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Kim Tomsic

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cowboy Up! by Nancy Bo Flood reviewed by Kim Tomsic

COWBOY UP! (Boyd Mills Press, 2013) by Nancy BoFlood is crafted with a delightful mixture of verse and prose. Flood’s writing grabs the reader by the hand and invites him or her into the unique world of the rodeo—a rich experience from anticipation at practice to the thrill of competition. It’s like she plunks the reader right in the saddle alongside each rodeo competitor from wooly rider to bull wrangler. Every page turn is packed with excited urgency, honest nervousness, and sometimes glory. The verse sections allow readers to practically taste the dust and feel the rope burn, while the prose unveil the mystery behind how rodeos work.  
COWBOY UP! is an original approach to making the rodeo fascinating and accessible to all. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never participated in mutton busting or seen a Brahma bull--you’ll feel like an insider after reading this book. 
Loved by School Library Journal and  Kirkus Review, too! 

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590788936
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2013
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Top Ten with Literary Agent Tricia Lawrence

TOP TEN: Info/Advice/& Fun Facts with Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (EMLA)

The Rocky Mountain Region of the SCBWI looks forward to the wisdom of Tricia Lawrence. She will serve on this year's conference faculty for the September 20 & 21, 2014 LETTERS AND LINES CONFERENCE. If you haven't registered, we are accepting walk-in registration on September 20 at 7:45am or September 21 at 8:15 am at the Marriott Denver West, 1717 Denver West Boulevard, Golden CO 80401. 

Who is Tricia Lawrence? Tricia is the "Pacific Northwest branch" of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (EMLA)—born and raised in Oregon, and now lives in Seattle. After 19 years of working as a developmental and production-based editor (from children’s books to college textbooks), she joined the EMLA team in March 2011 as a social media strategist.
As associate agent, Tricia represents picture books/chapter books that look at the world in a unique and unusual way, with characters that are alive both on and off the page, and middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction that offers strong world-building, wounded narrators, and stories that grab a reader and won't let go.

You can find Tricia's writing about blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, and other social media topics at http://authorblogger.net/ and at http://trishlawrence.com/


1.       SUCCESS STORY:  Hi, Tricia! Thank you for serving on the RMC SCBWI faculty and for agreeing to this interview. I love starting with dessert, so please tell us a yummy conference success story.

My first PB client is the past conference coordinator for Western WA, Kerri Kokias. I met her as a brand-new agent (not yet repping picture books) looking for a critique group and we hit it off. Of course, she will say I made her work. I made her write a ton. And I did. But when I was ready to sign PB clients, she was my first one. We are friends, crit buddies, and then author/agent. And it was the best decision I made! She is AWESOME! 

2.      PUBLISHING PATH: I’ll bet your experience as a social media strategist serves you and your clients well now that you’re an agent. What smart social media tips can you provide?

For my full-throttle social media for authors, you'll have to come to my workshop. In the meantime, look back over your social media content. Is it 80/20 (content/marketing)? For marketing, I mean "come buy my book" or "come to my book signing" and by content, I mean "there was this fascinating article I just read about bullying, which is one of themes of my next book" or "We need diverse books shared this article that really spoke to me about the important of diversity" and don't pitch anything. Just share, share, share. And if it has a theme to it, all the better. See you at my workshop!

3.      YOUR NEXT CLIENT: I understand you represent Picture Books, Chapter Books,  Middle Grade, and YA. At every conference—regardless of genre—agents say they are looking for great and compelling writing. Please give us more insight into your preferences.

I love all sorts of styles in kidlit. I do love a mystery, I love dark novels, dark young readers. For novels, I'm looking for the character I've never met  before, but I feel as if I know already. Someone who just walks off the page into my life. Laini Taylor's DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE series was that for me. Karou is someone I've never met before, but I now feel like she's someone important in my life. Challenge: how would you do a mystery PB?

4.      READING: I believe in order to be a great writer, a person should be prolific reader. I also believe when writers research and shop for an agent, they should read the agent’s client’s books in order to understand if the agent is a fit. Tricia, are you an editorial agent? Also, please tell us about some of your clients’ books.

I am an editorial agent. My books don't start coming out until Fall 2015, but in the meantime, on EMLA's website www.emliterary.com you can see what our agency is publishing month to month. Any of those would be a great idea to read. Robin LaFevers' HIS FAIR ASSASSIN series, GRAVE MERCY,  DARK TRIUMPH, and the third in the trilogy, MORTAL HEART. Anything by Deborah Underwood or Pat Zietlow Miller or Liz Garton Scanlon, picture  book wise. Anything by Trent Reedy, Conrad Wesselhoeft, Laurie Thompson, Laura Resau, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, Ruth McNally Barshaw. I could go on  and on and on. I'm a huge fan of EMLA books!

