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26. Anne Tyler’s New Novel to Arrive in Spring 2015

authPulitzer Prize winning novelist Anne Tyler has a new book coming out from Alfred A. Knopf next spring.

The yet-to-be-titled novel begins in 1994 and follows three generations of a Baltimore family. Check it out:

Her new novel begins in 1994 and slowly unwinds through three generations of the Whitshank family, revolving primarily around Red, a construction worker, his wife, Abby, a social worker, and their four children. The novel opens when Abby and Red receive a call from their only son, who has phoned with important news. Then, suddenly, the phone goes dead.

Tyler has been with Knopf for 50 years, half of the time the publisher has been operating.

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27. Russell Brand Reveals New Children’s Stories on YouTube

Actor Russell Brand has written his first children’s book. The book is called The Pied Piper of Hamlet, and is the first of a series of fairy stories and folk tales called Russell Brand’s Trickster Tales. Chris Riddell, a contributor to The Observer and National Book Award nominee, created the drawings.

Russell announced the book in a YouTube video, which we have embedded above. In the video, he says that he hopes the stories will “unlock aspects of our consciousness and to affect and impact the way that we see the world.”

Check out his reading above.

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28. Marilyn Nelson: ‘Many performance poets seem to believe that yelling a poem makes it comprehensible’

marilyn nelsonHappy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. Recently, we spoke with award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson.

Throughout her career, Nelson has written several volumes of poetry. Earlier this year, Penguin Books for Young Readers published her memoir How I Discovered Poetry. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

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29. The World According to Uncle Charles — Charles Waters

Welcome to National Poetry Month.  In the next few weeks we’ll join the celebration by sharing posts from readers, teachers, authors, and poets. Here’s our first, from poet Charles Waters.

Ever tried.
Ever failed.
No matter.
Try again.
Fail again.
Fail better.

–Samuel Beckett

Those 12 words by Mr. Beckett pretty much describe what human existence is all about.  No one is great at EVERYTHING.  There’s always room for improvement, room to allow grace to come in and take you in a journey, whatever it may be.  I’m coming up on the 10 year anniversary of when I wrote my first poem, and in that time I realized that no matter how many children’s poems I write (or rewrite as it were) the process humbles me.

Poetry time Logo (1)To get you started on your poetic quest I suggest that you dear readers follow the advice of Uncle Charles and read children’s poems by the boatload.  Heaven knows there are enough books for you to get lost in.  Go to Section 811 of your library; pick out anything by old school masters such as Langston Hughes, Myra Cohn Livingston, Valerie Worth, Eve Merriam and David McCord as well as contemporary poets like Lee Bennett Hopkins, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Nikki Grimes, J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, Arnold Adoff and Allan Wolf.  That’s just for starters.  I advise you to take it one poem at a time, say the words at loud, read it multiple times, let the words flow out of your mouth into the universe.  This is what I did 10 years ago and the words of these poets and many others have never let me down.

When you write your own poems please don’t be afraid to make mistakes, you should make mistakes, otherwise you’re not writing.  Cross out words that don’t feel or sound right when you say them, flip sentences around, think in metaphors and similes, think about how your day was and write about it, think about your summer vacation, time spent with your beloved pet or pets, describe what usually happens at your family dinners.  There’s so much material you have inside you … unlock it.  One last bit of advice, believe in yourself because Uncle Charles believes in you.

SANCTUARY 

Gazing at gothic,
Rib-vaulted ceiling
I pray for gentle hugs
To be received
Throughout humanity.

© Charles Waters 2014 all rights reserved.

Charles Waters’ poems have appeared in several anthologies: Amazing Places, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (2015), The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis (former Children’s Poet Laureate), The Poetry Friday AnthologyThe Poetry Anthology for Science and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, The Arrow Finds Its Mark: A Book of Found Poems, edited by Georgia Heard and The Crowd Goes Wild: A Global Gathering of Sports Poems, edited by Carol-Ann Hoyte and Heidi Bee Roemer.

