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You’ve finished the first draft of your children’s book or YA novel… now what?
Or… You’ve revised until you’re blue in the face, but it’s still not quite “there” yet. Maybe you’re considering hiring a freelance editor, but want to make the most of their time – and your money. You might even be ready to submit to agents or publishers… but you just don’t trust spell check.
Introducing my latest resource for children’s book authors… Editor in a Box!
Whether you need help with any aspect of revision or are ready to put the final polish on your work, Editor in a Box contains everything you need to get your picture book, chapter book or middle grade or YA novel into the best possible shape for submission to agents, editors and publishers, including…
- A comprehensive 6-step Revision Process, with specific recommendations for revising your story, as well as your storytelling – in video, print and checklist form.
- A list of Weak, Overused, and Unnecessary Words
- A “Grammer Crammer”- basic grammar and punctuation rules as well as common errors to watch out for
- Manuscript formatting guidelines and recommendations
- A Guide to Finding, Hiring and Working with Freelance Editors
- A complete Guide to Manuscript Submission, including information on queries, cover letters, finding an agent and more
- Recordings, Transcripts and Takeaways from Interviews with esteemed professional children’s book editors
I created this kit because, as a freelance editor myself, I’m painfully aware of how often writers submit their work to editors, agents and publishers before their manuscripts are truly ready.
At best, this can cause a freelance editor to lose valuable time addressing careless and avoidable errors, rather than being able to focus on the more substantive issues of the work. At worst, it can increase the cost of a project, or even prompt a freelance editor to reject a job outright.
Even more importantly, you have only one chance to submit to a publisher or agent – don’t waste it by submitting work that isn’t 100% ready.
The kit comes in two versions: Editor in a Box for Picture Books, and Editor in a Box for Chapter Books and Middle Grade or YA Novels.
Before you hire a freelance editor, before you submit to an agent or publisher, put your manuscript through a soup-to-nuts revision process that will give you the tools and the confidence to make it sparkle.
Click here to find out more… http://emmawaltonhamilton.com/store
To your success!
Beth Cato writes about wild adventures on airships. She writes about mechanical gremlins and sexy (sexy) stewards with long hair. She is a Steampunk Goddess. She is also soft-spoken, beautiful, and fond of spending time with neurotic other writers, namely me.
Our husbands set Beth and I up on a blind date over a year ago, because we were both “artists.” We fell into friendship easily, because indeed, we were both “artists” with quite a lot in common (including a love for British TV). When the news came that her debut, The Clockwork Dagger, had been picked up by Harper Voyager, I was one of the first to hear … and REJOICE! I mean, seriously, if there ever was a reason for celebration!
The Clockwork Dagger will be published September 16, but because I “know people” (um, Beth), I got a look at an ARC. My full review will be posted Thursday, but in the meantime, take a gander behind the red curtain and learn more about a girl who’s about to take steampunk by storm.
An H and Five Ws with Debut Steampunk Author Beth Cato
How did you come up with the world of Clockwork Dagger?
A number of years ago, I wrote a steampunk story I was unable to sell. A while later, I was trying to figure out a new novel concept and I hit on the idea of doing Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, but on an airship with a healer as the main character. I decided to use the same world from that old short story, though I had barely developed it there. The characters from that story do show up briefly in my novel as well.
Who is your favorite character in your novel?
Oh, that’s such a hard question. I have to say Mrs. Stout. She’s inspired by one of my favorite television characters of all time, Mrs. Slocombe on the British comedy Are You Being Served? Mrs. Stout is a fifty-something woman with a loud voice, loud hair, and loud clothes, but as vibrant as she is, she carries some terrible secrets. She’s so over-the-top with her mannerisms that she’s a delight to write.
What is the best thing about being a writer? Worst thing?
Best thing, no question, is seeing people react emotionally to my writing. If I can make someone cry or feel angry or cheer out loud, it’s the most amazing thing in the world. The worst thing … rejection. Always rejection. Soon enough, I’ll have that in the form of harsh reader reviews, too. I fear my skin will never be thick enough to deal well with that.
Where have you felt most inspired?
I took a cruise to Alaska last summer. One morning, our ship traveled through the fjords to view a glacier. I sat by our open balcony door and wrote in my journal and read a book. We then did a day trip by bus and train from Skagway up into British Columbia. I breathed in that crisp air, as if I could store it in my lungs as long as possible. I knew I needed to write about characters going to these places. In my next book, I hope to do just that, though it will be hard for words to do justice to that wild beauty.
When (if ever) have you wanted to give up on writing?
