Just the one post on P&P today whilst I sort through yesterday's book entries. Today we have a celebration of all that's new at the Land of Nod. This season they are working with some great designers, all of which are familiar to us having been featured in the Print & Pattern books or blog. I love the way they seem to commission artists rather than produce designs 'in the style of'. We beginAdd a Comment
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Blog: print & pattern (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The September issue of Words without Borders is now up, dedicated to the: 'Geography of the Peruvian Imagination'.Add a Comment
BVA surveyed French reading habits in Les Français et la lecture and offer some of the summary-results there.
That Victor Hugo remains the most popular author isn't that surprising; that Marcel Pagnol ties him perhaps is. But domestic tastes are often ... idiosyncratic. And the double bill of Jean de Florette and Manon of the Springs (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) certainly has more than just name-recognition even in English (helped by the film versions ...)
Interesting also that Emile Zola is cited as the next-most-popular -- ahead of the similarly prolific Balzac, and also Flaubert ..... Jules Verne, on the other hand ... no surprise.
(And as far as the foreigners go: Agatha Christie, followed in popularity by Stephen King, and Mary Higgins Clark. Which reflects the bestseller-lists pretty well, so at least the respondents seem to be honest with their answers (always a question with these 'who do you read'-surveys).)
Blog: Manga Maniac Cafe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Finally, he asked, “And who are you, her replacement?”
Her? A housekeeper? Should she pretend to be a servant? Bugger that. “Hardly. I believe the old hag had plans to leave anyway as her bag was packed and at the ready. I’m here at the invitation of two of your acquaintances. Mr. Jacob Williamson and Mr. Clive Christopher.”
The professor frowned. At least she thought he did. It was hard to read his expression under the wiry thatch of hair surrounding his mouth. He rifled through a pile of unopened correspondence. “Oh? I do not recall any recent note from those gentlemen.”
“I believe I am to be a surprise present for your birthday tomorrow.”
His owl eyes blinked rapidly as if he could not process what she said. “I do not require a maid, though you tell me Mrs. Brickell has departed. It appears I could use a housekeeper…”
He had absolutely no idea why she came to him. His mind did not even consider the fact it could be for carnal reasons. What a sheltered life he must lead. “I’m no servant, though you need tidying up as much as your home does. You bear a striking resemblance to a painting of a French Canadian trapper I saw in a book once. All wild and shaggy—all that is missing is the plaid coat and the beaver pelts.” She gave him a sweet, smug smile.
With his lips pressed into a straight line, he sat back and regarded her. “Oh? You read a book once?” His elegant voice dripped with self-righteous sarcasm.
“Touché, Professor. Well aimed. A direct hit.” Phil pointed to the dogs who still stared at her. Their unblinking attention followed her every minute move. “Should I be afeared for my life? Your animals are intimidating.”
“Justinian. Theodora. Easy.” The hounds relaxed at his command, laying their heads on their paws. “They are Irish Wolfhounds. ‘Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.’”
Phil placed a hand on her hip. “Does that saying apply to you as well, Professor Hornsby?”
Did he smile slightly? Again, hard to tell under the facial hair. Phil pulled a chair toward the desk and placed it a few feet away. She raised one leg to the chair.
“Now, I don’t claim to be a blue-stocking, but I am able to read.” Phil grasped the hem of her green striped gown, and with a slow, deliberate movement, raised it past her ankle boots. She glanced at the beast behind the desk. His gaze remained steady as it slid down to where she continued to raise her petticoats to reveal one of her shapely legs. At least she’d been told they were shapely. No matter. Running her hand over the sheer white stocking, she lingered near her silk garter. “I do not think they are blue. You better come closer and inspect the shade of my stockings for yourself…Professor.”
He coughed and looked away. She made him uncomfortable, and she would wager to guess–a little aroused. No sound could be heard in the room except a whimper from one of the dogs and the huge clock in the corner ticking away the awkward minutes.
Hornsby faced her. “Who are you, madam, and why are you here?”
