A New Humor Video Chat!

The video chat I held went very well. The feedback I received was awesome (and heartwarming). So I’m holding another one! The format will be a little different this time. It will be longer (90 minutes) and I’ll cover many topics that I wasn’t able to get to in the last chat. (How to write funny dialog, using similes to your advantage, how to charm your readers with THE UNEXPECTED, and more!)

There is a fee but the cool part is it includes BOTH of my books. A copy of THE CLASSROOM and DITCHED will be mailed to you, and hopefully you’ll have a chance to read through them before the chat. It will be held on April 8th and you can find all the details and how to sign up by going to my agent’s website:

A Path To Publishing–Humor Workshop

 

Hope to see you!

 

ALSO! A reminder just in case you haven’t seen all the tweets and Facebook posts on this…

This Saturday is the mega teen author event at Disneyland. So get your park-hopper ticket and come join me!  We’ll be tweeting and posting pictures all throughout the day (probably to the point of annoyance) so don’t miss out!!

If you can’t be there, be sure to follow along and comment using our twitter hashtag: #YAPPIEST

Click on the image to see all the AMAZING authors who will be there…

 


Upcoming Video Chat–Let’s Talk!

 

Writing Contemporary Humor For Young Adult & Middle Grade

Lately we’ve been hearing agents and editors ask for contemporary young adult (romantic comedies in particular) as well as funny books for middle grade. I have a six-book contract with Disney-Hyperion to write all contemporary humor. I have lots of thoughts about this subject, so…let’s chat about it!

I’m holding a free online video chat on Monday, March 18th from 5:30-6:30 PST. It’s an interactive discussion on writing contemporary humor. I’ll share my insights on how I approach my teen comedies compared to my humorous middle grade series. And I’d love to hear what you like (and don’t like) in humorous books for kids.

This won’t be Skype—it’s a new video chat technology I’m using thanks to my lovely agent, Jill Corcoran. She is using it for her online workshops with editors and agents over at A Path To Publishing. (She has an AMAZING lineup of speakers…go check it out!)

Jill likes to refer to it as “Skype on Steroids!” (I love that description.) It’s also true—I will be able to toggle between talking to you WITH MY FACE, to my computer screen where I can share Powerpoint slides, videos, anything! And everyone will get the chance to ask questions all along the way.

So…details! —->

The first twenty people who sign up will receive an email 30-60 minutes before the start time. Just a couple of clicks and you’re IN—it’s amazingly easy. If I get more than twenty, that’s ok, go ahead and put your name in since some people may have to drop out.

In the comments section, leave me your name and email address and any questions you have.

LET’S CHAT!!!


Pre-Order Classroom 2…Get Stuff!!

Book 2 of THE CLASSROOM releases on June 25th. So let’s get in the mood…shall we?

 

First, a cover and summary!

 

Libby Gardner and Cindy Applegate are smile-without-teeth friends, but they are fierce rivals when it comes to politics. Cindy owned the student council elections in fourth and sixth grades, while Libby came out on top in fifth. Now, they both hunger for the prestigious title of seventh grade class president.But middle school elections have their own rules…and pressures. When Trevor Jones is forced to join the presidential race, he devises a plan to make sure his best friend Libby wins. That all changes when he discovers that Libby has oh-so-sneakily gone behind his back by hiring Molly Decker to be her campaign manager. Now, he’s in it to win it. And things are going to get ugly.

Join Trevor, Libby, Cindy, and the whole Westside contingency (along with the documentary film crew) as they explore the ugly underbelly of middle school politics.

 

If you pre-order book 2, I will send you bookmarks and a signed bookplate. Just email me letting me know you pre-ordered, and give me your child’s first name (or your name if it’s for you!) so I can personalize it!

ALSO! The first 20 people who email me will receive a BE EPIC wristband!

 

 

 

And to get a peek inside, head over to Shannon Messenger’s blog to see some inside pages. Yep, my illustrator hit it out of the park again.

 

Thanks again, friends, for your support of this series. It has been an absolute joy to write and I hope you and your kids enjoy the next installment.

~Robin


Disneyland…16 teen authors…Too much fun

If you’re in the LA area or if you’re near a flying plane and hop on and GET to the LA area, then check this out!! The Yappiest day on earth is COMING! (March 30th, to be exact.)

 

 

And here are the authors participating…

 

 

 

Here are the details. Hope you can make it!

