We're planning on doing some database maintenance tomorrow and LiveJournal could be down for some users during this maintenance. It is scheduled to begin at 15:55 PDT on May 25 (click to see other timezones), will be happening over a two hour period and you might see occasional delays in connecting to some journals, pages or logging in. The delays will only be temporary and you should soon see a recovery in the site. We do not expect this work to cause wider site issues.
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Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:
Tips for Productivity (Terry Odell)
Word of Mouth (Kristine Kathryn Rusch) Jon’s ‘Pick of the Week’
Different voices in your narrative (Juliette Wade)
How Convenient--Plot Contrivance (Elizabeth Spann Craig)
All the Publishing Information You Ever Wanted (Rachelle Gardner) Jon’s other ‘Pick of the Week’
Imagining a Post-Amazon World (Steve Davidson)
Rejection: #1 Cause of Writers' Neurosis (Ash Krafton)
Infographic: 5 Key Book Publishing Paths (Jane Friedman)
Letting Go of Scarcity Thinking (Rachelle Gardner)
Ten Ways To Torture Yourself As A Writer (Marybeth Whalen)
Amazon Debuts Licensed Publishing Program for Fan Fiction (Publisher’s Weekly)
If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2012, and last week’s list.
If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time). Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.
Author Interview: Tim Tingle on How I Became a Ghost from The Edmond Sun. Peek: "My great-great-grandfather...was 10...when his family began the long walk (The Trail of Tears) to what is now Oklahoma. I wanted to write a book based on these family memories that a young reader would enjoy, with humor and discovery, with snow monsters and shape-shifting panthers."
Author Insight: The Write Mood from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: "Sometimes the simple act of writing becomes challenging. How do you make yourself write when you aren’t in the mood? Do you ever reward yourself at milestones?"
African Youth Literature: What Visibility in the International Market? by Mariette Robbes from PaperTigers. Peek: "While catering for their local readership, publishers in Africa also wish to be known internationally and to have business with publishers from others countries."
Seven Questions for Literary Agent Gemma Cooper from Middle Grade Ninja. Peek: "If you expect publishing to be in its own weird timezone, then you won’t be as surprised when it goes through stages of being crazy-manic and then deathly quiet. Be patient and go with it."
The Cabinet of Curiosities: short fictions for the young and mischievous. Highly recommended.
New Voices Award from Lee & Low. Peek: "...award-winning publisher of children's books, is pleased to announce the fourteenth annual New Voices Award. The Award will be given for a children's picture book manuscript by a writer of color. 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."
The Core of the Verse Novel from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: "Because experimenting with new methods and styles is the best way to stay fresh in the midst of a long career?"
Tips for Tackling BEA from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: "...we know a lot of you are headed to NYC to attend. We've thought back on past experience and each of us has come up with some last minute tips that could help if you prepare and have an enjoyable show."
Diversity on the Page, Behind the Pencil and in the Office by Judith Rosen from Publishers Weekly. Peek: "In doing research for books, he (illustrator London Ladd) recommended that creators develop a relationship with others so that they can understand them better. 'It would enhance your work,' he said."
Kidlit Cares for Oklahoma from Kate Messner. Peek: "...because Oklahoma needs help right now, given the magnitude of damage from this week’s EF5 tornado. Please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Effort now. If you donate at least $10, I’ll enter you in a drawing to win a signed book."
Parragon Publishing India Unpacks High School Horror Fantasies from All About Book Publishing. Peek: "Parragon is one of the largest visual book publishers operating out of 35 countries worldwide. The company has tied up with the best printing facilities in the world and its books are printed in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Europe, USA and other locations."
Pack(ag)ing It Up from Gwenda Bond. Peek: "No one I know who's done this kind of work has any illusions about the downsides going into it. Though I have heard horror stories about people it has worked out pretty awfully for or who were made to expect things that didn't materialize. But I will also say that not everything I've heard is a horror story."
Interview with Award-winning Author Don Tate by Brittney Breakey from Author Turf. Peek: "Speaking earns decent income and allows for promoting my books. But it also steals valuable time away from book making."
Is Our Culture Becoming Too Critical and Open? from Jody Hedlund. Peek: "...we're seeing an increase in readers sharing their thoughts about books more publicly (instead of privately or in the confines of book groups). And hence with the increased openness, we're also seeing more negativity (as well as positivity)." See also an Open Love Note to Debut Authors about Hurtful Online Reviews.
