweat and tears. That’s how it is. Writing a book is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. The best thing you can do is make a goal to write something every day. 100 words, 500 words, 1,000 words --- it doesn’t matter. But set a goal and stick to it. This goal makes you open the document and dive back in, and that’s half the battle!

2. When you get stuck, and you will get stuck, backtrack and see if you took a wrong turn somewhere. As you write, there are places you make choices --- either this happens or that happens. Sometimes you write your character into a corner. It’s okay! Pages might have to be deleted, and yes it’s a little sad, but if it’s the best thing for your story, you have to do it. One step forward, two steps back is better than no steps at all! Another reason you might get stuck is because you have no idea what happens next. If you haven't done any plotting up to this point, now might be the time. 

Finally, remember this --- a first draft is NOT going to be perfect. I know, it's so unfair. But it will be far, far, FAR from perfect. It’s a draft. It’s you getting the bones of the story down on paper. Give yourself permission to write badly. Just write. Almost every book on your bookshelf started as a badly written first draft. Keep writing and try to enjoy the process. When the draft is done, you will have to revise. A lot. No one said this was going to be easy, right?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Some poetry by Sara Teasdale

I stumbled across Sara Teasdale's poetry when I was writing Falling for You. I needed a poet that Ella, the elderly woman Rae meets and befriends, admired, and it had to be one that had work in the public domain, so we wouldn't have to deal with permissions and all of that messy stuff, because I wanted to put pieces of a couple of poems in my book. What a gem I discovered.

Sara Teasdale's poetry is so lovely. Although many of her poems can be found on the internet, I ended up buying myself a book of her poetry, FLAME AND SHADOW, published in 1928. It is in really good condition, considering it's over eighty years old, and I now consider it one of my greatest treasures. I simply adore this book.

I think everyone should have at least one poetry book they love on their shelves. There is something so comforting, to me at least, about reading poetry. This morning, I've been feeling anxious about some things. But I went to my shelf, picked up this book, and started reading. And her words just washed it all away. She writes of pain, of death, of joy, of love. It's all there, and suddenly, I have a friend who understands whatever I'm feeling at the moment. What a gift.


In the silver light after a storm,
Under dripping boughs of bright new green,
I take the low path to hear the meadowlarks
Alone and high-hearted as if I were queen.

What have I to fear in life or death
Who have known three things: the kiss in the night,
The white flying joy when a song is born,
And meadowlarks whistling in silver light.


Supper comes at five o'clock,
At six, the evening star,
My lover comes at eight o'clock --
But eight o'clock is far.

How could I bear my pain all day
Unless I watched to see
The clock-hands laboring to bring
Eight o'clock to me.


Day, you have bruised and beaten me,
As rain beats down and the bright, proud sea,
Beaten my body, bruised my soul,
Left me nothing lovely or whole --
Yet I have wrested a gift from you,
Day that dies in dusky blue:

For suddenly over the factories
I saw a moon in the cloudy seas --
A wisp of beauty all alone
In a world as hard and gray as stone --
Oh who could be bitter and want to die
When a maiden moon wakes up in the sky?


Into my heart's treasury
I slipped a coin
That time cannot take
Nor a thief purloin, --
Oh better than the minting
Of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
of a lovely thing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thoughts from a scared, white author on diversity in Kid Lit

There have been many discussions on social media lately around diversity.

I think THIS POST by Kelly Jensen is a great one to read if you want to get caught up in what's been happening. And it's this post that caused me to open up my blog and write something about the topic, because I've been thinking about it a lot lately, but have said very little.

I will start with an admission: as a white female, I feel most comfortable writing about white females. Early in my career, this was not an area I wanted to "stretch myself" as I set off trying to make a career for myself writing books for kids and teens. Mostly because writing a good, publishable novel is hard, and I didn't feel like I was ready to risk one more thing I might get wrong. I was still worrying about whether I knew how to get the plot right, the pacing right, the setting right, etc. etc.

