Kip’s New Website!

The time has come. I’m thrilled to share that I’ve made the big move and switched over to a self-hosted website! Please update your bookmarks and blog subscriptions to my new site: Kip Wilson Writes. Or if you prefer to land directly on the blog, here is a link.

For the curious, the switchover was pretty painless, so I’d definitely recommend it if you’re considering such a move yourself. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

And in the meantime, have a crêpe.



To Blog or to Website?

This is the question I asked myself before attending a great workshop at The Writer’s Loft in Sherborn, MA on Saturday. That, and, where the heck is Sherborn, MA?


I admit I got a little worried as I passed 128 and started to see signs for Albany, NY, but I made it to the Loft in once piece and even found a handy eatery nearby to pick up a nice greasy sandwich and chocolate frappe. *thumbs up*

The workshop, “Creating an Author Website,” was led by Ray Brierly, and was a great chance for me to find out what I wanted to know. I’ve been blogging here on WordPress since 2008, and I’ve gradually figured out lots of the bits and pieces that give my blog the look and feel I wanted. But yanno, what I’ve got isn’t a website; it’s a blog. Before the workshop, I was pretty sure I decided I wanted to convert to a website, once there, I realized it didn’t seem to be anything to be afraid of.

As Ray described the steps, one must:

  1. Get hosting
  2. Get a domain name
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Customize website

Since I’ve been blogging with a address, it turns out I’ve done the last step first–and it seems like this is the most time-consuming, complicated step, so yay, me! However, I still have to do steps 1-3 if I want an actual website. If I only had a few blog posts, it wouldn’t be a big deal to just start up a fresh website and copy the content over, but because I have six years of content (*gasp*), once I got home from the workshop, I decided to look up how it’s done, and luckily it doesn’t seem horribly complicated:

  1. WordPress has a nice how-to on the process that I plan to take for a spin in the near future: move to self-hosted.
  2. They also have a list of recommended hosts that are known to work well with WordPress.
  3. One of the hosts they list is the same one Ray mentioned in the workshop, and I found they’re running a special!

Best of all, now that I realize I’ve been doing the more complicated part all along, I should be able to actually help friends and family members who’ve been asking how to set up a website who’ve been scoffing at my, “Get a free WordPress blog!” responses. Now I know exactly what to tell them and will even be able to walk them through it. Who knew making a website could be so much fun? :-)

#WriterRecharge Last Week!

All hail the last week of #WriterRecharge!


Joining in for the month of February definitely made a cold, snowy month pass more quickly, so a huge thanks to the gang responsible: Sara BirenKaty UppermanAlison MillerLiz Parker, and Elodie Nowodazkij,

I was so deep in the Revisions Cave that I only popped my head out for the Monday check-ins, but I’m grateful for the accountability nevertheless, and I promise I was hard at work and thinking of you all doing the same. :-) And thus, progress!

How did I do during the third week?

Writing: I switched my goals/rules up a bit again (because I can), and it was just the thing I needed this week. My First Five Pages workshop finished up, and I tweaked the beginning of my WIP again based on the last fantastic feedback before taking another spin through its first 50 pages for big-picture issues. Not exactly what I’d intended to do, but I’m calling it a success!

Swimming: For the first time, I joined the snow instead of letting it beat me. I only got to swim twice this week, but I went cross-country skiiing once and ice skating once, and both of those were well worth getting out into the cold.

Reading: I only read one book this week, but it was a great one: BECOMING JOSEPHINE by Heather Webb (about Napoleon’s wife, the Empress Josephine). I was lucky enough to win a copy of the book, and I also got to attend a reading/signing, so I couldn’t let this one sit on my TBR stack any longer. What fantastic details and what a compelling character!

Bonus Awesomeness: My six-year-old twins had school vacation this week, and one of the things they did was to prepare their submissions for their first writing contest (for children in Kindergarten through fifth grade). They each made a beautiful picture book with five illustrations and five pages of text. I am so proud of them! Take a look at their snazzy covers:



What are my goals for this week?

I’ll be sticking with my same goals for the week with swimming (four times a week) and reading (one more book), but I’m planning on tackling the writing task I’ve been avoiding: taking a pass through the rest of the WIP and marking where I need to change or add the POV to the alternate POV character. I won’t actually be making any changes/writing new scenes, so just figuring it out should be totally doable, right? *blinks*

Hope the last week of #WriterRecharge treats you well!

#WriterRecharge Week Three

Welcome to Week Three of #WriterRecharge!


If you want to learn more about this month-long motivational writing challenge co-hosted by Sara BirenKaty UppermanAlison MillerLiz Parker, and Elodie Nowodazkij, just click here. And be sure to include the link to your update on Sara’s blog or tweet about it using hashtag #Writer Recharge!

At the beginning of the month, I set my goals here.

