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1. What? There's A Percy Jackson Problem?

In The Percy Jackson Problem in The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead discusses the old "so-long-as-the-kiddies-are-reading-they-will-move-on-and-up" strategy vs. the old "you-can't-start-'em-on-Shakespeare-too-young" theory. According to Mead, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books fall into the first category. Ouch.

Mead finishes her essay speculating about what will happen if reading books like Percy Jackson doesn't lead to young minds moving onward and upward to eagerly sucking up the Assigned Book List. "What if instead of urging them on to more challenging adventures on other, potentially perilous literary shores, it makes young readers hungry only for more of the palatable same?"

I have no problem with palatable. We live in a free country, kids! Go rogue with your reading!

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2. Suzanne Bloom Loves Fab Goo Taffy

Author/Illustrator Suzanne Bloom

Author/Illustrator Suzanne Bloom

Suzanne's Newest Book

Suzanne’s Newest Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please welcome back author/illustrator Suzanne Bloom for week three of what will be a four-part series designed to encourage new and aspiring picture book authors as they navigate the perilous path to publication. 

Today’s topic is Rejection, with a capital “R”. If you’ve already been sending out submissions and have received rejection letters (or e-mails) back, it’s a major letdown. I’ve been there. I’m still there. But as cold as the rejection feels, you must try try try not to take it personally. I know you poured your heart and soul into your story. But always keep in mind that publishing is a business and publishers are companies. And just like any company, publishers must make money in order to stay in business. Since publishing companies receive hundreds of submissions each month and thousands per year, and they cannot publish them all, they are very selective and choose what they believe has the potential to make money. That doesn’t mean your story wasn’t good. It just means that it wasn’t right for that publisher. Even veteran authors still get rejections.

Several years ago, when I was feeling particularly bummed over yet another rejection, I asked an anonymous editor if editors realized they hold authors’ dreams in their hands. I don’t remember what the response was, but I have since come to realize that it is not the responsibility of editors or agents to make my dreams come true. So don’t get mad, get motivated. And above all, don’t give up. If you’ve made your story the absolute best is can be, send it out again. I wonder what Suzanne does when she receives a rejection letter? Let’s ask. 

Suzanne, how do you handle a rejection letter? How about 5, 15, or 25?

It’s really hard to believe that 15 someones don’t love your story as much as you do, isn’t it? Is it time to put that story away for a while or forever? Let it rest and get to work on something else. After a month or so look at it again with fresh eyes. This also applies to harsh critiques. Several of my stories (which are brilliant, according to me) shall never see the light of day. I came across a mock “rejection” letter which said, “We’re sorry to say that due to the number of similar rejection letters we have received, we cannot accept your rejection letter at this time. Good luck placing your rejection letter elsewhere.” Alas, I have paraphrased and I don’t know the source.

Love the mock rejection letter and the advice! Listen to Suzanne, picture book writers, she knows what she’s talking about. 

Of course, sometimes the feeling of rejection comes in the form of a harsh critique from an agent, editor, or even a critique group member. Again, it’s hard not to take the criticism personally, especially when we’re proud of the work we’ve done. I can tell you that I am always surprised when I get a harsh critique. How could they possibly find fault in my story. But now I understand that there’s always room for improvement. Remember too, that you don’t have to make changes to your story based on critiques. You don’t have to agree with every thing that’s said. But keep in mind that agents and editors are professionals and usually know their stuff, and if you should happen to get a critique from one, I recommend you at least consider their suggestions to improve your work. 

And let me add, that I would be lost without the help of my critique group, Picture Me Published (PMP). It is invaluable. My stories have improved astronomically thanks to the thoughtful suggestions of my three groupmates, Sarah, Jess, and Brooks. I highly recommend joining a group. Don’t worry if it doesn’t feel right, you can always politely drop out and search for another. My first group didn’t work out (not for lack of trying), but it’s okay because PMP is a perfect fit for me. 

Suzanne, how should we handle a harsh critique?

In the privacy of your own space, dance like Rumpelstiltskin: stomp, gnash, holler and fume. Whew, take a breath and revisit the story and the critique…not necessarily at that moment – when you’re ready to hear and evaluate the suggestions. What rings true? What holds back the story? I thought “Fab Goo Taffy” was the best name ever for the candy that was traded for a time machine. My wise editor said it wasn’t insect-centric enough for my ant eating characters (A Mighty Fine Time Machine). Certain that there was no substitute, I stewed and fumed, until I came up with Buggy Bon-Bons. It’s so hard to defend an idea without sounding defensive. And even when we’re certain each of our words is precious and perfect, there is always room for rumination and possibly improvement. But here’s the biggest question: Are you willing to make changes for the good of the story?