5.      FAVORITE BOOKS: What were some of your favorite books as a child, and what are your current kid lit favorites (other than the ones you represent J)?

Favorite series: Narnia. Second favorite series: Little House on the Prairie. Current kidlit favorites are FLASHLIGHT by Lizi Boyd (a work of art), I WANT MY HAT BACK by Jon Klassen, LET'S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid, GAIJIN by Matt Faulkner (my client, but I didn't rep this one).

6.      What’s on your wish list of future projects to represent?

I'm looking for innovative picture books, using other genres to tell a story in that format (murder mystery, horror, etc.). I'm looking for retro illustrations that are just alive. I'm looking for a super-duper chapter book series or two a la Penderwicks or CLEMENTINE. I am hungry for more girl middle grade. I'm also looking for amazing YA fantasy, fractured retellings (so, instead of fractured fairy tales, take a classic work of literature and crack it open). I'm wild about anything Bronte, Dickens, Hugo, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky. I was raised on these books, so if you're doing something innovative and new with them, bring it to me!

7.      What can you tell us about the state of the publishing industry?

In total flux. Indy bookstores are growing. The industry seems to be able to handle the massive changes being thrown at it. It's a great time to be an author or illustrator. If you're hesitating, why? Go for it! Write!

8.     How does the answer above influence you as an agent?

Always figuring out how to represent my clients better, how to inspire more authors/artists, how to be more creative myself! I feel as if I'm in a continual college semester, with always changing classes and I'm always carrying too many credits and wanting to learn more.

9.      A benefit for attendees of the Letters and Lines Conference is getting to walk away knowing the faculty on a more personal level. One fun fact about Tricia is that she Tricia loves hiking, camping out in the woods, and collecting rocks. She loves BBC America and anything British. She has way too many books and not enough bookshelves. Please give us one more fun fact!
If I am at a beach, I pick up pockets full of rocks and shells. If I am in a parking lot, I pick up rocks. If you show me a rock, I will want it. I have now shared my rock obsession with my neighbor's 3-year-old and she comes up to me now and asks for rocks. :) Funny how I always have one to give her.

10.  What’s your final word (for today) of advice that you would like writers to walk away with?

Writing is not easy. You are walking in footsteps of so many great writers and also great souls! Do not be discouraged! Press on! Don't give up!  Write, write, write.

Thank you, Tricia!
For submission guidelines, please visit the EMLA website and follow the guidelines. 

Submission Policy: Good news-- if-- you attended the Letters and Lines Conference! 
EMLA is closed to unsolicited queries or submissions BUT Tricia is open to queries from attendees of conferences where she speaks. If you met Tricia at the conference or have a referral, please paste your query into the contact form on our contact page. Please note that EMLA is no longer responding to queries or submissions from those who do not have a referral or have met them at a conference. Those sent in hard copy form via post or other means will receive no response from EMLA, and those sent via email will receive an automated form rejection.

***This is your big chance to query, so take the time--polish your prose--use advice your received at the conference--seek out a critiquing group--repolish your work--read the submission guidelines carefully--polish one more time--AND THEN send your query. Good luck!  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten with Literary Agent Terrie Wolf

TOP TEN: Info/Advice/& Fun Facts with Terrie Wolf of AKA LITERARY LLC
The Colorado/Wyoming region of the SCBWI is proud to announce Terrie Wolf as a faculty member for the September 2014 LETTERS AND LINES CONFERENCE.
Who is Terrie Wolf? Before becoming a literary agent, Terrie was an editor as well as a member of the international media. She studied English Literature at Cambridge University, Creative Writing at NYU and Journalism at CU-Denver. Terrie founded Wolf Literary Services, and in 2009 she co-founded AKA Literary.

 The Letters and Lines Conference is said to be one of the most intimate ways a writer can connect with leaders in the publishing industry. To launch participants’ conference-connect experience, Terrie has generously agreed to answer the following ten questions:

1.       SUCCESS STORY (the crème brulee):  Hi, Terrie! Thank you in advance for serving on the faculty at the upcoming RMC SCBWI conference, and for taking the time to answer my questions. Before we get into the meat and potatoes (craft), I’d like to start with dessert (contract).  Please tell us about one of your conference success stories.

Thank you very much for including me. After several years in the conference and workshop “trenches” I’m pleased to tell you I signed a conference participant. I was thrilled by a proposal provided by Kathy Borrus at Writer’s Digest West Conference last September. If you like to shop or travel you might recognize her name as Kathy is the author of Five Hundred Buildings of Paris, One Thousand Buildings of Paris, and The Fearless Shopper. Her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Washington Flyer, and Art Business News among others. So, here we are, ready to work on this adult piece when she mentioned an idea she had for a children’s series of books.  To say I was floored would be an understatement. Ask me at the conference and I’ll fill you in! You’ll love her.

