I finished my epic knitting project last night, a bedspread I've been working on since January. But I haven't yet spread it over the bed to see how it looks. I'm already twitching a bit about deciding what to make next. I want to make a baby blanket for a friend who's adopting, and I have tons of baby yarn, but I don't have enough of any one type to make anything I have a pattern for. I may have to improvise. There's a circular shawl pattern I want to play with, and since you start from inside, I can just go until I run out of yarn, and then I can use a second color for the border. That might make a cute "play on the floor" mat. It's funny how twitchy and restless I feel without a project in the works. It's like I don't know what to do with myself. But I will hold off on starting something complicated with lace until I'm a little more coherent. I can go on autopilot with something I've been working on for months, but starting a new lace pattern requires focus and concentration.
Speaking of which, I may be even less focused than the kindergarteners tonight. This should be fun.
I'm sure I had more planned to say today, but the thoughts aren't coming, and I just ran out of tissues so I need to run out to the garage to raid my stash. I'm glad I bought one of those giant packs of multiple boxes.
What fun it was to chat with The Horn Book about creepy cuisine, werecats and the kind of shape-shifter I'd most like to be!
Pop over to check it out and join in the conversation!
See also a review of my latest novel, Feral Curse (Candlewick, 2014) from The Horn Book. Peek:
"Debut character Kayla — level-headed, religious, but also quietly proud of her shifter nature — holds her own, nicely complementing Yoshi’s swagger, Wild Card shifter Clyde’s newfound confidence, and human Aimee’s resourcefulness. Witty banter peppered with pop-culture references keeps the tone light even as the stakes ramp up."
Reminder: E-volt is having a sale on Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick) for $1.99 and Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith, $2.99--discount prices will hold through April! Listen to an audio sample of Feral Nights and read a sample of Eternal.
- Tue, 17:38: I wanted to take this cutie home with me after my vacation http://t.co/04ahDNEbMX
- Tue, 20:32: I took this picture a year ago today in Boston right as the first bomb went off, which is why the… http://t.co/R8vNrG89V5
- Tue, 20:37: A runner trying to figure out if her family is safe. #bostonstrong http://t.co/8TtJ3aAUEk
How close must the query match the manuscript? I know this must seem like a stupid question, but I've been receiving query assistance from a literary intern (1), and he gave advice that I haven't seen elsewhere. I need to confirm it before I start sending out my query.
My manuscript mostly stands alone, but is the first of a potential series. Because of this, the plot of the sequel is *vaguely* hinted at in the stakes of the query. I asked the intern if an agent would be PO'd if something I mention in the query doesn't show up in the manuscript. He told me that things can be fudged in a query,(2) and mentioned that one thing in his own query was an outright lie(3). He had revised and didn't bother to fix the query to match (he was signed by an agent). He said if the query is good and clearly for the same book, and if the book is good and similar to the query, no one cares about specifics. I'm hoping his advice is correct.
Can you "fudge" a few specifics in a query?
you can do anything you want in a query up to and including query for a fiction novel. The real question is what's at stake when you do something idiotic like...lie?
The purpose of a query is to entice the agent to read the manuscript. If an agent reads the manuscript thinking one thing is going to happen, and it doesn't, that's a pretty big thud. Is that something you want to risk?
On the other hand why are you vaguely hinting about anything in a query? The stakes in your query are the stakes in this novel, the one you're querying. Not any other.
If you think you need to fudge a few specifics in your query, you need to fix the novel or the query or both.
And I've got a few questions for you:
(1) what the hell is a literary intern? An intern at a literary agency? This is the least informed and experienced person at an agency. I'm pretty sure it's the least right person to be asking for advice.
(2) Unless he's making the decisons on what's signed to the agent's list, he's not in a positiion to tell you this.
(3) oh great. Insert image of eye-roll here. Even if this is true, it's absolutey TERRIBLE advice. He's mistaking HIS experience for the universal norm. Well, that's typical of interns which is why (see #1)
- Current Mood: amused
I’m so pleased with this next Salon that I’m fit to burst. Somehow I managed to wrangle THREE of our best children’s literary podcasters into one place at one time. If I were a person prone to the term “squee” I would apply it here, now.