Charles conducts his one man show POETRY TIME, as well as poetry performance workshops for elementary and middle school audiences all over the nation.

You can find him in the following places:

Website: www.charleswaterspoetry.com
Blog: www.charleswaterspoetry.com/#!blog/c16qh
Facebook: www.facebook.com/charleswaterspoetry
YouTube: www.youtube.com/thecharleswaters
Twitter: www.twitter.com/waterscharles

The post The World According to Uncle Charles — Charles Waters appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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30. Plagiarism Scandal Pits Lemony Snicket Against Malcolm Gladwell

snicket & gladwell

In honor of April Fool’s Day, a plagiarism scandal has ignited between Lemony Snicket and Malcolm Gladwell.

According to a press release posted on Snicket’s website, Gladwell’s latest book David & Goliath contains original material sourced from Snicket’s new book File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents. To back up his accusations, Snicket has shared “evidence” on his website to support his claims.

Publishers Weekly sought after Snicket for a comment and he gave the following statement: “Every time I blink Malcolm Gladwell steals from me like an outright outlier. I’ve reached the tipping point. It’s like an old biblical story I can’t think of right now.” Gladwell himself has given this response: “Mr. Snicket is asking All The Wrong  Questions. He better watch out, or this will turn into a series of something or other.”

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31. KidLit Events April 1-8…and Beyond

Spring is moving fast, and the big events for readers and writers of children’s and YA literature are speeding toward us. If you haven’t yet signed up for at least one of the two big conferences, do not delay! On April 12, at the Houston Writers’ Guild Conference, Nikki Loftin—author of NIGHTINGALE’S NEST and THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY—will be delivering the keynote address. Other Houston children’s or YA writers who will be on the staff are Joy Preble, Jessica Cappelle, Sharon Morse and Elizabeth White, as well as literary agents Pooja Menon and Eddie Schneider.

SCBWI Houston Conference (art by Diandra Mae)The biggest event in Texas this year for children’s and young adult writers is the Houston Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 25th Anniversary Conference, taking place April 26-27. If you write or illustrate for young readers or have ever dreamed of doing so, register now! We will have agents from three agencies:

Stephen BarrWriters House
Stephen Fraser—Jennifer DeChiara Literacy Agency
Natalie LakosilBradford Literary Agency

Plus three editors from closed houses (this means they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts or queries to submit manuscripts) who will accept submissions from attendees of the Houston SCBWI Conference:

Kendra Levin—Viking Books for Children
Jocelyn Davies—HarperCollins
Julie Ham—Charlesbridge

PLUS, Jim Hoover, Associate Art Director at Viking Children’s Books.

And to top it off, two-time Newbery Honor winning author Gary Schmidt of THE WEDNESDAY WARS, OKAY FOR NOW and LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY will be delivering our keynote address! If you love youth literature, you will love this conference! Register now!

If for some reason you can’t make it to the Houston SCBWI Conference (say, for instance you are under eighteen), there is another fantastic event that day that will make you roll out of bed before noon—the Greater HoustonTeen Book Convention. Too many fabulous authors will be attending for me to mention here, but go to their website and check it out!

Now for this week’s events—the first event is not strictly a children’s author/illustrator event, but it is an event for some very special children who illustrate, so I wanted to share this news with you.

April 2, Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. MD Anderson Children's Art Project
Cornelius Nursery, Voss Rd.
Fundraiser Event for MD Anderson Children’s Art Project

Cornelius Nursery on Voss Rd is holding a painting party for pediatric patients of the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Please come by and join in the fun, enjoy the artwork, and be inspired, plus view wonderful new designs from The Children’s Art Project that are perfect for your garden. The newest collaboration is between Children’s Art Project and the Round Top Collection, which produces unique metal artwork for the garden based on the artwork from children in the Children’s Art Project. Shannon A. Murray, ED of Children’s Art Project and Jeff Krause the founder of Round Top will be on hand to celebrate and highlight this newest collection.

