Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fruit Loops & Other Kid Colors

A few weeks ago I shared some tips on writing easy readers. How about another? When it comes to describing colors, paint a kid-friendly picture.


I've whipped up a color thesaurus that you might find helpful.


Milk, Yogurt, Cool Whip, Peeled Potato, Poodle, Ambulance, ghostly, vanilla, chalk


Shadow, Pepper, Crow, Ink, Charcoal, Tire, Cola, Soot, Hearse, Raisin, Spider


Sunshine, Squash, Big Bird, Egg Yolk, Candlelight, Banana, School Bus, Butterscotch, French Fries


Cheerios, Mud, Chocolate, Coffee, Cinnamon, Mushroom, M&Ms, Acorn, Toast, Cork, Peanut, Pretzel


Jeans, Peacock, Sky, Bruises, Mailbox, Ocean, Blueberry, Electricity, Cookie Monster, Bluebird


Heart, Tomato, Lady bugs, Lobster, Fire Truck, Blood, Jell-O, Strawberry, Cherry, Candy Apple, Blood, Watermelon, SpaghettiOs, Santa, Stop Sign  


Bubblegum, Tongue, Pig, Cotton Candy, Shrimp, Flamingo, Ballerina  


Basketball, Carrot, Jack-O-Lantern, Orange Juice, Yam


Olives, Mint, Cabbage, Grasshopper, Leaves, Money, Pea, Clover, Frog, Slime, Spinach, Lime


Garbage Can, Rain Clouds, Elephant, Smoke, Ashes, Mouse, Fog, Grandma, Dolphin


Violet, Grape Kool-Aid, Bruises, Prune, Jelly,  


Skiddles, Lifesavers, Fruit Loops, Crayons, Jelly Beans, Lollipops, Finger Paints

Let’s share. Do you have any colors to add?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Oh the Horror!


It’s no secret that I’m a horror-loving maniac. I grew up with the Universal Monsters. Stood in a mile-long line for The Exorcist. And Stephen King is my homeboy.


So again this year, I’m serving on the jury for the YA category of the Bram Stoker Awards. The proof is right here.

I love being on this committee. Especially now that horror has made a comeback in the YA world. 2011 was great. 2012 will be even better.

If you’re a YA author with a horror or dark paranormal coming out in 2012, contact me for info on how to get your book considered.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Name Game

After reading Paeony Lewis’s blog post last week on character names, it had me did I come up with mine?

Naturally, I use family names.

Crosswire: Jesse Wade - Wade was my mother’s maiden name.

Hidden: Eugene - My grandfather and older brother’s name.

Fortune Tellers Club: Gena - I can’t count all the Genas in my family.

 There’s probably one family member in all of my books.

And I discovered something about myself while researching this post. I’m a J name maniac. My J characters: Juniper, Jake, Janene and Jesse.  

I don't know if there are any hard and fast rules to naming characters, but one important thing I learned from my stand up comedy days is hard consonants are funny. Buick instead of Chevy, for instance.

Think about it. What if Garfield was Gerald? Or Bart Simpson was Benny?

I also think hard consonants are playful and kid-friendly. My playful character names include Cocoa, Dandy (Daniel Dee), Buck and Buddy Bunion.

And I've noticed odd character names seem to stick. Ever wonder what those classic authors were thinking when they wrote characters named Scout, Holden, Gatsby and Rhett? There's probably a whole college course based on that.

Then there's the genre name game - naming your character to suit the genre. Which genres comes to mind with each of these?


(I'll reveal my answers in the comment section later. I want to hear yours first.)
So what about it, y'all? What led you to pick your characters' names?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dotti: ARC Predator

A couple of weeks ago Vicki Sansum and I attended the American Library Association Midwinter Conference. I had a (successful!) signing, and since it was in Dallas, we drove up.

I love these conferences. They’re sort of like flea markets. I stroll the aisles, browsing and chatting with industry professionals. But first...I grabbed some complimentary totebags and race through the crowds, snatching up *ARCs.

If a book cover looks cool, in the bag it goes. But it only takes a couple of aisles before those totebags start feeling like body bags. And with no wheelies allowed, it’s a struggle. 

Me heaving ARCs

So now there's a need to be selective. “Hmmm,” I say to Vicki as I peruse the cover blurb. “This looks (cute, funny, intense) good.” In the tote it goes.

Luckily, conference organizers are brilliant. For a small fee, you can check your bags at the coat check. That frees you to amass more books.

So I drive home, transporting a trunkful of treasures.

Then the fun begins. I sort.

How did I manage to pick up so many adult titles? I rarely read adult lit.

Did I honestly think I’d read all these midgrades and YAs? Nope. Too busy hoarding to rationalize.

Since they’re all great books (whether they suit my taste or not), some get donated to the SCBWI HoustonConference for giveaways.

Those bags of ARCs have now dwindled to a small stack of TBR. And why bother posting this? To remind myself to behave when I attend TLA in April.  :) 

* Advanced Reader Copies, or as I refer to them, a glimpse into the future.