Author: Stacie Ramey

Tuesday(book release day): Best Day of the Week

Book release days are always special. In the biz, we call them book birthdays. As authors we talk about them, post about them, worry about them for a year or more from the moment the ink dries on that much coveted book contract. No matter how many books you are lucky enough to publish over the years, the day each book comes out is its own special moment of oh hell yeah!

But debuts might be a tiny bit more special.

This week we have a few releases from debut authors that have caught our eye:

The first is a American Panda, a YA book from an MIT grad turned dentist turned author:

Gloria Chao

American Panda is an incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

If you’re in the mood for MG why not check out Payback on Popular Lane by:

Margaret Mincks

 

Margaret, second oldest of eight children, graduate of University of Virginia, and editor of a Spider, a children’t magazine, makes her MG debut with this book which is billed as: ABC’s Shark Tank meets The Terrible Two when a pair of sixth grade entrepreneurs compete to become top mogul on their block.

 

 

 

Our final new release for this Tuesday is The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko:

Claire Martinson still worries about her older sister Sophie, who battled a mysterious illness last year. But things are back to normal as they move into Windermere Manor . . . until the sisters climb a strange ladder in a fireplace and enter the magical land of Arden.

There, they find a world in turmoil. The four guilds of magic no longer trust each other, the beloved unicorns have disappeared, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Scared, the girls return home. But when Sophie vanishes in the night, it will take all of Claire’s courage to climb back up the ladder, find her sister, and uncover the unicorns’ greatest secret.

See a little something you’d like to read? Have other new releases that you love? Comment below so we can all be in the know! 

 

The Most Fun Friday of the Year: SCBWI January Conference!

It’s that time again, people. It’s SCBWI January conference. I’ve been attending this conference since 2009 and have only missed it one time since.

The January conference is magic to me. I used to go with hopeful expectations about meeting that agent or editor that would see promise in my work. Now I go to see good friends, hang with writing people, and work on craft.

One of my favorite events at this conference is the First Books Panel. This is where those who have published their first book the previous year get to stand in front of the room and tell their story. It is inspirational. It is beautiful. It is not to be missed.

This year one of own Tuesday Writers, Jonathan Rosen, will take his place on that stage and I can’t wait. It’s one of those rites of passage and he’s earned it. He knows we will all be cheering him on from the audience.

Also this January, my agent (also Jonathan and Marjetta’s), will be in attendance. Nicole Resciniti has changed my life, is changing my friends’ lives, and is just so smart. I can’t wait to see her. I can’t wait to pitch my new idea to her (yes, I have a new idea!). She makes me feel interesting and talented and worthwhile. Those are things us writers need on a regular basis.

I also hear from some sources that The Tuesdays will be doing a group costume for the costume ball on Saturday night. And it’s hilllllarious. Tuesdays rock. We are all in!

On Saturday, one of my good friends, Shutta Crum, will also be presenting on how to write books that matter. Shutta is such a great example to the writing community. She was a librarian, and knows so much about the writing process from beginning to end. She. Is. The. Real. Deal. I can hardly wait.

But most of all, I think for me, this conference is going to be about getting to be a real writer for the entire weekend. My third book (The Secrets We Bury) releases in March and I’m really excited about that. And this weekend I’ll be spending time with most of the people who helped me make that happen. Talk about finding your bliss.

So as I get to watch friends get critiques, I also get to hope they get to live the dream I’m living. I get to cheer everyone on. I get to clap for the  Rising Kite winners, which will be announced on Sunday. And I get to hang with super cool, fun, hard working dreamers like myself.

Bring it on, Florida SCBWI. I. Am. So. Ready.

Shhh: Tuesday Stacie is #amreading

 

Where do you read? Wanna know my (imagined) perfect reading space?

One of the best things about being a writer is that I get to make things up. Pretty cool, right?

When I’m spending time in my head Imagining the type of world in which my character lives, every detail from the house to the bedroom  to the mementos in the room matter.

You want to know a secret? I don’t only fantasize about building worlds for my characters, I also do it for myself.

Yup! Summers in Florida are brutal, so by August, when I’m totally over it, I fantasize about moving up north. Every single year. I’ll go online, pick a place to live, look at houses for sale, check out jobs and schools, and, of course, book stores. You know the important things.

And then I started thinking, not just about houses and rooms, but also about spaces. The perfect kind of spaces, you know? The ones that are specific. Planned. Designed. Reading spaces, in particular.

I was a reader well before I was a writer. Reading was my first and has been my most trusted boyfriend (don’t tell the hubs! Lol)

So if I was going to design a reading space, I wanted to do it right. But I was having the hardest time choosing just one type of space. And seriously, why sweat that kind of decision? The way I see it, if I can have anything I like (which I can since it’s my dream), I’m going high-end. And I’m also not limiting myself to just ONE reading space. Nope. And suddenly that felt sort of brilliant. Why not design a perfect reading space specifically suited to the book you are currently reading.

