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I don’t know if many of you noticed, but the blog was down all of Friday. I could’ve easily lost everything (or at least had to redo everything by hand from cached versions of the site online) because…I don’t back up my website. This blog is over three years of hard work and, without a doubt, the cornerstone of my career. So why don’t I back it up? Human nature, I’m guessing.

NOW I KNOW BETTER. And all of you should, too. Because once you lose that WIP of yours, it’s gone. So do me a favor and back up your work right now. Don’t just think about doing it. Actually do it. I now have my blog set to automatically back up once a month to a separate location online. That way, if I lose anything, it won’t be as catastrophic as wiping out every post and comment from the last three years.

The actual problem in this case was a corrupted database file, or so I hear. Even though I have a website and used to work in the Silicon Valley, when you say “database,” I say “durrrr?” Without further ado, I owe my undying gratitude to Eric and Angela Fox, who answered my desperate SOS on Facebook. Angela was kind enough to notice my cry for help and Eric was amazing enough to root through my database and fix the problem. Several others also responded to my distress signal, and I want to thank them here: Kristen, Tyler, Heather, Irene, and Brendan. On a stressful and disheartening day, this outpouring of nerd support (I say this in the most positive way imaginable) really helped me feel humbled and grateful for the community of children’s book enthusiasts that I call home.

What are you doing still reading this post? GO BACK UP YOUR WORK!

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I hope everyone had a restful, creative, and productive summer. I can’t wait for what this fall will bring.

If you are hoping to jump start some picture book writing in the second half of 2012, register for my Writer’s Digest Picture Book Craft Intensive webinar this Thursday, September 6th, at 1 p.m. Eastern. As usual, you don’t need to be available that specific date and time, but you do need to register for the live webinar if you want the benefits of being a student–all your questions answered, the content of the lecture, and a critique of your PB manuscript (up to 1,000 words)  from me. A recording of the webinar will be emailed to you the week after, and critiques will be returned within 90 days. Only live webinar students get these perks, so register here.

I also have a MG and YA Craft Intensive webinar coming up Thursday, October 25th, at 1 p.m. Eastern. That’s for all of your teen novelists out there, and it comes with the benefits of the lecture, the Q&A, and a writing sample critique as well. This should dovetail nicely with the publication of my book, WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT, which puts this November. Woohoo! Register for that webinar here. Those are my last webinars for 2012, and I look forward to teaching them. If you haven’t taken one yet, this is a great opportunity. Since I’m doing both a PB one and a MG/YA, you can learn the ropes no matter what kidlit audience you’re targeting.

What else, what else, what else? Do you have any questions burning a hole in your minds? Ask away in the comments and I’ll use them to inspire posts in the next few months. Thank you so much, as always, for reading the blog!

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A few housekeeping mentions and a huge congratulations to m client Karsten Knight on the blog. Let’s lead with the congratulations. Karsten Knight’s second book in the WILDEFIRE trilogy, EMBERS AND ECHOES hits shelves tomorrow! Here is the gorgeous cover:

Go out and get your copy today, er, tomorrow. If you haven’t read the series yet, you’re in luck! The paperback of WILDEFIRE, the first book, is also out.

This is a multicultural romp that features a group of powerful teen gods and goddesses. If you’ve been looking for a good definition of voice, you should definitely be reading Karsten’s work. Good thing you can start tomorrow.

Other than that, I am teaching my very popular Picture Book Craft Intensive webinar on Thursday, September 6th at 1 p.m. Eastern. As with all of my other webinars, you don’t have to be available on the time and date. You will get a recording of the lecture after the fact. The webinar comes with a critique for every student, and this is a great opportunity if you’ve been craving some professional eyes on your picture book manuscript. Register here.

I’ve got a few conferences coming up. The weekend of September 15th I’m in San Antonio for the SCBWI conference, and the weekend of the 28th, I’m visiting with the Idaho Writer’s League. If I’m meeting you at either of those, I’m looking forward to it! If not and you’re nearby, please register.

ETA: Just realized the link to the webinar was broken. I’ve found it for you. Sorry about that! (Even as I posted, I had this nagging feeling that I was missing…something…)

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Vacation!

Traveling without wifi this week. See y’all on the 13th.

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Happy 4th!

I’m going to go watch some fireworks tonight, have a birthday on Friday, and I’ll be back with you on Monday, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It’s a gorgeous day in Brooklyn and I hope you are celebrating your 4th of July with sunshine, family, friends, and good books! A special thank you to anybody with loved ones in the service today.

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Sorry wonderful readers–I’ve been traveling for a conference for five days and the weekend was really busy. Then I had a travel apocalypse getting out of Colorado. So I am giving myself a break this week. See you Monday!

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This Thursday, June 14th at 1 p.m. Eastern, I’m teaching my first ever webinar on crafting characters for MG and YA novels! This is something I consider very important to any novelist’s toolbox, and so I’m very excited to give you the opportunity to join me. I’ll focus on rendering complex protagonists, secondary characters, antagonists, and give YA writers a special section on chemistry and relationships in novels–that romantic element is absolutely something you have to think about if you’re trying to enter the teen market these days. This webinar draws heavily on content I developed for my upcoming book–WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT–which won’t be out until October (from Writer’s Digest Books). Here’s your chance to get a sneak peek!

You’ve probably seen some of my posts about webinars in the past, and the same rules apply here. Registered students can call in via phone or log on with their computers to experience the webinar. Even if you can’t make the time of the webinar, you will get a recorded file of it that you can view for up to one year after the event. All registered students, regardless of whether or not you can attend live, get the following benefits:

1) Every question you ask will be answered, either during the webinar or after.
2) Every student receives critique. For this webinar, you can send in up to 500 words of character description or interaction from your MG or YA novel for critique…this will help you really hone in on your character development and relationships.

Sign up for the webinar here. This will probably be my last one until the fall, so hop on this opportunity while you can!

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I’m taking the week off from blogging so that I can dive into BEA–and then blog about it next week.

To entertain yourselves in the meantime, check out Neil Gaiman’s wonderful commencement address at the University of the Arts that’s been making the rounds on the Internet.

Also, the amazing Cynthia Leitich Smith posted this follow-up interview with me. Check it and see you next Monday!

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I’m taking the day off from the blog today. But I do have some good news to ring in the holiday… Kidlit.com has been picked as one of the 101 Best Writing Websites by Writer’s Digest Magazine for the third year in a row. If you want to see the issue and my 100 fellow best websites, you can buy it and read the electronic version immediately here.

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Sorry to close early, but I’ve gotten such an overwhelming response to my call for interns, that I’m almost at the point where I’d need to hire an intern to help me hire an intern. Keep in mind that I’ll offer this opportunity periodically. Everyone who managed to get applications in, you’ll hear from me next week about whether or not you’ve made it to the next round. I’ll keep everyone’s information on file for future intern calls. Thank you all for your responses!

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