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Results 42,176 - 42,200 of 493,469

Beth Moore offers a collection of ten publishing party ideas you can use to celebrate your students' writing.

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42177. Heading out for Southeast AK.....

I will be in beautiful Haines this week attending the Museums Alaska/Alaska Historical Society where I will present on Thursday ("Rediscovering The Flying North")

Your best chance at seeing some killer photos of Juneau and Haines (from the ferry!) is to follow my on twitter (@chasingray). I will be updating there and at the Shorefast Editions (@shorefastbooks) account all week.

If I can I'll drop a note in here but right now I don't know what the wi fi situation will be. I promise a report from the flip side next week for sure!

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42178. Interview with Sarah Ballance, Her Wicked Sin and Giveaway!

Please welcome today’s special guest, Sarah Ballance! Sarah is here to chat about her latest historical romance Her Wicked Sin, and after the interview, enter for a chance to win a $50 gift card!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Sarah] Wife of amazing man. Accidental author. Perpetually frazzled homeschooling mom of six. Sprouts random gray hairs and calls them highlights.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Her Wicked Sin?

[Sarah] It’s set in Salem, MA 1692 during the Salem witch trials. The story kicks off when my heroine comes upon the hero fallen from his horse. She has enough sense to be wary of a stranger, but since he’s hurt she figures she’s got the upper hand if he tries anything. With that in mind, she takes him back to her nearby home to convalesce for the night. When she and the hero are subsequently caught in a compromising—albeit innocent—position, he takes a false identity, acting as her husband to protect her from accusations of adultery, the punishment for which was often death. What starts as a fake relationship leads to real feelings, but when the heroine is arrested for witchcraft, he’s got a terrible choice to make. Fighting for her freedom means revealing his true identity at a time when any association with a witch could lead to his own arrest, to say nothing of the ruin it would bring to his family and his business. Walking away means saving himself and his reputation—and possibly her life—but at an unbearable cost.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sarah] ERMAGERD. Totally by accident. I saw a mention of Salem on the Entangled Scandalous submissions page, and, well, I love Salem. (Easy for me to say because no one tried to hang me there, right?) So I went caterwauling to my editor over how I should TOTALLY write a Salem historical one day. ONE DAY. She ignored that last part and asked the historical peeps if they wanted Salem. And they did, so my editor told me to write a story proposal. Erma, what? I’d never even attempted to write historical so I panicked a little, then spent some time balled up in a corner sobbing. And everything that happened after that moment has been an absolute blur. I didn’t even know what I was going to write until I saw it on the screen, but the ideas all stemmed from that one very strange moment when I said something in jest and ended up with a contract. (INORITE?)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Lydia?

[Sarah] Decisive, persevering, and heartfelt.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Henry had a theme song, what would it be?

[Sarah] For this book, it’s got to be Hey Pretty Girl by Kip Moore.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Lydia is never without.

[Sarah] The burdens of her past. But if you meant something tangible, her medical bag. (She’s a midwife).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find on Henry’s pocket?

[Sarah] Oh, MAN, this is tough. If he were a modern hero, I’d say you’d never find phone numbers from other women, so 300+ years ago I reckon you wouldn’t find him with directions to their houses, LOL. You’d also never find tobacco on him. And, erm, a riding crop. Not that a crop would fit in a pocket to begin with, but he wouldn’t carry one.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Lydia’s greatest regret?

[Sarah] The loss of her child.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Sarah] Talking with my editor about a story always gets me SO fired up. And music sets the mood and really propels me into a story, so whichever artist I’m hung up on at the moment gets credit. (Lately, that would be Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan). No single author or book, but reading also gets me going. When I read a great book, I’m incredibly inspired to write. Problem is, if it’s a great book I won’t want to put it down. J

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Sarah] This is probably the most boring answer ever, but here you go: my laptop (preferably with an internet connection for research), background noise (so I’m not distracted by the kids…but the background noise can’t BE the kids), and a drink (usually ice water).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was your biggest distraction while working on Her Wicked Sin?

