I’ve been traveling a lot lately (awesome) and running into a lot of REBELS readers (more awesome) and everyone seems to want to know the same thing – where is book two??? I thought it would be simpler if I answered that, and a few other questions that I get a lot, here in one fell swoop.
Q: Where is book two?
A: Book two is done! Okay, it’s sort of done. A book is never actually finished until it gets to print, but it is with the awesome folks at Nancy Paulsen Books now. I may need to do some more tweaks here and there, but for the most part, it is FINISHED. Whew.
Q. When will book two be available and is it a sequel to REBELS?
A. The publication date is March 18, 2018. It is a totally new cast of characters in a new place with new, fun adventures.
Q. Will you be holding The Bertie contest again this year?
A. Yes! I am moving the contest date to September. There will be more information coming soon so check back often, follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook page, etc. so that you don’t miss it!
Q. Do you do school visits?
A. I LOVE school visits. You can see information about that here.
Q. Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
A. For as long as I can remember. I used to stare out of my window with my finger on the word “author” in my encyclopedia and dream about writing books. I didn’t actually start writing seriously until a few years ago though.
Q. How did you find your agent?
A. I treated it like a job! I queried several people until I found my AWESOME agent, Susan Hawk. You can read more details about finding an agent of your own here.
Last week I visited an amazing school – Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa. Everything about it was awesome – the school, the teachers, the kids, and even the lunch! It almost made me wish I was in Middle School again.
Okay, maybe not.
But the visit was great!
The students had all read REBELS as a companion piece to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. My presentation was about mining their own family history for story ideas and creating characters. It was fun to show them the people and places in my life that I had used for “inspiration” in the book.
Those are my, “I’m an author” serious clothes. They are also my “I need to workout because these pants are too tight” clothes, but being comfortable is second to being fashionable, am I right?
David Schumacher, Librarian Extraordinaire, set up the event, drove me around Tampa, and made sure I was comfortable the entire time.
This is Susan Alexander, a great teacher and an AWESOME WRITER. I know, because I’ve read her stuff and it was so good I wanted to cry. Mainly ’cause I wasn’t the one who wrote it. She and David, and two other teachers – Jen Brown and Jen Martin- took me to dinner the night before the presentation. That could be the reason for the aforementioned pants issue. We all sat around talking books, and every one of them had a great story idea that they were mulling over.
Thank you, Berkeley Preparatory School, for hosting me. I am an official Buccaneers fan for life!
Sheila TurnagemeetsKate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie in this debut about a small town and a young girl who discovers some old family secrets.
Lou might be only twelve, but she’s never been one to take things sitting down. So when her Civil War-era house is about to be condemned, she’s determined to save it—either by getting it deemed a historic landmark or by finding the stash of gold rumored to be hidden nearby during the war. As Lou digs into the past, her eyes are opened when she finds that her ancestors ran the gamut of slave owners, renegades, thieves and abolitionists. Meanwhile, some incidents in her town show her that many Civil War era prejudices still survive and that the past can keep repeating itself if we let it. Digging into her past shows Lou that it’s never too late to fight injustice, and she starts to see the real value of understanding and exploring her roots.
While you’re shopping, how about taking a look at these titles? They are the other books on the Books All Young Georgians Should Read. You can’t go wrong with any of them!
A creative young boy with a passion for practicing origami finds a surprising source of encouragement on his diverse city block.
Joey loves things that fold: maps, beds, accordions, you name it. When a visiting mother of a classmate turns a plain piece of paper into a beautiful origami crane, his eyes pop. Maybe he can learn origami, too. It’s going to take practice — on his homework, the newspaper, the thirty-eight dollars in his mother’s purse . . . Enough! No more folding! But how can Joey become an origami master if he’s not allowed to practice? Is there anywhere that he can hone the skill that makes him happy — and maybe even make a new friend while he’s at it?
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself. A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance—is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli.
‘A wonderfully complex love story unlike any you’ve read before. Saeed has given a novel that is both entertaining and important.”—Matt de la Peña, New York Timesbestselling author
Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.
From the mother-son duo behind the New York Times bestselling A Bucket of Blessings comes a zany picture book about a wild ride on a tuk tuk taxi in India!
This picture book brings an international twist to the beloved nursery rhyme, The Wheels on the Bus, by bringing you aboard a busy three-wheeled taxi in India! Anything can happen as the tuk tuk rolls through town—from an elephant encounter to a tasty treat to a grand fireworks display. And in the midst of all the action, one thing’s for sure: passengers young and old love every minute of their exciting ride as the wheels of the tuk tuk go round and round!
One day in the distant future, Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is destined to battle the giant snake that threatens to devour the world. Until then, mortals of Middle Earth look to Thor and his magic hammer for protection from evil. In this third volume of the Secrets of the Ancient Gods series, Thor takes time from his duties to lead readers through the mythological Norse realms, those mysterious worlds that are home to gods, giants, elves, and monsters. He also delves into the age of the Vikings and reveals how they lived and what they believed. Using Thor as her humorous narrator, author Vicky Alvear Shecter provides a well-researched and unconventional nonfiction introduction to Norse mythology. Includes a glossary, bibliography, and index.
