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1. Anna Todd’s ‘After’ and ‘Harry Styles’ come to print and film

AfterCoverAnna Todd, the first-time author whose online fan fiction series After became a Wattpad sensation, has had a big month.

Publishing one chapter at a time, Todd racked up 1 billion reads online and gained avid fans worldwide. Last week, Paramount Pictures announced it had acquired screen rights, and this week, After was pubbed newly revised and expanded in a paperback from Gallery Books, part of a six-figure, multi-book deal with further print releases set for this November 18, December 30, and February 10, 2015.

Talking with Alexandra Alter, Todd told the New York Times that she began as a Wattpad reader, hooked on serialized fictional stories about British boy band One Direction. In 2013, she started writing her own fiction about a female college freshman who gets involved with a tattooed, lip-ringed, cute, tousled-haired guy named Harry Styles.

“I didn’t think anyone would read it.” … She updated “After” with a new chapter every day to meet readers’ demands and tapped out much of the book on her cellphone. She wrote for five hours a day and spent three hours trading messages with readers on Wattpad, Twitter and Instagram and drew on those comments to help her shape the story.

“The only way I know how to write is socially and getting immediate feedback on my phone,” she said.

Todd also told Alter that she receives threats daily from angry One Direction fans on Twitter and Tumblr, which explains why, as Alter reports, in the print After the romantic lead is no longer Harry Styles but Hardin Scott. We’ll know soon enough if After is as big in print for $16 as it is online at Wattpad, where it remains free.

In other Wattpad news, the site is currently hosting two contests. “Share your Yes moment,” cohosted with HarperCollins, is the call for the Yes Please by Amy Poehler Writing Contest. They want to hear about a moment when your life changed because of saying yes. The Yes Please prize pack includes a tweet shout-out from Amy’s Smart Girls. And, to celebrate Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress, fans are asked to write a piece of fanfiction inspired by her Freeze-Dried Groom on Wattpad. Atwood will choose and recognize the winning story.

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2. Cover Unveiled For ‘Trigger Warning’ By Neil Gaiman

Trigger Warning

The cover for Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances has been unveiled. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?

This anthology contains previously published short stories, a Doctor Who story that was written to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the science-fiction TV series, and a tale that revisits the universe of American Gods called “Black Dog.” William Morrow, an imprint at HarperCollins, will release the book on February 03, 2015. (via USA Today)

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3. Patrick Ness Inks Deal For 2 YA Novels with HarperCollins

Patrick NessWriter Patrick Ness (pictured, via) has signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Editorial director Rosemary Brosnan negotiated the deal with literary agent David McMillan. According to the press release, the first book, entitled The Rest of Us Just Live Here, will be released in Fall 2015.

This novel examines “what it would be like to live in a world that’s a lot like a YA novel, where some kids in school are battling forces of evil, and some kids just want to go to prom and graduate before someone goes and blows up the high school again.” The second book which will also feature a stand-along story; no other details have been announced.

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4. J.K. Rowling to Post New Essay About Dolores Umbridge on Pottermore

J.K. Rowling (2)J.K. Rowling has penned a new essay about the antagonist Dolores Umbridge.

It’s scheduled to be posted on Pottermore this forthcoming Halloween Day. According to the press release, “the new exclusive J.K. Rowling content provides a rich, 1,700-word back story about Umbridge’s life filled with many new details, as well as Rowling’s revealing first-person thoughts and reflections about the character.”

Throughout the past year, Rowling has written pieces on the history of quidditch, reports about the 2014 quidditch world cup, and a profile on the “singing sorceress” Celestina Warbeck (a minor character). Recently, she revealed on twitter that she has been writing a new novel, tweaking a screenplay, and working on some campaigns with with her charity, Lumos.

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5. Indies First Launches The Upstream Initiative

Indies FirstThe organizers behind the Indies First campaign are launching a new initiative called Upstream. The team asks that participating writers sign copies of their books and have them be sold at the independent bookstores of their choice.

Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) has posted a message to his colleagues imploring them to take part. He also encourages authors to promote this program. Here’s an excerpt from Handler’s letter:

“Will Upstream rescue us all from strife and worry? Of course not. But the hope is that it will remind both authors and booksellers of their local, less monolithic resources, and to improve general esprit de corps at a disheartening time.”

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6. Walter Isaacson Named Keynote Speaker at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo

isaacsonw-100-sqrThe Innovators author Walter Isaacson will deliver the keynote speech at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo. Isaacson’s presentation will focus on “”Innovators, Collaborators and Change Agents of the Digital Revolution.”

More than 100 speakers will give talks throughout the event. It is set to take place from January 13th to 15th in New York City.

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7. Classroom Connections: THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY by Tracy Holczer

age range: middle grade (10 and up)
genre: contemporary fiction
study guide
Tracy Holczer’s website

“A lovely and captivating debut . . . Holczer writes with depth, heart, and a poetic lilt . . . nuanced characters engage from beginning to end.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Holczer expertly crafts the characters and dialogue to create a story readers will identify with, and thoroughly enjoy… More than simply a book about grief and the death of a parent, Grace’s story is about the search for identity. An essential purchase for middle-grade collections.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Please tell us about your book.

The Secret Hum of a Daisy is a story about love and loss and what it means to be a family. It takes place after the sudden death of twelve-year-old Grace’s mother. Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she’s never met in a small town she’s never heard of. A town Mama left years before—with Grace in her belly and a bus ticket in her pocket—and never looked back. It doesn’t take long before Grace desperately wants to leave, too.

Until she finds the first crane.

A mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on, takes Grace on a journey to find home. And it might just be closer than she thinks.

What inspired you to write this story?

I read a blog post recently where it talked about artists being “fundamentally inconsolable.”

This knocked my socks off for about two days while I thought about the reasons I sit in my chair to write. While “fundamentally inconsolable” isn’t the way I would talk about my life—I’m rather happy, actually—I do find that in my artist’s heart, this is very true. I feel compelled to write about themes of love and loss and belonging. These are deep rooted and wind in and out of my earliest memories, so when I sat down to write about Grace, it seemed natural to draw upon these themes that have special meaning to me.

Could you share with readers your writing process?

While I’m writing, my brain resembles something of a Jackson Pollack painting. Actually, even when I’m not writing, my brain tends to look like that. Ha! So, mostly, the writing process consists of me trying to figure out the order of things. As an instinctual writer, outlines don’t particularly work for me, but with my second book, I’m finding Blake Snyder’s beat sheet to be very helpful.

My books always start with a character and a situation. Family comes next and how that character interacts with the world. Once I see whatever it is that particular character yearns for, in their most secret heart, then the story begins to unfold. So the first few months of a book has me chasing down dead end roads and backtracking, and chasing down more dead end roads. It’s a little crazy making, but it’s what I’ve got. I am completely lacking a left brain, it seems.

What are some special challenges associated with writing contemporary middle grade?

Plot is so very tough for me to wrap my mind around. Especially in a contemporary story where the character isn’t questing for anything on the outside, like winning a competition or landing the lead in the school play. I mean, how to you write about yearning for a ten and up audience and keep them engaged? So, what I do is read writers who have mastered this. Kate DiCamillo. Linda Urban. Sharon Creech. Then I pray that things rub off.

What topics does your book touch upon that would make it a perfect fit for the classroom?

There is poetry from Robert Frost and from the main character, brief clips from different poems that felt very true to the themes of the story. I liked the idea of using clips since they can be easier to grasp and might encourage young writers to start small, as Grace does. The poetry also lends itself to the bigger idea that great sadness is always healed little by little, clip by clip.

The book touches on Sadako Sasaki and her thousand paper cranes, how we all have to find our own ways to heal. Magical thinking is part of that and children are so very good at it.

It would also tie in well with abstract art.

The post Classroom Connections: THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY by Tracy Holczer appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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8. Zac’s Destiny entered for an award!

Zac’s Destiny, my Sword & Sorcery fantasy, has been entered into an award for Kindle books! I would be eternally grateful if any of you could offer your votes? Thanks so much if you can.

No need to sign in or give any details. Just click on the number of stars you think my book deserves to vote!

Click here to vote.

