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1. The Fourteen Fibs of Gregory K. for MMGM





The Fourteen Fibs of Gregory K. by Greg Pincus (ages 8 to 12, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, Sept 2013)

Source: I won this book from Deb Marshall at Read Write Tell. She reads a lot of MG, so go visit her soon.


Synopsis (from the publisher): Gregory K. is the middle child in a family of mathematical geniuses. But if he claimed to love math? Well, he'd be fibbing. What he really wants most is to go to Author Camp. But to get his parents' permission he's going to have to pass his math class, which has a probability of 0. THAT much he can understand! To make matters worse, he's been playing fast and loose with the truth: "I LOVE math" he tells his parents. "I've entered a citywide math contest!" he tells his teacher. "We're going to author camp!" he tells his best friend, Kelly. And now, somehow, he's going to have to make good on his promises.

Hilariously it's the "Fibonacci Sequence" -- a famous mathematical formula! -- that comes to the rescue, inspiring Gregory to create a whole new form of poem: the Fib! Maybe Fibs will save the day, and help Gregory find his way back to the truth.


Why I recommend it: This is a perfect back-to-school read. If your kids are groaning because summer's almost over, give them this book. They'll get so involved in Gregory's predicament they might even forget school is coming.

Gregory is a likable and realistic character. Whether or not math is your strong suit, you'll enjoy this. I did well in math, right up until Geometry, and then I earned my first-ever D. So I empathized completely with Gregory.

You'll also love the Fibs, the poems Gregory writes. Six lines, based on the beginning of the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8). You may even be inspired to write one of your own! Give it a try. I've written eight of them since I read the book. First line is 1 syllable, second line is 1 syllable, third is 2 syllables, fourth is 3 syllables, fifth is 5 syllables, sixth is 8 syllables. No need for rhyme, but rhyme if you want to.



And now for a special treat, here's an exclusive interview with Greg Pincus.

From Greg's blog, GottaBook


1) First of all, welcome to My Brain on Books! The story of how The Fourteen Fibs of Gregory K. became a book is an unusual and fascinating one. I understand Arthur A. Levine spoke to you about it before you actually wrote it. Can you tell us briefly how the novel came to be?
The novel definitely came about in an unusual fashion. I'd met Arthur at my very first SCBWI conference and had been submitting picture book manuscripts to him. My cover letters and follow-up letters, however, seemed to get a much better reaction than many manuscripts - they were funny, somewhat snarky, and, in retrospect, better writing than the picture books. Arthur felt that I should be writing novels. I kept sending him short stuff. Then in April of 2006, my blog and I went viral and into the New York Times, all due to poetry based on the Fibonacci sequence. Arthur saw this as an opportunity to combine various things we both liked - the tone of my letters, Fibonacci poetry, my other poetry, and his desire to have me write novels. We came up with the very broad idea of The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. on a phone call - there was no manuscript when I got the deal back in 2006 - and over time, it morphed and changed and revised itself into the final book. 

2) You're not only a poet and a middle grade novelist, you're also a screenwriter. In what ways did screenwriting help you craft this novel?
I found that screenwriting helped in terms of writing individual scenes - keeping multiple things happening and ending them before they've gone too far, in particular. I actually found my screenwriting to be a bit of a problem in terms of not always filling in the visual details of a scene. I mean, heck, it's all gonna be there on the screen, right? Uh... no. 

3) Do you have a writing routine? Outline or pantser? Morning or evening? Coffee or tea (or chocolate)?
I am a combination of outliner/pantser in the sense that I always do have an outline, but in areas where there's not much detail, I'm fine winging it. I write when there's time, and always have, but love bigger chunks of contiguous hours, so if my schedule looks like I'll get that in the evening, I'm an evening writer, but if there's only free time in the morning, I'm a morning writer.  And coffee and chocolate, of course!

4) Do you still write Fibs? Can you share a favorite one with us?
I do write Fibs as a kind of warm up session for myself (which is how I initially used them). The focused form truly helps me focus on word choice and the like. And I still find it VERY hard to come up with good ones. Still, one of my favorites remains A Beach Fib, posted over at my blog - http://gottabook.blogspot.com/2006/07/beach-fib.html. 


5) I LOVE A Beach Fib! Thanks so much for sharing. Greg, you're one of the founders of #kidlitchat. What would you like to tell my readers about it?

Even after five years on Twitter (a social media eon!), #kidlitchat is still going strong every Tuesday night at 9 PMEastern/6 PM Pacific. It's a fun, low-key way to hang out with some fellow children's literature lovers, get inspiration and resources, and make friends. Plus, when it really gets going, it can teach you just how fast you can read!


6) Please satisfy my curiosity: did you name your character after yourself? Is he you as a kid?

I had been writing a lot of individual poems, and many of them came out in the voice of the same kid. I had been writing the poems as "Gregory K." rather than Greg Pincus (or really, rather than Gregory K. Pincus which is what I'd been writing screenplays as). When Arthur and I discussed the book initially, we decided that the "poem voice kid" had a good perspective and the novel was going to be about a kid who wrote poetry. Then Arthur came up with The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. as a title (perhaps the only thing that remained from the first conversation to the final book!), and who could argue with that? He is definitely not me as a kid, nor is the book autobiographical!


Here's a post from Greg's blog, Gotta Book, about Fibs.
Find Greg on Twitter


Be creative, readers! Write a Fib and share it with us. Leave it in the comments (unless you're shy).

Here's one of mine:

Wet
leaf.
Spider
balances
between the raindrops.
Nature's tiniest acrobat.



For other MMGM recommendations, visit Shannon Messenger's blog.


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2. Agent Looking to Build List

siobhan-mcbride-literary-agentAbout Siobhan McBride at Serendipity Literary Agency:

Siobhan McBride grew up in the New York Hudson Valley and studied painting, drawing, and ceramics before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz.

She began her career in Publishing as an intern for the literary agency Objective Entertainment, and from there went on to work as a writer in the Editorial departments of various magazines including MovieMaker and Chronogram, before joining Serendipity Literary Agency in 2014.

Her passion for music and film led her to becoming the Music Editor of CriticalMob, eventually moving on to do freelance work with their parent company, Company Cue. Recently she has been tutoring young adults as a volunteer with 826NYC.

Siobhan looks forward to creating lasting relationships with her clients and wants to work closely with them to give life to the vision of their work. Holding positions on both sides of the editorial field gives her a strong grasp of what an audience is looking for and the knack to balance that with a writers’ artistic drive.

Siobhan is seeking voice driven narratives for Fiction, Memoir, or Non-Fiction. She has a strong interest in Literary and Gothic Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Adult Dystopian, Mystery/Crime, Historical, daring Young Adult, Thrillers and narratives with philosophical undertones. She say she gives bonus points if your thriller has a psychological bent. 

For Memoir and Nonfiction titles, she seeks Investigative, True Crime, and dark/bizarre History. Siobhan enjoys the dark, macabre aspects of life where paranormal fiction and horror are viewed an under appreciated art forms deeply rooted in psychology, and looks for authors unafraid to delve into these inner workings of the human psyche.

How to submit: Visit the submissions page on Serendipity’s website: serendipitylit.com. You can direct your submission directly to Siobhan by requesting her in the body of the submission form. The average response time is 4-6 weeks.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Looking for Clients, Serendipity Literary Agency, Siobhan McBride

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3. Rebel Light Canadian Publisher

REBELIGHT_LOGO_4C

Submission Guidelines

What we want:

  • Manuscripts for middle grade, young adult and new adult novels
  • Well written and edited stories of any genre with riveting plots, dynamic and developing protagonists and antagonists we love to hate.
  • Work from Canadian writers that appeals to a worldwide market.

 Emerging writers and experienced authors welcome! Published authors, feeling stuck writing in one genre for your publisher and want to try something new? We are all ears.

What we don’t want:

Holiday stories • Graphic novels • Poetry • Short stories • Illustrations • Picture books • Non-fiction • Erotica • Previously published work (including self-published works)

Some helpful hints:

  • Have your manuscript edited by a third party who has a strong understanding of writing for young people. Your mother does not count, unless her name is J.K. Rowling.
  • A couple helpful reads: Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson and  Writing Great Books For Young Adults by Regina L. Brooks.
  • Your work has a better chance of serious consideration if it is presented in a professional manner, so please follow our submission guidelines below.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Rebelight Publishing Inc. is environmentally friendly and accepts emailed submissions only. Mailed submissions will be shredded and not responded to, a waste of your money (& trees).

In the body of the email (for security reasons attachments will not be opened), your submission should include:

  1. A one-page query letter
  2. Your author CV
  3. A one-page synopsis
  4. The first three chapters of your manuscript.
  • The email subject line should read as follows: “Submission – Your First Name Your Last Name, Manuscript Title.”
  • Do not send more than one manuscript at a time.
  • Address all emails, “Dear Editor:” (Yes, this goes against most advice given to writers… it’s OK. If your manuscript is accepted you’ll be introduced to your editor.)
  • We accept simultaneous submissions, however, as a courtesy, please let us know if your manuscript has been accepted elsewhere.
  • Should we request a full manuscript, it must be submitted in standard 8.5 x 11” format, typed in Times Roman 12 pt font and double-spaced. Submit as a Microsoft Word file.