April 4, Friday, 6:30 p.m. KNIGHTLY AND SON by Rohan Gavin
Murder By The Book
Rohan Gavin, YA Author

In author/screenwriter Rohan Gavin’s new YA novel KNIGHTLY AND SON, the once highly in-demand detective Alan Knightley has just woken up after an unexplained incident kept him asleep for four years. While he was out cold, his son, Darkus, took it upon himself to read of all his dad’s old cases, and he’s learned “a lot” about the art of detection. It’s a good thing too–because suddenly the duo find themselves caught up in a crazy conspiracy that involves a group of villainous masterminds (who keep appearing and then vanishing), some high-speed car chases (that will have everyone fastening their seat belts), and a national, bestselling book with the power to make people do terrible, terrible things. But because Alan is still suffering the effects of his coma, he tends to, well, fall asleep at the worst possible moments, Meaning that young Darkus might just have to solve this mystery . . . by himself.

April 5, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.  SUGAR BUG ON THE TOOTH by Dr. Linda Sturrup
Barnes & Noble, Vanderbilt Square
Dr. Linda Sturrup, Dentist/Author

Dr. Linda Sturrup presents A SUGAR BUG ON MY TOOTH, a great read for that first dentist visit for little ones. Natalie Jean’s visit to the dentist seems a little scary, but with help from Dr. Cork, she learns that a dentist checkup can actually be fun! Kirkus  says it’s “An approachable tale of a first dental visit with pictures and a tone that will provide a reassuring beginning lesson to preschool-aged readers.”

April 5, Saturday, 2:00 THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE by Jonathan Stroud
Blue Willow Bookshop
Jonathan Stroud, MG Author

Jonathan Stroud, author of the New York Times best-selling Bartimaeus Trilogy, visits to introduce his new series for middle grade readers. If you like ghost stories that are scary but not too scary, this is for you!  A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see—and eradicate—these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

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32. Michael Lewis Claims the Stock Market is Rigged in New Book

Moneyball author Michael Lewis has a new book coming out about Wall Street called Flash Boys, in which he claims that the stock market is rigged.

In the book from W. W. Norton & Company, Lewis illustrates how high-frequency trading in the financial markets have caused the problem. Lewis was on 60 Minutes last night to discuss the issue. We’ve embedded the CBS interview above so that you can check it out.

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33. COMMON CORE SPOTLIGHT: GALAPAGOS GEORGE

GALAPAGOS GEORGE is the story of the famous Lonesome George, a giant tortoise who was the last of his species, lived to be one hundred years old, and became known as the rarest creature in the world. This incredible evolution story by renowned naturalist and Newbery Medal winner Jean Craighead George gives readers a glimpse of the amazing creatures inhabiting the ever-fascinating Galápagos Islands, complete with back matter that features key terms, a timeline, and further resources for research.

Galapagos George

Here are some Common Core objectives that GALAPAGOS GEORGE can help meet:

Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe. Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a book to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot. Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

And you can use the following questions to help start a specific discussion about this book or a general discussion about informational texts and/or literature:

  1. How does a reader determine the genre of a particular book? What characteristics apply to GALAPAGOS GEORGE? RI.2.5, RL.2.3
  2. What elements of a book help the reader determine the main idea? What details support the main idea? RI.2.2, RL.2.2
  3. How do the illustrations contribute to the text (characters, setting, and plot)? RI.2.7, RL.2.7

GALAPAGOS GEORGE will be available next week!

 

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34. Chuck Palahniuk Reveals Cover For New Book

41iuTktJUQL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Chuck Palahniuk revealed a photo of his upcoming novel Beautiful You! today on his website. The book’s design takes its inspiration from Andy Warhol.

Doubleday is putting out the book in October. The book is about a sex toy company and boasts the tagline, ”A billion husbands are about to be replaced.” Check out the book’s description:

Penny Harrigan is a low-level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, aka “Climax-Well,” a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan’s most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed-of heights of orgasmic pleasure for days on end. What’s not to like? This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of sex toys to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called Beautiful You.

