Friday, February 26, 2010

Boom Boom Pow

You know you want to boom boom pow--it's Friday after all. And this is the clean version, so you can even play it if you're in the office or live in Colorado. Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday YA News

This week in YA:

First off: today is School Library Journal’s Webcast What’s Up In YA (2 p.m. ET), in case you want to listen in. And for those of you late to the party, I’m sure they’ll archive it for you.

What’s hot in YA? The end of the world, says this article in Publishers Weekly. And here I thought it was angels—no, werewolves—no… Never mind, I don’t know anymore.

YPulse’s talks about ChatRoulette—I can see a YA novel spawning from that site.

If you’re a teen and are into music: check out The Battle of The Bands Campaign by and VH1’s Save the Music. You can send in a tape of your musical performance, and a testimonial of why music matters to you. Sounds cool—I’m just saddened by the fact that music still needs saving. Seems like a no-brainer that kids need music, right?

Glee goes to Washington. And Disney goes Goth with Alice—guess everyone wants a piece of the Twilight crowd. Speaking of which, here’s the trailer for Eclipse (due out in March).

Wondering what e-book readers want? Find out in this GalleyCat article on a recent survey.

Publishers Weekly’s Josie Leavitt talks about a teen visit to her bookstore—some unexpected opinions on book covers there (“Why are they so ugly?”).

Wondering what books to look forward to for fall in books? Here’s PW Fall Sneak Peek; you’ll have to pick the list apart to find the YA among picturebooks etc.

For those of you marketing to teens, check out this article on influencers and forums (can’t help but think of Scott Westerfeld’s So Yesterday when I read that).

And under the heading Did-We-Really-Need-Research-For-That?: teens love to text, reports a MediaMark Research and Intelligence Report. Well, duh.

On a related note: teen girls are becoming a greater driving risk, reports The Chicago Tribune. The cause? You guessed it: texting.

And for fun: here’s a monkey.

Come on, who doesn’t love a monkey?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Where I Let Others Do The Talking

I just finished editing a manuscript I’d been working on for over a year. So I thought I would write a post about the process, all navel-gazing and deep and everything, but then I was getting bored with myself just thinking about it all. And I really didn’t want to make you suffer through all that.

So instead, I thought I would link to an interesting set of interviews on Rod Norman’s blog: one with author Josh Gaylord of Hummingbirds, and one with Megan Abbott of Bury Me Deep (this one’s nominated for just about every award—and very deservedly so). These authors are married, which gives the interviews an interesting angle, but I was mostly struck by how humble they both are. Reading their answers, I came away feeling better about my own writing somehow.

Anyway, don’t hang around here—go read these interviews. Not YA, but still. Great stuff.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Because I Want To Be Where Jason Mraz Is In This Video

I just shoveled the driveway again. Nuf said.

LA Times Book Prize Finalists

More award news, the LA Times Book Prize Finalists this time. Here's the YA roundup:

Young Adult Literature Finalists

James Cross Giblin, The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Frances Hardinge, The Lost Conspiracy (HarperCollins)
Deborah Heiligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
Elizabeth Partridge, Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don’t You Grow Weary (Viking Children’s Books/Penguin Group)
Shaun Tan, Tales from Outer Suburbia (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)

I hadn't heard of any of these, so I'll be off to check them out. Congrats to the nominees!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Agatha Nominees

The Agatha Nominees have been announced; see them all on Sarah Weinman's blog.
Here are the Children's/ YA (bummer they lump them together; how are you supposed to judge a children's book against a YA?)nominees:

Best Children's/Young Adult:
The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford (Viking Juvenile)
The Hanging Hill by Chris Grabenstein (Random House)
The Case of the Poisoned Pig by Lewis B. Montgomery (Kane Press)
The Other Side of Blue by Valerie O. Patterson (Clarion Books)
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer (Philomel)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday YA News

Thursday YA news! Get it here while it’s hot:

Wifi ain’t just for cybercaf├ęs anymore; check out Arizona’s Vail school district’s experiment of putting Wifi on the bus. No more rowdy riders, apparently. Cool idea, if the funding is there.

Are you a writer? If so, check out NPR’s three minute fiction contest. I love flash fiction, such fun to write.

In Twilighty news, Breaking Dawn will be adapted into two films, reports Mediabistro. Filming is not expected to begin until mid-October, so don’t get too excited just yet if you’re a fangfan.

At PW, Elizabeth Bluemle blogs about (children’s) bookseller wisdom for authors, publishers, etc., which I thought was very interesting and useful, since it’s coming from the frontlines.

For those of you marketing to teens, MediaPost’s Morgan Stewart blogs about an ongoing study in conjunction with the Center for Media Design on how tech habits influence teens’ buying decisions. Very interesting hard data there, so check it out if you’re looking for better ways to reach your teen audience.