She continued to fondle and caress her leg, and having the unkempt man watch her caused a slow roll of heat to travel through her. Again, his voice. Like molten gold or a cello played by a master that vibrated with life, power, and resonance.
“My name is Philomena McGrattan. I am indeed a madam and hired to relieve you of your virginity.”
There was no further reaction from the professor whatsoever. This did not bode well.
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As long as she can avoid being hit by a runaway moose in her wilderness paradise she assumes everything is golden. Karyn’s been happily married for a long time to her own hero. His encouragement keeps her moving forward.
Blog: Manga Maniac Cafe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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This morning I have a review of Jodi Thomas’ Ransom Canyon, but first, Jodi dropped by the virtual offices with a special greeting for all of you!
Greeting from Jodi:
The idea for RANSOM CANYON came from living in the Texas Panhandle. I wanted to write about the real west of today. I wanted my people to be like the men and women I grew up with, honest and true. Not the cowboy on a book cover who has never been on a horse, but the cowboy who gets up at five to load his own horse and make it to the ranch before dawn. He doesn’t work by the hour, but by the day.
As I began my first book in the series Staten Kirkland jumped off the page. He’s strong and good, a rancher everyone looks up to, but he’s broken and only one woman can calm his heart. Shy Quinn asks nothing of him. She offers understanding amid the storm of his life.
Their friendship develops into a gentle, loving affair that grows to rock both them with its depth. Staten will have to learn to love again and Quinn will have to open up to someone. The whole town watches the birth of passion and love as Staten stands beside her letting her be strong and quiet Quinn discovers one man’s love can wash away all the pain in her past.
Readers will feel, not like they came to visit, Crossroads, Texas, on the edge of Ransom Canyon, the town will start to feel like home. My goal as a writer is to keep you up late reading because you have to know what happens next.
So come along with me on a series set in today’s West. You’ll love it.
May Contain Spoilers
One of the aspects of a Jodi Thomas novel that I enjoy is getting to know all of the characters. There are usually 5 or 6 major characters, and their personal stories are told from alternating points of view. Because of the small town setting, their lives often intersect, so we get so see how others perceive them, too. Ransom Canyon takes place in Crossroads, Texas, a tiny town that most people just pass through without a second glance. Staten Kirkland’s family has lived there for generations, running a large cattle ranch and investing their time and money supporting the small, close-knit community. The story is mainly Staten’s struggle to learn how to live again after the tragic deaths of his beloved wife and teenage son.
Staten wasn’t my favorite character. He’s emotionally detached because of his heartbreaking past, and I thought he was just taking advantage of Quinn, a childhood friend who has become his buddy with benefits. Quinn was his wife’s BFF. After Staten’s wife succumbed to cancer, and his son died in an accident just a few years later, his world crumbled. He found himself seeking comfort from Quinn, a reclusive woman he’s known all his life. Whenever the weather turned dark and stormy, just like the night his son was taken from him, he visits Quinn. She never turns him away, and more times than not, they end up in bed. Then Staten steals quietly from her small house and heads back home, firmly putting any feelings or deeper meaning to their hookups out of his mind.
Quinn has loved Staten since grade school. She has kept it a secret, because her best friend and Staten had already formed an unbreakable bond. After Staten loses his family, Quinn is content to give what comfort she can, knowing that Staten will never return her feelings. When unplanned complications arise, their friendship is put to the test. This is when I decided that I really didn’t like Staten all that much. The guy is completely clueless. Quinn lives like a hermit, and she is uncomfortable around other people, so for him to voice his doubts like he did got him exactly what he deserved. While he eventually manned up, I wasn’t completely won over by his contrite apology.