I have an urban fantasy novel that I wrote and rewrote and wrote again. It was near and dear to my heart. The problem was, I worked on it for ages but I never had anyone critique it an an early stage. When that finally happened, the feedback was devastating. The book, quite simply, did not work. You can’t accept all critiques (some people are just plain wrong) but I knew this person was right.
I spent about three days in a horrible depression. I could barely eat or sleep. I really debated if I should completely give up, but then the next question was, “What am I going to do if I don’t write?” I couldn’t think of anything else. So, I figured, I need to fix this book. I need to prove I can write. I tore the novel apart. I rewrote it yet again. I had it critiqued by a whole group of people. Six months later, that novel is what snared my literary agent.
Why steampunk fantasy?
Adding magic and mythological creatures in with history makes things fresh. I made things a little easier on myself by setting the novel off Earth, so I didn’t need to rely on strict historical details, though a lot of World War I-era research still went into it. I had the chance to think about so many what-ifs: “What if battlefield medical wards could use healing magic alongside standard surgery? What could limit that magic? What if your enemy in trench warfare had fire magic … and airships?”
Airships in particular are a trademark of steampunk. I was obsessive about making them as realistic as possible. I based the principal airship in my book on the infamous Hindenburg, down to the room descriptions and the angles of the promenade windows. For me, those historical details make it more real and believable, even with the heavy reliance on magic. Plus, it’s just plain fun to write and to read!
Learn more about Beth at http://www.bethcato.com, and look forward to my review of The Clockwork Dagger Thursday!
For over three hundred years, people have tried to identify ideal landscapes in terms of paintings.
A landscape would be called picturesque if it resembled a painting by Claude Lorrain
(1600-1682) or Nicolas Poussin. A tourist would travel with a darkened mirror called a 'Claude glass
' or 'Lorrain mirror' to see a reflection that reminded them of a familiar landscape painting.
Scholars have debated what aesthetic factors qualify a scene as picturesque, and it usually boils down to a scene that satisfies the human instinct for beauty and the sublime. Others have said that there needs to be an element of roughness or variation, or a pleasing distribution of masses of trees or ruins.
The notion of what is picturesque has evolved as our taste for images has changed. If you google the term 'picturesque' all by itself, you don't get paintings; you get a lot of HDR photos
of nature scenes with mountains and water features, and occasionally a domestic human structure integrated into the landscape. Our collective visual imagination is probably influenced as much by calendar photos and computer screen savers as it is by gallery paintings.
What do you think of when you hear the word "picturesque?"
Previously on GurneyJourney: Lorrain mirrorPicturesque in Wikipedia
Raiding the taken towns: This was always part of the story, but this section underwent so many revisions. I remember my sisters reading an earlier draft of this book and then a final draft. Both said that they couldn't tell what I'd changed but that it read better now. Often revision is like that. Subtle reorganizing, changes at the sentence level. Sometimes most of the events of the book stay the same from one draft to the next and yet 10-50% of the words themselves change. I can stumble on the right events of the story early on and yet not figure out the right words to tell those events until a final draft.
The metaphor of fire: While writing the book, I was aware that Enna's fire power could be a metaphor for various things, but I was careful not to force that metaphor. I concentrated on trying to be true to the logic of the story. What would it be like, in the world I created, to speak the language of fire? What would that feel like? What would be the consequences? The magic of fantasy allows readers to bring their own experience, create their own metaphor. I've received emails from people who asked me if I intended to have the fire a metaphor for drug addiction, sex addiction, divorce, adoption, mental illness, disability, and spiritual sin. If I'd forced the fire to be a metaphor for one thing, I would have prevented those readers from finding what they needed in the story.
Enna and Razo: In movies, especially for children, it seems to me there cannot be a male and female character who are remotely close without there being either a love affair or sexual tension. I think this is ridiculous. I have no problem believing Enna and Razo are friends and there's no awkwardness between them. A girl's purpose is not to be a love interest for every single male character on screen. She can just be. Same with the male characters.
Tales: I've enjoyed making up the fairytales of Bayern. There are some in Goose Girl too. I'd thought once about writing them all and making a little book of Bayern fairytales.
Finn in the tent: You may have noticed, I am a romantic, especially my self that I am channeling through this book. And I sometimes think this entire book is worth this one scene. It's a testament that no writing is ever wasted. In college I wrote a short story called The Sand Hill Gathering. It was a contemporary story, the setting like a Rainbow Gathering. In it a girl and a boy who have known each other for years but never been close end up sharing a tent, and he whispers in the night the same words Finn does. That other story was crap, but it brought me to a scene, an idea, that I re-purposed for this book.
