Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween! In the writing world, I truly do consider this a frightening day... because NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow! I won't be participating (one year was enough for me) but I'll be thinking of you all. Blog posts will be shorter next month, filled with fun and games, wisdom, tips, comic strips, etc.

But before we go into a month in which my clients will probably stop talking to me (let me know beforehand if you decide to poof!) and my readers forsake me, let's have some fun with Halloween.

Firstly, check out the agency blog's Authornomics (here) this week, featuring Tex, Editorial Director of Under The Juniper Tree, a dark, literary horror magazine for children's stories and artwork. Find out what makes a great scary story, enter to win a critique with Tex, and find out what he and Marjorie Merle are dressing up as this Halloween! Website here.

Secondly, share some of your favorite sites, topics, pictures, stories, costume, favorite scary book or movie. And tell me what type of Halloween you enjoy: sweet costumes, pumpkin carving, and some Hocus Pocus? Stephen King or slasher flicks, lights off, haunted mansion type of Halloween? Or traditional Day of the Dead festivities?

Myself, I like carving pumpking (mostly so I can toast and eat the seeds), put on a lame costume I've used for several years running, navigate a corn maze, and snuggle down with some good movies; my absolute favorite is the little known but super awesome Monster Squad (shout out if you've seen it).

Lastly, gaze in awe at this:
That is all.

Happy haunting!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Reads: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

For this week's read, I thought I'd look at a book that's been a long time favorite of mine. It came out in 2007, so it is pretty recent. What's amazing is that it hasn't spawned it's own following of copy cats. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is a novel told in part by traditional narrative, and part by pictures.

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
First Line/Page: The novel actually doesn't start with a sentence. It starts with a serious of pictures that introduces the reader to the setting and character--Hugo and a train station. Only then, when we're intrigued and pictures cannot possibly tell us any more, does the narrative begin. Some amazing first lines I share with friends to tempt them to read. With Hugo Cabret, I show them the first few pages. Sometimes I merely flip to a random illustrated page and they stare in wonder at the art of it.

Brownie Points: The plot, characters, writing, it all holds you captive. The illustrations are the cherry on top, but necessary as well. The whole book is a Brownie.

Recommendation: Everyone should read it. And what's great, is that it appeals to any age group. It's simple enough for children to understand, but complex and rich enough for adults to remain captivated.

Would I represent it? If I'd had a chance to represent this very book, I hope I would have had enough sense to latch on. However, when it comes to art, I'm pretty much lost, so more likely than not I would have passed (hard to admit that). I hope no one makes this the next "big thing," like all the literary classic spin offs of a couple years ago. I'd love to see Selznick's work stand alone forever, with no contenders/pretenders. It's unique and it should stay that way.

Also, Selznick had another book released just last month, titled Wonderstruck, that for some reason I haven't read yet, but plan to immediately. You should too.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday Reads: Moonglass

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby. One of the reasons I love my clients, is they always give me great recommendations (comps that hadn't made it into my TBR list yet). This one was a perfect summer read.

Anna’s plans for junior year are washed away when her father accepts a job transfer. There’s no denying that living in a cottage on the beach has its perks, and it happens to be the town where her parents met and fell in love, but Anna is none too eager to rebuild her life from scratch. She already did that once, after her mother passed away years earlier.
Despite her reluctance, Anna is slowly won over. But even as she makes new friends and relishes the gorgeous ocean view, she is confronted by her family’s history. Everyone around Anna seems to know more about her own family’s past than she does…and she begins to realize that she and her father can’t outrun the painful truths of her mother’s death.
Anna’s sea glass collection proves that time can smooth rough edges—but what about when the jagged hurt of loss remains as sharp as ever?
First Line: From prologue: "I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both." Do I need to tell you why I love this opening? 

From first chapter: "Rain and wind pelted the ocean's surface so hard it looked like it was boiling." Anna's entire life revolves around the ocean, so it makes perfect sense that the opening sentence would evoke the water. And reflect her feelings.

