Monday, October 17, 2016

Dispatch #58: Mi Scusi Dove il Bagno?

by Lupe Fernandez

Another in a irregular series about writing in the field.

Mi Scusi,Dove il Bagno?
Excuse me, where bathroom?

I memorized this important phrase on a recent trip to Italy. I also took a small blue notebook in case I got any bright ideas about a MG manuscript I'm revising titled The Adventures of Calaveras Cal: Boy Skeleton. Middle grade re-imaging of the Spanish Conquest of El Nuevo Mundo. Many of the scenes in the story were inspired by certain Italian locales.

Florence -  Brunelleschi's Dome
Standing below the 375 foot dome, I saw an astronomical observatory.

Florence - Giotto's Campanile
When I saw the bell tower, in the Piazzo del Duomo, I envisioned an orate rocket gantry.
Florence - Museo Galileo
 Peter Leopold’s Chemistry Cabinet, a table full of vials, instruments, bottles included this brass cone supported on three legs, resembling a tea-pot. Hmmm...what a cool ascent vehicle for Cal to make his escape from the planet Al Mareekh.

Venice: Il Palazzo Ducale - Doge's Palace
Wandering up a stairwell, I say this cylinder in the corner. It's a hanging lamp, but I imagined, "What a cool diving bell this would make!" There's not underwater action in the current story; I'll use the diving bell in the sequel.

Venice: Il Palazzo Ducale - Doge's Palace
I paced the floor of The Chamber of the Great Council from rear to front. Our hero, Calaveras Cal: Boy Skeleton, first meets the Council Realm. I crouched on the floor and walked to the front of the chamber, imagining the height and distance for a boy crossing the length of the floor.

There you have it. Some inspirations from the land of pasta and Vespas.

Yes, yes. I wrote Spanish Conquest of El Nuevo Mundo. Why Italy? Don't have any money yet for a trip to Spain. Maybe I'll get a queen to sell some jewels or steal a sailing ship.

Mi scusi, dove è la mia storia?
Excuse me, where is my story?

Monday, October 10, 2016

In the News Local Author Gathering & SCBWI BookBlast


Local Author Gathering  Saturday, October 15, 2016 -
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Buena Vista Branch Library
300 N. Buena Vista St.
BurbankCA 91505

Come and meet 50 local authors of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, children’s, young adult, self-help, romance, horror, and more! 
Buy books, get autographs, and meet new authors. 

Door prizes will be provided by the Friends of the Burbank Public Library. 

Susan will be there with cookies baked by the fabulous Hilde Garcia and also her books. All authors bring swag to the events. Please stop by and browse the tables. No one will pressure you to buy. But if you do buy, you get autographed books on the spot. You may also come away with gift ideas, and a door prize.
If you do come, please stop by and say hi to Susan and Hilde. 

SCBWI Book Blast launched Monday. 
Here's a tweet if you want to share.

Explore new books from Independent & Traditional writers & artists w/ #SCBWIBookBlast 

The book blast is a potpourri of well-known and independent authors. There is one section for traditionally published authors and another section for indie authors. Really pretty landing pages with postage stamp sized images you can click on. I felt like I was in a candy store.Once you are on a  the landing page you can sort by type of book or author.
Happy reading and writing.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Getting Reviews for Your Book

by Susan J Berger

The last ten days have been crazy/amazing.
My new book, Mom Is There a Santa Claus? came out on September 20.  Currently it's available as a paperback on Barnes and Noble and Amazon and as a 5.00 PDF for your eReader at Guardian Angel Publishing.

When I found out, the book was out on Amazon and B&N,  I was thrilled. (I worked a night shoot on American Horror Story on the 21st and didn't open my email for a couple of days.) Now I needed to try and get reviews. I am still working on that because I did two additional days on AHS, traveled to Port Angeles WA for my sister's 65th birthday plus I had blog posts due, an audition to film and pages due for my picture book critique group and my romance book critique group. And I am still playing catch up. I also want to find someone to translate Mom is There a Santa Claus? into Spanish. Oh the magic and confusion of living!
Getting Reviews 
I started by reaching out to fellow authors, offering a PDF ARC in exchange for reviews. I had a few takers. The offer is still open. If anyone wants a PDF ARC, email me at

I put Mom Is There a Santa Claus?  on SCBWI's winter reading list. I purchased an SCBWI Book Blast page.

Here is a list of reviewers I wanted to contact:

The Midwest Book Review Reviewing print books/CDs/DVDs is always free of charge. They charge a 50.00 Reader Fee for eBooks
I now have my books, so I will be sending one.

The Picture Book Reviews
If you’d like to contact me, please send me an email at:
Review Policy: Hello! As of January 1, 2015:  I happily accept picture books for review.  If we love the book, I’ll write a review about it.   I accept physical copies only — ARCs, galleys, etc. are fine — it just needs to be something I can sit down and read with my family.Thank you so much for thinking of me.  I’m flattered that you’d like your book reviewed on my site. Also, good luck with your book!  Picture book authors and illustrators
I will be contacting her. 
Readers Favorites.Com  All reviews are free. They post on their Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You CAN pay for more stuff. I didn't want to. I submitted an ARC PDF for review on 9/25. The review was up 4 days later.
Here's what their contact page says:
I am an author, publisher or publicity agent and I would like my book to be reviewed on What do I do?
To submit a book for review on, please send it to:
The Book Report Network
250 West 57th Street
Suite 1228
New York, NY 10107
Although we cannot guarantee a review, we consider every book that comes into our office. Due to the volume of submissions that we receive, we cannot contact authors or publishers on the status of a book for review. Typically books are reviewed within 3 months of publication. We suggest you sign up for our newsletter, which will list the content that we are promoting.
Please note that at this time we do not review eBooks, POD Books and other self-published titles as we only offer books that are available with wide distribution offline as well as online.

