Saturday, February 5, 2011

Could This Be the Year of Vader?

First Volkswagen releases a sneak peek at its Super Bowl Passat commercial to 10 million+ views before the big game:



And next, we see this exciting announcement from Publisher's Marketplace:

Tom Angleberger's DARTH PAPER STRIKES BACK: An Origami Yoda Book, the sequel to bestselling THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA, to Susan Van Metre at Amulet Books, for publication in August 2010, by Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (World).

Love it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kid Lit Groupie, Part II



Had an AMAZING vacation at Rocky Mountain National Park last week and got to meet one of my all-time favorite people and kid lit writers, Lindsay Eland, whose super fun and adorable Scones and Sensibility belongs on every young romantic's shelf. And by "fun and adorable," I mean it is every bit as sweet as Lindsay herself, whom you can see in this photo is the equivalent of a 110-pound bag of all-natural sugar, and by "young," I mean any age at all.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yes, I'm a Kid Lit Groupie

Went to a work conference in Columbus, Ohio, last month and it turned out there was a writing conference in the same hotel! Romantic Times had some great workshops, including a panel on young adult fiction. Bought myself a one-day pass, and ... look who I found:


Left to right: Carrie Ryan, Melissa Marr, me and Jennifer Lynn Barnes. These three ladies are all uber-successful YA authors and uber-nice Blue Boarders!

(In related news, expect a rash of romance novels set in funeral homes a couple of years from now!)

Then, last weekend, I went to the first annual Gaithersburg (Md.) Book Festival, where I had the great pleasure of watching two of my favorite author friends present:

That's Sara Lewis Holmes holding her copy of Tom Angleberger's THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA and Tom Angleberger holding his copy of Sara's OPERATION YES. And if you look closely, you'll see I'm holding one of Sara's little green military men and a rather expertly made (if I do say so myself) origami Yoda.

Good times!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Origami Yoda: Blog About It I Must

So, um. It's been a while. Like, almost four months. And not because I've been slackin' ... in fact, I've been busy. Writing! Yay!

But I had to pop back in to talk up the uber-awesome masterpiece of kid lit that is THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA, by my favorite terminally 12-year-old author, Tom Angleberger (aka Sam Riddleburger).

Here's me buying the book the day it came out. Two copies - one for me and one for my niece. The book hadn't been placed on the shelves yet, so I had to ask the nice B&N rep to fetch my copies from the back room ...

... and by the time she came back, another pair of customers was already lined up, waiting for their copy as well!

Pretty cool, huh? Even cooler: When I went back to B&N a few days later, I checked to make sure it was out on the shelf. When the rep (a different one this time) saw me looking at YODA, she came over and said, "That's the hot one right now." Oh, yeah!!

So, what's so hot about it? Well, there's the format: part graphic novel, part diary, told from a bunch of points of view ... each more fun than the last. Then, there's the humor: pure Angleberger (which, for those of you unfamiliar with Tom, is very, very humorous). Then, there's the tension: We find out right away that the stakes are high in this book, and we're dying to know how it'll all play out. Then, there's ... oh, yeah ... YODA!

Anyone who likes Yoda, and I'm pretty sure that includes anyone who has a pulse, needs to get their butt over to the nearest library or bookstore and check this book out! Now! Go! What are you waiting for?

Cuz I know you're not holding your breath and waiting for my next post....

P.S. Want to know how to make your own Origami Yoda? Check out Tom's Web site.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Class of 2k9 Book Giveaway

2009 is coming to a close ... and the Class of 2k9 is graduating!

Find out how to win one of these debut authors' books at the Class of 2k10's new Live Journal page!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Winning Query Letters (or Not)

Having trouble writing your query letter?

Check out this excellent tutorial from Sam Riddleburger.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Won!

I never win anything, but I found out today that my name was randomly selected from 191 people who correctly solved this week's puzzle over at Matt Gaffney's Weekly Crossword Contest!

For my reward, I get my pick of one of Matt's many awesome books. Can't wait to read "Gridlock: Crossword Puzzles and the Mad Geniuses Who Create Them"!

If you love crosswords, check out Matt's blog. He is a genius!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cute Ad Promoting Children's Literacy

It's Back to School! Pass this YouTube video on, and make it a point to do something this fall to promote literacy in your own community.