Turning Story Opening Don'ts Into Dos by Angela Ackerman from The Bookshelf Muse. Peek: "If you want to start with action, you’re probably a plot type person. Go ahead! You do need to show your main character in an interesting situation (notice I didn’t say dangerous, just interesting) where their own personality shines through."
Deepening Character: a Conversation with Cliff McNish from Notes from the Slushpile. Peek: "We’re prepared to forgive even villains a great deal if they make us laugh. It works doubly so for our heroes. Keep them seeing the amusing side no matter what happens."
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards
By Lena Coakley
The 2013 winners for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards were announced on Thursday at North Kipling Junior Middle School in Etobicoke, Ontario, where students gathered for a celebratory presentation.
Winner of the Children's Picture Book Award Category: A Hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis, illustrated by Marie Lafrance (Kids Can Press).
Winner of the Young Adult / Middle Reader Award Category: The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen (Tundra Books).
Aubrey Davis, Marie Lafrance and Susin Nielsen are all first-time winners of this award.
The winner of Ball by Mary Sullivan was Joy in Manitoba, and the winner of Nothing But Blue, Me, Penelope and Country Girl, City Girl, all by Lisa Jahn-Clough was Deena in New York.
This Week at Cynsations
- Eric A. Kimmel on Marketing Manuscripts to Publishers
- New Voice Polly Holyoke on The Neptune Project
- Event Report: Lindsey Scheibe & Riptide
- Event Report: Joy Preble & The Sweet Dead Life
- New Voice Laurie Boyle Crompton on Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains)
This has been one of my favorite work weeks ever!
I had an opportunity to review copy-edits on Feral Curse (Book 2 in the Feral series) from Candlewick Press and Walker Books (writer in action). And I had the opportunity to celebrate Austin debut YA author Lindsey Schiebe (reader in action) and connect in person with two amazing groups of teens and the librarians who lead them to reading success (author in action)!
|Members of the Wolves Cedar Park High School Reading Group arrive in style at the Barnes & Noble Arboretum in Austin.|
|Reviewing the set-up with librarian Chris Kay (see her photo report on the event!)|
|Chatting with Cedar Park readers about reading and writing|
|Answering questions about the writing life|
|Wow! I was presented with a gorgeous plaque! What a thrill!|
|Posing with the top readers at Cedar Park High.|
|Dinner with blogger JennRenee, Greg Leitich Smith and public librarian Jane Dance at Louisiana Longhorn Cafe (we had fried and grilled alligator as an appetizer) in historic downtown Round Rock.|
|Chatting with the Round Rock Public Library Teen Book Club|
|Posing with the Round Rock Public Library Teen Book Club.|
|Bethany Hegedus, me, Jo Whittemore, Nikki Loftin & Cory Putnam Oakes at Lindsey Scheibe's launch for Riptide!|
Cynthia Leitich Smith on Writing for the Long Haul from Janni Lee Simner from Desert Dispatches. Peek: "I have a respectful patience for the inner artist but always hold her accountable." Learn more about Janni's Writing for the Long Haul blog series.
Congratulations to Greg Leitich Smith on the upcoming re-release of the Peshtigo School books (Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo & Tofu and T. Rex (originally published by Little, Brown) from IntoPrint Publishing, LLC! See more information.
Congratulations to Lindsey Lane on the sale of "Particles" to FSG! From Publishers Marketplace: "exploring themes of loneliness and interconnectedness from multiple viewpoints, set in or around a remote pull-out on a rural Texas highway where a particle-physics-obsessed teenage science genius disappeared..."
- The Ultimate Spaceship Face-off
- Tracing the Career of Judy Blume
- Time Management: Seeking Discipline
- David Lubar: First Public Stand-up Comedy Performance (PG)
- First Native American Actress to Walk Cannes Red Carpet
- What Parenting Books Can Teach Us About Critiquing
Join Cynthia Leitich Smith, Tracy Wolff, Mari Mancusi, and Emily McKay at 1 p.m. May 25 at Cedar Park Public Library in Cedar Park, Texas.
Captain Jan Atal calls his senior staff to the bridge upon the detection of life forms on Beta Antigone, possible descendants of the Faraday's crew. Atal orders Lieutenant Terry Metcalfe to lead a team consisting of Midshipman Kevin Carson, the captain's daughter Kaya, and Cernaq. The latter is a Phaetonian, a branch of humanity that also happens to be telepathic.
