Monday, September 3, 2012

Gearing Up To Get An Agent: Intro Post!

So here's the deal, followers: for the next month, I'm going to be participating in a blog hop called "Gearing Up To Get An Agent" (graciously hosted by Deana Barnhart). The goal of this blog hop is to connect writers who are in the process of querying agents (like I am) and maybe even snag some agent attention along the way.

Science-y posts shall continue, never fear! I'm back from my end of August hiatus and will restart my Weekly Science Roundups and other posts now that September has arrived. However, in addition to my regular posts, I'll be participating in this awesome blog hop. It's my first hop ever, and I'm excited to get going!

So without further ado, here is my intro post:


Here's what you need to know about me: I'm a little nerdy. Maybe more than a little. But at least I embrace it, right?

Anyway, while "nerd" sums me up pretty well, I probably should give some more details for the purposes of this blog hop. My name is Katie, I'm 27, and I work as an educator for a big science museum (that Shall Not Be Named). I'm also trained as a paleontologist (Masters, not PhD, full disclosure). I was en route to get a PhD and then decided that I didn't want to live out my days in dusty basements measuring bones. I preferred sharing my enthusiasm for fossils with people who might not know much about them, rather than those who already had an appreciation for evolution. So I left my program and couldn't be happier for it.

Now I teach kids and the general public not only about paleontology, but also about astronomy, zoology, geology, meteorology, physics, and engineering. I've worked on the side for museums and zoos my whole life, and now I get to make a living off of this awesome career path. I love it.

So where does writing fit in? Well, that's been a lifelong love as well. I wrote my first "novel" in elementary school and haven't stopped writing since. Nowadays I write middle grade fiction, focusing on stories with a science connection.

I have a cat named Galileo who is too smart for me to keep up with, I play golf and viola (neither particularly well), I have a homemade Harry Potter wand, several lightsabers, and a talking two-foot tall Captain Jack Sparrow. Pinkie Pie is best pony, Michigan is going to have a great season despite losing to Alabama, and life, uh...finds a way.

Onto the questions!

Where do you write?

Either at my desk or on the far-right end of my sofa in the living room.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down, and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

Desk: my cowboy hat. Sofa: A plastic pok├ęball. 

Favorite time to write?

Early morning before I have to go to work (like 6 am). Waking up and diving into writing before my brain remembers all the lovely distractions of the internet keeps me productive.

Drink of choice when writing?

Coffee is disgusting, but it keeps me awake and focused. So my drink of choice is coffee (cold) with lots of added sugar/creme/fancy flavors. 

When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

Music, please! At a low volume, preferably.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

Latest completed manuscript? Or latest Work In Progress? I'll go with latest WIP so I don't ramble for too long. My inspiration came when I was driving one day, thinking about what science fields I knew enough about to base a story around. I realized I hadn't written any stories about space before, and about thirty seconds later I knew what I had to write. All it took was remembering what kids got most excited about during my planetarium shows. The biggest thing that inspired them. And boom, I had a premise for my new WIP.

What is your most valuable writing tip?

Set word count goals. And give yourself prizes for meeting them. You can be an amazing writer, but if you don't get the words on the page, it means nothing. Meanwhile, for those of us that aren't naturally amazing writers (*cough*me*cough*), busting out tons of material improves your writing just by sheer numbers. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. Follow-up tip: join a critique group! Again, for us non-naturally talented, this is a great opportunity to practice editing. This only serves to help when it's time to revise your own manuscript.

Whew! That was a long post. Thanks for reading if you actually made it through the whole thing. Looking forward to the rest of this blog hop!


  1. You are SO COOL! I look forward to learning more about you and your work. I'm getting ready to move close to DINOSAUR, CO and am way too excited about that. ^_^ Best wishes with #GUTGAA. I think I'd better follow this blog.

  2. Your life/research sound fascinating, and I'll bet that your manuscripts are, too! Good luck with GUTGAA! :)

  3. I think you and I have a similar relationship with coffee. Disgusting and only slightly better with fancy flavors (but the caffeine!) :)

  4. I'm a scientist writing science fiction too, but I'm retired. An my post today is even longer than yours.

  5. So happy to meet you! Us science educators must stick together!

  6. Have you tried the Bailey's and Sweet Cream flavors of creamer? They are fantastic.

    I'm your newest follower. *waves* Very nice to meet you!!


  7. What a cool job, teaching kids about science! I love that you have a Pokeball where you write. When I lived in Japan, Pokemon cards were outlawed at our high school. Also, great writing advice!

  8. You write in the morning, and I write at night. It's like passing a torch. I'll stay awake until you wake up, then pass the muse on. Or something like that. Nice to meet you!

  9. Cool! Your work is about space too? That's awesome.

    SO nice to meet you!

  10. Mornin'! Another scientist :) Although I never pushed past the BS stage (wow, an unintended pun), I still have a love for it. I love coffee but only because they have fantastic creamers available.

    Good luck in GUTGAA!

  11. Hi Katie, nice to meet you!

    You and I must feel about the same in regard to coffee: love the smell, hate the flavor. The only way I can stand to drink it is if there is enough cream and sugar (and chocolate) in it that you can't taste the coffee anymore. Of course at that point, it's horribly bad for you, but at least it tastes okay. Plus the sugar high in combination with the caffeine works wonders for your ability to move quickly. :)

  12. Well Katie, it’s nice to get to ‘meet’ you through GUTGAA! I’m your newest blog follower, by the way. (Unless you have another one by the time you see this.) :D

  13. Nice to meet you! Great tip about setting a writing goal... I love the "session target" feature of Scrivener. Except those times that I hate it. :)

  14. I refused to peek at your post until I had written mine. Looks like our writing tips are similar. I want to know what inspires the kids most about the planetarium show. Is it explosions? Is it spoilery? Or the take off sequence. I can't wait to read about kids in space!

  15. I love your posts! Ichthiosaur (spelling me suck at) Gets the Bends? That is hilarious. I'm GUTGAA blog hopping.

    :) Rachel Dillon

  16. Hello from GUTGAA! Yes- life finds a way. Oh, I miss Michael Crichton- his books are amazing. Great writing advice! See, I read the whole thing. :) Nice to *meet* you.
    A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

  17. Great to meet you! Reading your post makes me want to head outside for a hike-maybe the picture! I love space stories.

  18. Nice meeting you! From the pic I thought you were from the southwest somewhere, not Michigan. (i was at UM 2 years for grad school and the flies ate me alive because apparently they find Californians tasty).

  19. Hi! Great to meet you. I love your blog. My friend is a science teacher and loves all this stuff. I'm going to tell her about your blog. :)

  20. Hi from a GUTGAA latecomer! You sound a lot like I would have been if I'd actually majored in one of the sciences rather than veering in other directions. Your blog--and life--sound awesome.

    I mostly write science fiction, and my WIP involves one of the few remaining astronauts when space becomes a tourist destination. But that one's not ready yet... my only manuscript ready for representation is a MG Christmas book.

    Good luck with everything! Your projects sound great!

  21. Thanks for stopping by my blog. So, what endangered species is involved in your MG? Can't wait to hear more on this blogfest!

    - Rachel Dillon

  22. You are so much fun. I bet the kids adore you. Good luck with GUTGAA.

  23. Nice to meet you via GUTGAA. Your blog is part science-y part, literary-y--so cool!

  24. Loved your bio and the fact that you are such an enthusiastic educator! Thank you! :)