(FWIW, I am not familiar with the organization named in the video, so I'm not advocating for that group in particular, but rather for literacy in general.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

To Outline or Not to Outline?

Turns out, that's not the question.

An interesting essay on writing here from Larry Brooks that puts those of you who outline and those of us who write by the seats of our pants on the same proverbial page at last.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

If These Folks Are Old ...

I must be ancient.

Fun blog. Great name.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cutest PB Character Ever

Check out Woolbur !

Isn't he great?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jay Asher, Author Extraordinaire!

Just five days after meeting fellow kid lit writer and Internet buddy Sam Riddleburger, last night I had the pleasure of meeting fellow kid lit writer and Internet buddy Jay Asher!



Sam, Jay and I are all represented by the same awesome literary agency. The only real difference between us is that both of them actually write and publish books, while I ... well, let's just say my work-in-progress is coming along slowly but surely.

Jay probably doesn't realize it, but he's played a major role in this blog. He left my first ever comment, singlehandedly caused the blog to receive a not-entirely-family-friendly rating and was my 5,000th visitor.

Jay is also a huge icon for me and the entire kid lit community because in January 2006, not long before he received The Offer for his now best-selling teen book, 13 Reasons Why, Jay wrote a dejected post on a kid lit message board in which he said: "Right now, I feel like throwing my hands up and walking away. ... part of me wants to at least say, 'For the next year, I'm not putting myself through this anymore. It's time to see what else I'm interested in.' ... I ... am ... just ... so ... frustrated!" These are sentiments most writers can identify with all too well, and knowing that someone who has met with such success once felt that way himself has been a great encouragement to me and many others.


So anyway, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that Jay was holding a book reading and signing at the Border's in Fairfax. He brought up one lucky volunteer from the audience to read the part of Hannah. (If you aren't familiar with 13 Reasons Why, you can check out my review of it here.)



After reading from the book, telling his inspirational publishing story and sharing some of the very moving emails he has received from teens affected by the book, Jay kindly signed my "Ask me about 13 Reasons Why" t-shirt, which I won in a contest on his old blog. Jay said he'd never signed a shirt before, so it's a one-of-a-kind! I could probably get a nice price for it on e-Bay, eh? Sorry ... not gonna happen.

OK, enough fan grrrl talk. Jay was as nice as could be and his book is fantastic ... so check it out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sam Riddleburger, Live and in the Flesh!

It's always cool to meet email buddies in person.

Today, after a longtime Internet friendship with kid lit author Sam Riddleburger, I had a chance to experience him live and in person at his book reading and signing at Bull Run Regional Library in Manassas.



I say "experience" because a morning with Sam is truly an experience. He and his "Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run" co-author Michael Hemphill kept a room chock-full of kids (mostly boys, no less) rapt for about an hour and a half.



If ever someone decides to open a Kid Lit Improv, Sam and Michael will make their fortune.

Great stuff ... check it out:


Who says boys aren't into books? These kids were all over that Stonewall Hinkleman action!


They had juggling ...


and dramatic readings ...


and a flag making contest.

And that wasn't all! Sam and Michael held some other cool contests, including:
  • A Bugle Blowing Contest - The winner burped mid-blow. Of course Sam couldn't resist rewarding this gross and hilarious move. (Sam's first published kid's book is about a poop fountain. Need I say more?)
  • A Hard Tack Eating Contest - Eight brave kids agreed to try this Civil War soldiers' staple. The consensus seemed to be that it tasted like dog food and/or dog biscuits. Disturbing. (OK, yes, I tried dog food when I was a kid, too. Once.)
  • A Civil War Quiz - The winner not only answered all five of the regular quiz questions correctly but also managed to answer the bonus question ("Who is buried in Grant's tomb?") doubly correctly by writing "Grant and his wife." Hah! I did not know that.
And while the kids were creating flags and burping into bugles ...


their parents were lining up to buy the book!

Afterward, Sam and Michael signed books and bookmarks.


Check out the little cutie in the soldier's uniform!

Overall, a great way to recognize the anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run and introduce kids to a fun book. I'll end this post the way I ended my review of Stonewall Hinkleman: Well done, lads. Well done!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ah, Teen Love!

