Friday, September 19, 2008

Americana Music Awards

The 9th annual American Music Festival and Conference is being held this week in Nashville. Last night, DH and I attended the American Music Awards at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

In a front-page article in today’s Tennessean newspaper, writer Peter Cooper calls Americana music genre-blurring. Click here for the article, including a list of winners.

In the romance writing community, we are told to stick within the rules of the genre. It is hard for a first-time author to find an editor willing to take a chance on a cross-genre book. One of my favorite books, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon was labeled as a time-travel/adventure/romance/historical fiction on the book’s debut.

When genres blend, whether it’s a mixture of alternative country, folk music, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll on stage, or a novelist mixing different storytelling traditions between the pages of a book, sometimes different is better. Sometimes it’s pure magic.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shout out to Squi-bee!

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is affectionately known by several nicknames. Some members refer to it as The Society. Others (like me) use the initials, SCBWI, and possibly more creative types, give it the moniker, Squi-bee (the spelling is mine).

The annual conference of the SCBWI-Midsouth region takes place next week. This is the annual gathering of writers and illustrators from Tennessee and Kentucky. I am looking forward to attending this conference for the second time. It was a great experience in both knowledge gained and networking opportunities last year. I met two of my critique group members at this conference and another great writer friend.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Bruce Coville. I hear he was a big hit at the national SCBWI conference in Los Angeles this summer. At last year’s SCBWI-Midsouth conference, SCBWI executive director, Lin Oliver shared a quote from Bruce Coville. The quote is on my desk. It says: “Follow your weirdness.”

So every (week)day when I sit down to write, I try to follow my weirdness or write the stories of my heart.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Girl Books

In the interest of equal time, after last week’s blog on Boy Books, here is a post on Girl Books. Girls tend to read across the spectrum, books that appeal to both boys and girls. I guess a Girl Book is one that appeals primarily to female readers.

A book with both male and female main characters may appeal to primarily girls due to the relationship aspects of the book. Not necessarily romance, but books with friendship as a theme.

A bookseller recently told me that middle school girls are asking for middle grade romance books. An elementary school librarian told me this week that many of her female students gravitate to the animal books and the classic, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, is a favorite.

Some favorite girl books per an informal poll:
For Middle Grade readers:
Judy Blume books
Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie

For Young Adult readers:
Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series
Ann Brashares’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series

For the 2007 summary of Accelerated Reader books read by students click here. Section 1 separates books read by gender.

On a side note: As I mentioned in my second blog post, I gave my daughter my treasured boxed set of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series. My child read one book and part of another before putting them aside. Recently I mentioned the popularity of the stage adaptation of the books. During the discussion, my daughter burst out with, “You mean they were real people?” Since she found out the Ingalls family were indeed real, she is plowing through the books and enjoying them. So I must add that some girls also like historical fiction and biographies.