Arriving on the planet, the landing party is greeted by a lovely young woman named Trace, to whom Metcalfe becomes immediately attracted, much to the consternation of Kaya. Trace takes the Arbiters to meet their community leader, L'lanck, a 217-year-old Leonid. It is then that they learn the truth of the Faraday's fate. There was, in fact, a mutiny--led by L'lanck. The ship had been on an archaeological expedition when precious Leonid artifacts had been uncovered. L'lanck and his people wished them to remain on Leonid soil, but the Faraday's human captain, Ian Trat, disregarded the request and stole the artifacts, thus angering the Leonid crew to the point of mutiny. Kaya is immediately disgusted both at L'lanck for taking human lives, but even more so at the deeply religious Metcalfe for showing sympathy for the Leonids' feelings at the violation of their heritage.
After the team splits into pairs to explore the village, a group of Renegades attacks and captures Carson, Kaya, Cernaq and Trace, leaving Metcalfe frustrated and disappointed in what he perceives to be a failure of his first command.
He returns to the Arbiter, taking the elderly and ill L'lanck and his attendants, Dawson and Andrews, to meet Captain Atal. Metcalfe, desperate to return to the surface to find his shipmates, is diverted to explore the Faraday along with Aer'la, a young Varthan that had been bred as a pleasure slave on her planet--a life from which she had managed to escape and join the Arbiter as a Bos'n. The two are forced to look beyond their intense disdain for one another and work together to find clues as to what truly happened on the Faraday 100 years before. While there, Metcalfe discovers that the ship's log had been completely erased, save for a few garbled seconds recorded by the Faraday's captain that speak of dangerous information and immortality.
Meanwhile, using wine laced with tranquilizer, Dawson manages to render Atal, and the Arbiter's wiccan Chief Medical Officer Celia Faulkner, unconscious for six hours during which he manages to lock down the bridge and arrange for more of his fellow Renegades to board the ship using the shuttle. L'lanck is shocked by this betrayal...or is he?
Dawson and the Renegades were well aware that Atal had every intention of rescuing the Faraday's descendants and bring them home, so why would they need control of the Arbiter...unless it isn't the ship they're after. And how are those precious Leonid artifacts linked to Captain Trat's warning about dangerous findings and immortality? For that matter, who erased the Faraday's logs?
Mutiny Springs Eternal does a thorough job of introducing the reader to a cast of unique, credible characters while delivering a fun, solid SF story with a few unexpected twists. Wilson displays considerable world-building prowess as well, but what truly stood out for me were the characters. The senior crewmembers of the Arbiter help one another grow even as each questions and ridicules the beliefs and lifestyles of the other. However, when the situation is dire, they are fiercely loyal to both each other and their captain.
This story was the first episode in Steven H. Wilson's Parsec and Mark Time award-winning SF auldio series, The Arbiter Chronicles. Now, Wilson is releasing these stories as e-novellas on Smashwords and Amazon. Mutiny Springs Eternal is available now on Smashwords for .99 cents and also from Amazon. I highly recommend these adventures. At.99 cents each, how can you go wrong?
- Current Mood: content
…So, 17 years after our last puppy-raising experience with the much beloved and missed Mickey and Callie (who both died in 2012 after 16+ years with us), baby Welsh Corgi Shelby came to live with us last Saturday, May 18. Here are some first-week impressions of our 13-week-old puppy.
Puppies have lots of energy! LOTS!! I had forgotten just how much. They need to go-go-go…until they crash into a nap.
A puppy has the attention span of a...
It took Shelby a mere four polite days until she decided this new planet was OK with her…and then she unleashed her Tasmanian Devil side, complete with Shelby-gator-chomping baby teeth and sharky-jaws. Now, without her five littermates as competition, she firmly believes she will rule her new world. It will take some time to convince her otherwise (which is what training is all about).
Clicker training is THE best training method I’ve ever seen in 32 years with our dogs and 16 years as a trainer. [http://puppykissesblog.livejournal.com/9
We only incorporated it into Mickey and Callie’s lives when they were 11 or 12, and they loved it. I’ve
been using it with dog-training clients’ puppies (and older dogs) for the past 5 years or so, so I already knew how effective it was. But Shelby is our first puppy to be clicker-trained from Day One.
Shelby has already learned sit, down, come, “watch me,” stay, to go into her crate when asked and mastered her first trick (“Spin!”). Not all perfectly executed yet, but an amazing educational accomplishment for less than a week. And clicker training made it possible -- and fun!
A puppy has the attention span of a...