[Sarah] The research! I’d look for something like marriage rituals and end up reading about Puritan sex scandals. I mean, I’d barely come to terms with the fact Puritans HAD sex (they came across as so chaste when I was in school, lol) when I discovered all the naughty, freaky things they did. SO DISTRACTING!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Sarah] I’ve read so many great ones. I think the last one I could NOT stop reading was “Ripples Through Time” by Rosalie Stanton. Every chapter ends on a huge cliffhanger, so needless to say I was up all night. Amazing book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Sarah] I’ve read fiendishly for as long as I can remember, so I can’t really say. But the first book that really affected my writing career was “Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch” by BJ Daniels. It was my first Harlequin Intrigue. I read it and immediately fell in love with romantic suspense, which is still my favorite genre to write.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sarah] Boating (though writing ON the boat at the marina is amazing), hiking, walking, hanging out at the beach, or—don’t laugh—watching re-runs of The Golden Girls or Mama’s Family. I also love to cook, bake, decorate cakes, and ride around in the car. Traveling is fantastic (though not always feasible, lol), but when the kids are driving me NUTS I just love to throw them in the car and drive. (It’s legal—and required—to strap them down in the car. Doing so in the house is frowned upon. I’m just sayin’…)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sarah] You can find me hiding under the bed, hoping for five minutes of peace from the kids. Also at my links, which are as follows: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Find HER WICKED SIN @ Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads, and if you like haunted asylums, stay tuned for my upcoming supernatural novella RUBY HILL, which releases September 30 from Entangled Publishing.

Thanks so very much for allowing my visit today!

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Thank you for stopping by!

Her Wicked Sin  by Sarah Ballance

Genre: Historical Romance

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Number of pages: 147

Book Description:

Salem, MA 1692

On a moonless night, he rides into the winter forest on his beast as black as midnight…

Dashing stranger, Henry Dunham, comes to Salem on a mysterious errand, but is thrown from his horse in the dead of night and rescued by the local Puritan midwife, Lydia Colson.

Haunted by her past, Lydia is running from her own dark secrets, avoiding intrusive questions by pretending her dead husband is simply… away. But when she and Henry are caught in a compromising situation, one punishable by Puritan law, he saves her from scandal by claiming to be her errant spouse… and claiming her bed.

Forced to fake a marriage, Lydia and Henry find their passion overwhelming and their vows a little too real. As their lies become truths, a witch hunt closes in on Lydia, threatening not only their burgeoning love, but her life.

About the Author:

Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep.

She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids).

When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or seeking that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her.

She loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children. (Really.) Though she adores nail-biting mystery and edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Sarah writes in many genres including contemporary and ghostly paranormal romance.

Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found on Amazon , Barnes & Noble, Kobo, For the Muse Publishing, and coming soon to ENTANGLED PUBLISHING.

Website: http://www.sarahballance.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahBallance

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/sarah.ballance.author.news

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4103362.Sarah_Balance


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On June 24, 2013, I gave myself a challenge… NO colas, mountain dews, sprite – for THREE MONTHS. I have NOT had a even a sip of any of those things in 3 months. There was no reason for this other than a challenge to myself. A challenge to prove I could do it. And […]

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42180. My Strawberry Soufflé

Shouldn’t success and happiness be the achievement of what we love to its own end, knowing that end might be private and personal?  - Felicia Sullivan from Love,Life,Eat 

ImagesThis morning I came upon Felicia’s blog. Having been at the Bouchercon mystery convention this weekend, her column really hit home—I’ve just spent the last three days with hundreds of authors and was struck over and over by how of us expressed unhappiness about our careers.

 So many talked about not feeling like a “success”.

 Why? I asked again and again.

There were authors who complained they get nominated for awards but never win. Others who said they often win awards, but don’t have sales. Or they get sales but no reviews. Or were upset they get reviews but no nominations for awards. Or are frustrated they are published in trade paperback instead of hardcover, or in mass market and not trade… you get the idea.

The Dali Lama said if you compare yourself to people who have more than you, you will always be unhappy.  But if you compare yourself to people who have less that you, you will always be happy.

I think that’s amazing advice but I’d even go further and ask do we have to compare ourselves to anyone? Can every writer really be “big”? Does every book honestly have that potential? Is it easier for some topics and kinds of books to take off? Or win awards? Or get reviews?  And what if you don’t write those kind of books?

The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry soufflé. I did that at least twenty-eight times before I finally conquered it. — Julia Child

I think the most important thing we as writers can do is figure out how we define what success will mean to us and focus on that.