“Spare, poetic words sit as lightly as snowflakes.”–Wall Street Journal
“An enchanting glimpse of a dancer whose name has come to be synonymous with her most famous role.”–School Library Journal, starred review
One night, young Anna’s mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova. Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova is a heartbreakingly beautiful picture book biography perfect for aspiring ballerinas of all ages.
As befits a future President of the United States of America, Maggie Mayfield has decided to write a memoir of the past year of her life. And what a banner year it’s been! During this period, she’s Student of the Month on a regular basis, an official shareholder in Coca-Cola stock, and defending Science Fair champion. Most importantly, though, this is the year Maggie has to pull up her bootstraps (the family motto) and finally learn why her cool dude dad is in a wheelchair, no matter how scary that is. Author Megan Jean Sovern, herself the daughter of a dad with multiple sclerosis, writes with the funny grace and assured prose of a new literary star.
A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this book will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
No one knows much about Mer, the underwater kingdom where Mermin the merman was born, but due to a rising conflict with the people of Atlantis, Mermin is needed back home immediately. Which means that his human friends get to accompany him and see all the aquatic wonders of Mer. But once again, Mermin is tight-lipped about his past – even when it’s swimming right in front of him. And there are enemies lurking in the seedier depths of Mer, who’ve got their sights set not only on Mermin, but on Pete and his friends!
Thank you again to the Georgia Center for the Book! Lou and the gang couldn’t be happier.
PS: If you are looking for a free curriculum guide for REBELS, click here.
I’m so excited to be a part of Pitch Wars again this year as a Middle Grade mentor. Yay, Middle Grade! This is my THIRD YEAR. Whew.
I hope you’ll find these next few weeks both fun and helpful. I will do my best to give you honest feedback, lots of encouragement, and useful advice to get your manuscript ready to present to agents.
What I’m Looking For:
I love to read anything with great characters and a voice that leaps off the page. While I like a wide variety, It’s probably contemporary that suits me to a –
I’ll read anything that has rich world building and a protagonists I can cheer. Humorous, bitter-sweet, coming of age -you name it, just give me a good, UNIQUE story! Upper middle-grade is probably more of my wheel-house than lower, or younger middle-grade.
What I Don’t Want:
While I like funny, I don’t love slapstick humor. And ghosts stories are great, but I’m probably not the best mentor for bloody, horror types of entries.
Some of My Favorite Books:
Fish In A Tree
Counting By 7’s
The One and Only Ivan
After Tupac and D Foster
Lockwood and Co.
I’m a Southern children’s book author represented by Susan Hawk at The Bent Agency. My mid-grade novel, Last In a Long Line of Rebels, was released on September 29, 2015, thanks to Nancy Paulsen Books, (Penguin). I am also a co-founder of the Middle Grade Mafia, (along with fellow MG pitch wars mentor -Kevin A. Springer) and frequent contributor to The Huffington Post. I am currently revising my 2nd novel with Nancy Paulsen Books.
Growing up in a small town in Tennessee surrounded by my crazy family and neighbors, I learned early on that not every child had a pet skunk, a dad that ran a bar in the front yard, or a neighbor that was so large his house had to be torn down to get him out. Think I like southern literature and/or crazy characters? Yes!
I want this experience to prepare your manuscript and YOU for work with an agent, so I try to mimic what that relationship is really like.
First, I’ll do a complete read-through, then send you an Editorial Letter. This is where I’ll tell you what I think about each character, the setting, plot, pacing, sub-plots, etc. and give advice on areas where I think you can improve things. I’ll spend a lot of time thinking about your first chapter as this is what we’ll be showing agents.
After you have a chance to revise and send the manuscript back to me, I’ll do another read-through and make notes throughout. It might be a smiley face where something makes me laugh, places where the voice seems inconsistent, or scenes that don’t move the plot forward. I’ll do my best to give you line edits if time allows.
Once you get that and revise, I’ll look at it again and we’ll concentrate on any lingering problem areas or scenes.
Finally, we’ll take a look at your query and make sure that’s good to go!
One last word about revisions. At the end of the day, this is YOUR manuscript, so I will try to persuade you if I feel strongly about something, but you have the final say. However, I don’t want to mentor someone who feels that their manuscript is perfect as is and is reluctant to change things. I think this is also important when working with agents and editors. They are more likely to want to work with people that listen.
I can tell you this. If we work together, I will be your biggest champion!
Whatever mentor you choose, I wish you the very best.
Need a reminder about the submission guidelines?Click HERE.
I have received some awesome submissions for The Bertie! I feel bad for the Middle Grade Mafia judges as they try to choose the winning submissions. If you haven’t yet uploaded your story, no worries. You have until midnight on Friday, April 1.