Anna asks, "Did it ever annoy you to have Razo push for his own story?" I don't remember ever being annoyed by Razo. His presence always solved problems for me, not created them. That he was a character worthy of his own story and able to carry it was a relief.
Rebecca asks, "Where does the heat/flame come from in her chest? Does everyone (in the Bayern world) have an ability to learn that or are there only a select few born with the possibility?" In the book Enna believes some are born with the ability but have to be taught how to use it. I hesitate to get into the anatomy and details of it unless it's in the book. If it's not there, I'd rather readers decide for themselves.
Registration is OPEN. Call for session proposals is OPEN. The 2014 Kidlit Con, BLOGGING DIVERSITY: WHAT'S NEXT?, to be held at the stunning Tsakopoulos Library Galleria in Sacramento, California, October 10-11 is only EIGHTY-SEVEN DAYS AWAY.Rumor... Read the rest of this post
This month, several of us Austin authors are guest-blogging for BookPeople’s new Modern First Library program. The latest to do so is Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of the Feral series and Tantalize series for young adults as well as several picture books, including Jingle Dancer.
Here’s a little of what Cyn has to say:
When we talk about diversity in books, we often mention the concept of “windows and mirrors.”
I ached for a mirror. Books, for all their blessings, had failed me in this regard. However, I saw Star Wars in the theater over 380 times.
For the rest, pop on over to BookPeople’s blog.
A writer revising the rough draft of a novel stalls in the middle where he finds some quirky, secondary characters, one of whom is a potential "romance plot" suitor, a couple of magical and mystical settings, several subplots of enchantment, various minor characters and… not much excitement. Appraising the long, dull corridor spanning the entire Middle, the writer despairs both at how to keep his revision ideas organized and, more importantly, how to amp up the tension and excitement.
Each secondary character and setting, subplot and minor character holds the potential for tension and excitement especially when paired against what the protagonist wants. This takes stepping back from the rough draft to dig deeper into the other characters individually, discovering their importance to the overall meaning of the story beyond helping the protagonist get to where she needs to go and devising goals and aspirations that interfere with the protagonist's goals and aspirations. This means you need to get to know these other characters as well as you know your protagonist.
In the rough draft, these secondary and minor cardboard characters served you while writing the protagonist's storyline. Now, in the revision, is their time to shine. Antagonists rule the middle and are there to teach the protagonist what she needs to know in order to prevail at the climax at the end. This learning is not easy and is fraught with dangerous and often unkind challenges.
Fill out a Character Profile for each character, defining goals in direct opposition to what the protagonist wants while also mirroring traits the protagonist is oblivious of and needs to confront and overcome over the course of the entire story.
(For more: Plot Whisperer
and Blockbuster Plots
books for writers and PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month
You know I love my reading fairies - I hope you do too!! Here's another one for you... CLICK HERE
for more coloring pages! And be sure to share your creations in my gallery
so I can put them in my upcoming newsletters! (Cards, kids art, and crafts are welcome!) Sign up to receive alerts when a new coloring page is posted each week and... Please check out my books! Especially...
my debut novel, A BIRD ON WATER STREET
, coming out next week
! Click the cover to learn more! When the birds return to Water Street, will anyone be left to hear them sing? A miner's strike allows green and growing things to return to the Red Hills, but that same strike may force residents to seek new homes and livelihoods elsewhere. Follow the story of Jack Hicks as he struggles to hold onto everything he loves most. AWARDS
**A SIBA OKRA Pick
**A GOLD Mom's Choice Award Winner
**The 2014 National Book Festival Featured Title for Georgia!**
Sometimes even big events sneak up on me. The Mississippi Mud Bash happening at Murder By the Book this week took me by surprise. So here’s a heads up for a major event coming up in September; Tweens Read 2014 will be held September 27 at South Houston High School in Pasadena, Texas.
This week’s events:
July 19, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
Three YA Authors, plus sci-fi workshop for kids
Solar Nova Author Panel: Join us for signings from local authors Brandy Truly (THE SONAR TRILOGY), Jacqueline Patricks (FAIRYTALE APOCALYPSE ) and K.M. Montemayor (THE CIRCLE). The authors will supply helpful advice for aspiring authors. Includes a sci-fi workshop for kids ages 8 and up.
July 19, Saturday, 4:00 p.m.
Katy Budget Books
Katie Lea Yates, YA Author
Katie Lea Yates signs her young adult book, THE PROVIDER.
