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Posts Tagged ‘Teen fiction’

MIDWINTERBLOOD

In a blog post, titled ‘YA is not, nor should be, a genre’, Marcus Sedgwick says the following:

I have been witnessing a stream of books sent to me to review, or quote for, every single one of which was written in the first person present tense, with a certain breathless intensity of oh-my-weird-little-life.  Usually there’s cancer, death, divorce etc. thrown in to the mix. Let’s be clear, there’s nothing wrong with writing in the first person present in itself. Many good books have been written this way. Well, one or two, at least.

You can read the whole post at http://www.marcussedgwick.com, and while you’re there don’t forget to check out our latest favourite, ‘Midwinterblood’, winner of the Printz Award, 2014. It tells the story of love strong enough to withstand centuries, painted in seven brief vignettes that spiral backwards in time to a moment of sacrifice that tore two lives apart.

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Yesterday’s post about reader book buying habits got me curious…how exactly does my fourteen year old daughter choose the books she reads and buys?

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Here’s the short answer:

1.  She checks out Goodreads and follows the links to authors and books that look interesting

2.  She reads School Library Journal blogs

3.  She reads Book Review sites (sometimes she finds links to these on Goodreads)

4.  She searches Common Sense Media to check for content and appropriateness (can you tell her mother’s a teacher?)

5.  She goes to Amazon and downloads a sample chapter

6.  If she likes the chapter she buys the ebook on her mother’s Amazon account

7.  And finally, if she absolutely loves it she is then allowed to buy the print copy (a rule instigated by her mother who nowadays has to stand at the door of her study to place aforesaid books on perilously high piles of books bought indiscriminately over many years of bookshop trawling)

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Conclusion…we love our local bookshop (and every bookshop between here and New Zealand) but the Internet has opened up our lives to a world of books we could never have otherwise found. We are voracious readers and will always love the texture and smell of books, and our house will always be full to brimming with the things, but our iPads with our iTunes and Kindle apps allow us the added pleasure off fossicking for reading treasure that until now we would never have had the opportunity to enjoy.

 

 

 

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on the road

Your book is finished and it’s time for the fun part, right? Time to hit the road and do the big tour. And, of course, if you’re anything like me, thinking big is the easy part. It’s what we writers do, isn’t it?

I was ready to hook up the Kimberly Kamper and head around Oz, stopping in at schools and libraries, selling books with gay abandon…I was a tad worried about being locked in a moving vehicle with my co-author for the several months this tour was going to take but, hey, I could always sit him in the back with the child locks on if he misbehaved.

But then I had to go and get this email from The Book Designer (www.thebookdesigner.com) with the title, 7 Top eBook Blog Tour Sites, written by Greg Strandberg at http://www.bigskywords.com.

Researching the marketing game has seen me write and discard several marketing plans in the last months as I’ve talked to editors, publishers, distributors, bookshops, school librarians and book fair co-ordinators. And I was ready to hit the road, even with my brother, actually he’d come in handy for flat tyres and such…

I mean, let’s face it, we writers spend all our lives cooped up in attics tapping away at our keyboards so can we be blamed for  dreaming of a few champagne celebratory drinks after the hard work is done, followed by a road trip to make us if not rich then at least famous…

celebration

But it’s not how it’s done anymore…well, at least not exclusively…marketing nowadays means more time at the keyboard, blogging, tweeting and…err…touring virtually. Strandberg lists his top seven virtual tour sites in his blog but he’s written a book that lists fifty sites, Tour Your Book, 50 eBook Blog Tour Sites That Increase Amazon Sales, and it’s those last couple of words that has me unpacking the trailer before I’ve even begun…because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my marketing research it’s that ebook sales are what drive sales nowadays and, according to the gurus who run sites like http://www.thebookdesigner.com and http://www.digitalbookworld.com there’s only one way forward for we wanna be marketers of our words…and it doesn’t involve sunsets on deserted beaches with fishing rods and celebratory drinks…

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Cheers…

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the cliffs

Writing with my brother, like everything else with my brother, means we get to fight, make things up, and out-do each other with our exaggerated tales of triumph and adventure.

the authors

It’s how our Cracker and Gilly Mystery Series came into being…

forbidden photo

And recently we had the opportunity to revisit the scene of many of the adventures about which we write…the cliffs, the rocks, the secret caves, Professor Bromley Floss’s mysterious shack…

the shack

My brother still likes to climb around the cliffs…

the explorer

But my daughter is a tad more nimble than the authors…

climbing the cliff

Ah, we remember once when we were young…

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Meet Tombay…

Tombay is a character in our Cracker and Gilly Mystery Series for middle grade/young teen readers… his personality shines through, don’t you think, from his cheeky grin to his proud and loyal stature.

Tombay illustration

And Skelly, dastardly baddy that he is, aboard the Pirate…

Skelly and Pirate

Today I’m pleased to introduce our talented illustrator, Denita. I knew we lucked out bringing her onboard but it wasn’t till I saw the quality of her work that I realised just how lucky we are…

Denita drawing

And that’s the secret I guess…a little bit of luck, coupled with tenacity, knowing what you want and how to search for it…or, for those of us of a more biblical bent, ask and you shall receive…

But…and it’s a big but…I’ve been searching for an illustrator for a while…a talented artist friend agreed to work with us…but never delivered….another artist friend didn’t have the time…and some artists were plain out of our budget.

What I didn’t realise was that our newest team member was right under our noses all along and neither she nor I realised it…till now…and that’s where the luck came in. Circumstance, coupled with timing, coupled with luck….

I look forward to sharing more of Denita’s work…and, if we’re lucky, she may even share a few tips and tricks…

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Our first ebook….

It won’t be long now and our first ebook will available through amazon. It’s a teen novel called FORBIDDEN. A short synopsis:

When Gilly watches her older brother, Cracker, and his friends, Trann and the Bone, disappear over the cliff in front of their family’s holiday shack on a secret expedition she is determined she will not be left behind. Accompanied by her cousin, Bobby, she follows the boys around the rocks to Pretty Point where she discovers dozens of black onion-like bags filled with stinking black shells in Cracker’s secret cave. Someone is stealing abalone and the spent shells are being washed into the cave. Cracker is annoyed that Gilly has made such an exciting discovery – it is his expedition after all – and he suggests a daring plan to catch the abalone thieves.

The authors: sister and brother team, Melinda and Richard Hammond

Melinda is a full time writer who lives on the east coast of Australia, albeit a long way away from the cool southern waters in which FORBIDDEN is set. She has published stories for children in both NSW and Victorian Education magazines. She occasionally teaches High School English.

Richard is a passionate recreational fisherman who often fishes off the rocks described in FORBIDDEN, although he has never stolen abalone.

The setting for FORBIDDEN has special meaning for us as it is where we spent our weekends when we were growing up. Grandpa’s shack on the cliffs of Malua Bay provided the inspiration for our story and I spent many weekends watching Richard disappear over the cliff for hours on end, only to return laden with treasures. I wish I had Ginny’s courage to tag along after him.

Melinda

PS watch out for our next novel, also coming out soon. It’s called OLD BONES, and Cracker, Ginny and the team find themselves neck deep in another adventure…literally…

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