Please come back next week for the fourth and final installment of my “Suzanne Bloom” series, in which I ask Suzanne how to combat writer’s block, what an editor means when he/she tells you your story is too quiet, and how to keep from getting discouraged. I can’t wait!

{Suzanne Bloom At Work In Her Studio}

{Suzanne Bloom At Work In Her Studio}

Suzanne Bloom was born mid-century in Portland, Oregon, which accounts for her love of overcast days. She moved to Queens, New York in time to finish kindergarten. Her first book We Keep a Pig in the Parlor was published in 1988. She has authored and illustrated many more books since then including The Bus for Us (2000) and the popular Goose & Bear series, which includes A Splendid Friend Indeed, Treasure, What About Bear, Oh! What A Surprise!, Fox Forgets, and her latest, Alone Together. She has been given a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award and has been selected for the Texas 2×2 list of 20 best picture books (twice). She currently lives in upstate, New York with her husband in the house they built 34 years ago, down a dirt road and on a hillside. She has two grown sons, one cat, and one dog. To learn more about Suzanne, please read the interview I did with her back in 2010, or check out her website: www.suzannebloom.com


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3. Hazel Edwards discusses collaboration and controversy

On the day that prolific Australian author, Hazel Edwards was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal for services to literature, her latest young adult novel was receiving a very different distinction at the other end of the country. Hazel Edwards has written more than 200 books, including the hugely popular Hippopotamus picture book series, […]

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4. First Look: Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Series

At New York Comic Con earlier this month, Disney-owned Marvel unveiled test footage from its "Guardians of the Galaxy" animated series, which will premiere in 2015 on Disney XD's Marvel Universe programming block.

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5. The Soccer Players

With Henry in my arms, we watched
The soccer players kick.
He laughed at every move they made -
Deliberate or quick.

He couldn't understand, of course,
(He's thirteen months  of age)
So what got to his funny bone
Is really hard to gauge.

What seems to me quite ordinary,
Filtered through his eyes,
Becomes a new adventure
Filled with magic and surprise.

So as we watched, his all-out giggles
Filled me with delight.
The time I spend with Henry
Makes the world seem fresh and bright.

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6. Tallfellow Press is alive... It's Alive!!!

Believe it or not, after years of ups and downs, Tallfellow Press is again publishing books (what a concept!). There have been happy times and sad times. The saddest were the losses of our founders, Larry Sloan and Leonard Stern. Suffice it to say, life has not been the same without them.

But we hope that the offerings we will have for you in the next several years will be interesting, fun, inspirational and worthy of the Tallfellow name.

So, please visit our website and read our blog to see what's coming up.

The first book we're publishing is Really?!!?! by Beulah Sanchez (look to the left!). It's One Woman's Adventures of Dating in the Digital Age and not only is it very funny, it's all true. You can hear the author on radio shows all over the country. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading and let us know if you have questions or comments.

We're glad to be back!!!

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7. Book Review: Dojo Daycare


I've been meaning to share this gem of a picture book for some time. Dojo Daycare, written and illustrated by Chris Tougas is published by Owlkids Books


There is so much to love in this smart, modern, and funny rhyming picture book. It is paced beautifully and you can feel the tempo pick up and then settle down for the ending. I found the framework of the dojo daycare and sympathetic storyline toward the 'master' really inventive. My kids (5 and 3 years old) love rereading to follow the smaller details and mini-plots. 


You can track each ninja and their ninja pets at home, the bear as he gets pulled apart (and see where he ends up!), and my kids' favorite part - see the little green fluff coming from one little ninja. Yup. It's a silent but HILARIOUS surprise when you figure out how that last fight starts. 

I was given a review copy by the publisher, but my words and opinions are my own.

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8. Honored

to have been included in Kortney’s “Women Who Inspire” series at One Deep Drawer. So kind!

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9. 10 Writing Techniques from Bram Stoker’s Dracula

9781599631431_5inch_300dpiOctober conjures up images of crackling fires, shivering leaves, the grinning teeth of a jack-o-lantern … and, if you’re a fan of classic horror, that iconic, fanged master of the night, Count Dracula. We feel there’s no better time than October—National Dracula Month—to share some writing tips and techniques that authors can learn from Dracula and apply to their own horror stories.

As you read this excerpt from chapter one of Dracula, try reading Bram Stoker’s text first, and then go back and read it again, this time pausing to digest the annotations from Mort Castle, in red.

Thirsty for more? Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics: Dracula, by Bram Stoker with annotations by Mort Castle, is available now! More than just an annotated version of the novel, this edition presents sharply focused, valuable techniques for writers who want to learn more about the techniques Bram Stoker used—and why he applied them.

