Friday, November 09, 2012

Big Sur December 2012

The best time of year swiftly approaches - the time for the Big Sur Children's Writer's Workshop! And guess what? There are still a few places available Nov 30-Dec 2.

This conference is truly amazing. First of all, the location is just stunning - in a redwood forest, on cliffs above the Pacific, surrounded by nature... It's a retreat from the distractions of everyday life that allows writers to really focus on getting deep into their manuscripts and doing that hard work that will take them to the next level. It is a combo of small critique groups led by stellar faculty (editors, agents, award-winning writers), plus time to actually REVISE based on the feedback. And the high faculty-to-writer ratio plus casual and family-like atmosphere means you'll get plenty of time to hang out with editors and agents and writers without feeling "on the spot" or nervous.

It sounds cliche but it is true: I've seen miracles at this conference. The difference in work from the first workshop on Friday to the last on Sunday can be truly astonishing. I just can't say enough good things about it. If you can join us this time around, you SHOULD!  Here's the registration page.

If you can't, do keep it on your radar, as we do this twice a year. March is in Monterey, December is in Big Sur. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


PRETTIEST DOLL is three weeks in the life of Liv Tatum, who is 13 years old and already a veteran of the beauty-pageant circuit. Though she's as pretty and successful as can be on the outside, on the inside Liv is struggling to cope with the death of her father, the demands of her mother, her pageant coach's insistent criticism, and her own ambivalence about her looks. 

When she up and runs away with 15 year old Danny Jacobson, a troubled Texan on his way to Chicago, she'll have to rely on her own resourcefulness and courage, rather than on her fake eyelashes and singing, to make it back in one piece.

PRETTIEST DOLL is somehow simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, zeitgeisty and timeless. Gina Willer-Pardo is a master at writing realistic stories with a pitch-perfect middle school voice. I love this book!

"Willner-Pardo deftly captures the complexity of adolescence as these resilient teens endeavor to define their identities and establish control over their lives."--Kirkus

"Willner-Pardo gives Olivia a realistically conflicted narrative voice . . . [Olivia's] growth is organic and genuine."--Publishers Weekly

Available on IndieBound, from Powells, at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold.

Friday, November 02, 2012

KidLit Cares

Hey guys,

You'll probably be hearing about this a lot from me in the coming days, and my... well, not apologies... just warning.

As we all know by now, Hurricane Sandy has had a devastating effect on many of our friends and neighbors in NYC and beyond. My author Kate Messner has come up with a very awesome fundraiser which will allow you to help those who REALLY need it right now, and at the same time, GET STUFF.

Here's more about the auction.

The prizes at this point? Seriously almost unbelievably great for writers, teachers OR readers. 

* Skype visit with MO WILLEMS.  

* A HUGE school and library publicity/marketing package for your book. 

* A picture book crit with amazing editor Melissa Manlove from Chronicle PLUS "FREE PASS" FOR THAT BOOK TO A CHRONICLE EDITORIAL MEETING HOLY CRAP.

* a FULL YA critique with author Kody Keplinger

And so many more. Such talented and amazing authors, editors and agents are donating their time, talent and resources. PLEASE check it out and bid! Bid!

(Oh also I donated: Mine is a query critique plus 20 minute "ask me anything" phone call in which I help you get ready for the query trenches!)

Twitter: #KidLitCares

Thursday, November 01, 2012

CLOUD HORSE by Jill Pinkwater

I'm so excited to tell you that Jill Pinkwater's classic CLOUD HORSE, out of print for years, is now back in shiny e-book form!  Huzzah!  It is the story of two girls, one a Viking maiden, the other a modern American -- separated by a thousand years, but brought together by their love of horses.

Best part: To celebrate the book release, for the next couple of days, it is FREE. FREE. ZERO DOLLARS AND ZERO CENTS. Only through midnight tomorrow, then it goes up (to a whopping $2.99).

"Wait a minute, is this a CHILDREN'S BOOK???" -- Nah. Well, OK, kinda. But I think it is suitable for all ages. There's a little romance, a little magic, a witch, a pinch of time travel, plenty of wild ponies... what's not to like?

"Is this a trick? What's the gag? Why are you giving the book away? Grrr!" -- Relax! Consider it a gift. Or... well, I would love to request a favor.  If you feel like it, press "like" on the book page. This doesn't go to Facebook or anything, it just makes things rise higher in Amazon's own search algorithm. And if you enjoy the read and are so moved, please do write a review of the book on the Amazon site.

No pressure! Just these simple things help enormously when it comes to helping other readers discover books. All the pony magic in the world does not help as much as a great review. :-)

"But I don't have an e-reader!" -- Welp, the good news is, you can download and read the book "in the cloud" online, straight off the Amazon website. Or download a free Kindle app to your phone, iPad or other device.

"But I hate shopping on A**zon!" -- Hey, I feel you, friend. The book will be available in other formats soon. Meanwhile, this is your chance to download it for FREE, which is almost the same as STEALING from them. Stick it to the man! 

"Will there be OTHER Pinkwater books in e-book format?" -- We're working on it. We'll be rolling out a few more Jill P. books in the next few months. And after that, who knows. If you have particular hard-to-find favorites, let me know. :-)