Cover with quote

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9. Alan Cumming reveals the man behind the “cheery chappy”

AlanCummingCover

The Good Wife star and Broadway luminary Alan Cumming has written a “suspenseful, deeply moving, and wickedly funny” memoir, Not My Father’s Son. The book is the #1 pick for November on ABA’s Indie Next list.

Cumming recently told People magazine, “People think of me as sort of a cheery chappy,” and from all indications he is, while now revealing his struggle and the darkness he has overcome to emerge as a dazzling and mesmerizing actor, nominated for Emmy and Drama League Awards. “This book is the most personal, intimate thing I’ve ever done.”

Plagued by a father who beat and verbally abused him during his childhood in rural Scotland, he was shocked to his core when this same man let him know in 2010 that they were not related.

Cumming recounted his turmoil to the New York Times:

“Mr. Cumming’s identity had gone through multiple cataclysms. ‘I couldn’t stop talking about it,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t stop telling the story. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.’ Now, when he plays Two Truths and a Lie, his two truths are ‘My grandfather died in Malaysia playing Russian roulette’ and ‘My father recently told me I wasn’t his son.’

‘My truths are so crazy,’ he said, sounding half amused. ‘I struggle to make up an equally nutty false one.’ Eventually, he put his thoughts in writing, and the result is Not My Father’s Son, which weaves the ‘great yarn’ of 2010 with a harrowing reminiscence of his father’s violence.”

Not My Father’s Son (Day Street Books) is available now in bookstores, and you can get a free sneak peek at an excerpt in Buzz Books 2014 Fall/Winter ebook from Publishers Lunch.

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10. The Grolier Club is Hosting the ‘Evermore: The Persistence of Poe’ Exhibit

449px-Edgar_Allan_Poe_2_retouched_and_transparent_bgThe Grolier Club is hosting an exhibit focused on Edgar Allan Poe called “Evermore: The Persistence of Poe.” Susan Jaffe Tane and Gabriel Mckee served as the curators.

Visitors will see manuscripts, letters, first-edition books, and other items. The closing date has been scheduled for November 22nd.

Here’s more about this display: “Highlights of the exhibit include several recently discovered items never before shown in a public exhibition. Most notable is the only known manuscript copy of The Conqueror Worm, generally regarded as one of Poe’s best and bleakest poems. This copy was thought lost until its rediscovery in 2013.”

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11. Hooray for Val’s CROOKED RIVER! A Giveaway

‘Tis the season for critique partner debuts!

Last month we celebrated Kate Bassett’s Words and Their Meanings. Now it’s time to cheer on Valerie Geary and her Crooked River. It’s been especially thrilling to watch these two talents find their agents, sell their books, and then release them into the world just a few weeks apart. Val and Kate have been instrumental in my own writing process. Here’s a little glimpse into CROOKED RIVER and the way the three of us work together.

Before I hand things over to Val, though, I want to share that Crooked River made November’s Indie Next list. It’s that good.

Tell us about your book.

Still grieving the sudden death of their mother, Sam and her younger sister Ollie McAlister move from the comforts of Eugene to rural Oregon to live in a meadow in a teepee under the stars with Bear, their beekeeper father. But soon after their arrival, a young woman is found dead floating in Crooked River, and the police arrest their eccentric father for the murder.

Fifteen-year-old Sam knows that Bear is not a killer, even though the evidence points to his guilt. Unwilling to accept that her father could have hurt anyone, Sam embarks on a desperate hunt to save him and keep her damaged family together. Ollie, too, knows that Bear is innocent. The Shimmering have told her so. One followed her home from her mom’s funeral and refuses to leave. Now, another is following Sam. Both spirits warn Ollie: the real killer is out there, closer and more dangerous than either girl can imagine.

Crooked River is my first novel, a coming of age story and a page-turning mystery that I hope will touch readers’ hearts and keep them up past their bedtime.

What is it like to work with two other writers you’ve never met in person?

I was in a local writer’s group for a short time, and while it was nice meeting in person to talk life and writing, it was also incredibly awkward to have to sit there and listen as my group members picked apart my chapters. There was very little time and no space to consider what they were saying, and for me it ended up being this horrible emotional roller coaster that did more harm than good. 