JONATHAN HARKER’S JOURNAL

(Kept in shorthand) [1]

[1] That Harker’s diary is kept in “shorthand” immediately reveals something of the man’s personality: With shorthand, he can record his impressions rapidly. Even a modern, ultra-fast-paced, totally plot-driven thriller has to have some characterization by finding small ways to provide “a bit of character” such as this.

3 May. Bistritz.Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; [2] should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible. The impression I had was that we were leaving the West and entering the East; the most western of splendid bridges over the Danube, which is here of noble width and depth, took us among the traditions of Turkish rule. [3]  

[2] Stoker, had he been writing in our era, might well have launched Dracula far later into the story at a much more dramatic moment, giving us, perhaps, Harker’s escape from Castle Dracula.

Television and films frequently use a technique called in medias res, starting “in the middle of things” (from the Latin) in order to hook the audience. Then, with the hook set, the writer fills in, usually via flashback, what readers need to know to get back to “the middle of things.” (More about flashbacks later.) Modern fiction writers have latched onto this technique. Beginning writers often begin way before the true beginning of the action. It is a typical flaw. What Stoker gives us here is almost in medias res; while there is no great dramatic action, Harker is placed in a physical location at a specific time. We know he is a traveling man, and we sense that he is a man on a mission. After all, he is concerned about the trains running on time. He has, we sense, places to go, people to see, things to do.

The narrative arc of the story has just about commenced.

[3] Observe, writer, an absolutely masterful transition. Transitions get characters (and readers) from “there” to “here,” from “then” to “now.” It is easy to mess up transitions by thinking it necessary to detail every moment/movement between “there” and “here” and “then” and “now.” That is simply not so.

It will keep the story moving to simply write the equivalent of: He took the bus across town. This is Stoker transitioning a la “took the bus across town,” and it offers something more than a movement between locales: It shows Harker’s journey from the familiar Western European locales to the exotic East.

We left in pretty good time, and came after nightfall to Klausenburgh. Here I stopped for the night at the Hotel Royale. I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem. get recipe for Mina.) [4] I asked the waiter, and he said it was called “paprika hendl,” and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians. I found my smattering of German very useful here, indeed, I don’t know how I should be able to get on without it.

[4] It is with Harker’s little note to self that he begins to really come alive. This little note of domesticity reveals much of just who Husbandly Harker is. We start to like him because we are getting to know him.

A well-developed fictional character is someone who is every bit as alive and just as unique an individual as anyone we know—really well—out here in RealityLand. When a character is well done, we get to know the character so well that we like or dislike, love or hate him.

Having had some time at my disposal when in London, I had visited the British Museum, and made search among the books and maps in the library regarding Transylvania; [5] it had struck me that some foreknowledge of the country could hardly fail to have some importance in dealing with a nobleman of that country. I find that the district he named is in the extreme east of the country, just on the borders of three states, Transylvania, Moldavia, and Bukovina, in the midst of the Carpathian mountains; one of the wildest and least known portions of Europe. I was not able to light on any map or work giving the exact locality of the Castle Dracula, as there are no maps of this country as yet to compare with our own Ordnance Survey Maps; but I found that Bistritz, the post town named by Count Dracula, is a fairly well-known place. I shall enter here some of my notes, as they may refresh my memory when I talk over my travels with Mina.

[5] Time to bring it out, this Ancient Commandment for All Writers: Write what you know.

You might be thinking: But Bram Stoker never visited Transylvania.

And if a writer doesn’t know it, he or she must conduct research. We must therefore assume Stoker, like Harker, did serious research—research on a deeper level than might be provided even by that respected canon of our time, Wikipedia. It’s credibility that is at stake. (At stake … sorry. Can’t help it!) You never want your reader to think that you, the author, do not know what you are writing about.

In the population of Transylvania there are four distinct nationalities: Saxons in the South, and mixed with them the Wallachs, who are the descendants of the Dacians; Magyars in the West, and Szekelys in the East and North. I am going among the latter, who claim to be descended from Attila and the Huns. This may be so, for when the Magyars conquered the country in the eleventh century they found the Huns settled in it. I read that every known superstition [6] in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting. (Mem., I must ask the Count all about them.)

[6] With the derisive word superstition, Harker reveals himself again as a sober and reasonable man. He’s preparing us for his becoming royally unhinged not so long from now. This is foreshadowing, albeit done in a subtle manner.

Effective foreshadowing can give readers the feeling of “uh-oh” long before a character has any such feeling. It can therefore contribute to the mood of a scene and build suspense.

