Thursday, July 26, 2012

Swoon Thursday, July 26th

It's Thursday, which means it's time for Swoon Thursday hosted by the girls over at YABound.

Here's how it works: From the book you're currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering.

Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog! Don't forget to stop byYABound to read what got them swooning!

The book I'm reading right now doesn't have any swoon worthy moments, so I decided to share another one from Shift.

     His lips left mine again, but only to shift to the edge of my jaw. “Should’ve given you another chance,” he said, his breath coming hard, “talked to you again before I called her.” 
     “You gave me way too many changes. You should’ve just done this.”
      He murmured in agreement, moving his mouth to my neck right below my ear. His fingers threaded through my hair, tingling my scalp. I shivered in a full-on body quake.

How about the book your reading, any swoon worthy moments?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Spotlight: Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage by Nancy Stewart

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Nancy Stewart about her newest picture book Katrina and Winter, Partners in Courage. Nancy is the author of several wonderful and inspirational books for children.

Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage
by Nancy Stewart

Synopsis from Amazon:
All Katrina Simpkins longs to be is a normal girl. Because she must wear prosthesis as a leg, she feels anything but. When she meets and befriends Winter, the tailless dolphin, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, everything changes, including Katrina's whole life. Suggested age range for readers: 8-12

Please help me welcome Nancy!

Cherie: Tell us about your picture book, Katrina and Winter:  Partners in Courage.

Nancy: It came about in a circuitous way. My husband and I bought a condo on Clearwater Beach, Florida, four years ago.  One day I happened to drive by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter, the dolphin. I’d never heard of her so decided to have a look. I visited Winter and went in to see the video they were offering about her.  Featured in the video was an eight year old girl, Katrina Simpkins, who had to wear a prosthetic leg.  It told the story of her journey from being a shy, withdrawn and bullied child to one with more self-assurance and determination.  About a year later, I received a phone call from a woman called Maria Simpkins.  I knew I’d heard the name but couldn’t place it. Martie is Katrina’s mom, and she called to see if I’d be interested in writing a book about Katrina. The rest is, of course, history. 

Cherie: It’s wonderful that you were able to share Katrina’s story with the world. She sounds like an amazing young lady! What is your writing process like?

Nancy: Process, for me, is a funny old thing.  Usually I try to organize my thoughts, plot, characters, on paper.  This is the way I always attacked any scholarly work when I was a university professor of education.  Alas, or perhaps for the better, that technique never seems to work for me.  In fact, just yesterday I began a sequel to Skeleton Coast.  I sat with a blank screen too long, gave it up and began the book.  Now to be fair, I already knew the characters well, but even so, jumping in seems to work for me.  Once I’ve well and truly begun, I then go back, take a hard look at where I’ve been and give some bones to the form.

Cherie: Your writing process sounds similar to mine. What is your favorite thing about writing picture books?

Nancy: Here comes that U professor thing again:  I love doing research. Always have.  Even if I’m writing fiction (and not non-fiction, dealing with due diligence), I want it to be correct.  For instance, when I wrote the Bella and Britt Series, I spent countless hours researching dolphins, pelicans, what an oil spill does, manatees, etc.  Yes, of course, the beauty, lyrical language and whimsy have to be there but so does accuracy of the factual material.

Cherie: Do you have any advice for aspiring picture book authors?

Nancy: Read many picture books that have succeeded.  Don’t give up!  Keep working, honing your craft, join a critique group, attend conferences and write and edit some more!  Those who persevere are the ones who join the body of published authors

Cherie: Great advice! What are you working on now?

Nancy: I’ve just finished a middle grade novel called Lost on the Skeleton Coast.  It’s an adventure/mystery set in Namibia.   Two kids up against diamond smugglers, kidnappers and lions.  A very quiet little book…

Cherie: It sounds fascinating! Now for some fun questions. Favorite color?
Nancy: blue

Cherie: Favorite animal?
Nancy: cat

Cherie: Are you a morning person or an evening person?
Nancy: Both!

Cherie: Okay, that’s impressive!! Do you have any guilty pleasures that get you through the writing/revising process?
Nancy: Checking my stats and/or Facebook too much!

Cherie: Favorite food?
Nancy: Pasta—any kind, any time!

Cherie: Do you have a favorite place to write?
Nancy: In my sunroom

Cherie: Are there any types of books you don’t read?
Nancy: Si-Fi and Vampires

Thanks, Nancy, for being with us today!!