This weekend one writer was complimenting me on AuthorBuzz.com, my marketing company. She told me how much we’d helped her then followed up with a question. She wanted to know why, since we do such great work, I’m not a mega-name author and asked how I feel about not being a “real success.”Strawberry_photos_Fresh_Strawberry_Picture_F045020

I was honestly surprised. I’m realistic about my career as a novelist. I’m certainly not a superstar and far far from a house hold name, but I feel successful.

From the very beginning I envisioned success as selling enough books so I could keep getting published and continue to write what I wanted to without compromising.

Did I want to be a bestseller, make millions and get amazing reviews? If you’d asked I’m sure I would have said yes, but that just wasn’t what I thought about. I was focused about having the kind of long term career that would allow me to keep writing, because writing is what saves my life each and every day.

So here I am 14 years later with my 14th novel to be published in 2014. Im published in 28 countried and I’ve sold enough copies of all those books to feel it wouldn’t be ladylike to mention the number and I’ve never comprised what I wanted to write.

Am I a success?  

Are you?

Clearly it all depends on who you ask. Or maybe if you’re smart you’ll stop asking anyone and not look beyond yourself to figure it out. Because is it what anyone else thinks, or is it what you think?

As Felicia asks in her blog, do you want to be big? Or bold? Be popular or remarkable? Or all of them?

One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, wrote: Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?

I am pretty sure no author at Bouchercon, or author reading this blog would think that worrying about meeting some arbitrary measure of success is worth spending that one life on.


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42181. Slicing Time

The weekly call for slice of life stories.

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42182. The Never-Ending Dream

At an old bookstore, you find a book that helps you interpret your dreams. But something is strange about it. You fall asleep reading the book, and find yourself in a dream that you cannot wake up from. What is it? And how will you snap back to reality?

Get two weeks worth of writing prompts that will inspire you to write great stories.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

Want more creative writing prompts? Download:

The Writing Prompt Boot Camp (Free Download)



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42183. Sample the Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Year


It is Banned Books Week from September 22 until 28, and readers around the country are celebrating their favorite challenged books. You can also recognize Banned Books Week Heroes, join the Twitter Party or participate in the Virtual Read-Out.

Below, we’ve linked to free samples of all the books on the American Library Association (ALA)’s annual list of the most frequently challenged library books–follow the links below to read these controversial books yourself.

Follow this link for a list of “all the books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in 2012 and 2013.”


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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42184. Agent at JABberwocky Building List

literary-agent-lisa-rodgersAbout Lisa Rodgers: Lisa grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from California State University, Sacramento, in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a minor in German literature-in-translation, history, and culture (sadly, she doesn’t speak German, although it’s on her bucket list).

She moved to New York City in 2012 to attend NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute and joined the JABberwocky team a few months later. She’s previously worked at San Francisco/Sacramento Book Reviews and Barnes & Noble, interned at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, and read submissions for Lightspeed Magazine.

She is seeking: science fiction, fantasy, YA and middle grade of all genres, and romance.

Below are a few (but by no means all!) of her favorite books by non-client authors, in no particular order:

BLACK SUN RISING (C.S. Friedman), SPIN STATE (Chris Moriarty), THE COMPANY (K.J. Parker), MAGIC’S PAWN (Mercedes Lackey), INNOCENT TRAITOR (Allison Weir), THE BLACK PRISM (Brent Weeks), THE WHITE DRAGON (Anne McCaffrey),  THE DUKE AND I (Julia Quinn), THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (Rae Carson), LOST GIRLS (Ann Kelly), ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE (Robin Hobb), HAMMERED (Elizabeth Bear), HEX HALL (Rachel Hawkins), WINTERGIRLS (Laurie Halse Anderson), THE GIVER (Lois Lowry), PERSUASION (Jane Austen), and FOREIGNER (C.J. Cherryh)

How to submit: e-mail her at querylisa [at] awfulagent [dot] com. In the body of the email, please include your query letter and the first 25 pages of your manuscript. A synopsis is also helpful, but by no means required. Please paste everything into the body of the e-mail; attachments won’t be opened.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Building List, Agent Lisa Rogers, JABberwocky Literary Agency, Young Adult Books

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42185. Review: Midnight Secretary Vol 1 by Tomu Ohmi


Title: Midnight Secretary Vol 1

Author:  Tomu Ohmi


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


Mad Men meets Vampire Diaries

Kaya Satozuka prides herself on being an excellent secretary and a consummate professional, so she doesn’t even bat an eye when she’s reassigned to the office of her company’s difficult director, Kyohei Touma. He’s as prickly—and hot—as rumors paint him, but Kaya is unfazed…until she discovers that he’s a vampire!!Kaya quickly accustoms herself to scheduling his “dinner dates” and working odd hours, but can she handle it when Kyohei’s smoldering gaze starts turning her way?!