I did not sleep well, though my bed was comfortable enough, for I had all sorts of queer dreams. [7] There was a dog howling all night under my window, which may have had something to do with it; or it may have been the paprika, for I had to drink up all the water in my carafe, and was still thirsty. Towards morning I slept and was wakened by the continuous knocking at my door, so I guess I must have been sleeping soundly then. I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridge of maize flour which they said was “mamaliga”, and egg-plant stuffed with forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they call “impletata”. (Mem., get recipe for this also.) [8] I had to hurry breakfast, for the train started a little before eight, or rather it ought to have done so, for after rushing to the station at 7:30 I had to sit in the carriage for more than an hour before we began to move. It seems to me that the further east you go the more unpunctual are the trains. What ought they to be in China?

[7] Queer dreams = Foreshadowing again. These are unusual dreams, somewhat disconcerting dreams, strange dreams … they are not horrible dreams that bring on sweats and shrieks. Were Harker to be in such an elevated emotional state at this early point in the narrative, it would be nearly impossible to build to the sustained claustrophobically smothering terror that falls upon him when he becomes the Count’s guest/prisoner.

[8] A fundamental writing rule: Show, don’t tell. If your words put a picture on the reader’s mental movie screen, you are following the rule. If you evoke a sensory response in the reader, you engage the reader.

Author David Morrell advises in any significant scene—that is, one meant to be memorable and not just “something happens”—that it’s a good idea to come up with three sensory triggers.

All day long we seemed to dawdle through a country which was full of beauty of every kind. Sometimes we saw little towns or castles on the top of steep hills such as we see in old missals; sometimes we ran by rivers and streams which seemed from the wide stony margin on each side of them to be subject to great floods. It takes a lot of water, and running strong, to sweep the outside edge of a river clear. At every station there were groups of people, sometimes crowds, and in all sorts of attire. Some of them were just like the peasants at home or those I saw coming through France and Germany, with short jackets, and round hats, and home-made trousers; but others were very picturesque. The women looked pretty, except when you got near them, but they were very clumsy about the waist. They had all full white sleeves of some kind or other, and most of them had big belts with a lot of strips of something fluttering from them like the dresses in a ballet, but of course there were petticoats under them. The strangest figures we saw were the Slovaks, who were more barbarian than the rest, with their big cow-boy hats, great baggy dirty-white trousers, white linen shirts, and enormous heavy leather belts, nearly a foot wide, all studded over with brass nails. They wore high boots, with their trousers tucked into them, and had long black hair and heavy black moustaches. They are very picturesque, but do not look prepossessing. On the stage they would be set down at once as some old Oriental band of brigands. They are, however, I am told, very harmless and rather wanting in natural self-assertion.

It was on the dark side of twilight when we got to Bistritz, which is a very interesting old place. Being practically on the frontier—for the Borgo Pass leads from it into Bukovina—it has had a very stormy existence, and it certainly shows marks of it. Fifty years ago a series of great fires took place, which made terrible havoc on five separate occasions. At the very beginning of the seventeenth century it underwent a siege of three weeks and lost 13,000 people, the casualties of war proper being assisted by famine and disease. [9]

[9] One more splendid transition. There is not a wasted word here, yet Harker and readers travel from 8:30 in the morning until past twilight, from Klausenberg to Bistritz.

Count Dracula had directed me to go to the Golden Krone Hotel, which I found, to my great delight, to be thoroughly old-fashioned, for of course I wanted to see all I could of the ways of the country. I was evidently expected, for when I got near the door I faced a cheery-looking elderly woman in the usual peasant dress—white undergarment with a long double apron, front, and back, of coloured stuff fitting almost too tight for modesty. When I came close she bowed and said, “The Herr Englishman?” “Yes,” I said, “Jonathan Harker.”

She smiled, and gave some message to an elderly man in white shirtsleeves, who had followed her to the door. He went, but immediately returned with a letter—

“My friend.—Welcome to the Carpathians. I am anxiously expecting you. Sleep well tonight. At three tomorrow the diligence will start for Bukovina; a place on it is kept for you. At the Borgo Pass my carriage will await you and will bring you to me. I trust that your journey from London has been a happy one, and that you will enjoy your stay in my beautiful land.

“Your friend,

“Dracula.” [10]  

[10] Here Stoker chooses to use subtle irony. Whatever Dracula is, he is no friend to Harker. As a writer, you can do a lot with irony. For example, how many patients likely heard Hannibal Lecter say he wanted to help them?


Rachel Randall is the managing editor of Writer’s Digest Books. Her favorite holiday is Halloween.

