Righteous Reader Love!

The part of writing is hearing from readers, especially when they specifically tell you how they were affected by your novel.  Today's reader love is a little different... my full-time gig is teaching high school English to sophomores and juniors.  Every quarter, my Pre-AP kids have a major reading assignment.  One of my students chose to do her project on Flawless. And this... this is just one page what she submitted.

Seriously... how precious is this! I may be in my 40s but I played with this nonstop!  These are my very fave outfits.

Authors... what's the coolest thing you've ever received from a reader?

Readers... have you ever sent something to an author that was super creative like this?

Pictures, please!!!!
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Blog Hop Tour 2014 - Featuring Trudi Trueit

I'm thrilled to share Trudi Trueit's "Why I Write What I Write!"  Traci is a super star in middle grade fiction - she writes stories students can connect with and adds plenty of humor to keep them laughing!  

Want to score some points with your favorite middle-grader? Pick up one of these!

Let's take a little peek inside the marvel that is Trudi Trueit.

What are you currently writing?
I just started a middle grade fiction novel about a fourth-grade boy who wants to be famous. He thinks writing a book will help him reach the pinnacle of success he desires. Along the way, he steps out of his comfort zone to make a new friend, but must decide if the fame he seeks is worth risking that friendship. He also learns to be grateful for the life he leads, rather than longing for one that he imagines will be better.

What makes your work different?
I write what I think kids want to read, not what adults think kids should read. There can be a big gap between the two. If an adult says ‘I just didn’t get your book,’ that’s okay, but if a kid says the same thing I know I have missed the mark. I also want my characters to be able to laugh at themselves and life so my books usually contain plenty of humor.

Why do you write what you do?
I love writing books for middle grades and tweens. The years between ages 8 and 13 fascinate me. For me, it was a golden time, a time of imagining what I could become and where life could take me. Yet, it was also a time of struggle. I wrestled with things like self-image, friendships, love, school, and family issues. I guess I write for this group because I want kids to know they are not alone. We all struggle to find out who we are and where we fit in the world. We all search for our potential.

What is your writing process?
I usually write a one-page synopsis, a character study of my main characters, and a loose outline with some major plot points. When I talk to students, I tell them I think of writing a book as taking one long, relaxing road-trip. You need to know where you’re going to start and where you want to end up, but everything else is up in the air. You know how when you are driving along and you see that sign that says, ‘Biggest Ball of Twine in the World, Next Exit,’ you just have to pull off to see it? It’s the same with the writing. I don’t want to be so rigid that I plan every detail and miss some of the great stuff that organically flows out when I am at the keyboard. If you give your characters a strong voice, you can step out of the way and let them drive the car (i.e. the story).  They will talk to you. They will tell you which direction you should go, when you should pull off the road, and when you are off course. Many times, they reveal some amazing gems you didn’t even know were inside you and it’s those surprises that are, truly, the best part of the journey!

Thanks, Trudi!  

Connect with Trudi (who also does virtual school visits):

And one more thing before we go... search Trudi on Amazon and get a load of all the non-fiction books she's written!  What can't she write?

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Blog Hop Tour 2014

I've been tagged in the Blog Hop Tour and I'm super excited to be here. Shout out and a clink of wine glasses to my girl, Kimberly Belle, who added me to the tour. You absolutely must check out her site and blog out. Her debut novel, The Last Breath, releases September 20th. I've read it, love it, and you will, too! Kimberly's one of the most amazing women I know - crazy smart, runway gorgeous (and doesn't know it), and fiercely witty.

Check out Nancy Cavanaugh's site, as well! We are agent mates (Go Team Root!) and she's written simply wonderful middle-grade books. Her second book, Always, Abigail, releases in the fall! Till then, you can read her first book, This Journal Belongs to Ratchet. You'll love it - I promise! Share it with your favorite middle-graders for a fun read! Nancy's turn on the Blog Hop Tour is next Monday, April 21st.

What are you currently writing?

I just finished the first round of efforts on Accidentally Evil, Book 2 of The XYZ’s of Being Wicked middle-grade series.  Many authors find the editing process tedious (I’m one of them!), but I actually love it.  I mean, LOVE it!  It has something to do with rereading the story after not working on it for a couple of months.  I fall in love with the characters all over again, like I’m visiting old friends.  

I have another top-secret project on submission that has been so much fun to plot and write.  I can’t say much about it at the moment, but it’s so much fun a bit of a turn from my usual books.  I can tell you this - there’s an artist, an intriguing man from past centuries, a pact with God, and a life-changing clock ticking down the hours until love is lost or gained.

Writers are always plotting their next book!  Right now, I’m working on a new book that’s been rattling around in my head for years (no, really… y-e-a-r-s!).  It tackles themes of truth, identity, loyalty, and life after death.  

What makes your work different? 

My writing speaks to readers about real life issues : self-acceptance, loyalty, believing in yourself, friendship, and the importance of family (real or created). In Flawless, Sarah struggles with accepting who she is and her jealousy of her best friend. In The XYZ's of Being Wicked, Hallie has to find out who she was born to be, let go of what she expected, and embrace her future.

Why do you write what you write? 

I write about all the things I wish I’d known when I was a teenager.  I write about knowing how to be (and recognized) a true friend, appreciating your value as an individual (we all have our own special gifts), and not taking yourself or life or gossip or drama too seriously.  And I try to write this in a funny, relevant way that readers find accessible.  

What is your writing process?

I almost always come up with a title first, then the basic plot line in a couple of sentences.  From there, I use Lisa Miller’s class, Story Structure Safari, to dig into the characters and plot.  Then I plot the book by chapter as detailed as possible, and only then do I begin writing.  

I wish I had some magical writing space, but I really write wherever I can: on the couch while “watching” cooking shows, in the kitchen while dinner’s cooking, in bed on the weekends, in my recliner before everyone wakes up.  Regardless of where I write at home, my two dachshunds are right beside me.  

Well... that's my process - it isn't pretty (or easy) but it works for me! What's your writing process? I hope you'll follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch!
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My new website has officially launched!  I hope you'll check it out and pass it on to your reading friends, teachers, and school librarians!

I'd love to visit your school and talk about writing, reading, and never giving up!  Check out the Contact page for details.
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Writing, writing, writing!

I'm neck deep in revising a manuscript I wrote after "Flawless."  Here's what I've figured out:
  • The first draft is embarrassingly two-dimensional.  It's bad.  Like, burn-it bad.
  • What I thought was pure genius is... lackluster, to put it nicely.
  • You can never, ever, ever stop learning about writing.
So, I'm back in a workshop that is already proving to be freaking awesome!  

My goal for 2014 is simple... WRITE EVERY DAY!  Writing means books on bookshelves and there's only one way to get there. 

What are your goals for 2014?  

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