Midnight Secretary is a very fun, fluffy read.  I wasn’t expecting much from it, and I wasn’t really in the mood for it, so I kept shuffling it from the top of my reading pile, and now I’m sorry I did.  Once I got it in my hands, the cover kind of turned me off.  I don’t find it appealing at all, so here is another instance where I misjudged the book by it’s cover.

Kaya takes pride in her job, and she wants to be the best executive secretary possible so she can get a great job, and so her mom won’t have to work so hard.  After her father died, her mother got a job at Tohma Corporation, and she worked hard to put Kaya through school.  She even helped get her a job at Tohma, and now that Kaya is getting her big break, she’s going to make her mother proud.  The big break turns out to be a mixed blessing.  She’s assigned to be Kyohei Tohma’s secretary.  Kyohei is the younger son of the senior director, and he’s a jerk.  He is a demanding boss, who works long hours, and his exacting expectations have caused countless secretaries to quit.  Kaya is determined to succeed, though, but his dismissive attitude is hard to deal with.

Kyohei has a reputation for being a ladies man, and Kaya quickly discovers that this is true.  He juggles the ladies with consummate skill, arranging meetings with them in his office after dark.  He is quick to disparage Kaya’s looks, and he grumpily complains that she’s not good looking enough to work for him.  Kaya ignores every complaint and quickly proves that she is efficient and dedicated to her job.  When she suspects that Kyohei and his girlfriends are using drugs in the office, she doesn’t hesitate to get to the bottom of her suspicions.  She’s afraid that if there is illegal drug use going on that he’ll get caught, the company will suffer, and she’ll lose her job.  What she discovers is that he’s a vampire, and that the hanky panky in his office  is Kyohei drinking the blood of his beautiful lady friends.  The illegal drug use would probably have been more welcome than working for a blood-sucking playboy!

I enjoyed Midnight Secretary because Kaya is so unflappable.  She takes the discovery that her boss is a vampire in stride, and quickly decides that she’s going to defend his secret and make sure that he is taken care of so that he can continue to perform his job duties.  Well, that and he’s threatened to have her mother fired if  Kaya quits, so she doesn’t really have much choice.  Meeting every challenge that he throws at her head-on, Kaya quickly proves that she is indispensible.  Despite Kyohei’s gruffness, she can’t help but find him attractive, especially after his secret weakness is revealed and he is forced to drink her blood.

The art is very attractive and reminded me of Mayu Shinjo.  The delicate lines are expressive, and the characters are attractive, even Kaya, who hides her baby face behind ugly glasses and a severe hair style.Midnight Secretary is fun and flirty, and I can’t wait to read the next volume. 

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

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42186. Landscape painting: balloon and valley

stegosaurus valley

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Beth Moore offers a collection of ten publishing party ideas you can use to celebrate your students' writing.

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42188. Michael Bloomberg Biography Coming from Simon & Schuster

bloombergEleanor Randolph has landed a book deal with Simon & Schuster for “a major biography” of Michael Bloomberg.

Randolph spent 15 years covering New York for the New York Times and now serves on the paper’s editorial board. Literary agent David Black negotiated the deal with editorial director Alice Mayhew. Here’s more from the release:

This book will follow the extraordinary career and legacy of Bloomberg, who revolutionized business reporting, who has been a powerful and innovative mayor of New York City for the last 12 years, and who has become a public figure of national significance. The book will also observe his ongoing status as a national leader.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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42189. Slicing Time

The weekly call for slice of life stories.

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42190. GIve my main characters equal point of view.

Question: I have a main character. Let's call him M1. I have another main character, who's M2. They are each other's love interests. My third main character

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42191. Amos Oz Q & A

       At Tablet they have a transcript of Daniel Estrin's conversation with Amos Oz (yes, you can also listen to it).

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42192. Artwork for sale!

Ooh, I have re-listed some of my original artwork for sale on my Etsy shop! Check it out!