2.      PUBLISHING PATH: I read that before you were an agent, you were an editor with Hobson’s Press and also an award-winning member of the media with NBC and CBS. How and why did you decide to become an agent?

My father always said that if I was stranded on a desert island, I’d be just fine as long as I had a fishing pole, books to read and a phone so I could tell everyone I knew about the books I read and the fish I caught. A series of events that included big trucks, freak southern gales and patio umbrellas all taught me about  resilience and allowed me (forced me) to return to Colorado full time. The outlook may have seemed a little desolate in the beginning but gave me the opportunity to slowly find my way back to wellness. A few years ago I met an author whose work was witty and fresh. It reignited my passion. The author asked me to act as her agent because she said I talked about her work more than she did. That was the beginning. She was right and I still proudly represent her. She tweets @CJDunham1. Get to know her! 

3.      YOUR NEXT CLIENT: In addition to other genres, I understand you represent YA, Middle Grade, and Picture Book writers…excellent!  We all know agents are looking for great and compelling writing, and the word on the street is you pick story over genre. Please give us more insight into your preferences.

There’s so much that goes into this process. I like to know what my editors are interested in finding but I also ask readers what they would like to see. It’s really important to write the story as it is meant to be written rather than for a trend or market. Good stories just have a way of finding good homes.

4.      Sometimes the Internet gets buzzing with a lot of misinformation of where an agent is or isn’t. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT  2012-2014

I took much of 2012 - 2013 and 2014 away from work due to illness, the Black Forest Fire and the 2013 floods. I ran into the big three: my mother’s death, my father’s illness, and I have been stalked daily since April 2013. It’s just part of the drill, part of what helps me decide what I want to do. Usually what I want to do is fall back and read.

Wow! That’s a lot to shoulder. I’m sorry for your difficulties, and I admire your bravery and determination. I’m glad to know your father is doing well again, and your experiences are a testament to how books are friends to people during difficult times—a point that moves me to the joyful side of life—READING: I’m sure you would agree that in order to become great writers, we must first read, read, and read! Writers should also know when shopping for an agent, they should read the agent’s client’s books to help further reveal if the agent is the right fit. Terrie, are you an editorial agent and if yes, tell us more?

I am an editorial agent, and proud of it. You won’t see many of our works for some time due to the publishing schedule. Learn what you can from every single book you pick up.
·         I encourage you to visit our website as a way to familiarize yourself with our clients and their writing The new and improved website should be up no later than Monday, September 22, 2014. It’s been such a wonderful journey!
·         Upcoming Fact: our Kenley Conrad’s HOLLY HEARTS HOLLYWOOD will be released Tuesday, September 23, 2014 via Swoon an imprint of Month9 Books.
5.      FAVORITE BOOKS: What were some of your favorite books as a child, and what are your current kid lit favorites (other than the ones you represent J)?

I read everything from Louis L ‘Amour to Zane Grey, Sports Afield and Boys’ Life. I still adore The Velveteen Rabbit, Little House on the Prairie, and Black Beauty.
Current favorites:
-         Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, 2013)
-         The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HC, 2012)
-         Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross (Egmont, 2012)
-         Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker (Chronicle Books, 2011)
-          And the list goes on and on!

Helen Lester’s TACKY THE PENGUIN and A PORCUPINE NAMED FLUFFY still make me giggle. I still love Jerdine Nolan’s HARVEY POTTER’S BALLOON FARM, Robert Munsch’s I’LL LOVE YOU FOREVER, and ROTTERS by Daniel Kraus are all favorites at this very moment. Ask me in ten minutes as my list will change.  

6.      What’s on your wish list of future projects to represent?

Three words: unforgettable, empowering and unexpected. If I can find works that make me laugh out loud, that’s even better.

7.      What can you tell us about the state of the publishing industry?

It has yet to bore me.

8.     How does the answer above influence you as an agent?

I am easily distracted.

9.      Like I said, a special benefit of the Letters and Lines Conference is attendees walk away knowing the faculty on a more personal level. One fun fact about Terrie is that she knows sign language and has served as an interpreter for the Deaf and Blind School in Colorado Springs (cool!!). What’s another fun fact you’re willing to reveal?

I have a piano in my office.

10.  THE MEAT AND POTATOES: What’s the final word of advice that you would like writers to walk away with?

Be the writer your characters know you are. Be kind, be loving and allow everyone around you to see your need for a place like this one.

Thank you Terrie Wolf! I look forward to meeting you in September.

The pleasure is mine, really.

Writers who would like to query Terrie Wolf should email the query and the first ten pages of the manuscript (or full manuscript for picture books) in the body of the email (no attachements, please!) to  aka@akaliterary.com. The AKA Literary website is being updated (due to be ready next week!), and Terrie will soon provide that address link so you can learn more. In the mean time, follow her on Twitter at @AKA_Terrie. Bonus piece of advice: it’s Terrie, not Terry. It’s Ms., not Mr. J

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