Don’t count on getting a lot of sleep when you have a 3-month-old puppy. Shelby’s excellent breeder Carolann VanWyen took the time to get these puppies accustomed to sleeping in their crates, so Shelby didn’t fuss at all from her first night on. But she needs to get up and go potty around 4 AM, so that’s my new wake-up time…for the next several weeks, anyway.
A puppy has the attention span of a...
Puppies want to chew and bite EVERYTHING!! (unless they're sleeping)
After having had the pleasure of raising three amazing Corgi puppies before Shelby, I know it takes some time to get into the comfy rhythm of a great relationship. But I had my first such “Awwwww” moment with Shelby the other day. I was sitting at the kitchen table eating lunch, when I felt something on my foot. I looked down to see Shelby had flopped herself down and made herself at home across my fuzzy shearling slippers.
"You sure I can't nom on them a little bit..?"
Which was way better than chewing on my slippers...which she’s probably saving for next week.
Stay tuned for more "Shelby Show" reports, coming soon to this blog near you!
Laurie Boyle Crompton is the first-time author of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) (Sourcebooks, 2013) and looks forward to the release of Adrenaline (FSG/Macmillian, 2014) and The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High (Sourcebooks, 2014).
From the promotional copy of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains):
When comic-obsessed Blaze stands up to her evil ex, he posts a racy picture of her online and a battle of epic proportions ensues.
Before she knows it, Zap! Thwack! Pow! Blaze becomes the target of intense bullying.
She must learn to channel her inner-superhero if she hopes to gain the ultimate victory; rescuing herself.
Read an excerpt of Blaze.
How do you psyche yourself up to write, to keep writing, and to do the revision necessary to bring your manuscript to a competitive level? What, for you, are the special challenges in achieving this goal? What techniques have worked best and why?
As a debut author I’m in a unique (and extremely blessed!) position of having three books under contract with two different publishers so I have pressing deadlines all over the place.
It works well that I’ve always been able to convince myself that my own deadlines are ‘real’ which is probably helped by the fact that I’m a little bit gullible.
When I find motivation lagging I try to tune in to the inspiration that drove me to write the story in the first place. That initial spark is something that should continue to burn throughout the process.
I also try not to think about the book going public. When you write edgy YA, imagining your mother or grandmother reading your work can tend to stifle creativity. Of course, this game of pretending nobody will ever read the book grows harder as the process draws closer to publication day.
The writer’s worst enemy in the late stages is a little thing called perfectionism. The final read-through can be brutal since it’s the last time for making changes. It’s difficult to let go and release your book into the world, but there comes a point where you just need to decide on the word you have changed back and forth with each draft and accept the fact that you won’t be able to tinker with this story anymore. Then the best thing is to turn focus to the next project.
How did you go about connecting with your agent? What was your search process like? Who did you decide to sign with? What about that person and/or agency seemed like the best fit for you? What advice do you have for other writers in seeking the right agent for them?
I love talking about my wonderful agent! The day I signed with Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency was the day things turned around for my writing career.
Mind you, I still had a long path before getting that first publisher yes (and six months later the second one!). But I’m constantly telling writers they need the right agent, not necessarily the right now agent.
I learned this lesson the hard way. After working on my craft for a number of years I got my first offer from a reputable children’s agent and I was thrilled. Finally, here was someone who would get my book in front of editors! I was on my way! But on my way to where? It turns out I was in for three years of heartbreak and insecurity.
That agent happens to be great for some people and we split on the best of terms, but looking back it should’ve happened much sooner. I do not in any way blame that first wrong agent for those early manuscripts not selling, no agent sells every manuscript they take out on submission. But there were many signs along the way that we were not a good fit.
We parted ways. Within two months I had an offer from a new agent at an established agency on Blaze (then titled "Fangirl"). She seemed very nice and said all the right things, but I didn’t quite feel that love that I’d heard other authors talk about. I let the offering agent know that I had a few other partials out and here is the other piece of advice I try to tell any writer who will listen: in addition to contacting those agents with partials, I also wrote to all those with queries who I hadn’t heard back from, letting them know of the offer.
This actually turned into a few full requests, including one from my absolute top choice; Ammi-Joan Paquette. It turned out, she hadn’t received my original query but she was intrigued by my book and asked to see more. As things progressed towards her offer of representation, I came to understand that agent love that other writers talk about. And I certainly feel it still.
So authors, when you get an offer take the time to contact those agents you’ve queried! At the worst it will save busy agents time reading a query for a book that’s already spoken for. And at best, well, you just never know.
Visit Laurie's LiveJournal.