One of the women in my critique group has a debut teen romance novel coming out in about six weeks. Because "When Mike Kissed Emma" pre-dates our group, I never saw a word of that particular manuscript. However, I'm looking forward to reading it, especially after watching this.

If Chris did half as good a job on the novel as she did on her self-made book trailer, it should be a great summer read!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate!

OK, this isn't quite as good as Reese's, but it does combine two of my favorite things.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Fallen Hero

No, not Michael or Farrah or Ed or even Billy ... though I mourn the passing of each of them.

I'm talking about Alice Hoffman, one of my all-time favorite authors. And she's not dead, just ridiculous.

Wonder how much I'd get for my signed copies of her books on E-Bay?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Puzzle News

When I'm not reading or writing kid lit, you'll often find me solving puzzles. Crosswords and logic puzzles are my favorites, but I love any type of puzzle that presents a good challenge. So the last couple of weeks have been especially fun for me, for three reasons:

First, my husband and I entered the 2009 Washington Post Hunt. We didn't do so hot -- we only got three out of five of the basic puzzles, which meant we didn't even have a shot at the Super Ridiculous Impossible End Game Puzzle -- but we had lots of fun trying. And considering that we went it alone, I felt OK about it. They recommend teams of at least four, and now I know why. The more brainpower, the better. The hosts (humor columnist extraordinaires Dave Barry and Gene Weingarten as well as Washington Post Magazine Editor Tom Shroder) estimated only a small percentage of teams solved all five of the basic puzzles, so I don't feel too bad.



Here's me at Post Hunt Ground Zero, posing in front of Dave Barry posing with someone else!

You may be too late for this year's hunt, but you can experience some of the fun (and frustration!) and start preparing for next year by checking out these practice video puzzles. Enjoy!

Second, I visited the Tyson's Corner Barnes & Noble and picked up a copy of The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin. Berlin is not only a kid lit author but is also a New York Times crossword constructor, which in my world makes him All Kinds of Awesome. A follow-up to Berlin's debut mystery, The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, his new book proved an even better read, in my opinion. Lots of great puzzles, a great underlying mystery and the same very likeable cast of characters.

Third, I was checking out Berlin's blog this weekend and came across a very cool project he has undertaken. If you love crosswords or would like to get signed copies of his both his books, check it out here. For just $5 you can support his project and receive a suite of nine -- count them, nine! -- crossword puzzles and enter his puzzle contest. (You need to contribute at least $40 to get the books. Well worth the price if you like kid lit mysteries.) Berlin's goal for the project was $1500 and he has already exceeded that. Which is pretty darned cool.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How Buff Is Your Manuscript?

Terrific article today at Writer's Digest offering 5 Easy Tips to Strengthen Your Scenes.

I'm usually pretty skeptical of anyone who says they can offer "easy" tips on anything to do with writing, but these actually look pretty manageable.

My pacing tends to run fast, so I'm looking forward to trying out #3 and #4. And I'm guessing doing #5 would take any manuscript to a whole new level.

Which steps do you need to work on?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Report from the (Resume) Slush Pile

I'm in the process of hiring a sales and marketing manager at my day job. Going through the resumes that have hit my inbox reminds me of the tales I've heard about the kid lit slush pile.

I've received 65 resumes in three days--a sign of the times, for sure. Printed them out and brought them home tonight to review.

My tally:
  • 12 Yes
  • 33 Maybe
  • 20 No
I'll start calling the yeses tomorrow. Those that got a no will hit the circular file, and I'll hang on to the maybes in case none of the yeses work out.

What influenced my decision to accept or reject?

Many of those I rejected simply didn't fit the bill for this job. They were way underqualified, or way overqualified, or required a salary beyond the range we posted in our employment ad. They "weren't right for our list," as it were.

Many of those I rejected didn't follow my submission guidelines. In the ad, I asked for a cover letter, a resume and salary requirements. Frankly, I expected a lot of folks to skip the salary requirements, but it's surprising how many of them failed to include a simple cover letter. (Unless you count one woman's email note: "Enjoy!" Enjoy? That's the entire body of your email and you think I'm going to want to open your resume?) Bottom line: If you don't care enough to follow directions and put a little effort into your application, why should I want to hire you? And ... hello? This is a marketing job. If you can't market yourself, how are you going to market my organization?