Submissions are usually processed within three (3) months. Please do not contact us any sooner about your submission. Due to the volume of submissions, we cannot provide editorial comments on manuscripts. Email submissions to: editor@rebelight.com You’ve worked hard and shown perseverance to get a manuscript ready for submission. We look forward to hearing from you.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, publishers, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Canadian writers, email sumissions, Rebel Light, submission guidelines

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4. CURIOSITY by Gary Blackwood for MMGM





Curiosity by Gary Blackwood (April 2014, Dial, for ages 9 to 13)

Source: library

Synopsis (from the publisher): Philadelphia, PA, 1835. Rufus, a twelve-year-old chess prodigy, is recruited by a shady showman named Maelzel to secretly operate a mechanical chess player called the Turk. The Turk wows ticket-paying audience members and players, who do not realize that Rufus, the true chess master, is hidden inside the contraption. But Rufus’s job working the automaton must be kept secret, and he fears he may never be able to escape his unscrupulous master. And what has happened to the previous operators of the Turk, who seem to disappear as soon as Maelzel no longer needs them? 

Why I recommend it: The Philadelphia connection drew me in (I was born in Philadelphia, as was my father and, in fact, both of his parents), but then I kept reading because, hey, it's Gary Blackwood (The Shakespeare Stealer) and he's a master of historical fiction filled with intrigue and atmosphere. What the synopsis doesn't tell you: first, Rufus is handicapped (but never makes a big deal out of it), and second, this novel is loosely based on true events. Johann Nepomuk Maelzel was a real person, the Turk was an actual invention in the age of steam, and Edgar Allan Poe (who plays a cameo here) really did write an essay about Maelzel's chess-playing automaton.

For links to other MMGM posts, visit Shannon's blog.


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5. Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner for MMGM



Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner (Sept 2013, Walker Childrens, for ages 10 to 14)

Source: purchased from B&N

Synopsis (from the publisher):

Four kids . . . 

Two weeks in the Florida Everglades . . . 

One top-secret science experiment that could change them and the world as they know it . . . 

Meet Quentin, a middle-school football star from Chicago; Sarah, a hockey player from Upstate New York; Ben, a horse lover from the Pacific Northwest; and Cat, an artistic bird watcher from California.

The four have little in common except the head injuries that landed them in an elite brain-science center in the wild swamps of Florida. It’s known as the best clinic in the world and promises to return their lives to normal, but as days pass, the kids begin to notice strange side effects and unexplained changes


Why I recommend it: Wake Up Missing is a fascinating combination of futuristic science and old-fashioned adventure and mystery in the Florida swamps. The way the author managed to stir in traumatic brain injuries, a one-eyed alligator, a man who collects butterflies, and four kids from diverse backgrounds (and then season it all with a dash of political intrigue) makes for one remarkable dish. As an adult reader, I found the doctor's experiments a little far-fetched, but I could see my ten-year-old self eating this up. 

You might recognize Kate Messner as the author of the Marty McGuire series of younger chapter books (yay! I love Marty McGuire!), and from Capture the Flag and other novels.

Have you read Wake Up Missing? What did you think? And if you haven't read it, what recent mystery/adventure would you recommend?


Kate Messner's website

Follow Kate on Twitter


For other MMGM posts, see Shannon's links.

(Speaking of missing... I'll be missing from the blogging world for the next few weeks. I'll be back on Monday, August 18th. Hoping to finish a much-needed revision on my latest novel.)

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6. Free Fall Friday – Results – Jenny Bent

patricia Pinsk summer_pinsk_02
This Goldilocks illustration was sent in by Patricia Pinsk. It was done as a paper collage with ink, watercolour, digital textures. Her work includes multi-media drawing, illustration, photography, glass-work, sculpture as well as Web-based graphics for the corporate world. Website: http://www.patriciapinsk.com Twitter: @PatriciaPinsk

Below are the first page critiques done by literary agent, Jenny Bent. We can all learn a lot from what Jenny had to say.

Deena Graves – TERRAZA – Young Adult

Pizza sauce, garlic, and beer did not mix. Not when all three meshed, creating a gag-inducing stench in the faded black fibers of my Perky Pepper T-shirt. Dixie would shoot me dead for sure. The last time I came home from the pizza shop smelling like a garbage disposal, she threatened to hose me down in the front yard before I’d “ever step one soiled foot” into her home.

Shrugging into my fleece jacket, I ignored the stink of my shirt and shoved my dark-framed glasses back up my nose. I scowled down at my beat-up Mongoose and the flat tire forcing me to walk my happy ass home.

“Hey, Luc!” a voice called from behind. I kept walking, stealing a quick glance over my shoulder. Max jogged toward me, holding up the sides of his pants. I snorted. If he didn’t wear them so low, maybe the stupid things would stay up.

“Wait up, man,” he panted, pulling up beside me. “You know bikes were designed to be ridden, right?” Max eyed my flat and sucked in a breath. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” I tossed him the souvenir I’d found wedged in the rubber tread. “And they ride better when the tires aren’t shredded.”

He inspected the chunk of weird black glass about the size of a half-dollar, tossing it from hand to hand. It weighed next to nothing, and no thicker than my pinkie, but its wicked, chiseled edge had almost cut my finger trying to dislodge it. “This was in your tire?”

I nodded. “I bet it was Manager Mike, the douche nugget.” I scowled out at the dark, Edison Square of squat, brick buildings. The stretch of small-town antique shops, specialty clothing stores, and trendy eateries had long since closed for the night. A brisk October wind cut through my fleece jacket.

HERE IS JENNY BENT:

Terraza

Lively voice which is great, I’m seeing too many flat voices in YA contempt these days. Not sure the voice is always completely authentic– “gag-inducing stench” doesn’t feel to me something like a teenaged boy would say. I did like the voice overall however. And line by line the writing is strong here.

I would like to see this author push themselves a little more to write a really “wow” first page. The skill level is there. But I am not sure from reading this that the book is beginning at the right point. I like the hint of mystery that someone sabotaged his bike. But the writer is starting with a conversation, which can be a tricky way to start a book, particularly when the conversation is not necessarily a very interesting or illuminating one.

I would try instead to either start in a place that is a bigger moment for the character or a place with perhaps more emotion for the character.

Alternatively, the author could perhaps have the character show/feel a little more here. What is his mental state as the story opens? We don’t know, beyond annoyed, and I’d like a little more on that. What is his general frame of mind as the story opens? What is he thinking about as he leaves work, is there anything significant on his mind? How does he feel about his friend Max beyond the thought about his pants, I can’t tell. If the author gave us more access to thoughts/feelings, we could get a better sense of him right away. Also, perhaps these two could banter a little more and we could get a sense of their personalities and relationship that way. Right now their conversation isn’t that interesting. It’s there to convey information about the bike, some of which we know already (there’s a flat tire) but it should serve more purpose than that–it should also illuminate character and it should also entertain. And is there a different way he could react to the flat tire? Something funny or unusual that would really intrigue the reader?

And finally, I would love the author push him/herself a little more with the opening line. The opening line to a book should be the best sentence the author has ever written. It doesn’t have to be necessarily super action-packed or dramatic, but it should instantly intrigue, or amuse, or create thought. I fear that this one is a bit of a throw-away.

__________________________________________________________

Helen Landalf – CLEO – YA novel 

The minute I slither into my sequined tank, Joan starts to disappear. I yank it down to show a little cleavage, slide on my black lace over-the-elbow gloves, and she fades even more. Then I squeeze into a pair of velvet leggings that hug her queen-size thighs, top them off with a flirty skirt, and step into my red stilettos. She’s almost gone.

“Joan,” comes Mom’s voice from outside the bedroom door. “Are you in there, honey?”

Elizabeth Taylor, in her Cleopatra gown and headdress, gazes down at me from the poster above my dresser. Ignore her, she seems to say. You’ve got work to do.

I glance at my phone, but there’s no text from Matt. Grabbing the bottle of foundation, I slather the cold, sweet-smelling liquid along my skin. The little potholes left over from Joan’s acne outbreak back in middle school? Gone. Next comes blush, the soft brush whispering glitter and bone structure onto Joan’s chipmunk cheeks, followed by eyeliner that sweeps into a dramatic V at my temples, adding flair and width to Joan’s squinty eyes. I glance up at the poster again and paint it thick and black, just like Liz’s.

The doorknob wiggles. “Joan?” Mom says.

“Be out in a sec.” I fluff my limp brown hair to create the illusion of fullness and then dim the lights on my makeup mirror. Leaning forward, I suck in my cheeks and survey my work. Not bad. All I need now is a dab of lipstick, and my transformation will be complete.

Just as I’m snatching up the tube of Burgundy Plum, the Lady Gaga ringtone blares from my phone.

“Hi, Matt,” I say. “Hang on, I’m coming.”

HERE IS JENNY BENT:

CLEO:

This is another one with strong writing that could have a stronger opening line. For inspiration, here’s a link to 20 great opening lines in YA fiction:

http://www.epicreads.com/blog/20-amazing-opening-lines-in-ya/

I like the concept here that we are watching someone’s transformation. And there is a great use of physical detail here. But again, as with the last critique, there’s not enough information about this character’s state of mind as this is happening. I want to know more about her and I’m not getting anything about her personality from this–all I’m getting is physical characteristics and perhaps that she is pretty hard on herself about the way she looks.

I love the part where the poster of Elizabeth Taylor seems to talk to her, that gives this a little edge that it really needs. But let me learn more even about this character from her inner thoughts or her dialogue, make every line really work. Maybe she could say something funnier or more interesting to Matt? To her mom? Think something interesting while she is doing this that lets me know something about her or her state of mind while she is doing this? Why does she need to transform? What about transforming makes her feel strong or special? Why does she love Elizabeth Taylor?

