Friday, March 22, 2013

Longread Friday

The Dixie Chicks, the Nashville machine, and the perils of speaking your mind.

Lots of similarities between the music industry and the publishing industry.

Monday, March 11, 2013

How to respond when you get a book deal.

We recently made a (two!) book deal for a terrific steampunk romance novel by Christine D'Abo; she'll be published this fall by Grand Central Forever Yours.

Congratulations, Christine!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Longform Friday.

A delightful piece about ghostwriting Sweet Valley High books. I tended to prefer The Baby-Sitters Club, but this is fantastic nevertheless.

The Ghost Writes Back. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Your entries in the "childhood fears" contest last week were so great, I resorted to to pick a winner. Congratulations, Amy! I sent you a message to talk about what book you would like as your prize.

Here's Amy's winning entry:

Oh dear. I was so scared of many things as a child. 
Fire safety lessons in elementary school terrified me, and I was afraid of burning up if there was a candle nearby.
My dad mistakenly took me and my sisters to see Ghostbusters when only my oldest was old enough to see it. The opening scene freaked me out so much that every bird rustling in the bushes outside my windows was a ghost to me for at least three months. It wasn't until college that I could sit down and watch that movie again!
And last but not least, I was afraid of someone in the house come to get me! You know the movie _Signs_? Stupid movie, but it's freaky to me because the aliens get into the closed off house, and are coming to get the family, who has to hide in the basement. My sister and friends and I could work ourselves into fits pretending things like that, and then pretending so well that we began to believe it! Yikes!
I have worked through most of my fears now, but the last one would still freak me out if it ever came true! I just have to work to not pretend that sort of thing anymore!

But I loved all your comments so much I'm going to post them ALL:

Pauline says:

When I was a child, I was freeze-up, pee-in-my-pants, silent-scream scared of possums. They lived in the woods behind my house (the Hill Country of Texas.) I would sometimes see them creeping around on big rocks and then I'd end up standing wherever I was for minutes on end in paralyzed horror.
Jessica says:
Geese. I still think they're out to get me. Staring at me with those beady eyes... 
 Kaye says:
Ghosts hands down. The house I grew up in was built sometime in the very early 1800's and used to be a dance hall and pony express stop. I grew up listening to stories of at least one shooting that had occurred in dance hall days- with my mom swearing that there was a bloodstain on old wood floor that her mother covered with carpet. Needless to say, something was always following me, and I remember talking to it/them on more than one occasion- something to the effect of "please just go away so I can sleep." ( There was one that always came and stood at the end of my bed and stared at me when I was trying to fall asleep.)

All of my family members have stories (probably feeding off one another:)) My mom claims to actually have seen a ghost on 2 occasions, my sister swore that someone always filled the wood fire when she was home alone. I heard my dad clomping down the stairs in his big old work boots and had a whole conversation with him (one sided of course) before he came in from outside- no one else had been in the house but me.

The best part is when the weather is right and you hear a kind of muffled crowded room noise- The first time I thought it was a tv on somewhere.... as I'm writing this, I'm thinking I need to write a story about this stinking house!

In the daylight, in some other place, I'll tell you I don't really believe in ghosts- but not standing in that house, creeping down into the old, dark Michigan basement on some errand, or glancing up at the old lead glass windows of the third story. No. Way.

PS: I was also scared of opossums for a some time when I was little- it's the teeth. Have you seen the teeth?!
 Lauren says:

My childhood fear is, alas, something I still haven't conquered. In pre-school, one of the boys in my carpool group popped a balloon in my face, and I've been terrified of balloons ever since. This phobia had its way of turning so many supposedly joyous occasions into awkward ones. Birthday party invites meant having my mom accompany me to the door of the party so that she could explain why I might have a freakout halfway through the party. The last few weeks of school always held the possibility of "fun" science experiments or crafts involving balloons, nevermind the celebrations that might occur on the last afternoon before break. 
(The day of our balloon-filled science experiment, though, I was granted an all-afternoon library pass, which I used to churn my way through Little House on the Prairie for the first time.)
The fear coupled with an active imagination led to the prediction of all sorts of balloon-related catastrophes. I outgrew some parts of the phobia (at least I can walk by a bunch of balloons at a supermarket now), but I didn't outgrow that. Take the me of a few years ago: Free tickets to a concert on New Year's Eve? Oh, great! Wait a minute... they could drop balloons from the rafters at midnight. They could. Better call the arena and ask, and then talk to one of the ushers when I arrive, just in case, and scout out all the nearby exits, and spend most of the show shaking in my boots. 
Christi says:
My dad let me watch the movie Cujo when I was WAAAAAAAY to young. Like around seven years old.

Now you'd think I would have petrified of the bloody, ruthless, big dog with the rabies that was a death machine, but no.

I ended up with a horrific fear of the car the mom and boy were stuck in. Like whenever I saw a yellow Pinto it freaked me out to no end, and though those cars have long since disappeared, seeing a small yellow car gives me the shudders even to this day.

Rational? Naaaah. But no one ever said writers are a rational bunch :)

Christi Corbett

PS. And in another stunning display of a massive parenting fail, my dad let me watch "Children of the Corn" around the same time. Needless to say I've NEVER watched a horror movie as a grown-up!

Lizz says:

I was terrified of the end of the world; I was especially scared it would happen at recess. 
I was raised a Jehovah's Witness and taught the world would end in a violent firestorm but I would survive, because I was part of the religion. I used to imagine the firestorm would arrive at recess and I'd have to watch all the "worldyl" kids on the playground run around in terror while I was protected by some sort of divine bubble. I was scared they'd run up to me and knock on my bubble, screaming, and I wouldn't be able to let them in. And I grew up in Southern California so every time there was an earthquake I would get this horrible feeling that "the end" was happening. 
My second biggest fear was that I would die in the firestorm because I'd broken the rules of the religion and loved to read "worldly" (not religious) books. I thought my love of Judy Blume condemned me.
And my parents wondered why I went goth as a teenager. . . :) 
Thanks for all the great entries, everyone. I would love to hear more about ALL of these-- I knew you'd have some great stories. Let me know if you want to do a guest post about childhood fears for me! ;)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Infographic mania! How to write a scene

I am on an infographic tear this week, it seems.

I really liked this one at Galleycat: How to Write a Scene.

Did they miss any steps?

Monday, March 4, 2013

WhipUp's tips on staying creative.

A lot of good advice here. 

Are creativity and productivity the same for you? It sometimes feels that way to me.

On that note, I'm going to step away from the computer for a while...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Longform Friday.

"The Great Escape," by Joshuah Bearman, from Wired Magazine in 2007. The story that became this year's Best Picture winner, Argo. 

(Happy March! Tell me in the comments what your goals are for this month.)