Friday, August 29, 2008

Boy Books

I have heard a lot of discussion lately on Boy Books (books read primarily by boys). The topic came up during a YA workshop I attended at the Romance Writers of America conference, in an article I read recently, and in a discussion I had with a bookseller this week.

The bottom line is that publishers, booksellers, teachers, and librarians are looking for boy books. What makes a boy book? This means the main character is usually male and the topic is favored by male readers such as horror, humor, adventure, sports, etc.

A website by Jon Scieszka, author and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, called Guys Read offers suggestions.

Two of my All Time Favorite boy books on my keeper shelf:
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Holes by Louis Sachar

Boy books on the keeper shelves of my children that they have read numerous times:
Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer
Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney
Eragon & Eldest by Christopher Paolini
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
A Series of Unfortunate Events books by Lemony Snicket
Goosebumps (very large collection) by R. L. Stine

Next week’s blog: Girl Books

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Hazards of Book Research

I am working on a new women’s fiction manuscript where the main character is a professional baker. I interviewed a very nice baker who gave me lots of great information. After turning to television and the internet for more info, I have decided one thing. I’ve made a big mistake!

I can’t watch episodes of Ace of Cakes on the Food Network (which comes on at 9pm my time) and view sites with beautiful creations from Sugar Art Shows without being hungry. All. The. Time.

I’m not sure who the main character will be in my next book, maybe a teacher, lawyer, or librarian. But no bakers, chefs, and definitely no candy makers.

For fans of cake baking or the boy wizard, check out this video of Chef Duff’s cake at a Harry Potter premier.

Friday, August 8, 2008

RWA Conference - Part Two

The RWA conference was a whirlwind of activity. My online chapter, Elements of RWA gathered for breakfast on Friday morning. It was great to see chapter members in person. Elements of RWA is a chapter for writers of novels with romantic elements. This includes mystery/suspense writers, writers of paranormal fiction, and women’s fiction writers (like me).

Friday continued with more workshops, agent and editor pitch appointments, publisher book signings, and the awards luncheon with speaker, Connie Brockway. I attended some great workshops, including one on how to make your own book trailer. I’m hoping that I’ll actually need this skill one day and I’m pretty sure I’ll have to call on DH to help with this.

My favorite workshop of the conference was Save the Cat! by screenwriter and producer, Blake Snyder. Blake taught us the secret to telling great stories. The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (available on his website) outlines the 15 beats of a story. As a musician, I like to think of these as musical beats in the story. This was a fantastic workshop with a great speaker.

The conference wrapped up with the 2008 awards ceremony. Congratulations to Kit Wilkinson for winning the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance! For a complete list of winners, click here.

Friday, August 1, 2008

RWA 2008 - San Francisco

Greetings from the city by the bay. The 28th annual conference of Romance Writers of America is well underway.

Wednesday night, the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing event raised over $58,000. The proceeds are divided between national literacy programs and services in the host city’s state. I volunteered at this event, selling raffle tickets for baskets of books. I have never been in sales and this is a bit outside of my comfort zone to walk down the very long lines of people waiting to get into the signing and ask them if they want to buy tickets. But it is great to help raise money for literacy and people are usually very excited to be at the event.

Thursday kicked off with a new addition to the conference, an opening session by a motivational speaker and professional pianist, Theresa Behenna. As a pianist, I am in awe of anyone who can play like Theresa. You can tell she practices a lot.

The conference keynote address was delivered by author, Victoria Alexander, an entertaining and inspiring speaker. The address is held during the first luncheon of the conference. I like the luncheons for several reasons. First, it’s a time to sit with friends and catch up and also meet other writers for the first time. When you arrive at your seat, books written by the luncheon speaker and dessert are waiting for you. What more could a writer want? I also got the opportunity to sit with a blogging buddy, Kit Wilkinson, that I met for the first time in person.

After lunch, I attended the PRO Retreat. This is one of my favorite workshop times at the conference. I am in a room with a bunch of writers like me, writers with completed manuscripts who are still trying to sell. At the beginning of the retreat, they had people wearing First Sale ribbons stand. There were four people present this year and there are more who were not there in person. It gives me hope that I’ll be wearing a First Sale ribbon one day.

I haven’t had much sleep, but to give a little twist on a popular country song (I am a member of Music City Romance Writers), I can sleep when I get home.

More later.