The other characters are Lucas and Lauren, high school students who both have their stuff together. Lucas wants to make something of himself, so he works on ranches, moving the cattle from one pasture to another, riding fence lines, and saving every penny he earns. He has big dreams, and he’s not going to let anything get in the way of them. He has a crush on Lauren, the sheriff’s daughter, but because she’s younger than him, and because the timing isn’t right, he decides that their friendship is going to be more important, right now, than dating her. Lauren’s also an intelligent, caring young woman, and she agrees with Lucas. They both have things to accomplish before they can even consider a romantic relationship. Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time, and that is the theme of their relationship. Of all the couples in the story, though, I thought they have the soundest foundation for a lasting relationship, and I hope we see more of them in later installments.
Yancey rounds out the cast. He’s a young ex-con, in town looking for an opportunity to score a little cash and move on. His plans are interrupted when his backpack and all of his meager possessions are stolen, and if it weren’t for the kindness of the small local retirement community, he’d be up a creek without a paddle. Yancey is a fun character because he has so few practical life experiences. He’s spent most of life on the wrong side of the law, in and out of jail because he can’t catch a break. When the seniors take him under their wing, he finally discovers a sense of belonging that had been missing in his life. It helps to ground him, and finding steady employment and a group of people who care for him make all the different in the world. He’s goofy, naïve despite his rough edges, and he was probably my favorite character.
If you are a fan of Jodi Thomas, Ransom Canyon won’t disappoint. If you haven’t read her yet, give it a try. I find her books fast, soothing reads. Despite how messed up a character’s life may appear at first, you can be confident that they will find the right person to love them and give them their HEA.
Review copy provided by publisher
About the book:
From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes the first book in a compelling, emotionally resonant series set in a remote west Texas town—where family can be made by blood or by choice
Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendant of Ransom Canyon’s founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O’Grady…or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.
Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prize—college, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand’s son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn’t imagined.
Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn’t plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town’s weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car’s pedals, isn’t prepared for what he encounters.
In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fighting—and even dying—for.Add a Comment
Blog: Write What Inspires You (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Wow! It's September 2nd! Where the heck did the summer go? Welcome to another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group...
The awesome co-hosts for the the September 2 posting of the IWSG will be Julie Flanders, Murees Dupé, Dolorah at Book Lover, Christine Rains, and Heather Gardner! Please take a gander at each of their wonderful blogs and show your support by leaving comments and of course the other participants links can be viewed at www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html.
For the longest time I would put my needs last (like so many) and would take care of everyone else. And where did that get me! Absolutely nowhere, except absolutely exhausted, both mentally and physically. And when this happens I feel like a frazzled Bugs Bunny!
Over the course of the last several years, I'm proud to say I don't say "yes" to every request or need so fast. I typically count to ten silently and ponder quickly if saying "yes" would be in my best interest. I've become more of a 50/50 to others needs. Not that I don't love my "circle" ~ I feel it's important to see them fly on their own.
Make sure your priority is healthy eating, exercise and plenty of sleep. This way you nurture what inspires you... the choices are endless... writing, art, knitting, photography, etc. You name it the sky is the limit.
Like my Nana would always say, "happy mama and daddy, happy family!"
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author
Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!
Connect with Donna McDine on Google+
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Historical Fiction 1st Place, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Honorable Mention Picture Books 6+, New England Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist Add a Comment
Blog: I Am Still A Princess (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: #familylove, #jesusisagentleman, #savealifeforreal, child-like faith, deliverance, depression, finding peace, Add a tag
Blog: TWO WRITING TEACHERS (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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We've curated some of our top 'Back to School' posts to help you plan and launch your writing workshop.Add a Comment
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I’m on vacation as I write this. On September 1, students returned to Hogwarts, boarding that scarlet train from Platform 9 3/4. They’d been to Diagon Alley for new robes, cauldrons, chocolate frogs, and spellbooks. The professors were probably already at the castle, getting ready for another school year.
Lest you think I’ve lost my mind, please note. I. Am. On. Vacation. And I am re-reading all the Harry Potter books, because that is my summer book tradition. They are like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. Comfort food. Yes, I am a 50-something Potterhead. I am admitting it here in a public forum. But, look, folks, I am not the only one. I have at least one Twitter friend that is re-reading Harry Potter this summer, and she’s a responsible adult. I know of two Harry Potter parties that happened in the last few days. Several friends are now reading Harry aloud to their children (they’ve been waiting for their kids to get old enough for this). Harry Potter is alive and well in the hearts and minds of so many of us.