The book: Finishing eighth grade and getting ready for high school is hard enough. Finding out that you can jump into the pictures you’ve drawn and become ruler of thousands of people makes it just a tiny bit tougher. Thankfully, I’m not alone. There’s a whole group of us. They’re very cool, and I love living with them. But it seems that I brought back a little more than my memories when I jumped into that first drawing-now I’m able to create things, or bring things from somewhere else, or . . . well, it’s complicated. And unfortunately, somebody might want us all dead.
July 20, Sunday, 3:00 p.m.
Murder By the Book
Mighty Mississippi Book Blast, Six YA Authors
Lindsay Cummings: THE MURDER COMPLEX (HarperCollins), an action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller. Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot thickens when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or is it part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?
Rachel Harris: A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES (Entangled). Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, Alessandra D’Angeli is lost. Until the stars hear her plea. One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?
Kristi Helvig: BURN OUT (Egmont). The last girl on Earth…just got company. Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth’s final years, a teenage girl yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns “red giant,” but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.
Julie Murphy: SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY (HarperCollins) What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now Alice must face the consequences of all she’s done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?
Philip Siegel: THE BREAK-UP ARTIST (Harlequin Teen). Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash.
Some work at the mall. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. Becca knows from experience the damage that love can do. After all, it was so-called love that turned Huxley from her childhood best friend into a social-world dictator, and love that left Becca’s older sister devastated at the altar. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, Becca strikes back—for just one hundred dollars via PayPal, she will trick and manipulate any couple’s relationship into smithereens. One night, Becca receives a mysterious offer to break up the most popular couple in school: Huxley and the football team’s star player, Steve. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date—starting rumors, sabotaging cell phones, breaking into cars…. No one said being the Break-Up Artist would be easy.
Paula Stokes: THE ART OF LAINEY (Harper Teen). Soccer-star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back. And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. and decide to use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.
By: Nathan Bransford,
Blog: Nathan Bransford
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I'm thrilled to be headed back to San Diego in a few weeks for the insanity otherwise known as ComicCon, and I will be participating in two terrific panels!
On Saturday at 6pm, I will be moderating a panel called "Publishing 360: Building a Bestseller
," in which we will talk about the different facets of producing a bestseller, from idea to novel to agent to editor to publication. That one will feature Maze Runner
author James Dashner
and Beautiful Bastard
author Christina Lauren
, along with their respective agents, Michael Bourret
and Holly Root
, and their respective editors, Krista Marino
and Adam Wilson
, and S&S associate director of publicity Kristin Dwyer
And on Sunday at 1pm, for the fourth consecutive year I'll be moderating What's Hot in Young Adult Fiction, featuring Kresley Cole
(The Arcana Chronicles
), Kami Garcia
), Tessa Gratton
(United States of Asgard
series), Tahereh Mafi
(The Shatter Me
series), Natalie Parker
(Beware the Wild
), CJ Redwine
series), Brendan Reichs
series), Margaret Stohl
series), and Scott Westerfeld
See you there!
BOOK BLAST: WARRIOR
Official Release Date: 7/13/14
This is the third book in the Order of the Spirit Realm Series. If you haven’t read them, start with BAIT. It is free at most online ebook vendors such as Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.
This book begins two years after HUNTER ended. Bay-Lee is fighting a Devil Tree while her mentor and boyfriend, Nick Gallos, watches from the sidelines. Things are tense between them. She wants to amp up their relationship, but Nick has put on the brakes. He’s got one foot out the door, and she doesn’t know what to do about it.
WARRIOR brings about closure and change, some good and some bad. Together, Nick and Bay-Lee will take on the werewolf pack that killed her mother, face their twisted pasts, and face a friend turned enemy.
Quotes from WARRIOR:
Bay-Lee: You never told me I wasn’t supposed to kill it. You told me I couldn’t kill it.
Nick: I should have known you’d take that as a challenge.
Keisha: Oh, don’t play Miss Innocent with me, girl. It was your idea for me to trade places with Nick’s banshee, but you’ve been wearing a pouty face ever since.
Bay-Lee: I don’t have a pouty face.
Keisha: Sure you don’t.
Bay-Lee (after knocking Keisha down): You hit on my boyfriend, so I thought I should hit on you.
Little girl: There’s a monster in my closet.
He added, “Reapers aren’t supposed to care.They don’t have compassion or love inside of them.”
“But you’re still human.”
“Because of you!” It sounded like an accusation instead of gratitude. “I haven’t lost my humanity because I still have you. His facial muscles tightened. “I can’t keep living like this.”
Nick threw the talisman down and stormed off, heading for the castle.
She scooped the talisman off the ground. It was precious, even if it was malfunctioning. Without it Nick wouldn’t be able to stay with her. She ran until she caught up with him. Slipping it into his hand, she begged him to keep using it. “At least until we find something else. Please.”