 

THE YAPPIEST DAY ON EARTH Announcement!

THE YAPPIEST DAY ON EARTH 16 AUTHORS. DISNEYLAND. YOU. 3.30.13

What’s better than books? Nothing! But rollercoasters come close. On Saturday, March 30, 2013, sixteen of your favorite young adult authors will put on their mouse ears for THE YAPPIEST DAY ON EARTH, the first (that we know of) YA Day at Disneyland. Bloggers, booksellers, librarians, and fans are invited to come spend the day riding with authors and chatting about current and upcoming releases. The event will culminate with a group signing at the Anabella Hotel, across the street from California Adventure.

To participate, meet the authors inside the gates of Disneyland at 8:00 AM on March 30th. Or, join us at the book signing at 5:30 PM at the Anabella Hotel, 1030 W. Katella Ave. Those too far away to participate may order books to be autographed through Mysterious Galaxy’s website at http://mystgalaxy.com/.

Participating authors include: Elise Allen, Carrie Arcos, Sean Beaudoin, Jennifer Bosworth, Martha Brockenbrough, Cecil Castellucci, Rachel Cohn, Kevin Emerson, Chris Howard, Lish McBride, Gretchen McNeil, Robin Mellom, Shannon Messenger, Cat Patrick, Kasie West, and Gabrielle Zevin.

The day will be tweeted live by participating authors and fans, using the hashtag #YAPPIEST.

Event Breakdown:

What: THE YAPPIEST DAY ON EARTH When: Saturday, March 30, 2013

8:00 AM All YAPPIEST participants should meet inside the gates of Disneyland. Look for the authors in YAPPIEST T-shirts!

4:45 PM All YAPPIEST author/reader groups should meet near Guest Services at the main gate to walk to the signing location together.

5:30 – 7:30 PM Group Book Signing Anabella Hotel 1030 W. Katella Ave Anaheim, CA, 92802 Phone: 714-905-1050

Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/290371664423066/?ref=2 for more information.


Book Party Recap and Upcoming Signing in San Francisco

We had a fabulous time at the Flintridge Bookstore mother/daughter book party. Groups of girls gathered around each author’s table for a brief presentation and then some q&a. Then the bell rang and they would switch–speed dating style!–and we met with seven groups of passionate, wonderful readers. Just. Awesome.

 

Coming up is another special event, this time in San Francisco. I’ll be signing and speaking with YA authors Veronica Rossi, Tamara Ireland Stone, Cynthia Omololu, and Cory Jackson. It’s a Valentine’s Day inspired event and we will be giving away a CD of our favorite love songs. Also: cupcakes!! It’s February 13th, 7 p.m. at the Walnut Creek Barnes & Noble.

 

Also, a quick update! There was a glitch on Amazon but it’s fixed now, so the paperback version of DITCHED is up and in the correct spot. Whew! The front cover is the same, but they changed the back a little–I’m a bit biased but I’m calling it ADORABLE.

 


Coming Up

I’ll be in LA on January 27th at Flintridge Bookstore for a mother/daughter book party. If you’re a mom with a daughter in grade 3 through 6, check out the brochure below for a list of all the AWESOME participating middle grade authors and info on how to reserve your spot. Should be a blast!


Best of 2012 and Hello 2013!

Happy New Year! This past year was pretty amazing for me. I had two books release, wrote another book, did school visits, book signings, spoke at conferences and managed to catch a few episodes of Parks & Rec  (which I love, as you will see in a moment). But before I get to that, I do want to say thank you to all of those who bought and read my books this year. I love that people are reading DITCHED and telling me that they are craving this sort of fun romantic comedy. All of the feedback has been so encouraging and I promise there will be more!! And to those of you who put a copy of THE CLASSROOM in the hands of a middle schooler, thank you so much. It’s been wonderful to hear about kids who are loving it. And it’s especially cool to come across things on the internet where students are doing book reports or writing short screenplays based on the book. SO COOL!!

Those of you who HAVEN’T read my books yet, I’m assuming you’re stuck under something heavy so all is forgiven. But good luck with that…heavy…thing…that’s on you.

