Author of Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction

Published by Guardian Angel Publishing December 2014:

Jeremiah Lucky and the Guardian Angel
Jeremiah needs a little help and he gets it with the sudden appearance of his guardian angel. Chapter book for ages 7-10.

Jeremiah Lucky Finds Puppy Love
Jeremiah dodges a kiss from a princess and falls head over heels for a lost puppy. Chapter book for ages 7-10.

Watch for these titles coming soon:

The Whispering Chimney
Eleven-year old Bethany finds a stone chimney and discovers a beautiful but terrifying past. (upper middle grade)

(Beyond the) Stone Eagle Gate
David, age fifteen, flees a false accusation and takes refuge in a haunted, abandoned mansion. (YA, historical fiction ghost story)

The Interplanetary Adventures of Yan Sunnara: Book I Rescue on Lato
Cultural scientist Yan Sunnara rescues an unusual child on the planet of Lato with the help of an exotic and beautiful Uvian archaeologist. (Adult, soft Science Fiction, Rescue on Lato is the first of a series of four novellas.)

Cross Over
Three teens are connected by a mysterious and sometimes frightening ability to cross over from one dimension here on earth to another. This YA novel placed in the top three in Florida Writers 2013 RPLA competition. Speculative Fiction.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Masterful writing

In my quest to become a better writer, I read, read, read. Just recently, I enjoyed two books by Susan Patron: The Higher Power of Lucky (Newbery winner for 2006) and its sequel Lucky Breaks published in 2009.  Both of these middle grade level books are gems. One essential characteristic of an award winning book is the "closeness" of the narrative to the character. Many writers achieve this by writing in first person. If a writer can tell the story totally in the head of the main character, first person is exciting and immediate. Patron's books, however, are in third person. Yet because of the author's deft hand and close point of view, the voice of the story rings authentic to a ten going on eleven-year-old girl. Other winning aspects of these stories are the setting (an extremely small "town" in California's Mojave Desert) and the distinct and interesting secondary characters. In each case, the problem in the story is clear and important. For anyone who writes for this age group, Susan Patron's books are wonderful examples of masterful writing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Researching agents and editors

Since getting home from a wonderful Thanksgiving visit in northeast Ohio, I have been researching editors and agents for my middle grade book The Whispering Chimney. The most interesting web and blog sites, in my opinion, offer suggestions to the writer that go way beyond submission guidelines. High on my list is agent Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency. She has archived several successful query letters along with her comments on why these letters prompted her to ask for sample pages. Very helpful! This adds to the marketing of those books, too, and just from reading their query letters, I have placed several on my "must read" list. Another great feature of reading a top-shelf blog is that it often has links to other great blogs. From Kristin's blog (Pub Rants) I went to Aprilynne Pike's site. One of her recent entries talks about how some writers spend hours writing but do not really "commit" to getting their books published. Aprilynne suggests at least six months of revision before sending out any queries. Now that I am working at writing full-time, I agree that is about right. Before, juggling job and family, I spent years in critique groups and revising before gathering enough courage to send out my work. Aprilynne implies that sending out multiple queries to agents is a good idea. My technique has been "single shot" submissions and until I get a rejection, I don't send it elsewhere. A plus to that is when I get specific criticism in the rejection, I re-write before sending the story out again. The Whispering Chimney is a far better book than it was the first year I wrote it.

Some Great MG and YA books

  • Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
  • These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  • Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
  • Red Blood Road by Moira Young
  • On Little Wings by Regina Sirois
  • Nation by Terry Pratchett
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Printz 2012)
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore