Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Agents Open to New Authors...

Chuck Sambuchino, our resident expert on all things agent, just posted a great piece on agencies open to unpublished authors on the Writer's Digest magazine website. Chuck offers advice on approaching agents, and gives up-to-date, detailed listings of 23 agencies that include their current needs and contact information. (Children's writers, look for "juvenile books" in the list of needs.) It's like a free sneak preview of the 2008 Guide to Literary Agents!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

PW Children's Books Spring Issue...

In case you haven't seen it, the Publishers Weekly Children's Books Spring 2007 issue is now available. It's like getting a bunch of mini-catalogs from pretty much every children's book publisher going, and includes listings of spring titles and a fall sneak peek. There's even a piece on "The Young and the Graphic Novel."

I Like This--You Should Visit: Wordy Girls...

Here's a blog I've recently come across that you might like. Wordy Girls is a group blog whose participants include Laura Purdie Salas, Bonnie Becker, Susan Taylor Brown, and Susan Heyboer-O'Keefe. The authors write about conferences, school visits, books, SCBWI, advice for beginners, poetry, and myriad children's writing-related topics. (I liked Laura's recent post on how writing for children is a lot like American Idol. )

The idea of a group blog is pretty cool. It allows the participants to offer frequent posts with a more relaxed time commitment than that of a solo blogger, and it allows readers glimpses into the writing lives of varied authors with varied experiences writing in varied genres, all through one portal. If there are other group blogs you like (or if you participate in one) please post a comment. I'd love to check out more of these.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Never Too Busy to Type 'Scrotum' on My Blog...

Right now I'm buried in huge pile of deadlines from which I'm pretty convinced I may never climb out. (I didn't even manage to email or call my only sister on her birthday yesterday.) But I had to take time out from my (rather wonderful) pile of articles, to talk scrotum. Yes, I said it: scrotum. Scrotum, scrotum, scrotum. The very word that has teachers, librarians, and reviewers in a buzz due to its appearance in Susan Patron's recent Newbery Medal winner The Higher Power of Lucky.

My goodness. Now some are saying they can't recommend the book due to the inclusion of the word scrotum. (I may never have occasion to type this word again, so I'm packing them in.) Is scrotum the new F-word? Are anatomical terms such as scrotum automatically offensive?

I guess we'll all make up our own minds on this one. But some of us wield a great deal more power when it comes to getting certain books in front--or away from--young readers. I guess we shall see what becomes of all this scrotum business. In the meantime, read Patron's book and decide for yourself.

(And I am venturing a guess that this blog post of mine will be my husband's favorite one ever.)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Writing: It's Hard...

So here I am, blogging to avoid writing articles as my deadline looms. Every time I stare at a blank screen I wonder how you all do it on a regular basis. Every time I finish a great novel I'm amazed that the author had the dedication to start writing and keep writing and go through the whole publishing process, and then they want to do it all over again. I admire writers.

I guess I'm blogging more to warm up than to avoid. I need my fingers on they keys typing coherent sentences to get myself in the groove. Then suddenly, I'll get back to the piece I'm working on and things will start flowing (at least that's my plan). Some days it's like pulling teeth. Some days it's a walk in the park. Some days it's a walk in a snowy park in below freezing weather. (We just got a lot of snow here in the 'Nati and winter is still very much annoying me.)

Now I'll head back to Word and keep on typing.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Deadlines, Deadlines. Oh the Deadlines...

It's that time of year, folks. I've got a thick stack of articles on my desk, several writing assignments to finish up, and 80-some pieces of digital art to wrangle, name, number, size, organize, and (oh crap!) write captions for. February is Alice's Deadline Hell month. But it's exciting. I'm good under pressure. I make lists; I prioritize. I glance up at my production schedule approximately every 4-and-a-half minutes. I tote file folders home with me. The mild panic only makes me stronger!

Said deadlines make me a bad blogger, a tardy e-mail replier, and occasionally an inattentive wife, mommy and friend. Some nights, when I'm not staring at the ceiling planning my how-I'll-somehow-get-everything-done-tomorrow strategy when I should be sleeping, I dream I'm working, marking up copy, stacks and stack of copy, never-ending copy.

During my 8 years of employ as a department store gift wrapper I dreamed of wrapping all through December. At the end of my 9-hour shift, my left shoulder unable to move, my fingers raw with paper cuts, I'd fall exhausted into bed and have the same dream every night. I'd be standing behind the counter wrapping, a sea of shoppers on the other side as far as I could see. They're all waving their items to be wrapped, yelling at me to help them. I keep poking my head into the back room asking for someone to come out to help me. "We're on break," my co-workers would say, their feet up, munching on pizza. Then I'd wake up, shower, put on my comfy shoes, and do it all again.

That was hell. Bring on the copy.