The purple half-circles beneath his eyes attested to his lack of sleep and made her want to cry. She cringed when he slipped the thing around his neck. Asking him to live like this was horrible, but she couldn’t let him go, not yet.
Warrior at Amazon
Warrior at B&N
Warrior at Smashwords
The post Book Blast: Warrior by Kasi Blake appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.
Registration's now open for CANSCAIP's Packaging Your Imagination conference on Saturday, October 18th, 2014. I'll be giving a workshop for beginning writers and illustrators called "Lightning Rods, Agents & Book Deals: Building Your Personal Brand."
However you feel about the word "brand," everyone has a personal brand. You DO have control over it (yes, even the shy and introverted) and it can have a big effect on how successful you are in achieving your personal and professional goals.
Some keys, I've found: Be authentic, find your niche and don't try to do everything. Come to my workshop and I'll explain more, including social media tips for those who aren't quite sure what to do with their social media.
Find out more details about the event and how to register on the CANSCAIP website. Can't attend in person? CANSCAIP now offer a live streaming option!
A wonderful [post on a great author of yesteryear…
Originally posted on Robin Newman Books:
There are some books that are etched in my memories of childhood—Babar, Where the Wild Things Are, Pierre, and last but certainly not least, Madeline.
I remember when my twin sister and I were about six-years old running down the streets of Paris on our way to school, chanting, “Boohoo, we want to have our appendix out, too!”
And so, my heart skipped a beat when I heard that the New York Historical Society Museum & Library was commemorating the 75th anniversary of Madeline’s publication, with an exhibit entitled, “Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans.”
The exhibit follows the life of Ludwig Bemelmans, most notably from his arrival in New York through Ellis Island in 1914. He became a busboy at the Ritz Hotel on Madison Avenue and 46th Street in 1915. He then served in the army…
View original 459 more words
I ate a piece of chocolate;
It was dark and hit the spot, So I savored it quite slowly And enjoyed it quite a lot. There are some who splurge in secret, Sneaking sweets in utter stealth, But I eat my chocolate proudly
‘Cause it’s helpful to my health!
In addition to interior dialogue, you can inject emotion toward an outward object, place, or person via description or narration.
Maybe it's the strawberries and cream at Wimbledon. Or maybe it's that I can't quite get rid of the influence of the Raj in my psyche. No matter—the fact remains that every summer my reader's heart starts to hanker after Brit Lit.
There's nothing quite like a good Susan Howatch novel, tea, scones, and clotted cream (which Whole Foods carries now, leading to the demise of my overly ambitious fitness plans.)
On the hunt for contemporary (still alive and writing) authors, I posted this on my social media yesterday:
I thought I'd compile a list of books and authors as suggested by my friends, in case other anglophiles out there are looking for a new read. Books that are asterisked received more than one mention. (Note: I have neither read nor vetted the titles on this list, so read at your own risk ... but I do have a smart social media set.)Particular Books
Other Recommended Authors
- The Fire-Eaters by David Almond
- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
- *The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie and other Flavia DeLuce mysteries by Alan C. Bradley
- Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan
- The Children's Book by AS Byatt
- Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger
- Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare
- *The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
- The Memory of Love by Armineta Forna
- *The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
- Old Filth by Jane Gardam
- Austenland by Shannon Hale
- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce
- Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesy
- Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hillary Mantel
- If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor
- Saffy's Angels by Hilary McKay
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- Rustication and The Quincunx by Charles Palliser
- Lady Jane series by Deanna Rayborn
- Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
- *The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
- *Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
- *Sunday Philosophy Club and Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith
- Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe
- Ian Rutledge series by Charles Todd
- A Parcel of Patterns by Jill Paton Walsh
- Maisie Dobbs series by Jacquelyn Winspear
- *Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
- The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Dead Authors and Books People Couldn't Help Mentioning
- Rhys Bowen
- Elizabeth Buchan
- Margaret Drabble
- Philippa Gregory
- Elly Griffiths
- Nick Hornby
- Penelope Lively
- Sarah Maclean
- Elizabeth Noble
- Maggie O'Farrell
- James Runcie
- Joanna Trollope
- Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
- Rumer Godden
- Dora Saint (Miss Read)
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Got other suggestions? Leave them in the comments for the rest of us to discover.
I’m so grateful I had the chance to meet Walter Dean Myers, a giant in so many ways. Before seeing him face to face, I met the award-winning author through his words - Brown Angels, Blues Journey, Looking Like Me. His writing embraced me, affirmed me, gave me that I-am-you-you-are-me nod that brothers and sisters exchange around the world. “Why do I love children?” he wrote in Brown Angels. “I think it is because the child in each of us is our most precious part.”