How many of you celebrated on July 31? Who watches the Harry Potter movies when you are feeling a little sad or have the flu? Do you have pets (or maybe even children) named for characters in the books? How many of you are planning to take extra vacation days before or after the ALA Conference next summer and make the pilgrimage? Raise your hand if you, too, relish days off, in the most comfy spot in your house, or at the beach, with a Harry Potter book tucked firmly in hand. And now, I need to return to Hogwarts. The Goblet of Fire is calling.Add a Comment
Blog: Adventures in Children's Publishing (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Our Red Light Green Light competition has been going on for weeks now, and it's finally come time to announce our winners! After voting closed on Monday night, we tallied the votes from our judges and you, our fabulous community, and pulled out our Top 10. The entries below had the highest score overall, and will all receive a critique from a published (or soon to be published) author, or an agent.
Blog: Rachelle Gardner (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: A Writer's Life, Basic Advice, Writer's Life, Add a tag
How many times have you heard the new-writer’s advice: Develop a thick skin.
You’d think this would be even more of a requirement for an agent. It’s good advice for anyone who’s visible on the Internet, frequently giving their opinion on things. So all in all, you probably think I’d be a person with a thick skin.
Not at all. I have a fragile heart, I take things personally, and I don’t just bounce back right away when I receive criticism.
Paradoxically, I truly appreciate helpful critiques of my work,or advice on how to improve any area of my life. I crave it. I value the input of others. Yet at the same time, if it’s not always positive, I have a hard time getting over the hurt feelings (or the knee-jerk angry reaction) and moving on to actually learning from the criticism.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I know people are telling you “develop a thick skin” and I know some of you are thinking, “I don’t know how to do that.” And I’m here to tell you: Some of you will never develop a thick skin.
But the important thing is: You’ll survive.
If I’ve survived all these years in the competitive environment of publishing, and previously, five years in the extremely dog-eat-dog world of network television, you will survive, too. You survive by first, allowing yourself to experience the pain. You find ways to express it in a healthy way, perhaps by taking a day to cry, or talking it over with your best friend, or calling your mom because she’s the one person who always supports you no matter what.
Then, you turn it around. You ask yourself if the criticism came from someone to whom you should listen. If the answer is yes, then you begin looking for ways to learn from what they said. You ask yourself whether you disagree or agree with what they said. (You give yourself permission to disagree with at least part of it.) Then you take what you can learn from, and discard the rest. Move on to the next thing.
Easier said than done, of course. And I admit, it sometimes takes me awhile to work through this process!
So what about you? Are you thick skinned? If not, how do you handle criticism? Are you able to learn from it anyway?Add a Comment
Blog: The Children's Book Review (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Ages 0-3, Ages 4-8, Best Kids Stories, Best Sellers, Book Lists, Picture Books, Adam Rubin, B.J. Novak, Best Selling Books, Best Selling Books For Kids, Chronicle Books, Daniel Salmieri, Dial books, Dr. Seuss, Drew Daywalt, featured, Herve Tullet, Oliver Jeffers, Philomel Books, Random House Books for Young Readers, Sherri Duskey Rinker, The New York Times, Tom Lichtenheld, Add a tag
This month, our best selling picture book from our affiliate store is the uber entertaining Press Here, by Herve Tullet.Add a Comment
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This will be the final installment of By Its Cover for 2015. Don’t be alarmed, it’ll probably return in 2016. Having a day job at a major online Halloween costume retailer means the second half of my year is always busier than the first, which makes it a little harder to keep up. While each column might […]Add a Comment
Blog: Elizabeth O. Dulemba (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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We found our new farmers market! And how spoiled are we that we have several to choose from? We know. It's a 15 minute walk from our flat to the Stockbridge Farmers Market. It's the closest we've experienced to the Blois Farmers Market. There are more vendors, it's crowded with local folks, and its a lovely destination if you want to pick up things for a few days or just have lunch. Here's the eye candy:
I can't do the gluten, but dang, I can drool...