This next year will be very busy for me. I plan to finish writing THE CLASSROOM Book 3–yes, I’m already writing the third one! And I’m finishing up the follow-up teen novel to DITCHED. Also, a bit of good news: THE CLASSROOM was selected to be part of the Santa Barbara County Battle of the Books so it will be on their county-wide reading list. I’ve also been asked to help with their final battle round as guest author. Can’t wait!! And later in the year I’ll be at the Las Vegas Festival of Books. Keep checking back in the EVENTS section as I update it through the year.

Okay. Now. My Best of List from 2012.

BEST BOOKS

The two books on my list this year are both laugh out loud funny. And I don’t mean LOL, slight-smirk funny. No, no. These books made me want to be a better writer. To write funnier.

First up is an adult memoir by Jenny Lawson, aka: The Bloggess. My husband ACTUALLY kicked me out of bed because of this book. I typically read at night before I go to sleep, but this book would have me laughing so hard that I would cry and he couldn’t sleep. So I was only allowed to read it during the day. But even then I’d annoy him because I’d try to read passages to him but I’d do that laugh-snort-foot stomping thing where no words are intelligible and he would calmly twirl me around and say, “Just go read silently in the driveway, sweetheart.”

So that was fun.

But seriously, I got SO much out of this book because I grew up in the south and this memoir is about her childhood experiences in a small Texas town. Hilarious and sweet and probably something I’ll read again in 2013.

 

Let’s talk about teen novels. As you can tell, I like my books funny. And laugh out loud books are a rare find. Truly rare. But y’all…I found one. I took Me and Earl and the Dying Girl with me on vacation and read it by the pool. Which turned out to be rather embarrassing because I would laugh loudly and then talk TO THE BOOK. “No, don’t do that. Oh, no. Oh my gosh!” Again, my poor husband was like, “Sweetheart, can you figure out a way to read BY YOURSELF??”  After a while I didn’t care that people were staring at me, because I was totally in love with this book. Jesse Andrews has an edgy writing style that is totally fresh. It was JUST what I was looking for. And this wonderful story was flawless. It was a bit of a love story, but really it was one of the coolest stories about a friendship between two boys. They were unlike most of the characters you read about in YA and you will absolutely fall in love with them. Read this book. Seriously. GO.

 

BEST MOVIE

Ha! Like I had time to go see a bunch of movies. So don’t rely on me for your movie recommendations. But the one movie that I did love, I went to go see it twice. So this year’s best movie goes to MOONRISE KINGDOM.

BEST TV SHOW

This year it goes to Parks & Rec. Though I love Modern Family still. But P&R has really grown on me to the point where I feel like Leslie and Ben are real people and I wonder what they’re doing. They are the cutest couple on TV. Cute cute!!

BEST SONG

Are we all legally obligated to say Call Me Maybe? It’s been seeming that way. Cute song but sheesh! I really loved Mumford & Sons I WILL WAIT. sigh.

BEST GADGET I PURCHASED

Omg I got an iPad!!! Now I just have to pry it out of my kid’s hands.

BEST SNACK I EAT DURING REVISIONS AND REGRET

Snack pack of Oreos. Can we stop talking about this now?

BEST NAIL POLISH COLOR

My new fave: OPI My Private Jet

 

And finally…the one we’ve all been waiting for!

BEST SMALL KITCHEN APPLIANCE

The Ninja blender. This thing could chop firewood, baby. Love it!!


2012 Wrap-Up: Part One…Denial

I am in complete denial that we are at the end of the year. I haven’t finished Christmas shopping. I haven’t reflected on all the amazing things that have happened this year. And I haven’t gotten a new wall calendar for my office.

Total denial.

So I promise to do a follow-up, PART 2 blog post in which I accept that it’s the end of the year and I do one of my “best of” lists. Stay tuned because it will get INTENSE as I reveal my pick for Best Small Kitchen Appliance of 2012. That’s right…I’m going there.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of book updates…

  • The paperback of DITCHED will be released on January 8th!
  • DITCHED has been nominated for Best Teen Humor Novel! So please take a moment and vote if you would like to make me happy, happy, happy! And you can vote for all your favorite YA books over at YABooksCentral.
  • THE CLASSROOM BOOK 2 has a cover and I have seen it. It is all sorts of adorable!!! All I can say is that we are referring to it as “The Blue Cover.” Woohoo! There are some final touches to be made and then I can share that and the summary with you very soon.  It will release on June 25th.

Hope you’re wrapping up the end of the year with LOADS of acceptance. I’ll get there. I will. (Right?)

