Featured on “Interviewing Authors”

Silvia Acevedo on Interviewing Authors PodcastWhat an honor it is to be interviewed about your work, but it’s especially wonderful when the interviewer is Tim Knox, author, entrepreneur, and host of the hugely popular “Interviewing Authors” podcast.

Tim Knox has interviewed many fascinating and talented publishing professionals. His podcasts are endlessly entertaining and a treasure trove of insight. I’ve enjoyed them, each and every one, for a long time now.

Tim and I had a fun talk about my newly released fantasy novel, God Awful Loser, my TV life, and just how interfering Venus is, really. And Tim is so complimentary, calling God Awful Loser “one of my favorite books of the year, and I don’t say that lightly.” Here’s a link to our talk. Enjoy!

Battering the Gods on The Blend

We are just a day ahead of my book launch, and in advance of it I chatted it up on Milwaukee’s favorite talk show, The Morning Blend. Hosts Molly Fay, Tiffany Ogle, and I talked about the light-hearted fun mythology can offer readers, my transition from writing news to now writing fiction, and of course how the gods misbehave.

You can view the video here in case you missed the show and the live stream. And please come on down to my launch party! It’s tomorrow, Friday, May 8th, at 7 p.m. at Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee. Love to see you there!

The event info is also on Facebook where you can RSVP:

Wisconsin is a Wealth of Talent

Wisconsin really should be one of the states you think of when asked to name a place with a deep pool of talent. The high number of acclaimed children’s book authors is truly impressive, and we should be proud.

Melanie Cecka Nolan

Melanie Cecka Nolan

Lucky me, I got to spend an afternoon with some of those incredible talents at the spring luncheon of our state’s Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. We met for a delicious luncheon and interesting talk by Melanie Cecka Nolan, Associate Publishing Director at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. She covered some of the many changes in the book publishing industry in the past 13 years, including the digital revolution, which has changed the way some people read — and for others has taken away some reading time.

When I think of the digital revolution, though, the first thing that comes to my mind is the way reading has opened up. There are so many more titles in so many more genres. It’s a readers’ (and writers’) paradise, and digital formats reach new audiences which, for a host of reasons, find eBooks preferable to paper.

Yesterday was the official release date of my young adult novel God Awful Loser. It, of course, is available in paper (hardcover), yet I’m immensely pleased that its eBook format can now reach the world. We mustn’t take for granted that it wasn’t always so.

Now I look forward to my launch party this Friday, May 8th, 7 p.m., at Boswell Books. I hope you’ll come and join me on this fun ride. The wonderful ladies in this photo sure are supportive, and SCBWI is sure one great group.

Authors Diane Swanson, Julie Mata, Silvia Acevedo, Valerie Biel, and Wendy Alm Lombard.

Authors Diane Swanson, Julie Mata, Silvia Acevedo, Valerie Biel, and Wendy Alm Lombard.

World Read Aloud Day

Papa JuanTomorrow is World Read Aloud Day, celebrated the first Wednesday of March as a way to promote literacy and the shared word.

I think most of us adults equate reading aloud as something we do with children. I certainly did a great deal of that. Heck, I’d even change my voice for the characters because I’d just get that into it. But I’d like to take a moment to suggest that if you don’t have children handy tomorrow, you might consider sharing that wonderful moment with an older adult, maybe someone with vision problems or just someone who’d love to hear your voice.

My grandfather passed away last July. One of the most precious things we did together on my final visits was spend time together as I read aloud to him from Don Quixote. That classic is a long two books. I knew starting the first that I wouldn’t get a quarter of the way through before he’d leave me. I was right. Still, I enjoyed laughing with him at the funny parts, and I could tell that he cherished the moments.

Reading aloud does more than celebrate the written word. It builds connections across cultures, ages, and even time. And so I hope you’ll get a chance tomorrow to create memories as beautiful as mine.

Mythology Everywhere!

I’ve been converting some of my old TV news tapes to digital, and I found a report wherein I very enthusiastically explain the afterlife myths of Ancient Egyptians for an upcoming museum exhibit. I go pretty in depth, and the anchors’ reactions are priceless.

My upcoming novel, God Awful Loser, is about Roman mythology, and I had just as much fun writing about Roman myths as talking about Egyptian ones. Mythology seems to be everywhere, and perhaps The Fates demanded I write it. 🙂

You Saved Books in 2014

circle_of_nine_beltanyAn interesting article cites you, Internet-savvy buyer, as saving young adult literature, especially if you bought an ebook this year for the teens in your life despite their apparent preference for physical books. Interesting juxtaposition, no? HERE’S the article.

Part of the strong showing for young adult lit is obvious. Teens still love stories, those motivated to read them will still find the time, and the quickly maturing young adults in our lives still relish the chance to safely explore new situations and emotions through books.