If you ever wondered about Scotch Eggs, this is what they look like. Also not gluten free although I feel my resistance faltering...
And then there's the excuses not to walk at all... Last night we ate at Pickles - a little underground dive which only serves wine, cheese and preserved meats - and why not, when they do that so well? This is within stumbling distance from our flat...
Blog: Kelly Hashway's Blog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Is it that time of year already? September! When the kids head back to school, the pools close, and LAUREL SNYDER REMINDS YOU ABOUT ALL THE AMAZING PICTURE BOOKS ILLUSTRATED BY WOMEN!
As you may know, this has become a tradition for me. Inspired by the historical gender bias of the Caldecott award, I first complied my list (with YOUR help) in 2013. Molly Idle was on it (HUZZAH!), but though she took home an honor at ALA, she was the only woman on the 5 name list. Hrm.
Then, last year, my list looked like this, but the Caldecott was a shocker! SO MANY WOMEN! Morales! Castillo! AMAZING.
It really feels like things are shifting in many ways, changing for real. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to keep thinking about the issue. And that doesn’t mean many wonderful titles won’t still fall through the cracks.
So help me out! What are the women-illustrated books you love best this year? I’ll start off with a few of my own favorites. The only limits are that the book must be published in 2015, and it must be illustrated by a woman. (Oh, and no self-nominating, please. If your book is awesome, rest assured someone else will think so too. Spread the love! Okay?)
(For starters, my son Mose nominates NIMONA.)
NIMONA, by Noelle Stevenson
As for me, I like so many things. For instance…
MUMMY CAT, by Marcus Ewert, illustrations by Lisa Brown
HOME, by Carson Ellis
THE LITTLE GARDENER, by Emily Hughes
ONE WORD FROM SOPHIA, by Jim Averbeck, illustrations by Yasmeen Ismail
THE WHISPER, by Pamela Zagarenski
THE TEA PARTY IN THE WOODS, by Akiko Miyakoshi
FINDING WINNIE, by Lindsay Mattick, illustrations by Sophie Blackall
THIS IS SADIE, by Sara O’Leary, illustrations by Julie Morstad
THE MOON IS GOING TO ADDY’S HOUSE, by Ida Pearle
BY MOUSE AND FROG, by Deborah Freedman
YARD SALE, by Eve Bunting, illustrations by Lauren Castillo
INTERSTELLAR CINDERELLA, by Deborah Underwood, illustrations by Meg Hunt
TREE OF WONDER, by Kate Messner, illustrations by Simona MulazzaniAdd a Comment
Blog: Pub(lishing) Crawl (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Before the Deal Series, Beginner Resources, Industry Life, Inspiration, Writers Toolbox, Writing Life, Query Tips, Querying, Add a tag
Guys. Queries are hard. This is an undisputed fact of the agent-acquiring process. These days a lot of agents ask for the first 5-30 pages of your manuscript when you query, because it’s so much easier to tell if a story is good by reading, well, the actual story. But the query is the hook—the bait that gets the agent past that first page and into your story.
I read queries on the daily. A lot of them. As a literary assistant, it’s one of my many responsibilities. I need to be able to tell, just from that one page, if your book is something the agent and I will want to read. I need to see just how I would pitch it to an editor. And I need to see that you know your stuff. Have you done your research? Or did you scribble off a quick note and hit SEND ALL?
The queries that stand out are either very good, or very bad. But there are a lot of queries that get stuck in the middle—that strange wasteland of almost-there, but just not quite. Chances are, a lot of you are in that boat. Most of us, even those who have agents, have written blah query letters. And I know PubCrawlers are smart. You have done your research, much of it on this very website. I don’t need to tell you not to send attachments, or not to write your bio in the third person. I don’t need to tell you not to call your manuscript a future bestseller, the most unique piece of fiction ever written, a story that will apply to all of the audiences that ever existed!
