Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Road Trip! The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson

There's nothing like a road trip, especially when it's a spur-of-the-moment, in-your-face, meant-to-be chance for a fair day. How many times does something like this come along? So when Chaney Bennett sent along The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson, I went along on the ride. Thank you, Chaney and Mary!

I mean, how cool is this idea? Mary sent four ARCs of The Miles Between out on a cross country road trip, the final destination to be her editor's desk. My ARC started out in San Diego, then to Texas, and arrived for me in Massachusetts.

Mary wrote The Adoration of Jenna Fox, a powerful, thought-provoking book I absolutely loved, so I couldn't wait to read The Miles Between.

The Miles Between is a lighter read, the story of Destiny Faraday and three of her classmates, who venture out on a spontaneous road trip, in search of their "one fair day--a day where the good guy wins and everything adds up to something just and right." This story has a touch of magic a la Cinderella, though nothing is what it seems, with plenty of poignant secrets to be revealed. You know this means tissues, right?

I thought I'd share a couple photos of The Miles Between at a couple of my favorite spots.

I LOVE statues and there is one awesome statue in my town square, of a girl reading to a boy on a stone bench. Of course in real life, these children would be too young to read Mary's book, but for the sake of a photo opportunity, I thought this looked great.

Next, I decided since the ARC was on a road trip, it was a good time to go the beach. We drove a little over an hour and stopped by our favorite breakfast place, Mary Ellen's Portuguese Bakery, for eggs, bacon, home fries, toast and coffee. Then, on to the Falmouth Road Race Finish Line Stone Garden overlooking the ocean, for this inspiring photo.

The Miles Between ARC is going to have plenty of mileage. It's headed back to California....to...drumroll, please...Becky Levine! I actually found out about the road trip from Becky, and think it's only fair to let her join in on all this fun.

Yay! for road trips! What trips are you planning?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Vacation and Writing Angst

It's been awhile since I last posted and I wish it was because of the stuff dreams and fabulous happy dances are made of, like Beth Kephart's NOTHING BUT GHOSTS book release, so beautiful, an absolute must read, or Shelli's wonderful agent contract. Alas, no such luck.


It will come.

I'd have a chance if I could finish my revisions, but somehow, life is getting in my way. Imagine that. The children are on Day 2 of Summer Vacation and I fear my appearance will be spotty for awhile, what with negotiating peace and preventing hostile takeovers, while keeping my sanity to write. Of course, you know that once I publish this post, I'll start thinking of other things to post, right?

I've lost focus during the Summer Revision Smackdown, and got caught up with a new manuscript. The working title still remains a mystery, yet, the first draft is almost done. Now it's time for me to stop procrastinating and finish PB, my YA historical novel. This has been a challenging project and I'll be thrilled when I can say it is finished and in an agent's hands.

For now, dear friends, I need to concentrate on my work. This is the summer my life will change.

What are your summer plans?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In Which I Read Chapter One from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I've been toying with the idea of recording my own audiobooks for my children's listening pleasure. It all started out with finding out about LibriVox a few months ago and thinking this might be a fun project to do with the kids this summer, as we all act out different voices in a book. Then, I heard Sherrie and Drew's podcast, and it really hit home what a great bonding experience this could be. Of course, it may be biting off more than I can chew--imagine the chaos from three strong-willed children--so for now, I'm going to start off small and try this out myself.

I decided to begin with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, courtesy of Project Gutenberg. This has been trickier than I thought--it is definitely a work-in-progress. Still, it has been a great learning experience.

In case you'd like to hear my voice--here's Chapter 1: Down the Rabbit Hole, in 11 minutes and 40 seconds. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

readergirlz LIVE chat with Sara Zarr, Wednesday, June 17th at 6pm EST/9pm PST

Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, June 17th, 6pm PST/ 9pm EST for a readergirlz LiveChat with Sara Zarr, author of SWEETHEARTS. It'll be a rockin' time with great conversation.