I think adding this level of detail and characterization, as well as working on the opening lines, will give this already strong first page some extra added oomph. Remember that you never have much time to hook the reader and focus on making this character as vivid and lively as possible.

_________________________________________________________

Mieke Zamora-Mackay               SHADOW                                     Young Adult

The hall is buzzing. Not the usual humdrum of the first hour of school. It’s a serious buzzing. Whispers about someone. Murmurs about something that’s happened.

In the woods…

Junkie…

Huffing…

Dead…

These are the words that float above the din.   No one looks my way, but there’s enough space for me to walk through the sea of bodies. I’m used to it. Everyone always walks around me, like I’m encased in some bubble. Protecting their personal space, they’re probably afraid that if they brush up against me, I’ll know everything they keep hidden inside. See into their dark hearts and thoughts, their misdeeds, acts of violence and carnal desires. It comes with being the daughter of a self-proclaimed medium; the local town kook.

The truth is, I don’t know any of their secrets. I don’t see anything they have to hide. Instead, I see spirits, ghosts – lost souls.

I see the part of every person that has left their physical body. Usually, they’re just trying to find their way home, or revisiting a part of their life they wish to say goodbye to. Some just really don’t know what’s happened to them.

I reckon that’s how the fresh one walking in my direction is feeling.

I keep my eyes down low. I don’t want him to catch me looking. He’ll know instantly that I can see him, and that won’t do. Lost spirits are never up to any good. The fact that they don’t have a clue about what’s happened to them in the first place is an indication of that. And this one’s got trouble written all over him.

HERE IS JENNY BENT:

SHADOW

I like this one a lot! The voice is strong, the first line is good and the opening page shows us a lot of information about this person and their place in the world of the school without “telling” us too much. There’s a real attitude to the writing, which I like. I also like that the author sets up the character and tells us about who she is in an interesting way and then starts right into the action. It’s great that she sees this particular dead person and immediately forms an opinion about him that is intriguing to the reader. I want to read more because I want to know more about this ghost and why he’s trouble and what will happen between these two. I also like that the writer starts at a moment of interest in the action–the school is buzzing about something–what is it? And then he/she gives us a lot of information about the character by telling us that she’s an outcast–everyone is buzzing about something, but she wouldn’t know because no one tells her anything. This is a more interesting way of showing us something about her rather than simply telling us that she’s an outcast. There are plenty of question marks to keep us reading but enough information is provided that we don’t feel confused, which is an essential balance.

If the writer wanted to go a little further, she could give us a little more info about the particular state of mind that this character is in as the book opens, or how she feels about the fact that she is an outcast, but overall this is a very strong opening page indeed.

_________________________________________________________

Peter McCleery       THE STAND-IN           Contemporary Middle Grade

Middle-school is a lot like prison. There is a precise routine and schedule overseen by an all-powerful warden (the principal). There are authority figures who roam the halls and enforce strict rules (guards/teachers). You are allotted a certain time and place to eat grub. There’s a Supermax cell block for repeat offenders (detention). There’s even a rec yard and communal showers. And, of course, there is a very specific hierarchy of cliques and social groups among the inmates. You better know who you can trust and who you can’t.

In my line of work, I can’t trust anyone. If this were prison instead of Glenview Middle School I’d be called a Fixer. The guy who runs the black market. I like to think of myself as a businessman. Or entrepreneur, if you want to be fancy about it. I sell things to the inmate-students that make their 3-year stint here a bit more comfortable. At a fair price, of course. In prison, a fixer deals in cigarettes and shivs. Here, I deal in contraband junk food and fake doctor notes. Now, some of these things may or may not be “appropriate” or “legal” per se, but they do fill a need. I provide a valuable service. There is supply. There is demand. And there’s good, ol’ Digby Fisher in between making a little money. Is that so wrong?

The answer is no, by the way.

Shortly after my mom and I moved to Glenview (which should just be called The Affluent Town of Glenview because that’s always how they describe it the newspaper.) I knew I had a good thing. These kids get more allowance money than my mom gets in her paycheck. One day the vending machine went out of order (I had nothing to do with it, I swear! Just a lucky coincidence.) It just so happened that my mom was doing a Costco run that day. I added a few items to the shopping list. Snack-size Doritos, gum, M&Ms. The next day I sat next to the broken vending machine with a backpack full of snacks and sold out before third period. I provided a needed service. In many ways I was a hero. After maintenance fixed the machine

HERE IS JENNY BENT:

THE STAND-IN

I love the idea of this one and this is a good first page in that it has tons of voice and sets up an interesting, resourceful character that the reader will want to spend time with. However, to my ear, the voice was a little older than middle-grade at times, slotting into that awkward 14/15 year old territory, and in the second paragraph maybe even more 16. Examples of places I would loosen the voice are, “precise routine and schedule overseen ” and “a very specific hierarchy of cliques and social groups” – phrases like this feel a little formal for the target market. The age issue might just be because of Digby’s very in-depth knowledge of how a prison runs, even down to knowing the word shiv. It left me wondering whether he knew someone in prison or just watched a lot of old movies. The opening has a journal feel to it, but I would lose the direct talking to the reader halfway down as this can pull you out of the story. I liked some of the examples of the things Digby can source, like doctor’s notes, and the story about how this ‘job’ started was short enough not to feel like too much up front backstory, although I’d hope the present day plot starts on the next page, with the inciting incident following shortly after.
________________________________________________________________

Thank you Jenny for sharing your time and expertise with us. Your advice is invaluable.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, demystify, inspiration, Middle Grade Novels, Process, revisions, Young Adult Novel Tagged: First Page Critique, Free Fall Friday - Results, Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency

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7. Agent Looking for Clients

Alexander SlaterAlexander Slater from the Trident Media Group is looking to build his client list.

When asked how he became an agent at Trident, concentrating in the expanding children’s, middle grade and young adult businesses, Alex simply replies, “It was only natural.” While karma is not an established business concept,  it is clear that Alex’s career arc led him in this happy direction.

Start with Alex’s love of fiction, and in particular the stories that captivate the minds and imaginations of young people, from those so young that books are read to them, to young adults who get captivated by creative fiction. “I love to let myself go, and become the reader, whether the story is directed at a ten-year-old or a teenager,” says Alex.

Next is Alex’s experience at Trident, where he has been since 2010. He became a very successful agent representing the company’s children, middle grade and young adult authors in many licensing arrangements in the global marketplace for translation and in the English language in the U.K., having placed books with publishers in dozens of countries. Alex was Trident’s representative at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy, as well as the broader-based London and Frankfurt book fairs. His experience in representing fiction in these areas showed him what elements in stories work well, and how to maximize the value of what an author has created.

He is now building his list domestically at Trident, while keeping his focus on these areas.  As a Foreign Rights Agent, he sold international rights for authors such as R.J. Palacio, Louis Sachar, Jessica Sorensen, L.J. Smith, Rebecca Donovan, and many others.

Alex’s plan is to, “Look for stories that will rise above the rest with characters that will be remembered well past childhood, with the potential to cross over to other media and formats,” such as programming, games, motion pictures and merchandise. “Trident is the leader on taking advantage of the latest opportunities presented by changing technology,” says Alex, and, “I will be there to help make the latest innovations happen for my authors.”

“I believe that the most successful writers have a bit of the dreamer in them.” And Alex passionately believes that he can help turn their dreams into reality.

What Alexander is looking for: Alexander is interested in children’s, middle grade, and young adult fiction and nonfiction, from new and established authors.  As he says, “I’m looking for projects that will rise above the rest…characters you’ll remember well past childhood…books that translate well to film because within them contain incredible stories, not because they’re the latest trend.”  He particularly loves authors like Frank Portman, Jim Shepard, Jenny Han, and Rainbow Rowell.

How to submit: Send a query letter, pasted in the body of the email, to aslater [at] TridentMediaGroup.com. Your query should include only a paragraph about yourself, a brief plot pitch, and your contact information. Please do not send a manuscript or proposal until you have been requested to do so.

Follow him on Twitter: @abuckslater.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Alexander Slater, Trident Literary

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8. Screaming at the Ump by Audrey Vernick for MMGM, plus An Interview!



Screaming at the Ump by Audrey Vernick (ages 9 to 13, Clarion Books, March 2014)

Source: I won this book from Rosi Hollinbeck, who blogs at The Write Stuff. Go visit! She has a lot of cool stuff on there.

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Twelve-year-old Casey Snowden knows everything about being an umpire. His dad and grandfather run a New Jersey umpire school, Behind the Plate, and Casey lives and breathes baseball. Casey's dream, however, is to be a reporter--objective, impartial, and fair, just like an ump. 

But when he stumbles upon a sensational story involving a former major league player in exile, he finds that the ethics of publishing it are cloudy at best. This emotionally charged coming-of-age novel about baseball, divorce, friendship, love, and compassion challenges its readers to consider all the angles before calling that strike.

Why I recommend it:  Well, yes, I grew up with baseball. Some of my earliest memories include chasing fireflies around my backyard while my parents listened to the Phillies game on the radio. As a teen, I went to a lot of home games and knew all the players and their stats. 

Surprisingly, though, I'm not much of a baseball fan now. Yet I still loved this book. Whether or not you love baseball, you'll enjoy reading Screaming At The Ump, especially for Casey's authentic voice and the wackiness of his best friend, Zeke. 

The title gets my vote for Best Title So Far This Year. There's a lot of humor here, not just boy humor. But then the book goes deeper, which is what I love most about it. Vernick deftly handles not only Casey's feelings about his parents' divorce, but about the former major league player who shows up at Behind the Plate under a different name. Casey's struggle over doing what's right will resonate with the reader. This is one of those books you'll think about long after you've turned the last page.