So…if I’m reading an emotionally loaded book about a high school junior who is the survivor of a sister suicide pact, I’m going to need a soft, soft, chair, and a very pretty lamp. All of the pieces should reflect the sensibilities of my main character, Allie, who is an artist.

I think I would like to read about Allie while sitting in a big overstuffed chair with major flare. Maybe a bold checked pattern like this:

 

 

Now… when I want to get in John Strickland’s head, I’m going to need strong and architecturally appealing pieces. So for my The Homecoming reading space, see below:

 

 

Doesn’t that just look like John?

This next reading space has me REALLY excited. Why you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. My newest book will be released in March 2018. The pre-order links are already up on all the sites. Yay! So now I’m visualizing a reading space for The Secrets We Bury and I think it will have to have a vintage inspired piece like this.  I could totally see #Dylan in a coffee shop with something like this in it. And when I’m reading about him, that’s where I’d like to be also.

But all of this talking about books has me wanting to curl up and start …..you know….

 

So, kindly comment below and tell me about your ideal reading spaces and

 

then let yourselves out and shhhh. ….because I #amreading.

 

 

 

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Tuesday’s Tips

Writing Career Playlist X’s Two

 

I’ve seen people post playlists for specific books so I thought for my blog today I’d create a playlist of the perfect songs to get you through your publishing journey.  Then I asked my husband, JKR, to weigh in on his choices, so you’re essentially getting two-for-one. Here’s to helping you through the tough times, the good times, and the even better ones.

For when you are writing:

My pick: Take Me to Church by Hozier

JKR’s pick: Guitar and Pen by the Who

 

For when you are stuck:

My pick: Running to Stand Still by U2

JKR’s pick: You Really Got me by the Kinks

 

                                                                            For when you are plotting:

My pick: Ripple by the Grateful Dead

JKR’s pick: Child of Vision by Supertramp

 

For when your first draft is done:

My pick: Strange Magic by ELO

JKR’s pick: Tempus Fugit by Yes

 

For when you are revising:

My pick: For You by Bruce Springsteen

JKR’s pick: Right Place, Wrong Time by Dr. John

  

For while you wait for that agent or editor to get back to you:

My pick: The Waiting is the Hardest Part by Tom Petty

JKR’s pick: 22,000 Days by The Moody Blues

 

For when you are rejected by said agent or editor:

My Pick: Try by Pink

JKR’s Pick: When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeplin

 

For when you sell:

My Pick: See What Love Can Do by Eric Clapton

JKR’s: Rosalita By Bruce Springsteen

 

Now you are all set for every stage of your writing career.

You’re welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Write About Wednesday?

Hello Tuesday Readers,

Here I am again! *waves*

I drew the long straw so I get to be the one to move us into T-giving together! Yay!!!Tomorrow you’ll hear from all of the Tuesdays about what we are thankful for. But for today it’s all about me. And my gratitude for one group of people….my readers.

Readers are the people I write the books for. They are the ones I try to reach. Sometimes I do that, and they reward me with an email or a shout out on Twitter. Sometimes they give me stars on Goodreads. Or Amazon. Sometimes they simply tell their friends. Whenever any of those things happen, I’m ridiculously thankful.

And then there are those readers that, for some reason, my books have fallen flat or they missed the mark completely. And I’m even grateful for those readers as well. Books are very personal things. If mine aren’t for you, I hope you’ll keep looking for the ones that are. Because, when it comes down to it, the readers have the final say. And for that I’m grateful. Because without them, there is nothing.

So, rate on, readers. Read on.

You are the reason for all of this.

And we, writers, will keep doing what we do to please you. Because when we match up, when we hit the right notes, your love of the written word sustains us. True story.

So from the Tuesday Writers to all the readers out there: thank you, sincerely. Please keep reading (even if it means ignoring your relatives for T-giving!). .

Tell them Stacie said you could

You’re welcome.

Tuesday: Best Day of the Week

Dear Tuesday Readers,

I’ve always said that Tuesday is the best day because when I started writing, that’s when my class met. Hence our class name: The Tuesdays. So creative, right?

But Tuesday Readers, our faithful blog followers, now there’s an even better reason to love Tuesdays. Wanna know why? Because, my dears, Tuesdays are when books are released! I know! I found this out when my first book (The Sister Pact) was released on the first Tuesday of November, 2015. So fun.

