Friday, May 29, 2009

The Ultimate YA Book

This weekend I went into Barnes and Noble and purchased a few books. How is that different from any other weekend you ask? I do frequent bookstores almost every chance I get, but this time I purchased one of the best, most moving books I’ve read in a long time. Before I tell you what book I’m writing about, let me tell you a little about it.

The main character resonates with me, as it will with anyone who is…well, alive. A lonely teen, he just wants someone to talk to. A friend to listen, to tell him things are going to be okay during a hard time in his life; a place to go where he can feel safe. Instead, he has run-ins with three women at a bar, his brother’s ex-girlfriend, a group of nuns, and a prostitute. The list could go on from there, but I think you’ve got the idea. He squashes his sorrows with alcohol, cigarettes and his security blanket, a hat.

Still don’t know what book I’m talking about? I’m sure most people read the book in high school…The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

I decided to buy The Catcher in the Rye because I hadn’t read it in a good 12-15 years (I can’t remember exactly what grade I was assigned to read it). I remember liking it, which was so rare for me to like an assigned book in school. I would buy the Cliff Notes (not recommended, trust me) and go home to read a book I wanted to read, not one someone told me to read. Stupid, I know. I missed reading a lot of the great classics, but for some reason, I picked up J.D. Salinger’s book and couldn’t put it down.

Reading it again, now at 29 years old, I was amazed at how close this book mirrors young adult books today. The main character, Holden Caulfield has the same problems that teens have in today’s YA section in bookstores. He’s been kicked out his boarding school due to poor grades (or not doing his work), he drinks (despite being underage), smokes like a chimney, thinks about sex (even going as far as hiring a prostitute despite being a virgin), deals with death and mourning, religion, suicide and uses bad language throughout the book. Keep in mind, this book was first published in 1951 (58 years ago for the math challenged), but still sells roughly 250,000 copies a year. This book transcends time like no other classic that could be considered young adult.

I don’t want to give too much away. I want every single one of you, if you’re a teen or a teen author/writer, to please read this book. Even if you’ve read it, and it’s been awhile, pick it up again. You won’t be disappointed. Trust me!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Agent Hunt- Part 2

I’ve had an interesting past week; extreme high to lows, but it’s all in the process of hunting for an agent. I thought it would be interesting to continue posting on my query process for all of the writers who have yet to take the plunge (and those who have been through the search can help with good advice). This is my first time through the query trails, and I never thought I could be so glued to my email.

The first few queries I sent out, I wanted to test the waters. Not sure how my query would fair, I've queried agents I thought would find my novel interesting or my novel seemed to be what they were looking for. I've made sure to take the time to personalize each and every query I sent out.

I didn’t hear back for a few days (which is very normal), but then three days later I received my first response. I stared at my email box, afraid to click on the letter. I sat at work, with my laptop next to me. Taking a deep breath, I opened it. Yep…rejection. It’s funny, I didn’t mind. In a way, it made me even more excited. I was finally in the game.

The first rejection spurred me on to send out more queries. I went down my list I made the week earlier and started to send out a few more at lunchtime. A couple of the agents were known to be quick responses, so I sat and waited. Six minutes later I had a 1 next to my inbox. Sure enough, it was from the speedy agent. Taking another deep breath, I clicked again. I had to read it two times, as shock, excitement and fear came over me. It was a request for a full. Despite being ready, I felt like I wasn’t as I stared at the email. Looking around, I tried to find someone to tell. I work in the same office as my husband, but he was in a meeting. Checking Skype, my crit partners weren’t on. I was freaking. I emailed them the good news and went straight to work. Well, actually, I asked my boss for the next day off to do another once over/revision of Lost and Found, then I went straight to work on it (luckily it was a slow day at my day job).

The next day, I woke up and got ready like I was going to work. Checking my email, I had another request for a partial from a different agent. Apparently my query worked! Starting at 9:30am, I worked until 11:30pm with only one short break. Everything had to be perfect. Finally, I sent out the partial and then the full.

Since sending the requested material, I've heard back from both agents, and both were rejections. One agent said that she loved the premise but wasn’t as engaged with the actual manuscript, the other said she didn’t feel the passion for it to offer representation. At first, this made me second guess my first chapters, but then I realized I’m still early in the game. I’ve gotten this far, I just need to find the one agent that feels as passionate about Lost and Found as I do. If every single agent that reads the first few chapters says the same thing, well, then it will be time to go back to the drawing board.

Yesterday I picked my heart back up off the floor and continued my query process. So far I’ve sent out 15 queries. Two were rejections off of the query, one partial request and the full. I still have 11 queries out there to agents…maybe one of them will be the one. If not, there are many more to send to, and believe me, I’m not ready to give up fighting.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Class of 2k10 Accepting Aplications

FYI from the Class of 2k10

We're looking for a few good authors…

The class of 2K10 is accepting application for its upcoming year. 2K10 is a group of first-time middle grade and young adult authors. The group was first founded in 2007 and has seen great success. We've come together to help promote each other's books through, a group website, blog, newsletter, author chats and much more. Our debut authors hail from both the United States and Canada and write a variety of genres for middle grade and young adults.

Check out this year's current class.

If you are interested in joining our "class" we'd love to hear from you. Please email our class liaison, Janet Jox for more details at:

Please note: Your publisher must be listed in CWIM and you must be a debut author in MG or YA, for the year 2010. For more details please email Janet.

Thank you, Co-Presidents
Kitty Keswick & Judith Graves
Class of 2K10

Sunday, May 24, 2009

YA Edge Featured Author: Laurie J. Edwards

A former teacher and librarian, Laurie J. Edwards is the author of more than 850 magazine and educational articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines, textbooks, testing materials, and online. In addition, she is a freelance writer and editor for several publishers, has ghostwritten books, and also writes under other pseudonyms. Find out more about her at her blog and the Climbing Rose blog.

Here are two titles from Laurie that debuted this month.

A short story compilation:

SUMMER LOVIN’ is a collection of love stories by six Climbing Rose authors about life on a ranch, summer jobs, sandcastle competitions, the tragedy of a flood, and falling in love with a rock star.

Laurie's story is "Summer Storms":

Sixteen-year-old Paige nearly drowns trying to rescue a Pomeranian trapped in floodwaters that sweep through her town. Chase, the hottie who saves her, wants to help her and her mother, but Paige won’t accept charity. And can she risk him unmasking the family secret she’s kept hidden?

And a non-fiction title:

RIHANNA (PEOPLE IN THE NEWS): The R&B singer of Music of the Sun, A Girl like Me, Good Girl Gone Bad, and Good Girl Gone Bad Reloaded loved to sing as a child, but had a rough homelife with a cocaine-addicted father. Discovered at age 15, Rihanna auditioned for Jay-Z and rose to stardom. Read about Rihanna’s childhood, her rise to fame, her Grammy win, and her charity work. Get some behind the scenes peeks at celebs Shia LaBeouf, Timbaland, Maroon 5, and Chris Brown.

Congrats on the multiple releases Laurie!