I saw his magic with kids first-hand at the African American Children’s Book Fair in Philadelphia. Children flocked to greet the legend and get their books signed. Brother Walter wore his National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature medal around his neck, not to show them who he was, but to show them who they could be. As each young person talked to him, Brother Walter seemed to see no one else. The child in front of him was who mattered. And each one knew it. Faces shone with grins. They leaned in to hear every word and left clutching their signed book, a treasure.
Brother Walter was a giant, a tall man with a super-sized heart. A man with huge talent who through his words, through his caring, through his commitment, made people of all ages feel like they could soar.
Today, we celebrate the incredible life and contributions of Walter Dean Myers, a literary giant who blessed the world with more than 100 books for children and young adults. Check out his complete bibliography here. We’re honored to feature essays from two of Walter’s friends, author and publisher, Wade Hudson and author Linda Trice. Their posts immediately follow this one. Let’s keep Brother Walter’s family in our prayers and honor his legacy by sharing his beautiful books, some of which were illustrated by his son Christopher.
Please post your memories and reflections about Walter Dean Myers in the comments. Thank you.
SELFIE WITH CAMILLA! ^____^
Photo by Sarah Reeve
Yesterday the Summer Reading Challenge team took me and the Medusa fascinator to Exeter Library to talk and draw with children from St Leonard’s Primary School ...and the Duchess of Cornwall! (Camilla is no stranger to the Medusa hat; you can see hers on a Royal Hats blog here.) I talked with the kids about the Mythical Maze characters I'd drawn, then they helped me draw a four-panel comic about an yeti-Medusa adventure, showing them how easy it is to make a story. Then we all drew Medusa (one kid had something like 46 snakes on his Medusa - it looked like an explosion!).
I talked a bit about how we are still creating myths and legends; no one can second-guess which will be the stories remembered for thousands of years, but we can try our creative best and who knows, perhaps people will still remember our characters for generations to come. I introduced them to my Oliver and the Seawigs co-author Philip Reeve and we pointed out the little Sea Monkey on the poster, saying it was our contribution this year to myth making. Then I invited Camilla to come help me draw a Sea Monkey and she was such a good sport about it! I liked her monkey, it's very cheeky.
And we all sang the Sea Monkey song! Camilla said she wouldn't be able to get the chorus our of her head, and I apologised. (It does have an annoying catchiness to it.)
Photo by Sarah Reeve
By the time we got back to London, people were already sending us links to news reports! Camilla wasn't the only one giggling, after I'd read this Daily Mail article:
Organising this visit was quite a feat! Big thanks to Head of Libraries, Culture & Heritage for Devon Ciara Eastell:
Photo by Sarah Reeve
And to Head Librarian Karen Bowdler and her son Connor:
And to Philip! He's not part of the Summer Reading Challenge but he's a Devon local, and it was SO much more fun doing the event with him helping me draw a bit and singing the Sea Monkey song with me.
And we were both able to dedicate a copy of Seawigs to the Duchess:
Thanks to Philip's wife, Sarah Reeve for taking lots of these photos!
Here's our Summer Reading Challenge gang: Reading Agency director Anne Sarrag, writer Damian Kelleher and publicist Annabel Robinson and gleeful Sea Monkey.
Phew, what an odd day! Now back to work on my picture book...
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Walter Dean Myers, Cheryl Willis Hudson and Wade Hudson sign books at a Toys R Us in NYC. Photo courtesy of Just Us Books.
By Wade Hudson
I was stunned when I heard that Walter Dean Myers had made his transition. During the 25 plus years that my wife Cheryl and I have been involved in publishing, it seemed that Walter was always “there.” We started Just Us Books, Inc. in 1988 to publish more books for children that focused on black experiences. Writers and artists such as Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff, Eloise Greenfield, Patricia and Fred McKissack, Tom Feelings, George Ford, Leo and Diane Dillon, and of course Walter Dean Myers, had already blazed a trail as book creators that we would follow. We were novices, in a way, learning the business of publishing on the fly.
Cheryl and I were somewhat brash, bent on making a difference, determined to correct the injustices we saw in publishing. One would think that Myers and the other trailblazers who had been at the forefront of the struggle to change publishing to be more reflective of who we are as a nation, would have been taken aback by the two new kids on the block. But they were not. They embraced us and welcomed us. When Cheryl and I did a radio interview with Tom Feelings in 1990, Just Us Books had only published three titles. Tom was already an established artist, a celebrity really. But he treated us as equals, applauded our efforts and encouraged us on the airways. We received support and encouragement from the other trailblazers, too.