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35. George R.R. Martin Releases New Chapter of Book Online

gameofthronesTo help build excitement around the upcoming season of Game of Thrones, author George R.R Martin has released a new free chapter of his upcoming novel Winds of Winter.

The chapter is titled “Mercy.” This is the second free chapter that he has released from the book.

Here is more from Martin’s blog: “The new chapter is actually an old chapter.  But no, it’s not one I’ve published or posted before, and I don’t even think I’ve read it at a con (could be wrong there, I’ve done readings at so many cons, it all tends to blur together).  So it’s new in that it is material that no one but my editors (well, and Parris, and David and Dan, and a few others) have ever seen before, but it’s old in that it was written a long time ago, predating any of the samples that you have seen.  The first draft was, at any rate.  I’ve rewritten it a dozen times since then.”

 

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36. Authors Fight Ban on Books in UK Prisons

photoBritish authors Phillip Pullman and Mark Haddon are among many that have spoken out to stop new rules that restrict access to books among prisoners in the UK.

“Any government worth having would countermand this loathsome and revolting decision at once, sack the man responsible, and withdraw the whip from him,” Pullman told The Guardian.

Mary Sweeney launched a Change.org petition today urging Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP to “review and amend” the new rules. The petition has already generated more than 5,000 signatures. Here is an excerpt from the petition: “Access to books can be crucial for education and rehabilitation. Access to family items are important for continued family connection, and should not additionally punish children of prisoners who need contact.” (Via The Guardian).

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37. Neil Gaiman On the Value of Ghost Stories

Newbery Medal-winning author Neil Gaiman headlined “a semi-secret late-night event” during the TED 2014 conference. Brain Pickings reports that Gaiman performed recitations of a ghost story and an essay entitled “Ghost in the Machine.”

Here’s an excerpt from Gaiman’s readings: “We have been telling each other tales of otherness, of life beyond the grave, for a long time; stories that prickle the flesh and make the shadows deeper and, most important, remind us that we live, and that there is something special, something unique and remarkable about the state of being alive. Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses.”

Press play in the Soundcloud player embedded above to listen. In his essay, Gaiman discusses human society’s history with terrifying tales and the value of ghost stories. During the event, Gaiman also talked about why he agrees with J.R.R. Tolkien and Maurice Sendak’s idea that “there is no such thing as ‘children’s’ books” and “the ghosts of today that terrify” him.

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38. ‘Pippi Longstocking’ Author Astrid Lindgren Gets a Spot on Sweden’s 20 Krona Note

Kulturresan_20_High_PressBeloved children’s author Astrid Lindgren will appear on Sweden’s 20 krona note.

The Riksbank, Sweden’s central bank, announced this news back in 2011. They plan to start distributing the note sometime between 2014 and 2015.

Artist Göran Österlund designed the note and included a drawing of Lindgren’s revered heroine Pippi Longstocking into the final image. BuzzFeed reports that 20 Krona can be exchanged for about $3 USD.

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39. Classroom Connections: WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE by Rebecca Behrens

age range: middle grade
setting: the White House

Please tell us about your book.

WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE is about what happens when Audrey, a somewhat lonely thirteen-year-old First Daughter, finds Alice Roosevelt’s long-lost diary hidden under the floorboards of a White House closet. After reading about Alice’s wild antics—carrying around a pet snake to parties, going for joyrides in her red runabout, traveling to Cuba, and throwing a huge White House debut—Audrey is inspired to find her own ways to “eat up the world.” But trying to live like Alice threatens to get Audrey into more trouble than she can handle—and may even affect her mother’s political career.

WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE features fictional diary entries from Alice’s point of view, along with an author’s note, bibliography, and many ancillary resources available on the publisher’s website (such as an Educator’s Discussion Guide, Women’s History Month lesson plan, and ALICE FOR REAL, an annotated version of the diary entries).

