#WritingGoals #LifeGoals

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be an author and teacher. I’ve taught for 16 1/2 years now, in every grade from first through tenth (except 9th).

I’ve been a writer my whole life, but it wasn’t until January 2013 that I transitioned to published author. I signed a contract with a small press in May 2012 and had big dreams for my trilogy.

Upon my arrival into the pub’d world, I found my destination wasn’t what I exactly envisioned for my life. So once 18 Thoughts released in 2015, fulfilling my contract, I hung up my author’s hat. I was a little disappointed until I switched from teaching middle to high school English the following year. Being a published author definitely helped me on my journey to making that switch, and it gave me street cred with my skeptical students who saw “Elementary Education” listed on my degree hanging in my classroom.

Now my writing and life goals have merged. I’m not looking to write the next book, but looking for the book that will inspire my students to write in their Writer’s Notebook. Each day is an opportunity to give students something to spark their imaginations. One of my favorite writing activities is using poems for a mentor text. I always write along with my students, demonstrating my ‘vomiting words on a page’ under the doc camera so they understand that I’m handing them their license to play with beautiful words (no red pens here).

With that spirit in mind and to celebrate the 4th of July, I’d like to leave you with some beautiful words: a poem titled Good Night by Carl Sandburg. Maybe it’ll spark some creativity for you today 🙂

Many ways to say good night.

Fireworks at a pier on the Fourth of July 
spell it with red wheels and yellow spokes. 
They fizz in the air, touch the water and quit. 
Rockets make a trajectory of gold-and-blue 
and then go out.


Railroad trains at night spell with a smokestack mushrooming a white pillar.

Steamboats turn a curve in the Mississippi crying a baritone that crosses lowland cottonfields to razorback hill.

It is easy to spell good night. 
Many ways to spell good night. 


This has been another post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month! Purpose: To share and encourage.


And I’m killing two birds with one stone here today. I’ve decided to join Two Writing Teachers for their Slice of Life Challenge. Every Tuesday we share a story, a slice of life, on our blogs. Check it out!

slice of life

HELP! What Should My New Cover Look Like?!?

As smaller publishers are catching up with Big 5 illustrators in terms of style and quality, Big 5 YA covers have been differentiating themselves by shifting away from photomanipulation people on the cover and more toward high concept minimalism (think Hunger Games and Twilight). So if I want to follow in the trend of Big 5 covers, this is something I should consider.

With 18 Truths set to come out on January 28th (YESSS, I have an official release date *squeeee*), I wanted to keep the banding the same between its cover and that of the first book in the series, 18 Things. But to do that, there was no way I could lean more toward a minimalistic cover.

I emailed the powers that be at Curiosity Quills about this (my publisher), and asked them about some smoother graphics and a bolder color scheme  for 18 Things, because after a discussion with another author/blogger, we both thought it could do wonders for the cover.

If you’ve ever spent some time browsing covers in the Young Adult section at Barnes and Noble, you see what’s striking, and have probably discovered it doesn’t matter how good the book is; if the cover is exceptional, it will appeal to readers.
I didn’t know if the scene of the 18 Things cover was necessarily the problem of keeping it competing with other YA best sellers, and I thought asking my publisher to redo the whole thing was too bold to ask. But then CQ responded to my concerns with an offer to completely reimage the cover, and I enthusiastically accepted. From there, we can brand 18 Truths and later on, 18 Thoughts (the last book of the trilogy, which I plan to write the entire novel during November for NaNo, so say some prayers for my sanity please), in the same vein.
But now I’m left with the task of telling my publisher what I actually want for the new cover of 18 Things and well . . . I’d LOVE your ideas! Because artwork is not my strong suit! So please, please, please give me your thoughts (hopefully you’ve read 18 Things and know a little about it, lol). And hey, if we use your idea, I’ll thank you in the updated version, and you can be sure a free copy of my next novel is on its way 🙂
~Thanks, everyone!!!

(Never) Again!!