So I’m not going to talk about the basics. You guys KNOW the basics. I’m going to talk about those little things that maybe don’t seem problematic at first glance. But fixing these can go a long way toward helping the viability of your query overall
1. Don’t start your letter with all the details about how you came to write this book.
Writing is exciting. How you came to be a writer is exciting. The fact that it’s your first, or second, or millionth novel ever is exciting. But they are most exciting to you—in a query, these things clog up your first paragraph and waste valuable space. Before he or she has ever met you or read your work, an agent doesn’t care how you got started writing. As much as it matters to you (and it does matter!), it’s best to leave it out. It will not change how he or she feels about your story.
2. Be careful creating “atmosphere” before launching into your hook.
It can feel gimmicky. Unless your setting is basically a character itself, it’s best to stay away from this method. For example:
Castle Pelimere is deep and dark, inhabited by angry spirits and on the verge of certain doom. For a hundred years it has stood, and now, thanks to the Everlasting Nothing that has circled its walls for centuries, it is all about to come crashing down.
Jody Brody is a teenage pickpocket with no other skills and no other prospects. When Castle Pelimere needs a hero, Jody steps up to the plate.
I know, I know—this is a very obvious example. But it serves the point—character is story, and when I’m scanning through queries, I’m more interested in Jody Brody the pickpocket than the plight of Castle Pelimere.
3. Don’t relate two unrelated ideas in your hook.
You would be shocked how often I see this. Shocked, I tell you. An example:
Marty Schmarty is not your typical jock—he’s been taking ballet since before he could walk, and he’s better than half the girls in his class. But when he’s offered a football scholarship to his dream school, he learns what it really means to be part of a team.
Again, another extreme example. But writing a good hook is a huge part of the battle when it comes to queries. A good hook can make me perk up and pay attention. In this case, the writer has written something that “sounds hooky” and “adds character”. It makes me pay attention—then has no pay-off. Marty’s a pro at ballet, and this is set up as a key quality—then is not mentioned again.
4. Be confident…to a point.
There is nothing wrong with being proud of the story you wrote. It takes a huge amount of confidence to query a book (we’re all writers here, we can admit this). But it’s not up to you to decide whether your writing is of the same caliber as authors you have emulated or been inspired by, or if it’s beautifully lyrical or powerful and gritty—that is for your readers, and that includes any agents you are querying, to decide.
5. Be wary of the false choice.
Technically, a false choice refers to a situation where two choices are given as the only possible option—even though more choices may be viable. In this case, I’m using to describe it as a situation given in a query, wherein a character has what appear to be two choices—but only one of those choices is actually viable. Still with me?
Okay, so you’ve laid out your hook, given a short synopsis, and now it’s time to present the dramatic question. Your character must do x or y. But when you present a false choice, it becomes clear right away which path your character will and must choose. At first glance, it isn’t always clear you’ve presented a false choice. For example:
Jake must choose between saving the woman he loves from the mob and escaping to the Bahamas, or turning himself in and confessing to his crimes, even if it means her death.
Maybe turning himself in might be the right thing to do, but unless this is a morality play, the choice here is not actually black and white. When questions like this are presented at the end of a query, I can’t help but roll my eyes—I know what Jake is going to do. He’s going to choose the Bahamas. And if he doesn’t, then you need to do a fantastic job of setting up the why within your query. Again, the above is extreme example, but I encourage you to take a look at the stakes in your own query and find out whether what you’ve presented is a real dilemma, or a false choice. I want the questions you present to make me go, “MUST READ AND FIND OUT THE ANSWER!”
So the gist of these suggestions comes out to: Make me want to read your book. Seriously, give me no other option. You wrote a whole book. You know how to put words together on a page—this is just a different kind of writing. One that forces you to think about how to condense what you’ve written, and lay it out in a way that is tight and enticing. I promise you—it is doable. It’s hard, it’s often confusing, and sometimes it can take multiple drafts to get right. But it can be done!
