"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, March 28, 2013

See you at YAB Fest!

I'm excited to announce that I will be a featured author at the upcoming YAB Fest (Young Adult Book Fest)! 

There are some amazing authors coming for the festival including David Levithan (INVISIBILITY), Andrea Cremer (INVISIBILITY), Keira Cass (THE SELECTION), Amy Tintera (REBOOT), and C. C. Hunter (BORN AT MIDNIGHT) just to name a few.

You can check out the authors that have been announced so far here.
And you can keep up to date on new featured authors as they are announced here.

You can also like the YAB Fest page on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @YABFest.


When: Saturday, May 11, 2013
Where: Round Rock High School, Austin, TX

See you there!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guest Blogging This Week

Hey Everyone! Hope the week is off to a fantastic start!

Just a quick note that I am blogging over on the League of Extraordinary Writers all week! You can check out my first couple posts here:

And check back over there tomorrow and Thursday for the rest of the posts in the series!

Friday, March 22, 2013

See you at the Region 13 Library and Literacy Summit

Hey, Austin area educators! 

I'll be at the Region 13 Library and Literacy Summit this coming Monday, March 25th, 2013, on a panel with my fellow Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels. We'll be talking about inspiring kids to love writing! I'd love to see you there!

WHEN: March 25, 2013


WHERE: Region 13 Education Service Center, Austin, TX

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sherwood Forest Renaissance Faire FTW!

It was off to the Sherwood Forest Ren Faire this past Saturday. This time I managed to convince a few writing peeps to come along with me, namely Salima Alikhan, Bethany Hegedus, and Sam Clark (our new Austin SCBWI Assistant Regional Adviser). Also it was great in that it was only about 45 minutes away from Austin.

And as always, I think pictures summarize the whole event best!

We walked in and there was Peter S. Beagle signing books. Salima Alikhan was going to fangirl him, but his line was kind of busy.

I was thinking about wearing a costume, but then I figured why have chainmail unless I am going to wear it. And it is SO COMFORTABLE. Seriously.

This executioner was so soft-spoken and did not cut off any of our heads!

It was a dragon wishing well/fountain. Any guesses as to what a bunch of authors would wish for?

 A highlight of my day was seeing Salima trying to climb the Jacob's Ladder...

...and falling! 3 times!
No, I didn't try it. I did try ax throwing which was a blast. I plan to build a knife/ax throwing thing in my backyard soon.

Nothing says Ren Faire like licking your funnel cake plate.

Giant Chess set.
I could not figure out why my camera was taking fuzzy pics. Turns out the lens was covered in funnel cake grease :)

There were lots of these things where you put your head through and take a picture. This one with Bethany Hegedus was my personal favorite.

Also it was fun to go to pretend-jail. Here are Salima and Bethany. They are lucky we let them out.

 Watching jousting complete with fox tail, wizard hat, and feather hat.

 It was starting to get hot, and people were starting to fade. Here are Sam Clark, Salima, and Bethany.

 And me with my two minions.

But we had to stop and eat The King's Nuts.

I have to say that the Sherwood Forest Faire had a beautiful wooded location. It was gorgeous with lots of shade and lots of space.

I tried to walk to Constantinople, but the troops were not up for it. So we attempted Narnia next, but the wardrobe was not cooperating. All agreed upon Austin, and we headed home.

Thanks, Sherwood Forest Faire, for a great time! We will definitely be back again next year! And for those interested, they are open until March 31. Easter Ren Faire, anyone?

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Happy St. Patty's Day! Today I'm talking about luck. Namely smart luck. See, I'm one of these people who believes I can do anything. If I put my mind to something, I will succeed. But people like me have found out one thing:

Many things are harder than they seem.

Sure, tons of people want to write a book. Actually sitting down and bringing a story idea to completion is an entirely different thing. It's a lot harder to write a book than to have a great idea. Another thing that is harder than it seems is getting a book published. When I wrote my first book, I had visions of people knocking on my door, begging to publish it. Yeah, it didn't happen quite that way. Lots of things have to come together in just the right way in order to get a book published. And these things are after the book has been written.

It starts with revisions. An author who writes a book has to be willing to revise in order to get a book published. So, great, you think you're willing to revise. But how do you know what to revise? It takes finding the right person to give you feedback. Finding someone who isn't afraid to tell you what needs work. And trust me, finding the right critique partner isn't easy. It takes luck. But smart luck (which I'll come back to).

Okay, so you revise your story. Then what? Well, you have to find the right advocates for your book. If you go the agent route, your agent has to believe not only in your story, but in you. Agents get lots of submissions. Actually finding the right agent takes a bit of luck. But once again, smart luck.

Ditto an editor. Finding that right editor at the perfect publishing house is a lot like throwing dice. Except...right, the smart luck thing.

So what do I mean when I say smart luck? Let's first think about the critique partners. Is the best way to find one just to randomly show up to a critique group and begin reading your story? Well, it's a start. But every critique partner isn't for every person. As you're getting your toes wet, take note of who you actually seem to click with. Whose input you truly value. Take chances and go from there.

On to the agent. Sure, you can blind query. You can look up every single agent and send the same letter, maybe customized with their name, to every single agent. Finding an agent this way takes a whole heck of a lot of luck. Insert smart luck. Which agents really will mesh with your story? When you get rejections, what are they saying? Are they offering invaluable feedback? If so, take it!

The same thing goes with an editor. Getting the right editor at the right house is a tricky business. It can seem impossible at times. But tipping the scales to know the business can make all the difference in the world.

So yeah, the whole business of publishing has a ton of luck involved. Do everything you can to tip that balance of luck to your favor.

Friday, March 08, 2013


Happy Friday, guys! Hope you all have had a fantastic week!

In the event you are around or about this weekend/week, I have two great events coming up, one in the Dallas area and one here in Austin!

SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 3:00

I'm on a panel with three of my other Texas Sweethearts (or Scoundrels...it depends on the day). We'll be sharing photos that tell about our lives. We're thinking of it as "STILL LIFE OF AN AUTHOR" although the general cliche "A PICTURE TELLS A THOUSAND WORDS" would work, too.

The awesome poster the librarians created for us!


MONDAY, MARCH 11, 6:30

I'll be presenting "MY LIFE AS HERCULES: 12 THINGS I'VE LEARNED ON MY HERO'S JOURNEY." So I'm not going to talk too much about Hercules since he didn't write the books, but I should share at least one photo of him, right?

Me with Kevin Sorbo!

Hope to see you at either (or both) event! And Happy Weekend!