One Writer’s Journey

May 24, 2011

More Great News for Suspect by Kristin Wolden Nitz

Hip hip hooray for writing buddy Kristin Wolden Nitz and her novel, Suspect.  

Keystone State Reading Association.  To be eligible, high school seniors must read at least four of the books on the list.  They will then vote for their favorite.  You can find the whole list here.

Fingers crossed for Suspect!  


January 18, 2011

Writer’s Digest and Me

Right around Christmas I got an unexpected check.  Why F&W Media would be sending me a nice sum for a “Writer’s Workbook” reprint of a CWIM article, I didn’t know.

They have the right to reprint the material as long as they pay me so I knew that was what had happened.  As soon as I got everyone back in school or off to the office, I’d send a few e-mails and find out where my work had or was going to appear.

Then last week, before I had a chance to e-mail, I got a big, beautiful envelope from Writer’s Digest.  My article, “How to Avoid Parenting Your Characters,” is on pages 60 to 62.  Check it out and you’ll have the opportunity to learn from some of your fellow authors — Jan Czech, Bree Despain, Esther Hershenhorn, A.S. King, Kristin Wolden Nitz, Syndey Salter, and Judy Young. This is especially timely since King  just took a Printz honor.

Isn’t nice when the publishing world delivers a nice surprise to your door step?


December 22, 2010

Mystery Workshop Transcript

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Interested in learning to write mysteries for children and/or teens?  Or do you simply want to learn to string clues throughout your novel?  Then check out the transcript for this ICL mystery writing workshop with my writing buddy Kristin Wolden Nitz.

In addition to being a friend, Kristin is the author of my favorite YA mystery Suspect.   Normally, I spend most of my mystery reading time figuring out who done it.  Suspect was so engrossing that I only realized that I hadn’t done this at the very end.

Give yourself a lovely Christmas present.  Check out the link above to see what advice Kristin had to share.


November 9, 2010

YALSA Nominees

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I know I promised conference tid bits today but that will have to wait until tomorrow.  Why the delay?  Because Kristin Wolden Nitz found out that her YA novel, Suspect, has been nominate for the YALSA best fiction for young adults list.

Hurray for Kristin!

The final list won’t be selected until the ALA midwinter conference but it sure is nice to have this little bit of amazement so early in my week!



October 27, 2010

Sample various children’s books

Last week I found out about a blog called First Page Panda.  The site posts the first page of various middle grade and young adult novels as well as the summary and a bit about the author.  Last week they featured Kris Nitz’s Suspect.

The blog is maintained by Alisa Libby, author of The Blood Confession and The King’s Rose and Anna Staniszewski, author of the upcoming novel  My Un-Fairy Tale Life.

Stop on by and sample new and upcoming novels and maybe you’ll discover a new favorite author.  You can never have too many!




September 15, 2010

Writing Mysteries: Layering in the Clues

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One of the things that I love about writing is that I get to call reading research.  What is more fun than reading great books and actually learning from the process?

Recently, I read Suspect by Kristin Wolden Nitz.  It is a young adult mystery set in Missouri’s wine country.

I have to admit that as much as I enjoy reading mysteries, it is often something of a game.  Just how early can I pick out the murderer and what gives this person away?

Not only did I not figure it out in Kristin’s book, I didn’t even try.  I was far too caught up in the mystery.  Part of the reason that it snared me so successfully was that it was so carefully crafted.   Normally, I start trying to figure out who done it when I come across a detail that screams clue or red herring.  Kris layered in a lot of detail, using it to establish character and give a feel for place.  Because these same details were often also  clues and red herrings, they didn’t stand out.

The other thing that worked to her advantage was that, for the most part, her characters were likable.  Sure, some of them were incredibly shallow but there really wasn’t anyone that you wanted to be the bad guy (or gal).

Before too long, I’m going to have to read this one again so that I can get a better feel for how Kristin pulled this off.

Until then?  Thank you, Kristin for creating a great read that is also a great learning experience from the perspective of another writer.


September 7, 2010

Random Acts of Publicity

This is one of the books I plan to blog about this week. Is the author a friend? You bet, but its also a great mystery for teen readers.

If you are a writer or illustrator, you’ve heard it before.  You are going to have to publicize your own book. Yep.  Once you find a publisher interested in your project and it comes out in print, you are going to have to help with the publicity.

Publicity is tough and many of us are much better at talking up our friends project.  Admit it.  When someone asks for gift ideas for a young reader, you are probably much more likely to push your friend’s book than your own.

Fine.  So get busy and do just that.  This week is Random Acts of Publicity Week.  Throughout this week, writer Darcy Pattison encourages members of the children’s publishing community to do whatever they can to publicize a friend’s book.

One way to do this is by word of mouth.  Darcy has a really good blog post on how to chat up someone’s book.

You can also post a review on Amazon.

Or, if you blog about books, blog about the book in question.

What other ideas can you come up with?

Remember — just listing ideas isn’t enough.  Do something today to put another book creator in front of the reading public.

Come on.

You know you want to. . .


March 4, 2010

Patience Pays Off

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:23 am
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Hip hip hooray for my writing buddy Kristin Wolden Nitz.  Kris got word that her YA mystery will be released this October.   See the details, including the publisher’s book description on Kris’s blog.

A bit part of writing is rewriting and Kris is one of those writers who proves this point.  As is often the case, the editor didn’t accept Suspect, her YA mystery, as is.  Kris had to rewrite the first chapter because it started too slowly.   She also introduced a number of characters, so many that the readers were confused.  She added two new chapters.  She also had to tweak a character that readers in her critique group hadn’t reacted to the way she had hoped.

Sound like a lot?  It was and it took Kris some serious writing time to accomplish it all.  And then, just to make sure she had it right, she read the whole thing out loud.  Out loud.  All  51,000 words.

Hats off to Kris!  Thanks for being a good example of just what a determined writer can accomplish.


April 20, 2009

The Kentucky Bluegrass Award

Congratulations to my griffin1writing buddy Kristin Wolden Nitz.   She just found out that her middle grade novel, Saving the Griffin, is on the 2010 master list for the Kentucky Bluegrass Award.  Check out my review of Griffin on my other blog.

No, Kristin does not live in Kentucky.   No, she was not born in Kentucky.   And, before you ask, her book is set in Italy.  Each state award has slightly different criteria concerning who can nominate books and just which books and author are eligible.   

Simply being on the list means sales.  Readers throughout the state have to read a minimum number of books before voting on a winner.   This means adding the title to school and public libraries that don’t already have it on their shelves.  

So this means good things for Kristin and the other listed authors.   Good luck to all!


February 19, 2009

Congratulations to Kristin Wolden Nitz

Special congratulations to one of my writing buddies — Kristin Wolden Nitz.  Kris’s novel, Saving the Griffin (Peachtree), has been nominated for the 2009 – 2010 Georgia Children’s Book Award.  This means that during the next school year children throughout Georgia will be reading and voting on books for this award, including Griffin.  For a complete list of the awards, visit the web site and click on the listings (picture books and novels are on separate lists) in the right hand column. 

If you don’t know Kris’s work, I’d strongly encourage you to check out her novels at Peachtree.  Kris is an excellent middle grade author.  Fast-paced and funny, her novels hook newly independent readers. 

Find out more about Kris and her work at her web site.

But in the meanwhile, I have to say it again.  Congratulations, Kris!!   You can read a brief review of Saving the Griffin on my review blog.


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