Friday, April 30, 2010

Edgar Winners!

It's Edgar time! The winners have been announced; Peter Abrahams' Reality Check won in YA, and Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn won in Best Juvenile (this would be middlegrade).

Congrats to the winners, and Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday YA News

Check out what’s happening in YA this week:

YA Bookish Stuff

Harlan Coben is writing a YA! It’ll be out in 2011! Can you tell I’m excited? Read all about it here.

Nancy Drew turns 80 (well, the books anyway).

For you comic book fans: this Saturday is free comic book day—find out more here.

Wondering which children’s books sold best in 2009? Find out here.

In mystery news (stolen off Publishers Marketplace's news page): the WSJ analyzes past Edgar winners.

And Patterson’s Maximum Ride YA series will be a movie.

Teen Culture

For the older ones among us: what would you say to your high school self? Here’s what YA authors had to say.

Why we love librarians: they keep cool heads, even in Florida, when a mom gets a little too enthusiastic about deciding what's inappropriate.

For Writers

Here is a list of the ten best books on writing, courtesy of a GalleyCat reader poll.

Guide to Literary Agents gives us seven reasons why literary agents stop reading your first chapter (hint: don’t talk about the weather).

Final Fun

Some kitty love. Don't my cats look like an old married couple?

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Books, Parents, and Heroes In Underpants

I had an interesting discussion with a good writer friend this past weekend, about children's (and YA) books. We talked about how what the adults pick for kids (like parents, teachers and librarians) is often not what kids/teens read for fun, which we agreed was okay.

This morning, I found an interesting post on Editorial Anonymous on just this subject, and an editor's perspective. Check it out.

And sort-of related: here's a picture of Captain Underpants.
He's cool.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

2010 Arthur Ellis Award Nominees

From Janet Rudolph's Mystery Fanfare blog: here are the nominees for the 2010 Arthur Ellis Awards (given by Crime Writers of Canada). I thought I would list the juvenile category here; looks like a mix of YA and MG.

2010 Arthur Ellis Award Nominees: Best Juvenile

Not Suitable for Family Viewing by Vicki Grant.
Haunted by Barbara Haworth-Attard.
Homicide Related by Norah McClintock.
The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones

Congrats to the nominees, and happy reading to the rest of us.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday YA News

It’s quiet in YAness this week… Blame it on the volcano (I’ve been blaming everything on Eyjafjallajokull this week—perfect excuse). Anyway, here’s some YA newsworthiness:

YA Bookish Stuff

Banned Books Week isn’t until the fall, but here’s a list of 2009’s most challenged books—fascinatingly entertaining, especially when you see the list of classics that get contested. Congrats to Lauren Myracle for snagging the top spot for TTYL.

Debut YA author Sarah Wylie scored herself a great deal for her book All These Lives, about a girl who thinks she has nine lives—sounds interesting, and congrats to Sarah.

SLJ talks school bookfairs, and reasons it might pay to go digital.

Teen Culture

How awesome is this teen: 17 year-old Carissa Moore won the ASP surfing trophy, and then gave her $15k check to her local teen hangout that helps underprivileged kids. Chapeau to Carissa.

And promiscuity is bad according to today’s teens, says this Slate article called Generation Scold.

Publishing Biz

Publishers Weekly talks London Book Fair despite volcano misery and travel woes.

For Writers

GalleyCat interviews literary agent Michael Murphy, who tells writers to do their homework. And here’s another interview, this time with agent Evan Marshall.

If you're going to Pikes Peak Writers Conference, come say hey! I'll be the freckly one, eating all the extra desserts at the table.

Final Fun

How far would you travel for Chicago’s killer pizza (it is really good, to be fair)? Charles (shown below) went 1300 miles, all the way from his home in New Mexico. Get ready for a serious kitty time-out when you get home, Chuck—hope the pizza was worth it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Interesting Interview

A quick addition to Thursday News: Murderati has an interview up with Neil Nyren, senior V.P., pulisher, and editor-in-chief at Putnam. Very interesting stuff for us publishing folk, so check it out.

Friday Music: Blue On Black

Good song. Nuf said.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday YA News

Thursday YA news! Here it is:

YA Bookish Stuff

PW has an interesting article on the Empire State Book Festival. I thought this observation by graphic novelist Barbara Slate was interesting: “Teenagers are expressing themselves through comics,” noting girls are just as engaged in that genre as boys.

Want a free book? Macmillan is giving away free galleys of some of their latest titles; check it out here.

Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire won in the YA category of the 2010 Indies Choice Book Award.