The part that isn’t so obvious is why such a plugged-in generation prefers physical books. But I suppose we all have to unplug sometimes, don’t we?

Whether it’s the physical or ebook you prefer, rejoice for 2014. Healthy book sales are good for authors, illustrators, and really, adults everywhere. We all want an educated and empathetic populace. If you bought a book for yourself or, really, anyone else this year, congratulate yourself. You made the publishing — and real life — worlds a better place.

Fear and Presence in Fiction

Author Kelly DiPucchio, Editor Stacey Barney, Editor Adah Megged Nuchi, Editor Julie Ham, Illustrator Judith Byron Schachner, and Author Kathleen Duey

Sometimes — often times — writing fiction takes courage, and I’m not just talking about opening yourself up to critics. I’m talking about feeling and facing the fears and problems of your characters. I just got back from an intense writing conference put on by the Wisconsin Chapter of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators in which the presenters forced us to look hard at our characters’ points of view, challenges, fears, and inner selves. Our characters need to be so vivid and present in their actions that we readers feel ourselves to be there.

Above are a few of the presenters at the convention, including authors, illustrators, and editors. With their help and that of other talented creators in attendance, we hope to enrich our writing, enhance industry connections, and make new friends. One great icebreaker: Dr. Seuss shoes! 🙂


Another way: open mic. Does it take a certain amount of bravery to read a smattering of your work to a roomful of (better) writers? You betcha. But so what? I did it anyway. So did others. We’re all there for love of word.


And we even got entertainment! At what other writing conference could you find a good belly dance?

What I’m Reading – A Certain Slant of Light

     Okay, I know I’m a late to the party on this one, but somehow this 2005 release escaped my notice. No problem, though, because A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb is so well written and timeless that anyone could step into that light now and be glad they did.

     A Certain Slant of Light is a supernatural young adult story about a coping yet fundamentally lonely spirit caught on Earth. Her 100-plus years of helpful hauntings are one day interrupted by a human boy who can see her. The two desperately want to learn more about each other and quickly fall in love. Their challenge to come together leads to them learning more about their own nearly forgotten lives and those of the teens whose bodies they’ve possessed.

     Film rights have been optioned by Summit Entertainment, the same studio which created the Twilight films. I’m glad for that because films bring so much attention to the original works, and this book deserves attention.

     Parents, yes, there are obvious sex scenes. Kids running off to be alone. They’re not kids, really. They’re very aged spirits but physically teens. The details are more implied than explicit, but there’s passion. Try to remember what it was like as a teenager and you may not view the topic quite as unkindly.

     Possibly more concerning for parents would be the disobedience of one of the teens — but not for the disobedience itself. It’ll be disconcerting in that parents might see some of their own highhandedness and hypocrisy reflected in the teen’s parents. “Protective” parenting entails real struggle against smothering young souls.

     This book haunted me for days. I can’t wait to get to the sequel, Under the Light.

Synopses That Are a Breeze

     I just finished my latest manuscript and synopsis, and I have to say that, if you have a good method of taking notes, writing your synopsis should be a breeze.

     There are many great websites out there detailing what is a synopsis (It’s a summary of the story, including key characters, events, and, yes, even the ending.), how to write one that’s compelling, how to organize it, format it, its preferred length, etc, and I’ll link to a few below, but here’s what I learned from writing my latest one: If you keep a separate document throughout your writing process with detailed notes of chapter events, you’ll end with what is essentially a rough outline for your synopsis. That’s not to say that you have to write your synopsis chronologically and with every event listed as a blow-by-blow, but you’ll have a ready template that lays out the storyline.

     My document has the working title, date started, chapter titles (with pages listed for easy finding later), and a brief recap of what happened therein. You might think, well, if you wrote the story yourself, you shouldn’t have any trouble remembering what’s in every chapter, but, let me tell you, if it takes you a year to write a story, it’s very easy to forget every detail in a chapter — or forget to tie up that loose end you wrote in as a red herring at the start of the piece. My document helps me regain my thread if I must take time off of writing AND, once I’m finished, to see my path from beginning to end.

     Here are links with tips on writing great synopses, realizing that some writers might contradict others. That’s just the way of life, I suppose. Still, these sites are worth checking out:

     Happy writing!

Ten Commandments for Editing Someone’s Work

     Really love this list of dos and don’ts when editing someone’s work. It’s put out by author, blogger, and former literary agent Nathan Bransford. Point number eight, Don’t Overdo It, especially speaks to me because we’ve all been asked to critique something that needed a lot more work than comma correction. If a whole section needs a rewrite, line editing is hardly worth the effort.

     Check it out for yourself and let me know if you agree with the commandments or might add/delete a few. Happy writing!