And now for a special treat: an interview with Audrey Vernick!


Audrey Vernick, from her website



1) I know you're a baseball fan and have also written some nonfiction picture books about baseball (Brothers at Bat; She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story). What made you decide to write a novel about umpire school?

Long before there was instant replay in baseball, probably about seven years ago, there was one postseason in which the umpires got a lot of important calls wrong, calls that changed the outcome of games. Talk radio was buzzing with it. It made me wonder how umpires became major-league umpires. A little quick research revealed that they have to go to umpire school--there are two in Florida and all major league umpires started there. (Who knew?) I found it really intriguing, the mere fact that umpire schools exist.

Combine that fact with this:  I have a tendency to write too "quiet," to like character-driven work, which editors point out makes it hard for a title to stand out on their list. Knowing this about my writing self, I thought using an unusual setting might be enough to allow for a less-than-shocking-at-every-turn kind of plot. I don't enjoy reading plot-driven fiction, and I don't think I could even write it if I wanted to. Writing a book that takes place in an umpire school felt like it would give me a chance to write the kind of book I enjoy writing that might be publishable.


2) Well, you certainly hit it out of the ballpark with this one, Audrey. Could you tell us a little about your journey to becoming a published author? Did you start out writing picture books? If so, how difficult was the transition to middle grade novels?

Before I wrote for kids, I wrote literary short fiction. I published about a dozen stories in literary journals and magazines. I lived through the skin-hardening years of rejection then, for the most part. I switched to writing for children over a decade ago and the first book I wrote, Bark and Tim: A True Story of Friendship, was co-written with my sister Ellen Gidaro. It was an odd book, in that the illustrations kind of had to be the paintings of the artist Tim Brown, whom the book was about, so there we were--submitting a book complete with illustrations, the exact-wrong way to begin. It took a very long time to find a publisher--a small regional press in Tennessee. That book was published in 2003. My next book for children came out in 2010. I point to those seven years as my real learning curve.

There came a point where I wanted an agent to handle the submission side of things. There were so many fewer agents then than there are now, and the common thinking was that one needed to catch an agent's attention with a novel. Also, as the graduate of an mfa writing program, I always knew I'd have to write a novel SOME day. So I wrote my first one, Water Balloon. It was called Dandelion Summer then. It was hard. And I think writing novels is so hard. I remember the very tentative steps I took in the beginning, writing a chapter or two and needing to send it to a reader-friend right away, asking, "Is this how you do it?" The hard part, of course, is to keep doing it. When I had a finished, revised draft I found an agent and she submitted it widely and failed to sell it. It wasn't until many years later, working with my current (second) agent, that I decided to pull it out of the drawer and give it another try. I revised with an eye toward making it less quiet--not a lot less quiet, but enough. And I was lucky that the book found its meant-to-be editor, Jennifer Greene, at Clarion.

I find the process of writing picture books comes naturally to me. I have to work much harder on novels.


3) Oh, I agree. Writing novels IS hard! I'd love to hear about your writing process. Do you outline the entire novel before you write or are you a pantser? Or a little of both? Do you write every day?

Oh heavens, I have no real process. Over the years, I've learned to trust that when it's time to write, I'll write. (This could be classified, accurately, as deciding that it's okay to be undisciplined and possibly a little lazy). I do not outline, but I do like to have some idea about how my story will end, so I have a direction to write in/toward. I do not write every day. I go through patches when I work a lot--usually on several different projects. And when drafting novels, I usually have several 8,000-10,000 word days--awful words, to be clear, but words, to move me along, otherwise I'd never be able to do it. When I'm somewhere between halfway and two-thirds done, I usually try to come up with a list of scenes that will get me to the finish line. And I don't always write those in order.

My advice is to not conduct one's writing life the way I conduct mine.

4) I think you're doing just fine, Audrey. Everyone's writing process is different. Please tell us: what three MG authors have influenced you the most?
Three. Hm. Maybe I can do this. I can never pick a single favorite anything, but three?

My mom, Judy Glassman, wrote a wonderful middle grade novel, The Morning Glory War, which was accepted for publication a few months before she died (a sudden, unexpected death).
Lynne Rae Perkins wrote the book I wish I wrote in All Alone in the Universe.
Louise Fitzhugh, because I've probably reread Harriet the Spy more than any other book.


5) I’m so sorry to hear that about your mom, but how wonderful that you have her book. And I totally agree about Louise Fitzhugh! Now I'd better read All Alone in the Universe. For my final question: i
f you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Because one has to factor in how close one's family and friends would be, I think I'm pretty content to stay right here. A little over an hour outside of NYC (without traffic, as in, in a world that doesn't exist), very short drive to the beach, short drive to family.
Lucky you! Thanks so much for being here, Audrey!


Audrey's website

Find Audrey on Twitter

For other MMGM recommendations, see the links on Shannon's blog.

 


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9. Agent Looking to Build List

Leon Husock – Associate Agent at L. Perkins Agency.

leonlperkinsPrior to joining the L. Perkins Agency, Leon was an associate agent at Anderson Literary Management. He has a BA in Literature from Bard College and attended the Columbia Publishing Course.

Leon is actively building his client list.

He has a particular interest in science fiction & fantasy, young adult and middle-grade novels filled with strong characters and original premises, but keeps an open mind for anything that catches his eye. 

He is also looking for historical fiction set in the 20th century, particularly the 1980s or earlier.

He is not interested in non-fiction at this time.

Email: leon@lperkinsagency.com

Follow him on Twitter: @leonhusock

How to submit:

Please email a query letter containing the following:

  • brief synopsis
  • Your bio
  • The first five pages from your novel or book proposal in the body of your email.

Please keep in mind:

  • Attachments will not be opened unless specifically requested.
  • We only accept email queries. We do not accept queries by snail mail, phone or social media. All snail mail queries will be discarded unopened.
  • Please only query one agent at this agency. They will only consider one manuscript from one writer at a time to one agent at a time. If you have written more than one manuscript, choose the one you think is the most promising and pitch that. Do not pitch them all.
  • We have a strict NO MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS policy within the agency, so please be sure to only submit to one of us. (Though simultaneous submissions to other agencies are expected.) We work together closely, often passing projects along to other members of the team.

Send to leon [at] lperkinsagency.com.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent looking for MG and YA, Agent Looking to Build List, L Perkins Agency, Leon Husock, Sci-fi and fantasy and historical

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10. Backstory Basics

Businesswoman lifting heavy elephantBackstory can be essential to understanding a character and his/her journey. It can deepen conflict, reveal motivation and elicit sympathy for a hero or secondary character.

But…

Nothing can kill pacing faster than an info-dump of backstory, especially in the first half of a novel.  So when and how best to include it?

Here are 5 tips on how to artfully weave backstory into a middle grade or YA novel:

  1. Hint at your character’s backstory early on, but hold off on revealing it until the information is crucial for readers – or characters – to know.
  2. Reveal it piecemeal. Instead of an extended flashback, pick 2 or 3 key moments you can drop in here and there in small chunks – a sentence or two at a time, rather than paragraphs. This allows your reader to play detective and piece the clues together to form the whole picture.
  3. Have it be activated by something sensory – a sight, smell, sound, taste or feeling. These are powerful memory triggers, and can connect a present experience to a past one, making the details of the backstory feel more germane.
  4. Put it in a moment of interiority. (This only works if you are writing in 1st or close 3rd person, of course.)
  5. Reveal it in as few words as possible, artfully chosen. How many of those lyrical details do you really need? Let go of the writerly padding, no matter how much you love the imagery, and focus on the details that move the story forward. Young readers are less interested in backstory than they are in forward moving action.

For more writing and revision tips and tools such as this, take one of my home-study writing courses – Just Write for Kids, Just Write for Middle Grade or Just Write for Young Adults.

Visit: http://justwritechildrensbooks.com for details.

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11. Catching up on middle grade -- Part 2

Back in March, I wrote about catching up on some worthy middle grade gems from 2012 and 2013.

Well, there are plenty more books on my TBR list clamoring for my attention. Like toddlers. And this is what they're shouting:

       "Pick me up."

       "No, no, me! Pick me up instead."

       "Don't listen to them. Over here. Me me me!"

Which one do you listen to? How do you decide to read Book A before Book B or Book C? Sometimes, of course, it's a question of finding them in the library. Or if you're lucky, you win a copy. :)

Sometimes, you just have to buy the book that's pestering you. But unless you've won the lottery, you can't afford to buy them all. Times like this I miss working in a bookstore, where I had thousands of ARCs vying for my attention. I still couldn't read them all, though I certainly tried. Back then, I read quickly, and I read as a bookseller.

Now, I go to the library and I try to read as a writer.

Here are three more worthy novels from 2013 you should add to your TBR list (yes, I'm evil that way!). Bonus: they're all historical fiction, about different time periods in American history.

Synopses: from the publishers (edited slightly for brevity).


Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine (for ages 9 to 12, Scholastic, Sept 2013)

It's 1972 and life will never be the same for Red Porter. He's growing up around black car grease, white fence paint, and the backward attitudes of the folks who live in his hometown, Stony Gap, Virginia. 

Red's daddy, his idol, has just died, leaving Red and Mama with some hard decisions and a whole lot of doubt. Should they sell the Porter family business, a gas station, repair shop, and convenience store rolled into one? 

When Red discovers the injustices that have been happening in Stony Gap since before he was born, he's faced with unsettling questions about his family's legacy.

Why I recommend it: I loved Red; he's a realistic, flawed and yet likable character. Writers, read this one to learn about character growth.




Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper (ages 10 and up, Margaret K. McElderry Books, August 2013)

On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can only take a bow and arrows, his tomahawk and the metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is ten when his father dies, but he knows the friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren't as accepting. John's friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

Why I recommend it: Ghost Hawk is a unique look at our nation's early history. Writers, read this one for her mastery of description! (Note: Because this is the real history you don't often hear about, there is some shocking violence.)





Every Day After by Laura Golden (for ages 9 to 12, Delacorte Books for Young Readers, June 2013)

It's been two months since Lizzie's daddy disappeared due to the awful Depression. Lizzie's praying he'll return to Bittersweet, Alabama for her birthday. It won't feel special without him, what with Lizzie's Mama being so sad she won't even talk and the bank nipping at their heels for the mortgage payment.

As time passes, Lizzie can only picture her daddy's face by opening her locket. If others can get by, why did her daddy leave? If he doesn't return, how can she overcome the same obstacles that drove him away?

Why I recommend it: For some reason, I can't get enough of books about the Depression (Moon Over Manifest being a favorite). Writers, read this touching and inspiring novel for the voice.


How do you handle your TBR list?


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12. Agent Looking for New Clients

ReneeHeadshotvivid-sq-300x300kt literary is a full-service literary agency operating out of Highlands Ranch, in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where every major publishing house is merely an email or phone call away. We believe in the power of new technology to connect writers to readers, and authors to editors. We bring over a decade of experience in the New York publishing scene, an extensive list of contacts, and a lifetime love of reading to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Renee Nyen: Several years in the editorial department at Random House’s Colorado division provided Renee with the opportunity to work with bestselling and debut authors alike. After leaving Random House, she came to KT Literary in early 2013. Drawing on her editorial experience, she loves digging into manuscripts and helping the author shape the best story possible. Though this is great for her profession, it tends to frustrate people watching movies with her. You can follow her on twitter @Renee_Nyen.

She is interested in: Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction. “I’m always interested in YA historical fiction, mystery, sci-fi, and thrillers, but genre is not as important to me as strong prose and compelling characters.”

Submission Guidelines: Please submit a query letter with the first three pages of your manuscript pasted in the email to queries (at) ktliterary.com.

With a penchant for depressing hipster music and an abiding love for a good adventure story, Renee is always looking for book recommendations. Even if that means creeping on people reading in public. Which she does frequently.

She makes her home in Colorado with her husband, their young daughter, and their hygienically-challenged basset hound.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Renee Nyen, kt literary, Middle grade Books, Young Adult Books

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13. blog hop tour hops to frog on dime

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Blog Hop is a blog tour showcasing authors and their writing process. I was honored to be tagged by Kristin Lenz, writer of YA and New Adult novels, and all around super fly, groovy chick. (Thank you, Kristin for inviting me!) I tagged another YA writer extraordinaire, Ann Finkelstein, for the next leg of the Blog Hop. You can learn more about Ann at the close of this post.

So, here we go with the Q & A portion of our program.
I hope you are grading on a curve. (And remember, I was promised there would be NO math problems.)

What am I working on now?
I just finished my second contemporary middle grade novel, SHORT CHANGED, at the end of May. Thankfully, as I was wrapping up novel two, ideas for middle grade number three began to percolate. Did I mention Ray, the main character of this novel, is forcing me to learn to knit because he likes to knit? He takes his protagonist role very seriously. I don’t want to disappoint him.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
It has my voice. What would be the point of imitating anyone else? We already have a Jerry Spinelli and Sharon Creech. I like to blend humor with tenderness (tempered with enough references to boogers or puke to make it believable and boy-friendly).

Why do I write what I do?
Writing middle grade is a sweet spot for me–readers are still young enough to appreciate my dorky sense of humor, but sophisticated enough to handle more complex plot lines, language and themes. But I don’t have to write any “content.” (blushing) I know. I know. I’m such a ninny.

How does my writing process work?
First off, you should know, I never ever intended to write a novel, much less two, going on three. I remember showing my grandpa one of my published magazine stories. He said, “That’s good, Vick. Now, where’s your novel?” I told him flat-out, “I’m not a novelist. There’s no novel in me.” (See? Such a ninny I am.) It wasn’t until a friend asked me to collaborate on a novel with him that I ever thought to attempt such a crazy thing. I mean, novel writing was for, sheesh, I don’t know–novelists. But I reasoned that before I co-wrote a novel, maybe I’d better see if I’m capable of creating a one on my own. And so it began.

My first middle grade novel, SHRINK, germinated from a short scene based on a childhood memory. The story took on a life of its own as I began to ask why–why did the main character say that? Why does he feel this way? Why did he make that decision? To whom is he telling his story? And why? Because I was neon green at novel hatching, I pretty much let the characters run the show, which meant I had a lot of clean up to do on the back side. (Kids are not known for their logic or consistency you know.) I still love the characters in that first novel and even miss them when I see a real-world kid who looks like one of them. I must have done something right.

My second novel was inspired by a stupid idea. I thought it would be clever and ironic to write a novel with the title SHORT STORY. But that, I was wisely advised, would get way too confusing. So, I changed the title to SHORT CHANGED, but kept the basic story. I tried writing this novel on my own, like the first one, while trying to avoid the rookie pitfalls. But eventually, I opted to enroll in a novel-writing course through the Institute of Children’s Literature. The individualized instruction and the built-in deadlines helped me progress. I’d recommend taking an ICL class. If you want to know more, just let me know via my contact page and I’ll get right back to you.

My third novel is unfolding very differently. I want to plot and plan and outline before fully immersing myself in this novel. I am gathering articles and ideas too. And, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve got to take those knitting lessons. I’m also going to “interview” each of my characters in order to create character sketches. I treat characters like they are already fully-formed people. It’s my job to get to know them and create a world for them to live in and circumstances to respond to. (And how “simple” is that?)

Based on what I’ve experienced so far, I love the entire novel-writing process–the first niggling from a new idea, meeting my characters, creating that first draft, revising (ad nauseam), receiving critiques, revising again . . . I love it all. Except when I don’t.

(I hope I got the answers right.)

The next stop on the Blog Hop tour will be hosted by my talented friend and Sock Sister Ann Finkelstein. Ann writes young adult novels in Michigan. She enjoys biking, hiking, cross-country skiing and photographing the great outdoors. Read more about her. You can read Ann’s brilliant answers about her writing process on Friday, June 20. Don’t miss it!

Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. ~ James Joyce


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14. Sheldon Fogelman Agency

Sean McCarthy left the Sheldon Fogelman Agency at the end of last year to start his own agency. There are two opportunities to get your foot in the door with an agent. You should consider querying one of them.

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Janie Hauber 2013small

Janine Le joined the agency after graduating from Bucknell Unversity with honors in English (Creative Writing) and completing NYU’s program at its Summer Publishing Institute. She enjoys working with the agency’s clients as an assistant agent and as the agency’s foreign rights manager. Janine has licensed translation rights in over 20 languages and has represented the agency and its clients annually at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Janine is building her list of clients and is open to picture books through YA. She is most drawn to stories with a strong emotional core that influence the way readers view the world, themselves, and the people around them. She is also fond of complex characters and relationships, unique cultural perspectives, and stories with a touch of humor, romance, or both.

sternpiccroppedWithout realizing it, Amy Stern spent most of her life preparing to be a literary agent. After receiving degrees in creative writing and English at Bryn Mawr College, she earned masters degrees in children’s literature and library science at Simmons College, while working as a librarian and a bookseller. In addition to her job as Assistant Agent at the agency, Amy has mentored writing students at Simmons’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, and taught a graduate course there on science fiction and fantasy in children’s and young adult lit. Her favorite novel topics include summer camp, giftedness, mental health issues, queerness, and reality television, but more than anything, she likes sympathetic characters in a good story. She often stays up all night reading the newest YA novels while claiming it’s “for work.”

SUBMISSIONS POLICY

Sheldon Fogelman Agency, Inc. specializes in children’s books of all genres, from picture books through young adult literature. The agency represents both authors and illustrators.

We always welcome submissions, and look forward to adding new people to our client list each year. However, we receive thousands of submissions each year, and are very selective in offering representation. We consider each submission carefully, and do our best to respond quickly; however, please be aware that it takes time to read and consider each manuscript. It may take us up to six weeks to consider an initial query, and if we request more work, the process can take even longer. Please note that we do not charge a reading fee.