Brownie Points: You've noticed my background picture right? I love the water. And, as a veteran beach comber, I appreciated Anna's connection with the water and beach glass (though finding washed glass on Washington beaches is a bit different--hello rocks!).

Okay, brownie point number 2. The characters. Kirby has a talent for bringing characters to life. Even Anna's first friend, Ashley, who should be a cliche (rich, blonde, tiny dog, ditz), is funny and real. And Tyler, the leading man, is... well, never underestimate a good boy. Who needs the bad boy vampire type? Psssh. You'll fall in love with all of Kirby's characters.

Recommendation: If you enjoy Jennifer Echols or Sarah Dessen, or the beach, read it.

Would I represent it? Yes, please!

Happy reading!

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Interview with ME!

I've been doing a lot of interviews lately, haven't I? This week, find me over at Andrea Hurst's blog, where I've been interviewed for the Authornomics series. A great resource, and the interviewers are sooo savvy.

Find my interview here.

Find a list of past and upcoming interviews here.

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Authornomics: Interview with a YA Agent

Are you keeping up with the Andrea Hurst and Associates blog interviews?

In case you  missed it, this week our fabulous interviewers interviewed Mandy Hubbard, YA author and agent (and all around amazing person). Get an inside look into her dual life here.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday Reads: The Luxe

The Luxe, by Anna Godbersen. Why did it take me so long to read it? I've been hearing wonderful things about it for ages. Probably because there's no fantasy, magic, steam power! (I think I've been drinking too much Harry Potter Kool Aid.) But here's a wonderful, gossipy, historical mystery, with bells, frills, and whistles.

Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions.
White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.
This is Manhattan, 1899.
Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.
With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear...
In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.
First Line: From the prologue: "In life, Elizabeth Adora Holland was known not only for her loveliness but also for her moral character, so it was fair to assume that in the afterlife she would occupy a lofty seat with an especially good view."

Though told in third person, with chapter POV shifts, the narrator manages to maintain a slightly snarky voice--maybe more ironic than snarky. It kept me riveted an involved all through the twisting plot, multiple scandals, and character shifts.

I gave you the line from the prologue because it demonstrates the narrator's voice. But also because the prologue was surprising. I would never suggest a new writer do this (chalk this down as Expert Level; you wouldn't try playing Guitar Hero on Expert your very first time, would you?). The prologue is basically a commentary on the guests at Elizabeth's funeral, giving us just enough information so that when we meet them again in the book (takes place leading up to Elizabeth's death), we know a little about them--and it intrigues us as to how they came to be as they are. It could be considered back story, or information dump, but it's done in such a way you keep reading.

Brownie Points: I've briefly mentioned the POV shifts, and I have to again. When I first realized that each chapter would follow a different character, I was annoyed. But I didn't stop reading. And I found, despite the third person, I was dedicated to each and every character. We were given enough time with each one to understand what makes them tick. Again, this is set on Advanced level--don't try this at home.

Recommendation: If you've read any Historical in the past and liked it, you should definitely read it. If you, like me, only read Historical Fantasy, this might be able to change your mind. When I have time, I will be reading the rest of the series. But I'm super excited to read another of Godbersen's books, Bright Young Things, set in the Roaring 20s.

Would I represent it? Have you ever heard me say that I'm not looking for Historical? Well... I might take a look if the time period interests me (can't really say what does interest me, so I guess the timeline is open). Unless done really well, I probably will reject something written in a similar style. I prefer third person limited or first person.

Happy reading! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Interview! (and food)

If you're interested in reading a new interview from me, conducted over at a fairly new blog, Pots & Pens, follow this link here. As a side note, for those out there trying to find a new blog hook, it'd be a great idea for you to check out Pots & Pens because they have a wonderful hook--food! So go check it out, and I might have included a very delicious recipe in the interview... anyone like Creole?

Happy eating! er... reading...