Places I will not submit:

Kirkus Book reviews. HUGELY expensive. If your publisher is paying. Great.
The Children's Book Review $195 for a review. No thanks. They doo have a place where you can giveaway a copy of your book. That might be worth checking out.

 Places to check out:

They have a list of websites. I have not checked them all out yet.
Next week I am one of a group of local authors doing an event at the Burbank Public Library. Please drop by. Hilde is baking me cookies to attract buyers. My hope is a few people will be interested in buying a book, but you can have a cookie without buying a book. Also a bookmark or two.
Burbank Public Library Local Authors' Showcase

Saturday, October 15, 2016 -
1:00pm to 4:00pm
300 N. Buena Vista St
 Burbank, CA 91505

Come and meet 50 local authors of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, children’s, young adult, self-help, romance, horror, and more!
Buy books, get autographs, and meet new authors.
Door prizes will be provided by the Friends of the Burbank Public Library.
 Now many of you are a lot more experienced than I am. Have you got any advice for me on where to get reviews, or how to get my book into a library? I am so grateful for advice. For those of you that are new at promoting. I hope the above helps.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Dispatch #57: Why This Post is Late

by Lupe Fernandez

Ten Reasons for Not Writing a Blog Post (or anything else)

1. Get pajamas for cat.

2. Read a book. 

3. Process Italy vacation photos.

4. Search Internet for funny images to accompany this post.

5. Work on manuscript submission due for critique group.
6. Watch clips of favorite movies on YouTube.

7. Go to grocery store.

8. Clean up my office.

9. Run up and down the stairs for ten minutes.

10. Play solitaire on iPhone.

Management Rebuttal
  1. No self-respecting cat wears pajamas.
  2. The back of a Snickers bar does not count as reading material.
  3. This photo could be from anywhere.
  4. Random internet searches does not classify as research.
  5. We're surprised you included manuscript submission, an act requiring writing.
  6. Good luck with the glare in the middle of the image and the distorted audio.
  7. Why didn't you go grocery shopping yesterday?
  8. Clean office? Hahahahahahahahaha!
  9. How about exercising your fingers with writing?
  10. You need a black jack on the red queen.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Waiting for a Book Release

by Susan J Berger

I am so lucky. I have two picture books coming out. That's a wonderful feeling. But the wait for their actual publication can seem forever. The timing varies so much.
Mom, is There a Santa Claus had a long journey. I think I wrote the original in 2004. After many trips to the critique group, I sent it to Jennifer James at The Los Angeles Times in 2009 
I was unsure anyone would publish a story asking  if  Santa Claus was real. Those of us who cherish Santa Claus do everything in their power to keep Santa alive. But  one day most children ask the question.
Jennifer expressed an interest and asked me to cut it to 600 words. I did so and it was scheduled for publication. Then Jennifer James left and so did the column.
In 2014, I sent it to Lynda Burch at Guardian Angel Publishing. Lynda asked for changes. I made them and I signed a contract with GAP in June 2014. I knew there would be a wait because the awesome illustrator, K.C. Snider always has a huge list of books to illustrate. I got the cover picture from K.C. in July of this year.
I love the picture. And I'm more excited than ever to see the finished book which has  a planned debut day for the end of September.  Twenty seven months is really not a long wait. It just seems like it.
My other picture book  Log on Log is still in the pipeline at Beach Lane Books. I signed that contract in September 2011.  I spoke to Andrea Welsh at Conference this year. She said she would get back with me after talking to the illustrator. I have an illustrator? Happy dance!

  Greg Pincus waited eight years with Arthur Levine his delightful mid-grade book The 14 Fibs of Gregory K.  His sequel to 14 Fibs is coming out much quicker. The Homework Strike will be out January 3, 2017
 Andrea J.Loney had a different journey. Her delightful book, Bunny Bear will be out on December 2016. I know that both Greg and I were in the group at the Westside Schmooze which critiqued Bunny Bear in April 2014.  She had 17 rejections.  Her agent, Jill Corcoran sold the book Sept 4, 2015 and it will be out December 2016.
Her first book, Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee, which won the 2014 Lee and Low New Voices award in 2014 won't be out till 2017.
In end, the length of the journey doesn't matter. The joy of the journey does.
I got a lovely rejection from Melissa Manlove at Chronicle Books for Nat the Rat and Fat Cat. I need to send that one out again. Tasha the Magnificent has been on an agent's desk for two months. The miracle is that the agent asked for the full. Tasha has had thirty-five rejections so far.
Two questions: If you are published, how long did you wait between contract and publication?
If you are on the submission circuit, how many times have you submitted your ms?
Write on!
Almost forgot! If you are a local author, Burbank Public Library is doing a Local Author event on Saturday, October 14th at the Buena Vista Branch Library. Here's a link to the Event Page and Application form.