Learn more about Nancy and her books
Available from

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Writing Resources for Teen Writers


Just write: Here's How!
by Walter Dean Myers
About the author and the book: After writing more than one hundred books, it still amazes me that I have been lucky enough to spend most of my life doing what I truly love: writing.
What makes a writer? The desire to tell a story, a love of language, an eye for detail, practice, practice, practice. How well should you know your characters? Do you need to outline before you write? How important is length? Now Walter Dean Myers, the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, walks you through the writing process.

Click here to learn more.

Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly
by Gail Carson Levnie
Synopsis: In Writing Magic, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine shares her secrets of great writing. She shows how you, too, can get terrific ideas for stories, invent great beginnings and endings, write sparkling dialogue, develop memorable characters—and much, much more. She advises you about what to do when you feel stuck—and how to use helpful criticism. Best of all, she offers writing exercises that will set your imagination on fire.
With humor, honesty, and wisdom, Gail Carson Levine shows you that you, too, can make magic with your writing.

Click here to learn more.

Communities, Support, and more:

Figment is a community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors.

Frodo's Notebook, is a magazine features writing by teenagers 13-19. Learn more by clicking here.

Hang Loose Press has a regular section devoted to writing by talented high school writers.

Teen Ink, a national magazine, book series, and website devoted entirely to teenage writing, art, photos, and forums. Students must be age 13-19 to participate, register and/or submit work. Please see the About Us page for more information.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, identifies teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience through The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

The Young Voices Foundation mentoring young writers K-12. They offer quarterly no fee writing contests for students in grades K-12.

Note: Be sure to read each site carefully to make sure it's right for you, and check with your parents before joining. This list is a work-in-progress. If you know of other resources for young writers, please email me at cheriecolyerwriter(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll be happy to take a look and consider adding it to this list.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My visit to Writer's Camp

I did my first library visit this week. It was so much fun to chat with the students about their stories and to answer their questions about writing and publishing a novel. Below is a picture of the talented writers who participated (minus one camera shy fellow).

Middle Grade Writer's Group

We talked about life as a writer, from developing an idea into a story and tips on conquering writer's block to finding a home for your novel and what to expect after you've sold the book.

After the fun and interactive discussion, I got to be a fly on the wall and listen to the rest of their meeting. Some of the students shared a little of their work, and let me tell you they are a talented group of aspiring authors!

Thank you Catherine and the Writer's Group for allowing me to crash your meeting and for making me feel so welcome. I had a wonderful time!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guest Post: Trisha Wolfe, author of Destiny's Fire

I'm excited to have Trisha Wolfe, author of the young adult steampunk novel, Destiny's Fire here with us today talking about her perfect dream cast. 

Please give a warm welcome to Trisha.

Finding the perfect cast for your characters is a daunting task. I’ve spent so much time with these guys, and when I wrote the story, I definitely had their images seared into my mind. So when you’re seeking the perfect person to replace what you have branded in your brain, it’s not easy. But I believe these guys right here come pretty close.

Chad Michael is a nearly perfect match for Jace. His squinty-eyed glare and pouty lips is just how I envision Jace’s “look”.

Chase Crawford. Oh, baby, oh. Put some red eyes on him and we have a close match for Reese. Especially the way his face lights up when he smiles. That’s how I picture him when he looks into Dez’s eyes. And he can look pretty scary when he’s all mean like.

Dez was really hard to find. I’m still not sure Emma Roberts is the perfect match. I don’t want Dez to be a model, and Emma has that girl next door appeal. Dez to me is beautiful, but not in that “perfect” plastic way. She just has naturalness about her, a freshness. So I think Emma comes pretty close.

Would love to hear your thoughts! Who do you think would make the perfect cast? I love that people can read the same book, take in the author’s description, and come away with completely different images in their mind. Sometimes I ignore the description altogether and dream up my own. That’s the amazing thing about books. It becomes your world and your characters.


Destiny's Fire
by Trisha Wolfe
Publication: January 10th 2012 by Omnific Publishing

It's the year 2040, and sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind--part of a nearly extinct race of shape-shifters descended from guardians to the Egyptian pharaohs. Her home and her secret are threatened when the Council lowers the barrier, allowing the enemy race to enter the Shythe haven.

As the Narcolym airships approach, Dez and her friends rebel against their Council and secretly train for battle. Not only is Dez wary of war and her growing affection for her best friend Jace, but she fears the change her birthday will bring. When Dez's newfound power rockets out of control, it's a Narcolym who could change her fate… if she can trust him.