Some of those I rejected had careless typos in their cover letters or resumes, or their grammar was terrible, or their writing was so over-the-top (sparkle and savvy ... really? You have both sparkle and savvy?) that I just couldn't see working with them. This job doesn't require a lot of writing, but you do need to be able to communicate intelligently.

I wish those who weren't right for the job had targeted their submissions better. It would have saved me some time tonight. But honestly, I'm glad those who were too lazy to follow directions and those who had typos or poor grammar skills showed their warts right up front. With 65 resumes, I was looking for reasons to throw them into the rejection pile, and those people gave me plenty.

Now, let's hope one of those 12 yeses turns out to be "the one." And let's hope the interviewing, hiring and training process doesn't take anywhere near as long as it takes to review, acquire and publish a manuscript!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Stonewall Hinkleman on Location

It is my great pleasure and honor to host the first stop of a week-long blog tour for the newly released Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run!

When my buddy Sam Riddleburger, who co-authored the book along with Michael Hemphill, first asked whether I would participate in their tour, my first thought was, Woohoo! I love that book! My second thought was, What the heck am I gonna write? I've already reviewed it once.

(For those of you who are not familiar with the book, long story short: It's about a very likable kid with the unfortunate name of Stonewall Traveler Hinkleman whose parents are major Civil War buffs and who gets dragged along to their Civil War reenactments every weekend. As Stonewall says, the reenactments are really cool ... when you're six. When you're practically a teenager, it's boring. That is, until our hero finds himself transported back to the actual Battle of Bull Run, where he finds the fate of the country lies in his hands and so he ... well, you'll have to read the book to find out what he does.)

So anyway, for my tour stop, I decided to take Stonewall Hinkleman and Company on a little field trip to the site of the Battle of Bull Run, Manassas National Battlefield.


A very nice park volunteer who would identify himself only as "Snake" checks out my copy of Stonewall.


Stonewall rolls his eyes at the statue of General Thomas Jackson, sitting astride his horse like a ... a stone wall! Why couldn't General Bee have blurted out a much cooler nickname, like Rock? or Hammer? or Lone Wolf?


Lest that last photo leave you thinking the park's statue of the great Stonewall Jackson is kind of puny, here is a close-up, with me holding the book for scale. Check out the dude's pecs. As one passer-by commented, "He must have worked out."

Thus ends the field trip and the first stop on Stonewall's tour.

For details on the rest of the tour, including a cool contest where you can win some Stonewall- and Dial Books-related goodies, check out Sam's Web site.

To buy the book (and if you like Civil War stuff, or time travel, or kids with attitude, or just plain fun reading, you really should buy the book), check it out here on Amazon.

Update: Oops, my bad! As Sam mentions in the comments, the key to winning the goodies is to send an email to blogtour@stonewallhinkleman.com with "Stonewall Contest" as your subject line. Good luck!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Some Advice for My Eagles

Andy Reid: Hire this dude as an assistant head coach. You've got the green thing down already.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Treat During My Hiatus

I'm cutting back on the Internet for Lent, so the blogging has been even more non-existent than usual. But for those loyal readers still dropping by, here's a treat, which one of the presenters shared at the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Writer's Toolbox this weekend. (More on that conference after Easter!)

The Enchanted Drawing, copyright 1900 Thomas Edison.

More videos like it can be found at the Library of Congress Web site. Warning: You could get lost in that site for weeks (but in a good way).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Lesson Learned from "Lost" Special Features

Don't worry ... no spoilers here!

My husband and I watched Seasons 1-4 of "Lost" in just about a month. Santa brought us Season 1, which we popped into the DVD player Christmas night, and we wrapped up the finale of Season 4 last week. That's 83 episodes, or approximately 58.5 hours of nail-biting, mind-bending TV, in less than 30 days. Impressive, no? (OK, maybe depressing is a better word for it.)

Anyway, in an attempt to avoid "Lost" withdrawal--because we have no intention of watching Season 5 as it airs because we seriously cannot bear the thought of following it week to week--we've started digging into our DVD special features. Among them are episodes with commentary, where you can watch a past show and listen to some of the producers and actors give their take on what is happening, how certain scenes were constructed, why they made various production decisions, etc.

