Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday Blogroll—May 17, 2012

Woohoo! Two weeks in a row--this makes it a tradition, right?
Here are the blog posts that really have my mind spinning this week! Go forth and comment! 

Preventing Summer Reading Lag in Struggling Readers (Passion for Learning)

It's really easy in all the writing blogosphere to forget that we YA writers are writing for the next generation of readers, readers whose attention is consistently being drawn away by iPads and PSPs and XBoxes, to say nothing of the things which have always occupied kids' time--friends, family, school and attendant schoolwork.

So I find it refreshing and helpful to think about ways in which adults associated with young readers, especially struggling readers, can help get them to read (one reason I seriously love the 39 Clues series and Diary fiction...they're blasting open doors for reluctant middle grade readers). Many of my friends teach at this level, and I think this is a wonderful reminder as to ways to help junior highers and high schoolers get reading.

Indie or Traditional Publishing: Don't Take Sides, Take Your Time (Anne R. Allen)

I love well-rounded discussions of self-publishing (I confess still don't love the term "indie" as I worked for an indie publisher and it was not self-publishing--but I'm also a linguist, and I'm willing to accept a process of semantic shift). This is one of the best I've read. Too often the self- vs. trade-publishing discussion turns into an argument with daggers out on both sides. I really like that this one takes a very balanced approach. No matter which route you choose, you should be choosing it for all the right reasons. Incidentally, this same blog posted another really interesting take on the same topic back in 2011, which I read and re-read so many times that it popped up automatically in my address bar when I went to grab today's link: Roni Loren on Why One Author Chose Traditional Publishing--And How to Decide if it's Right for You. 

Uncovering YA Covers 2011 (Kate Hart)

@yahighway tipped me off to Kate Hart's fabulous rundown of diversity in YA book covers. What began as part of the #yasaves  campaign to show that YA is not at all necessarily "darker" than any other genre wound up showing that YA is very much not dark in another sense--persons of color are woefully underrepresented in both content and covers. Kate repeated her study and her infographics this year. They're fascinating to think about, gorgeous to look at, and extremely carefully researched. And the comments are leading to some fabulous discussion, to boot.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

YA Highway 130: A Book that Brings Back Memories

"Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic." Today's question on the YA Highway Road Trip is: "What is a book that brings back memories?"

For me, the answer is super, super simple. THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB series, by Ann M. Martin. I devoured these books. They were hot right when I was busy being a precocious reader--like many people who go on to spend the rest of their lives writing, I read middle-grade novels early, in first and second grade. I found the eleven and thirteen-year-old protagonists so glamorous, and longed for the days when I could baby-sit.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blog tsjuz: Expanding Text

I've been wanting for an age and a half to have expandable text on my books page, and I finally tracked down good instructions on how to do it. You'll find them here, courtesy of

What does it do? It allows you to create a single word, like "query" which your visitors can then click on to expand out your text, so that the query only appears when clicked. A nice way to save some space and make your blog a little neater overall.

This is not for the faint of heart, but if you understand the very basics of markup language (that everything between an open and close tag is subject to the parameters of that tag), it's fairly straightforward.

NOTE: this is different than the blogger "jump" break, which you'll see below. For that, all you need to click is the jump break button in the "compose" field.  You can only insert one jump break per post or page; you can insert unlimited amounts of expanding text links.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday Blogroll—May 10, 2012

I'm going to be trying something new.  Each week, I read really cool things; things that come across my google reader, things that other people tweet, interesting posts by authors and agents I follow. I could retweet them, but 140 characters usually isn't enough for me to explain why they struck me, or why I think they're important to share. So...I'm going to start rounding them up on Thursdays, so that I can share them enmasse. Welcome to my Thursday blogroll, and enjoy!

FAQ about Royalties and Book Advances (Writer Unboxed)

When I was a book publishing peon, it was my job to calculate the royalties twice a year. Thus, I know a lot about them, and often forget that others aren't privy to the same level of knowledge. This is a great rundown of how money operates for commercially published authors.

How to Keep Writing When the Shit Hits the Fan (Nathan Bransford)

I found this fascinating, because at times I find myself in a bit of a slump emotionally, and it drains into my writing in the worst way. But perhaps even more useful right now was a post linked to this one, How to Begin Writing Again After a Break. Of course, I can't find it again to link it, so I apologize for sending you into the wonderful, informative, but incredibly time-sucking breach that is Advice from Nathan Bransford (TM) to find it.

You may note that I am actively engaged in the "start with less scary writing. Blog posts. Forum posts"  stage...

Does Every Scene Need a Goal? (Jami Gold)

It's one thing to say that every scene needs to move the story forward; it's quite another to explain how. Jami explores some ideas from a great writing book I already love, Techniques of the Selling Writer, but I think Jami really accessibly breaks down the structure of scenes even beyond what Swain does in the book. Plus, I found it personally useful in getting through a block on the WIP this week. Thanks, Jami!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Rest in Peace, Maurice

Maurice Sendak

June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012


When you get to Heaven...may you find that your dinner is still hot.


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Strict Pick: IN ONE PERSON by John Irving

In One PersonIn One Person by John Irving
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(ARC received from Simon & Schuster via Barnes & Noble.)

John Irving doesn't really write books. He writes journeys. I once read a director (I believe) quoted regarding adapting A Widow for One Year for film (The Door in the Floor) that adaptations of John Irving novels ought to be considered an art forum unto themselves. Certainly, the scope alone makes adaptation difficult--we meet William "Bill" Abbott at age fifteen in the beginning of the novel, and at the end he's seventy. But the beauty of Irving is that he can make a sixty-year journey in the same head a worthwhile read.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Friends Wanted!

I want to make friends.

Not blog followers, or twitter followers, though I think these things will maybe surface? But I don't want to meet people just so I can up my numbers.

I want more people to talk to.

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