Come on by!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Summer Revision Smackdown Spotlight is, gulp, on me!

I have the honor of being in the Summer Revision Smackdown Spotlight today.  I'm talking revisions at Cuppa Jolie. Ack! 

When I wrote the answers out yesterday, they sounded half-way decent. Now they're posted on Jolie's blog, and all of a sudden, I have an urge to revise. Gah!

Please stop by and say hello!

[Edited to Add: Nathan Bransford has a timely post: Revision Checklist]

[Edited to Add: Nathan Bransford has a discussion post: You Tell Me: How Do You Know Your Novel Is Really Finished?]

Monday, June 8, 2009

readergirlz LiveChat with Melissa Walker, Tuesday, June 9th 6pm PST/9pm EST

Join us tomorrow, Tuesday, June 9th, 6pm PST/ 9pm EST for a readergirlz LiveChat with Melissa Walker! It's all about Lovestruck Summer!


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Five on a Friday: Taking Care of Details

1. A note to all the winners of Lessons from a Dead Girl and Jumping off Swings by Jo Knowles--I have sent all of your addresses to Candlewick Press and they will send you the books within the next couple weeks. Thank you, Candlewick Press! 

2. Since Spy Girl and Ninja Girl did such great jobs drawing names out of the bowl for the last time, I enlisted their help for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Graceling book giveway. Even though they're too young to read this book, they were delighted Kristin Cashore wrote about a strong, kick-butt girl. "A superhero!"

Here are the winners:
Infant Bibliophile
Andromeda Jazmon
Steph Su
Beth Kephart
YA Book Realm
Iron Inklings
Holly Cupala
Jenny Girl

All winners will be Everyone has been contacted. Please e-mail your U.S. snail mail address to me by 5pm, Monday, June 8th with the subject header: Book Giveaway - Graceling. Otherwise, your e-mail may be eaten by the trash fairies. My e-mail address is hipwritermama @ comcast.net (take out the spaces). If I don't hear from you by June 8th, we will draw another name out of the bowl. Addresses will be forwarded to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and they will mail you the books. Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for your generosity!

3. Revisions have been a little slow this week. But, five chapters are done and I'll have a dedicated writing day this weekend, so I'm pumped! Holly and Jolie have encouraging Revision Smackdown tips over at their blogs. Go and visit! 

4. Children and writing sometimes don't mix--and it's okay. I've been trying to be good and limiting my writing to when the kids are out of the house or asleep, but sometimes, the pull of an idea is much stronger than my willpower. My days are filled with handling Husband's marketing and office work and taking care of children, so I am weak when I have a writerly moment. Gah! Princess Rock Star feels the pinch the most, since she's home all day with me.  

I must say, I've really enjoyed having Princess Rock Star home with me. She's my baby and while I'm excited at the prospect of having more time to write when she starts kindergarten in the fall, I am also crushed at being left behind, of having to wait for her reports of her day. So, for now, I'm cherishing each day we play hide and seek, tag, go on our walks, play rock star, or simply hang out and be. The writing can wait until she's asleep.

5. [Added: How could I forget this?] MotherReader is hosting the Fourth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge this weekend. I won't be playing this year, since I need to focus on writing, but I'll be sure to follow along. Here are the rules. Good luck!

6. This song totally makes me smile.  Gotta love Jason Mraz for making Kermit's song his own.

Have a great weekend!

One New Name Drawn for Book Set by Jo Knowles

We have one new name to add to the "winners" list for Lessons from a Dead Girl and Jumping off Swings by Jo Knowles.


Please send me your snail mail address to hipwritermama @ comcast.net by 5pm, Saturday, June 6th. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

NEW MOON Movie Trailer!!

Oh. My. Goodness. I was of the Edward camp when I read Twilight...but watch this movie trailer.

Jacob! Now, he is something...

Thanks, readergirlz, for posting this one!

readergirlz Book of the Month: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Come and join readergirlz! All you need to have is the love of reading - and pick up the book of the month at your local library or bookstore. Then, as you read it, discuss it with other readers at the readergirlz blog.

