Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Keeping Balance

Long gone are the days of summer where I could write for hours.

Now that the school year has started (both at the high school where I teach and classes for my MFA program), I knew I had to figure out a way to juggle it all. Between grading, lesson planning and completing MFA classwork, I'm pretty much drained during the week

So I came up with a solution that's been working pretty well with my revisions.

I printed out the draft of my book and Monday-Friday I go over the draft and write notes, cross things out (sometimes lots of things) and mark areas where I want to add more. This works well. This works really well. While it does involve some thinking, it's thinking over something that's already been written.

The weekend is my time to create new writing (usually areas I marked in my draft where I want to expand scenes, review or create whole new ones). My husband (it's still kind of strange to say that!) understands that I need one day a weekend to dedicate to my writing. I've been packing up and heading to my favorite Starbucks at Barnes and Noble, where I plug my headphones into my Mac and write, write, write. It's easier to write on the weekend, because my mind is not already jumbled up with all the other stuff from the day.

I'm slowly but surely making my way through my first draft and seem to have found a happy balance to work, writing, school and life.

At least until I get my first editorial letter from my editor. I'm pretty good at juggling, but I'm not sure how I'm going to fit in revising a book and writing one! Yikes!

What about you? How do you try to keep balance?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Your Monday Laugh

I'm revising my new novel (yay!). The first draft is complete at 44,000 words, so now I'm working on developing character and subplots more.

It's been going well, but sometimes I hit a wall.

Writer's block always seems to be less painful when you can turn to a good laugh.

This New Yorker cartoon never fails to crack me up!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Great Gatsby: Leonardo Dicaprio Style

I've been gushing about Baz Lurhmann's Great Gatsby since they announced it.

I will probably keep gushing about it until it comes out.

So you can imagine how excited I was when some of the first pictures from filming appeared on the Internet!!!
Check it out. This site has a bunch of pictures as they start filming.

Now please excuse me as I go swoon over Leo!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If You Are New To The Blog...

If you're new to the blog, here's my query summary for CANARY. The Publishers Marketplace listing doesn't give you a lot of details about the book, so I'll fill you in!

Similar to the style of Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere, CANARY (88,000 words) is told in a mix of narrative and blog entries. Kate Franklin’s dad is good at coaching basketball; what he isn’t good at is communicating with Kate and her brother Brett. When her mother dies, he shuts down, throwing himself into basketball as a way to cope with his grief, leaving Kate alone in silence. When he lands a job at Beacon, Kate finds it easy to fit in when she starts dating a player on the team. Kate quickly learns that there are perks to being an athlete, but it comes with a price. When one of the players take his power too far at a party and Kate is assaulted, she doesn't stay silent about the attack. However, her accusations aren’t accepted by the Beacon community. The school rallies with the team and lashes out at her. Ugly rumors are created to destroy Kate and her credibility. She’s not praised for her decision to be truthful, but instead, it brings terrible consequences. The final blow comes when her dad tries to silence her in order to protect the team. The world that Kate believed was safe is now her worst enemy, and Kate must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

My head is still up in the clouds, but I'll be coming down soon to talk more...I promise!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's Official!

This came out today in Publishers Marketplace, so I guess it's time to share!

Woo hoo!

Children's: Young Adult
Rachele Alpine's debut CANARY, about a girl who suddenly finds herself in the popular crowd at a new school when her father is hired as the basketball coach, to Ali DeGray at Medallion Press, for publication in Fall 2013, by John Rudolph at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World).

I'll write more once my head comes down from the clouds!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Thanks so much for all the kind words about signing with my new agent. I love the support from all of my blog friends!

As promised, I have a copy of fellow agent sister, Nova Ren Suma's Imaginary Girls to give away.

The winner of the book is....

Lisa Richards!

Woo hoo!

Congrats, Lisa!

I urge everyone else who entered to read this book. It's amazing and I'll probably gush about it again later this week when I share the surprise turns my new book has taken me and my writing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Perfect Last Day of Summer

I've been reading tweets and Facebook messages of writer parents excited to have their kids go back to school. They get time to write in peace and quiet. I, on the other hand, will lose a huge chunk of my writing time as I go back to the classroom.

Today is my last day of summer vacation and while I'm excited about the classes I'm teaching this year, it always gets so much harder to balance everything during the school year.

But today I won't think about that.

Today is my perfect last day!

This is what it will look like:

1) Get up and take this cutie outside and then spend some time playing with her (leaving her is probably going to be the hardest part of going back to work).

Isn't she getting big!?! She was just a little squirt a few months ago!

2) Brew a huge cup of coffee (in my mustache mug!) and spend some hours with my book in my pajamas (my writing time will shift, and most of my writing will get done in the evenings or on the weekends. Writing in the morning when my mind is still fresh is my favorite way to do it).

