Dream Girl Banner

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Terri Rowe Interview

This time, I'm interviewing another awesome MeeGenius author who's another home state girl. (perhaps MichGenius would be a more accurate name?)
Terri Rowe is the author of the adorable, and fun, Green Goo. So head on over there and snatch up a copy for yourself. It's cute. It's funny. It won't break the bank.
You can keep up with Terri on her blog and her Facebook page.
So, without further ado, Terri Rowe!
The Restless Writer (RW): What undesirable food item is ‘green goo’ to you?
Terri Rowe (TR): Well, I was quite limited in my eating habits-it took me years to get brave enough to try a lot of different foods. I didn't like tomatoes when I was really young-but by the time I was around 10-they were one of my favorite foods. I also didn't try guacamole until I was an adult-and now I love it soo much-I even use it as a sandwich spread. I was blessed with an aunt that always was encouraging me to tr new foods and new experiences. I am still not fond of red cherries-but I will eat them. I prefer black cherries. I also agree with my 98 year old grandmother-she says custard pie is certainly not her favorite-but she will eat! :)

RW: Did a particular incident prompt you to write this story?
TR: When I was first dating my husband-I went to a family Christmas gathering on his side adn that was the first time I met my two year old nephew. Someone had just had him try some food that he didn't like-the texture was gross to him-and as he toddled over to me-he stopped and threw up all over me. He looked at me with big sad eyes-a little scared. I laughed-asked him if he felt better-he nodded-and then I said-"Well, it's all okay. Let's get you cleaned up." I had him in mind and two of my friends daughters-one tha also vomits when trying foods of an odd texture and one that eats guacamole by the spoonful-at just two years old.

RW: How long have you been writing for children?
TR: I have been writing for children for over 10 years. One of my first projects was a gift for a co-worker. I ended up with his name for a Christmas gift exchange and my other co-workers challenged me to write and illustrate a story for the guy's daughter-as he was devoted to her. I spent well over 80 hours on that project. I was very proud of it and it was extremely well received. :)

RW: How did you first hear of MeeGenius?
TR: I am a fan of Three Minute Fiction contests on Facebook-which is an online writer's community based on the 600 word or less writing challenge sponsored by NPR. I saw a blurb on that sight about the MeeGenius Author Challenge and thought it sounded very exciting!

RW: What’s your favorite meal?
TR: My dad's homemade lasagna-with his homemade sauce, garlic toast, and his coleslaw with his homemade sauce. We usually have guacamole and chips as an appetizer.

RW: If you were invited to a dinner party that was only serving classically hated foods, who would you want to go with you?
TR: I would want my siblings there, my husband-and also my best friend. My best friend is always horrified by my ability to try and eat foods that I have never had or don't really like very much.

RW: Who are some of your favorite children’s picture book authors?
TR: From my childhood-I loved Katherine Jackson, Richard Scarry, and as I got older Marion Holland, Laura Inglass Wilder, Sydney Taylor, Elizabeth Enright, Lois Lenski, Julie Campbell, and so many, many other great authors. I was blessed with plenty of time spent at the library and reading at home. :)

RW: What are you working on now?
TR: I am working on four new storybooks. One of them also features a food-this time a pretty universal favorite food of children around the world. I am also working on two middle grade novels, a blog, and several screenplays.

Thanks so much for stopping by Terri! Although, you have made me hungry for guacamole. :) 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It Needs to be Said

Ladies and gentlemen, who wants to get on board with a rant about the unfairness of publishing? I see at least one of you with your hand raised, so let's forge ahead.

Take, for example, the fate of books that are good. I mean, really good. And they get no press. They get no acclaim. They are released. Some people find them. They fade into nothingness. Yeah, I'm gonna name some names here.

You know what book I really enjoyed that didn't get the recognition it deserved?
Rob & Sara.com co-written by P.J. Petersen and Ivy Ruckman. Really cool people too. How do I know? Because I wrote to them after I finished the book to tell them how much I enjoyed it. I loved how they subtly wove in the message that there are dangers lurking on the internet, that people aren't necessarily who they claim to be, but that it isn't all bad. You really can meet a kindred spirit in a digital life. They were grateful for my letter because they were slammed for not doing exactly what I said they did. They didn't beat the morale of the story into your brain. They let the reader come to their own conclusion. It was a skillfully executed book. But if you click that book title above, you'll find it's out of print. Amazon doesn't even have a cover photo available. Sad. Not fair.

