Tammi Sauer Day Proclaimed!

Sometimes in can feel like the arts are being squeezed out of our children’s lives with educational budget cuts gutting arts programs, along with the emphasis on testing, one may worry that creative thought was being pushed out of emphasis altogether. It’s refreshing when city leaders take it upon themselves to thrust children’s literature into the spotlight.

Here’s some fantastic news about one of our very own OK SCBWI authors:

photo credit: Dana Lang Photography
photo credit: Dana Lang Photography

Press Release: July 9 Declared Tammi Sauer Day in Edmond

(Edmond, Oklahoma—June 26, 2015) Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb and the Edmond City Council have declared July 9 to be named in honor of local children’s author Tammi Sauer. Sauer, a three-time winner of the Oklahoma Book Award, is a dedicated Edmond resident who is committed to working with Best of Books, her local independent bookstore. Each year, Best of Books provides Sauer’s books for her many school visits across the state and region.

During Tammi Sauer Day in Edmond, Sauer will be at Best of Books to sign and talk about her latest book Ginny Louise and the School Showdown from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9. She is tentatively scheduled to receive her proclamation at 5:20 and speak at 5:30. Crafts and goodies for kids and refreshments for all will follow.

I had the pleasure of getting a sneak preview of this book at our spring conference and it is just adorable. I got to hold this lovely book in my hands and admire shiny details of spot gloss while reading the tale of Ginny Louise, a hedgehog after my own heart. Her approach to dealing with outlaws of the bully variety is delightful and refreshing.

GINNY LOUISE AND THE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN (Disney-Hyperion, 2015) by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

The Truman Elementary Troublemakers are a bad bunch. Especially these three: Cap’n Catastrophe, Destructo Dude, and Make-My-Day May. But they are no match for Ginny Louise, the new hedgehog in school. Her unwavering cheerfulness in the face of their bullying will make young readers holler with glee. Full of rhymes, wordplay, and comic misunderstanding, this book will lend itself well to reading aloud as well as discussions about peer dynamics. (Plot summary from author’s website.)

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Her editors loved it so much, they asked her to write a second Ginny Louise story! You’ll love Ginny Louise, too. But don’t take my word for it, you can read the Kirkus Review here.

Order your copy today!

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Tammi has twenty-three books under contract with three of those titles debuting in 2015, including Ginny Louise. The two other titles are: Your Alien (Sterling), and Roar! (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster).

I am so happy for Tammi and really enjoy watching her succeed. I may have to buy an additional bookshelf as my Tammi Sauer section is growing by leaps and bounds – I even have a rare signed copy of her first YA book. Don’t tell her, though! She may try to steal it back from me. (I kid.)

Many of us from the OK SCBWI gang plan to be there at Best of Books on July 9th to help Tammi celebrate her special day. If you’re in the neighborhood, or even if you have to travel half a day or so, come on over and join us! It’ll be a grand time!

Learn more about Tammi Sauer here.

Follow Tammi on Twitter here.

 

As an additional bonus, Tammi shares some background information about Ginny Louise on her group blog here.

 

TweetIf you can’t be there for the big event on July 9th, you can catch her on Twitter as Tammi will be our special guest this month on #okscbwichat! Come join us for a live chat with Tammi on July 28th from 7-8pm CST.

 

SUMMER NIGHTS is here! – a TGNA post

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It’s Media Monday over at The Great Noveling Adventure and I’m discussing the release of our first flash fiction anthology! It’s a time of joyous celebration for us over at TGNA.

Normally, I give just a preview of the post, but I want share the whole thing here for once. I’d love for you all to download a copy and, of course read my story, A THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT.

Here’s the post:

Media Monday is all about giving our readers a gift and what better gift than our own stories?

We decided to add in stories from some of our talented readers. That’s what this site is all about – the shared writing journey.

I had the pleasure of reading through the entries and the agony of helping to eliminate all but the best stories to include alongside our TGNA alumni. This has been such a fun process and I hope you enjoy this collection as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you.

Here it is!

Our very first anthology, ready to download with love from us to you, our faithful readers.

And for FREE!

 

Summer Nights CoverSUMMER NIGHTS is the first flash fiction anthology compiled by The Great Noveling Adventure. The collected stories run the gamut from first love to heartbreak, revenge to forgiveness, redemption to murder. They, like the thirteen authors who contributed them, are widely varied, but they each demonstrate the same truth:

A lot can happen in a single night.

With stories from:
Jenny Adams Perinovic Gabriella Crivilare
Cristina R. Guarino Antonius M. Hogebrandt
Neil Kettles Sarah Kettles Valerie Lawson
Adriana Marachlian Kyrie McCauley L.S. Mooney
Susan Nystoriak Kate Sheeran Swed R.B. Stewart

 

Download your copy now!

 

Download for free: PDF · EPUB · MOBI

 

Please share this with your friends and let us know what you think. You can even post a review on Goodreads!