The submission window is between March 1 and April 1
Writers may submit only one story per contest year
Stories must be written by only one writer
Writers must be ages 11, 12, or 13 years old
Previously submitted or published stories will not be accepted
Story must be no longer than 1500 words total
Story MUST contain a intergenerational aspect (two characters from different generations) no matter how minor.
Very few people make me laugh like Kevin Springer! I met Kevin a few years ago when he joined our critique group and he has made a huge impact on my writing. I am so happy that he found time in his schedule to help judge manuscripts for The Bertie.
Kevin A. Springer
Kevin grew up on a farm in Maryland where his imagination knew no limits. As a husband and father, he reconnected with his creativity while telling bedtime stories to his two young boys. One such story evolved into his debut book, Extraordinary Sam & the Adventurers’ Guild (March 2015, Bookfish Books LLC.), which tells the tale of an ordinary boy who finds a hatbox and discovers a world of adventure and self-discovery.
Kevin is a self-proclaimed dreamer and a kid at heart. When he’s not writing or reading, he is coaching soccer or helping with homework. He lives outside of Atlanta with his wife, two extraordinary boys, and dogs.
When I joined my current critique group, Alison Hertz was the first person I met. I immediately LOVED her. How could you not love a former clown? Since then, Alison and I have become fast friends and travel companions. We always share a room at writing conferences which is an extra bonus for a shy person like me because Alison knows everybody. She is a talented writer and illustrator and I am thrilled that she’s going to be judging manuscripts for The Bertie.
Alison has always followed the tune of a different drummer. At age 10, she began performing as a juggler and when she was just 14 years old, Alison joined a circus. Really. So when her friends were going to football games and prom, Alison was riding a unicycle and walking a high wire. When it was time for her to attend college, Alison’s circus days abruptly ended and she headed to New York City to become a Toy Designer. After designing hundreds of toys that were sold in major retail stores including Toys R Us and WalMart, Alison returned to college to earn a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction so she could use her talents for entertaining children to get them excited about reading, writing and art. Alison also used these skills to write and illustrate her debut picture book, FLAP, which released in 2012. This teaching, toy designing, circus performing writer/artist mom is currently writing and illustrating picture books, chapter books, and mid-grade novels about her wildly exciting experiences. Alison has also illustrated hidden picture puzzles for Highlights. When Alison isn’t writing, drawing, painting, reading, creating puzzles, or volunteering at her children’s school she can be found doodling and is host of Doodle Day, an online daily drawing challenge with more than 500 participants around the world.
I have an awesome critique group and a big reason for its success is our leader – Debbie D’Aurelio. She’s a great leader, writer and friend. Also, HILARIOUS.
Debbie lived on three coasts growing up – California, Long Island and Florida. She began her fifteen year career in advertising at J. Walter Thompson in Los Angeles and also worked in Cleveland and Atlanta. Debbie loves to travel and learn how people choose to work, live and play and has been known to ask complete strangers about their life story.
When not writing, she can be found playing ball in the house with her husband and two energetic kids. From whiffle ball to basketball and riding scooters, she’s proud to say in nine years only two items have broke . . . totally worth it.
She is a member of SCBWI and The Atlanta Writers Club. Debbie is rep’d by Storm Literary Agency.
I’m thrilled that she’s agreed to be a judge for The Bertie. Read more about Debbie on her website, herFacebook Page, or follow her on Twitter.
The Bertie submission window is officially open so I thought I would take the next few days to introduce you to some of the judges. First up, my buddy KIM!
Kim Zachman also grew up in a small town in Tennessee, but a different one than Lisa Tyre’s. She sold her first book at the age of six… to her grandmother for 10 cents. She’s never forgotten the rush that came with that literary success.
As a merchandiser for Scholastic Book Fairs, Kim visits schools in the Atlanta area and helps with book fairs. She can’t believe she gets paid to play with books all day long. One of the best parts of the job is seeing first-hand which books interest kids and excite them the most.
Kim is also a freelance writer and 150 of her articles and essays have appeared in more than 25 print and online publications. A couple of years ago, she decided to give into her secret ambition to be a children’s writer. With the help of her agent, Carrie Hannigan of HSG Agency, she hopes to add “published author” to her LinkedIn page soon.
Kim lives in the Atlanta area with her husband, two teenage daughters and a maniac puppy. She is a member of SCBWI and Atlanta Writer’s Club.
I am lucky enough to get Kim’s feedback on a regular basis because she’s part of my critique group. She’s an amazingly talented writer and friend.
Follow her on Twitteror check out herwebsiteand don’t forget to submit to The Bertie!
A few days ago, Madeleine Albright made headlines by saying there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women. I don’t know about that, but there has to be a special place in heaven for book bloggers!
REBELS has been touring the country, lucky book, on a virtual book tour. I’ve loved the results so far!
Here’s a few of the people Lou and the gang have met so far.