And every Tuesday there is a new batch of books to choose from. Here a few highlights of great reads released/releasing this November:

R.I.P. Eliza Hart (Scholastic Press)

When Eliza Hart, the most popular girl at Ventana Ranch boarding school, is found dead, Ellie Sokoloff is determined to figure out what happened to her. After all, Eliza was Ellie’s childhood best friend.

Never mind that ever since Ellie arrived at school Eliza has spread terrible rumors about her, calling her a liar and a stalker, when all Ellie wanted to do was rekindle their old friendship. Or that Ellie’s claustrophobia limits where she can go and what she can do. Or that Ellie’s suitemate, Sam, is the only one who will help her . . . because to everyone else, Ellie looks like the top suspect.

Can Ellie clear her name and solve the mystery behind Eliza’s death? Her hunt for the truth will uncover secrets she never imagined, sending her deep into her own memories of her childhood with Eliza Hart.

 

Kat and Meg Conquer the World (Harper Collins)

Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

 

 

The Temptation of Adam(Skypony Press)

Adam Hawthorne is fine.

Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.

But Adam is fine.

When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.

Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.

 

Oh, are you guys still here? Shhhh #amreading.

Comment below to tell me about your November reads.

Manic Monday

It really is manic for me these days

So manic that I barely have time to breathe, let alone post. So I apologize, Tuesday readers, that this post is a tad bit late. I know you understand.

You see, #authorlife is a huge, major, and let’s just say it, manic kind of a deal. I’ve spent the last few months with my head spinning. But I’m not complaining. I’m lucky to get to do these things.

Here’s just a brief look at what I’ve been up to recently:

I presented a workshop for SCBWI with Joyce Sweeney. It was the first time I taught peers. And the first time I team taught with Joyce. It was pretty cool.

Here’s me presenting theme using some of my fave books

Here’s Joyce presenting using some of her fave books… I spy THE HOMECOMING….aww, thanks, Joyce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then Joyce and I  presented a workshop the FAME conference in Orlando. Talk about awesome! Plus I got to meet Pete the Cat!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of this while finishing my revision on WEIGHTLESS and planning promotion for THE SECRETS WE BURY.

It’s been a whirlwind kind of a month, Tuesday readers. I hope you’ve had as much fun as I have!

Self-edit Like You’re on a Vision Quest

 

When I think about writing, one really important question comes to mind: why don’t we have jerseys?  I’m not talking about replicas. I’m talking the real deal. Practice ones. Game ones. Full-on writing equipment with equipment managers.

To me, Writing is like a sport.  But the question is, is it a team sport or an individual competition. My favorite scene from one of my favorite movies, Vision Quest, is when Louden Swain states emphatically, “Wrestling is not a team sport!” Then proceeds to climb the pegboard while his teammates gather around and cheer him on. If you haven’t seen it, you should:

https://youtu.be/nJtNsehdT5o

You’re welcome! The whole movie is genius but that scene has always been my favorite. Even before I was writing. When I was just a reader. But now that scene gets to me on such a profound level because it completely depicts the writing life.

We start out training like the wrestlers do in Vision Quest. As a team. A critique group. An organization. A workshop or conference cohort. We hone our craft there, practice our literary moves. Then when we feel we are good enough, we try to climb the pegboard. And some of us make it. And that makes the rest of us clap and cheer and believe it can happen for us, too.

 

But what about all of the alone time? The butt-in-chair stuff that no one sees. The rough drafts and first tries no one hears because they are too dreadful to trot out in public? Those come just from us. We can use a writing coach (I definitely do). We can put our writing tribe on text on demand notice (I do that also) to help answer our plot questions and character moves. But it still comes down to us. What we do in that chair is what counts. After the critiquing. After the Beta reads, we are the CEO of our work. So how do we self-edit? Very carefully (cue the evil laugh)

These are my steps for self-editing. They’re not pretty, but they are essential. My version of writing bootcamp. Get ready to puke.

  1. Any part of your book that you think is sooo creative, so awesome that you continuously rubbed your hands together like the evil genius you were when you wrote it? Yeah…they probably need to go. Kill your darlings does not just refer to clever passages and favorite quotes. Huge artistic insight on the day of inception often comes off as contrived and unbelievable on the paper. Love at first sight doesn’t always end well. Look at those babies and be sure they serve your book. If not, Bbye. It isn’t you, it’s me. No, it’s really you.

  1. As you are carving and adjusting and looking for darlings to kill, is there a part of your manuscript that you figure you’ve read so many times that there’s no reason to read again. Or parts you feel are so solid there’s no reason to look at those? Yup. You’ve got issues there. If you find your eye scanning and skimming parts of your book, that could be the sign of a pacing problem. If you are bored in parts of your manuscript, how will readers feel? It’s time to get real or go home.

