Wednesday, December 16, 2009

TRIBES not Forgotten

Reading Rants posts a list of the most under-appreciated young adult books of the decade. Arthur Slade's TRIBES (one of our favs) is featured. This is one title that definitely deserves more love. Check it out!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Kirkus No More

After over 75 years and almost 400,000 reviews, Kirkus is calling it quits. Say what you will about hard-to-please, I still call this a major bummer.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Favorite Novel

of course is MIDDLEMARCH. (how can anyone answer differently?) however, beyond that, i am willing to say— but only because i am asked so dang much— ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND is the book i read the most. now, that is a supreme masterpiece of English prose. every writer reading this blog ought to stop reading it and savor that delicacy immediately. it is pure edification.


Friday, November 13, 2009


with due modesty, we hereby ballyhoo the sale of our own John M. Cusick's DEBUT NOVEL. it went— at auction— to Candlewick Press, with Deb Noyes-Wayshak editing. audio rights went— also at auction— to Tim Ditlow at Brilliance Audio. we will keep you posted when our efforts selling UK and ANZ rights bear fruit.

Monday, November 2, 2009


want to see Barbara Haworth-Attard read her brand new paranormal murder mystery/romance— and who wouldn't? (crowds are packing appearances in Canada) —click here.

this title is not yet in the U.S. BUT it will be, just you wait.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

have you read Art Slade's THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS? if not why not?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Twitter Account

Hey gang,

Come follow me on Twitter!

Plus, see the amazing picture of the colonnade I found:


Thursday, September 24, 2009


Here is a peek at Chris Steininger's cover concept for the Harper Canada edition of the second book in Art Slade's steampunk series THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS. Random House U.S. is cooking up something cool, too.

The Dark Deeps includes an underwater city (New Barcelona) and an invisible no-goodnik. Also a hunchback!

THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS is already a Canadian best-seller (after Twilight) and reviews are marvelous: "A terrific entertainment" Quill and Quire (Canada's PW)— a starred review; "an excellent start to a promising series" Kirkus; "thrilling . . . more than the straightforward adventure it may appear" PW.

Checkout the website!

"Stringent," Explained by Saunders

We often say we're looking for "stringent" writing. To better explain what we mean, here's a fantastic essay by George Saunders on precision. The first example he sites? Johnny Tremain.

An excerpt:

"When a person resolves to improve his prose, everything he is and everything he believes in, consciously or unconsciously, must be brought to bear. The movements from vagueness to precision, from generality to specificity, length to brevity, passivity to activity, involve, mysteriously, a corresponding movement from falsehood to truth."


Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Back-to-School Rhyme

Nouns name things.
Adjectives describe them.
Verbs act up.
Adverbs poke and jive them.

Construct a sturdy sentence
From your toolbox of good grammar,
And if your sentence wobbles,
Smartly smash it with the hammer.

A Back-to-School Rhyme

The prize winning project at the state Science Fair
Was a clay pot of radishes, growing human hair.

The prize winning student, with her parents both in tow,
Shocked those attending the ceremony show.

The audience could see they displayed horrid grooming—
Upon all three heads? Rows of radishes were blooming!

A Back-to-School Rhyme

One, two, three—
Counting for a fee.
Four, five, six—
Kids don't learn for kicks.
Seven, eight, nine—
A dollar will be fine.
Ten is the end—
Off to go to spend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Rhyme, for our kind

There was an ugly duckling who became a lovely swan.

— Oh! The goings on!

Monday, August 31, 2009


meet Dr. Hyde, the mad scientist in Art Slade's THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS. Dr. Hyde's passion is grafting mechanical pieces onto animals and humans. it works sometimes— e.g., the sadistic Miss Hakkandottir who has a metal hand (with retractable razor blade fingers). it fails sometimes— e.g., the poor hounds who cannot seem to survive the operation that replaces their skull, jaws, and teeth with metal.

you'd be a fool to miss the first book in this full-steam(punk)-ahead series. Random House will publish it 9-22. HarperCanada pubs the book. . . tomorrow! yay!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

in paperback, at last!

Dream Carver

Diana C0hn's lyrical story of young Mareo's realizing his vision as an artist in his small traditional Mexican village. Based on a true story!


Young girls murdered! Supernatural appearances confound! And the scared citizens of a small town in the 1910's suspect Dee's grandmother is bewitching them. This suspenseful, creepy novel joins Barbara Hawoth-Attard's expanding oeuvre next month from HarperCollins Canada. Stayed tuned for news of the U.S. edition.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


What is Steampunk? Take it away, Art...

