Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday Tidbits

Agent Elizabeth Jote of Objective Entertainment is looking for, and I quote (because this is NOT listed on her Agent Query page), "MIDDLE GRADE (no one is writing this and everyone is asking me for it. Proposals are welcome.) . . . ."

She goes on to list other genres on the adult side. If you’re interested, she also wants contemporary romance with REAL women, suspense, and nonfiction proposals of all kinds (currently biographies, business, and women’s interest).

Now, I’m thinkin’, if she’s being asked for middle grade novels, maybe other agents are too! Hmmm.

In other agent news, aspiring author Casey McCormick shines the spotlight on Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, Ltd. From what I read, Ginger seems like the kind of agent every author would want to have in their corner. No wonder she has such a STELLAR list of clients!

Christy Raedeke, over at Juvenescence, interviews 2010 debut YA author Steve Brezenoff. Steve tells a fascinating story of how he met his editor, Andrew Karre from Carolrhoda, and then his agent, Edward Necarsulmer IV at McIntosh & Otis.

And over on the QueryTracker blog, Agent Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary, having recently judged the One-Sentence Pitch contest there, offers constructive advice on what to include in a one-sentence pitch. She says that out of the 585 entries, 25% of them weren't even pitches at all.

Folk, I printed out this post because the advice she offers and examples she gives of what is and isn't a pitch sentence is really on the money, if I may be so cliche. And as many of you already know, this type of pitch is perfect for conferences and writer's day events.

Kidz Korner is back with a . . .

Kid Recipe

Here's a kid recipe from right out of the blue. It's called a sweet fruit tart
and it won't be tarty so don't go away from the computer yet.

First, get a biscuit or a Thomas English muffin.
2nd take fruits such as apple, peach and orange or put any other fruit together.
3rd, slice the biscuit in half.
4th, then put fruits in a microwave and heat it up but not for too long .
5th, look at it, dig in, and reply to me.


Movie Review -- MONSTERS vs. ALIENS

Monsters vs. Aliens is a movie about 5 monsters: Insectasouras, Ginormica, Missing Link, Dr. Cockaroach, and B. O. B. They have to save everyone fom the Aliens. B.O.B. is the funniest.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

Well, it's almost midnight on Work-in-Progress Wednesday (soon to be Thursday!) and . . . I haven't written a thing! All this week! I feel soooooo bad. I'm really slacking here. I know this has got to stop in orde for me to move forward in my novel. I think I'm procrastinating because I know I have A LOT to revise. But I know the revisions would be for the betterment (is that a word?) of the story. Sigh.

But, actually, I did write some--if you count commenting on other people's blogs as real writing. I think I do because 1) sometimes you can learn a great deal just from someone else's comment and 2) it's good practice in learning how to write concisely. I'm hoping this makes sense.

Ah well, I'm going to try again tomorrow. Writing, that is. And not so much blog-hopping! Hope to report more progress next week!

So . . . how's your week going? Are you getting much writing done?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's Release Day for Debut Author Cindy Pon!

I'm happy to announce that it's release day for fellow blueboarder and debut author, Cindy Pon. Yay!!!

Her debut title, Silver Phoenix drops today in bookstores and online book retailers like amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.

AND, in celebration of this joyous event, Cindy is graciously giving away (well, actually raffling off) her original, framed brush paintings (they're beautiful!), gift cards to bookstores, and, of course, copies of her book, which has already garnered rave reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and Princess Diaries author Meg Cabot! Whoo-hoo!

Click here for details on how to win these fabulous items!

Teaser Tuesday

I'm not sure if anyone's reading this, but here's another excerpt from my MG work-in-progress:


Cleo raised her eyes to the ceiling. Thank you, Lord. Grandpa Lum hasn’t reached the house—yet.