There are a lot of things to get right, you know? I'm not saying this made my decisions good ones or "right" - I'm just telling you how I came to the decisions I did about the kinds of characters I wrote. I mean, if I'm honest, even writing white males scares me, and most of my books have at least one of those in there as well. I constantly question myself - is this how boys talk? Think? Act? I live with three of them, and still, they often feel like aliens to me (no offense, male humans).

However, once I had a half a dozen novels under my belt, I knew it was time to get really uncomfortable.

When I agreed to write a series for Scholastic about four girls who meet at summer camp, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to go where I had never gone before.

And so, I did. The CHARMED LIFE series features four girls - Caitlin, Mia, Libby and Hannah. In the first two chapters of the first book, the four girls meet and find the charm bracelet that they believe to be lucky. But then, from there, we follow Caitlin and her family home to Connecticut. The second book features Mia in southern California, the third book, Libby, who is from England, and the fourth book, Hannah from Tennessee.

Four girls. Here was my opportunity to let non-white kids find themselves within the pages of a book.

So Caitlin in book #1 is African American and Mia in book #2 is Latina.

I'm not gonna lie, I was scared I'd get something wrong. Actually, I'm still scared, since the books aren't out yet. With Mia, especially, I had to do some extra work to make sure I got the short Spanish phrases correct that her mother uses at home. I had to think long and hard about her heritage, where did her mom come from, where did her dad come from, etc. etc. Before I sent the draft off to my editor, a very kind Spanish teacher at a local private school helped me, and I'm extremely grateful for that assistance. That's the thing though - there is lots of help out there, we just have to seek it out. Yes, it's work, but in the end, worth it, I think.

But even more than any of that, I was afraid of being stereotypical without realizing it. Afraid someone would take issue with something I wrote and call me racist. Still, I didn't back down, and did the best I could, because ultimately, I believe diversity in fiction is something we all need to work on. And I truly believe trying is better than not trying. If I got something wrong, and I most likely did, I will learn from my mistakes and work hard to do better in the future.

I love THIS POST that Sarah Ockler wrote about white authors writing diverse characters a couple of years ago. In it she writes, "Why is diversity in fiction important? Because diversity in life is important. And when we exclude—intentionally or otherwise—characters of color from our work, we do send a billboard message to readers. We tell them that people of color aren’t there, aren’t important, aren’t worthy of our stories." 

The last thing I want to do is send the message to some of my readers that they aren't important. I mean, come on - just the thought breaks my heart. Want a picture of what our readers look like? Here's one a Missouri teacher tweeted to me back in January.

Spend a moment, and take this in. You know I have, again and again.

Recently, I participated in a PJ reading night at a local elementary school. I took along IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES and the first CHARMED LIFE book. This school has a very diverse population. And let me tell you something - I will never forget how many of the kid's eyes lit up when I showed them the cover of CAITLIN'S LUCKY CHARM before I read a couple of pages. After I finished reading, some of them even came over to look at the cover close up. To touch it. It was almost like they couldn't believe what they were seeing. (Mad props, by the way, to Scholastic for doing a photo shoot for these books and doing their best to find models that fit the characters I created).

I wanted to write this post because I know there are lots of white authors out there like me who are afraid. As Sarah Ockler said in her post - "Race is a sticky thing." But I love what she said following a short discussion about that. "We all need to take a collective drink of Let’s Get The Hell Over Ourselves (and chase it down with a swig of We’re All Human, Remember?).

Yes, yes, yes. *empties my glass*

Change happens when we each do what we can. Authors, agents, editors, cover designers, sales reps, festival organizers, etc. It's not up to authors alone. Still, a big part of it is what we choose to do with the stories we write.

I think the most important thing to remember is: it's okay to be afraid. Do it anyway.

“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.” ~ Meg Cabot, The Princess Diaries

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My favorite verse novel

We are halfway through National Poetry month. Have you been checking in on the progressive poem?

Today it's over at Tamera Will Wissinger's blog. I still have a while before it's my turn, but I'm getting a wee bit nervous. I love what they've done so far, I have to say.