How did I do during the second week?

  • Writing: I met my goal, working through another round of great feedback from the mentors and participants from the First Five Pages workshop. My second revision goes up for review later today, and after one last revision round, those pages should be ready! I also revised my next five pages, taking that same feedback into account.
  • Swimming: A repeat of last week: I only ended up swimming three days instead of four, because once again, I was thwarted by a snowstorm.
  • Reading: I finished the next book in my stack of award-winners (YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS by Meg Medina)–not surprised at all that it won the Pura Belpré award. I also finished a research-y book (BERLIN! BERLIN! by Kurt Tucholsky) and the Newbery honoree (DOLL BONES by Holly Black).

What are my goals for this week?

  • Writing: Revise first five pages once more as part of the workshop and revise ten more pages in a similarly meticulous manner.
  • Swimming: Swim or winter exercise four days!
  • Reading: Read the next book in the award-winning stack (THE LIVING by Matt de la Peña).

Hope #WriterRecharge is going well and that you have another great week in store!

#WriterRecharge Week Two

Welcome to Week Two of #WriterRecharge!


If you want to learn more about this month-long motivational writing challenge co-hosted by Sara BirenKaty UppermanAlison MillerLiz Parker, and Elodie Nowodazkij, just click here. And be sure to include the link to your update on Sara’s blog or tweet about it using hashtag #Writer Recharge!

Last week, I set my monthly goals here.

How did I do during my first week?

  • Writing: Instead of plowing through my next 50 pages of draft two, which had been my plan for the week, I slowed down. Really slowed down. But that’s a good thing. I was lucky enough to get into one of the monthly First Five Pages workshops, so I spent the entire week on my first five pages: digesting comments from others, brainstorming solutions, researching (it’s a historical), and finally, revising. By focusing on the tone and details of those first pages, I think I just saved myself a boatload of work down the road …
  • Swimming: I only ended up swimming three days instead of four this week, but in my defense, I was thwarted by a snowstorm. Hopefully the weather cooperates better this week. :-)
  • Reading: I read the next book in my stack of award-winners (THE NAZI HUNTERS by Neal Bascomb) and started the next (YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS by Meg Medina). So good!

What are my goals for this week?

  • Writing: Revise first five pages once more as part of the workshop and revise next five pages in a similarly meticulous manner.
  • Swimming: Swim four days!
  • Reading: Finish YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS and start the next book in the stack (THE LIVING).

Hope your first week of #WriterRecharge went well and that you have a great week in store!

Time for a #WriterRecharge!

Welcome to February! And welcome to a well-deserved #WriterRecharge! Brought to us by the same merry band of writers who sponsored #ReadySetWrite this past summer, #WriterRecharge is all about the following:

We’d like to invite you to join us for Writer Recharge 2014, a month-long motivational challenge similar to last summer’s Ready. Set. Write! So many of us benefited from setting goals, connecting with other writers, and social media-based accountability. So, hey, let’s do it again! Whether you’re delighting next to the crackling fireplace of a Shiny New Idea with a warm cup of tea and a sleepy puppy at your feet or spinning out on the ice-covered roads of revisions in an attempt to avoid the snow-packed ditch, we want to write with you! What do you want to accomplish this month? Hit a daily word count? Revise a certain number of pages or chapters each week? Complete a draft by the end of the month? Let’s get this party started!

Sounds pretty wonderful in the midst of winter, right? Check out more deets with the friendly hosts: Katy UppermanAlison MillerLiz ParkerElodie Nowodazkij, and Sara Biren, and sign up to play along on Sara’s blog here:

The timeline:

  • First week of February: Post your goals for the month on your blog, website, or Twitter. Use the hashtag #WriterRecharge. Link your blog post here (below)
  • Every Monday in February: Update your progress via your blog or twitter. Link your blog posts on myMonday posts.
  • Throughout the month: Use the hashtag to connect with other writers, have writing parties, and cheer one another on!
  • February 28: Post your final update via your blog or twitter.
  • Anyone who uses the hashtag or links their blog posts will be entered to win one of five query or 3-chapter critiques.

My goals for February:

  • Finish the second draft of my WIP!
  • Swim four days a week. Swimming clears my head like nothing else.
  • Keep reading. I read 13 books in January, but since February is a shorter month, I’m going to at least commit to reading these seven award-winners. I started in on the stack on Saturday, and have already devoured the top two.


That’s it! My goals are simple but huge for me, so I am really looking forward to cheering along with the rest of the group. My February just started looking a whole lot better!

2014 Debut Author Challenge

I’m not super-active over on GoodReads at the moment, but it was so much fun perusing this list of 2014 YA, MG, and NA debuts! So many authors I recognize–some of them from back when they were entering contests or signing with their agents, some from writer friends I’ve been cheering for even longer, and some I hadn’t heard of before and am thrilled to have discovered them here! I will probably read even more than the ones I’m listing in this post, but I picked my top twenty I’m really looking forward to reading.