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42193. Álvaro Mutis (1923-2013)

       One of the grand old South American masters, Álvaro Mutis, has passed away; see, for example, the BBC report -- or, to get a better feel for the man, Francisco Goldman's Q & A with him at Bomb.
       The standard volume in English is the collection The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll, from New York Review Books -- see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- but he wrote considerably more and was also a highly regarded poet; check out, for example, his Summa de Maqroll el Gaviero: Poesia reunida (1947-2003) (see the Alfaguara publicity page, or get your copy from Amazon.com).
       If you need additional reasons to read him, El País helpfully offers Por qué hay que leer a Álvaro Mutis, según los escritores.

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42194. Early in the Morning

(Coffee not shown.)

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42195. Christopher Koch (1932-2013)

       Leading Australian author -- and two-time Miles Franklin Literary Award-winner -- Christopher Koch has passed away; see, for example the obituaries by Marc McEvoy (in the Sydney Morning Herald) and Stephen Romei (in The Australian).
       Best-known for The Year of Living Dangerously (get your copy at Amazon.com; it appears to be out of print in the UK ...), his other work is worth seeking out as well -- he was a fine writer.

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42196. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference 2013

Whew! I just finished a whirlwind three days at the RMFC Conference. It was fun, inspiring, and exhausting. This was my first time attending the conference but I’m already planning to go back next year. Workshops were geared from the beginning writer all the way to the multi-published author. They ranged from topics such as novel structure and plotting, to making your own book trailer. Denver uber-agent Kristin Nelson gave an interesting presentation on the hybrid author (those who combine traditional and self-publishing) using her client Hugh Howey of WOOL fame as an example.

I met so many interesting people and had a blast. I have to say that it was nice to kick back and enjoy the conference without worrying about having to pitch agents or editors, but my friends had good experiences with their pitches.

Here is a picture of our group at the Saturday Night Banquet (NOTE: We’re not this blurry in real life):


If you’re looking for a solid conference to attend, I highly recommend this one. I also recommend not staying up past midnight if you want to get up for an 8am session but that’s another post (I blame my roommate). ;) Any other conferences out there that people love?


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42197. Speak Woof and Meow fab excerpts

upcomingbooksuseI hope you have been enjoying Animal Communication Month! This is our last week and we’ve had such lovely ladies visit and share their stories.

I share many of my stories living with dog companions in my new book, Speak Woof and Meow. Based on my popular FOS class, COM102, this book will lead you through the different lessons to help you communicate better with your animal friend. And as promised, here are a few excerpts to share with you.

Exercises to try from the workbook

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 10.42.48 AM Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 10.42.09 AM

There’s also lots of cute animal drawings


Excellent Resources

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 10.49.28 AM

Sounds like so much fun, right?  Want to learn how to talk to your animals, or communicate even better? Get your copy right now HERE. And buy a few to share with friends!

And if you want to study animal communication one-on-one with me and be spoiled with information and assistance, check out my mentorship opportunity. I’m taking students for October and November sessions.

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42198. Press Release Fun: KidLitCon 2013 is Nigh!!

KidLitCon 300x158 Press Release Fun: KidLitCon 2013 is Nigh!!As some of you might remember, last year I hosted the Kidlitosphere Conference (or KidLitCon) in the main branch of NYPL.  There were publisher previews.  There were amazing speakers and talks and rooms.  Grace Lin did our Friday night dinner keynote and Maureen Johnson closed out the conference with the final keynote.  In all, it was a rousing success.  Nobody died.  I consider that a win.  You can read my full recap of the experience (barring the sheer hell I went through with the bloody programs) here.

Well now the time has come to do it all again . . . in Texas.  Yes, I’m not hosting this one, partly because I’ve developed this real love affair with sanity.  Sanity is my friend.  I’m keen on it.  Traditionally this conference tends to move about so that folks from all over the country can attend.  So if you were bummed at our Eastern location in 2012, check out the following and register early!

Kidlitosphere Conference 2013

The seventh annual KidLitCon on November 9th in Austin, Texas is officially accepting registrations!

While we would love to be ahead of schedule with well, a schedule, we invite you to register now to help your organizers plan for attendance. Registering early will also give you a chance to suggest topics that YOU would like to see at KidLitCon 2013. Register before October 11th for $10 off the registration fee and a chance to win a prize package of books and goodies!

Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for sending your check or money order. Hotel information will also be available, hopefully with a discount for our group.

We are still accepting proposals for workshops and panel discussions. Past KidLitCon sessions have included topics such as ethics of reviewing, diversity in children/teen literature, effective marketing, kidlit social media, and online community building. If you are interested in presenting at KidLitCon, please submit a proposal soon.