My socially anxious personality tends to fit better with a virtual writer’s group. Whenever I’m ready, I send Caroline and Kate part or all of my manuscript. They take their time reading it and then they send the manuscript back with their notes attached. There’s less pressure this way, and a lot of distance, a feeling of detachment. Revision is all about setting aside what you think a story should be and really seeing it for what it is so that you can figure out what’s working and what’s not and why. During this stage, it’s important to be as objective as we can with our own work, and the best way I’ve found to do this is by not having my critique partners in the room while I consider their feedback. There’s no one around watching, or judging, or expecting things from me. No one for me to try and justify, defend, or explain my choices. It’s just me alone with my manuscript and their notes, finding a way to a better story.

That said, there are definitely times when I just want to go grab a cup of coffee and talk shop with my friends. Or pop by their house with a plate of cookies when they’re having a hard day. We can’t do this because of the distance, and that’s something I miss.

How often do you read for each other? Do you respond differently as a manuscript progresses? If so, how?

As long as I’m not pushing up against a deadline, I’ll read as often as Kate and Caroline need me to. I’ve read their manuscripts at various stages of development. When I read early drafts, I tend to look more for big picture problems like pacing, story arc, and character development. As the drafts progress, if I’m asked to read again, I still keep big picture things in mind, but I also edit for details, oddly worded sentences, grammar errors, and typos. At every stage, too, I try and point out things I love, beautiful phrases, sections that make me hold my breath or shed a tear, characters that steal my heart. Drawing attention to where a story already shines is just as important as pointing out where it might need a little more elbow grease

Beyond critiquing manuscripts, how else do you support one another?

In this business, there are highs and lows, good days, bad days. When I need to vent, when I want to celebrate, when I feel like a sham, when I read an interesting article, when I need encouragement, when I have stupid questions, when I need someone to tell me I’m not going crazy, or a safe place to be myself, or someone to bounce ideas off of, I go to Caroline and Kate first. No one understands the strange life of a writer better than other writers. 

What is something you’ve learned from your critique partners?

Perserverence, courage, resilience. 

Also, that I overwrite more often than underwrite. Thanks to Caroline and Kate’s keen eyes and wicked red pens, I’m more aware now of the places in my manuscripts where the prose gets wordy or redundant. Of course, I don’t catch everything–I still need them to help me trim the fat.

And finally…

One thing I always remind Caroline and Kate (or anyone else who asks me to critique their writing) is this: At the end of the day, it’s your story. So take the feedback that rings true to you and throw out the rest.

I feel like this is good life advice, too.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Hooray for Val’s CROOKED RIVER! A Giveaway appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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12. Written A Business Book? 13 Steps To Push It To Bestseller Status

Written A Business Book? Use These Steps To Nudge It Toward Bestseller Status Guest Post by Douglas Kruger Work hand-in-hand with your publisher and you can ensure that your business book sells out. Here are 13 ways new authors can nudge their books toward bestseller status: 1. Take ownership from Day One Start with the right outlook. This is your baby. The more deeply involved you are

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13. Those Were the Days: Norman Lear’s Memoir Pubs Today

“This is, flat out, one of the best Hollywood memoirs ever written… An absolute treasure,” raves Booklist in a starred review of Norman Lear’s memoir, Even This I Get to Experience.

NormaLearCoverThe creator of such iconic and unprecedented hit shows as “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” Lear reinvented television comedy in the ‘70s. At one point, he had nine shows on the air, and at their peak, his programs were watched by 120 million people a week.

Now, Lear is telling his story, from his Depression-era days growing up with a dad sent to jail for scheming to sell fake bonds, to becoming the highest-paid comedy writer in the country, working for Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Martha Raye, and George Gobel. A member of a B-17 bomber crew in WWII, Lear made it onto Richard Nixon’s “Enemies List” and was presented with the National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton.

Dave Itzkoff, writing about Even This I Get to Experience in the New York Times, cites Lear’s influence on Roseanne Barr, Rob Reiner, and Trey Parker. Itzkoff quotes Parker, creator and producer of “South Park” with Matt Stone, as saying that Lear’s work “had an immeasurable impact on that show and its satirical, scared-cow-slaughtering sensibility.”