“Whoo-weee! It’s . . . some . . . kinda . . . hot . . . out there!” Hattie huffed, as she pulled herself up and over the ladder. She wiped the steady drip of water off her dirt-streaked face with the back of her hand and down the sides of the faded, dust-covered overalls she wore. Catching her breath, she continued, “Papa says you better hurry on down. He don’t want anymore dilly-dallying from you.” She focused more clearly on Cleo. “You still in your school clothes?”

“Hattie,” Cleo begged, shimmying out her knee-length plaid skirt, “tell him I’m coming. Please?” She forced her clammy legs into the new pair of blue jeans her mama had sent last month. “ I just have to finish something first.”

“Papa don’t care ’bout none of that. You better get a move on or he’ll be up here with a switch—or a belt.” She looked over her shoulder, then back at Cleo. “He’s right behind me, you know.” Hattie’s anxious voice matched her worried face. She crooked her finger. “And I don’t want any part of it.”

“Humph. My papa never made me work in the field,” Cleo grumbled, looking out the half-way boarded window for her grandfather. “He wanted me to be a teacher, maybe even one for the high school.” She closed her eyes, remembering his dream for her. “He said my hands were for writing, not farming,” she muttered, turning from the window.

“I’m sorry ’bout your papa, Cleo, but, um, you know my papa don’t stand for no foolishness.” Hattie nodded vigorously as if confirming this fact more to herself than to Cleo. “Shoot. You’re lucky. None of us ever got any special treatment here, don’t care what they were tryin’ to be.” She stood glaring at Cleo with her chin stuck out and arms folded across her chest. “So you best get used to it. You been here long enough,” she added, her anger building.

Okay, so . . . any comments? criticisms? Don't worry, I've built up a tough skin!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday Tidbits

Today I'm posting links to interesting posts on writing, publishing, books, etc., that I've come across in the last few days. Some of you may already know about a few (or maybe all) of these items, though, so bear with me.

1) This morning I came across this enlightening interview with editor/author Jill Santopolo on Agent Sara Crowe's blog. Jill is an editor at HarperCollins' Balzer and Bray imprint as well as a published author in her own right. Her title, Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, the Pinta and the Vanishing Treasure was published in 2008 by Scholastic.

2) Aspiring children's writer, Tess Hilmo, had a terrific post yesterday with inspiring reminders from her readers (me included!) about the Do's and Don'ts of the writing process.

This was my contribution:

DO write a story that you'd want to read (over and over)--make it THAT GOOD!

DON'T ever give up!

3) Over at Literary Rambles, aspiring author Casey McCormick shines the spotlight on Nancy Gallt of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency.

4) This past Sunday, at Juvenescence, Christy Raedeke, debut author of the forthcoming Prophecy of Days (Flux, 2010), posted a fantastic interview with debut YA author Alexandra Bracken. Bracken landed a top literary agent on--now get this--her 21st BIRTHDAY! At 21, I would have never even fathomed such a possibility while in college. Yes, she's in college, too! Her story is definitely inspiring, to say the least.

And while you're at Juvenescence, be sure and check out the rest of Christy's interviews with a bunch of other debut authors. I find these stories fascinating because, of course, they were once (and not too long ago, either!) aspiring authors, too!

5) Lastly, I just wanted to reiterate a message posted on Verla Kay's message board that there is a call out for debut authors who have Middle Grade and Young Adult titles coming out in 2010 to join the Class of 2k10. The book must also be published by a house listed in the CWIM (Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market) and in the US.

To apply please visit

For more information or questions, contact Janet Fox at

That's it for me so far. I'll post more as I come across it.

Enjoy your day, folks!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

My revision strategy, or lack thereof

One of my goals for this blog was (is?) to write about my writing process and revision strategies, that is, whenever I figure them out. I do know, though, that I need a better system of organization. Right now, my writing process is VERY scattered and much too jumbled to understand. I mean, I'll write a little on some days, after coming home from work, then other days I'll just surf the 'Net for writing tips or I'll research facts that pertain to my story. And sometimes, when I'm just too tired to write (after feeding the kids, helping with homework, running baths, etc.), I'll just THINK--about scenes, storylines, plots, characters, etc. Of course, to my husband and children, it doesn't seem like I'm making any progress at all. But I know I am.