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10. Artist of the Day: Gyimah Gariba

Today we look at the work of Gyimah Gariba, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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11. Julie Flett's WE ALL COUNT: A BOOK OF CREE NUMBERS

There's a new board book out by Cree Metis artist, Julie Flett, and like her other ones, it is a winner!





Like her previous works, We All Count: A Book of Cree Numbers is a bilingual board book. In this one, the numbers 1-10 are presented in English and Cree.

Flett's collage work is gorgeous. I love the quiet and bold colors she uses in her compositions. Here's the page for number 1. The text reads "One prairie dog perching."




And here's the page for number 10, where the text reads "Ten elk crossing." 





Flett's book is excellent for parents, teachers, or librarians to read to young children. Obviously, this is a counting book, so counting will happen, but the words!

Prairie dogs perching! Can you imagine showing the child you're reading to, how to perch like a prairie dog? On the page for number three, aunties are laughing. The joy on their faces is, well, joyful! Laugh along with them! Those owls on the cover? They're six owls spotting. It'd be great fun to pause on that page, and peer about, spotting things nearby.

I really like this book. I'm as joyful as those aunties! The pages in Flett's book provide a chance to do something that extends the reading itself, enriching what a young child knows about words and actions.

Though I'm sure Flett didn't have diversity in mind when she came up with the title, We All Count, the title and her book do a beautiful job of saying We--people who are Indigenous or who speak Cree--we count, too.

Your book is brilliant, Julie Flett! Kų́'daa! (That is 'thank you' in Tewa, my language.)

We All Count: A Book of Numbers is highly recommended. Written and illustrated by Julie Flett, it was published in 2014 by Native Northwest.


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12. J.K. Rowling dispels rumors on Twitter

J.K. Rowling took a writing break today to make a short visit to Twitter, her first since unleashing a riddle upon her followers. She tweeted this morning to dispel any rumors of her partying it up in a London bar, as she celebrated handing in a “romance novel” to her publishers. J.K. Rowling denied being finished with any projects, or that she was even working on a romance novel. She joked that she was “rock and roll” and did like to enjoy a drink even when she hasn’t finished a book, as it is her right to do so. The “Rowling stone,” as one follower punned, said:

 

There’s a story in today’s Mail that I was in a London bar on Monday ‘celebrating’ handing in a ‘romantic novel’ to my publishers…

1) I haven’t handed in ANY kind of novel to my publishers. I’m only half way through my current book. 2) It isn’t a ‘romantic’ novel.

And 3) (brace yourselves) I sometimes have a drink even when I haven’t finished a book. Yes, that’s how rock and roll I really am.

well you are a Rowling Stone…. That was a horrid pun, wasn’t it?

 · 17h

. One of my old classes (when I was teaching) used to sing the theme from Rawhide at me. The memory still makes me laugh.

Back to work now. See you when I’ve finished something X

 

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13. DMC No. 1 Arrives: Biff! Boff! Boom!

Felipe Smith/Darryl Makes Comics

Felipe Smith/Darryl Makes Comics

Hip-hop pioneer Darryl McDaniels, a founding member of Run-DMC, who turned to comics for courage as a kid facing bullies in Hollis, Queens, has created a new superhero who takes the stage in DMC No. 1, the first in a new series of comic books from Darryl Makes Comics.

McDaniels told George Gene Gustines of the New York Times:

“I was a kid who had my lunch money taken away. …To get to my house was terror. Spider-Man took me to a place where everything was great. …Comic books were educational — they were empowering but also inspiring.

“I always wanted to do something with integrity. I didn’t want to be another rapper messing up another genre just because he has a hit record.”

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, editor in chief of Darryl Makes Comics, noted the attention from a diverse fan base the comic book DMC was garnering at conventions like the recent Comic Con in Manhattan. “It’s Asian, it’s white, it’s Latino, it’s black, it’s 13-year-olds, it’s 63-year-olds.”

Bringing his vision DMC to the page, McDaniels worked with a team including Miranda-Rodriquez, Atlantic Records executive Riggs Morales, and story consultants Damion Scott and Ron Wimberly. The artists who bring DMC to life are Sal Buscema, Carlos Rodriquez aka Mare 139, Chase Conley, Jeff Stokely, Felipe Smith, Mark and Mike Davis aka The Madtwiinz, Shawn Crytal, Chris Sotomayor, and Deron Bennett.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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14. COMPETITION! ASK a question to WIN!

A chance to WIN a copy of Ursula Dubosarsky’s ‘The Terrible Plop‘, AND YOU can ask her a question in an exclusive interview, to be featured on the Boomerang Books Blog! To win: 1. Head to My Little Story Corner and LIKE the page. 2. Find the Competition post, pinned at the top of the […]

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15. Time again for LULA'S BREW!