Tom is gone. Virginia Hamilton is gone. Leo Dillon and Fred McKissack are gone, too. And now we have lost Walter Dean Myers.
I will miss seeing Walter at Book Expo America, ALA, NCTE and the many other conferences where he often held court, sharing, urging, encouraging, directing, advocating…always trying to make things better. When Walter’s article, “Where Are the People of Color in Children’s Books?” appeared in the March 15, 2014 issue of the New York Times, many welcomed it as timely and much needed. But Walter had written an article that appeared in the New York Times in 1986, addressing the same concerns. He was always at the forefront, involved in many initiatives, some that he organized himself. He was determined to increase diversity in our body of literature for children. He also advocated for the inclusion of people of color in the offices of publishing houses.
In 1991, Walter, Cheryl and I worked together as jurors for a scholarship competition organized to identify talented writers and artists of color and introduce them to the publishing community. The fellowship competition was a part of Multi-colored Mirror: Cultural Substance in Literature for Children and Young Adults, a conference sponsored by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Walter also supported literacy programs offered by the Children’s Defense Fund, sometimes donating his own money. I watched as he connected effortlessly with the young people who attended the summer sessions there. Whenever a speaking engagement was set up for him, Walter made sure that juvenile detention centers, prisons and other programs for youth were included.
“I know what falling off the cliff means,” he once said. “I know from being considered a very bright kid to being considered like a moron and dropping out of school.”
Yes, Walter Dean Myers was a prolific, multi award-winning writer. As stated on his web site he“touched so many with his eloquent and unflinching portrayal of young African-American lives.” Walter visualized a better world. In the tradition of Frederick Douglass, he used words to encourage, empower, challenge, advocate and agitate for the change that would bring that world about. In that regard, for me, at least, he was a freedom fighter, too.
Reprinted with permission of Just Us Books.
So, since my college-aged daughter went to Israel on July 6, people keep asking me in person, in private messages, and social media some things that are sort of freaking me out.
The first is this:
Wait, are you Jewish?
This is sometimes followed with, "You don't look Jewish."
At which point I don't know whether or not to say, "Um. How does Jewish look?"
Because the thing is that I am not Jewish by heritage or conversion and I want to know why this is suddenly a defining question about me because my daughter has traveled to Israel. Would they ask if we were Muslim if she had gone to Iran, Kuwait? Would they ask if we were Hindi or Buddhist if she went to India? Nobody asked if we were Catholic when we went to Ireland.
The second question is:
Is your daughter Jewish?
And same thing. Same answer. She is not any more Jewish than I am.
But it leaves me with a weird gasp in my throat because most of the times that people ask? There's a look on their faces. It's not a look I'm used to seeing because I present like an able-bodied, middle-income, white woman who is most likely Christian. And that look on most of these people's faces when they ask in person if I am Jewish? It's the face of bigotry.
It's not a face I like.
And it also makes me wonder why they ask? Why does it matter? Jewish people are not the only people who visit Israel or who live in Israel.
But that bigotry against them, and against the Palestinians is real and horrifying. Just look up #israel or #hamas on your favorite social media and you will see calls for death, for genocide. You will see death. You will see hate. And if you have a heart inside your chest, what you see will take away your hope or it will dent it, break off a piece of it.
And, yes, I know that I am lucky. I know that even though I grew up poor, I still grew up white in a country and world that still has glass ceilings and color barriers and hate crimes based on all sorts of things. I know that I can hide my biological differences. But just because I am lucky, doesn't make the bigotry okay. Bigotry is never okay. Demeaning other people, dehumanizing others because they believe differently, worship (or not) differently, vote for the opposite politicians you vote for (or don't vote at all), identify as a different gender than you, are feminists, are women, are gay or questioning or straight, are poor or wealthy, larger sized or smaller sized, are a different race or ethnicity or ability or income. None of that matters. Listen. We need to get to a place where we love people as people not as labels. We need to get to a place where someone like my daughter can visit another country because she simply wants to learn as much as she can about other cultures and experience as much as she can in the limited time she has on this earth.
Which leads me to the third question that was on my Facebook, a question that has been implied over and over again after Israel and Gaze began firing rockets and missiles at each other:
Carrie I love you (so please don't take it personal) but why would you even let Em go there? I know she's a free spirit and will most likely do whatever she wants, but wouldn't she also listen if her mom would tell her to go somewhere safe istead?
That comment was in response to my Facebook status, which said:
Em just texted me that sirens are going off. Then she texted she loved me. Now she is not responding. Must not freak out. Must not freak out. Must not freak out. I am totally freaking out.