  1. You made it through the warm-ups, are you ready for the combines?  I hope so because it’s time to dig deep and get aggressive. Here’s where you look at every single word in your manuscript.  Every one should serve a purpose. Should inform character development. Should advance plot. Should act as subtext. Should create literary rhythm. Should work on more than one level. If your words aren’t working as hard as you are, they go. Sorry. You come to win or you  watch the game from your couch. True story.

  1. Now it’s time to check your manuscript for characters that are slacking, actions that don’t progress plot. Look at each one of your scenes as if it’s a still picture in a film. I’ve actually done that with DVD’s. O Brother Where Art Thou is one worthy of this exercise. Every single shot is perfect. Every one. If any of your characters or scenes are just phoning it in, it’s time to break up with them.

Writing is a bad boyfriend. It’s true.

 

But nobody said climbing the pegboard was easy. You are not here to make friends. You are here to do outrageously hard things. You are here to win the National Championship. To set new personal records. To lift Lord Stanley’s Cup and drink a huge monster energy drink out of it. And when you’ve done all of that, when you’ve brutally embraced your manuscript. When you’ve committed to each word, each scene, each plot decision. Then you can hit the showers and celebrate like a champion! Cue the cheerleaders and the band. Cue the equipment manager. Because you’re going to need a clean jersey for tomorrow’s session.

 

 

Another YA Wednesday

Hello dear Tuesday readers! How are you? I’ve got to tell you, I am done. Stick-me-with-a-fork kind of done!

I just wrapped up my third book, The Secrets We Bury, sent the proofs in last night, so that book is finished. Whew!

I also turned my fourth book into my agent a few weeks ago and she’s gotten back to me with edits. But honestly, it’s been a hard writing few months lately and I might need a teensy tiny little break before diving back in on this manuscript that I’ve worked on for over 8 years. Book 4 may is definitely pushing me to my limits. For sure.

So before I get my hands dirty with that beast of a book, I feel like taking a reading break. Want to see what’s on my TBR pile now?

I’ve been meaning to get to this next book for a really long time now.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I’ve been dying to read this for some time now so moving it to the top of the pile. Along with this next little beauty… by Kendare Blake

I’m not usually into this kind of book but I confess the premise has me sort of breathless.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

And finally, there’s….Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?

I seriously love Jason Reynolds’ books and can’t wait to dig into this one.

What are you guys up to reading-wise?

Comment below about my choices or tell me what’s in your TBR.

Free Write Friday when I’ve been anything but Free

It’s been a while since I spoke with you, Tuesday readers, and I’m so sorry about that. Truly.

I know I’m supposed to check in with my Thursday themes even on the weeks I don’t have a big post. Like this one. And I haven’t been keeping to my word with those. It’s not right or fair, but there it is. I’ve been a Themed Thursday slacker! And you deserve my participation on those days. You do. But the thing is, I have had so much going on.

 

I know it sounds like an excuse, but let me lay it on you. And then you judge. And if by the end of this you’re still annoyed, I’ll accept that. I will. But hear me out first.

Last May I started a low residency MFA program. Spalding University to be exact. Pretty cool, right? And I guess I sort of didn’t realize how much time it would take. Each semester, at the very least I have to read 8-10 books and write critical essays on them. I have to put together five packets of creative writing including new work and revised pages. In preparation for next semester I had to read a play (a really cool one) and write an essay on that one. I also have to read 2 more books, 3 short stories, and view a film and take notes on it. Oh, and prepare pages for workshop, and prepare commentary on the pages other people send. It’s a lot. All wonderful things, but still a tremendous amount of work. Have I convinced you of that?

So I’m doing that in addition to working my day job. Sounds exhausting, right? Well, I’m not done….

I also just finished my revisions and copy edits for my upcoming book, The Secrets We Bury. Now I’m working on the proofs. Would you Tuesdays like a little sneak preview of the cover? I think you deserve that. Here goes….

 

Ahhhh….let’s take a moment to simply enjoy this new little beauty!!!

In addition to all of the usually stuff, like writing and critiquing and working and all, I’m also putting together some writing workshops. This Sunday I’ll be giving a Bootcamp with Joyce Sweeney. Which is totally cool since I’ve been her student for years and now I get to teach with her! If you are a SCBWI member, this workshop is free. Info here: https://florida.scbwi.org/2017-boot-camps/

I’m also doing another shorter workshop all by myself on October 21st!

And these workshops don’t write themselves! If only they did.

Finally, I am currently participating in the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt from now until Oct 8th. Prizes galore and lots of fun to be had by hunters and hunted alike. Check it out. I’m on #TeamBlue!  http://www.yash.rocks/

So I hope I’ve convinced you that I’m not simply lollygagging around. I am busy, busy, busy! But I pledge to try really hard to come back into the mix again. Because I’ve missed you, Tuesday Readers. Take me back?