Fascinating stuff. And all the more so because, as someone who has immersed herself in the show quite thoroughly, I have to admit I didn't notice much of it the first time around. The incredible lighting when Mr. Echo is telling Locke his story. The skillful recreation of a cold London Christmas morning on a set built in Hawaii. The old, disrepaired look of the pipes in the hatch, created using styrofoam and paint.

Oh, I saw all of that. But I didn't appreciate it.

That's because I was too caught up in the story. This is life and death, people (and it might even go beyond life and death). As a viewer, I'm there on that island with the characters, letting them take me whichever crazy direction the story happens to go. I'm not analyzing every little prop and camera angle.

And this is where we want to go with our writing. We take great pains in choosing each word, developing each character and constructing each scene. But the reader doesn't need to notice that. The reader just needs to be pulled into the story. In fact, if the reader does start noticing word choice, character development and scene construction, we might be in trouble.

I've had several writing teachers say you have to "kill your darlings," meaning when we've written something we feel is so clever, so brilliant, so ... noticeable, we need to strike it. It does not serve our story to have our readers taken out of it to notice how smart we are.

Of course, if our books someday get made into movies or TV shows and we have the opportunity to provide commentary on the DVD version, well, then we can let everyone know how exactly much thought and effort goes into this whole writing thing. Can't hurt to dream, can it?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tools of the Trade: Special Presidential Inauguration Edition!

I've read mixed reactions to the Inauguration Poem, Praise Song for the Day by Elizabeth Alexander. Personally, I liked it. I listened to the proceedings live on the radio (because I was in my car, not because I don't believe in TV or the Internet), and found it thought-provoking and appropriate for the event.

The use of the word "declaimed" in the sixth stanza caught me a bit short, though, as I realized I wasn't entirely sure what that word meant. In the context of the poem, it seemed to mean something along the lines of "proclaimed" ... but why would "de" and "pro" have the same meaning? Then again, "declared" starts with "de" and is a synonym for "proclaimed."

Anyway, long story short: My curiosity about the use of that word in the Inauguration Poem inspired this edition of "Tools of the Trade." (You can find past editions here.) Upon reading the poem, I noted two words I wasn't entirely sure about: "declaimed" and "filial." So I thought I'd explore those two words along with the word "inauguration."

Credit for much of this info goes to the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Inauguration dates back to 1569, from the French, meaning "installation, consecration.” This in turn comes from the Latin, inaugurationem, from inaugurare "take omens from the flight of birds, consecrate or install when such omens are favorable." The root word is augurare, meaning "to act as an augur, predict.”

I don’t think we see much bird migration here in the D.C. area in late January, but maybe the light snowfall we had the day before the inauguration was a good omen ... snow always helps people see the world around them in a new light. (Full disclosure: I voted for John McCain but certainly appreciate the historic moment we had here this week and of course hope that President Obama will lead our nation where we need to go.)

Declaim, the seminal (there's a great word for ya) word for this post, does indeed mean the same as "proclaim." It hails from 1385, from the Latin declamare. Turns out, in etymology, "de" is an "intensifying prefix." ("Pro" as a prefix means "forth.") And the Latin clamare is "to cry, shout."

And finally, filial means "of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter." It first appeared in Medieval French, 1393, and has roots in the Latin filialis, from filius, "son," and filia "daughter."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What Font Am I?

I am (drum roll, please!) ... helvetica!

Blech!

At least I wasn't comic sans. I think I would have puked if I came up comic sans.

What font are you?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's a Start, Part VII

Time to revive an old favorite!

"It's a Start" takes a look at the first sentence (or so) of books plucked randomly from the Acorn bookshelves. You can find Parts I-VI along with my later "It's a Start: Work in Progress" posts here.

I don't get paid to do this and have no real credentials, so my comments are just one reader's thoughts. If you feel differently, speak up! That's what the comments section is for. Note: Maximum number of stars = 5.