If you are interested in submitting, please adhere to the following guidelines:

    • Send a single page cover letter that includes a brief synopsis of your work, your publication history, and how you were referred to us, if at all. (If you are querying electronically, please paste the body of this cover letter into the email.) If you are querying several other agencies simultaneously, we ask that you mention this in your query letter.
    • If you are a novelist, you may include the first three (3) chapters of the work and a synopsis. Please do not submit the entire work or include chapters from more than one work unless specifically requested.
    • If you are a picture book writer, you may include two (2) manuscripts. Please do not submit any additional manuscripts unless specifically requested. If you are not an illustrator, it is not necessary to include images in your submission.
    • If you are an illustrator, please include information regarding website portfolio links, if applicable. Otherwise, send a limited sampling of copies of your work. Please do not send original artwork under any circumstance. We do not take responsibility for damage or loss of any original artwork that may be erroneously sent to us.
    • If you would like to send your work to a specific agent, address your query to that agent. Otherwise, simply put your work to the attention of the submissions coordinator. Please note, however, that a submission to one agent in our office is considered a submission to all.
    • If you are submitting by mail, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope with all submissions. Please be sure to include an envelope of sufficient size with proper postage to accommodate any work you would like returned; mail submissions without an appropriate SASE may not be replied to, and due to space constraints, your work may be disposed of. All hard copy submissions should be sent to the following address:
       

Sheldon Fogelman Agency
10 East 40th Street, Suite 3205
New York, NY 10016

  • If you are submitting electronically, make sure that all text attachments are accessible via Microsoft Word (.rtf and .doc preferred). We prefer illustrations in .jpg or .pdf format, and all files sent should not total more than 5 MB combined. All electronic submissions should be sent to submissions@sheldonfogelmanagency.com. While every submission will be read and considered, please understand that due to time constraints, we can only reply if we are interested in seeing more of your work.
    • If additional work is requested following the cover letter, we prefer exclusive consideration of the requested work for at least one (1) month.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, picture books, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Sean McCarthy, Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    4 Comments on Sheldon Fogelman Agency, last added: 6/20/2014
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    15. Falcon in the Glass for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday


    (Please note that I'm scheduling this post ahead of time, but I'll be flying back from a vacation, and probably won't be able to respond to comments or visit your blogs until Tuesday or Wednesday. Bear with me!)




    Falcon in the Glass by Susan Fletcher (July 2013, Margaret K. McElderry Books for Young Readers, for ages 10 to 14)

    Source: library

    Synopsis (from the publisher): In Venice in 1487, the secrets of glassblowing are guarded jealously. Renzo, a twelve-year-old laborer in a glassworks, has just a few months to prepare for a test of his abilities, and no one to teach him. If he passes, he will qualify as a skilled glassblower. If he fails, he will be expelled from the glassworks. Becoming a glassblower is his murdered father’s dying wish for him, and the means of supporting his mother and sister. But Renzo desperately needs another pair of hands to help him turn the glass as he practices at night.

    One night he is disturbed by a bird—a small falcon—that seems to belong to a girl hiding in the glassworks. Soon Renzo learns about her and others like her—the bird people, who can communicate with birds and are condemned as witches. He tries to get her to help him and discovers that she comes with baggage: ten hungry bird-kenning children who desperately need his aid. Caught between devotion to his family and his art and protecting a group of outcast children, Renzo struggles for a solution that will keep everyone safe in this atmospheric adventure. 


    Why I recommend it: It's historical fiction that reads like a thrilling adventure story. If you like Karen Cushman, Gary Blackwood, or Linda Sue Park's A Single Shard, you'll love this book. The writing is gorgeous, and rich in sensory images. I've been a fan of Susan Fletcher since I read Shadow Spinner many years ago and her writing is masterful. Read this one to study how she handles third person.

    Author's website

    For other MMGM posts, see Shannon's links.


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    16. State of the Children’s Publishing Market

    The New Jersey SCBWI Conference was this past weekend and it was a roaring success. I open up Sunday with a State of the Market Report and as promised, here is the first installment.  I included the top six publishers from June 2013 – June 2014 vs. June 2012 – June 2013, with their industry ranking and amount of contracts comparisons in YA – MG – PB. The most interesting thing to me was the fact that Sky Pony Press was ranked number 6 in the list of Top Publishers. I think this is quite a feat, considering they opened their door less than 3 years ago. I’m impressed.

    top15pubs

    Check back tomorrow to see the next three slides. If you attended the conference, I hope we had time to say “Hello.” It really was a great conference and it was wonderful to see all my old friends and meet new friends who I hope to see again next year.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Middle Grade Novels, picture books, publishers, Publishing Industry, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Contracts cateogries broken down, last year vs. June 2012-2013, State of the Market Report, Top 15 Children's Publishers, Who's Growing Who's Not

    16 Comments on State of the Children’s Publishing Market, last added: 6/30/2014
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    17. The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King - and a Giveaway!





    The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King, illustrated by Greg Paprocki (April 2014, Gibbs Smith, for ages 9 to 12)

    Source: hardcover review copy from the publisher

    Synopsis (from the publisher): If you're wondering if you have what it takes to be a superhero--of course you do! All you need is a burning desire to fight evildoers. Oh, and also a secret identity, the perfect name, a cool costume, some terrific superpowers, and an archenemy. Actually, you know what? You better get this book. 


    From The Big Book of Superheros by Bart King. Illustration by Greg Paprocki. Used by permission.


    Why I recommend it: It's super fun! This book is chock-full of info, along with quizzes, crafts, and comics. It's tongue-in-cheek and even downright silly (and liberally sprinkled with exclamation points!) but always entertaining. Kids will lap this up, while you'll enjoy dipping into it. Think of it as Everything You Wanted to Know About Superheroes and How to Become One (But Never Thought To Ask). Did you know the first hero was a girl? Did you know going offline will help you develop a superpower? Did you know the greatest superhero saying wasn't said by a superhero?

    When Bart King contacted me in May, I remembered all his previous books from the bookstore where I used to work. The Big Books of Boy Stuff, Girl Stuff, Spy Stuff, and Gross Stuff were always brisk sellers. 

    Bart kindly agreed to answer three questions:

    Bart working in his home office


    1) Bart, if you could have only one superpower, what would it be, and why?

    There was a time when I thought being “Dishwasher Safe” might be exciting. But now, I wish I had the power to travel 30 seconds into the future. This would set up delightful scenarios like...
    —“How did Bart get in the front seat so fast? I was going to call shotgun!”
    —“What the what?! Bart ate the last slice of pizza AGAIN?”
    —”Bart, can you get the mower out and—hmm, he was here a second ago...”

    Also, I should mention that kids who don’t read are my kryptonite. So I’d love to be able to shoot a beam (or write a book) that could persuade them to change their ways! :P



    2) I think you may have done that with this book, Bart. So...who's your favorite villain?

    Doctor Doom. 

    Maybe Doctor Doom’s my favorite because he uses an entire country as his hideout, and the capital is called Doomstadt. Maybe it’s because the airport there is Doomsport, and the biggest local holiday is Doom’s Day.

    Or most likely, Doctor Doom is my favorite villain because I wish that I could get away with wearing body armor and a green cape. :P



    3) You started your writing career with a book for adults (An Architectural Guidebook to Portland). What made you switch to writing for children?


    As a longtime middle school teacher, I tried to model the behavior I wanted from my students. So when I assigned an ambitious research paper to my 8th graders in 1997, I decided to do one myself. 

    At that time, I was a newcomer to Portland (Oregon), and was curious about the civic history of the city. So I started researching specific buildings downtown, looking for common threads in terms of timelines, social events, architects, building styles, etc. 

    While this may sound as dry as brick dust, I found myself looking at our “built environment” in a completely new way. And my classroom research paper eventually led to An Architectural Guidebook to Portland (Oregon State University Press). That book became a terrific prop for me to pull out when students said things like “Why do we have to do this?” about their writing assignments.

    After the Architectural Guidebook, I pivoted to writing for kids. Like any teacher, I had reluctant readers...and I wanted to try to write books that appealed directly to them. (Also, I have a useful superpower: I’m incredibly immature!) 


    Bart with a friend, from the official website

    Thanks so much, Bart. Readers, what superpower would YOU choose? I would choose super speed-reading so I could get through my TBR list. 


    From The Big Book of Superheros by Bart King. Illustration by Greg Paprocki. Used by permission.

    Visit Bart King's website

    Follow Bart on Twitter

    Here's a great review from This Kid Reviews Books

    And now for the giveaway! Gibbs Smith has generously offered a hardcover copy to one lucky winner. Sorry, but the publisher is limiting this one to continental US addresses only (hey, it's a heavy book).

    Entering is simple: you must be a follower and you must leave a comment on this post. For extra fun, in your comment tell us what superpower you would choose (but only one!).

    This giveaway ends at 10 pm EDT on Sun July 13. I'll let randomizer pick a winner, who will be announced on Monday July 14. Good luck!

    0 Comments on The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King - and a Giveaway! as of 6/30/2014 9:53:00 AM
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    18. State of the Market Part Two

    DiLorenzo_SummerPainting

    Every year there is an art exhibit with a theme during the NJSCBWI Conference. This year it was Summer. I planned to collect them and post all of them together, but I changed my mind and decided to use with posts as they come in. This wonderful illustration was painted by Barbara DiLorenzo. You can visit Barbar’s website at: www.barbaradilornezo.com.  

    This is the continuation of yesterday’s post.smrslide7a
    smrslide8
    smrslide9

    Check back tomorrow for Part three. If you had something in the art show, please send me a .jpg so I can show it off.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Conferences and Workshops, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, publishers, Publishing Industry, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Analysis of Children's Book Publishers, Number of Contracts Signed, Publisher Books Who and What is Growing, State of the Market Report

    2 Comments on State of the Market Part Two, last added: 7/1/2014
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    19. State of the Market – Part 3

    artshow20140701DCuneoSummerNight72

    Here is another illustration from the NJSCBWI Conference. This fun illustration done by Deborah Cuneo helps us think out of the box when we roast our marshmallows this summer. Deborah won Honorable Mention in the Published Category for this illustration. Website:  www.deborahcuneoillustration.com  Blog:  http://deborahcuneo.blogspot.com

    This is the third post about the State of the Children’s Market I presented at the NJSCBWI Conference this past weekend. Please view the post on Monday for the details about the slides.
    smrslide11a
    smrslide12
    smrslide13
    smrslide14

    I think you can see that the State of the Market is very good and editors and agents thought this would continue for the next year.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Book Contracts, Conferences and Workshops, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, publishers, Young Adult Novel Tagged: contracts compared, Deborah Cuneo winning illustration, State of the Children's Publishing Market, Top 15 Publishers for three categories

    7 Comments on State of the Market – Part 3, last added: 7/2/2014
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    20. Book Give-a-Way & Interview With Shannon Wiersbitzky: What Flowers Remember

    Shannon_Wiersbitzky_Author_Photo_2012Shannon Wiersbitzky is a middle-grade author, a hopeless optimist, and a lover of the outdoors. The Summer of Hammers and Angels, nominated for the William Allen White award, was her first novel.