Teachers, are you looking for a good Halloween book to share with your young gargoyles? Might I suggest my picture book, LULA'S BREW to get in the spirit?
     Lula's Aunties want her to be a witch like them. But Lula prefers to study cookbooks rather than spellbooks (and hates to fly on a broom). Lula wants to be a famous chef. In desperation, the Aunties insist she try to make one last potion. Lula secretly adds her cooking flair and in true witchy fashion creates a brew that bewitches the entire town, and her Aunties too!
     LULA'S BREW is available in hardcover from your local bookseller (they might have to order it, so don't wait!), and also on the iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Nook Color, Kindle, and as a .pdf. Visit the activity page for all options, to download free activities (and a recipe for the BREW), and to see some cool videos. Bwahahaha!

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16. Agent Kaylee Davis Looking for New Writers

kaylee-davis-literary-agentKaylee Davis, Dee Mura Literary

Kaylee is actively seeking to build her client list in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, and young adult; bonus points if there are elements of steampunk, coming-of-age, urban fantasy, espionage, social commentary, or counter culture. Kaylee is drawn to exciting, thought-provoking stories with a fresh perspective that explores what it means to be human. She is happy to work with new and emerging writers.”

She received a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. Recognized for her obsessive-compulsive attention to detail and crazy-fast reading ability, Kaylee joined the Dee Mura Literary team as a professional copyeditor/proofreader, talent scout, and administrative assistant.

MG: I really gravitate to the more mature middle grade that is voice-driven and deals with bigger issues. I also like diverse, unique protagonists who take charge and push the story forward.

YA: Especially in contemporary and scifi, I love anything where unlikely allies join forces or where reluctant heroes come into their own. I’m a sucker for the moment when the protagonist discovers their personal story bleeds into a larger narrative, and they choose to do something about it. I adore when opposites attract, and when the unexpected happens.

NA: Anything that is more than just “steamier YA.”

Adult: I’d love to see an epic scifi that has wonderfully flawed characters, especially if there are multiple POVs and it’s not clear who to trust. Actually, that would appeal to me in any genre! I like ambiguous morals and characters who have their own codes. A contemporary with a strong romance thread that is commercial but still feels fresh and new. Anything that explores the nuances and complexities of a society or lifestyle.

How to submit: Please send your query with the author’s name and project title in the subject heading. Address Kaylee in your letter’s salutation so they query reaches her. Include the following embedded in the body of the email:

  • Short description of the project
  • Brief author biography, even if you have no previous publications
  • Synopsis
  • Sample writing: for fiction, the first 25 pages; for nonfiction, an excerpt of the proposal

Twitter! Follow @Kaylee_Davis_

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, New Adult, opportunity, Places to sumit, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Wish List, Dee Mura Literary, Kaylee Davis - Agent

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17. TIGER BOY Final Cover

I'm delighted to share the final cover art for my forthcoming novel for upper elementary readers, TIGER BOY, coming 4/14/15 from Charlesbridge, illustrated by the amazing Jamie Hogan.


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18. Neustadt Festival

       The Neustadt Festival -- culminating in The Tuner of Silences-author Mia Couto picking up the 2014 Neustadt International Prize for Literature -- started yesterday; see the full program.

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19. October Adventures with the Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels!

How is it late October?!

The fall is flying by, and just to make it fly even faster, we have some amazing events (and book launches and big news) we want to share with you...

Don Tate
Last week in Springfield, Illinois, Don gave the keynote address at the Illinois Library Association Youth Services Author Breakfast, followed by an enthusiastic book signing. As the 2015 artist for iRead Summer Reading Program, Don's artwork, Read to the Rhythm, will be used by librarians and students nationwide.  http://www.ireadprogram.org/

The next day, Don addressed students at the Chicago Public Library, where all of 800 students received a package of books, thanks to Bernie's Book Bank.

If you will be visiting the Texas Book Festival this weekend, Don invites you to join him and an esteemed group of authors in a discussion of diversity. The  #WeNeedDiverse Books panel will take place on Saturday at noon, in the sanctuary at the First United Methodist Church (1201 Lavaca St.), with authors Pat Mora, Andrea Pinkney, Jacqueline Woodson, Tim Tingle, and Diane Gonzales Bertrand.
 
(Don Tate signs Read to the Rhythm posters at the Illinois Library Association conference)

In July, Don finished illustrations for his next book, Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton of Chapel Hill(Peachtree, 2015). This will be Don's first authored andillustrated book! In addition, he won a BOOK LAUNCH award-$2,000.00!-from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The money will allow him to take the book on a national book tour next year.

