Pub Rants

Category: Awards

ALA Midwinter

STATUS: It has been just overwhelmingly beautiful in Denver the last two days. 70 degrees +. Can you blame me for skipping out early just to walk in the sunshine? Have laptop, can work from home when the sun goes down.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? NICK OF TIME by Bonnie Raitt

As I mentioned yesterday, ALA Midwinter is happening in Denver this weekend. But what is ALA you might be asking. It stands for the American Library Association and this weekend is their midwinter conference. They also have an annual conference that happens in the summertime.

Midwinter is what the industry calls a “working” conference. Now all big conferences are work but what is meant by the term is that this conference is about the business of running ALA. There are many division and committee meetings.

Most important are the discussions that will determine the awards for the Printz, Newbery, and the Caldecott. These are not open to the public.

But many of the discussions are. For example, the Notable Children’s Books Committee and the BBYA, which stands for Best Books For Young Adults, are both discussions that anyone can attend.

In other words, I can sit in on librarian chats that will spotlight the books they are excited about and what they’ll be recommending to their young readers.

Heck yes.

And I’m definitely going to be at the BBYA presentation where members will be talking about one of my books that has been nominated: UNDONE by Brooke Taylor

Now the ALA midwinter conference does encompass the adult and children’s world but for whatever reason, the main emphasis tends to be on the children’s books. More to come as the conference unfolds.

Like You Haven’t Got Enough Novels Waiting On Your Nightstand

STATUS: Lately I’ve been mulling quite a few blog topics and I must say I’m itching to do a series of entries on something. What I haven’t determined quite yet.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SULTANS OF SWING by Dire Straits

And I’m going to recommend that you add a few more because the 2008 National Book Award nominees were announced this past week.

In Young People’s Literature:

Laurie Halse Anderson for Chains (S&S)
Kathi Appelt for The Underneath (Atheneum)
Judy Blundell for What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
E. Lockhart for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion)
Tim Tharp for The Spectacular Now (Knopf)

In Fiction:

Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project (Riverhead)
Rachel Kushner, Telex from Cuba (Scribner)
Peter Matthiessen, Shadow Country (Modern Library)
Marilynne Robinson, Home (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Salvatore Scibona, The End (Graywolf Press)

From RITA Nomination To Hollywood

STATUS: You know you are having a busy day when your stomach starts telling you that you need to eat lunch. You swear you’ll get to it after just one more thing and the next time you look up, it’s 3 in the afternoon.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? BEVERLY HILLS by Weezer

I don’t often cross reference to another blog post of mine but this story I shared on Romancing the Blog last Friday is too good not to repeat here.

The post obviously hits the target reading audience for that Blog but it’s a good lesson to put here as well. If an award is prestigious or important enough, it’s worth the time and money to enter. You might just win or it might open another door you hadn’t even thought of. Just ask my author Kelly Parra.

From my Oct. 17, 2008 post—and here’s the link.

Have you been thinking about entering your novel into the RITA awards? Have you been waffling because you’re crunched for time? Let me remind you that the deadline is fast approaching (Dec. 1!) and regardless of how little spare time you have, this is a contest you don’t want to miss.

Why? Because I can tell you first-hand the power of a RITA nomination. It can land you in Hollywood.

I just closed a major motion picture option deal for my author Kelly Parra because of the double RITA-nomination for her young adult novel GRAFFITI GIRL. Yep, you heard that right. My author didn’t even win this year’s 2008 RITA but she’s winning in a whole different way (although she was very sad not to take home that beautiful statue).

This past July, several movie producers decided to check out Romance Writers Of America’s National Conference. Obviously, they gave special attention to any work nominated for the prestigious RITA award. Several weeks later, this producer got in touch with us. One call to my film co-agent and a week later, we had spanking new film option. This in turn is generating new excitement by foreign publishers in Frankfurt (as I write this).

All a year-plus after initial publication of the novel. And to top off the good news, Kelly’s new novel INVISIBLE TOUCH is releasing this month and this film interest is igniting excitement for her second novel. In fact, you should check out her cyber launch on The Secret Fates Blog.

So let me ask this question again. Have you been thinking about entering your novel into the RITAs?

Why are you waiting? Hop to it.

The Other Colorado Book Award Nominees

STATUS: Today was a travel day as I’m out of town for a week.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? FADE INTO YOU by Mazzy Star

With all the excitement last night (and the rather late hour when I wrote my entry), I totally forgot to highlight the other two worthy nominees in Kim’s category. We were up against some tough competition with BOXING FOR CUBA by Guillermo Vincente Vidal and OBIT by Jim Sheeler.

And check out some of the press coverage in the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post. In the RMN, Kim’s win for NO PLACE SAFE is the headline!

NLA’s Colorado Book Award Winner

STATUS: Just returned home from the awards ceremony and the post-celebration.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? Nothing at the moment.

It’s official! An hour or so ago, Kim Reid won the Colorado Book Award for her memoir NO PLACE SAFE.