Never_Again-5Today is the beautiful cover reveal for my blogger buddy, Theresa Paolo!! I know from personal experience with my debut novel, 18 Things, how crucial it is to share things like cover reveals to help create buzz for an upcoming release, so help spread the word on your social media hangouts! Now what better way to get this party started than to give the lowdown on her first book:

Just when she had finally moved on…
…He moved back.

When college freshman Liz Wagner hears her ex’s voice for the first time since he moved clear across the freaking country, she does what any respectable girl would do: Dive into the girls’ bathroom.

Zach Roberts—the Zach Roberts—is back. And he’s everywhere Liz looks—infiltrating her friend group, buddy-buddy with her brother. It’s enough to ruin college altogether. But what choice does she have but to put on a happy face and pretend he didn’t leave her vulnerable and alone in a pile of emotional wreckage?

Pretending works, until tragedy strikes and the only person available for comfort is the one person she wants to stay away from. When Zach turns out not to be the jerk she convinced herself he was, but the boy she used to love, Liz needs to decide whether to open her heart again to the boy who tore it out.

Add it to your Goodreads now!

And if you haven’t heard of Theresa yet, let me introduce you:


Theresa Paolo lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her boyfriend and Milton, their big eyed goldfish. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty which is why she writes New Adult and Young Adult books, reliving the best and worst years of her life through her characters. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. On November 11th 2011 at 11:11 she made a wish. Two hours later she was laid off. Jobless for the first time since she was sixteen she was determined to make her wish come true. Writing became her life again and after many nights of ignoring her boyfriend to spend time with her characters, she finally received the call that all her hard work, finger crossing and eye crossing paid off. She signed with Berkley (Penguin) and her debut novel, (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, will be out in Fall 2013.  When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera or can be found in the blogosphere or on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.


So what do you guys think? Plan on reading (Never) Again? Is there anything in your life where you said ‘never again’ only to find yourself eating your words later on? I can think of two off the top of my head: gaining my weight back after my second pregnancy (yeah, writing is a huge workout time suck) . . . and moving back to my hometown (if someone would’ve told me at 18 that I’d move back here to raise my kids, I would’ve moved to Africa just to make it not come true).

See you Wednesday for IWSG!

#SizzlingSummerEvent Hosted by YA Bound Book Tours Giving Away Two, that’s right, TWO Loaded Kindle Fires!!

Kindle YA

Giveaway for Kindle YA. Notice the really pretty one in the bottom left-hand corner?

Are you interested in winning one of these Kindle Fires? Wellll, read on 🙂

Kindle NA

Giveaway for Kindle NA

Maybe you saw this tweet from me yesterday: Wondering if runnin topless across a field with #18things across my chest in red lipstick is good marketing idea? Maybe there r easier ways?

As many of you know, one of the biggest issues authors face is promotion. It takes money to market, and not all of us have extra income to spend *put your hands in the air & wave them around if you’re a teacher like me*

Thanks to Trisha Wolfe and Dawna Raver’s brilliance, we formed a top-secret organization *busts out super-maniacal laugh and rub hands together evilly*  in an effort to allow a group of authors to pull their resources and come up with a HUGE giveaway to promote each and every babe talent *slaps hand & whispers don’t give away the secret!*

So it’s with great pleasure I announce the Sizzling Summer Giveaway event hosted by YA Bound Book Tours featuring 50 authors!


This giveaway event will take place this week, July 22nd to July 27th. Book Superheroes Bloggers from all over the country are hosting a promo post provided by an author (excerpt, dream cast, playlist, character interview, etc.) and rafflecopter giveaway code for 2 Kindle Fire HD’s pre-loaded with some of the author’s books.

Today, I’m hosted on The Eater of Books with a post about my top 10 rules for creating bucket lists. Later in the week, I’ll also be hosted by Once Upon A Dream Books and Fiction in Fiction in Fiction, but I’m not sure which day since this is a blast event, which means they can post any they chose.

You can check out the blogs during the week, or you can follow on Twitter with hashtag ‪#‎SizzlingSummerEvent.

Are you going to check out the blogs? Good! Give yourself a smiley sticker and prepare to win so you can squander your money on more e-Books . . . who needs food anyway? 🙂