For Don, school visits and literary presentations will take off first thing this September, when he presents at schools in Round Rock, Texas; Delray Beach, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and Springfield, Illinois! Please contact him early to inquire about his lively and interactive school visits.



Emma Virjan
Emma Virján is pleased to announce May 12, 2015 is the release date for What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig.
Stay tuned for more Pig News.
You can learn more about Pig and see more of Emma's artworkon her site here.



Jeanette Larson
Jeanette Larson will participate in the ESC Region 2 Technology Conference on November 4 in Corpus Christi. If you are in the area, stop by to say hello. On November 8 Jeanette will be at the Overlooked Books booth at the McAllen Book Festival, McAllen, TX.

As part of the YALSA YA Literature Symposium, Jeanette will participate in the Book Blitz on Saturday, November 15 in Austin. Registered participants receive tickets to get free books from participating authors.
Jessica Lee Anderson
Jessica Lee Anderson enjoyed speaking on a panel with PJ Hoover at the ESC-20 Library Resource Roundup!  Jessica loves spending time with friends and making new ones, even the most unlikely of friends. (Hello, Snake!)  She's looking forward to visiting with students at several upcoming school visits.  Don't hesitate to contact Jessica if you're interested in a school visit or a writing workshop!  Not only does she still have some availability for the fall and the spring, she's also offering discounts.  Please contact her at Jessica Lee Anderson for more information. 

 

Jo Whittemore
Jo Whittemore is honored to be moderating a panel at Texas Book Festival entitled "Do You Believe in Magic?" from 1:15pm-2:15pm on Saturday, October 25th in Capitol Extension Room E2.026.

Jo will also be doing a joint book release tour in March 2015 with author Cory Putman Oakes. 
She'll be offering a "two authors for the price of one" deal on school visits! Contact her for more info.  
 
Kari Anne Holt
Kari's October is barreling by at warp speed. She is so excited to announce the launch of her new book, RHYME SCHEMER, a middle grade novel-in-verse. 

 
RHYME SCHEMER has received some lovely reviews, which is always very exciting. 

 
"A strong anti-bullying message. Ideal for classroom use."
School Library Journal

"This transformative tale offers important lessons for all persuasions of middle graders, whether bullies or targets, complicit or horrified bystanders."
Kirkus Reviews

"Poetry-writing seventh-grade bully both is believable and sympathetic, and his voice rings totally authentic."
Booklist

 

Kari is having a joint book launch with author Chris Barton, to celebrate the release of her book, RHYME SCHEMER, and his book, ATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE! If you'll be in the Austin area on Saturday, November 1st at 2pm, stop by Book People for a fun party.



Kari is also busy at work on her next two releases, HOUSE ARREST (Chronicle, 2015) and RED MOON RISING (McElderry, S&S, 2016).

 

If you're planning to stop by the Texas Book Festival (October 25-26), Kari will be on the Poetry For You panel with authors Jacqueline Woodson and Isabel Quintero at the Family Life Center (1300 Lavaca) on Saturday the 25th from 2:30-3:30. They will all be signing books directly after the panel.

 
P.J. Hoover

P. J. Hoover is thrilled to share two new wonderful reviews for TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE! Other reviews and more information about the book can be found on her website.

"Cleverly funny, rich in Egyptian history, and intriguingly fast-paced, Tut brilliantly blends fantasy with thoughtfully constructed characterization to create a story that will beguile fans of modern-day mythology."
-VOYA 

"Hoover's fun interpretations of Egyptian gods and goddesses, frenetic pace, and appropriately modern snark propel this highly entertaining adventure."
-Booklist 

Huge thank you to Texas librarians for nominating TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE for the Lone Star list!
  
September was a wonderful whirlwind month for P. J. Hoover. Following the release of TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE, P. J. spent much of the time on the road, traveling to schools and presenting at conferences.
 
P. J. spent a week presenting to students at Curtis Middle School and Ford Middle School in Allen, TX. Thank you to librarians Kay Hawkins and Morgan LeFevre for inviting P. J. back for the third year in a row!

P. J. next flew to Tampa, FL where she delivered the keynote address for the annual TBAWP (Tampa Bay Area Writing Project) Fall Conference. P. J. spoke to a group of about 200 educators about the importance of enjoying the journey rather than focusing on the destination.

Fall is the time for those wonderful regional librarian conferences, and P. J. enjoyed presenting at Region 13, Region 3, and Region 20 (along with Texas Sweetheart Jessica Lee Anderson). P. J. presented on cross-curriculum, combining reading with things like book trailer creation, video game creation, and Minecraft. Her hopes are to promote out-of-the-box ideas to get and keep kids excited about reading.