New York Public Library is pleased to announce our next Children’s Literary Salon held this Saturday, April 19th at 2:00 p.m.:
Join podcasters Katie Davis (Brain Burps About Books), John Sellers (PW KidsCast), and Matthew Winner (Let’s Get Busy) in conversation about the world of children’s literary podcasting and their experiences with the form.
Katie Davis is a children’s author/illustrator with titles ranging from picture books like Little Chicken’s Big Day to her latest, a young adult novel called Dancing With the Devil. She’s a video marketing maven and a “writerpreneur” with the #1 podcast in iTunes in the Children’s Publishing category Brain Burps About Books, and teaches tech-wary writers how to build and strengthen their platforms through video. She also coaches on social media and marketing, or as Katie calls it, “making friends and meeting people.”
Elementary teacher and librarian Matthew Winner blogs at The Busy Librarian and is the creator of the Let’s Get Busypodcast. In 2013 he was named one of SLJ’s Movers & Shakers. Citing “his innovative ideas and boundless enthusiasm for student learning and engagement” SLJ also highlighted that Matthew is Maryland’s 2012 Outstanding User of Technology Educator, is a White House “Champion of Change,” and a published author.
This event will take place in the Stephen A. Schwarzman building (the main branch of New York Public Library) in the South Court Auditorium.
The future is in jeopardy--a madman who has managed to combine incredible technology with the psychic energies of nature (the Hum) is about to enslave mankind by with an infections cocktail of computer code and manipulated DNA. In the 16th century, a boy named Charlie can manipulate the hum even more wonderfully than the madman in the future. And Charlie's ability to solve puzzles has been honed to a razors edge by his grandfather, and his survival instincts have been honed to a razors edge by fear of bullies and inquisitors....
Travelling between the two times is a girl named Geneva, a robot with miraculous powers of her own. She comes to get Charlie, and take him to the future, where the two will stand together as last hope for humanity. (There's a dog too, a very nice indeed puppy with enhancements of her own....there's also an enhanced gorilla, which you don't see that often, but he plays a relatively minor role).
And there's plenty of action, as the bad guy and his minions try to hunt down Charlie and Geneva, and they try to escape while foiling.
It was an enjoyable read, and it's a very good introduction to that fine speculative fiction question of how human a robot can be. I liked Geneva very much! Charlie was fine too, but with a relatively straightforward, what you see is what you get, character. Geneva comes with Mysteries and Questions.
This is one I'm happy to recommend to kids of ten and eleven or so, moving into sci fi action books. It offers a nice serving of age-appropriate violence, which is to say there are deaths, and torture, but not disturbingly graphic, and balanced by a lot of sewer-related discomfort. (Even if a kid's read The Hunger Games and Ender's Game already, I don't think there's any reason to hurry toward ever more violence.) However, there is considerable cruelty toward animals, which the bad guy is manipulating in his lab of evil--this could well cause distress!
The action is balanced by dashes of (not tremendously subtle) philosophy about good vs evil, and by the friendship between Geneva and Charlie, which was a pleasure to read about. And I think the time travel element will appeal to that audience as well--there's a friendliness to a protagonist who's plunked, like the reader, into a strange and alien landscape where much is confusing at first.
That being said, I myself found the time slip element unsatisfactory. There's not a lot of time spent in the 16th century, and were it not for the fact that we are told the year is 1542, there's really no way to know. Likewise, I felt Charlie's easy acceptance of the future somewhat unconvincing. (It's also hard for me not to care about details like names--as I know the name Charles hadn't made it across the English Channel yet....and how can a boy living in a remote mountain village have three tutors, unless he's the aristocracy, which he doesn't seem to be?).
I also wasn't quite satisfied with the back story--when I'm told right at the beginning of the book that the protagonist's harsh grandfather has blood on his hands, and is apparently a murderer, I expect this to be explained, if not resolved, clearly and with conviction, and (even though I read fast I don't think I missed anything) the details stayed pretty murky.
But I don't think my two issues are the sort that will affect the reading pleasure of the target audience, especially the target audience for fast-paced sci-fi excitement. Especially recommended for the computer geek kid-coding plays a bit part in the story!
Here's the Kirkus review.
Disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher