dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

 

Gabbey drivers license

Yes, my daughter Gabrielle now has a driver’s license. How did that happen? Wasn’t it only last year that she was THIS big?

Gabbey in Alice dress

The driver’s license thing happened during my last full week of teaching, so on top of the stress of ending both the school year and my teaching career, I had to worry about her driving to and from finals while I was at work. She made out fine (although once or twice she forgot to text me upon her arrival).

Luckily, my younger daughter, Gina, who rode with her on the way to school was very consistent about notifying me every time they reached their destination with a text that said:

We’re not dead.

Yeah, Gina. You’re hysterical.

From other parents out there who have survived a new driver in the house, any tips on how to stop worrying? So far, I’ve been letting her run small errands for me, just for the practice. But every time she heads out, I think: Why did I let her go out on that errand when I could have done it myself? What is wrong with me?

Other things that happened recently:

1. If you missed last week’s post describing the evolution of The Inquisitor’s Mark cover from sketch to final design, you can still find it HERE AT PROJECT MAYHEM.

2. And today I’m HERE AT THE CROWE’S NEST, my agent Sara Crowe’s blog, talking about all the things I didn’t know about writing a series when I signed the contract.

3. And I’d also like to mention that Joshua David Bellin interviewed his son about The Eighth Day HERE AT THE YA GUY. If you don’t know Josh from #YALitchat and #KidLitchat, I suggest you head on over, check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter!

4. Something else pretty awesome that happened in the last couple weeks is this … How many of you have read The Caged Graves? Raise your hands. Okay, would you guys believe I was recently contacted by the great-grandson of Ransloe Boone? The real Ransloe Boone, husband of of Sarah Ann Thomas Boone, one of the women buried in the real caged graves?!

That’s too good a story to tack on to the end of this blog post, so I’ll be telling you more about our correspondence next month, after my First Impressions posts for July.

Good-bye, June. You lasted way too long, and I saw you mostly through a classroom window. Looking forward to July!

 

 

I can’t believe the year’s gone already! Was it really a year ago I sat down to write my recap of 2010?  And could this year be anywhere near as exciting as the last one? Yes, it could, as it turns out. It was a year of learning … and a lot of waiting … and growing professionally, I think.
First of all, I had the pleasure of working with my agent Sara Crowe in 2011.  She was my brand new agent last December, and after a year of working with her I am impressed by her upbeat, positive approach —  and awed by her keen eye for editorial comments.  Every time I submit a manuscript to Sara and she sends back comments, my response is: “Wow. That’s brilliant — and do-able — and perfect!”
Of course, a big highlight of 2011 was when Sara sold THE CAGED GRAVES to Dinah Stevenson of Clarion!  I look forward to all the pre-publication business that is to come in 2012 – editorial letters, revisions, editing, more editing, and did I mention editing?  Believe it or not, I love editing!  I don’t have an official publication date yet, although Goodreads says 2013 and who am I to question Goodreads?
WE HEAR THE DEAD may have been published last year, but it continued to pick up good reviews this year.  I attended two YA panels as an author – which was a thrill! – at Drexel University’s Week of Writing and the Lititz Kid Lit Festival. (Say that last one 5x fast.)  And I had the excitement of seeing my own book on the shelf at my school’s Scholastic Book Fair last May. 
I finished the first draft of my Tesla-punk manuscript this year, plus several subsequent drafts, and I have my fingers crossed that 2012 will bring good news for this story.  There were times I despaired of ever finishing it, and this manuscript proved to me that getting to the end of the first draft is always my biggest hurdle. If I can produce even a stinker of a first draft, then I can transform the story into anything I want it to be during revisions.  I hope to keep that in mind as I work on my next WIP, which I began this year  — (and which is already giving me some trouble.)
In February, Marcy Hatch approached me about a new blog feature – First Impressions — and in March we began our monthly first page critiques.  I’ve learned a lot just writing them, and I’ve met a lot of new writers, to boot. (Plus, I hope the critiques have been useful …)
Finally, this recap wouldn’t be complete without my trip to Hollywood for dinner with my producer.  Okay – the trip to Hollywood was a family vacation, and she isn’t “my” personal producer.  But Amy Green is the producer who purchased a film option for WE HEAR THE DEAD and collaborated with me on the screenplay.  I loved meeting her for dinner to discuss the latest developments and future plans, and who knows – maybe the “Highlights of 2012” will contain some good news in that realm! Fingers crossed!
Happy New Years, everyone – and wishing everybody a successful 2012!

I love my agent, Sara Crowe!
Well, that’s old news. I’ve been loving her since a) she raved about one of my characters and offered to represent me and b) her sharp editorial eye picked out what my manuscripts were lacking and pointed me in the right direction to fix them.
But now I have a new reason to love her!
My historical mystery, THE CAGED GRAVES, has sold to Dinah Stevenson of Clarion Books (an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)!
From Publishers’ Marketplace:
WE HEAR THE DEAD author Dianne Salerni’s THE CAGED GRAVES, in which a 17-year-old returns to her hometown — where “the dead don’t stay where you put them” — to marry a young man she’s met only through letters, an unpromising engagement complicated by another suitor and by her family’s entanglement with a legendary treasure and rumors about why her mother was buried in a caged grave, to Dinah Stevenson at Clarion by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger.
I’ve been grinning stupidly for days now. This is an amazing way to end my summer vacation, and I’ll be headed back to the teaching trenches next week walking on air! Recess and lunch duty? No problem. Some of the supplies haven’t come in yet? I’ll manage. Don’t have your homework? Wait – that’s still going to be a problem, even if I did just sell a book. Sorry, kids.
THE CAGED GRAVES is fictional, but the story was inspired by two real caged graves in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. I’ll soon be planning another trip to the mountains so I can visit the cemetery and leave flowers for those two young women. I owe them big time!