Tag Archives | Kate Messner

Magnificent Middle Grade Book Give Away!!

Two incredible book packages!

 The brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner and To Find a Wonder by Jennifer Carson.  (Go to links to find full reviews)


The coveted arc of Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner and To Find a Wonder.


  • Follow my blog and leave a comment on this post with your email address.
  • For extra entries twitter or blog about the contest and leave an extra comment for each with the link.
  • Must have a United States mailing address.

Contest ends Friday, June 25th.   Winners announced on Monday, 28th.

 Head over to My Writing Journey for another fabulous give away!

And check out Ansha Kotyk’s blog for more details on Jennifer Carson!

Good luck everyone! Spread the word and help promote these wonderful authors!! Come back Monday when Jennifer Carson will be my guest!

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How I Write: Where the heck did you get that idea? (And my dirty little secret.)

Welcome to our new summer series about how I write. You might learn more than you want to know. You might find something useful. You might just want to join in the fun. All credit for the idea and outline of topics goes to Ansha Kotyk.

You read a book or a great premise and say to yourself – it should be easy to come up with an idea like that.

What not to do:

  1. Sit at your computer staring at the blank page hour after hour.
  2. Eat bags of jelly beans hoping the sugar rush will spark an idea.
  3. Do yoga while listening to classical music to usher in the muse. (Okay that might work for some people.)
  4. Let discouragement take over because you can’t seem to come up with your next great idea.
  5. Put pressure on your brain to create.

 I’ve tried a couple of those, and trust me, they don’t work.

 I’ve come up with ideas several different ways.

  1.   Research a topic of interest and often real stories and events will spark an idea.
  2.  Take two things I love and mash them together.
  3.  I’ve had one dream about a character and a situation but I’m so not ready to write about it. Someday.
  4. Walk past an amazing, unique setting or situation and immediately think, book idea.
  5. Take a real event in my life or my children’s life and exaggerate it, twist it around, shake it up, stretch it out, take it dancing – and see what happens.
  6. My friend says something about her tween daughter and whamo – perfect idea.
  7. Rebellion against trending subject and plots.

Sometimes, the best thing I can do is take pressure off my brain. Read. Watch movies. Do dishes. Clean my kids’ room. Exercise. Be social. Because even brains needs a vacay.

And now for my dirty little secret. I write middle grade. But it’s really hard for me to find a contemporary middle grade book I absolutely love. 

And that’s why on Friday, I’m giving away some middle grade books that I absolutely enjoyed reading. Two book packages. With two great authors. Stay tuned.

Check out how my crit partners get their ideas. Fabulous crit partner Ansha. Fabulous crit partner Kris. And fabulous crit partner Jen.

Helpful posts on generating ideas here and here and here.

How do you get your ideas? Share!

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Secrets, Gianna Z., and Me.

 Kate Messner – a talented middle grade author who wrote The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. (Gianna Z. won the E.B. White read aloud award! And Kate recently announced a three book deal with scholastic. Woo hoo! Go Kate!)

 A girl (Gianna). A boy. A leaf project. A cross country meet. A grandmother who is developing Alzheimers. A family who doesn’t want to admit it. Italian wedding cookies. And there is Gianna Z in the middle of it. Trying to get her leaf project done to be able to compete in the cross country meet while dealing with her grandmother.

 Let’s just say, I cried off and on throughout the last quarter of the book.

 Let’s go back to the New England SCBWI conference. Kate Messner’s new arc – Sugar and Ice. I brought it home. My first arc. Yay!!! I read it. I loved it. Stayed up to midnight reading it.

Sugar and Ice – Claire Boucher, a farm girl who likes to skate on frozen cow ponds, starts training at Lake Placid. As she experiences the ups and downs of competitive skating, she must decide which of her dreams to follow.

Though I didn’t cry in this book, tension crackled (I seriously think I heard it) and had me reading straight through. I couldn’t put it down.

These books are the perfect example of great contemporary middle grade. You’ll find it all. High stakes. Three dimensional characters. Great dialogue. Emotion. Conflict.

Oh, yeah. Secrets. I have a secret –about my reading and writing – to share on Wednesday when I start a summer series called, How I  Write. Wednesday is all about idea creation.

And then on Friday I might or might not be having a book give-a-way contest. (And it might or might not have to do with the books in this post.)

Share the last great book you read. I want to know.

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