dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author


  • Next Monday, school starts for my children and for my former teaching colleagues, but not for me. This is the first time I haven’t started school in the fall since I was a kindergartner. To distract me from this major life change, my husband suggested I do something I wouldn’t normally be able to do, and I said, “Yes!” (I’ll tell you about it next week.)
G&G 2014

Both my daughters will be in high school this year. How did that happen?

  • Don’t forget the Back 2 School YA Giveaway. One winner gets ALL 8 books. CLICK HERE.
  • When I wrote about outlining with the Snowflake Method last week, I was surprised how many die-hard pantsters responded. I’m a pantster at heart, too. Outlining is more like an exploration of an idea, to see whether or not I really want to write it. I learned something important, though. Step 1 was to write a one-sentence summary of the book. I couldn’t find a way to make my main character the subject of the sentence without having it sound passive. I suddenly realized: I chose the wrong main character for the story!!! This is someone else’s story — and I need to re-envision the whole project!
  • On the subject of being a hopeless pantster, I’d like to share with you a favorite line I wrote for BRANEWORLD last week:

Regrettably, the only viable plan would require using her favorite human as bait.

What I love about the line is this: I have no idea what the plan is! Bwa-ha-ha-ha! (I hope the details are shared with me soon …)

  • One of the vice presidents of my husband’s company bought 5 copies of The Eighth Day, which he then gave to his son and his nieces and nephews. (Wasn’t that a nice thing for him to do?) Last week, his son went into school to take Accelerated Reading tests for his summer reading credit and discovered The Eighth Day was one of the AR tests available. Awesome! And he passed. Even better!
  • And for my final bullet point: A reader sent me fan art. Fan art! Is that not the most awesome thing ever?
Eighth Day fan art by Kat

Jax, Evangeline, and Riley ~ by Kat





I know most (if not all) of you have read the article in The Wall Street Journal highlighting the dark and disturbing nature of today’s YA literature. It’s time to consider: Maybe they’re right. Maybe YA authors are poisoning young minds with a tasteless exploration of the darker side of human nature. Maybe it’s time we returned to the classics for a brighter outlook on life.

Here’s a list of some of the heart-warming classics I was assigned to read when I was in high school:

The Outsiders: Two rival teenage gangs violently clash with each other and with the police.

Moby Dick: A megalomaniac self-destructs while trying to kill a white whale that may or may not symbolize God.

Heart of Darkness: An exploration of the darkness of the wilderness, the cruelty of slavery, and the inherent ability for evil in every human being.

Huckleberry Finn: An abused boy and an escaped slave wander the country homeless and fall in with thieves and con men.

The Picture of Dorian Gray: A young man pursues a life of pleasure through all manner of vice and sin, including murder, while his portrait reflects the evil in his soul.

Romeo and Juliet: Two teenage lovers impulsively commit suicide when rivalry between their families separates them.

The Scarlet Letter: A town ostracizes a woman with an illegitimate child, while the minister secretly engages in self-mutilization as an expression of guilt for his affair with the woman.

Fall of the House of Usher: A disturbed man deliberately buries his sister alive, bringing ruin to himself and his household.

The Tell-Tale Heart: A paranoid schizophrenic kills his landlord, chops up the body, and buries it beneath the floorboards.

What books can you add to this list of fine upstanding classics which are (obviously) better for today’s youth than modern, trashy YA literature? Please feel free to share your titles in the comments!

Just a short blog post today, folks! My sister and her family are visiting from Kansas, and we are having a blast! So far we’ve hot-tubbed and visited a winery and then hot-tubbed some more. The kids played in the pool, which, at 91, is only ten degrees off from the hot tub. I made my famous sausage risotto, and my daughters are introducing their cousins to the raptures of ZELDA.

But looking ahead towards August … PAYA!! (No, not papaya. Stop looking at that fruit! PAYA — YA in PA!)

If you live anywhere in the greater Philadelphia area and have an interest in reading or writing YA, mark your calendars for Saturday, August 21 and the First Annual PAYA Festival, taking place in West Chester, Pennsylvania at the Center for Performing and Fine Arts.

From the PAYA website:

PAYA is a coalition of Pennsylvania’s young adult authors, bloggers, librarians, readers, and other book-lovers. Our mission is two-fold:

1. To share the love we have for young adult literature with others in our state
2. To raise money to support Pennsylvania’s libraries, with a focus on helping build Young Adult library collections and Young Adult services.

At least 15 authors will be present signing books, including Josh Berk, Shannon Delany, Amy Brecount White, Jennifer Hubbard, and, uh, me. (Awesome company to hang with, huh?)

There will also be two writing workshops! One is for teen writers aged 13-18 and will be led by teen authors Chelsea Swiggett and Kieryn Nicolas. The workshop will run from 1-2pm and costs $10.

The other is a listen and critique workshop, in which YA authors will meet in small groups with attendees, who should bring three pages of a WIP to share. This workshop will run from 10am-noon and costs $40.

Find out more at the PAYA website, where you will soon be able to register for the workshops.

I can’t wait! Dread Daughter #1 already has her eye on that Teen Writer workshop, and I’m hoping to get some signed books from awesome authors to offer up at my 100 Follower Celebration – whenever that happens. (Not quite there, yet …)