Now, in his book out today from Penguin Press, we all can read of the events and people that had an immeasurable impact on Norman Lear, and shaped his sensibility.

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14. Bryan Lee O’Malley: ‘Every new book idea, I’m just going to tackle a problem and fix it.’

Bryan Lee O'MalleyOver the weekend, Bryan Lee O’Malley appeared at New York Comic Con panel for a conversation with Cory Doctorow about his latest book, Seconds.

Following the great success he achieved with the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, he wanted to “do something super arty and weird.” For Seconds, O’Malley set out to write “a very external character…characters who just barge through life.” The star protagonist of this story, Katie, was partially inspired “by an obnoxious rock star.”

Regardless of the project, two parts of O’Malley’s creative process remain constant. First, he has to create the perfect mix tape because he will likely listen to it “thousands of times.” Second, he takes this approach: “every new book idea, I’m just going to tackle a problem and fix it.” What’s the initial step you take when you start a new project?

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15. Lemony Snicket Launches The ‘You Choose the Mystery’ Video Series

Lemony Snicket recently released the third installment of the All the Wrong Questions series. To celebrate, he has created the “You Choose the Mystery” interactive video series. 34 pieces have been uploaded to the LemonySnicketLibrary Youtube channel. We’ve embedded the first video above—what do you think? (via GeekDad)

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16. HarperCollins to Re-Issue Self-Published Kiera Cass Book

SirenCover HalfHarperCollins Children’s Books will re-issue Kiera Cass’ self-published young adult novel, The Siren. The publisher will release the book with a new cover and bonus material in Winter 2016.

According to Cass’ blog post, this allows her “to go back through with my editor and make it the story I always hoped it could be. It will sparkle in ways I couldn’t make it on my own, and that makes me crazy happy!” The book follows This story follows a young girl named Kahlen and her communion with the ocean.

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17. Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang Tell All About ‘In Real Life’

IRLCory Doctorow and Jen Wang have collaborated on a new graphic novel entitled In Real Life.

The book touches on several subjects including gaming, socializing over the internet, and more. This project marks the first time that Doctorow and Wang have come together as collaborators.

We spoke with both the writer and the illustrator to hear their thoughts on creativity, research, and editing. Here are the highlights…

(more…)

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18. Author and Activist Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel

Youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

MalalaSmaller

Malala Yousafzai, 17-year-old advocate for girls’ education worldwide and author of the bestseller I Am Malala, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The youngest recipient of the prize since its inception in 1901, she was quoted in the New York Times as saying at a press conference in Birmingham, England:

“I’m proud that I’m the first Pakistani and first the young woman, or the first young person, who is getting this award.”

According to USA Today, Malala was in chemistry class when she heard the news, and said she was honored to share the award with Kailash Satyarthi of India, who fights the exploitation of children, adding:

“We should all consider each other as human beings, and we should respect each other. It is my message to children all around the world that they should stand up for their rights.”

Her book I Am Malala, which was banned in private schools in Pakistan, was released in 2013 by Little, Brown.

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19. Elizabeth Gilbert Talks Inspiration in a ‘Super Soul Sunday’ Short Film

Writer Elizabeth Gilbert starred in an Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday short film discussing the inspiration for her most recent novel, The Signature of All Things.

Some of the items that helped Gilbert to shape the story include a 1783 edition of Captain Cook’s Voyages from her family library, a 16th century theory concocted by a German mystic, and her own life philosophy on passion. We’ve embedded the entire short film in the video above—what do you think?

For the past few weeks, Gilbert has been appearing at a few of the stops on “Oprah’s The Life You Want” tour. Recently, she sat with Oprah Winfrey for a Super Soul Sunday interview. Follow this link to watch clips from the interview.

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20. High Profile Writers Set to Join Authors United

amazonlogoSeveral high profile writers have agreed to join in Authors United’s fight against Amazon. The new members include Philip Roth, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul, Milan Kundera, and Ursula Le Guin.