Dez's guarded world crumbles when she discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, and she's forced to choose between the race who raised her and the enemy she's feared her whole life.

About the author:

Trisha Wolfe is the author of the YA Steampunk/Paranormal Romance DESTINY'S FIRE. Her published short stories have appeared in YA literary journals and Fantasy magazines. UNVEILED is her first novelette and part of a Dystopian series releasing TBA. She’s written four books in the past two years, and is currently working on the sequel to DF and a new project. She’s represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management.

Find Trisha

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Swoon Thursday, July 11th

It's time for Swoon Thursday hosted by the girls over at YABound.

Here's how it works: From the book you're currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering.

Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog! Don't forget to stop byYABound to read what got them swooning!

The book I finished last week didn’t have many swoon worthy scenes. I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed, because I’d heard so many people swoon over the male lead in that book. I’m happy to say that the book I’m currently reading has no shortage of hot, romantic scenes.

My swoon is from Shift, the second book in Jeri Smith-Ready’s Shade series.

The memory of the best part stole my speech as my gaze lingered on his lips. if I were his girlfriend, I could kiss him right now. Brush his mouth with mine and make him sigh my name, make our fingertips tingle in anticipation of being alone together.

I'd love to hear what got you swooning.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spotlight: Lend Me a Paw by Beth Finke

Today I'm talking to Beth Finke, award-winning author, teacher and journalist. Beth travels to speaking engagements with her guide dog from The Seeing Eye.

Lend Me a Paw

by Beth Finke

Photo of Beth and Harper from Beth's blog, Safe & Sound
A picture page from “Lend Me a Paw.” 
(Photo courtesy National Geographic School Publishing.)


Cherie: Hi Beth. Thanks for being with us today. Can you tell us about your picture book, Lend Me a Paw
Beth: Lend Me a Paw is a compilation of three stories about animal intelligence. My story, called One Smart Dog explains why sometimes Seeing Eye dogs have to rely on "intelligent disobedience" to keep the blind person they are guiding safe. When a Seeing Eye dog decides that what their blind companion is asking would put them in danger, the dog must refuse to follow the command. Example: let's say I told my dog to go "Forward!" at an intersection, and just then she realized a car was turning right on red. Even though I was urging her to go forward, she would refuse to budge. Intelligent disobedience is the most difficult skill a Seeing Eye dog must learn, and they use that skill in all sorts of different situations.

Cherie: That’s very interesting. Where did you get the idea for your book?  
Beth: An editor at National Geographic School Publishing contacted me about an idea they had to publish a couple of stories in a book. At the time the working title was "Animal I.Q." My previous picture book, Hanni and Beth: Safe & sound (Blue Marlin Publications, 2007) won an ASPCA/Henry Bergh Book Award for children's non-fiction, so the editor thought I might be able to write a story that fit into the "Animal I.Q." category.

The first thing that came to mind was the "intelligent disobedience" concept, and  when I explained that to the editor she was all over it. I live in the Printers Row neighborhood of Chicago, and a National Geographic photographer came and spent a day taking photos of us in action here, and along with photos supplied by the Seeing Eye in Morristown, they are the illustrations for the book.   

Cherie: What is your favorite (or least favorite) thing about writing picture books?
Beth: My favorite part about writing picture books is that it forces good editing. You don't have a whole lot of words to work with, so your writing has to be strong. 

Cherie: Where can someone purchase your book,
Beth: "Lend Me a Paw" is not available at bookstores, and the National Geographic School Publishing web site is set up to sell to  teachers and schools who use purchase orders and the like. If you're dying for an individual  copy, though you can phone in an order at 1-888-915-3276. Ask for sib number 978-07362-95116.  My previous children's book, "Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound"  is far easier to come by. Order it from your favorite independent bookstore or purchase it online at Blue Marlin Publications: My memoir, "Long Time, No See" was published by University of Illinois press in 2003 and is also available commercially through traditional routes. 
Oh, and my Seeing Eye dog and I love to visit schools, please email me at if you are planning author visits for the next school year.

Cherie: Do you have any advice for aspiring picture book authors?
Beth: If you want a publisher to publish your book, send your manuscript out to publishers an agents! Sounds obvious, I know, but I hear from oh so many people who have a picture book written but haven't sent it anywhere. Maybe they're afraid of rejection? They're thinking well, as long as they don't send it out, no one will reject it?  But hey, if you don't send it out, no one will ever publish it, either!