I hope this is useful, and I wish everyone who is currently writing their query, Good Luck!
Blog: Becky's Book Reviews (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: 2015, adult fiction, books reviewed in 2015, Quirk, review copy, Add a tag
I did enjoy reading Ian Doescher's The Clone Army Attacketh. It was a pleasant-enough way to spend two evenings. I haven't enjoyed any of the adaptations nearly as much as the first book in the series--Verily, A New Hope. Perhaps because Verily A New Hope retains so many memorable lines, only slightly adjusted to come from the pen of Shakespeare. Perhaps because it was the first, the concept, the premise was so new, so novel. It was like trying a new dish for the first time and discovering that you love it. I have to confess that the second prequel movie is one of my FAVORITES. I adore this one for so many reasons. And I was hoping that the flavor of the original movie dialogue would shine through. I was a bit disappointed in that. Though probably Doescher's changes are for the better. Most of the changes focuses on Anakin and Padme, and their romance.
If you've enjoyed the previous books in the series, chances are you'll enjoy this one too.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews Add a Comment
First let’s, bask in the restoration of the mountain’s original name of Denali, shall we? So happy about this – so so so so happy!!!!! (I took this picture from the window of an Alaska Airlines flight that was captained by an old friend; he gave us the “Denali tour”. It was awesome – perfect day to see forever.)
Now, moving on to what was accomplished this summer on a personal level, here’s what I did in July & August:
1. For Booklist, I reviewed Boundless, Jimmy Bluefeather, Jewel (memoir by author of the same name), White Eskimo, Howl, Greening Death and What We’re Fighting For Now is Each Other. (Whew! That was a lot!)
2. For Locus, I reviewed the Twinmaker series by Sean Williams, Hollow Boy (the new Lockwood & Co book) by Jonathan Stroud and The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey.
3. I have several articles pending with ADN, (lots of things are delayed due to coverage of the President’s visit), but the biggest one that ran was a piece on the four companies who operate on Denali. It was in the Sunday supplement for the paper, “We Alaskans”, which is the first time I’ve made it in there.
4. An essay was accepted and edited for Narratively – it should run sometime this month.
5. Editing on our upcoming book from Shorefast Editions: From Cannery Row to Sitka, Alaska.
6. And a lot of conversations and emails for my current work-in-progress. The biggest accomplishment there was that I completed the first draft chapter and turned it in to my agent early in August. There is still a lot of research I need to do but I’ve been getting a lot of leads and pretty amazing results so far. This month I’m working on the second chapter which includes some geography/history of Denali and I’m able to do that without the kind of archival access I will need for later chapters. The biggest thing for me on this project is momentum; I can’t lose sight of the goal which is a very good book about a small but significant and interesting and tragic piece of history.
All in all, this summer has been one of the most significant for me writing-wise in a long long time. I have to stay on top of it all and keep my priorities in order but I’m sure I’m not the only writer with this issue. I also have to stay off the damn internet – I think one of the things I will do this month is sign up for Freedom and just accept that I don’t have the willpower otherwise.
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Blog: A Year of Reading (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The Dewdroppers at one of Worthington's concerts on the green. The clarinetist, Joe, sold me my bike!
From my garden: Indigo Rose cherry tomatoes, and a crop of small beets with yummy beet greens (sautéed in bacon grease, of course).
Our crazy cat drove us nuts for about a week not being able to keep food down. When we switched up his food, he was so happy he started sleeping with his head in his bowl!
Columbus food truck festival -- yum.
The huge piles of weeds and branches from the...
...Land Lab reclamation. I was gone all of July and the constant rains were quite encouraging to the weeds!
MONARCHS! The mother of one of the parapros in my school gathered lots of monarch caterpillars, raised them, carefully placed the chrysalises in Solo Cup viewers, and donated them to my classroom, along with a caterpillar to watch through the entire process. What a gift.
