Sometimes, Silence Is Required

I'm in the midst of a difficult revision. Difficult, because like many of you, I'm very distracted by the world's goings-on. And difficult also because I've been challenged to amp up the work with this next draft. To go deeper, exploring characters and theme more fully, and adding tension to that dreaded middle. I'm not complaining about the challenges, mind you. I want to write the best … [Read more...]

A Teacher/Librarian Lesson Plan Tool Kit

As a former middle school and high school teacher, I know how valuable simple tool kits are - especially tool kits that provide a lesson plan that's fun, engaging, and informative. That's one huge reason why I partnered with Curious City to create a website for THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE that includes an event kit for librarians to help teach library search skills. Curious City … [Read more...]

“How Can I Get Published?”

The number one question would-be and new-be children's book authors ask authors like me is (no surprise) "How do I get my work published?" I understand, because I asked the same question when I was just starting out. Here's the thing: the publishing industry is a bit of a different animal than most. There's no "shark tank", no product application, no routine "I've got this idea" pitch forum. … [Read more...]

New Craft Books For Writers

Lately I've discovered some new writing craft books that have become staples of my reference shelf. I wanted to share my impressions of these recent releases, so I hope you enjoy. THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION: HOW TO WRITE THE STORY BENEATH THE SURFACE, by Donald Maass (Writer's Digest Books, 2016). I've long been a Donald Maass fan, and pretty much use every one of his craft books … [Read more...]

Announcing A New Deal!

A new book deal for me! Here's the deal announcement from PW Children's Weekly: "Kendra Levin at Viking has signed Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle author Janet Fox's second middle-grade novel, The Last True Knight. Edwina, living in Elizabethan England, sets out to find her kidnapped older brother and avenge her father's murder while disguised as a boy, accompanied by an aging knight … [Read more...]

Get Organized For Teachers!

This week, in a continuation of my focus on getting organized for the new year, I have some tips for teachers to share with you. And please do enter the grand giveaway for a classroom set of GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT, and more! Here again is what the giveaway contains: a complete classroom set of copies (25 copies total) of GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT a hard copy print-out set … [Read more...]

Get Organized For Parents!

Continuing with the giveaway I posted about last week (a classroom set of GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT, plus so much more...), this week some tips for parents who want to help their kids. And parents, if you would like to enter the contest on behalf of your child's teacher or librarian, feel free. (I do want this giveaway to go to a school classroom.) As a parent, I can sympathize if you … [Read more...]

Get Organized!

January is the month to Get Organized! My first book, in print since 2006 from Free Spirit Publishing, with over 60,000 copies sold and available in eight languages, is still helping middle grade kids get organized. With downloadable worksheets, helpful suggestions, various strategies, and humorous anecdotes, GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT has garnered praise from kids, teachers, and … [Read more...]

Pearl

Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to what motivates a protagonist to action. Lisa Cron, in her terrific craft book STORY GENIUS, describes what she calls the character's "misbelief" - a belief that has been the source of much agony for the character. Others refer to this characteristic as a "back-story wound", or a "fatal flaw", but I love the idea of a misbelief that results from perhaps a … [Read more...]

Be Kind

When my son was younger I told him that he should keep two words in mind as he went out in the world: be nice. Now I would change those words to be kind. There's nothing wrong with nice. My mother would have used the word correct. (Which is one reason I've come to dislike the term politically correct, since there should be nothing political about correct/nice/appropriate behavior.) But … [Read more...]