Twitter Spilled the Beans


… & I don’t mean on presidential candidates’ wives. No, friends, for the past month or so, a bunch of writers played a huge cyber-game of tag with the hastag #DescribeYourWIPinThreeWords (WIP = work-in-progress).

I got drawn in by my beloved co-conspirator, Madelyn Rosenberg:

I’ve had a peek at Mad’s “Friends Save Future” middle grade novel, and it’s funny and thrilling and really quite lovely. I responded, of course, even though I’ve been so busy teaching that a work-in-progress is less “in progress” and more “in hiatus until July”:

The fun part is seeing all the amazing stuff coming into the world. Here are some WIP’s I’m joyfully anticipating:

And here’s one that might be true of most manuscripts in the early stages of being:



Andy Smithson – hits shelves today!

51zaopiysjl-_sx331_bo1204203200_ Today, our friend L.R.W. Lee has released book 5 of the Andy Smithson series! Here’s the low-down.

Vision of the Griffin’s Heart

Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered it’s up to him to break a 500-yr-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.

Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!

You can get it here on Kindle and paperback.

5 Stars! – “A marvelous book in a great series!” – Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog

Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” – Richard Weatherly, Author

Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is FREE. Download a copy at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N. Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks. Book one is also available in paperback.


7bcfc1_8a24bc7f0b474b758ec4a0ea0e375d1aL. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.

L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Email

Q&A with L.R.W.Lee

How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson?

Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.

How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?

It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.

Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?

I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.

What do you love the most about writing for young people?

My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.

Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite?

Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing/revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.

How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?

Usually about 6 months.

I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?

I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.

Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?

Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.

How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?

I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that.

Advice for debut authors #15eradvice

Today Twitter did something awesome — as Twitter is known to do. A bunch of authors offered up their best advice for the newly published under the hashtag .

Here are a few goodies from that conversation:

And the best advice I got when I was heading into the wild world of public authorship:


#OregonShooting – A found poem

I Suggest

you enter a classroom and 
tell people you will take them 
as hostages. Make everyone get 
in one corner and then 
open fire.

		>be american
		>get shot

I suggest you carry a knife on your belt as last resort.

It's either you kill me 
or my parents do, 
		I'll be waiting lad

nobody cares   you're pathetic   this is why no one likes you

If this happens I'll smile OP, do it for that.

You might want to target a girls school which is safer

It takes a great man to do great things. 

Im somewhat a normie and i wouldnt be sad 
if i got killed by your hand.

			Make sure there is no way 
			someone can disarm you. 

Become Legendary.

	Do not use a shotgun.

I would suggest a powerful 
assault rifle and a pistol or 2x pistols. 
Possibly the type of pistols who have 15+ ammo

Keep me in your prayers

		why don't you just talk to a girl 

	if someone is holding your gun

	Fuck off asshole,
don't just kill 


			aim for shitty people 
				     at least

I will pray that you 
accomplish your goals 
and find happiness.

no one will respect you for this they'll just 
for the shit coward you are

Spare the kind fools, 
	humdrum druggies, 
		and churchies and 
				go for he 
				whom really 
				the populous: 
				Chads and Stacies 
				who have scorned 
				many and yourself.

You'll do the world a favour 

	will this thread be on the news?

Fuck you you are gonna make us 
white people 
look bad 

dream on, beta faggots. 
		literally nothing 
		will happen 

	This is the only time I'll ever be in the news 
				I'm so insignificant 

Is beta uprising finally going down?

Hope you get a high score. Thanks for the warning. 

You're only shooting college age students, correct? 
I have grandparents that live up there. 

Kill them all for us 

ill be waiting with fingers crossed. 
ill be the 1st to die 

Make us proud 

Don't let your memes be dreams. Do it. 

maybe cringey 
disney art 
will be made 
of you 
by middle 

The fuck is wrong with you people.

You gunna get bopped 

Do it. 

Do it OP, if only to stir the pot. 

The true beta uprising is refusing to be girls' last options
We should put our value in ourselves and get pissed. 

I am so excited 
for this. 

We are the best thing we got. 

If this comes true then thank you for my late birthday gift 

Don't let us down, OP


This poem is composed of the responses on the anonymous 4chan board where the Oregon shooter (whose name I refuse to use) warned others Northwesterners not to go to school the next day and boasted that he’d be posting a “happening thread” in the morning.

OP stands for “original poster” (the killer).

YA Scavenger Hunt – with a visit from Karen Bao

Team TealWelcome to YA Scavenger Hunt TEAM TEAL! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of TEAM TEAL–but there are a bunch of other teams that will give you a chance to win a whole different set of books!

In this hunt alone, you could win a set of these 20 books!


dream-boy-cover-300.jpgI’m really psyched that DREAM BOY, which I co-wrote with my good friend Madelyn Rosenberg, is in such great company!

DREAM BOY is about the consequences of your own imagination, lethal high heels, and epic kisses. It was a really fun book to write, as Madelyn and I mixed romance and suspense in a story that centers on one of my favorite subjects–the weirdness of dreams!

“Eerie, twisty, fast and funny, Dream Boy will forever change the way you see your dreams – and your nightmares. An exciting, imaginative look at what might happen when people from the corners of your mind suddenly show up in your real life.” – Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light

But wait! I promised exclusive content, didn’t I? Plus that elusive NUMBER that you need to participate in the hunt! Read on!

Today, I am hosting Karen Bao!


Here’s what Karen says about herself: “My childhood in New Jersey was full of music, books, stargazing, and buggy science ‘experiments’ on the playground. As a high school senior, I wrote Dove Arising when I should have been doing my homework. I now study environmental biology at college in New York City, soaking up inspiration for future books.”

Check out Karen’s website or find more about Dove Arising!

RisingCoverPhaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom: that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble…

Suspenseful, intelligent, and hauntingly prescient, Dove Arising stands on the shoulders of our greatest tales of the future to tell a story that is all too relevant today.

Exclusive content: Click here to explore the world of DOVE ARISING.


Karen’s favorite number is Phaet’s favorite number. Oddly enough, it’s also my favorite number and the number of contests in the YA Scavenger Hunt. It’s also the number of times my daughter re-recorded the voice-over for the Dream Boy book trailer, trying to get it just right: 8!

Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the TEAM TEAL and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

Directions: Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the teal team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, Oct 4th at noon Pacific time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, L.H. Nicole!

(You can also check out Victoria Strauss, who will be hosting an exclusive video from me!)

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt.