What’s In Store for 2016

Posted by annastan on January 25th, 2016 | No Comments »

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of January, which means that 2016 is already zipping by! It’s shaping up to be a busy year. Here’s what’s in store in the next few month in terms of book events and release dates (and I’m working on adding more events soon).

Friday, February 19 at 1pm

Special Storytime with Josh Funk at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Mass.

What do you get when you mix bedtime and breakfast with robots and pancakes? Find out when debut picture book authors Anna Staniszewski (Power Down, Little Robot) and Josh Funk (Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast) visit to read their books and share crafts. Book signings to follow. Event is free with Museum Admission. (Can’t make it to the event? You may reserve signed books online or contact The Carle Bookshop at shop@carlemuseum.org.)

Tuesday, March 1 

The official release date of FINDERS REAPERS, the sequel to I’M WITH CUPID!

Reapers_04132015

Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30

I’ll be giving two workshops (one on “Writing Tween” and one on “Emotional Heart in Picture Books) at this year’s New England SCBWI Conference in Springfield, Mass.

Tuesday, May 3

The official release date for THE TRUTH GAME, the fourth book in the Dirt Diary series!

Truth Game Final Cover

2015 Wrap-Up

Posted by annastan on December 15th, 2015 | 2 Comments »

As we speed along toward 2016, I’ve been reflecting on 2015 and all I can say is: Wow, it’s been one eventful year! I had three books published, including my first picture book, I had a baby, I wrote/revised three new books, and I taught a semester-long writing class. Um, it probably goes without saying that I’m a little tired!

I haven’t been the best about answering emails or doing events or being social, and my reading time has been nearly at zero for the past several months. I still have final grading and a revision deadline hanging over my head, but I’m also determined to have a tiny bit of downtime after Christmas. I’ll need it since 2016 is promising to be another busy year!

See you in 2016!

Cover Reveal and Upcoming Events

Posted by annastan on November 14th, 2015 | Comments Off

I already shared this in my newsletter, but I wanted to put it here to make it official: Here’s the cover for The Truth Game, the fourth book in the Dirt Diary series, coming out in May. Yay!

Truth Game Final Cover

Also, I have a few events coming up in the next few weeks. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you!

Saturday, November 21

Join me and twenty other authors for The Writers’ Loft’s 2nd annual Holiday Bazaar and Book Fair, to be held at An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Mass. from 1-4pm.

Sunday, November 29

Three other authors and I will be at the Festival of Trees in Easton, Mass, a fundraising event for the Easton Garden Club, taking place at the Easton Country Club from 2-5pm.

Saturday, December 5

I’ll be one of several authors signing books at the Framingham High School Holiday Marketplace in Framingham, Mass. from 1-3pm.

Cruising Into a New Book Deal!

Posted by annastan on October 16th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

I don’t think of myself as a terribly patient person, so it’s been killing me to sit on this news since January, but I can finally spill the beans that I’ve sold a new book to Scholastic! Here’s the official announcement from Publishers Weekly:

Erin Black at Scholastic Press has bought the middle-grade novel Once Upon a Cruise by Anna Staniszewski, about a 12-year-old girl who lands a summer job on a cruise, only to find her magical vacation quickly turning into a titanic mess. Publication is set for fall 2016; Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.

Woohoo! This book has been such a fun project to work on. When you put a bunch of people in the middle of the ocean on a Disney Cruise knock-off, shenanigans must ensue, right?

Also, I’ll be doing some story times in the next few weeks. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you!

Monday, October 19 at 10:30am at Books on the Square in Providence, RI

I’ll be reading Power Down, Little Robot and leading some robot crafts and activities. Come have your picture taken with a real-life Little Robot! (Bonus: I’ll be bringing BabyBot with me to the event, so if you want to pinch her robo-cheeks, here’s your chance.)

Saturday, October 24  at 11am at Wellesley Books in Wellesley, MA

It’s a multi-author storytime! I’ll be joining fellow authors Josh Funk, Nancy Tupper Ling, Jane McCormick Sutcliffe, and Ammi-Joan Paquette for a morning of picture book fun.

Book Awards and Cover Reveals

Posted by annastan on September 21st, 2015 | 2 Comments »

I feel like I’m always in the drafting/revising cave these days, but I had to peek out to share some great news. The Dirt Diary is one of 12 titles nominated for the 2017 Louisiana Readers’ Choice Award for grades 6-8! That means students in Louisiana will be reading the nominated books throughout the school year and then voting on a winner. I’m beyond honored to be nominated, especially since the other titles on the list are big-time books like The Crossover and Rain Reign.

In other news, I just sent in copyedits for Finders Reapers, the second book in the Switched at First Kiss series, which means it’s pretty much all done! I should be getting ARCs soon, and the book will be out in March. And since the cover popped up on Amazon and B&N, I guess it’s okay to share it.

Reapers_04132015

And now I’m switching gears and working on The Truth Game, the fourth book in the Dirt Diary series, which will be out in May. Hopefully, I’ll have a cover to share for it soon!

Hollihock Conference Presentation

Posted by annastan on August 24th, 2015 | Comments Off

This weekend, I traveled down to New Bedford, Mass. to take part in the Hollihock Writing Conference, a brand new conference affiliated with UMass Dartmouth. It was great to hear speakers from so many different genres and to chat with fellow writers. Since the conference was small, there was a nice laid-back atmosphere which was particularly nice for those of us who tend to be a bit shy.

In addition to being on an “MFA or not to MFA” panel, I also did an encore of the “Don’t Let Common Writing Missteps Hold You Back” workshop that I presented at NESCBWI a while back. I promised the attendees that I’d post my PowerPoint, so for them (or for anyone else who might be interested) here is the presentation of 7 common writing missteps and how to avoid them:

Common Writing Missteps

(Note: I’ll keep this presentation up for the next month or so.)

It was a long but inspiring day, and I hope to visit the conference again next year.

Happy writing!

Some Upcoming Events

Posted by annastan on August 19th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

I’ve been pretty much a shut-in the past few months as I’ve been caring for BabyBot and furiously trying to keep up with writing deadlines. (If you’re waiting on an email from me or I promised to mail you some swag, rest assured that I haven’t forgotten!) But in the next few weeks, I’m going to start easing back into society. Fingers crossed I still remember how to have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around diapers and spit-up.

In addition to going back to teaching at Simmons College this fall, here are some other places I’ll be in coming months:

Saturday, August 22

I’ll be leading a workshop on common writing missteps and speaking on a “To MFA or Not to MFA” panel at the Hollihock Writing Conference in New Bedford, Mass. I’ll also be doing a short reading, which is free and open to the public, at 3pm.

Friday, September 11

Come celebrate recent releases by Writers’ Loft members (including I’m With Cupid by yours truly) at the first ever Book Bash at 7:00pm at The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, Mass.

Saturday, October 24

It’s a multi-author storytime! I’ll be joining fellow authors Josh Funk, Nancy Tupper Ling, Jane McCormick Sutcliffe, and Ammi-Joan Paquette for a morning of picture book fun at 11am atWellesley Books in Wellesley, Mass.

If you’re in the area, I hope to see you!

A Quick Tip for Revising a Sequel

Posted by annastan on July 31st, 2015 | Comments Off

I’m currently in what I’m calling the Super Cave, a combination of a revising cave, drafting cave, and baby cave, but I’ve emerged to share a quick tip that’s really helping me with my current revision.

I’m working on revising FINDERS REAPERS, the sequel to I’M WITH CUPID, and trying something a little bit different this time. In order to make sure that the tone and pacing of the second book are comparable to the first book, I’m doing a side-by-side, chapter-by-chapter reread for both. That means I’ll read Chapter 1 of Book 1, and then switch over and read Chapter 1 of Book 2, and then move on to Chapter 2, etc.

This technique might sound a little bizarre, but it’s been helping me tremendously. Not only have I caught a couple of tiny inconsistencies between the two books, but I’ve also noticed places in Book 2 where things are dragging or where the tone and humor aren’t quite right. I love having new revising tools to put into my toolbox, and this one is definitely a keeper.

Have you tried out any new writing or revising tricks lately?

I’M WITH CUPID Release Day!

Posted by annastan on July 7th, 2015 | 3 Comments »

Today is the day! My newest book, I’M WITH CUPID, is officially out from Sourcebooks!

i'm with cupid final cover

Almost exactly two years ago, I was rereading The Children of Green Knowe by LM Boston for a class I was teaching at Simmons College, and a brief mention of a play in which Cupid and Death accidentally swap powers jumped out at me. I started to wonder what would happen if Cupid and Death were thirteen-year-old kids (because that’s how my brain works), and of course I had to write that story to find out.

I must admit that this is probably my favorite of the books I’ve written, partly because balancing the humor with the slightly darker themes was a fun challenge. I’m so excited that the story is out in the world!

If you’re on Twitter, I’m having a release day contest. Which 2 fictional characters would YOU fix up Cupid-style? Tweet your entry with the hashtag #ImWithCupid by 12am EST Wednesday, and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of the book.

Also, if you happen to be near Cambridge, Mass. this Friday at 7pm, I’d love to see you at the launch party at Porter Square Books.

How am I celebrating this momentous day? By working on a revision of Book 2, of course! We writers sure know how to party.

What Does “Have More Fun with the Story” Really Mean?

Posted by annastan on July 2nd, 2015 | 4 Comments »

It’s July! Which means I’M WITH CUPID will be officially out in a few days! I’m getting really excited for the launch party next week. Think people would be freaked out if I went around shooting them with love arrows? ;-) It’ll be my first time bringing the baby to a book event. We’ll see how that goes!

Okay, on to writing matters.

I’m working on revising the CUPID sequel, titled FINDERS, REAPERS, and even though I’m several drafts into the manuscript, there’s still a lot of work to do. One of my editor’s suggestions was to have more fun with the story, and I realized she was absolutely right. But I started to think about what this advice–advice I’ve given my students many times–actually means.

Here are a few things I came up with, and I think they apply to writing comedy as well as more serious stories.

-Don’t Censor

If you think something is too stupid or too silly, try to run with it and see where it takes you. Sometimes the craziest ideas lead you to storytelling gold. Plus, it’s always easier to rein a story in than it is to amp it up.

-Keep Asking “What’s the Worst That Can Happen?”

I think sometimes we just don’t push our characters enough, either because we’re lazy or because we’re being too nice. But a story doesn’t really work if you’re not pushing characters to their breaking points. That’s when the really interesting things happen. So if your character makes a bad decision, for example, try to make the consequences of that decision as plausibly bad as you can.

-Write What Entertains You

This might seem obvious, but if you’re bored then your readers will be too. If you find yourself skimming scenes as you reread them, that might be a clue that something is awry. Or if there’s a scene that’s always felt a little off, be honest with yourself about it. I had this problem with a couple of scenes that I knew weren’t right, but I didn’t know how to fix them. A nudge from my editor pushed me to cut them out, and now I’m working away to replace them with ones that are (hopefully) better.

I think having fun with a story really means being brave. Letting your wacky side loose. Writing scenes that are so ridiculous that you know you’ll probably cut them. But sometimes those extreme, over-the-top ideas are the ones that will bring your story to the next level. And, if nothing else, having more fun with a manuscript means that your story will never be boring.