Look to this website for updates to the schedule, including our Friday evening event.

Lots more info to come. For now, start spreading the word! Be a fan on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! And best of all register to attend KidLitCon 2013.

printfriendly Press Release Fun: KidLitCon 2013 is Nigh!!email Press Release Fun: KidLitCon 2013 is Nigh!!twitter Press Release Fun: KidLitCon 2013 is Nigh!!facebook Press Release Fun: KidLitCon 2013 is Nigh!!google plus Press Release Fun: KidLitCon 2013 is Nigh!!tumblr Press Release Fun: KidLitCon 2013 is Nigh!!share save 171 16 Press Release Fun: KidLitCon 2013 is Nigh!!

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42199. something's happening here...

But what?

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42200. Working with a Publishing House Editor

Prior to working with Susan Swinwood, senior editor of Mira Books, my only experience with editors dated back to my college days. A short story called “ The Sand Castle” was picked up for our college literary magazine. The editor said he loved my story, but added that it could use “a spot of editing.” I didn’t really know what editing entailed, but was amazed at how changes he made to my story altered the flavor completely, not wholly to my liking. For example, he replaced a simple sentence like “He slipped out of the apartment” with “The urge in him wound itself around the door knob.” Many such robust edits later, the story still had my byline, but frankly I felt like it had been written by someone else. This unfortunate experience gave me a jaundiced view of an editor’s job, which I believed was to bully writers and mess up good writing (or at least my definition of “good.”)

GIVEAWAY: Shona is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to appear; this is normal).



Column by Shona Patel

Teatime for the Firefly

. An honors graduate in English
literature from Calcutta University, Ms. Patel has won several awards
for creative writing and is a trained graphic and architectural designer.

(September 2013, Harlequin MIRA)
is her debut novel. Find her on Twitter


Several decades later, having just completed the process of working with Susan Swinwood on my first novel, I realize nothing is further from the truth. At its best, the writer-editor relationship is a dynamic collaboration. Compatibility is key, and if you are lucky to work with a good editor, as I was, the process is invigorating. While Susan acted as a sounding board, she did not offer specific solutions. Following a thorough critical assessment of my manuscript, she handed it back to me with the mandate to address the following issues:

  1. I needed to find a creative way to connect the first and second halves of the novel. My editor pointed out that what was missing in the second half were the feelings and emotional responses of my main character. The creative solution I came up with was the addition of more letters, which I had used liberally in the first half, which also lent stylistic consistency to the novel.
  2. She urged me to examine the pacing in specific chapters that was affecting the flow. Some chapters were too long and needed to be cut down, whereas the shorter chapters had to be combined.
  3. She exhorted me to explore ways to reinforce and integrate the themes of fate and superstition more strongly into my plot.
  4. Likewise, she suggested that I extend the roles/stories of some of the more interesting characters in my story.
  5. Susan challenged me to critically assess each chapter ending to ensure it closed on a lyrical, poignant or otherwise compelling note, to entice the reader to keep going.
  6. She highlighted inconsistencies in the timeline which I needed to rectify.
  7. Finally, she challenged me to create a stronger ending for the novel.

Initially these changes seemed like a tall order. However, once I actually got down to the task, I found that some smart tweaking, reshuffling and adding in a couple of new chapters was all it really took. I learned to take it one step at a time and not to lose my head worrying about the deadline.

Susan posed several other suggestions, too, which we discussed and ultimately decided not to pursue. That’s the beauty of a strong editing team: while the editor can and will suggest changes, it is up the writer to “try them on for size” and assess ultimate fit. Above all I found it important to remain objective. Being too attached to one’s work is a recipe for heartbreak and “stuckness.” I ended up hacking off huge sections of my manuscript that had taken me months of research and writing. I learned to be heartless when it comes to revisions—ultimately it’s about the reader, not about the author. Having gone through several rounds of edits with my writers’ group, my beta readers and my agent, I found myself ready to gear up for working with a publishing editor, which was focused and intense. What I learned in the process are things I keep in mind as I write my second novel. Hopefully I can now see the fault lines before the crack.

Nothing is quite so exciting as seeing a novel come to life, enlarged and enriched beyond anything you as the author may have initially seen. In many ways a good editor will show you the real story lurking within the structure

of what you created.

GIVEAWAY: Shona is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to appear; this is normal).


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