The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going away party. Looking for Alaska, by John Green

As I noted in an earlier post, this book really didn't do much for me, but I do love this first sentence. We get some sense of the main character and his voice ("minor life"? "insisted"?). We get setting. We get a hint of the change that is about to set the plot in motion. So much accomplished in so few words. Stars: ****


I was supposed to play the piano.
A Crooked Kind of Perfect, by Linda Urban

Talk about accomplishing a lot in a few words! We know our MC believes she was supposed to play the piano. Why? We can infer from this statement that she does not play the piano. Why not? This sentence involves the reader right off the bat and respects our intelligence. A lovely sentence, simple and yet complex. Much like the book itself. Stars: *****


The day I broke up with my boyfriend Evan was the day he wrote the song.
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Again, we have a first sentence that tells us something has just changed in the narrator's life: a breakup. We also have a teaser. What song? We also have a bit of a play for empathy. Anyone who has been through a breakup knows this ex-boyfriend-writing-a-song scenario can't be good. Stars: ****


When Eddie B. dared me to walk the net bridge over the Elijah Hatchett River where we'd seen an alligator and another kid got bit by a coral snake, I wasn't scared--I just didn't feel like doing it right then.
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning, by Danette Haworth

I love spunky main characters (and who doesn't?), so this grabs me right away. Again we have setting. And you can't help but feel there's more than just a hint of foreshadowing in there, can you? Net bridges, alligators and snakes, oh my! Stars: *****


Of all the kids in the seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, there was one kid that Mrs. Baker hated with heat whiter than the sun. Me.
The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt

Can you say, "conflict"? Sheesh! A teacher who hates our MC with a "heat whiter than the sun." Why? And what does she have in store for him? A great first sentence from my current Favorite Kid Lit Writer on the Face of the Earth. Stars: ****


That's it for this post. Not sure what's up with all the first-person narrators this time around, but they sure make for some compelling starts! What did you think of these?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Seven Things I'm Thankful For

Happy New Year!

It's been a little while (OK, a long while) since the last post. My bad.

Sometime between then and now, the lovely Kimberly Lynn tagged me to reveal seven random things about myself. I already did a couple of posts similar to that here and here), so instead, in the spirit of New Year's, I've decided to name seven things I'm thankful for.

  1. My health. Of course. Though I tend to take it way too much for granted except when I'm ailing.

  2. My family. Especially my amazing husband. And my wonderful mom and dad.

  3. My church. Especially the youth group.

  4. My friends. Including those of you I only know virtually.

  5. The U.S. of A. Living in a free country is another one that's way too easy to take for granted.

  6. My job. Keeps me busy and pays the bills. And the clients I work for are some of the nicest people in the world.

  7. My stuff. Especially my cozy home, my iBook, the cat and the puppy.

Bonus item: My writing. Much as I have a love/hate relationship with it, it gives me something to hope for.

Here's to a 2009 filled with love, gratitude and hope for us all!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All I Want for Christmas

Is this.

To go with the one collecting dust downstairs.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More from Rutgers

While my one-on-one session with Kendra Levin was certainly the highlight of my Rutgers experience this year, it was only a portion of the day.

My notes are sketchy at best, so if you're looking for lots of great writing advice and marketing info, please head on over to Tara Lazar's nearly exhaustive reports here. She's a posting machine!

My much more cursory overview: Presentations from K.L. Going and Kay Winters and a panel discussion on "Your Book: From Manuscript to the Book Store" offered some great insights into the industry.

And my "five-on-five" session with four editors and an agent revealed something I found quite interesting: When asked for querying advice, both Erin Molta of Scholastic Book Clubs and Grace Kendall of Blue Sky Press indicated they like to learn why the writer wrote the manuscript ... her motivations, inspirations and goals. I like that they care about that stuff. Kendra Levin was also in my five-on-five, and she recommended targeting editors that match your "literary aesthetic." I hadn't given much thought to my literary aesthetic, but I will now!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Battling the Baptist Disease

An aside in my last post reminded me of a funny story.

I was discussing writing with my brother-in-law a few months back and mentioned to him my propensity to overuse the word "just."

"So you have the Baptist disease?" he asked.

"What?"

"The Baptist disease. You, know: 'Dear Lord, we just thank you for this meal and just pray that you'll just, just bless this food, Lord, and just be with us as we enjoy this time together. Lord, just please, watch over us....'"

Hee! Baptists are good folks, but I sure don't want to write like them!