We are thrilled to announce the sale of Nicole Collier’s debut middle grade novel, JUST RIGHT JILLIAN, to Versify.
Congratulations, Nicole!… [more]
HOORAY and happiest of publications days to Sue Soltis on the publication of her newest picture books, THE STARS JUST UP THE STREET, with gorgeous illustrations by Christine Davenier!
Mabel loves stars. She counts five from her window and thirty-seven from her backyard. But her grandfather tells her that, as a child, he could see thousands. Could it be true? Mabel climbs a hill looking for more stars — only to discover that the glow from the nearby town makes them hard to see. What would it take for her neighbors to turn off their lights, just for one night, so that everyone could see the starlit sky? Sue Soltis’s … [more]
HOORAY and happy book birthday to J.M.M. Nuanez’s BIRDIE AND ME — which is now out there in the world, finding it’s readers. I can’t wait to see how readers react to, and I’m so proud to have been a part of it’s publication.
*“Belongs alongside Holly Goldberg Sloan’s Counting by 7s, Cindy Baldwin’s Where the Watermelons Grow, and Ali Benjamin’s The Thing about Jellyfish. Highly recommended.”— School Library Journal, starred review
*”This strong, emotional, and engaging read is a must-have for any library. The issues are dealt with realistically and challenge the reader to examine their personal feelings, the various modes for dealing with grief, gender fluidity, and how to appropriately support students in their search for who they truly are. A great coming-of-age story for 5th-8th graders.” — … [more]
Congrats to both Marcie Colleen and Alison Oliver for their first, starred review for their picture book collaboration, THE BEAR’S GARDEN, from Kirkus Reviews:
When a little black girl with her hair in two puffballs looks at her city street, she sees people who rarely slow down enough to imagine the possibilities of beauty around them. But she does…Inspired by a true story of a stuffed bear found in what has become the Pacific Street Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden, this tale of urban renewal shows how one person with an imagination, a little dirt, and a few seeds can transform a concrete village into something beautiful. Oliver’s endpapers depict maps of the garden site—the front endpapers sans garden and the rear ones featuring … [more]
Big congratulations to Brian Broome on the sale of his stunning debut memoir, LIKE THIS, to Rakia Clark at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt! LIKE THIS is a poetic, uproarious, and raw coming of age story about Blackness, masculinity, and addiction in America’s Rust Belt.
Brian is a Moth finalist and is currently in the MFA program at the University of Pittsburgh. I first heard him perform his work at a reading series in Pittsburgh, and the entire audience just fell in love with him. I know you’ll be just as captivated by him when you read his work! The book will be out in May 2021.
“When you’re making things, time goes fast.”Vera B. Williams, Scooter
I’m serious here.
Once upon a time I taught composition and rhetoric, and one of the things I’d tell my students is this: If you’re bored while writing your papers, I guarantee you that I’ll be bored while reading them. But if you are interested in what you’re writing, or even having fun—why, that quality will come through in your prose.
It can sound counterintuitive—this idea that our best work comes when we’re playing and having fun—but I’ve always found that to be the case.
If marrying the words “play” and “fun” to “work” sparks scorn, think of it more as showing the sort of keen focus and deep involvement that children show when they are playing hard. In his swell little book Keep … [more]
Going into NaNoWriMo, the temptation will be to write as much as you possibly can each day. It makes sense, right? You’re trying to write as many words as quickly as possible, so if you’ve got more fuel in the tank once you’ve hit your daily goal of 1,000 or 2,000 words, why not use it? Get down as many words and as much of the story so that you can meet your ultimate goal.
I am here to tell you not to do that. My advice—and the advice of many, many writers with more skill and wisdom than me—set a target number of words, write until you reach that goal, and then stop. Some stop mid-sentence (see Graham Greene, who stopped at 800 words exactly); others stop in the vicinity of their target, … [more]
Some of you may have written an outline of the novel you will be writing. Some will have sketched out only the barest minimum—starts here; something happens over there; this thing takes place; somehow it all wraps up. Many of you will have no outline at all, but only a premise, a sense of some characters, a handful of scenes, and—if you’re lucky—an insistent voice dictating the telling of a story.
Outliners start with some gas in the tank, but for those of you who write without a certain idea of where you are going, starting can be gulp-inducing. Happily, NaNoWriMo is almost tailor-made for seat-of-the-pants writers. Plunging ahead is a great way to blaze a trail through the dark of an unknown story. Your trail may ultimately turn out to have wrong turns and … [more]
[Repurposing an old post about writing 1,000 words each day. But calibrated for NaNoWriMo inflation.]
In my younger and more vulnerable years, I was given a piece of advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. (And no, it is not to shamelessly rip off The Great Gatsby‘s opening line; that I do all on my own.) The advice was this: During the month of NaNoWriMo, write two thousand words of your work-in-progress each day. No more, no less. Just a cool two grand.
Here’s the why of the advice: