April 2012 Archives

In revision, as a rough

In revision, as a rough rule, if the beginning can be cut, cut it.
Ursula K. Le Guin

Ouch! Thin Skin!

Authoress2.jpgGuest post by Authoress
Excerpts* from her Miss Snark's Next Victim blog on April 23rd:


Lots of people in this business won't mince their words. If it's something you're not used to, it's time to get used to it.

It doesn't mean you suck.

It doesn't mean you should give up.

It doesn't mean the universe is ending.

What it means is: Some people won't mince their words. That is all. You may be expecting something other than what you receive. You may feel stunned or numb or flabbergasted when you read someone's response to your work--especially if that "someone" is an agent or editor with whom you were hoping to find some level of favor.

Welcome to the World of Showing People What You've Written.

It's not fun. It's not something that most of us can get used to overnight. But the Thick Skin is an important part of our journey, so if you haven't started growing yours yet, now's the time.

I don't have a big magenta eraser for editing less-than-tactful critiques and comments. I may not like them, but they are a reality for us as writers.
girl fishing.jpg
We need to reel them in with the rest of the fish, and cast them away if they don't serve a purpose.

Interestingly, often they do serve a purpose--if only to teach us to rise above our emotions and keep pressing on.

*photo above and text used by permission
-picture to right courtesy of morguefile.com

Isn't that well said? I especially love the line about reeling those comments in with the rest of the fish.

I'd like to add this quote by another writer, Julia Sorel: "If you're never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take any chances." So take the chances that come your way, sort through the fish that are caught, and keep the ones that improve your writing. (Remember, they may not be the easy ones.)

Writing has laws of perspective,

Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.
Truman Capote

clicks hicks.jpgClicks, Hicks and Ugly Sticks (Thomas Nelson, 2011) by KD McCrite is the second in a series, but not having read the first isn't a hindrance to enjoying this story. Look at the opening lines:

Isabel St. James is a recovering hypochondriac.
She once thought she had hoof-and-mouth disease just because she skittered through the barnyard while the cows were there waiting to be milked.

It makes me want to know more about 11-year-old April Grace who obviously must live on a farm. In the first chapter we learn so much about her--not just age, family, hair color--but that she has compassion, and is opinionated and funny. Here's a brief introduction to the story:

April has had to move in with her sister, Myra Sue, to give up her room for Isabel (the drama queen) and Ian St. James. Her sister is trailing after dumb ol' Isabel like she's the best thing since sliced bread. If that's not bad enough, April's starting Junior High and discovering how friends change, and not in a good way. Then her mother starts being grouchy all the time. And then there's that boy at school who keeps eyeing her... What's a girl to do? Especially when she has to spend so much time helping Isabel and Myra Sue?

Preteen girls will enjoy April Grace. (It may be Christian, but it sure isn't preachy!)

The first book in the "Confessions of April Grace" series is called In Front of God and Everybody. The third book, Chocolate Covered Baloney is coming out this fall.

You might want to wonder over to KD McCrite's website, where there are book excerpts, book trailers and more.

Wonton.jpgWon Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (Henry Holt and Co, 2011) by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin has won the 2012 Lee Bennett Hopkins/Penn State University Poetry Award. Not a surprise really. Lee Wardlaw is quite the award-winning author, and Won Ton is so darn cute! It's a sweet story of a kitty at an animal shelter. We learn what he thinks and feels about it and follow him as he is adopted and adjusts to his new house, where he finally reveals his true name. I love the illustrations. This is a definite book choice for cat lovers and one easy to read over and over.

I also like how the author gave a bonus in her note where she explains senryu and haiku.

Writers should go check out Lee's "101 Ways to Bug Children's Book Author Lee Wardlaw" on her About Me page. Take a look at how many other books she has published, too--you'll find others you want to read.

Illustrators should check out the beautiful art on Eugene Yelchin's site. Wow!

The smallest actual goal is

The smallest actual goal is better than the most magnificent promise of impossibilities.
Thomas Macauley

Agents Telling What They Want

no secret.jpgIt's not a secret. Agents tell what they are interested in. They tell at conferences, on sites such as querytracker and publishers marketplace, their agency websites, on blogs, and even on twitter chats such as #askagent. Here's a collection of recent "what agents want" for you.

Amanda Luedeke with MacGregor Literary was interviewed by Janet Fogg on the Chiseled in Rock blog on April 9th.

Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Agency was interviewed by Authoress on her Miss Snark's First Victim blog on April 12th. Did you know she's an author, too?

During an #askagent on March 20, 2012 Bree Ogden at D4EO Literary Agency (@breeogden) replied to a question with this: "I rep children's, YA, graphic novels & art books. I prefer dark and realistic NO paranormal."

Erzsi Deàk of HEN & ink was interviewed here by Nicky Schmidt in midFebruary 2012.

Marie Lamba, an assistant agent at the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency was interviewed in early February 2012 by Tori Bond.

Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency was interviewed in early February by Melissa Landers.

Sara Sciuto, new at Full Circle, was interviewed by Stacey O'Neale in early February.

Sarah Davies at Greenhouse Literary does so with an early February 2012 post: The things I see (and don't see) and it has some good book recommendations, too.

Agent Susan Hawk Talks Picture Books - this is an interview done by Heather Ayris Burnell's blog on February 21, 2012. l AND on her blog Susan shares her novel wish list. Susan is with The Bent Agency.

Do you have any agent sightings to share?

Click on the title above and scroll down.

The most valuable of all

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.
Thomas Jefferson

Historical YA Giveaway - Second Fiddle

2nd fiddle pb

second_fiddlehardcover image

You won't want to miss out on the chance to read this great book yourself! Author Rosanne Parry has graciously given me two autographed paperback copies of Second Fiddle (Random House Children's Books, 2011) to award to two lucky people.

First, let me tell you about this book:

Jody and her two musician friends, Vivian and Giselle, will be separated soon. The Berlin Wall has come down and the kids' army families will all be sent to different places in the US. But first they have an Ensemble Contest in Paris. But now their music teacher has to cancel, so how will they get there? The answer involves attempted murder, rescue, lies, danger, and betrayal.

I love, love the first sentence: "If we had known it would eventually involve the KGB, the French National Police, and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, we would have left the body in the river and called the Polizei like any normal German citizen; but we were Americans and addicted to solving other people's problems, so naturally, we got involved." Don't you want to read more? Of course, you do!

To enter for a chance to win the giveaway, comment below* with one of your favorite book lines. Tell me the title and author. I'll throw your name in the hat with others and draw the winners. You must enter by April 16th at midnight Pacific Standard Time. (Please make sure you give me a way to contact you, so I can get your mailing address privately...)

After you enter, read more about Rosanne here. Her next book is called Written in Stone and will be out in June 2013! Rosanne says, "This is a story I've been working on for many years and is particularly dear to me as it is set on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State among the Quinault and Makah where I spent my very first years as a teacher." And, yes, if you read YA, you've heard about the Quinaults before...

*Can't see the comment box? Click on the blog entry title and scroll down to the bottom.

The harder you work, the

The harder you work, the more luck you have.
Thomas Jefferson