Thursday, August 11, 2016

Like a Boomerang - I'm Back!

Hi all

It seems that life takes out a flyswatter every so often and whacks me upside the head, and when I finally come to, months have passed. But fear not. I'm just giving this quick update to let you know that I'm still around and still writing.

At the beginning of the year, I set some new goals for myself. I put aside all my old writing and resolved to write one new piece of writing per month and to work on one brand spanking new book this year. 

So how am I doing? 

So far, the one new piece of writing a month - which I'm referring to as George's year of half-baked ideas - is working out swimmingly. I've even had one month where I wrote more than one. None of those pieces will win any awards, even if you set the bar REALLY low (with a couple exceptions, which I'll go into in a minute), but the work is getting done, which is the most important thing.

As for the book, well, that's a whole other story. I DO have an idea. I've had it kicking around for a long time but didn't know what to do with it. Then I attended the Writing in Reverse workshop given by K. R. Conway ( at the New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators spring conference, and suddenly it opened my eyes to a whole new way of approaching my novel idea. It also forced me to point out some problems I've been creating for myself when writing novels in the past. Now granted, the techniques I learned are more in line with a "plotter" type of writer, and I consider myself more of a "pantser", but I'm hoping that a combination of these two disciplines will be the way to go. The notes I took at this conference will definitely help me get there. Even though I haven't technically started my new novel yet, there's also National Novel Writing Month coming up in November, and if I can get the "plotter" stuff out of the way before then, I'll be free to write by the seat of my pants like I normally do. 

One final thing. Back to the one piece of writing a month thing. Not all of my new ideas are in the rough draft, unsubmittable state. I decided to submit two of the pieces, both of them non-fiction geared toward 3rd-4th graders, as part of a submission package to a publisher where I was hoping for an opportunity for some write-for-hire type of work - another first for me. The editor who reviewed my work loved my writing, so now I'm (hopefully) in the rotation for new work that might come! For now, I'll leave out the details until something more concrete happens, but it did help to justify my decision to come up with some new, fresh ideas for this year.

That is all for now. I'm off to buzz around a bit more and avoid the flyswatters so that I can come back for another report soon. Also, I have a huge backlog of books to review for George's Backlogged Book Reviews page, which I'll hopefully be getting to soon as well. So stay tuned!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Cover Reveal for Death of an Assassin by Ian Hiatt

Hi all

Author Ian Hiatt is busy working on release info for his first novel, Death of an Assassin, which will be out June 16th of this year, so he'll be guest blogging closer to that time.  

In the meantime, I am including the description and the cover reveal of his new book here, along with info on the author, so you can check out more upcoming details and news directly from him.

So, without further ado, here is the cover of Ian Hiatt's new book, Death of an Assassin.


How cool is that? And if you think the cover is awesome, the description will hook you even more. This one's definitely going on my To Read list:


Technically, Layla hasn't killed anyone. Ask the witnesses. It was a misstep here, a trip-and-fall there—accidents happen.

And Layla is paid very well to ensure that they do.

Her mother once traced their lineage back to ancient times. Go flip throughThe Odyssey. Some great-great-great grandmother is in there beckoning sailors to rocky deaths. For eons her kind has made it their business to bring hapless men to quick and messy ends. Layla can't help it that Saint Roch City has job listings for someone who can cause blameless death. You go where the work is.

When the most difficult hit of her career goes sideways, Layla finds out that what she's been told about her own history may not be so accurate. And there is no forgiveness in the business of assassinations. When you're paid to kill someone, there better be a dead body.

Either the mark's—or yours.

If you would like to learn more info about Ian Hiatt and follow his journey to publication, or if you would like to know where you can find his book, you can check out his bio, where I've included information on where else he can be found on the Internets:


Ian Hiatt is the crazy guy who lives on your block. You know the one that all the neighborhood kids point at and whisper about. He’s cleverly hidden himself by marrying an incredibly tolerant woman and finding himself an adorable dog. This is the best disguise for living in New England. The villagers have not yet run him out of his castle.

When he’s not scrawling delusional words about mythical-filled cities or dinosaurs, he’s busy tapping out code for websites and software. If he’s kept away from writing implements, he treks aimlessly through forests hiking trails, across abandoned beaches, and wandering the shelves bookstores. These three things don’t overlap except for that one time, and that was a really weird day.


Official Website:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Upcoming Stuff

Hi all

Just checking in for a bit to let you know what's happening.

First, I'm still on track with my goals, although this month has been incredibly busy. Seeing as though I've had little time to write, I only managed to get in 10 words. But, it's a story! And, I did something I said I wouldn't do. I submitted it to a contest. For anyone who's interested in what the 10-word story contest could possibly be, check it out here. There's still time to submit your own 10-word masterpieces, and if you win, you could have a chance to take a free writing course at Gotham Writers Workshop:

Second, after years of being away, I'll be attending the 2016 Spring New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference. I'm excited to finally be going back to this. In past years, I've opted to go to Book Expo America instead - thus all the books I've been reviewing here - but I feel I need to get back to the writer conferences for some inspiration. I'm doing an abridged version this year. It's a 3-day conference, but I'll only be attending 2. I opted not to have any of my work professionally critiqued, mainly because I made the decision to put away all my old writing for this year. Also, none of my new writing is ready to be professionally critiqued.

Finally, this Friday, I'll have a guest on my blog - author Ian Hiatt - who will be revealing the cover of his first novel and will have some words to say about it. It's always exciting to hear about first novel news!

That's all I got for now. Thanks for listening.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2016 Goals - Better Late Than Never

Hi all

I suppose you're all wondering where I've been. Not to worry. I'm still writing. I've just stepped back a little bit.

At the beginning of this year, I reviewed my goals for 2015, and I found that I didn't do too badly. To summarize, they were:

1. Submit one previously unpublished story per month.

2. Submit one book.

I basically missed May, August, and November of goal #1, but I hit all the other goals. However, at the end of the year, I felt very discouraged. Between the rejections and the fact that most of the submissions were older ones I had kicking around that didn't have a home, I felt creatively bankrupt. I felt I needed to do something to "prime the idea pump", as they say. 

So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2016 - better late than never, I always say:

1. Write one new piece per month.

2. Write one new book.

"But wait, George," you say. "Just hold on a minute. Aren't those goals pretty much the same ones as last year?"

Au contraire, my fine blog reader friends. They are NOT the same. In fact, there are two distinct differences between this year's goals and last year's.

The first is the word "new". This year, I have decided to shelf all my completed work. It's going in the bottom drawer. It's gathering dust for the year. Based on feedback I've been receiving on some of them, it's just as well. I get the sense the literary world is tired of seeing it. 

More importantly, I'm starting to feel the same way. I've been looking at some of them for far too long. It's time to put them away, start something fresh, and learn new things, in the hopes that when the day comes where I take those out of the bottom drawer again, I can look at them with a fresh perspective.

The second is a little more subtle. Notice that I didn't use the word "submit" but rather the word "write". This takes the pressure off me to send something out every month that may not be ready to go. I don't need any of the baby birds to go plummeting to their deaths just because I couldn't wait to kick them out of the nest. This year, they're staying with me for a while until they're really ready. 

Yes, I'm going to be a helicopter parent to my writing this year. 

Also, this frees me to be a little more experimental. I can already tell I'll enjoy having an entire month to try out new ways of telling stories. In fact, for the month of January and February, I've been dabbling in writing poetry, which is something I'm not very, ahem, well-versed in. 

So there you have it. My goals for 2016. Let me know what you think. And feel free to share your goals for the year. I'm interested in what others are doing and how things are going.