But I do wonder if there will ever come a time when I can get my writing totally organized, that is, have a set time or day to write while holding down a full-time job.

Anyone care to offer tips? How do YOU do it?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

I've noticed that some blogs have what is called Teaser Tuesday. I don't know the official rules (are there any?) but I guess this is where you post a snippit or two from a current work-in-progress in the hope of a little feedback from your readers. Am I right? I hope so because . . . here I go!


April 10, 1941

Dear Mama,

I hope you are doing well. PLEASE COME GET ME AND OTIS! I’m tired of working in the field picking cotton and corn and tobacco and whatever else Grandpa Lum grows for the “BOSS MAN.” I thought slavery was over! I want to come live with you, Mama. NOW! And Mama, you’re not going to believe this, but yesterday, when me, Hattie, and Otis were out in the cotton field pulling weeds, Grandma Jenny hit me over the head with a hoe! She said I was too slow. Mama, I was just tired. Tired from walking the mile home from school. Tired from the heat. Tired from working in the fields. Please come get--


Oh no. Someone’s coming up the ladder! Grandpa Lum will skin me alive if he finds me up here writing to my mama.

Shoving aside the worn notebook she was writing on, Cleo Holmes swung her brown, mosquito-bitten legs over the side of the bed, narrowly missing the jagged metal springs poking through the thin mattress.

With the finished letter still in her hand, she hurried across the room and quickly pushed aside the dark sheet of the makeshift closet. Pulling down an old, tattered shoe box from the back of the top shelf, she placed the letter in the box alongside her blue ribbon ink pen (won in a most-books-read-over-the-summer contest). She scooted to the middle of the room just as Hattie, her twelve-year-old aunt, appeared at the top of the ladder, sweat streaming down the sides of her sun-kissed, chocolate-brown face.

Middle Grade Alert

Hello Everyone!

Before I get into Teaser Tuesday, I just wanted to alert readers, especially those who write middle grade fiction, to a post I read yesterday on the Caren Johnson Literary Agency blog by Agent Elana Roth.

The topic was YA vs. Middle Grade and why publishers and agents are seeing--and have more clients--writing YA than MG. Elana says she, herself, is BEGGING for MG. Yay!!!

Needless to say, this is a very interesting and INSPIRING post as Elana goes on to say that "editors are constantly asking for middle grade series, which need to be grounded in the tradition of what works but also offer something new."

I for one find this heartening as middle grade is easier for me to write than say, a picture book. I think it's because the middle grade years were some of the happiest ones I had in school. In the middle grades (grades 5-8 for me), there was less peer pressure and angst than in high school. And the middle grade years were also when I "discovered" some of my favorite children's authors, like Judy Blume, Norma Klein, Richard Peck, Paula Danziger, Norma Fox Mazer, Lois Duncan, and Rosa Guy. I could go on but I think you get the idea.

So fellow readers/writers, what were YOUR favorite (or maybe not-so-favorite) school years & were they the reason you write what you write now?

Click here to read Elana's entire post.

Happy Writing!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children's Writing

Just came from Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog, Cynsations, where she has announced that Hunger Mountain, the arts journal of Vermont College of Fine Arts, has launched the inaugural Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult (YA) and Children's Writing.

Folks, my heart literally leaped with joy at this, because Katherine Paterson is, like, one of my literary icons in children's literature. And I know, having chatted in many children's forums, that she is a favorite of MANY writers for children, both published & unpublished. Wow! What a great way to honor her!

The Grand Prize is $1,000, with 2 honorable mentions receiving $100 each. The contest is open to writers of young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, and picture books for a piece of fiction not yet under contract or under consideration by a publisher. They are accepting novel excerpts or a short story for YA and MG, and the whole text of picture books.