  • No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown. I cannot wait for this book. Yes, Jaye is one of my critique partners. Yes, I’ve read this book before. Still, I am so excited to read it in its final form! Ahhhh!
  • Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman. Munich in the 1930s? This book sounds so up my alley I can’t even. Is it April yet?
  • A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller. I pretty much love turn-of-the-20th-century anything, but throw in dreams of a career in the Arts, and I’m a guaranteed reader. Can’t wait for this!
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I have to admit that the title grabbed me with this one. The description makes it sound like just the sort of literary novel I love, so I’ve got high hopes!
  • Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule. I hadn’t heard of this one before, but a fantastic singer and magic coming from the woods? Sounds like a mysterious page-turner!
  • The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer. Another one I hadn’t heard of before this list, but it also sounds gorgeous and delicious.
  • Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy. Love the way this sounds like a kind of reverse-Fault-in-Our-Stars.
  • Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis. I’ve really been waiting for this one, and seeing the spooky cover and blurb made me want it all the more. Looks like a total page-turning mystery!
  • Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin. As if Bourne Identity meets Divergent isn’t enough, I was already a huge fan of this author for her writerly perseverance. Plus, she’s really funny on twitter.
  • The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi. This sounds like such a moving read, but on top of that, I’m psyched to dig in because I was lucky enough to read the author’s first chapter of a different story at a workshop with Nova Ren Suma at NESCBWI last year, and I absolutely loved her writing. Can’t wait for this!
  • Gilded by Christina L. Farley. I love international settings, so Korea with some magic thrown in sounds pretty cool to me!
  • All Four Stars by Tara Dairman. This just sounds totally adorable. An 11-year-old restaurant critic? I can’t wait for the hijinks!
  • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis. Snow White in space? Yes, please.
  • At Your Service by Jen Malone. Ahhh, Jen’s first published book! Like ALL FOUR STARS above, this just looks like a super-fun read, and I can’t wait for it!
  • Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz. I have been waiting for this one since I first saw the deal announced on twitter. Captain Hook’s daughter in a Lemony Snickett voice, people!
  • Any Way You Slice It by Kristine Carlson Asselin. This one had me at the Mystic Pizza comparison. I’m pretty sure I know what I’ll be eating when I read this one.
  • Nil by Lynne Matson. The stakes totally grabbed me–a year to escape the island or, um, DIE? Sounds like a total page-turner to me. I’m already invested before I’ve begun reading!
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert. I’m a sucker for anything with ballet, and I’ll admit that the cover totally drew me in even more, so I’m hoping I love it!
  • The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine. This sounds like a cute, fun romance, but on top of that, I was lucky enough to hear the author read from this book a couple of months ago. So funny! Looking forward to reading the rest.
  • Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler. Again, I’m a sucker for anything with the Arts, so I was already interested in this, but I also happen to know that some of the author’s favorite books are some of my favorite books, so that makes it all the more enticing.

Like I said, I’ll hopefully end up reading even more than these, so please share what debuts you’re most looking forward to this year!

2013 Reading Stats and Faves

I always want to read more books than I can squeeze in a year, and 2013 was no exception.

First off, my final tally for the year: 58 books total. Last year, I read 59. However, this year, I finally started to not finish books I wasn’t loving. On top of the 58 books, I started another 30-40 books. I usually give a book a good 50 pages before bailing, but I found I was sometimes getting as far as 100 pages before deciding it’s not for me. I also skimmed a bunch more books for research purposes, but I didn’t include those in my count either.

So how did the 58 books break down? Probably not surprisingly, the vast majority were YA. The deets:

  • YA: 39
  • Adult: 10
  • Non-fiction: 4
  • MG: 3
  • New Adult: 1
  • YA in Spanish: 1

I had quite a few favorite books this year, and I’ve been recommending some in my Twofer Tuesday posts throughout the year, like these two great YA page-turners. I also read quite a few great adult books, including THE NIGHT CIRCUS (mind-blowingly amazing!), THE EXPATS (fast-paced and thrilling!), and THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND (tragically beautiful!).

As wonderful as so many books I read last year were, my absolutely favorite book of 2013 was one that spoke to me right from page one–one of those books that seemed like it was written expressly for me: FAR FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal.


The voice blew me away, the writing was gorgeous, and the characters real. I already can’t wait to read it again. If you’re looking for a modern day fairy tale, I simply can’t recommend this book enough.

Happy reading, and happy 2014!!!

Twofer Tuesday: ARCS from NCTE!

Though I didn’t attend the recent NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) conference in Boston, I had a ton of fun at the Great NCTE Kids/YA Lit Tweetup on Friday night at the Trident.