Cherie: That’s great advice! What are you working on now?
Beth: I teach memoir-writing classes for senior citizens in Chicago, and I am working on a book for adults about my experiences with those writers.

Cherie: That sounds fascinating, and I’m looking forward to learning more about that book. Now for some fun questions:

Favorite color? Red. I lost my sight when I was 26 years old due to a somewhat rare disease called retinopathy. Red was the only color I could still see as my sight was fading, so it remains my favorite.  

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would your dream vacation be? At an ocean beach house with friends.

Are you a morning person or an evening person? Morning. I love being up before everyone else is. I get a lot of writing work done that way.

Do you have a favorite place to write? In hotel rooms when someone else (a conference that hired me to speak, a book fest where I'm sitting on a panel. that sort of thing) is footing the bill.

Who is your hero? My mother is my hero. I am the youngest of seven, my father had a heart attack and died at home a week after my third birthday. Flo had not graduated from high school and worked to get her GED degree and then held a job as an office clerk until she was 70 in order to raise us on her own.  The heroic part is that she never complained to us about her lot in life. She took naps when she could, though, always telling us she was "just resting her eyes." I follow her lead: naps are good when you can get  'em! 

Your mom sounds like an amazing woman. Thanks again for being on my blog!

Stop by Beth Finke's website to learn more about her and her books, or visit her blog, Safe & Sound to follow her adventures with her Seeing Eye Dog. 

Friend Beth on Facebook

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Swoon Thursday, July 5th

It's time for Swoon Thursday hosted by the girls over at YABound.

Here's how it works: From the book you're currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering.

Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtoag #YABound, post it here in the comments, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog! Don't forget to stop by YABound to read what got them swooning!

This week, my swoon worthy scene is from City of Bones, the first book in the TMI series.

     His voice was low. "I've never been more awake."

     He bent to kiss her, cupping her face with his free hand. Their lips touched, lightly at first, and then with a stronger pressure.

So what scene got your pulse racing? 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Insecure Writer’s Support, July 4th

Hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh

Hi everyone! It’s the first Wednesday of July, (okay, I know it's Tuesday, but July 4th is a US holiday so Alex mentioned we can post early) that means it's time for my IWSG post.

In June, I sent a handful of queries to agents, and now I’m in wait mode. You know what I’m finding? The waiting is the hardest part. That’s such a cliché, but it’s so true. To make waiting more difficult that old Tom Petty song keeps creeping into my head. While I can’t remember if I liked this song when it was popular, I can honestly say I’m starting to hate it now. It’s a constant reminder that I’ve never been known to be a patient person.

You may be wondering how this falls into an IWSG post. Well… wait mode just gives me time to wonder if the writing was truly tight and if the first pages were gripping. Will they grab an agent’s attention and make him or her want to read more. And then there are the agents that only want a query letter, and what if there was a typo in that all important first impression? That always leads me to re-read it, and I’m glad I was able to breathe a sigh of relief that there weren’t any typos. It would be so much easier if Ms. Agent would open my email the moment it hit her inbox and reply back that my story is exactly what she hoped to receive when she woke up. Now wouldn’t that be nice. J

The funny thing is, I’ve been here before and I’m usually really good at sending off my queries and putting them out of my mind. I start a new project or revise an old one. I’ll catch up on my ever-growing TBR pile or spend a little more time outside. I’m not really sure why this time I feel like it’s been FOREVER, when in reality many of my queries haven’t even been out two weeks and even the ones that have been out longer haven’t reached the agents’ noted response times. Maybe if a different song would worm its way into my thoughts: Sideways by Citizen Cope or Patience by Guns ‘N Roses (that’s appropriate). Or what about Bubbly by Coco, because—well—it’s bubbly and makes me smile and it has absolutely nothing to do with waiting.

On a positive note, I finished the first draft of my sequel and I’m very happy with it. I’ve tucked it away for now and plan to go back to it after a month or so. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

YA Summer Reading Tour

Julie over at AToMR (who is amazing) is hosting Omnific Publishing's YA Summer Reading Tour August 6th - 11th, and you can sign up to get copies of any Omnific YA title you'd like! Click here for details.

I'll be doing interviews and guest posts with bloggers during the tour. I'd be happy to stop by your blog!

Thank you to everyone who has already signed up. Your support means so much!