 

TweetFriendly Twitter reminder:  If you’d like some company as you write, please join us! I host AM #wordsprints @Novel_Adventure weekdays from 7-9am CST. (We’re starting an hour later during the summer months.)

Cool Reads for Hots Days – a TGNA Post

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It’s List of Five Friday over at The Great Noveling Adventure and I’m discussing great books to keep you cool on hot summer days.

Here’s a preview:

I have to say this one was inspired by my AC going out at 3 AM last night and my brain melting along with the rest of me. As I waited for the repairman to show “sometime this afternoon” which was obviously code for 6:45pm, all I could think about, all I wanted as I slowly turned into a human puddle of sweat and sadness, was to sit in a vat of frozen lemonade and read a fantastic story.

Here are some choice picks to get you through a scorching summer day:

1. SHIVER (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater – I think the title says it all. I’m feeling cooler already, aren’t you? shiver cover

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

To see the rest of the List of Five, click here.

While you’re visiting the site, you may notice we have some exciting news! We have put together an anthology of short stories that will be available to download for FREE on June 21st!

Here are the details:

TGNATGNA Summer Nights is the first anthology compiled by The Great Noveling Adventure and includes flash fiction stories by current and former contributors to TGNA, as well as some of your fellow readers! They’re short and sweet (or not so sweet, depending on the story), and they range from romance to horror, friendship to fêtes to love lost.

What binds them together? They all take place in the course of a single summer night.

We are leaking the first lines of one story every day until the release on Twitter and Facebook. It’s been such fun. I can’t wait for this to come out!

 

TweetFriendly Twitter reminder:  If you’d like some company as you write, please join us! I host AM #wordsprints @Novel_Adventure weekdays from 7-9am CST. (We’re starting an hour later during the summer months.)

The Return of #writemotivation – Thank God! (Someone Hold Me Accountable!)

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After almost a year on hiatus, #WriteMotivation returns!

If you need help sticking to your goals or need some encouragement when all seems bleak, this is a fantastic group of people to help cheer you on and help you reach those goals.

The rules are simple:

1. Make a list of realistic goals for the month – and achieve them.
2. Make a Blog Post every week (preferably Wednesdays, but if you don’t post on Wednesdays just add it to the next day you would normally post ). This is to help us keep tabs on our own progress, and for others to cheer us on if it’s a difficult week. Please link to the post in the #writemotivation hashtag
3. Visit your #writemotivation team mates blogs, and participate in the #writemotivation hashtag to cheer people on.

Sign up for this month will go through the end of the week. You can fill out the form to join in here.

I have a major project to complete by the end of this month, so this is perfect timing for me. This one is going to take so much focus for me to stay the course. I need my #writemotivation gang to help me through this!

Here are my June goals:

1. Make word count goal of 2000 words five days each week. That’s the minimum. It wouldn’t hurt to go a bit higher.

2. Completed requested project by the end of the month. Very excited about this project! 

3. Plan blog posts for the month and post weekly. I have been less than consistent over the past couple of months, what with the youngling graduating high school and other major life changes coming into play. Time to regroup and refocus.

4. Read & review at least two books. Have one books already finished and ready to review. This may be the easiest goal to complete. :)

So how about you? What are your goals for the summer? For June? Want to join in #WriteMotivation?

Book Review – GLORY O’BRIEN’S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE by A.S. King – a TGNA Post

It’s Things I’ve Read Thursday over at The Great Noveling Adventure and I’m discussing GLORY O’BRIEN’S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE by A.S. King.

Here’s a preview:

gloryI have been an avid fan of Ms. King’s since her debut novel, PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ, which won her the Printz Honor award. I haven’t missed a book since. For those who do not know the awe and inspiring power of this mind-blowing writer, I beseech you to rectify the situation immediately. Each novel she writes is a unique experience, always with King’s own special touch of magical realism that enhances the emotional depth of the story.

As John Green says on the cover of this book, “A.S. King is one of the best Y.A. writers working today.” I can’t argue with that.

To read the full post, click here.

TweetAs summer officially starts at our house next week, AM #wordsprints will start an hour later each morning. If you’d like some company as you write in the morning, please join us! I host AM #wordsprints on Twitter @Novel_Adventure weekdays from 7-9am CST.

 

Fantastic Literary Events in April – a TGNA Post

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It’s List of Five Friday over at The Great Noveling Adventure and I’m sharing a list of literary events happening this month that is sure to excite every bibliophile among us.

Here’s a preview:

Don’t you just love spring? Creativity is in the air! It’s blooming right outside your window. And it’s just mind-blowing how many cool events are happening this month for people like us who love books. What’s even more amazing is some of them are happening RIGHT NOW! I had to take time out today to share them with you. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out.

  1. YA SCAVENGER HUNT 

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    I remember when this bi-annual celebration of YA authors was a much smaller two-team event. Now it has mushroomed into EIGHT TEAMS! During this event – now in progress and ending April 5th at noon PST – you visit each participating author’s website to find out about new authors and exclusive content. You will also find on each page highlighted numbers you’ll need to enter the grand prize contest. This grand prize is unbelievable; one book from each participating author – that’s 160 books! – will be shared by six winners. Many authors may have additional giveaways on their own websites, so there are many opportunities to win FREE BOOKS and other fun literary prizes.