Wondering what teens read for fun? Find out in this SLJ article.

Teen Culture

Lunches affect learning, says this SLJ article, tying into Jamie Oliver’s (love him!) mission to get the garbage out of our lunch room. Quelle surprise--corndogs are not a foodgroup, lunch people.

Check out this progressive Illinois librarian who brought Kindles into the classroom. How cool is that?

I thought this NY Times article regarding social media and the classroom was really interesting; this organization called Common Sense Media is teaching kids how to behave online (so as to avoid cyberbullying, etc.).

Publishing Biz

Self-publishing is up, says this PW article. No surprise there; some great stats in this article for you fellow data geeks.

Wonder how a book gets adapted into film? Find out in this interview with Diary of a Wimpy Kid director Thor Freudenthal.

For Writers

MWA puts Harlequin back on its approved publishers list (Harlequin also has some YA lines), so good news there. Read all about it at GalleyCat.

Also at GalleyCat, agent Jason Ashlock (and other agents) talk about life as an agent; read more here.

And finally for fun, meet Kitchi.

This river otter has been missing from Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain Zoo for a few weeks now. Zoo officials urge you to look in your pond, to make sure Kitchi hasn’t decided to set up shop there.

Kitchi, the rogue river otter. Kinda cool.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Operation Teen Book Drop


You know that feeling you get, when you open up a new book? You know what I'm talking about. The excitement of discovering a new story, new information, whether it's fiction (my favorite), non-fiction, or whatever.

I forget sometimes how lucky I am to able to buy the books I want (be it within the restrictions of my book budget), how lucky I am to have a great library and piles of books waiting for me every day.

Some people don't have that. Like the kids at Ojo Encino Day School in NM Navajo country--librarian Mary Nickless said, "In their lives, they don't really have books." And the teens at Alchesay High School in Whiteriver, AZ, (on the White Mountain Apache Reservation), who have little access to books and want them so dearly.

Breaks. My. Heart.

So what to do, you ask? Simple: buy these kids some books and join Operation Book Drop. You can find out more information at GuysLitWire (including some beautiful pictures), and get the wishlists of these kids so you can send them the books they want. Some of the books run just a few dollars, so a little goes a long way.

These teens want to read. Let's give them the books, huh?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Colorado Teen Literature Conference: A Report

I left early Saturday morning, breakfast and coffee to go, to attend the Colorado Teen Literature Conference in Denver—and of course I forgot my camera, so no pics, sorry…. Anyway, once in Denver, I was greeted by friendly volunteers and pastries (breakfast, round 2 = happy Fleur), and then the morning keynote by author Matt de la Pena. He was funny (talking about the time nobody showed up for his book signing, and about stealing a father-son conversation on the train), humbling (about his simple upbringing in a poor, largely Hispanic town), and honest (about how he didn’t really read much until someone handed him The Color Purple). I had read Ball Don’t Lie, but have now added We Were Here to the TBR pile—nice guy, and hugely popular with the girl readers, too, for obvious reasons.

Next, I attended a session by author Roz Monette, who was talking to teens about ways to get publishing credits. She suggested letters to the editor and book reviews, things I hadn’t even thought of. Great info I’ll be passing on to my teens during next school year’s workshop, so cheers to Roz.

I then attended a session by brilliant Pueblo County Teen Librarian Sarah Wethern, who gave us a mountain of blog links (of book reviewers, mostly) I’ll be checking out this week. Will update you on those… Great stuff.

Then it was lunchtime, with keynote author Ellen Hopkins, who writes her novels in verse (for those of you unfamiliar with her work). She was very open about her reasons for writing Crank, and shared some beautiful poetry and an enraging story about censorship that made my freckles itch. Unfortunately, her keynote ran a little long, and she was rushed of the stage practically mid-sentence (next time, try a little finesse, conference organizers?).

My next session was on censorship (nicely tied in with the keynote), where author Lauren Myracle shared her experiences with censorship by libraries (mostly in Texas, it seemed), and reader mail that she read. Major props to her for the honesty; those letters and censorship can’t be easy on her. I added Peace, Love and Baby Ducks to my pile.

The last session was an author Q&A, with Matt de la Pena and Ellen Hopkins, and a bunch of smart teens who had prepared some really good questions. We learned some more about their writing process (Ms. Hopkins doesn’t outline, and edits as she goes; Mr. de la Pena outlines and changes that as he writes). Fun, and lively, which was such a great ending to the conference.