What inspired you to write this story?

Growing up, I was fascinated by children living in the White House. I’m still interested today in what private life is like for presidential families. Particularly when President Obama was elected in 2008, I wondered how the lives of his daughters would change as they headed to Washington. I imagined that there would be a lot of wonderful and exciting opportunities for them in the coming years—and probably some hardships, too. The idea of a “First Daughter” feeling a little isolated and constrained stuck with me and soon developed into Audrey’s character.

I also had long wanted to write fiction about Alice Roosevelt’s wild life. Interest in Theodore Roosevelt runs in my family—my great-grandfather was present at the famous speech TR gave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after TR had been shot in an assassination attempt. My father is a history buff and told me many stories about the Roosevelt family, and I found Alice particularly fascinating.

Then one day I was walking near 62nd and Madison in New York, and suddenly I had the initial spark to combine those two story ideas into one. Interestingly enough, while researching I found out that Alice’s aunt had lived at that very intersection, and that was a place where Alice had spent time as a young person. Weird!

Could you share with readers how you conducted your research or share a few interesting tidbits you learned while researching?

Much of my research was done the old-fashioned way: heading to the public library and checking out lots and lots of books on Alice Roosevelt and White House life. I also used many online resources, including official White House websites, the White House Historical Association, National Parks Service sites, and unofficial pages that detail White House history.

I also was fortunate enough to be selected to attend a private White House Social garden tour. With about twenty other attendees, I got to tour the grounds and meet with White House employees. It was so helpful to get to see this particular setting in person, and to experience things like the security process for visitors.

While I was writing the first draft, a good friend happened to work in the West Wing. It was great to be able to send someone there an email asking, “What would happen if someone ordered a pizza to Pennsylvania Avenue?” Some of my friend’s responses made me interested in aspects of White House life I wouldn’t have thought of myself, such as food security at the White House.

What are some special challenges associated with writing historical fiction?

For me, it was challenging to balance the occasionally competing demands of factual accuracy and good fiction. Especially because I had so much information about Alice’s real life, I felt a bit of a responsibility to respect the facts while writing her diary entries. Sometimes, though, it felt more true for my Alice’s story to stray from what really happened, either because it fit the character I’d created or because it tied the two girls’ stories together more neatly.

Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to write the best piece of fiction possible, so I would have to side with that. Within reason, of course—I worked hard to make my Alice character as believable and true to her time period as possible.

I also think it can be tricky to get period writing for contemporary readers right. I hope Alice’s voice is believable as that of a seventeen-year-old in the early 1900s. I’m sure I’ve included a few anachronistic words here and there, even though I did rely heavily on the online etymology dictionary and other resources to see when terms came into use! But I also wanted her words to flow nicely and stay accessible for young readers today.

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

Presidential politics
Theodore Roosevelt, Alice Roosevelt, and family
Women in politics
Civil Rights and the 14th Amendment
Marriage equality
White House history and White House life
Women’s History Month
Researching fact versus fiction
Labor politics (Coal Strike of 1902)

Be sure to visit Rebecca Behrens at her website.

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40. Saturday’s Hyphenated Authors

I usually do a ‘quick’ Trailer post on Saturdays and go on about my day. But, on this Saturday, the thoughts have simmered into a different post. I think it came to a boil today at the post office when I read a bumper sticker that stated “American-American”.

Wouldn’t we all love to be able to display such a sticker on our vehicles? Isn’t that the American dream IMG_0606that led Rodney King to ask “Why can’t we all just get along”?

Because, we don’t get along. There’s a lot of pride in hyphenating our Americanism and I say more power to each and every group. This America really is big enough for all that self love.

I prefer ‘Black’ to African American and I like ‘people of color’. I like the inclusiveness of these terms and the new centers they create. I’ve begun to wonder why more and more I see people question the use of ‘people of color’. I do know that it excludes American Indians because you can’t reduce a nation to skin color. Ah! There’s the rub! We cannot reduce nations to skin color. In being “Black” or “people of color” we are no longer tied to a place, we diminish our identity.

