This is my last post of the year. I'm off to Austin, Texas for family time.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
This is my last post of the year. I'm off to Austin, Texas for family time.
Friday, December 17, 2010
The Love Goddess' Cooking School, Melissa Senate. Click the book.
I saw this a few months ago and immediately bought copies to give my special group of girlfriends as Christmas gifts. It looks to the characters and authors of women's fiction for inspiration, humor, and heart.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The first suggestion is my absolute favorite Christmas book~ I made sure I had a fresh copy of it for my youngest kiddo, who was born only a few days after Christmas. I tried drinking tons of eggnog to get her to come out on December 25, but it didn’t work (*note to expecting ladies~ remember to drink the pregnancy-safe eggnog). Anyway, I adore this story and I’m slightly obsessed with Barbara Cooney’s illustrations. If you’re looking to add a holiday book to your family’s collection, this is a MUST-HAVE:
Equally great for avid readers and kids who just don't seem to like books, try the hilarious (and educational…shhh!) You Wouldn’t Want To… series. The books are actually used in primary school classrooms in the UK, and are definite crowd-pleasers.
The authors change, but the illustrations are always by the delightful David Antram. They blend historical fact with a fictional narrative, and can be blunt and a little gruesome...aka, they have an aura of the forbidden about them, which is something a lot of kids count as a plus.
These have been around for awhile, but I recently bought a stack of them to keep around the house. The covers alone are so compelling that my twelve-year-old (a sports-fanatic who lives by the credo, "this-activity-better-have-movement-or-I'm-outta-here") couldn't leave them alone. His favorites are You Wouldn't Want to Meet a Body Snatcher! and You Wouldn't Want to Be a Pirate's Prisoner!
Here are a few more titles:
**MY APOLOGIES ON THE FORMATTING :)
Friday, December 10, 2010
Dystopian was firmly on the trend list, as it should be. That said, when the future fizzles out (and sadly, most trends must come to an end, or at least take a healthy break—R.I.P. vampires,werewolves, angels, demons,etc.), who will be there to pick up the pieces? Could YA novels in historical settings become more popular?
Steampunk is already bringing a little bit of old-world style back into vogue, albeit with some pretty cool alterations that may slip into the fantasy realm. Will settings, plots, and characters backed by historical fact be the next big thing? I want to be clear about saying BACKED by historical fact, because we're still talking about historical fiction here, not nonfiction.
It's tough to say whether historicals are going to take over (especially with all the melding of genres going on), and I think Dystopian still has a good amount of gas left in its tank. Check out this awesome entry from the Auction—it’s for a Dystopian novel about ZOMBIE GLADIATORS—sweet.
In terms of YA genres, who would win in the battle ring—a Roman gladiator or Katniss Everdeen?
In honor of my inability to choose between past and future, I declare my winner to be a new sub-genre called (drumroll please):
YA Historical Dystopian Timetravel
Think about it…a young gladiator in ancient Rome is suddenly thrust into a black hole that drops him where? The Hunger Games, of course. Then, through a series of timetravel mishaps, the protagonist manages to save himself in the angst/danger-ridden past thereby saving all of humanity in the even more angst/danger-ridden future. Any takers?
Okay, maybe not.
Anyone have an opinion about historicals being on future trend lists?
Have a great weekend!
**The agent pitch contest on Market My Words runs until midnight tonight--don't forget to follow Shelli's blog to be eligible!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Level One: Use Query Tracker and Agent Query to compile a fat list of agents who represent my genre/genres (I dabble in Middle Grade and Young Adult).
Level Two: Go to agency websites and also Google for individual agent blogs. Check again for interest in genre, present clients, and current wish lists.
Level Three: Scour the internet for interviews and go to their agency’s thread over at the Absolute Write website (awesome resource, by the way--you need to sign up to use the Search option, but it's free). Follow their Twitter account. Check to see if they’re listed on Casey McCormick’s blog, Literary Rambles (she's got TONS of background information about children's agents).
Level Four: Reading over past Miss Snark Secret Agent Contests. This is something I’ve been doing recently, and it only works for a limited list of agents. Miss Snark’s First Victim (hosted by the incredible and anonymous Authoress) holds Secret Agent contests almost every month, and it’s a wonderful way to really see what an agent’s tastes are. You can read an agent’s comments on all twenty-or-so entries, and then see who they choose as their winners.
This has been extremely enlightening for me, because I can see who leans more towards humor, who leans more toward descriptive/lyrical language, etc. They occasionally make comments about what turns them off, what’s not working for them, and what they do/don’t like to see in dialogue.
I’ve made it into this contest once, and while the critiques I got pretty much said that my excerpt wasn’t the best crayon in the box (which it definitely wasn’t—I really appreciated every person who took the time to comment), I realized that I could learn a lot by reading the agent’s comments about all the entries, not just mine. These are things you can’t learn in a blog interview. The fact that you can look at specific examples is fantastic.
If you go to her website and scroll down on the right, you’ll see the list of participating agents. Then you’ll need to look through the archives to find the right posts. Below is a list of agents who’ve participated. Many of them represent Middle Grade and Young Adult, and are open to queries.
MSFV Secret Agent "Hall of Fame"
• Holly Root (July, 2008)
• Barbara Poelle (September, 2008)
• Michelle Brower (October, 2008)
• Colleen Lindsay (November, 2008)
• Sarah Davies (January, 2009)
• Kristin Nelson (February, 2009)
• Josh Getzler (March, 2009)
• Kate Schafer Testerman (April, 2009)
• Jenny Rappaport (May, 2009)
• Lauren MacLeod (July, 2009)
• Emmanuelle Alspaugh Morgen (August, 2009)
• Ginger Clark (September, 2009)
• Rachelle Gardner (October, 2009)
• Laura Bradford (November, 2009)
• Ammi-Joan Paquette (January, 2010)
• Nathan Bransford (February, 2010)
• Joanna Stampfel-Volpe (March, 2010)
• Jennifer Laughran (April, 2010)
• Kathleen Ortiz (May, 2010)
• Danielle Chiotti (July, 2010)
• Cameron McClure (August, 2010)
• Suzie Townsend (September, 2010)
• Michelle Wolfson (October, 2010)
• Weronika Janczuk (November, 2010)
Feel free to email me if you’re confused about how to access the entries they chose as winners and the comments (warning: it involves a healthy amount of clicking).
**Note—the Secret Agent contests are always open to public critique, and if you’re going to use them for research, it would be a nice thing to critique some entries in next year’s S.A. contests (and feel free to enter them too!).
**Extra note: Authoress has added a Donate button to her website. She does a lot for the writing community, so if you participate in contests/use her website, it would be a nice thing to contribute.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Again, please head over there and take a tissue~ the powerful story of what motivated Jackee to do this is a tearjerker.