3) Get a facial (woo hoo!). The ladies at work gave me a gift certificate for my wedding shower to the spa I love, so I'm cashing it in today on a 90 minute facial. Hav

4) Sushi with the hubs (a perfect day isn't complete without sushi!).

What about you? What would you do on your perfect day?

And don't forget to enter my have until Sunday! Click here for information!

Monday, August 15, 2011

I've Got News (And A Contest!)

You may have noticed I've been pretty silent about my book these last few months. Yes, the wedding was the main cause of that, but it was also because I was in a transition period. My old agent took an extended leave of absence, so I asked to be let out of my contract. I understood that she needed the time off, but I didn't want my book or writing to sit in limbo.

I queried a small batch of my favorite agents (basically agents who repped authors that I love) and let them know the situation. After a few weeks of being back on the query train (you know, days full of nail biting, refreshing e-mails and decisions), I'm happy to announce that CANARY and my new book CIRCLES WITHIN CIRCLES is now represented by John Rudolph at Dystel and Goderich.

Uhm...yeah...cue excited screaming!

I'm so excited to work with John and the agency! They represent some amazing authors such as:

Oh, and another author you might know by the name of....

Seriously, I'm honored to be a part of an agency that represents such great writers.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a copy of Nova Ren Suma's Imaginary Girls. If you haven't read it, you must. It's one of the best books I've read all year and I can't wait to get it into the hands of one of my readers.

All you have to do is follow my blog and fill out the form below. I'll pick a winner this Sunday evening (August 21), so you have until noon Sunday to enter!

Each blog, tweet or Facebook mention gets you an extra point. Just share the link!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Honeymoon Reading

Your honeymoon is the perfect time to do a lot of reading. Right?

Okay, maybe not, but I still found time to fit it in on the plane rides and while sitting in the sun.

If you remember from this posting, I saved a bunch of books that I was excited to read for the honeymoon. Although I cheated a bit and read some of the books before I left, I had some amazing books still loading on my Kindle.

The Fates Will Find Their Way (Pittard)
I heard the author speak at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and was intrigued by her book. It's about a girl who goes missing in high school and life after. It's told as a collective "we," and is narrated by the boys who went to school with her. The book follows their lives as they grow older and possibilities of what might have happened to the missing girl.

Sisterhood Everlasting (Brashares)
I loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, so I was ecstatic when I heard she was writing another one. The book skips ahead ten years and while parts reminded me of what I loved in the earlier series, this book is very very sad. Seriously, the entire book has a mournful theme to it, but it was wonderful to visit with the characters again.

We'll Always Have Summer (Han)
I love this series, and I always recommend it to my female students who want a cute romance. A bunch of my girls read it when it came out a few months ago, and I swore them to secrecy. I didn't want them to ruin which brother Belly ends up with, and I'll stay silent too so I don't ruin it for you!

The Solitude of Prime Numbers (Giordano)
I had read a recommendation of this book awhile ago, and I wanted to read it. It's translated from Italian and follows two characters (a boy and girl) from childhood to adulthood. I loved how it was told in a more episodic way.

Where She Went (Foreman)
I did not want this book to end (and it did too fast, because I read it in less than a day!). It's the sequel to If I Stay, but it's told from Adam's perspective. I thought I wouldn't like it, but I don't think it would have been the same if Mia told the story. It was wonderful, and I can't wait to share it with my students who love If I Stay.

This Beautiful Life (Schulman)
This book was reviewed in the NY Times about two weeks ago and I had to find wi-fi at the hotel in Paris to download it because it didn't come out until August 2. It's about an affluent family in NYC and the aftermath of what happens when the teenage son forwards a video sent to him from a girl admirer. It's a pretty timely topic, and I liked how the author showed how the entire family was affected from this one event.

I'd recommend any of these reads. What about you? Have you read any good books this summer?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Never Give Up

Have you read The Help?

If you have, phew! How awesome was it, right?

If you haven't, go out and buy it now!

Why are you still reading this???? Go out and buy it! :)

I've fallen in love with the book (just like a huge part of this country) and all my friends/family have been given gifts of the book. I even get to teach it this year in my American Literature course!

This article by the author, Kathryn Stockett, is a must read for writers. She queried over 60 agents before she found one and worked tirelessly on the book even when others told her to quit. She talks about revising while in labor and sneaking away to hotels down the street to write (while telling her husband she was on girls' weekends). It's about an inspirational as the book is. If you believe in something, you fight for it.

So writers, take her advice and don't give up!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Hey there!

I haven't talked to you in awhile.

But I have a good excuse....I got married!

Woo hoo!