February 2011 Archives

Be aware that every word

Be aware that every word you know is going to try to sneak into your manuscript.
Judith Ross Enderle

Another great heroine - Girl, Stolen

Take a teenage boy who's only hope in life is to please his angry father, an Escalade with the keys left in the ignition, a teen girl asleep in the backseat, and what starts out as a simple car theft becomes a kidnapping.

girl_stolen_cover.jpgGirl, Stolen (Henry Holt & Company, 2010) by April Henry is told in alternate viewpoints of sixteen year old Cheyenne, who has pneumonia, and Griffin, who accidentally stole her. Cheyenne is a very strong heroine, who has a big handicap in a self-rescue scenario--she's blind!

April Henry is the author of other mysteries which I am checking out. Go to her website where you'll find out fun things like... being published in a magazine when she was twelve... You'll have to read the details there.

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Reading is to the mind

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
Joseph Addison

Incredible Story - out of my mind

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out of my mind (Atheneum, 2010) by Sharon M. Draper is one of those hard to put down books.

11-year-old Melody can't talk, walk or feed herself, so most people think she's not very smart. Not true, and fortunately she has some champions in her life who believe that just because her body is limited, doesn't mean her mind is.  Melody is an incredibly tough heroine in unfortunate circumstances.


I challenge you to pick up the story and start reading. I think, like it did for me, that the beginning will suck you in!


The book has gotten starred reviews.  It it had been up to me it would have been one of the Newbery winners!

Read about the award winning author and teacher on her site.
  Sharon M. Draper has written other great books, too.
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Funny! - Fiona Finkelstein Meets Her Match

Fiona FMHM.jpgFiona Finkelstein Meets Her Match (Aladdin, 2010) by Shawn K. Stout is one of those laugh out loud books. This fourth grader is an interesting character. Fiona doesn't like "food that lies" and she's too old for a babysitter, so has a "watcher" instead. She's pretty happy in her world except that her teacher won't choose her to be "electrician." But then . . . a new kid comes to town and steps into her territory big time.

This is the 2nd book in a series and I had no problem reading it without having read the first book, though I've planning to read it now!

You can read about author Shawn K. Stout on her site. There I discovered she really likes peach pie. (Yumm, me, too!)
She answers some questions on her publisher's site, too.

Poetry is truth in its

Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes.
Joseph Roux

Most writers enjoy two periods

Most writers enjoy two periods of happiness––when a glorious idea comes to mind and, secondly, when a last page has been written and you haven’t had time to know how much better it ought to be.
Joseph Priestly

My big nose and mybignose.jpgother natural disasters (Houghton Mifflin, 2009) by Sydney Salter is another one of those books where the character is real and unforgettable.

17-year-old Jory doesn't fit in with the rest of her beautiful family. Her friend Megan calls this the summer to find their passions. Jory's passion, besides getting Tyler to like her, is to improve her nose. She gets a job driving delivery for a bakery/flower shop (even though she wrecked her own car) so she can save up money and have plastic surgery to fix her big nose. Of course, nothing works out as she plans.

Not only did I enjoy this book, but from the writer standpoint, I learned more about writing. Thanks, Sydney! Definitely go to her site and read about her writing journey where you'll see part of what inspired this story. Check out her other books, too. I definitely plan to...

Another Very Good Book - Absolutely Maybe

absolutelym.jpgAbsolutely Maybe (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009) by Lisa Yee is memorable. Usually her books are memorable for their humor--this one is much more serious "coming of age" story. Here's the set-up.

Maybelline's mother, Chessy, won't tell her who her father is. Maybe's best friends Ted and Hollywood help her stay sane when Chessy seems to admire her charm school girls more than her own daughter. When Jake, soon to be husband number 7 attempts to rape Maybe, she escapes with Ted in Hollywood's car to LA where Hollywood is going to school and Maybe plans to find her real dad.

This books went through numerous drafts--you can see them here--but I'm grateful Lisa persevered. And after you read it, you will be, too. Although, I must warn you, you'll be wanting to eat the tacos that Maybe learns to make.

Check out the bonus info, like Maybe's Hangouts, and info about the cover on Lisa's Maybe site.

Before You Sign: Contract Resources

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Read, read, read that contract. Make sure you understand it. Make sure it is reasonable. Make sure you can live with the worst consequences. Be prepared to negotiate, if needed.

This is my favorite resource when I'm checking out a contract: The Writer's Book of Checklists: The Quick-Reference Guide to Essential Information Every Writer Needs by Scott Edelstein. It has sections on:


  • 8 Key Points of a Magazine, Newspaper, Newsletter or Anthology Contract

  • 25 Key Points of a Book Contract

Scott has lots of good info on his site.


But there are other good resources online, too. Check out these three:

The Warrior Queen's Guide to Contracts

What Not To Miss When Drafting & Negotiating Your Book Publishing Contract

The Ten Key Negotiating Points In An Author-Publisher Agreement

If you're more into physical books, here are some other book titles with links to info about the authors when I could find them.

Getting To Yes by William Ury

Kirsch's Guide to the Book Contract: For Authors, Publishers, Editors and Agents by Jonathan Kirsch

Literary Law Guide for Authors: Copyrights, Trademarks and Contracts in Plain Language by Tonya Marie Evans, Susan Borden Evans, Dan Poynter

Negotiating a Book Contract: A Guide for Authors, Agents and Lawyers by Mark L. Levine

The Writer's Legal Companion: The Complete Handbook for the Working Writer
by Brad Bunnin, Peter Beren

The Writer's Legal Guide: An Authors Guild Desk Reference by Tad Crawford, Kay Murray

You Can Negotiate Anything
by Herb Cohen

Other Resources

Author Kay Murray also has a downloadable pdf on copyrights.

And then there's The Authors Guild. http://www.authorsguild.org/ Their website says, "The Authors Guild has been the published writer's advocate for effective copyright, fair contracts, and free expression since 1912."

Previously, I wrote about contracts on my blog in this entry.