Take the time to watch this conversation with Junot Diaz and Toni Morrison.

So, much of my Saturday has been creating better identities on my Author’s Page.


Filed under: Authors Tagged: people of color

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41. Andy Serkis to Direct ‘The Jungle Book’

jungle-bookActor Andy Serkis has signed on to direct Warner Bros.’ live action adaptation of The Jungle Book. Ron Howard was reportedly considering the role last month, but the meetings didn’t go far.

The Hollywood Reporter has more: “ Jungle Book would be Serkis’ feature directorial debut after directing second unit on Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit movies, the third of which Warners is due to open in December. Some of the shoots involved the creation of elaborate and lively action sequences. For example, Serkis helmed the widely praised barrel-chase sequence in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”

In 1967, Disney adapted the book into an animated film directed by .

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42. Meg Wolitzer Gets Inspiration From Sylvia Plath in New YA Novel

belzhar_custom-361c0db947a535a4c4d293f4127847c2547cc338-s2-c85Author Meg Wolitzer is working on a new YA novel inspired by Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar called Belzhar.

“My narrator is a sixteen-year-old girl named Jam Gallahue who’s dealing with a tragic loss. She’s sent to a boarding school in Vermont for “emotionally fragile, highly intelligent” teenagers. While there, she is put into a tiny, elite class that reads only one writer a semester. And this semester the class is reading Sylvia Plath,” Wolitzer explained in an interview with NPR. “Plath’s work, and her emotional problems, not to mention her journal-writing, take on important dimensions for all the students in the class, who are also asked to write in their own journals, and who, when they do, experience something startling.”

Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin, will publish the new work in September.

 

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43. Elizabeth Warren’s Memoir Hits Bookshelves Next Month

51mJsTyRz+L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Mass. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a memoir coming out next month from Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Macmillian, called A Fighting Chance.

In the book Warren tells her own personal story of how she made it as a law professor and in Congress. Check it out:

As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher—an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but fifteen years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington DC to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?

Warren is the author of a number of finance books including: All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan and The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke.

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44. Seth Grahame-Smith to Pen Sequel for ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’

b654623d4f61f9d76598d08bc4106d72Writer Seth Grahame-Smith has been working on a sequel to the 2010 hit title, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterDeadline reports that Grand Central Publishing, an imprint at Hachette Book Group USA, plans to publish the finished book in January 2015.

The first book served as the basis for a popular movie adaptation that came out in June 2012. For that film, Grahame-Smith (pictured, via) collaborated with X-Men movie screenwriter Simon Kinberg to pen the script.

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45. Straight From the Source: Margarita Engle on Writing Historical Fiction

Please join me in welcoming Margaria Engle to the blog today.

Margarita is a poet and novelist whose work has been published in many countries. Her books include THE SURRENDER TREE, a Newbery Honor book and winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Américas Award, and the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award; THE POET SLAVE OF CUBA, winner of the Pura Belpré Award and the Américas Award; and HURRICANE DANCERS, winner of the Pura Belpré Award. Her most recent book, SILVER PEOPLE: VOICES FROM PANAMA CANAL, releases March 25.final Silver People cover-1

What typically comes first for you: a character? An era? A story idea? How do you proceed from there?

I love to read anything I can find about Cuba, so when I encounter a historical figure who astonishes me, I get excited.  This is especially true for first person accounts.  For instance, while I was doing research for THE POET SLAVE OF CUBA and THE SURRENDER TREE, I encountered diaries that would later lead to THE FIREFLY LETTERS and THE LIGHTNING DREAMER.

How do you conduct your research? 

I love interlibrary loan!  I love diaries!  I love variety, so I read all the current nonfiction books and articles about a subject, then look at their bibliographies to find earlier works.  When I keep moving farther and farther back in time, sometimes I’m lucky enough to find first-person accounts.

