[caption id="attachment_1637" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo from trekearth.com"]
[/caption]Well, hello there, friends. Long time no blog. I hope everyone had a wonderful end of the summer and you're all ready for back-to-school for the parents, back-to-work for the teachers, or back-to-working-every-week if you're like the rest of us working stiffs.And yes, I include myself as someone who worked. "But what of your 'break?'" you ask. Well, it wasn't really a break. It was a chance to try (and fail) to catch up on the queries in my inbox (I'm almost through June as of this posting... I know, I'd hoped to do better), spend some time relaxing like in the scene pictured above (you can't see me in the picture—I'm in the water on the other side of the boat about to be struck in the head by the oar), and read, read, read (Who read MOCKINGJAY? OMG text me K?). There may have been a mojito and some golf and some softball mixed in, but trust me, not much.So what else happened this summer? I was lucky enough to see my client Jacqueline West's THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE: THE SHADOWS hit the New York Times Bestseller List. It's a terrific achievement for anyone, but especially a debut writer. THE SHADOWS also garnered two starred reviews, the first of which I wrote about here, and the second which just came from The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, who predict "this will be a hit with young fantasists ready for a measured helping of menace." If all this isn't enough to get you to check out the book, then I don't know what will!The summer also kicked off with the release of Shaun David Hutchinson's THE DEATHDAY LETTER, an occasion Shaun celebrated by jumping out of a freaking plane. While he was up there watching the ground come up to meet him, VOYA was writing that main character "Ollie’s unabashed self-acceptance of his foibles makes him both a hilarious and a heartbreaking character," and Booklist said "the reader is pulled along in Ollie’s grip, wrestling with the big questions of life (and afterlife) at a punishing pace.... This first novel will appeal to male readers who care more about sex than philosophy." I think they served donuts on the ground, too, which is pretty cool.At the end of the summer came Matt Myklusch's JACK BLANK AND THE IMAGINE NATION. What did the critics think? School Library Journal said JACK BLANK had "just the right amount of plasma blasts, fusion cannons, and major explosions" and that the "especially careful plotting that leads to an exciting and thought-provoking conclusion." Publishers Weekly called it an "ambitious, no-holds-barred adventure" and that "the exuberance and anything-goes whimsy of this story—enhanced by a light, comic book sensibility along with questions it raises about fate, corporate power, and heroism—make this a concept with potential." Kirkus got in on the fun, saying Pull quote: "[Myklusch] creates a beguiling, sequel-worthy scenario." It's a good thing a second JACK BLANK book is on the way next summer!These three books should give readers and writers a clear sense of my taste, although other recent sales of some YA projects will tell you even more when those books are available. Stay tuned!Finally, I was busy this summer booking conferences for the fall. For a list of where I'll be appearing in the upcoming months, head to the appropriately titled "Where We'll Be" section of the Upstart Crow website. If you're at any of the conferences in North Carolina, Virginia/D.C., St. Louis, or New Jersey, be sure to say hello. So I'm looking forward to a terrific fall and winter full of friendly people in cities I've never visited, good news for my clients, and perhaps some great stories sent in by writers just like you!