Anyway, today I thought I'd share my all-time favorite verse novel. Most of you know I have four young adult verse novels published. In July, a new one hits the shelves, though it's half in verse and half in prose, so does that bring me up to four-and-a-half? I'm not sure...

Again and again, I've picked up this book, Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, to inspire me as I'm writing verse. Tracie has such a beautiful way with words. This book inspires me to reach (in a poetic sort of way) when I'm writing.

It's recommended for kids ages 10 and up, and I feel like many of my middle school readers would like this one. Honestly, I feel like there's a little something for everyone here. It was the winner of the Schneider Family Book Award in 2008.

From goodreads:

"Josie Wyatt knows what it means to be different. Her family's small farmhouse seems to shrink each time another mansion grows up behind it. She lives with her career-obsessed mom and opinionated Gran, but has never known her father. Then there's her cerebral palsy: even if Josie wants to forget that she was born with a disability, her mom can't seem to let it go. Yet when a strange new boy--Jordan--moves into one of the houses nearby, he seems oblivious to all the things that make Josie different. Before long, Josie finds herself reaching out for something she's never really known: a friend… and possibly more. Interlinked free verse poems tell the beautiful, heartfelt story of a girl, a family farm reduced to a garden, and a year of unforgettable growth."

A few of my favorite passages:

"Crickets sing their lullabies
to us,
and before dawn stretches
her arms into a new day
sleep tucks me in."

"Granny braced by the screen door,
fists on her wide hips,
surveying the sky,
daring the rain to

mist her face
with each gust.
Gran always says,
'This tantrum can't last --
but we Wyatt women will."

"I find Jordan stretched out
in the hammock.
Last summer, I tried it once;
tangled for hours,
frightened and helpless,
like a spider's dinner."

Do you have a favorite verse novel? Would love to hear about it! And I hope if you love verse novels, you'll check out this little gem. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My trip to Texas and the TLA conference

On Monday I woke up very early. As in, 3:00 am early, in order to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Dallas, Texas. I made it to Dallas just fine, it was the trip to San Antonio from there that got totally messed up and caused me to miss the bookseller event that night, with about 100 independent booksellers in attendance. It was SO disappointing. I could have been stuck at the Austin airport for hours and hours, if not for the kindness of a stranger, so thanks Steve from Omaha for at least getting me out of the airport!

After that frustrating snafu, however, things went well.

The weather was beautiful and I spent most of Tuesday morning walking along the Riverwalk.

Tuesday afternoon I did a panel with Ed. Tech Specialist Michelle Leggett and Librarian Seantele Forman. We talked about connecting students and authors via Skype and I think it went really, really well. Here we are before the talk.

Afterwards, we found a lovely spot along the river and had cool drinks and chips with guacamole. Mmmmm.... I even wore my new cowboy hat.

That evening, I signed Advanced Review Copies of The Bridge from Me to You. During our session, I had mentioned that this book was perfect for Texas, since I call it my small town, big sky, football is king book. I told them I had to do something with all of that love for "Friday Night Lights" that's in my heart. While I signed books, I had quite a few tell me once I mentioned "Friday Night Lights," they just had to come and get my book.

Y'all, clearly, these are my people!!!

I signed alongside Jennifer Ziegler who has an adorable-looking middle grade novel coming out next month (5/27) called Revenge of the Flower Girls. We had a line of enthusiastic librarians and they were all so nice and so many of them said really kind things about me and my books.

As a mid-list author, I think it's easy to feel like there aren't a lot of people who know who you are. These kind, excited librarians reminded me that there are people who know who I am, and to some kids, my books *do* matter. Their comments meant so much to me, and this kindness is one of the main reasons I love the Texas Librarian Conference. They are a great, great group of people.

So here I am in the Scholastic booth, talking and signing:

Here's a picture I snagged off twitter. Author Jennifer Ziegler is on the left, and Sandra Carswell, a librarian who has had me Skype with her school, is between us. It was fun to meet Sandra in person.

