Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Summer Reading List

A cold, rainy day in April is as good as time as any to create a summer reading list. The last of my long list of library requests came in today. It is "Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman" by Robert K. Massie. I requested it in January. Now that I hold this tome in my hands, I can see why I had to wait so long. It is 500 pages with small, compact type. Although it is a new book, the library gives patrons a month with this one rather than the usual 14 days. I will probably need a month. I read relatively slowly.

It looks good though. I only read the cover copy, and the readability of the voice and tone made the massiveness of this book instantly more manageable.

Before I start reading that, I need my summer reading plan. These are the books I have on my summer reading list. Many of them are YA. This list is a work in progress and I am looking for more suggestions!

The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

This book looks filled with imperfect characters with a theme of forgiveness. It is hard to forgive people who have wronged you, especially for an 11 year old girl whose father has gambled away her future. Molly O'Neill at HarperCollins suggested this book in an interview about great middle grade fiction.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I am not a fan of dystopian worlds. Well, that is not always true. I did like the Hunger Games trilogy. I have heard that level of buzz about this book. Seriously. I am going to read it just to see what the fuss is about. Stay tuned to hear my thoughts on it when I get to it. 

This was recommended to me by my favorite Canadian reader. It sounds like an extraordinary book about a child of two teenagers, half orphaned, coming of age in a haze of drugs, foster care and juvenile detention. 

I need to catch up on these lauded tales from Jeffrey Eugenides.

What is on your summer reading list? Please share. I need some more ideas. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Elevator Pitch

When you tell people you have a book coming out, they tend to ask you what it is about. Then I have to explain the people I made up and the problems I forced on them while trying not to sound like a lunatic.

This is something I have avoided for some time. Although my critique group is intimate with the story, and one or two of my more forgiving and indulgent friends who let me talk out story problems have a vague idea, everyone else has no idea what this book is about. My own mother did not know until last week. When I finally told her, she asked me why I wrote about that, which I immediately took as criticism.

So I am working on my elevator pitch. This is one or two lines that sums up the story and gives the hook. It has to be well rehearsed and quick, in case an agent from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency walks onto your elevator and you have two floors to make her drop to her knees and beg to represent you.

"Divided Moon" sold before I got the chance to ride many elevators in New York City. Not that I would really stalk the elevators used by editors and agents. The Andrea Brown Literary Agency doesn't have an office in New York City. Now I have to write my elevator pitch to explain to my friends and family what I have been doing in obscurity the last five years.

Here is what I have:
"Divided Moon" is about arranged marriage in America. The main character is the 15-year-old daughter of Hmong immigrants. What her parents think is normal is not even close for a teenage girl who grew up in America.

Yeah, that needs some tweaking.

If my editor happens to be reading this, I promise to work on those other things too, right after I nail this elevator pitch. I still have to tell my brother about the book.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Premier Post

Hello out there! Is there anybody watching? Posting on a blog for the first time is something like a Pink Floyd song. If you are too young to know who Pink Floyd is, look them up on YouTube. It will be worth your time. Comfortably Numb is what I am hearing in my head right now. No, I am hearing it for real, because I had to check YouTube to see what comes up if you search Pink Floyd. Good stuff, right there.

If you are viewing this blog, you must be a very good friend or have a keen interest in publishing. I signed a contract this very day with Solstice Publishing to hand over my first YA novel, "Divided Moon." It is exciting and terrifying at the same time. I worked on this novel for years and have come to love it with an intimacy only a novelist who has revisited scenes 1,000 times can know. It truly is like handing over a baby, except that baby has grown to become a pretty cool manuscript that just might find its wings.

Enough about that, (buy it at Amazon), what do you think about the penny? Canada has recently stopped making the penny. I didn't know they HAD a penny, and I have been there numerous times. Wisconsin is not far from Canada. Just a little trip across the border.

Do you think the US should follow suit? It is true that the penny costs more than a penny to make, but each penny is used multiple times. ( . Still, I don't use many pennies. They just clutter the bottom of my purse and get annoying if you need multiple pennies to buy stuff. They are easy to save though. Maybe we need a penny savings campaign that will make us all rich in 20 years or so.