I cannot tell you how proud I am and how pleased I am for Kim. If you haven’t picked up this wonderful book, it really is worth the read.

Kim Reid with the Colorado Book Award

Contest Judging—Again!

STATUS: I’m a bit tired so this one is going to be short.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? CRUCIFY by Tori Amos

I spent the evening judging the paranormal category of the Daphne du Maurier contest for unpublished authors.

Oy! It was the point system again. Totally flummoxed, I decided I would just read each entry carefully and write a bunch of notes on the contest entries themselves rather than on the score sheet. This took about 5 hours to do. (Now you know why we can’t respond to sample pages received!) I figured that way the authors could see what I was thinking the moment I had the thought.

I still had to fill out the point sheets though. I totally struggled over how to score whether the writing was evocative or whether the dialogue moved the story forward. I liked each entry in different ways so to assign a point score for the same components—when I didn’t necessarily think the score divisions were what I would comment on for a particular entry—was a challenge.

Still, despite all this, my rankings were clear in my mind. I knew which entry was number 1 for me and then down the line.

And nope, I can’t talk about it. You are just going to have to wait for the Daphne awards at RWA.

2008 RITA Nominations

STATUS: Lots of smiling in the office today. Lots of smiling on the website as well as the new headshots are up if you want to check them out.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? ON THE STREET WHERE YOU LIVE from My Fair Lady

The phone literally rang of the hook this morning as the RITA-award nominees were being announced.

We have, count them, six RITA-award nominations for four of our clients. Huge news here at the agency and I couldn’t be prouder to share the announcement with all of you.

PRIME TIME–double nominee for Best Romantic Suspense and Best First Novel
GAMES OF COMMAND–Best Paranormal Romance

GRAFFITI GIRL–double nominee for Best First Novel and Best Young Adult


*please note that NLA didn’t actually sell this book but Simone is now one of our authors so we are super excited all the same!

Congrats Hank, Linnea, Kelly, & Simone

Talking Head

STATUS: I’m still riding high from yesterday’s news!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? (SITTIN’ ON) THE DOCK OF THE BAY by Otis Redding

And the good news just keeps coming.

Hank Phillippi Ryan’s FACE TIME has just been chosen as a January 2008 Book Sense Notable Book.

And PRIME TIME was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award.

And Hank isn’t my only client garnering nominations from RT. DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES by Linnea Sinclair has also been nominated for a Reviewer’s Choice Award in the Futuristic/Fantasy romance category.

Sheesh. I’m going to have high expectations for the beginning of next year.

And sorry in advance for the public service announcement but if you live in Colorado and want to hear me speak (or if you just want to come up and say hello—that’s cool too), here’s an event that my author Kim Reid and I are participating in at the Boulder Bookstore in about two weeks.
The Women’s Voices Series

“So, You Want to Write a Book”
January 20, 2008 – 3-5 p.m.
BOULDER BOOKSTORE (Boulder, Colorado)

Two authors, a literary agent, a publishing house acquisitions editor, and a publicist discuss the process from concept to published book and marketing. This is an outstanding opportunity to discover the inside story about book writing, from dreams to reality! Panelists will be:

Kim Reid, author of the narrative nonfiction memoir No Place Safe (Kensington 2007), her story of a childhood shaped by her cop mother’s investigation of an Atlanta serial killer in the early 1980s.

Kristin Nelson, literary agent, who established the Nelson Literary Agency in 2002. Since then, she has sold more than 65 books to such publishers as Random House, Hyperion, Harlequin, Simon & Schuster, Hachette/Warner and the Penguin Group. Her authors are RITA-award winners and New York Times and USA Today bestsellers.

Michelle Dally, author of the novel A Highly Placed Source (Ghost Road Press 2007), a satire that targets Colorado politics, media, and the religious right. She holds a JD from Georgetown, was part of the Denver Post team that won a Pulitzer for its coverage of Columbine, and has worked as a legislative aide to Senator John Chafee (RI), and a lobbyist for a children’s mental health hospital.

Jennifer Coffee, acquisitions editor at Sounds True, a multi-media publisher of tools and teachings for personal and spiritual transformation based in Louisville, Colorado. She holds a BA in Music and Religious Studies and an MA in Buddhist Studies and Tibetan Language from Naropa University.

Bella Stander, promotional consultant and producer of workshops for authors of commercial trade books, is an author’s best friend. She is also a program organizer for the Virginia Festival of the Book and a long-time contributing editor at Publishers Weekly. Her book reviews have appeared in such publications as Entertainment Weekly, People, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

Moderator: Rosemary Carstens, freelance writer, author, and marketing consultant. Rosemary Carstens is the editor of the quarterly e-zine FEAST, about books, art, film, food, and travel. She is the author of DREAMRIDER: Roadmap to an Adventurous Life (2003) and co-author of Sustaining Thought (2007). She has been published in regional and national magazines and is an avid adventure traveler. When not writing or hosting presentations and workshops, two of her favorite leisure activities are surfing the ‘Net and riding crosscountry on her motorcycle, the Road Goddess.