    Born in North Dakota, Shannon has called West Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Michigan “home” at some point in her life.She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two sons, one rather dull fish and her always entertaining dog Benson.

    I interviewed Shannon about her new book WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER, and asked her if she would do a give-a-way of the book for anyone who leaves a comment. If you tweet or post something about the book on facebook or your blog, you will receive an extra entry to increase your chances to win.

    Book Notes: What Flowers Remember

    shannonflowersMost folks probably think gardens only get tended when they’re blooming. But most folks would be wrong. According to the almanac, a proper gardener does something every single month. Old Red Clancy was definitely a proper gardener. That’s why I enrolled myself in the Clancy School of Gardening. If I was going to learn about flowers, I wanted to learn from the best.

    Delia and Old Red Clancy make quite a pair. He has the know-how and she has the get-up-and-go. When they dream up a seed- and flower-selling business, well, look out, Tucker’s Ferry, because here they come.

    But something is happening to Old Red. And the doctors say he
can’t be cured. He’s forgetting places and names and getting cranky for
no reason. As his condition worsens, Delia takes it upon herself to save
as many memories as she can. Her mission is to gather Old Red’s stories so that no one will forget, and she corrals everybody in town to help her.

    What Flowers Remember is a story of love and loss, of a young girl coming to understand that even when people die, they live on in our minds, our hearts, and our stories.

    *Note: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

    In addition to win and read a good book, I think you will find Shannon’s answers to my interview questions below interesting.

    I see you have published two middle grade books with namelos. Did you sign a two book deal when you sold  THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS?

    No. My initial contract with Namelos only included my first book. I didn’t even know there would be a sequel!

    Can you tell us the story behind how you sold your first book and the journey you took to get there?

    Writing IS a journey isn’t it! I’ll say that it was a ten year path of discovering my voice and what kind of narrative suits me best. When I began writing books for children, I focused first on picture books. Then I began to dabble in novels. I met my editor, Stephen Roxburgh, at a picture book workshop at Highlights in 2009. He had just started Namelos earlier that year. We hit it off and after the workshop I sent him the manuscript for THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS. We’ve been working together ever since.

    Was that your debut book?

    Yes. While I’ve had a variety of picture books garner significant interest over the years, HAMMERS was the first book I had published. It was a real thrill to see it in print. I’ve got a copy hanging on the wall in my writing studio. My husband had it framed.

    How well did the book sell?

    The book has sold well. I don’t know an exact number of copies. It always helps when a novel gets noticed by organizations and award committees, and THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS did. It was nominated for the William Allen White award, and was a recommended title by the Kansas NEA Reading Circle. Scholastic bought copies for its book club too. Anytime a story is recognized, it’s an honor.

    Has the publishing of WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER, increased the sales of THE SUMMER OF HAMMERS AND ANGELS?

    Yes, I think the benefit of having multiple books out is that people naturally see or seek out your other titles. At least they do if they like what they read!

    Had you written WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER when you sold the first book?

    No, I hadn’t. In fact, after HAMMERS came out, when asked if there might be a sequel, I confidently said that Delia’s story was finished. Ha! That just shows you that characters are really in charge, not the writers.

    How did the idea of the book come to you?

    In terms of the actual time and place when I realized Delia had another story to tell, I was literally on a flight from PA to CA. I’d written a novel dealing with Alzheimer’s several years earlier (it was terrible and I never tried to publish it) and all of a sudden, I realized that I’d given the story to the wrong character. It was Delia’s story to tell. I plotted out the entire novel on the back of a single sheet of paper and about six months later I started writing it.

    The inspiration to write about Alzheimer’s came from my own life. My grandfather had the disease and ultimately he forgot me. He and I were very close and it broke my heart to realize I had been erased. I wanted to capture the truth of that in a story.

    Sadly, dementia is so common, and we have a real lack of stories that deal with it in an honest way. For some reason, we don’t talk about Alzheimer’s as openly as we do other diseases. Kids (and adults) need to be able to have everyday conversations about what they might be experiencing with their own grandparents or others in their life. My hope is that books like FLOWERS can help.

    Do you have an agent? If so, who? If not, would you like to find one?

    I don’t have an agent. I’ve worked directly with Stephen and his Namelos team for both books. I would like to find an agent, but it hasn’t been my focus lately. It’s so difficult to find someone that exactly fits your personality and writing style!

    I have some picture book and early reader manuscripts I’d love to see published, and down the road, there may be other novels that aren’t right for Namelos, but are right for another publisher. Reviewers have compared my writing to Chicken Soup for the Soul and Patricia MacLachlan. If you know of any agents that might lean that way, let me know!

    What type of things have you been doing to promote your books?

    I have a full-time job that is fairly demanding, so I try to pick and choose things I can tackle in odd hours or that don’t require a full day. I regularly do web interviews with bloggers or write guest posts. I’ve visited local schools and done Skype visits with classrooms. There have been radio interviews. I’ve done a few book signings too.

    Did namelos help market your book and get reviews?

    Absolutely! They work the official reviewers and send copies out to various awards committees and all that usual stuff that publishers do. Stephen Roxburgh is highly regarded in the industry, so books he publishes typically do get picked up for review by folks like Kirkus. That’s a big plus.

    What are you working on now?

    Right now I’m working on a few things. I’m editing a new novel which is totally different from my first two. High action, high comedy, high levels of exaggeration. I think I needed a break from the realistic fiction. I’m working on a few picture books as well. I’d love for them to find a good home. And I’m jotting notes for a novel that I haven’t started yet, but that I’ve been thinking about for two years. As soon as I can get the action manuscript out the door, this one is next in line. I like to have a host of projects in the hopper. My brain seems to work best that way. 

    Review Excerpts

    “There are echoes of Patricia MacLachlan in the book’s period flavor (the story seems to be set thirty years or so in the past), the tenderness, and the deft writing that keeps a heart-tugging plot lovely as well as brimming with sentiment. Delia’s move from grief for what she’s losing to a deeper understanding of her old friend is smoothly depicted…. The story will bring new perspective for readers struggling with their own beloved elders, and the liquid joy of a serious tearjerker to anybody who likes a poignant human drama.”

    –The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Recommended

    “Wiersbitzky organizes the book gracefully by naming the chapters after months of the year. …The ebb and flow of life is shown, grief is addressed, and the power of what one person can do is celebrated. Teachers may wish to consider this book for reading lists in middle school.”

    –Children’s Literature

    “What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel compassionately conveys.” – Kirkus Reviews

    “Fans of wholesome, uplifting stories similar to Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul collections, will best enjoy this gentle reminder of the goodness of life and people.” — Voice of Youth Advocates

    Shannon Wiersbitzky Links:

    Website: www.shannonwiersbitzky.com

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShannonWiersbitzky

    Twitter: @SWiersbitzky

    Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ShannonWiersbitzky

    Shannon thank you for sharing your journey with us and introducing us to your book.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy

     


    Filed under: Author, awards, Book, children writing, Contest, inspiration, Kudos, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity Tagged: book give-a-way, Leave Comment, Shannon Wiersbitzky

    14 Comments on Book Give-a-Way & Interview With Shannon Wiersbitzky: What Flowers Remember, last added: 7/10/2014
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    21. The New Vision Award – Get Published

    AiWS final

    Another great illustration from the Artist Showcase at the NJSCBWI Conference. It was created by Lynnor Bontigao and is titled, “Alice’s Adventure in WonderShore”. You can visit Lynoor at: www.lynnorbontigao.com

    Tu Books is accepting submissions for their second New Visions Second Annual New Vision Awards. The New Visions Award, established in 2012 by the Tu Books imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, is given to a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. It’s a fantastic chance for new authors of color to break into the world of publishing for young readers.

    Eligibility and Contest Submission

    The New Visions contest is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel published.

    The Award winner receives a cash prize of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $500.

    Manuscripts will be accepted through October 31st, 2014. See the full submissions guidelines here.

    Spread the Word

    Did you know that last year, books written by authors of color made up less than seven percent of the total number of books published (see these CCBC stats)?

    Change requires more than just goodwill; it requires concrete action. We were heartened by First Book’s recent commitment to purchasing 10,000 copies of select books from “new and underrepresented voices” and the success of the passionate #weneeddiversebooks movement.

    Likewise, the New Visions Award is a concrete step toward evening the playing field by seeking out talented new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.

    We hope you’ll help us spread the word by forwarding on this email; sharing the contest on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr; and of course, letting people know through good old word-of-mouth.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: authors and illustrators, awards, Competition, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: New Vision Award, Tor Books

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    22. Nelson Agency Looking For…

    Both Kristin Nelson and Sara Megibow are accepting submissions for representation. We do not look at submissions for nonfiction, screenplays, short-story collections, poetry, children’s picture books or chapter books, or material for the Christian/inspirational market.