And get this, Katherine Paterson will judge! Isn't that exciting?! And maybe a little nerve-wracking, too . . . just knowing a NewberyAward-winning author will be reading your work!

Ok, let me stop babbling. For more info, go to Cynsations. Right. Now. The deadline is June 30th!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today is . . .

. . . the last day to file your taxes and . . . my hubby's birthday! Happy Birthday, Mr. Roget! Just wanted to give you a little shout-out.

And in other celebratory news, my youngest daughter, "Sassy," turned 6 on Easter Sunday! Sigh. How fast they grow!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kid News from Kidz Korner

Hi! My name is Sparkly. I'm an average 4th grader in Teaneck, NJ. Time for Kids is holding a poetry contest for kids. Your poem doesn't have to be great, it just has to be the best you can do. Your poem has to be funny and sillyish. The contest ends April 30th. The top 4 winners get a poetry book for kids by Kenn Nesbit. To get more information go to Good luck and have fun to all that enter.


Book Review

Hi! My name is Misty. This is a review of Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Billy has always wanted a hunting dog. His grandpa gets him 2! Little Ann and Old Dan help Billy in a competition for hunting. The ending is great, but sad.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Contest or Two

Hi all!
Thought I'd kick off this blog with some contest news. I got an email this evening from saying that they will be holding their first ever Agent Judged Contest on Monday, April 13th.

Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary will be judging the contest next week on the QueryTracker blog. To enter, you just have to submit a one sentence hook for your book. More details will be provided on the QueryTracker blog on Monday, April 13th.

Grand prize: full submission of manuscript
1st Place: 50 page submission
2nd Place: 30 page submission
3rd Place: 10 page submission

According to Agent Query & her Publisher's Marketplace profile, Ms. Volpe accepts both middle grade and YA. And guess what, there's no cap on the number of submissions she receives, meaning she could get 100 or 1000 entries. The entries however are limited to 2 per person. They also say do not pitch an unfinished manuscript.


The Knight Agency is holding a contest called BOOK IN A NUTSHELL. You have to submit 3 compelling sentences (150 words maximum) about your completed, unpublished manuscript to The deadline is April 20, 2009. Winners will be notified by May 1, 2009.

While they primarily represent adult titles, they also do YA by such authors as Monica McKayhan, L. Divine (Drama High series), Rachel Caine, and Diana Peterfrend.

Good luck to all who decide to enter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Welcome to Kidz Korner!

In the words of Sparkly & Misty:

Welcome to Kidz Korner! This is where kids can have fun. We rate books, movie, suggest recipes, tell you cool kid websites and even kid news. Test your knowledge on kid and teenage celebrities, and also games you can do at home. We might also have a contest (may need to ask your parents first to participate). Learn crafts, and have fun at the Kidz Korner!

First post coming on Tuesday . . .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Welcome! My goal for this blog is to meet, commiserate with, cheer, encourage, inspire, and be inspired by other children's writers, both published and "pre-published." Among other things, I will share write-ups & articles related to children's publishing, anecdotes about my family (sorry guys!), reflections on current events or other issues that interest me that may or may not have something to do with writing or publishing, and also a "Quote of the Month."

Last, but not least, my nine-year-old daughter, whom I will refer to as "Sparkly, " will be presenting a weekly column, along with her friend, "Misty" (same age), covering (so they say) book reviews, kids' movies, fun kid websites, fun 'n easy kid recipes, crafts, and "kid news" (I'm not sure what this is, but they are). The column will be called Kidz Korner and will post every Tuesday on 2 or 3 of the aforementioned topics. They will be posting their own "Welcome" message in another day or two, before their official start on Tuesday. So if you know any kids who might be interested . . .

Well, that ends my very first blog post. I finally took the plunge! Thanks for stopping by!