Tuesday night, the Scholastic group took us out to dinner along with some fantastic librarians we got to meet and chat with. We went to a place called Biga on the Banks, and the food was SO GOOD. I took a picture of my dessert (because, you know me, it's all about the dessert) but alas, instagram is down and I can't get to it.

On Wednesday, I had an uneventful flight home, thank goodness!!

All in all, a great trip. Thank you, Texas librarians, for being so awesome. Let me tell you something - y'all know how to make an author feel special.

Hope to see you again real soon.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Signing event this Sunday, April 13th

I am back from the Texas Library Association and have some fun pictures and stories to share, but I keep forgetting to mention an event that is coming up SOON and want to make sure I tell y'all about it before it's too late. Do you like how I used y'all there? Obviously, Texas wore off on me.

So anyway - local peeps:

Kim Derting and I will be at the Bridgeport Barnes and Noble in Tualatin, Oregon from 3:00 to 5:00 on Sunday, April 13th. We're there supporting a book fair for Sherwood Middle School, but anyone can come by and see us to buy books and have them signed. I got a B&N coupon in my inbox today that is good through Sunday, so check yours and come and spend it!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Some poetry by Emily Dickinson

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you — Nobody — Too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! They’d banish us — you know!

How dreary — to be — Somebody!
How public — like a Frog —
To tell one’s name — the livelong June —
To an admiring Bog!
(c. 1861) 

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
(c. 1872)

To see her is a Picture --
To hear her is a Tune --
To know her an Intemperance
As innocent as June --
To know her not -- Affliction --
To own her for a Friend
A warmth as near as if the Sun
Were shining in your Hand.
(c. 1883)

To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a book it lie --
True Poems flee --
(c. 1879)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy National Poetry Month

It's April, and you know what that means, right?

Well, yes, pretty flowers, but that's not the correct answer. April is the month we celebrate poetry all month long! Yay!! I will probably post some favorite poems throughout the month, maybe even a few snippets from my own books.

For now, though, a couple of things I want to bring to your attention.

One of my favorite blogs, Full Eyes, Clear Shelves, is getting ready for their third annual verse novel week at the end of April. Are you a teen who has read and loved a verse novel? Or maybe a teacher or librarian who has seen the difference verse novels can make in some students' lives? Or maybe you are an author of verse novels like I am. If any of those things are true, they are looking for people to share thoughts, reviews, love, whatever, to help them celebrate. All you have to do is go HERE and fill out the short form, letting them know you are interested in participating. Don't be shy - I think it'd be so awesome to hear from a teen reader, especially, since not everyone understands the appeal of verse novels.

Next, there's this!

What is a progressive poem, you ask? Well, it's a poem that 30 of us are going to create during the month of April. Today the first line of the poem was created by Charles Waters over at his blog. Every day, another person will add a line until the poem is finished on April 30th.

I'm scheduled for April 26th.

Here is the list of contributors, if you want to follow along each day to see how the poem is progressing. Fun, right?

2014 Kidlitosphere
Progressive Poem

1 Charles at Poetry Time
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Donna at Mainely Write
4 Anastasia at Poet! Poet!
5 Carrie at Story Patch
6 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
7 Pat at Writer on a Horse
8 Matt at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme
9 Diane at Random Noodling
10 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
11 Linda at Write Time
12 Mary Lee at A Year of Reading
13 Janet at Live Your Poem
14 Deborah at Show--Not Tell
15 Tamera at The Writer's Whimsy
16 Robyn at Life on the Deckle Edge
17 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Julie at The Drift Record
20 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
21 Renee at No Water River
22 Laura at Author Amok
23 Amy at The Poem Farm
24 Linda at TeacherDance
25 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
26 Lisa at Lisa Schroeder Books
27 Kate at Live Your Poem
28 Caroline at Caroline Starr Rose
29 Ruth at There is No Such Thing as a Godforsaken Town
30 Tara at A Teaching Life

Happy poetry month one and all!!