    Currently Seeking…

    kristin_sized_160x240Kristin is looking for a good story well told. How you tell that story doesn’t need to fit in a neat little category. For those looking for more specifics, the below might be helpful:

    • Young-adult and upper-level middle-grade novels in all subgenres
    • Big crossover novels with one foot squarely in genre
      (Wool, The Night Circus, Gone Girl)
    • Literary commercial novels
      (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The Art of Racing in the Rain)
    • Upmarket women’s fiction
      (Keepsake, My Sister’s Keeper, Still Alice)
    • Single-title romance (historicals especially)
      (Ravishing The Heiress, The Ugly Duchess, The Heir)
    • Lead title or hardcover science fiction and fantasy
      (Soulless, Game of Thrones, Old Man’s War)

    For a list of Kristin’s recent sales, please visit her page at Publishers Marketplace.

    sara_sized_160x240Sara is currently looking for superior writing and a great concept. Whether a book has vampires or butterflies, spaceships or school buses, it doesn’t matter. Sara wants to be carried away by the story. If your book is fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, steampunk, contemporary, historical, short, long or a mashup of all the above, send it along! Boiled down to a list, here it is:

    • Young-adult and middle-grade novels in all subgenres
    • Super sexy romance with a solid dose of humor
    • Complex fantasy of all types: epic fantasy, urban fantasy, quirky fantasy, historical fantasy
    • All science fiction from very science-y to action-packed and commercial
    • New Adult manuscripts that feature early 20-something protagonists and conflicts about identity and independence

    Sara has posted submission notes, recent sales, and client information at Publishers Marketplace.

    How to Send to Us

    We only accept queries and sample pages electronically. We do not accept queries by snail mail, phone, in person, via Twitter, or through our Facebook pages.

    The body of your email should contain a one-page query letter about your project, addressed to either Kristin or Sara. Write QUERY and the title of your project in the subject field of your email. Send your email to query@nelsonagency.com. We receive a lot of spam, and following these simple directions will ensure that your query isn’t accidentally deleted. No email attachments please. Attachments will not be opened, and emails containing attachments will be deleted unread.

    If the email query captures our interest and we would like to request sample pages, we will send you a reply email with explicit directions for uploading your sample pages to our submission database.

    Response Time

    We here at NLA read and respond by email to each and every query sent to us. Expect a quick response to queries (5 to 10 days). Occasionally, it may take longer.

    If you have not received a response after three weeks, then something might have gone astray in the cyber world. Is your email account still active? Are emails to you being spam-filtered? Our reply to you might have bounced or been deleted. You might want to resend your email query.

    If you have submitted sample pages to our submission database per our request, please remember that a response can take up to two months. As with queries, we will email our response to sample pages electronically, so keep an eye on your spam folder.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Agent, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Agency, Sara Megibow

    1 Comments on Nelson Agency Looking For…, last added: 4/28/2014
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    23. Hope is a Ferris Wheel for MMGM

    (Originally I'd scheduled this for next week, but May 5 through 11 is Screen-Free Week, so my post next Monday will be about that. Come back on May 12 to see how I fared!)




    Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera (Amulet Books, March 2014, for ages 8 to 12)

    Find Robin on her website

    Follow Robin on Twitter

    Synopsis (from the publisher): Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson's poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.

    Why MG readers would love it:  Star is a terrific character, brave and honest and funny. Her vocab sentences for her teacher are both hilarious and heartbreaking. This book is perfect for fans of Also Known as Harper by Ann Haywood Leal because the main character in that book has a similar home situation and also finds solace in poetry. 

    Why writers would love it: The voice! I struggle with voice all the time and I know a lot of writers do. Study this one to see how Robin brought Star to life with such authenticity. I read this more than a month ago and I'm still thinking about her, as if Star is a real kid.

    What MG characters continue to live in your mind long after you've read the book?

    For other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts, see Shannon's blog.


    0 Comments on Hope is a Ferris Wheel for MMGM as of 4/28/2014 9:19:00 AM
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    24. Kudos – Wow!

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHOT OF THE PRESSES:

    Laurie Wallmark’s book ADA, about a smart little girl who likes science and math was sold to Marissa Moss at Creston Books, by Liza Fleissig at Liza Royce Agency.

    Laurie had a critique with Ginger Harris of the Liza Royce Agency at the last NJ SCBWI annual conference. She and Liza Fleissig expressed interest in Ada.

    After six revisions based on their and Marissa Moss’s feedback, Creston books made an offer.

    marina191

    Emily Feinberg at Roaring Brook has bought world rights to INN BETWEEN by Marina Cohen, in a two-book deal.

    The story follows 12-year-old Quinn, who is driving across country with her best friend’s family when a stopover at a creepy Victorian hotel in middle of the Nevada desert turns terrifying.

    Publication is set for winter 2016;

    John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary was the agent.

    Nanciturnerstevesonpic191Nanci Stockton Turner-Steveson has signed a contract for Swing Sideways, AND another as-yet-unwritten book with Rosemary Brosnan, Executive Director at HarperCollins.

    When I asked Nanci to describe the book this is what she wrote: My editor (wow, did you read that?) referred to Swing Sideways as a “timeless and heartfelt” middle grade novel.

    It is the story of two girls from opposite sides of the country who meet one summer and form an unlikely friendship while struggling with their own challenges, and the discovery of a secret that links them together in a surprising and heart wrenching way.

    nancy-cote-and-tori-corn

    Illustrator Nancy Cote ( featured on Illustrator Saturday) illustrated Tori Corn’s new picture book Dixie Wants and Allergy published by Sky Pony Press. Both Nancy and Tori are represented by the Lisa Royce Agency.

    Dixie Wants an Allergy provides a comical and engaging approach for children who are beginning to learn about and who are coping with allergies—and who also have trouble finding what makes them unique. Corn’s playful text and Cote’s inviting illustrations encourage children to accept those with differences while learning that wanting what others have is not always a good idea. For ages 3 to 6, and a good addition to any preschool or Kindergarten classroom for read-aloud time. This book not only introduces children to the realities of allergies, which many of their peers will have, but also teaches the important lesson of being careful what you wish for.

    *****

    nancyarmo

    Nancy Armo, who was featured on Illustrator Saturday has signed a contract with Peachtree Press for her first written and illustrated picture book titled, A FRIEND FOR MOLE.

    Here is the Publisher Market announcement: Nancy Armo’s A FRIEND FOR MOLE, about an accidental encounter between Mole and Wolf, one afraid of the light, the other afraid of the dark, who together learn that friends are all they need to conquer their fears, to Kathy Landwehr at Peachtree, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2015, by Anna Olswanger at Liza Dawson Associates (World).

    *****

    doll bones

    I just learned that Eliza Wheeler, who was featured on Illustrator Saturday did the artwork for Holly Black’s DOLL BONES. I have had that book on my wish list since it came out. Had I realized the illustrations inside and out were by Eliza, I would already have it on my bookshelf.

    *****

    What I don’t get is, out of the seven people in this post, only the first two let me know about their success. Are people just shy about doing something worth shouting from the rooftops? I tell every illustrator that I feature to please let me know when something good happens and I really do mean it. I am very happy to hear about good things when they happen. Please don’t rely on me to find them.

    Congratulations to everyone!

     

    Remember this weekend there are two great book signings in the North Jersey area:

    S is for SEA Glass

    Doris Ettlinger

    Fair Haven NJ – May 16, 3:30-4:30 pm 

    River Road Books

    Clinton NJ - May 17, 1-3 pm 

    Clinton Book Shop

    Pandemic Book Launch Party 

    Yvonne Ventresca

    Sunday, May 18th, 2 pm 

    WORDS Bookstore

    179 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, NJ 07040

     

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy

     


    Filed under: Kudos, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, Publishing Industry, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Eliza Wheeler, John Cusick, Laurie Wallmark, Marina Cohen, Nancy Armo, Nancy Cote, Tori Corn

    7 Comments on Kudos – Wow!, last added: 5/15/2014
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    25. WANDERVILLE by Wendy McClure for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

    I've been a fan of Wendy McClure since I realized she was the genius behind @HalfPintIngalls on Twitter (example of her wit: "When you live in a sod house EVERY DAY is 'Earth Day'."). So I was excited to learn she'd written a book for middle grade readers:




    Wanderville by Wendy McClure (January 2014, Penguin Razorbill, for ages 8 to 12)

    Synopsis (from the publisher): Jack, Frances, and Frances’s younger brother Harold have been ripped from the world they knew in New York and sent to Kansas on an orphan train at the turn of the century. As the train chugs closer and closer to its destination, the children begin to hear terrible rumors about the lives that await them. And so they decide to change their fate the only way they know how. . . .

    They jump off the train.

    There, in the middle of the woods, they meet a boy who will transform their lives forever. His name is Alexander, and he tells them they’ve come to a place nobody knows about—especially not adults—and “where all children in need of freedom are accepted.” It’s a place called Wanderville, Alexander says, and now Jack, Frances, and Harold are its very first citizens.


    Why I recommend it: It's a quick read and an exciting adventure story. I always loved The Boxcar Children and Little House on the Prairie, and more recently May B. by Caroline Starr Rose, so it's no wonder I enjoyed this too. Jack, Frances, and even young Harold are strong and resourceful children. This will be also a series. (Be forewarned: scary situations abound. Life was hard back then!)

    (This is minor but I have to admit I was a little upset that on my copy the blurb on the back flap from Caroline Starr Rose got her name wrong. @HalfPintIngalls would probably say: "Mistakes will happen". Anyway, they seem to have fixed it since then and moved it to the front cover. Thank goodness!) 

    Find Wendy at her website

    Follow her on Twitter

    Other reviews of the book: 
    Erik at This Kid Reviews Books

    Find other MMGM links at Shannon's blog.


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