You do have a specific system for collecting data? 

I’m an omnivore.  I read everything.  When something interests me, I fill index cards with notes.  It’s extremely low-tech.

What kinds of sources do you use?

New books, antique books, diaries, scholarly journals, bibliographies, helpful librarians, just about anything I can find.

How long do you typically research before beginning to draft?

A year of afternoons spent reading and re-reading about a subject (while writing my current project—using last year’s research—during the mornings.)  It’s difficult sometimes, because it means time traveling back and forth between the current project, future project, and my real life.

At what point do you feel comfortable beginning to draft? How does your research continue once you begin writing?

I don’t consider the research finished until I remember a lot about the subject without having to constantly look up details.  Of course, once the book is finished, I instantly forget everything, because my brain’s storage capacity is tiny, and by then it’s already starting to get filled up with information about the next project.

What is your favorite thing about research?

I love learning!  I’m in love with those aha moments when I wonder why I’ve never heard of this person, or this event, that seems so significant and inspiring.

What’s your least favorite thing about research?

The fear of making factual errors or incorrect assumptions, especially regarding earlier time periods, when there were few first-person accounts, and especially regarding indigenous cultures that left no written record.

What’s your favorite thing about writing historical fiction?

The daydreaming!  I love to imagine.

What are some obstacles writing historical fiction brings?

Unfortunately, chain bookstores rarely stock my books.  They seem to be thought of as limited to the school and library “market.”  I don’t know if it’s because they’re historical, multicultural, or verse novels—possibly all three. I sometimes feel like a second-class citizen in the publishing world.

What’s one of the most interesting things you’ve learned while researching?

While researching HURRICANE DANCERS, I was invited to become a subject of the Cuban DNA Project.  I learned that my maternal ancestry is indigenous.  I am a descendant of the people I was researching!  This was especially thrilling because like all Cubans and Cuban-Americans, I had been brought up believing that Cuban Indians are extinct.  In other words:  the history books were wrong.

Has your research ever affected the overall trust of your book? How so?

I once had an awkward experience at a conference.  I was sent into a roomful of teachers who were discussing THE FIREFLY LETTERS.  Most were polite, but one challenged me, saying she didn’t like the ending, because it was too hopeful.  She didn’t see hope as a realistic facet of slavery.  To quote her, she said my ending was, “happy ever after.”  In my defense, I explained that I only choose stories where I’ve found a hopeful ending.  Other stories might fascinate me as a reader, but as a writer, I don’t choose to offer hopeless endings to young people.

Because life isn’t always clear cut, the motives behind our actions don’t always make sense. But stories need to follow a logical path. What sorts of decisions have you had to make about “muddy” historical figures or events in order for your book to work?

Sometimes I create fictional characters in real situations.  Sometimes I combine fictional characters with historical figures.  This is the approach I took in my newest verse novel, SILVER PEOPLE: VOICES FROM PANAMA CANAL.  It’s such an incredibly enormous subject, involving hundreds of thousands of laborers from more than a hundred nations.  I had to narrow it down to a few characters.  When I tried to include too many, it fell apart, so I chose to focus on the ones I could picture most clearly, the ones whose voices reached me.

Why is historical fiction important?

Historical fiction can help us understand the enormous world, by learning about specific people, cultures, and events.  My hope is that young people will feel encouraged and inspired when they read about real people who made hopeful choices in times that must have seemed hopeless.

 

The post Straight From the Source: Margarita Engle on Writing Historical Fiction appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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46. Scott Westerfeld Lands Deal For ‘Afterworlds’ YA Novel

scottScott Westerfeld has landed a deal Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, for his new young adult novel, Afterworlds. The story follows Darcy Patel as she moves to New York City to establish her writing career; readers will follow both Darcy’s actual life story and the fictional one she hopes to publish.

Publisher Bethany Buck negotiated the deal with literary agent Jill Grinberg; Buck has secured North American, audio, and ebook rights. The book is scheduled to be released on September 23, 2014.