~Robin


Writing Middle Grade–Some Nuggets of Wisdom From the Central California SCBWI Conference

 

I had a fabulous time at the Central Coast SCBWI Writers’ Day. (This picture above is from the faculty dinner the night before.) Our region does this really cool thing where the newly published authors get to do a ten minute spotlight presentation on their road to publication. It was always one of my favorite parts of the conference, and this year–FINALLY–I was one of those spotlight speakers! Yippee!

It felt great to get up there and tell my story. That I started writing middle grade because of Louis Sachar. Years ago when I was in my first year of teaching fifth grade, I was so desperate to find a way to calm the kids down after lunch and another teacher told me there was only one way to do it: read from SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL by Louis Sachar. And she was right…the kids LOVED the book. They thought it was hilarious and were absolutely riveted, begging me to read more. I tried to find other funny books for them but, at the time, there really weren’t any. And that’s when I decided I wanted to write humor for kids. They CRAVE it. (And side benefit…it totally calms those little monsters down after lunch. Woohoo!)

Okay, back to the Writers’ Day conference. Editor Molly O’Neill and agent Jen Rofe spoke together about what they’re looking for in middle grade books. It was one of the best talks on middle I had EVER heard. I took pages of notes. I’ll share a few nuggets of their wisdom–hopefully this will help any of you out there writing middle grade.

  • MG is that “in between time” where the character is in-between friendships, and their understanding of relationships, or what a family is
  • MG has heart because kids at this age are not cynical yet (I was nodding my head at this moment, thinking “Yes, yes!)  The character is vulnerable because it is at a time BEFORE they have learned they have to put their guards up against the world. Molly pointed out that teen characters know a friend is capable of screwing them over, whereas a middle grade character hasn’t experienced that yet, so they’re more open. Again: vulnerable. (I swear, I almost teared up at the thought of this. Oh my gosh.)
  • In MG there should be lots of playfulness but counterbalance it with emotional depth; don’t short change an experience, even if it’s small
  • The character’s vulnerabilities that seemed like a weakness can end up being a strength, maybe even helping to solve the problem in the end
  • Their world view will change. They’ll come to realize things aren’t as they believed to be true. (oh, sniff!)
  • MG must, of course, have kid appeal. There should be Fun! The characters feel life is just so ordinary, and what they wish for MOST is for their life to be extraordinary.

Wow. I love writing middle grade.


Mittens, The Vegetarian

I’ve been in the “writing cave” lately, finishing up edits on THE CLASSROOM 2. Fortunately, there were a couple of beautiful days and I was able to take my office out to the beach for my “cave time.” Awful, I know.

 

When I’m busy with revisions I usually don’t eat very well and order food out to save time. However, I also discovered I don’t eat well because APPARENTLY my kitty, Mittens, is stealing my healthy food from the counter. She’s totally taking advantage of me–it makes me want to start reading her journal. But I am pleased that she is turning into quite the vegetarian! Woohoo Mittens-the-thief!

In other news, I spoke at Central Coast Writers last week. They asked me to help head up the teen writers program and I was like…YES!! There were about 20 teens who showed up at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning, smiling, happy and ready to learn. I taught them the screenplay format and the 5 turning points and discussed how to use it in plotting novels. We used Harry Potter as our example so the discussion was LIVELY!! It was SO much fun! I ate lunch with them and they were downright adorable.

I also taught a class with my agent on how to break into the kidlit genre and then I taught a class myself on techniques to develop your voice in middle grade and teen fiction. It was a great discussion on how to get that “it factor.” I LOVED spending the day with other writers (and they also sold out of copies of DITCHED!).

And if you’re a writer in the SoCal area, I’ll be speaking at the SCBWI Writer’s Day in Thousand Oaks on October 27th.

Finally, I was beyond thrilled that Scholastic put together a promo video for THE CLASSROOM of me chatting about the characters. I don’t really have a “broadcasting” voice…more of a “mom” voice, but if you want to see me chatting about the series check it out HERE!

  • About Robin

    The first book in my middle grade series, THE CLASSROOM: The Epic Documentary of a Not-Yet Epic Kid, is now available from Disney-Hyperion. It's a mockumentary of life in seventh grade...oh, the awkwardness.

    And my teen novel, DITCHED: A Love Story, is about a 16-year old girl who has one of those nights she'll always remember (and a prom she wants to forget). Check out the Teen Books section for an excerpt!

    ~
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