The organization aims to convince the online retail conglomerate to end its dispute with Hachette Book Group USA. Last month, Authors United publicly posted a letter addressed to Amazon’s board members asking them to take a stand on this issue.

When asked about her participation in the group, Le Guin submitted this statement to The New York Times: “We’re talking about censorship: deliberately making a book hard or impossible to get, ‘disappearing’ an author. Governments use censorship for moral and political ends, justifiable or not. Amazon is using censorship to gain total market control so they can dictate to publishers what they can publish, to authors what they can write, to readers what they can buy. This is more than unjustifiable, it is intolerable.”

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21. Can You Crack J.K. Rowling’s Riddle?

J.K. Rowling (2)Yesterday, J.K. Rowling wrote a post on Twitter about the projects that have kept her busy as of late which include the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. One fan responded to her and confessed that she likes to analyze Rowling’s tweets.

Rowling has since posted a riddle for her fans to dissect: “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.” Do you think you can crack Rowling’s riddle?

Below, we’ve chronicled the exchange in a Storify post embedded below. What do you think?

(more…)

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22. Carl Hiaasen on Bringing Skink to Teens

SkinkCover#1 New York Times bestselling author Carl Hiaasen talked recently to Newsday about bringing Skink — the beloved vigilante ex-gov of Florida whose unique brand of swamp-justice has made him a star of six Hiaasen adult novels — to YA readers “before he got too old and cranky.”

Long listed for the 2014 National Book Award, Hiaasen’s first book for teens, Skink No Surrender, features the ragged, one-eyed renegade helping 14-year-old Richard rescue his teenage cousin Malley, who has run off into trouble with an older guy she met on the Internet.

Why Skink for kids? Hiaasen told Newsday:

“Skink knows his way around the wilderness. That’s the kind of person you want with you if you’re trying to do a rescue. He’s his own scruffy version of SEAL Team Six. Kids like characters who can sometimes defy authority if it’s for a good cause. Skink is not a model citizen. But he does have character traits. He does have honor. He does have a strong moral compass. These are all good things for kids to find in a character. I’ve had people show up at book signings dressed as him. They’ll have a shower cap and an eye patch.”

When asked how he managed to capture and maintain the voice of a 14 year old writing in first person as Richard, Hiaasen answers, “I’m lucky because I’ve got a built-in test market in the family. One of the things that you learn as a reporter, or you better learn, is you learn to listen. Driving kids around in a car, you listen to how kids talk, the cadence, what they’re talking about.”

In Skink No Surrender, Newsday’s Beth Whitehouse notes, Hiaasen emphasizes the importance of the environment and protecting species. Skink hands Richard a copy of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

Silent Spring is an important book. It’s as important a book now as it was in the ’60s. I’m not proselytizing about it. If five kids go read that book, those five kids are going to be changed by it. But I don’t do it in a preachy way. I do it in a casual way.”

Carl Hiaasen has read his audience right. Skink No Surrender is set to debut on the New York Times bestseller list this weekend.

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23. J.K. Rowling’s Anagram Has Been Solved

J.K. Rowling (2)On October 6th, J.K. Rowling created a riddle that ignited a storm of activity on Twitter: “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.” Harry Potter fans became obsessed with figuring out the answer. Rowling kept the conversation going by tweeting hints.

More than 24 hours later, Emily Strong (a.k.a. @EmyBemy2) solved Rowling’s anagram; the author named her “The One True Hermione of Twitter.” According to Time, Strong is “a PhD student at the University of Sheffield who regularly updates her own blog and describes herself as a lover of ‘all things Harry Potter’ in her Twitter bio.”

Below, we’ve chronicled the exchange in a Storify post embedded below. What do you think? (more…)

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24. CHELSEY PHILPOT: ON WRITING A RETELLING THAT BECAME AN HOMAGE

EveninParadise HC CEVEN IN PARADISE, by Chelsey Philpot, is available next week! Read an excerpt here.

When asked to explain the plot of Even in Paradise, my first young adult novel, I start by saying, “Well it’s a realistic, contemporary story inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.”

Blank stares.