     

To read the full post, click here.

I do want to mention that one of the events discussed is an opportunity to submit an entry for consideration in our first ever TGNA anthology that we will publish later this summer. We’re VERY excited about this latest project.

TweetIf you like a challenge or need some company to help you write in the mornings, feel free to join me on Twitter every weekday. I host AM #wordsprints on Twitter @Novel_Adventure from 6-8am CST.

Laura Biagi – Agent Interview

our_team_biagiI’m so excited that Laura Biagi, literary agent with the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, will be speaking this weekend at our 2015 SCBWI OK Spring Conference. This year’s them is “Ignite the Spark”. In Laura’s talk, entitled “The Spark an Agent Brings to the Table”, she will be discussing “insights from the front line about what literary agents do and what they offer clients”. She’ll also discuss what red flags may make an agent pass on a manuscript, among other issues.

Laura graciously consented to giving an interview here on the blog to entice us with a little preview.

The Interview

Valerie Lawson: What advice would you give to querying writers?

Laura Biagi: One of the more obvious pieces of advice is to do your research on agents so you’re not querying agents who wouldn’t be likely to represent the type of book you’ve written.  But there are many other pieces of advice that writers too often take for granted: Be persistent–not only in submitting to many agents or reworking your query letter to make it the strongest possible, but also in writing new material.

Your writing will keep growing and become stronger the more you write, and sometimes it’s the next book right around the corner that will be your breakthrough.  Prior to querying, make sure your manuscript is as polished as you can possibly make it.  Show your work to your writer friends or anyone else you trust and get their feedback, then incorporate it organically.  Don’t skimp on the time you devote to revisions.  Revisions are usually THE most important part of a successful writer’s process!  Be sure to read very widely in your genre, not only so you know whether your book is unique enough to stand out in the crowded marketplace, but also–and more importantly–so you can learn better how to write with authority and grace and build tension.

VL: Do your research, don’t skimp on revising, and read a wide variety of books. Great advice!

What makes you stop reading a query?

LB: This varies widely depending on the book.  I make sure to consider each query on its own terms.  However, some examples of things that might convince me to pass include stereotypical characters or plots, too many adjectives and adverbs that get in the way of conveying a clear image, too few details about the characters and their relationships with one another (this makes me worry the characters aren’t developed enough in the manuscript), too few details about the plot (this makes me worry the pacing isn’t strong enough and the stakes and conflict aren’t developed enough).

I’ll be discussing more red flags in my talk at the conference–so for more info, please come!

VL: Yes! You definitely don’t want to miss out on this conference!

What’s one major aspect of a manuscript that hooks you? What doesn’t?

LB: What hooks me right away is an immediate voice that cleverly and organically reveals details (even better if they’re unexpected details!) about the characters, setting, situation, etc.

What doesn’t hook me is a tepid opening that feels too familiar or unintriguing or takes too long to reveal its purpose.

VL: What type of manuscript would you love to find in your inbox?

LB: I’d love to find more magical realism YA novels with literary bents.  I’m very interested in books set in the South or Kentucky, as that’s where I’m originally from.  I’d also love to find a literary YA with Romani characters.  I’m searching for more middle grade, too, but the voice, characters, and plot must be stand out; quiet middle grade novels can be very challenging.  I’m also always glad to find more humorous picture books in the vein of Jon Klassen or with heartwarming, big-voiced characters, and early chapter books.

VL: Oh, those are are intriguing ideas – a Romani character in Kentucky. Hmm. Thoughts are churning here…

Tell us what happens after an author signs with you; what’s the next step?

LB: It’s always so exciting after an author signs with me!

If I think the manuscript needs some revision before I submit it out to editors, I’ll send detailed feedback and discuss it all with the author and we’ll work on revising the manuscript until it’s ready.   Then I’ll create a list of the best editors to go to for submissions and get them excited about the book.  There are many more steps afterwards, including negotiating the deal and contract, selling subrights, working with editors on getting my authors the best publicity and marketing possible for their books, and more.

To learn more behind-the-scenes details about what an agent does for her clients, please come to my talk at the conference!

VL: I for one, cannot wait to learn more.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us, Laura.

Learn more about Laura from her agency bio here.

Follow Laura on Twitter here.

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ONLY A FEW SPOTS LEFT BEFORE CONFERENCE IS SOLD OUT!

For more details on the conference or to register online, click here. I hope to see you there!

TweetAnd for those who’d like more enticements, another one of our speakers for the conference this up-coming weekend, Editor Erica Finkel of Abrams Books for Young Readers will be our special guest this evening on our 2nd official OK SCBWI Twitter chat! Join us from 7-8pm CST and use the hashtag #okscbwichat. Follow Erica on Twitter here.

***If you missed the chat, CLICK HERE to view the recap on Storify. Enjoy!