It was great seeing old friends, including most of my Boston Writers’ (aka Crêpe-eaters’) group, as well as chatting with people I knew online but had never met, and those I’d never even knew of before. Besides talking about writing projects with others, one of the most exciting things to discuss were the new ARCs (Advance Reading Copy) out at the conference.  I wound up with two wonderful ARCs and am happy to report that they were both amazing!


OTHERBOUND is a fantastic YA debut by Corinne Duyvis. I’d already wanted to read it when I first heard the blurb–about a boy transported into the mind of a girl living in a different world–but I never thought I’d be so lucky as to get my hands on an ARC. Everything about this book was done amazingly well. I was immediately drawn in to Nolan’s Earth-based life and his urgent struggles to appear “normal” in spite of his apparent seizures, a consuming side-effect of his travels. Likewise, Amara’s world was richly-drawn and full of surprises, including some great plot twists, believable magic, and a perfectly-done developing lesbian love-hate-friendship-romance. I so loved that it wasn’t a coming-out tale at all, but simply an additional shining star to an already complex story. So sorry that the rest of you have to wait until next year for this one! (Except the Mr. Crêpe Club, where it will no doubt be passed around.)

SEVEN WILD SISTERS by Charles de Lint is a companion novel to THE CATS OF TANGLEWOOD FOREST, which I haven’t yet read, but I definitely want to get it after reading this one. SEVEN WILD SISTERS captured my attention as a “modern fairy tale,” and it did not disappoint. My six-year-old twin daughters have been reading the books in the “Rainbow Fairies” series, which are fine, but I wanted to present them with some fairy stories that have more of a literary bent, and we plowed through this one (with me reading out loud). Sarah Jane’s adventurous spirit drew us all in and her plucky resolve carried us through the story. Most of all, as a mom trying to protect and nurture my girls’ belief in magic, I was amazed how captivated my little sprites were by the little details that came to life on the page. What a lovely book!

Anyone else snag an NCTE ARC that was particularly delicious? Please tell!

Children’s Poetry Blog Hop

My amazing friend and soon-to-be debut young adult author Jaye Robin Brown tagged me to participate in a blog hop about children’s poetry. Thrilling! I adore poetry!

But, hmm, children’s poetry? I have to admit, I was never a fan of the typical happy, sing-songy poetry as a child, unless you count the craziness of Dr. Seuss, because crazy is pretty awesome.

However! As a linguist and trilingual mom, I’m going to pick one snippet from each language that together represent my poetic tastes for children.

First off, English. THE GASHLYCRUMB TINIES by Edward Gorey is one of my favorite books because of the illustrations as much as the text. How can you not love something that begins like this?

A is for AMY who fell down the stairs.

B is for BORIS devoured by bears.

In case you’re not familiar with it, the book takes us through an alphabet of children who met their untimely demise by at least somewhat gruesome means. Well worth a read!

In German, my favorite is the classic DER STRUWELPETER by Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann.

Filled with macabre tales of misbehaving children who suffer the consequences of their actions, these stories are filled with morals like, “Eat your soup, or you will die!” and “Don’t suck your thumbs, or the thumb-cutter will come and cut them off!” My favorite tells the story of Paulinchen, who decides to play with matches:

Paulinchen war allein zu Haus,
die Eltern waren beide aus.
Als sie nun durch das Zimmer sprang
mit leichtem Mut und Sing und Sang,
da sah sie plötzlich vor sich stehn
ein Feuerzeug, nett anzusehn.

Needless to say, things don’t end all that well for Paulinchen:


Finally, Spanish. We have a wonderful book, FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA PARA NIÑOS, and interestingly, my girls’ favorite poem, Muerte de Antoñito el Camborio, is about the murder of a young man, Antoñito, by his four cousins. But it’s such a gorgeous, haunting poem!

Voces de muerte sonaron
cerca de Guadalquivir.

Voces antiguas quecercan
voz de clavel varonil.

Hope these are some interesting examples! Now on to the interview questions:

1. Who was your favorite poet as a child?

Well, I didn’t much like traditional children’s poetry, and I didn’t discover any of the gems above until I was older, but I would have loved those three if I knew about them then.

2. Who is your favorite poet now?

Rainer Maria Rilke definitely gets top honors, but I have some other favorites, including Pablo Neruda and Sylvia Plath.

3. Is there a song you consider to be poetry?

I’d argue that most songs are in fact poetry, but arguments aside, I’ve been listening to Debussy’s Clair de Lune a lot recently, which was inspired by Paul Verlaine’s poem of the same name. It begins:

Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.


I’m tagging another poetry fan and writing buddy, Angelina Hansen. Hope you can post your favorite children’s poems (or one of your own!) and thoughts next Friday for the blog hop!