I could make an enormous list of these kinds of books, but that would get redundant so I'll let Rob & Sara.com stand as my example for that.

But now I have a new kind of example. This is the kind I bet most of you can get behind. The books that are so wonderful they deserve to be published. But they just get rejected. Again and again and again. And then you look at some of the things that are published and see that it's no better than your manuscript. No better than your friends manuscript. But theirs is a book and yours is a file on your computer. Unless, of course, you self publish, which barely gives you any more credibility than if you'd left it a file on your computer. But there is brilliant stuff that falls into this category.

For example:
Brand new book 2 in the Holly Wild series

One of the adorable Swoozy Noon books by Roo Cadell

Now, Holly Wild is available in print, thanks to her savvy author/illustrator. My daughter has the first book and just loved it. What could be more fun than a nature loving girl and her adventures in Michigan?

I am really disappointed that the Swoozy Noon series is only available as an ebook. The stories are short, funny and adorable. I would love to cuddle up with these little books and read them with my kids. It's not the same to cuddle up with the iPad. It just isn't.

But these two series definitely get the Restless Writer Seal of approval. But they should have more of a chance to get noticed. Word of mouth only works if someone finds them to talk about in the first place.

And then, there is the talented and brilliant Jody Lamb. Rejected far more than it ever should have been, her beautiful story, Easter Ann Peters: Operation Cool, tells the story of a middle grade girl who struggles to get comfortable in her own skin while balancing the pressures of school with the secret of her alcoholic mother. Sounds heavy, but Jody has given so much life and humor to Easter Ann that it's truly a heartwarming story. Jody has finally found a new, independent publisher who was wise enough to see the high quality of the story and its importance. But, being new and independent, it's hard to get a new list of books off the ground. So there's a Kickstarter campaign.  I pre-ordered my copy through the Kickstarter because it's another fantastic book that deserves a chance.

And all this led me to an idea...

There are groups online that seek to link aspiring authors and self published authors so that, hopefully, something will come of it. Besides some friendships, I don't see that it really makes much of a difference in sales and marketing. Other than that, if you're willing to pay big bucks to have someone market your books, or to pay for ads somewhere, you don't have many options.

What if, there were other people like me who love good books and like to help authors. What if, we were to form a book review club? I'd like to start this club. Here's how I envision it working.

We have 1 title per month, 12 a year. To be in the club, you promise to read and review at least 3 of the books. Now, because the goal is to help generate sales and publicity, I would hope everyone would buy the 3 titles they agree to review. But if there are other, legal, ways to get a copy of the book, so be it. Books can be reviewed on individual blogs, hopefully on a website like Amazon or GoodReads or wherever else it might benefit the author. Reviews are to be truthful. If you read a self published book and it shouldn't have been published yet. Say it. But not in a way that's hateful. Say it constructively: I didn't think the plot was well thought out. The characters didn't feel real to me. There were too many distracting grammar errors. etc.

If you're interested in submitting your book for consideration for this review process, please stick to the children's and young adult genre. Sorry, that's just what I like to read so that's who I want to help. If you want to submit your book, you agree to review at least 3 other titles in the year. If you don't, your title will be dropped from the list and any published publicity will be deleted. Show the love, folks. Don't be greedy.

And, one more thing. I'm tired of bloggers selling ad space on their personal blogs. Really? Do I deserve $25 a month or more from you to put a picture of your book in my sidebar? No, I don't. So, I've decided that I'll go ahead and feature someone's book in my sidebar, for free, once a month. I'll draw a winner every month and contact you for a graphic and link. Does that sound fun? I'll start with Holly Wild and Swoozy Noon for the rest of this month because they're both new and I love them.

Email me at indiebookgroup (at) gmail (dot) com  for more information about any of this and to join up!