New glasses. No one has noticed, so that must mean they look perfect on my face. (Plus, they are still purple, so no big change there, but I can SEE! Yay!) The first butterfly emerged on Sunday. I found the clear chrysalis when I went in to feed the fish, and I brought it home. We missed the moment of emergence, but not by much.
I took it outside to the snapdragons, and we communed with the bees as it prepared to fly free.
This is a DIFFERENT monarch that came to the zinnias about the time our fledgeling crawled onto the snapdragons. Welcoming committee?
Yesterday I found one ready for release when I got to school (and another emerged for the AM Latch Key kids to watch). I released both in the Land Lab, and when examining our milkweed there, saw that we have at least one monarch doing its thing in the wild. YAY!
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Blog: Confessions of a Bibliovore (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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By the Numbers
Review Copies: 5
Teen: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Although there's not so much a plot as a set of loosely connected events, this story broke a major reading drought for me, sucking me right in to Ari's world and his blossoming understanding of love, family, identity, and sexuality.
Tween: The Adventures of Beanboy by Lisa Harkrader
Okay, fine, so there's not much competition for this slot this month. But I did adore this story of a kid in a struggling family, learning to see the world differently. I also loved his sorta? kinda? friendship with Sam, who was all prickles and combat-boot ferocity.
Children: Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
Brown v. Board of Education gets most of the attention when you talk about school integration, but not many know there was another, earlier landmark case in California, when the Mendez family fought for their children to go to the better equipped and funded white school. Tonatiuh's narration and illustrations guide you through this story without sugar-coating the struggle, before or after the decision.
Because I Want To Awards
He Picked the Wrong Victim: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
When a serial killer kidnaps Ruth, he doesn't know he's met his match. The resident mean girl at her family's stables, Ruth comes by her nickname of "Ruthless" honestly, and it's her cold determination and dispassionate survival skills that will not only keep her alive, but enable her to come out on top.
Didn't Go the Way I Thought It Would: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Two cousins discover magical family abilities and obligations. To my delight, it was shy and obedient Lou who immediately rose to the occasion, and willful, wild Dacia who needed some time to come to grips with the situation - a reversal from what I expected.
Blog: Cartoon Brew (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The debut feature from Light Chaser Animation now has the backing of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.Add a Comment
Q: How many books have you written?
Patterson: I lost count. A little over 100. I write a lot of kids’ books. I write a lot of things that are different — that’s what keeps me excited. The kids’ books range from Maximum Ride, about kids who can fly to I Funny, about a kid who wants to be a stand-up comedian but he can never be a stand-up comedian because he’s in a wheelchair.
Q: Which ones would you like to see as movies on screen?
Patterson: All of them! Maximum Ride is very visual, these flying kids. I hope that will get made. We are shooting Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life at the end of the summer. It’s a cool story about how kids get lost in the education process. This kid in it is bright, brilliant as an artist, but there’s no way for him to express himself in school so he’s looked at as a dummy.
Q: Do you ever get writer’s block?
Patterson: No, I don’t. I’m always working on more than one thing. I have a big imagination and I’ll just go to another project. I have a folder this thick of ideas for novels. Writing stories comes very easily to me.
Q: What first inspired you to write?
Patterson: I was working my way through school at a mental hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts and I had a lot of free time so I started reading like crazy and then I started scribbling stories. Somebody once told me, you’re lucky if you find something you like to do and it’s a miracle if someone will pay you to do it. I love doing it. I love writing stories. As a kid, I grew up in the woods. I used to wander around the woods and make up stories in my head. I think that talent was there, I just wasn’t aware of it.
Q: You often write with co-authors. Why?
Patterson: It allows me to combine strength with strength. I’m a very good storyteller; I’m a little lazy as a stylist. So it allows me to work with a better stylist. Collaboration is OK!
Are you a fan of James Patterson’s books? Tell us which is your favorite in the Comments!
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