 

Thank you to Laurel Mountain Elementary School and librarian David Jurecka for supporting TUT: THE STORY OF MY IMMORTAL LIFE with a wonderful pre-order campaign! I appreciate you guys!
  
Along with cooler weather, October brought Austin Comic Con! P. J. Hoover (along with Texas authors Joy Preble, Cory Putman Oakes, Madeline Smoot, and Texas Sweetheart Jo Whittemore) dressed up in costume and sold books at the Writing Ninjas of Texas booth. P. J. was delighted when San Antonio librarians Dana Hutchins and Lorrie Roussin stopped by the booth to say hi! P. J. also participated in a panel on using martial arts in writing fight scenes.

 

Look for P. J. Hoover at the Texas Book Festival! She will be on the Adventure is Out There panel with authors Michael Fry and S. S. Taylor on Saturday, October 25th at 2:30 in Capital Extension Room E.2.026. Book signing will follow immediately in the author signing tent.

P. J. brushed off her computer programming skills again, this time releasing CASTLE OF DOOM! (a video game she originally wrote back in college) on Scratch. Please consider sharing Scratch and P. J.'s games with your students. Scratch is used widely in schools to get kids excited about learning computer programming skills. You can find more information about Scratch and P. J.'s games on her website.


This month P. J. looks forward to school visits in both Houston and Austin! Please contact P. J. if you are interested in having her visit your school or speak to your group!

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20. Polizzotti on translating Modiano

       Mark Polizzotti -- translator of the forthcoming Yale University Press three-in-one collection by newly crowned Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano, Suspended Sentences (see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) -- writes on Quiet Resonance: Translating Patrick Modiano at the YUP weblog, Yale Books Unbound.

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21. First Look: French-Produced ‘Peanuts’ Shorts

Our first look at the 'Peanuts' series produced by Angoulême, France-based Normaal Animation.

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22. The King review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Dutch-writing Iranian author Kader Abdolah's The King, now also available in the US in an edition from New Directions.

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23. Ward Kimball Is Featured In ‘The Who, The What, and The When’

"The Who, the What, and the When" is a new book by Jenny Volvovski, Julia Rothman and Matt Lamothe that celebrates the "secret sidekicks of history" who helped famous people achieve their goals.

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24. Feedback Request


The author of the query featured in Face-Lift 1118 has posted what I assume is a new version in the comments there. Check it out.

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25. UP and DOWN, ROUND and ROUND….

Cycles are what life seems to be all about.  If you live long enough, and stay connected to a business or interest (or person!) long enough, you’ll see the ups and downs…and often the round and rounds of styles, procedures, concerns, and policies.  When I started in the children’s publishing business in 1990, I was told by the agent I worked for, that the ‘best of publishing’ had passed. (WHAT?) I have seen many ‘best’ years come and go since then. Also at that time it was suddenly (again?) all about ‘diversity’.  If a story was written by a Nez Perce American Indian then the editor was looking for a Nez Perce Indian as an illustrator! We wanted to find good African American, Asian, and Hispanic artists. Didn’t matter that a white artist was fabulous at painting black children, they didn’t get the job often! That is just as messed up.  It should be about what’s best for the book or project. But more diverse books were published, and that was good for the industry and good for the readers.

That was over 20 years ago!  Yet in PW end of Sept I read again about “overwhelming white” and “lack of diversity” as being a “bit eye-opening!”  Have they been shut all this time?  I’m shocked that this is again a huge thing; big topic at conferences and conventions, and book fairs.  60% of the responding survey publishers thought it was ‘a big issue’.  Why isn’t it less so today after almost 20 years of being ‘an issue?’  New crop of editors and AD’s and writers and illustrators just tuning in?

Another ‘issue’  is the still under payment of WOMEN in publishing! also something I’ve been tracking for over 20 years.  Working for myself as an agent, I’m less effected by that as a woman.  ( I am by the under payment of ARTISTS, but that’s another long story!) According to the same PW piece, women are 74% of the publishing industry, and yet women averaged a salary of $60,750 in 2013 to the men’s average of $85,000. For some jobs the difference is in the tens of thousands.  (female AD’s make more generally it says! )  Talk about an ‘issue’ that shouldn’t still be an issue!  I have a daughter and two daughter-in-laws and each of them works full-time (two have 3 kids and a full-time working husband too!)  Why on earth would they be paid LESS for their labors and hours in any industry?

So we’ve two issues cropping up ‘suddenly’ that really have always been here and are still here.  When will the talking stop and the fixing begin?  I feel like painting up a sign and taking to the streets!  cycles….Up and Down….Round and Round!

Summer Friends (3).jpgBurrisdiverse female friends by Priscilla Burris


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