Twitter or Facebook? Get a teen’s perspective on the pros and cons, at YPulse.

Europe launched its Safer Internet Day (SID) with a child-friendly version of Internet Explorer. And on this same topic of safety: YouTube adds a violence and profanity filter.

Finally, for fun, here’s what happens when you give a seven year-old girl a kitten:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cybils and Postcards

For your reading list, check out the 2009 Cybils winners; this would be the Children's and Young Adult Literary Blogger Awards, in case you didn't know. Some familiar names in there, and also some new titles to add to the TBR list, so yippeeee!

And just to represent: check out Kirk Farber's Postcards from a Dead Girl, which just came out. He's a fellow Pikes Peak Writers member and super-talented author, so go buy his book. It's not YA, but then nobody's perfect, right?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

For Fun

It's a chain blog post! And it's Tuesday, so what the hell, why not. It's time for some fun.

1. Thank the person who gave this to you. (Thanks, Patti :-).
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth - or - switch it around and tell six outrageous truths and one outrageous lie.
5. Nominate seven "Creative Writers" who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

Now for the challenge in #4... See if you can spot which one of these six statements is a lie:

1. My mother thought the first freckle on my face was leftover chocolate and tried to rub it off.

2. I own five cats.

3. On long family road trips, I used to invent characters with weird voices to entertain my sister.

4. I know how to do the wiring and plumbing on my house.

5. I've been married for 15 years.

6. Wrote five novels, none of which have sold yet, and several of which are sucky.

7. I can eat a large bag of peanut M&Ms by myself in less than ten minutes (I thought I would throw in an easy one).

And here are the poor friends I'm passing this challenge on to (I know I only have 5, but that's all I got :-):


Feeling Olympic

I was never the sporty type. In gym class, I was sure to do the absolute minimum (and sometimes a lot less). When someone throws a ball in my direction, I’m still more likely to duck than catch it. Sports just isn’t in the genes, I’m sorry to say.

But I love to watch the Olympics. The excitement of it all, the competition—and most of all, I love to hear the stories behind the ski glasses and fancy outfits. The stories of how the athletes worked for years to get better, be perfect. I can appreciate that passion, even when the odds are so lousy. I mean, look at us writers. The odds are against us, to put it mildly. Publishing is tough, and even when you’re good, there are a few thousand other guys that are just as good or better than you.

Still. It’s possible. Just look at the skaters, skiers, and lugers for heaven’s sake. Watch the look in their eyes when they’re about to set off for their few minutes of perfection. See how amazing it is to watch someone who loves his craft be so completely in the zone, it’s just about as close to divine as it gets.

As you can tell, I’m inspired by these athletes. Not because of the level of achievement (although impressive), but because of the passion it took to get to Vancouver. Just the love of the craft, or sport. How great is that?

Watch some of the Winter Olympics, if you get a chance. I dare you not to be inspired.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: Somebody by Nancy Springer

Another book with a skinny spine! I know, it sounds like I’m a lazy reader, but I really want to see how authors do when using fewer pages.

Somebody tells us about Sherica, who’s keeps moving and gets a new name with each place she and her father and brother move to. She’s 15, and is beginning to question what her father has been telling her. Is her mother really a floozy who ran out on them?

Sherica (her real name) finds out through an internet search that she’s a missing girl, and that her mother has spent the past 10 years looking for her. Now she’s caught between her father, who is determined to fatten her up, her brother, who only worries about their father winding up in jail, and her own self-worth.

When I started reading, this seemed like a fairly simple, clean (no swearing, etc.) YA—good for even a younger crowd, possibly older middle-grade. But as I continued reading, Sherica’s character struggles went deeper, and there was even some symbolism (won’t go into detail; you’ll just have to read it). And all that in 117 pages.

I give this one a 4.5, and goes on my mystery list. Somebody is a great book for a somewhat reluctant reader, or someone who just likes it when an author gets to the point. Somebody like me, I guess.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Free, How Much I Love Thee

For you publishing industry folk: here are some free events I thought might be of interest. And they're all online, so no need to abandon your trusty computer or lap cat--even if there's a blizzard (seems everyone is having those now).

Muse It Up Conference: this online conference in October is completely free, and you can sign up just by joining their Yahoo group. Check out the lineup; there are some great names and pitching opportunities too for you writers with manuscript. And it's free! I know, I mentioned that already...

Digital Book World is holding several webinars, one on ebooks and one on social media. There are also a bunch of prior webinars archived on their page, so check it out.

School Library Journal has a webinar on February 25 called What's Up In YA. I mentioned this one a few weeks ago already, but thought I would remind you, since it's also (you guessed it) free.

You're welcome.

