Saturday, July 21, 2012

Brainstorming a New YA... with my Daughter

My daughter, Ellamae, has been a book lover all of her life. I started reading to her when she was a baby. She started going to storytime at the library when she was around one. She would peek through the book return slot at the desk and have conversations with the librarian. She's gone through the progression of books from picture to chapter to middle grade, and young adult novels. She reads. A lot.

I started writing with an eye toward publishing when Ellamae was pretty young. She's watched me write, listened to my stories, and given me feedback. I've shared some of my writing frustrations and disappointments with her. She's celebrated my victories and been my biggest fan.

I've pushed nothing on her. Just shared with her when she was interested. I figure my kids will grow up to be whatever they want to be. She's seen how hard and frustrating it can be to write. I'm sure she's also noticed how much I've enjoyed it. Whatever the reason, it seems she's made her own natural progression from writer.

Today she asked my about an idea she has for a young adult novel. It's complex. It's challenging. It's good! The more we talked about it the more the outline came together. She's come up with some amazing twists and even a marketing hook. Needless to say, I am impressed.

So, will this come to fruition? She's written 130 pages of a novel before so she has the potential. Writing is hard, even for adults who have been doing it for a long time. I think she can do it, but I look up to her for even trying. And it sure is fun to have a brainstorming partner!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Garlic Scapes aka This Has Nothing To Do With Writing

As you may have observed if you care to pay attention to any of my online blathering, I do a strange assortment of things. First and foremost I am a children's book writer. That is what I always want to be doing. I work and volunteer at the library so I can be around books. But it's good to do something else. Something not book-centric. At least that's what my husband likes to tell me.

So what do I do? I ran a Cafe & Gallery this winter. We serve food. We sell art. We hold concerts. It's fun. We're only open for special events right now though because the man and I are busy with our main venture--organic garlic. Yup, we're growing garlic. Lots of it.
Garlic has a long growing cycle. We planted the bulbs last fall. No, it's not time for harvest yet, but it is time to cut scapes. Scapes, incase you don't know, are the long curled flower that grow out of the top of the garlic plant.
They're pretty, and tasty! I make a lot of pesto with them, and I just put a bunch of fresh curly scapes straight onto pizza and they were super good. Oh! And beer battered scapes! I'll have to make some of those soon too. Anyhow, we have lots of scapes. So many that I looked up how to ship them (it's easy!) and we're going to start selling this year instead of next like we planned. So..if you're interested, I have scapes for sale. $3.50/pound. Shipping in the US is between $5.35 and $11.35 depending on order size. You can email me for more info or to order them.

You wanna know something weird though? I found a tube of glitter in the garlic field the other day. Seriously. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. One perfectly sealed, sparkly tube of white glitter. It's good to know that my family is completely safe from vampires.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Monster List of Picture Book Agents - Brianne Johnson of Writers House

Brianne Johnson is a junior agent at the well known agency, Writers House. I would assume that as a junior agent that Brianne is still building her list, which is always a good opportunity for writers on the agent hunt!

According to her Publisher's Marketplace profile she is open to, "truly delightful" picture book texts and she also says, "The one link I have throughout the many genres I'm interested in is humor. It doesn't necessarily have to be silly humor--sometimes it's more interesting to find humor in darker settings--but I do love a story can illuminate something about humanity AND make me laugh. Life is serious enough--reading should be a joy."

Added 9/7/2012: Mother. Write. Repeat. has a great Interactive Interview with Brianne.
I found posts from a couple of happy clients:

You can see some response time stats for Brianne on Querytracker.

Brianne has a couple of nice picture book sales by her authors (of course this is just what I can find online.) She represents Diane Murray Her first picture book, NED THE KNITTING PIRATE: A SALTY YARN will be published by Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan (Spring 2014). A note for rhymers, Diane's bio says her writing includes rhymes.

Added 9/7/2012: Read Diana Murray's guest post about how she got her agent along with an interview with Brianne here on my blog.

Brianne also represents Jacqueline Tourville whose book, ALBIE'S FIRST WORD, inspired by the true story of Albert Einstein's childhood  is scheduled to come out with Schwartz & Wade in 2014.

Brianne Johnson accepts email queries. You can find her email address on her Publisher's Marketplace listing. And don't forget to personalize that cover letter!

This post is part of the Monster List of Picture Book Agents. If you have any changes that you think should be made to this listing, please contact me or leave them in the comments. Thanks!