Tuesday, May 25, 2010


BEA (BookExpo America) kicks off in New York today! BEA is like the Disneyland of the book world (without the Mickey ears and chocolate covered bananas).

If you're waiting to hear from agents, editors, publicists, or anyone else in the publishing business, expect major delays.
I mean, really, would YOU be answering emails if you had the chance to be in NYC walking through aisles of publishers and books and chatting with thousands of literary-minded folks? I think not.

BEA has a New Title Showcase area where authors and their books can get massive exposure. Check out the online version if you're interested. http://www.newtitleshowcase.com/

I've decided to present my own variation: The New Author Showcase. These authors won't get nearly as much exposure as BEA, but what the heck. Take a scroll around, check out all these fine authors and follow their blogs so you can say you knew them back before they were on the best seller list.

NEW AUTHOR SHOWCASE (in alphabetical order)

Natalie Bahm -writes amazing MG like it's as easy as tying her shoes. She nails voice and knows what kids find funny and entertaining --probably because she has 3 of her own and a 4th on the way. Her talent is so obvious that she was pulled from the slush pile by her fabulous agent, Sara Megibow at the Nelson Literary Agency.

Marie Devers -the Cool Hand Luke of my writer gang. She doesn't try to be a kickass writer, it's just who she is. Her YA stories will make you laugh, cry, and leave you in awe of her storytelling skills. She's got mad credentials, has taught in Alaska, and soon she will be reading a lot more picture books since she's currently pregnant with our future president.

Sara McClung -Not even published yet but gets hit on whenever she enters a bookstore. Some people are just destined for author superstardom. Her YA story made me want to go back to high school and rock a binder with "Karen -N- Patrick 4-ever" doodled all over it. Watch out Edward, there's a new stud coming to Paranormal Town.

Shannon Messenger -Bestill my racing heart. She can write an exciting roller coaster ride of a magical MG story. I can't share too many details about it, but have no fear, I know you'll be seeing a deal announcement soon when her uber agent, Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary sells her first of many future best-selling books.

Derek Molata -The black sheep of my writer peeps. Some might consider his writing a tad dark, but I call it brilliant. He knows his way around the rabbit hole and writes stories that will twist the straightest of minds and leave readers begging for more. Rep'd by Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary his stories will surely be on the YA and adult bookshelves in the very near future.

Megan Rebekah -If you've read her blog, you already know what an awesome writer she is. Not to mention she's so darn lovable--just like her characters. As the drill sergeant of manuscripts she can break you down then help you rebuild, strengthen, and endure so your stories are ready for query wars. Seriously, she should start her own business.


I haven't read the manuscripts of the next couple writers, but I have to mention them because they share a passion for sea folk. So, I'd like to give a splash-out to:

Tricia O'Brien -My mermaid comrade. Our by-the-sea tales are nothing alike, but our great minds are. She always blows me away with her amazing photos, musings, and posts. I can only imagine how beautiful her stories must be.

Lynn Colt -Her YA fantasy about selkies got her an offer from the fantastic Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown. I'm pretty sure our version of selkies are very different, but I'm looking forward to reading her stories.

I have a dozen other people who I would love to mention but the blog booth just isn't big enough. (I imagine that's how all the publishing houses and publicists feel at BEA.)

So, feel free to pimp out your writing partners, up-and-coming author friends, or new writer/bloggers in the comments section. (Don't forget to post a link or web address to their site or blog.) If you think they're fabulous we'd love to hear about them. Nothing like spreading the writerly love.


Thursday, May 20, 2010


***a beautiful cake photo used to be in this post but due to the recent lawsuits for using photos on blogs I took it down.***

First off, that photo is a cake. Seriously. I'd almost feel guilty eating it. Almost.

Secondly, my birthday is rapidly approaching and that means it's time to make my birthday list. Said list will consist of novels because really, nothing beats receiving a great book as a gift.

Okay, SOME gifts top a book. Like if you wanted to send me on an all expenses paid vacation (FYI I love cruises) I wouldn't complain. Although for the record, it would be extra thoughtful if you gave me the vacation AND a couple books to read while I'm on the plane, sunbathing, etc.

Anyway, let's have a virtual book birthday party!
*throws confetti and a hundred Happy Birthday balloons appear*

If it's nowhere near your actual birthday, have no fear. You can celebrate a very merry UNbirthday!

