Thursday, December 6, 2012

Evolution of Community and Laura Tells Us How to Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings

*dusting off the blog* *cough* 
Phew. :)

It's been a while since I blogged. I've missed hanging out here and in your virtual living rooms! Slowly, I'm going to get back into it. Being a part of this blogging community really supports me. 

And when I'm away, I'm plugged into other community--in this case, I circled the wagons of my crit partners. In my writing life, I'm putting the finishing touches on my revision and hoping to query shortly. Revision is an interesting beast for me, one which I am happily taming. This time around I needed to focus on that process and take a break from the blogging.

My writing community used to be chiefly blog-based. From this wonderful community, I found writers close to me in proximity and writers (in virtual proximity) willing to be AMAZING crit partners. Now I'm even looking for local writers to go in on office space, something similar to Writers' Room Boston, but unique and in the 'burbs. Give me a shout-out if you are interested--it's going to be a kick-butt community space. :) 

So, I apologize if I haven't been a part of your circle of support recently. I would love to know what you've been working on!

My good friend Laura Pauling has been very busy--her new book How to Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings came out recently.

I'm so excited for Laura, I invited her here to tell us a little about why she chose to write a girl's adventure story. I love strong female characters, especially since #myboysreadgirlbooks.   (Oh, and #mygirlreadsboybooks.) Sometime those hashtags will CATCH ON. :)

Wait, I need to throw up a banner before Laura gets here. 
*getting out virtual glue* *standing on ladder* *sluurp*

There! It's official. :)
Welcome, Laura! Tell us a little about your book.
Published by Pugalicious Press
 When Bianca and Melvin brave the jungle to rescue their grandfather, they stumble upon the ancient Maya city of Etza, where the people haven’t aged in 2,000 years. They must learn to work together as they face loincloth-wearing skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy that says in three days the city will be destroyed. No problem. They’ll find Zeb and zip right out of there. The fact that a crazy king wants to serve Bianca up to the gods as an appetizer is just a minor technicality. But this ancient evil dude has finally met his match. 

Writing adventure stories for girls. 

When I started writing, I had no desire to write a story about a girl in elementary school dealing with typical problems. Not that those aren’t needed or good books, but I saw a lack of books starring girls that struck out on adventure. Usually they’re the sidekick. Maybe that has to do with marketing. I’m sure there are reasons. Or maybe girls really do prefer reading about everyday life and struggles with their friendships. Not me. I long for adventure. I did as a reader too. That’s why I made a girl the main character in my time travel adventure. I truly believe boys will enjoy this story just as much. Bianca’s cousin, Melvin, accompanies her on her adventure, so I didn’t leave the boys out!

So how did I add girl power to the adventure?
  • Bianca discovers the clues about her missing grandfather.
  • In Tikal, an ancient Maya city, she’s the one to make the decision to sneak out at night.
  • She fights Maya skeletons from the underworld and cunning enemies that try and trick her every step of the way.
  • Together, Bianca and Melvin fight in an ancient battle.
  • And in the end, she faces death with no escape route.
But, she is a girl. Woo hoo! I carefully wove in details about friendships and the challenges of relationships. For Bianca to discover truth about friendships, she had to experience the adventure. I tried to balance the struggles of contemporary middle grade for girls but in the backdrop of a time travel adventure. Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks, Heather, for having me today!

How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings released in November. Pugalicious Press did a fantastic job, and I’m extremely happy with the results. This book would make a fantastic gift for boys or girls who enjoy adventure stories with lots of excitement! You can purchase it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can read the first chapter here. Thankfully, my journey is just beginning and I’m excited to see where it leads. Click here for the list of blog tour stops! Enter to win these prize packages!

Prize Package One (signed paperbacks)

Prize Package Two (signed paperbacks)

Prize Package Three

  Refresh the page if you can't see the Rafflecopter form! a Rafflecopter giveaway

You're welcome, Laura! The book sounds fascinating--one that I am sure I (and my boys and girl) will love.

So, make sure to enter Laura's giveaway, and check out her other blog tour stops.

I know Laura first from blogging, and second from NESCBWI, and her blog is a must-read. She analyzes the how-to of writing in wonderfully enlightening ways. And she is kind and supportive. If you want to read more about behind-the-scenes-Laura, I interviewed her way back in 2010.

So, what have you been up to recently? Please let me know. And if you want to link to a blog post about it in the comments, I'll be sure to stop by and say hello! Do you crave office space in order to write? What works for you? Do your #boysreadgirlbooks? Have I asked enough questions yet? :)


  1. Thanks Heather! That's cool looking to go in on office space, but I'm better off at home because I take breaks and do things, oh, I don't know, like clean. :)

  2. Awesome that you're close to querying Heather. I've missed you. I'm hoping to in February or March.

    Your book sounds fantastic Laura. I love the Mayan connection and the adventure. Can't wait to read it.

  3. Laura--I get pretty distracted by the cleaning at home. It's why I need a dedicated space. I love that you can multitask!

  4. Natalie! Hello! I'm excited that you are close to querying as well. And, yes, awesome about the Mayan connection in Laura's book.

  5. Yay, congrats Laura! I'm so excited for your book to get out to young readers. :-)

  6. Congratulations to Laura. What a fun story! Sounds like something I would've loved as a kid. Actually, I'd probably still love it! I used to imagine getting sucked back in time into some adventure :)

  7. Marcy--howdy! I loved those books as a kid too, and still love them today! I'm so happy to share these loves with my kids too. :)

  8. It's good to see you (and Laura) again!

  9. I love the Mayan civilization. And I'm all for a girl power book that takes place during that time frame. :D

  10. Thanks everyone! And good luck querying to everyone braving those waters! :)

  11. Anita--*running over for a hug* It's great to see you too! I can't wait to catch up!

    Stina--Girl power rules!

    Laura--Thanks so much for being here! Good luck with the book!

  12. Does anyone remember the choose-your-own-adventure book about the Maya? LOVED LOVED LOVED that book. Laura's book is just as much fun with lots of adventure and mayhem! Good Luck everyone!