Enter to win a signed copy of Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) by Laurie Boyle Crompton (Sourcebooks, 2013) from Cynsations at Blogger. Author sponsored. Eligibility: North America, U.K. and Australia. Enter here.
Originally posted by clauderainsrm at Vote - Week 1
In a mini-season that is all about moving quickly - LJ going down on the day of the original deadline was ill-timed to say the least.
But, we internet folk are tough, we figured it out and got through Week 1! Or rather, we are about to officially do that.
Welcome to the first poll of LJ Idol! Sure, you had a Week 0, but that was just the warm-up! This is for real!
Two of your fellow contestants were not able to get their entries in this week. Fortunately, for them - for all of you really, we ARE having “Second Chance Idol”. That means, from now until I say otherwise, if you are eliminated in the main poll, you get one more shot to hang on!
Which means, Welcome to SCI to:
pipistrelle and ugawa
In a couple days, you will have EIGHT more friends!
Yes, that means that we are losing the eight contestants with the entries that receive the fewest votes.
Even though it is an Intersection, this time around, all entries will be completely on their own. (no adding totals, unlike some Intersection weeks in the past)
Having a good partner to bounce ideas with is extremely valuable when it comes to the creative process. Who made it pay off for them?
I guess we are about to find out!
The poll will be closing Wednesday, May 22nd at 9pm EDT. So I hope you have been keeping up on your reading!
Read! Comment! and Vote! for your favorites!
Good luck to everyone!
( Click here to Vote!Collapse )
the correct entry for mac_arthur_park is at http://mac-arthur-park.livejournal.c
- Current Mood: anxious
Poor lad. He looked so sad, with his little face staring out from inside the stretchy head bandage they used to hold the icepacks to his cheeks. I just don’t have the heart to post the picture I took.
Eight people will be cut this week (and headed to Second Chance Idol)!
- Current Mood: hopeful
Librarian Laini Bostian blogs at The Made Up Librarian. Today she talks to Eric A. Kimmel about authors marketing their manuscripts to publishers.
Learn more about Eric from Scholastic.
Eric: About writing and marketing, it’s never one or the other. Professional writers do look to the market. They have to. There are always compromises and adjustments to be made during the composition process and during the revision and editing processes.
The key is how does the author feel about making the changes. If you go too far and say "yes" too often, you may come to a point where it’s no longer your book.
Also, some editors will tell you upfront that they may not be the one to handle a particular manuscript. It isn’t doing anything for them, or the changes they’d suggest would turn it into an entirely different story. Sometimes the writer can go along with that. Sometimes we can’t.
I’ll give you a recent example that just happened with the manuscript I’m sending out. I originally conceived it as YA. Several of the editors who've responded so far made the point that it didn’t feel like a YA. It felt more like middle grade.
Jennifer Laughran called to talk to me about it. The editors may be right, she said. YA is edgier. The characters are older. There’s more sex and drama. My main character is finishing middle school. You might call the story YA, but it’s definitely on the younger edge of the spectrum.
It’s borderline between age markets, and as Jenn pointed out, “The border is where you don’t want to be.”
Editors can’t fit it into a specific genre. They can’t predict its audience or what it will do.
That can be the kiss of death these days.
What Jenn suggested is marketing, not literary advice: Take it down a couple of years. Forget YA and go for middle grade. It would be easy. The changes would be mostly cosmetic.
She also pointed out that the YA genre is glutted right now. It’s been so successful that everyone’s writing YA. Meanwhile, there’s a definite shortage of middle grade fiction.
So guess what I’ve been doing this past week? It’s a change I can live with. I see the point. It actually suits the characters, the story, and me more.
Are these revisions marketing decisions? You bet! Are they artistic ones? Definitely yes, because I feel comfortable with them and actually think the manuscript is better for my having made them.
Laini: So, if this work does not sell, will you be upset? What should young writers do? What would you say to them?
However, that doesn’t mean you give up. Set the manuscript aside. Maybe you can do something with it later. Times change, so a manuscript no one wants today may become a hot item in a couple of years.
The advantage I have over young writers is I know the drill. A similar rejection could be devastating for a beginner. But again, so what? Will you quit and never write anything again?
Guess what? Nobody cares. Real writers suck it up and start something else. The ones that are only in it for a payoff will find something else to do.
What should young writers do? Write! They think they’re going to get rich? That editors owe them something because they scribbled out a manuscript? That they don’t have to revise?
Well, they’ll learn, and they’ll be better writers for it. And if they decide to spend their time doing something else, what of it? I guarantee there will be no shortage of writers or good books.