Andbutso, if you're attending the virtual birthday bash you must bring a book or two, or three, or four to give as gifts. Something you've read recently that you loved or would recommend, or an upcoming title that you KNOW will be fabulous.

Here are my contributions:

by John Green and David Levithan
(cracked me up and I wished I was friends with the characters. Not to mention it's the first time I ever saw "Andbutso" and I thought it was brilliant.)
THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting
(read it in two sittings because it was a bona fide page turner. And of course, the great romantic relationship only added to its greatness.)

Now, I'm bringing these next books to the party but NO FIGHTING. There will be games such as Pin The Tale on the Donkey, and Twister to decide who gets these hot commodities.

THE CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare
MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins
*throws elbows* I SAID NO FIGHTING!

Okay, your turn! What books are you bringing? And what's your favorite kind of cake and drink so I know what to stock up on?

Friday, May 14, 2010


***beautiful pics used to be in this post but due to the recent lawsuits for using photos on blogs I took them down.***

It's Friday, so let's dive into the world of imagination.

We all know I might be a little obsessed with my sea creatures at the moment. How can you not love a bunch of people that can live on land or underwater? Not to mention my characters have some other awesome traits, but most of you will have to wait until the book is published--if and when it's published--to learn more about that.

For now, let's take a look at some hotels that may be the closest we as humans will ever get to living like merfolk. Or selkies. Or fish, or dolphins, or whatever your underwater life of choice would be.

I present to you, underwater hotels.

No, I kid you not. The Poseidon Resort in Fiji is scheduled to open this year. For only $30,000 per couple you can purchase a fabulous week long package and stay at this Jules Verne inspired resort .

(I haven't found proof that it's actually open for business and I didn't want to look too hard. I like to pretend that if I win the lotto tomorrow, I can book online and be sleeping underwater next week. Don't burst my bubble if you find out construction was delayed or something.)

There are also plans for something similar in Dubai. The Hydropolis where you can vacation and sleep 60 feet below the surface. *sigh*
I read that yet another underwater hotel is being planned in Istanbul. A 7-story, 7-star hotel, but from what I've read only one or two stories will actually be underwater. More research needed on this one. (I'm still dreaming of Fiji.)

And then, as if I've opened up a real life storybook, I discover Shanghai Shimao Wonderland
"The project covers a land area of 428,200 square meters, which fixes its position as theme park, experience center, exotic idyllic resort area and consumption center. The main part is the theme park and a modern five-star hotel built on the cliff of the quarry in Sheshan Hill with one floor above ground and 17 under ground. There are over 400 guestrooms on the first to fifteenth floors under ground, one thermal spring pool on the sixteenth floor under ground, and underwater restaurant and café on the seventeenth floor below the water surface, accompanied by a 100-meter-high waterfall alongside. The experience center offers a service package of indoor entertainment facilities, ocean world, sports & recreational center, water-face park, movie & TV heaven, super shopping mall, cuisine paradise etc. The resort village includes 5 resorts such as European and Southern China styled ones. Shimao Wonderland is a destination for multifold experience of tour & relaxation, food & accommodations, interactions & attractions, and retail & entertainment."

One second, let me pick up my jaw off the ground.

So maybe imagination can turn into reality. Maybe that's why we writers write. The things and worlds we imagine become real in the minds of our readers.

And, if you happen to have millions of dollars you might be able to turn some of your ideas into an extraordinary resort.

However, if you're a smoker, don't build in Minnesota.What about you? Would you want to vacation underwater? If not, what is your ultimate vacation fantasy?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Florida mothers are at it again.

A couple weeks ago I posted about an effort in Lake County to have warning labels put on YA library books , or force libraries to move "bad" books to their own shelf. (Because you know, an entire YA section just isn't good enough anymore.) This time, a mother decided she'd just keep the books off the shelf all together.

The 4 books in question are The It Girl series (inspired by Gossip Girl). The mom in question flipped through her 13-year-old's selections and "saw numerous curse words and terms such as 'stoned' and 'marijuana,' and a reference to sleeping with a teacher."

(Wait, you mean these books contained all the things I heard about and was surrounded by when I was in high school nearly two decades ago? Surely, those words and issues aren't STILL around. People must have figured out some kids do these things and put a stop to it by now. )

Long story short, Mom hides the books in her closet and refuses to return to them to the library because "If I turn them in, they will be put back into circulation and and they'll be available for more young girls to read."