Friday, February 12, 2010


For all of you struggling artists, and those who will be happy when Valentine's Day is over (if not for the lack of a beau, then for the annoying commercials telling us we should show our love by buying stuff). Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday News

Thursday news is on the skinny side this week due to still dodgy internet connection, but it still packs some punch. Here she goes:

First off, Bookslut’s Colleen Mondor talks about diversity and YA—you must read this. It’s an article that gives a really comprehensive look at an issue that’s been at the forefront of YA publishing for a while.

Healthy characters are contagious, says this study in Medical News Today. A study of girls in a healthy lifestyles program showed that reading novels where the lead takes on healthier habits makes them adopt those too. I feel a wave of issue novels coming on…

ReadWriteWeb reports on last weekend’s Teen Tech Conference in San Francisco; too much to report on here, so just read it for yourself.

Those computer games, phones, TV, and Facebook are not causing teen headaches, according to this study reported on by redOrbit. So good news—though that study has obviously not seen the ‘new and improved’ Facebook layout. It certainly gave me a headache.

The L.A. Times talks cellphone novels in Japan.

Scott Westerfeld won the Aurealis (an Aussie speculative fiction award) for Leviathan.

Think teens are rash and have no concept of risk? No more than us adults, says this study. The article goes on with a healthy amount of lecturing, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. Still interesting.

And for a smile, check out Kajolu, a baby gorilla from Germany with the nicest face ever. I dare you not to be charmed:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

About David

Meet David. He’s sixteen, tall, and always looks over his shoulder, just in case those jerks are on his heels. You get to be that way when you’re the kid who has a bull’s-eye on his back.

But there’s more to David than that. He’s smart, funny, and knows how to get out of a jam—skills he learned while helping out his repo-man dad. And he’s solving a mystery, all while being grounded for driving his cool 1971 Curious Yellow Plymouth Scamp (with Bumblebee Stripe) too fast.

I like David. He’s suffered through a few rewrites, got beat more than he deserved, got shot at, had to walk in the rain and stand tall when he was most scared. He’s become something of a friend to me.

But it’s time for him and to go into The Drawer, where unsuccessful manuscripts go. There are a few others there waiting, so he won’t be lonely—I just really thought David would make it into print, so I’m a little sad to say goodbye. But it’s time to move on to Niki (she’s just as cool as David; more about her later) and let him go.

Still, I’m leaving the drawer cracked, just in case. I would like to think that maybe, once David isn’t grounded anymore, he takes his girl Laney for a drive in his Scamp, windows down, hands surfing the air. He’s earned it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Things To Do In Denver April 10th

If you’re into YA (of course you are), and are looking for a fun day out in April, check out the Colorado Teen Literature Conference in Denver (road trip!) on April 10th. Keynotes are Matt de la Pena (Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican White Boy, We Were Here) and Ellen Hopkins (Crank, Identical, and Tricks, among others), and there are a host of local authors attending as well.

The program looks really interesting, so I’ll be signing up. Last year I was set to go, snacks for the road packed and everything, Abba’s greatest hits in the CD player to sing along, and of course there was a blizzard. So I missed Jordan Sonnenblick and David Lubar—I’m sure you can imagine my pain.

Not this year. I put new tires on my Honda Element last week, I’m strengthening my shovel muscles (plenty of snow for that today), so I’ll be ready, weather be damned. I’m going, Mama Nature, so bring it. I don't care.

If you’re in the Colorado Springs area and you want to hitch a ride April 10th, let me know! I’m always looking for someone who can join me for a good bellowing of Dancing Queen.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Where I Replace News With A Song

No news this week because of my dodgy internet connection. But to make up for it, here's a song.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


A few weeks ago, I reported on a link about high teen media use, and wondered (only for about two seconds) how much I was using the internet a day. What if I logged it? Which I didn’t, of course, because who has the time? Facebook, blogs, Twitter, CrimeSpace—those are not going to update themselves.

And then last week, I found myself without internet (insert screechy horror violins). Just like that—and it’ll probably be another week or two before I have complete access again (I’m surfing on a neighborhood wireless unsecured network right now, feeling only slightly guilty as the connection is most lousy). I’ll save you the frustrating story of bad bandwidth and the lovely but scripted customer service from India.

So I’m restricted on internet use, hence the quietness on the blog. On the upside, I got lots done. I faxed a contract for a new regular paying gig (to support the peanut M&M habit), completed my first assignment, cleaned the house, edited my latest manuscript, and fixed just about all that was on the house to-do list. I know, you’re impressed. I was amazed at my productivity, almost enough so that I thought of restricting my internet access permanently.


I miss my online friends. Facebook is my watercooler, blog news my line to the world. Without internet access, I feel like Milton from Office Space: watching everyone in the lunchroom eat cake without getting a piece, and stuck in a makeshift basement office, wondering who the hell stole my stapler.

So I’ll be looking forward to having my internet access back. Until then, save me a piece of cake, please?

Follow along with the MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL blog tour!

I'm so excited for the Aug. 25th release if MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL...!  If you want to join the fun, follow along with the bl...