Writing quote

Sure, it's simple writing for kids...Just as simple as raising them.
— Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, September 29, 2012


   I'm the Spotlight Author on Morgen Bailey's Author Blog today. Stop by for a visit! Full interview to come in January... and I was interviewed on the Newbie Writers podcast with Catharine and Damien. They're a wacky pair, those two, but oh what fun we had! After all, where else can you talk about writing children's books and french kissing pigeons?

Friday, September 28, 2012


Welcome to Friday Features! This is where you'll find interviews and guest blogs with and by other authors of juvenile fiction. If you're interested in being one of my guest authors, please email me.

Today's guest author is the prolific Linda Joy Singleton, author of the Dead Girl and Seer series, including Dead Girl Walking and Don't Die Dragonfly. Here, Linda tells us her most memorable book signing moment, how she promotes her books, and if she's an outliner or pantser (fly by the seat of your pants writer).

Tell me a little about your writing journey to your first published book. How did you get started? When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
    I started writing around age 8, and submitted my first work to teen magazines when I was 14. Nothing sold and life interfered with this writing dream until I was in my 20’s. I had joined Romance Writers of America and attended meetings where I heard writing professionals speak, which was a great education. A writing friend suggested I submit to her small publisher, so I queried several books, and on an amazing day I had a phone call offering me a contract – and can you guess my first question? I asked, “Which book?” It was a chapter book called ALMOST TWINS.

    You are a very prolific writer, and your books have included quite diverse topics from     
    ghosts to clones. Where and how do you get your ideas? 

    Ideas are easy; tackling publishing is hard. For every sale I have, I have many unpublished manuscripts and a huge box of rejections. I just kept trying, and jumping at every opportunity including ghost-writing a Sweet Valley Twin and writing two “Choose your own romance” tweens. I’ve always loved writing about paranormal topics, and those topics seem to sell best for me too. I have a file full of ideas I may never use; a mix of humorous, mystery and magical. 

    Do you outline and plot out your complete novel before you write or do you prefer to    dive right in and see where your characters take you? Do you have tips for either  

    I’m an outliner, although less than I used to be.  For the book I recently started, I knew what the opening would be and wanted a guideline for the rest of the book, so did a sketching list of scenes to happen. This will help guide me and keep my plotting/theme focus. Scenes will change along the way, though, and then I’ll write a new list of scenes left to happen. I need a writing map before I travel on my first draft road.

    Who were/are your literary influences?  

    Series books. I avoided anything that seemed homework. Books entertain and take me to exciting places. So I wanted to write books that take my readers to exciting places, too. My biggest influence was Margaret Sutton, who wrote the vintage girl-series Judy Bolton mysteries, and who answered my fan letter when I was 14. We stayed in touch and when I was 27 I co-wrote a new Judy Bolton with her – a dream come true for a fan! I read tons of mysteries, both for kids and adults, and find myself always including mystery plots in my books. Like the mysterious hidden grave in my latest book, BURIED: A GOTH GIRL MYSTERY.  

    Tell us about some of your most memorable moments at a school visit or book     
    signing. Your most embarrassing?
    When I was signing my REGENERATION series (Berkley 2001) at a Borders, a man came up and started talking about how paranormal things were real and we were all in danger. Kind of freaky. A funny signing was early in my career when I did an event at a Barnes and Noble for my CHEER SQUAD series (Avon 1997) and I brought in real cheerleaders to do some cheers, including 2 big guys who were “lifers” – and when they threw the girls up in the air, I worried the girls would crash into bookshelves. Crazy fun!

    I’ve heard editors say that writers (especially beginning writers) should try and sell   
    their manuscript as a stand alone novel first even if it’s part of a series. What are your   thoughts on this? Did you plan the books in your series as a series from the get-go?

    When I started writing, I mostly queried paperback only publishers and was able to submit queries then get a contract to write the book. I sold a few of my Sweet Dreams teen romances just on a few paragraphs, but by then I was already working with the editor. Things are harder now, more competitive. I have to write a complete book to submit to a publisher just like a new author. In fact, a new author has an advantage over a previously published author as editors love to promote “debut” authors. Still, most of my series sold on proposal (except the first one), where I planned other titles and created details about the continuing series. Each time I hoped the series would last forever, but they always came to an end. I was lucky THE SEER went to 6 books with the new spin-off, BURIED, starring Goth girl Thorn from THE SEER.

    Writers have to do most of their own promotion and marketing these days. What marketing/promotional strategies have your found the most useful? The least?  

    I have had to keep changing what I do. I used to do more school talks but schools have less money and time for authors, so I’m now doing some Skype visits to school. About four years ago, MySpace was the best place for me to share news of my THE SEER series. But that ended, and I switched over to blogging on LiveJournal. My blog is still there but not much else going on there. So I’m on Facebook with my main account under my full name and also an “author” page. I also love to post on Twitter. Fans of THE SEER/DEAD GIRL WALKING find me on Facebook and my web page. In fact just yesterday I had the most wonderful email from a fan online. Here’s part of what she said: My sister and I read all the Seer Series and they are amazing.  Every two to three days, we would finish two books. We just couldn't put them down!  You are the best author ever!  We also read Buried and and that made the series even more fun.  Before reading about Thorn, I would just judge people by there looks but I have learned a great lesson from you and since then, I try really hard not to judge others by looks. Thank you so much for the lessons and the great books! 

    What are your top 3 tips for aspiring writers?
    Read all kinds of books – you learn so much by enjoying other authors.
    Finish your book. Then rewrite. And rewrite again. Wait months. Then rewrite again.
    While it’s easy to self-publish, don’t rush into it. Editing matters.

    Linda's website: http://www.lindajoysingleton.com

    Sunday, September 16, 2012


    Ta-Da! The SACAJAWEA OF THE SHOSHONE BLOG TOUR has been finalized. It begins on Oct. 3 with a Guest Post on the Frolicking Through Cyperspace blog. See the full schedule in the sidebar. Will I write about how to write narrative non-fiction for kids? My transformation into Sacajawea for my reading at the Sonoma County Book Festival? Trimming masses amount of research notes into 2500 words? Finding my agent? What would you like to know about? As part of the tour, I have several guest posts coming up, so I'll answer your questions in my tour posts and link to your website or social media site. Post your questions in the comment section on this post! There will also be a couple of giveaways of free signed copies of Sacajawea of the Shoshone, and a fun contest or two. Stay tuned for more information or subscribe to my blog to follow the tour!

    Monday, September 10, 2012


       Thanks to Brad Mendelson and Cuckoo Concertos, my first book Otto's Rainy Day gets a new reading—and a new life—on YouTube. Come check out Brad's lively reading and production of the book.