Westerfeld (pictured, via) had this statement in the press release: “Readers of YA are also lively and energetic producers – of fanfic, of original work, of reviews and blogs and manifestos. Afterworlds is an homage to all those who write to make themselves better readers, or the other way around.”

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47. Roxana Robinson Elected President of The Authors Guild

authors_guildAuthor Roxana Robinson has been elected as the president of The Authors Guild. In addition, Judy Blume, Richard Russo, and James Shapiro were voted to serve as  co-vice presidents of the guild, and CJ Lyons has joined the Guild’s executive Council.

Scott Turow has wrapped up his term as president of the Guild after four years in the position. During his term, Turow guided the organization through its 100th anniversary celebration in 2012. He also been deeply involved in the landmark book digitization lawsuits against Google and HathiTrust.

At the organization’s annual meeting last Wednesday, Guild members also re-elected Peter Petre as treasurer and Pat Cummings as secretary. In addition Council members Peter Gethers, Annette Gordon-Reed, Nicholas Lemann, Douglas Preston, Michelle Richmond, Cathleen Schine, and Monique Truong, were re-elected during the meeting.

 

 

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48. Lawrence Ferlinghetti Inks Book Deal With Liveright

lawrenceferlinghettiBeat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti has sold his travel journals to Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company.

The 94-year old’s new work Writing Across the Landscape: Travel Journals (1950-2013), is slated for publication in September 2015. The book will incorporate the author’s travel journals and notebooks, along with content from his 1970 book The Mexican Night and his 1984 work Seven Days in Nicaragua Libre, both of which are out of print.

The New York Times has the story: “The journal material, most of it being published for the first time, sheds as much light on Mr. Ferlinghetti’s political passions as on his relationships with the Beat writers. His itinerary takes him to Mexico, Haiti and North Africa, to Cuba in the throes of the Castro revolution, to Franco’s Spain, to Soviet Russia for the 1968 Writers’ Congress, and to Nicaragua under the Sandinistas. It also includes his frequent trips to Italy and to France, where he lived for four years while pursuing a doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris. Along the way, he records his encounters with Pablo Neruda, Ezra Pound, Ernesto Cardenal, Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Andrei Voznesensky.”

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49. Kevin Trudeau Sentenced to 10 Years Over Claims in Diet Book

kevintrudeauAuthor Kevin Trudeau has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for cheating consumers by making false claims about his book in infomercials to promote his bestselling book The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About.

The Guardian has the story: “Trudeau’s weight-loss book describes a gruelling, 500-calorie-a-day diet, as well as hormone treatments. The deception, Guzman explained, came in Trudeau’s infomercials, which misrepresented the contents of the book as laying out ‘a simple, no hunger … diet-free method of losing weight’ that enticed more people to buy the book.”

The Federal Trade Commission brought a civil suit against Trudeau over the book, and he was ordered to pay $37 million.

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50. Grove Atlantic to Publish ‘Straight to Hell’ After Touchstone Cancels the Book

GSElevatorGrove Atlantic will publish John Lefevre’s book Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals, a book behind the Twitter account@GSElevator which claims to document conversations overheard in the Goldman Sachs elevators. Grove Atlantic picked up the book after Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, dropped the title earlier this month.

“John’s satirical voice captures the outrageous, excessive yet fascinating lives and culture of a certain segment of the international banking elite. His work is amusing, disturbing, and at times shocking,” explained Morgan Entrekin, publisher at Grove Atlantic, in a statement.

The Twitter account, which counts more than 650,000 followers, has been under scrutiny since Lefevre was outed as working at Citigroup, not Goldman Sachs.”In light of information that has recently come to our attention since acquiring John Lefevre’s STRAIGHT TO HELL, Touchstone has decided to cancel its publication of this work,” the publisher explained in a press release when they axed the book.

The Grove Atlantic title is slated for release in November 2014.

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