I foolishly try to shed light on my plot by describing the plot of Brideshead. “It’s a novel set in post-World War I England. The protagonist’s an artist named Charles Ryder, and his friendship with a fellow Oxford University student leads to Charles’s life becoming inextricably intertwined with the majestic and tragic Marchmain family.”

The quizzical expressions deepen, prompting me to wax poetic about Waugh’s classic.

Fifteen or so minutes later, my audience is usually still confused—if not a little bored and thinking about lunch.

At this point, I sigh and give the one-sentence pitch I should have delivered at the beginning—an explanation that is just as true as my convoluted original. “Even in Paradise is about a teen girl who falls in love with a Kennedy-esque family with a tragic secret.”

“Ah!”

I could just as easily say, “It’s a novel about different kinds of love.” Or “It’s about friendship and family.” Or “My story looks at class, sexuality, and the destructive nature of secrets.”

Though, Even in Paradise began as a modern retelling of Brideshead, it is now very different from Waugh’s novel. As I wrote deeper and deeper into my story, I found that I couldn’t keep within the confines of another’s—even if that story was written by a maestro. By moving Brideshead from the front of my imagination to the back, I made room for other sources of unexpected—but welcomed—inspiration, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and my own memories.

Even in Paradise turned out to be as much a deliberate homage to books and writers I adore as it is a collage of untraceable ideas. It took time and many drafts to realize that I could not have written my first novel any other way.

10 awesome books that imaginatively interpret, celebrate, and/or satirize classic stories:

  1. Going Bovine by Libba Bray (Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes)
  2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Lord of the Flies by William Golding)
  3. March by Geraldine Brooks (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)
  4. The Hours by Michael Cunningham (Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf)
  5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling)
  6. Ash by Malinda Lo (Cinderella by the Brothers Grimm)
  7. Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Grimm’s Fairy Tales)
  8. “His Dark Material” trilogy by Philip Pullman (Paradise Lost by John Milton)
  9. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen)
  10. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu (The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi)

–ChelseyChelsey Philpot

Chelsey Philpot grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and now works as a book reviews editor at School Library Journal. She’s written for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, and numerous other publications. Like her main character, Charlie, Chelsey attended boarding school in New England, and then earned a degree in English from Vassar College and a master’s in Journalism from Boston University. Visit her online at www.chelseyphilpot.com and on Twitter @ChelseyPhilpot.

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25. How now, says bestselling author Dov Seidman to Chobani

It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. We school our kids in this from the first soccer kick on.

HowCoverBestselling author and management guru Dov Seidman built a brand around his hit 2011 book How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything, on the business of creating more ethical corporate cultures, and uses the phrase “How Matters” in some of his company’s materials, notes the New York Times. The book’s premise is that it is no longer what you do that matters most and sets you apart from others, but how you do what you do.

In his foreword to How, President Bill Clinton said, in part:

“My friend Dov Seidman has dedicated his life’s work to studying how people conduct their business and their lives. As we settle into the twenty-first century with all of its unique challenges . . . it’s clear that people worldwide will rise or fall together. This new focus will require all of us to think about the how, and to find new ways to take action to solve the global issues that none of us can tackle alone.”

Chobani, America’s top yogurt maker, launched a brand campaign created by ad agency Droga5, with the bold tag “How Matters” and tweeted:

DovSeidmanHowTweet

Then, reports Jonathan Mahler in the New York Times, Seidman sued Chobani and Droga5, and requested a court order to stop the campaign as an infringement on his trademark for the word how.

ForbesPhil Johnson wonders why “all parties are blinded to a valuable opportunity”:

“For full disclosure, I’ve met Dov Seidman and immensely admire his book How, for its business philosophy. I’ve also heard Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani, speak and was inspired by his passion, not to mention his yogurt. Not least of all, as the founder of an advertising agency, I’m in awe of Droga5, which has achieved megastar fame for its brilliant work for brands like UNICEF and Coke. So, why are these wildly successful people fighting?”

Why, indeed? Perhaps Dov Seidman, Chobani, and Droga5—creative minds all—can agree that how truly does matter in everything, from book publishing to consulting to yogurt, and the decision on how it ends will not be decided in court.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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