The person who wrote that is a super lovely person, but the judgement in her question pretty much increased my blood pressure to dangerous levels. Seriously, I could feel my pulse in my head. That never happens to me. Not even after running or mountain climbing or arguing with my siblings.
And I responded like this:
I appreciate our concern NAME OF PERSON (I am not putting it here because she really is nice), however it has nothing to do with Emily being a free spirit. It has to do with her being an adult who is over the age of 18, who has a life to lead as she sees fit, not how I see fit. We discuss everything before she does it, but the choices are always hers, as they should be. She is a brilliant kid, a passionate advocate for human rights, resourceful as heck and calm in a crisis. When the other young adults she was with were freaking out, she was calming them down, cracking jokes, explaining military strategy, hugging the crying ones. I will never try to make her live her life according to my expectations of safety. Because if I did? She would do nothing. She would never ride in a car. She would never have been a flyer in cheerleading. She would not go to Harvard, which is in a city, which is more dangerous. She would have never log rolled or played soccer or taken Krav Maga or rode horses. She would never be able to enter the career paths she is considering. Yes, she sometimes choses to do dangerous things, but it is never for the sake of being dangerous. It is almost always for the sake of broadening her understanding of the word and/or helping others. I want my daughter to live the fullest, most well-traveled (if that's what she chooses), amazing life possible. Yes, I have to hold my breath sometimes because of her choices. I was a wreck when she cheered. I was a wreck when she hung upside down from a trampoline or jumped off a roof during stunt camp. It doesn't matter. It is her life. Not mine. Military parents (and spouses) go through this and much worse all the time. People need freedom to grow, to make choices, and not to be coddled.
I believe what I wrote, but the comment still rattled me. Actually, it still does. Why do we all think it's okay to judge other people so much and about so much?
We all, including me, need to understand where our judgmental attitudes come from. We need to practice empathy. We need to work towards understanding. No, I will never know what it is to be a man, to be transgender, to be a billionaire, to be Muslim, to be autistic, but I will know what it is like to be epileptic, female, victimized, assaulted, stalked, to live in a car, and to be poor. It's not all the same thing, but what is the same about us all is that we are all humans. We all can be loved. We all can love. We all feel. We all can respect. We can all be respected. We can all try a little bit harder not to live full of hate and instead live full of love.
And sure. We are going to screw up.
And sure. We are going to suck sometimes.
And sure. That will stink.
But it's part of the process, right? And that process has to be full of hope - hope to be better, kinder, hope to make the world less full of hate, bombs, dead children, trafficked women, murders, poverty, and war. We start with ourselves and simultaneously work on the bigger picture. Isn't that what being a person is about? I hope so. I really really hope so.
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By Linda Trice
Linda Trice and Walter Dean Myers at the annual African American Children’s Book Fair in Philadelphia.
Tributes have been posted mourning the passing of Walter Dean Myers’s unexpected death on July 1, 2014. Many heartfelt ones are from readers who believed that Walter’s work spoke directly to them, reflected their life, understood their pain and guided them towards a hopeful future. People ask what they can do in remembrance of him. Knowing Walter and having read his books, or heard him speak many know the answer–inspire kids to read. We must remind young people and the adults who guide them of the importance of reading.
Walter Dean Myers was the first African American chosen by the Library of Congress as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a two year appointment. He was also only the third person to receive this honor. His motto as ambassador for adults and kids was “Reading is not an option.” He told School Library Journal:
“As a young man, I saw families prosper without reading, because there were always sufficient opportunities for willing workers who could follow simple instructions. This is no longer the case. Children who don’t read are, in the main, destined for lesser lives. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to change this.” Publishers Weekly wrote that Walter believed that reading saved his life.
Walter was raised by two good Harlem people, Florence and Herbert Dean. Walter gave them copies of his books and sadly learned that his beloved dad hadn’t read them. He later discovered why. His father, like many Black men of his generation had never learned how to read.
Walter visited men and children in prisons while doing research for his award winning novel MONSTER. He realized that a huge percentage of them couldn’t read past an elementary school level. Some of them could barely read at all. He wondered how they could get a job when they were released. This knowledge resulted in prison literacy becoming one of his passions. Seeing the limitations of his father and those of kids in prisons helped shape Walter’s belief that the ability to read gives us power.
We should praise Walter and enjoy his books. Hopefully though many of us will reflect on Walter’s message and tell others: “Reading is not an option.” It is how we get power and a better future because in life reading is truly not optional.
Linda Trice is the author of Kenya’s Song (Charlesbridge Publishing). Visit her at www.LindaTrice.com.