Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fabulous Friday!

Well, there's been some interesting discussions going on in the blogosphere. Here are a few, if you haven't come across them already:

1) On her blog Brooklyn Arden, senior editor Cheryl Klein of Arthur A. Levine Books posted this Open Letter to Agents. The comments, by both agents and bloggers alike were very interesting. Also, Michael Bourret posted a very thoughtful response on his agency's blog here. As for me, while I can clearly see cases for both sides, I think I lean a bit more toward Cheryl's perspective as I said on her comment page that giving ALL interested editors sufficient time to read a manuscript & get their respective houses on board would really be the best means of matching the right editor to the right manuscript. Because working with an editor is usually a long-term realtionship, isn't it? A good 18 months or more, right? I know, personally, that I'd rather be hooked up with someone who was compatible, both editorially & personality-wise.

What do you think?

2) Elizabeth Bluemle of Publishers Weekly's online column Shelftalker: A Children's Bookseller's Blog posed a question yesterday, garnering a multitude of thought-provoking comments. The question (and article) was Where's Ramona Quimby, Black and Pretty? And in light of the recent Bloomsbury cover controversy, I don't think it could have come at a better time. Although I LOVED reading the Ramona series growing up, this is something I really didn't wonder about until years later. I guess at the age 8 & 9, I mainly read stories that interested me, not really taking note of the main character's race. I mean I read Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and Louise Fitzhugh as easily as I read Alice Childress and Rosa Guy. All I cared about then was a good story. It was only till years later when I really paid attention to the craft & business of writing for children that I wondered about this issue. And even now, with the arrival of such chapter books as Ruby and the Booker Boys and the Keena Ford series, I still think there is room for much more. Who know, I may even try one, one day . . . :)

3) And finally, last month I read an enlightening letter (to all kids' book publishers) by a school librarian in the online issue of School Library Journal. I found it quite interesting. here's the link.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Musings

Okay, I missed last Monday--all right, I missed posting all last week. But here I am today!

Before I start with my links and tidbits of information, I want to give a BIG WELCOME to my newest followers from the last couple of weeks (months?). Thanks so much for your thoughts and encouragement!

Next, I want to offer my long overdue "CONGRATULATIONS!" to Shelli at Market My Words on acquiring her agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media Group. Now, I did congratulate Shelli over at her own blog but I just wanted to give her a shout-out here, too. And folks, if you want some inspiration, read Shelli's journey here, and one of her more recent posts about The Editorial Letter. Also, today she interviews literary agent Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary, part of her ongoing Monday's Marvelous Marketers series. Check out the previous & upcoming posts in this series. Great reading!

Wow. It's been so long since I've posted links to share with everyone, I almost don't know where to begin. But I really like finding new links to share about writing and publishing . . . so here I go!

You've more than likely come across these by now, but if you haven't . . . well, I hope they can help.

Since I last posted in depth, aspiring author Casey McCormick has shone the "Spotlight" on these agents:

Marietta B. Zacker (Nancy Gallt Literary Agency)
Daniel Lazar (Writers House)
Kelly Sonnack (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary)
Steven Malk (Writers House)
Jamie Weiss Chilton (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
Rebecca Sherman (Writers House)
Ted Malawer (formerly of Firebrand Literary)
Marianne Merola (Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc.)
Jill Corcoran (Herman Agency, Inc.)
Erin Murphy (Erin Murphy Literary Agency)

And here's a few more agents who'll soon be appearing:

Bill Contardi
Rosemary Stimola
Merrilee Heifetz
Joe Monti
Brenda Bowen

So . . . go bookmark her site, Literary Rambles. NOW. Happy agent hunting!


A while back, a blogger left a comment (question) about wanting to break into the children's picture book market. Now I'm really not much of a picture book expert (although I am working on 2 PBs on the side) as I've been concentrating mainly on revising my current work-in-progress, a middle-grade historical novel. BUT, in my perusings around the blogosphere & internet, I have come across some great links on writing picture books.

Here are some of them:

Tips for Writing Picture Books by children's author Dotti Enderle

A Children's Writing To-Do List by Tara Lazar

Another post by Tara Lazar on what she learned at a recent NJSCBWI first page session (for picture books & MG/YA) held earlier this year. Doesn't she take awesome notes?

Some helpful links from children's author Lisa Schroeder

Resources for Children's Writers by Rachelle Burk

Want info on How to Write the First Draft of a Picture Book? Just click here.

More recently, I found this great post by author Mary Ann Rodman on the Teaching Authors blog, on how she became the Accidental Picture Book Author

ALSO, be sure to check out this link from the recent SCBWI 2009 Summer Conference on Creating an Extraordinary Picture Book

Last, but not least, for some general writerly advice, go and review these TEN COMMANDMENTS by literary agent (and former editorial director) Michael Stearns

Sorry I took so long to do this, but I hope these help! (Oh, yes, if anyone else knows of any other picture book tips/links, please feel free to add.)

Happy Writing! :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's Friday!

Whoo-Hoo, the weekend's here!
Sorry this post is coming so late everyone, but I do hope you all had an excellent day. The weather was pretty nice here in the Northeast.

I had named this post "Fabulous Friday" but I'm sure for the Hughes family it is not fabulous. I know everyone has heard by now of the recent passing Thursday (Aug. 6) in Manhattan of writer/producer/director John Hughes ("Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club"). I don't know about you but Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club were movies that I so identified with in the mid-1980s as a student in high school. And it's funny, but just like a majority of the YA books I read back then, I could so identify with the teen angst in these movies even though I was of another ethnicity and background (I grew up in Harlem and went to an all-girls Catholic high school in NYC). But I could just so relate to Molly Ringwald's character, especially in Sixteen Candles & Pretty in Pink). You know, those feelings of self-doubt, self-consciousness, fitting in/standing out, making friends, making enemies, watching cliques, creating your own "group," etc. I think, emotionally, that she was a sort of EVERYGIRL, which I guess is why the movies were so popular. I think Hughes really GOT the teenage mind.

Hughes also wrote and produced Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Uncle Buck, and Home Alone (1 & 2). And I still find these hilarious whenever I catch them on a cable channel.

Anyone else ever watch these movies as a teen?

(I, um, of course don't mean to give away anyone's age. So you needn't reveal you saw the movies when they first came out (unless, of course, you want to). I think most everyone has probably seen them later on cable anyway. :)

See you all Monday!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Power of the Blogosphere

Great news!

As announced today in the online edition of Publishers Weekly, Bloomsbury Children's Books has agreed to change the cover of Justine Larbalestier’s Liar.

You can read about it here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Sparkly's" Birthday

Just wanted to give a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my oldest daughter, "Sparkly," on celebrating her 10th birthday today! Wow, time really flies.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, "Sparkly"!! Love ya!