So I left with a smile into Denver traffic, and with a new list of books to read. I highly recommend this conference for any of you planning to go next year!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday YA News

Thursday YA news, delightfully free of iPad hype:

YA Bookish Stuff

J.K. Rowling promises a new book is coming soon, reports The Washington Post, though no Harry Potter. Still, good news for you fans.

Kat Fall’s underwater YA novel Dark Life will be a Disney movie, reports Variety. Looking forward to it already.

ForeWord announces its finalists for YA Book of the Year. And here are the RITA’s, including YA nominees.

Read an interesting PW interview with Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson series writer, remember?), about juggling two series and his success.

And PW has some book reviews by teens—great stuff there.

Teen Culture

Doc Martens turn 50, reports the L.A. Times. And they still kick butt.

YA authors Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones started a Facebook group against bullying (in response to Phoebe Prince’s suicide that I’m sure broke everyone’s heart). YA readers and authors can join here.

Publishing Biz

What's hot in YA? Find out in this PW article on an agent panel at one of their recent events.

For you librarians (we love you!): SLJ has a free webcast on April 15th on library biz. Check it out here.

Andrew Karre of Carolrhoda Books shares some interesting stuff on the Bologna Book Fair, with thoughts from rights director Maria Kjoller—great for those of us who couldn’t be there.

For Writers

Agent Caryn Wiseman is sick of vampires (amen to that), and wants to see MG and YA—check out her interview with GalleyCat for more info.

And for fun: check out this colorful poodle from a pageant—maybe I’ll try that with my dog.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mysteries Rock (Now With Research!)

Of course, we already knew that mysteries rock. But now there's research to support this: a recent NEA study showed that 54 percent of readers like mysteries best, with thrillers (mystery's fraternal twin who likes to wear running shoes) at 32.6 percent.

That's a combined 86.6 percent! It's probably statistically incorrect to just add those two numbers, but I'm doing it anyway. The reading public has spoken: mysteries and thrillers rock.

Check out the link on M.J Rose's blog Buzz, Balls & Hype, where I found this info.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

For Writers: Pitch That Book

I was going to start this post with a bit about how I’m so happy I don’t have to pitch my projects at conferences anymore. But that’s nonsense, of course. Even if you have an agent, or a published book, you’ll always be pitching. To your readers, your editor, your agent, and to your family at the Thanksgiving table, right before they ask you how much money you’ve made off your books.

Pitching is part of a writer’s life, so I thought I would share some helpful links on this misery. For those of you going to conferences, or not. And for myself. Pitching is tough.

So here are those links, so you can spit-shine your elevator pitch:

--Kidlit agent Mary Kole has some excellent advice in her Pitchcraft posting.
--Literary Agent Nathan Bransford explains conference protocol.
--Agent Kristin Nelson on pitching.
--Guide to Literary Agents talks pitching.
--BookEnds Literary Agency talks about pitch lines that don’t work—some really good tips there.
--Women on Writing has an article on conference pitching here.
--Writers Conference Guidelines covers pitching.
--Agentquery has some good information on writing query letters that also works for constructing your pitch.

Good luck, and remember to keep it simple. And have a mint, that never hurts.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Where It's At

This would be New Mexico, Santa Fe and Albuquerque to be exact. In November, YALSA is having its Young Adult Literature Symposium in Albuquerque, and Left Coast Crime 2011 (March 24-27) is criming things up in Santa Fe, Big Chili style.

Road trip!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Your Viking Name

Because you should be working or otherwise be productive, I thought I would give you this link to get your Viking name.

You've been wondering, I know.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday YA News

Thursday news is skinny this week—maybe everyone is busy spring breaking. Here’s what I found in YA for you:

YA Bookish Stuff

Twilight author Stephanie Meyer is releasing a novella this summer—and you can read it for free on certain dates. Find out more at GalleyCat.

Canadian Cormorant Books is launching a children’s and YA imprint, with first releases this fall, says Publishers Weekly.

And Gossip Girl producer John Stephens signed a book deal with Alfred A. Knopf for Young Readers to write a MG trilogy. The series about three siblings and an ancient prophecy is due out spring 2011.

Teen Culture

New York wants guys to lose their saggy pants—or at least NY State Senator Eric Adams does, because he bought a bunch of billboard campaigning for the raised pants. “Raise your pants, raise your image.”

Speaking of pants: kids are sitting on them too much—or their butts, anyway. The world’s kids are couch potatoes, says a Journal of Pediatrics study.

And teen blogging is good for the soul, says an Ohio State University study.

For Writers

Registration is open for April’s Pikes Peak Writers Conference; learn more here.

Before I move on to this fun closing, let me say that you should never steal someone's favorite toy.

Still. This is funny.

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...