Simply put, readergirlz is an interactive book group, open to all ages (and both genders - we do have readerguys!) But it's so much more than that. Reading a book isn't the same thing as experiencing a book. We want you to read, reflect, and reach out. That's why, every month, we pick a book which features strong, gutsy girls, then go beyond that. We recommend additional titles (see below for our postergirlz picks) and inform you of outreach programs that tie-in to the book we're discussing. Every issue also has an exclusive interview with the author of that month's book as well as a playlist created by the author, discussion questions, and tips on hosting your own book group.

This Month's Book of the Month

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr is our June selection for readergirlz.

When Jennifer was in elementary school, she had only one friend. His name was Cameron, and he meant the world to her. When they were together, the taunts of their classmates didn't matter . . . as much. Jennifer always felt safe with Cameron - until something horrible happened to them in fifth grade. Shortly thereafter, he stopped coming to class, and then he was just gone with no explanation, no good-bye.

Now it's eight years later, and Jennifer has changed in more ways than one: she's lost weight, gained confidence and friends, and now calls herself Jenna. Then Cameron returns, and Jenna remembers who she used to be - and what took place when they were kids.

Find out more about the book by reading the June issue of readergirlz and our roundtable book discussion.

For more information on this month's readergirlz activities and book recommendations, check out Little Willow's post.

Thanks to readergirlz diva Holly Cupala for designing this month's graphic!

Monday, June 1, 2009

GRACELING Book Giveaway Contest Ends Wednesday!

There's still time to enter the fantastic GRACELING Book Giveway!

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has been kind to offer 10 copies of Kristin Cashore's GRACELING for this generous Book Giveaway! The deadline is this Wednesday, June 3rd. Comment over here on a time you worked through "fear" and did something good for yourself.

Day 1: Summer Revision Smackdown Begins!

It's time for the Summer Revision Smackdown -- Isn't their graphic great? -- with organizers Holly and Jolie!  30 days of revision to a new slimmer, toned version of PB, my historical novel. 

The story is told from two POV's and my goal for this month is to finish converting the last half of the manuscript into the correct POV and get the voices right. Once I get everything smoothed out, I'm done. DONE! As in Finished. Perfected. Polished. But...no celebrating now. Will I be able to finish this in 30 days? I have a lot of work to do to make this happen. Wish me luck!

In preparation for this revision-thon, I converted my manuscript from Mac Pages to Scrivener over the weekend. I had been trying out Scrivener and checking out different writing programs, and decided it was finally time to make a change. Perhaps it was silly to do this when I'm so far into my project, but I'm hoping this will make my life easier.

I used to write the entire manuscript into one document file, but over the past year, I found it easier to write one chapter per document, so in case I need to edit or cut things, it's easier to pull up a chapter file, rather than scroll through hundreds of pages. All of the document files are numbered by chapter so they are in order in the document folder. I also copy each chapter into the main manuscript document since Pages doesn't merge all the documents, which can be a pain if you hit wrong buttons and then delete things by accident, but is easily fixed. (Not that this has ever happened to me.)

My research folder and a note folder are subsets of the document files, so there is no chance of missing anything, in case I need to refresh my memory on a specific detail. Everything is in one place and it helps me keep focused, rather than searching through all my computer files for a simple fact.

This system has worked well, but I have heard so many people write about how Scrivener has changed their life, that I decided to try it out awhile ago. It keeps everything organized (similar to how I save my work--chapter by chapter) and in plain sight, while your manuscript stays up--table of contents, research, word count per chapter, etc. Sounds minor, but for someone like me, who needs visual reminders of progress, this is perfect. And this merges all the chapters into the final manuscript! 

Everything looks beautiful so far, and now that it is Day 1 of the Smackdown, it's time to get to work! 

By the way, if you want to join this challenge, there's still time!  Go over here to sign up!

Have a great working day!  Wherplash!