Oh yes, imagine the horror. Young girls reading. *Gasp* What is the world coming to?

No, no, I'm kidding (kind of). I understand that this mother doesn't think certain topics are appropriate for her kids to read. I GET IT. But, handle it the right way. Racking up an $85 library fine, having your library card revoked, and holding 4 books hostage is not my idea of the right way. (85% of the commenters on OrlandoSentinel.com agree.)

The cool part? When this news reached such a level of wrongtitude that it spread to the masses, guess what happened? People brought copies of those books to the library to replace the ones being held hostage. So many that the library (graciously) had to stop accepting those specific books because they had too many. Win for the library, and for the author's sales. *fist pump*

Not to mention most teens who heard about this hoopla will now be foaming at the mouth to read the series.

The latest is that the books have been returned to the library. The fine has not been waived, but of course the mother feels it should be. In her own words, "It's not like I lost the books or I didn't feel like turning them in."

Does anyone else want to reach through the screen and shake some sense into her?

I'm sure a few of you may not think this woman is in the wrong. These issues are so subjective. You are entitled to your opinion, but as booklovers, authors, etc. I think most of you would agree that she could have handled this in a much better manner.

One Clermont, FL resident (Marvin Jacobs) wrote to the editor and expressed my thoughts and feeling beautifully:
If the classification of "Young Adult" does not fit with (this mother's) belief of the behaviors of young adults, I encourage her to talk with middle and high school teachers who work daily with these "young adults."

When the content of a fiction book includes facts about real life, it opens the door for parents and children to have a discussion and learn from each other.

We, as a society, must stop avoiding difficult conversations with our children.

Perhaps she should attend the play coming to Bob Carr, "Spring Awakening."

Indeed, this play which was written in 1890, deals with many of the same issues in the books discussed — but in a modern,
Tony Award-winning musical.

Bottom line: She and her daughter need to have a conversation — and the media and the rest of us need to step back.
*claps wildly* Go Marvin!

Yes, Mommy Extremist, learn something from this experience: pay your fine, and TALK WITH YOUR CHILDREN. These curse words and taboo subjects don't just exist in books. You can't hide the whole world in your closet and keep your daughter from being exposed to real life.

And the media will never step back, but I understand what Marvin's saying. Heck, it gets me so fired up that I have to post about it on my 'lil ol' blog.

I know you all have something to say, so feel free to comment. Even if you love Mommy Extremist's methods and have your own closet full of hidden "bad" books and hundreds of dollars in library fines, I'd still love to hear from you.

I'm linking to a search results page on OrlandoSentinel.com because there are a bunch of great articles involving this topic. One even mentions why labeling books would raise legal issues. But that's a whole new topic for a different day.
Links to articles

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lights, camera, bookstore!

Last week I posted about my local independent bookstore that has survived and thrived (I swear I didn't mean to rhyme) since 1933.

I was sad to hear how many of you didn't have any indie stores near you. More sad to hear about the ones that closed down. Time, how it does change things. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse--depending who you ask.

The El Ateneo Grand Splendid is an interesting example. Located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, it was originally built in 1919 as the Teatro Gran Splendid. In the early 1920's this theater was home to many great Tango artists. By the late 1920's it was converted to a cinema. Then, in 2000, it was converted into...

A bookstore.
A breathtaking, uber cool, on-my-list-to-visit-someday bookstore.
Most of the seating was replaced by bookshelves, but some of the theater boxes remain so customers can sit and browse through pages, or imagine what it might have been like to see a show back in the day.

Of course, there is a cafe--located on the old stage.While you're sipping your latte or tea with spotlights shining down on your flan, you can look out and view the theater through the eyes of the performers. (Well, you'd have to pretend there are 1050 seats instead of 4 floors of books and CDs.)

I'm sure some theater lovers were devastated when this landmark was converted, but it's another example of how time changes things. As a book lover, I would LOVE to stroll through this "bookstore theater."

As I tried to keep my jaw from dropping to the floor, I'd still apprecaite the history and respect the decades of talent that passed through the doors, but I'd be grabbing a few good novels, ordering a cafe' con leche, and snuggling into one of those theater boxes. All while snapping photos and smiling like the book-loving geek that I am. (Oh, and I'd ask someone to tango with me on stage before I left. I mean, come on, I'm a shameless dance-lover too.)

Are you having a bookgasm like I did when I first saw this place? Beautiful, isn't it?

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