Art Slade's THE HUNCHBACK ASSIGNMENTS is available September 22nd!

"An excellent start to a promising new series." - Kirkus Reviews

"Pleasing and evocative." - Booklist

Learn more at Hunchback Assignments website.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Websites for Author Promotion

The Association of Authors' Representatives holds the occasional panel for industry folks (usually above the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square - no kidding). Last week I attended one on e-platforms and author web-marketing. A few of the social-networking sites mentioned I knew (Goodreads, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter etc), but a few were new to me, like Library Thing, Shelfari, and Google Profile. These are tremendous tools for authors, who simply must have a strong web-presence to survive.

(For more online book-love, check out Booktumbling, a current pet obsession...)


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ants Rule!

How I love this book! The manuscript arrived and it featured only ONE type of killer ant. Ants (being my #1 favorite insect), I happen to know, boast FOUR killer varieties. Nick Nirgiotis revised his manuscript accordingly and STNY sold it to the first editor to see it— fellow insect lover, Mary Cash at Holiday House.

the moral of the story: sometimes you hit an agent's quirk, bingo!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Demons and Angels

Everyone wants to guess the next trend before it happens. But how? I'm wondering if the slush pile can offer some clues. The past month I've seen dozens and dozens of manuscripts about otherworldly love-affairs. No, not vampires. Angels. Will there be a heavenly response to the vampire and werewolf craze? It seems to follow. You've got gorgeous, ephemeral love-interests, Biblical battles between good and evil, forbidden love, and none of the icky blood stuff. When I see a swell of subs on the same topic, I think there must be something in the mass-unconscious that's given everyone the same idea. I wonder...


Social Networking for Book Promo recently conducted a survey of book club members and found that 83% of groups read both hardcovers and paperbacks, and that at least half of book club members are on Goodreads or Facebook.

Probably wise marketing for authors, getting their books up and discussed on these kinds of sites.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Age Queries?

Ah ha! This may shed some light on last week's mystery. Thanks to Danielle for pointing this out.


Monday, June 8, 2009

SCBWI, Query Questions

Scott returns from Jersey today with tales of a fantastic SCBWI conference. Many thanks to all who made it possible, and to the 14 billion (or so) writers who shared their work. What we're hearing: boy middle-grade is still much in demand. So send us those rough-and-tumble stories.

I received a question today about our exclusivity policy. Exclusivity means submitting to us and us alone for a finite period - in our case, thirty days. We ask this because we don't wish to compete with other agencies for your work. If you'd like us to represent you, we get first dibs. Multiple submissions refers to sending more than one piece to different agencies. This is generally discouraged.

As always, I am delighted to answer questions via email (


Friday, June 5, 2009

Things that make you go "hmm..."

Our contact info must have popped up someplace funny, because we have been DELUGED with queries for adult manuscripts - most of them spiritual self-help books. I've written back to some of the authors, asking where they saw we were interested in that kind of thing, but so far no one has replied. I'd like to find the site and correct the misinformation. Oh well.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Wishful Thinking

As you've no doubt heard, Maurice Sendak's immortal WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE is being made into a movie - and it looks like a good one, if the trailer is to be believed. I'm still holding out for a film version of my all-time favorite children's book, a Chris Van Allsburg title (one that hasn't already been brought to freakish, computer-animated life). No, not Two Bad Ants. I'm thinking of THE Z WAS ZAPPED, in which each letter of the alphabet meets its grim, alliterative end. I envision an all-star cast (live-action, of course) with Downey Jr. as the drowning D, and maybe Zooey Deschanel in the eponymous role. Come on, wouldn't you love to see her in a giant Z costume?


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Listen Up!

A podcast!

if you wonder how a picturebook derives meaning, listen to author Barbara Joosse, illustrator Jan Jutte, and editor Patti Gauch discuss how an apparently simple story becomes imbued with the tantalizing subterranean elements (e.g., metaphor) that make it resonate, seemingly mysteriously, so kids ask to hear it over and over. ROAWR!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wired Winks at Wink!

Firecracker Julie Phillipps gives a riveting interview in Wired. Julie's debut is Viking's new hit Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed. Sequel? Spring 2011, thank you very much.

So Very Awarding

You may wish to note that no less than the '09 Américas Award Committee cited— rather, commended Maurie Manning's KITCHEN DANCE (Clarion).

Manning's most exuberant work yet —PW

The previous two titles Ms. Maurie illustrated are How Full is Your Bucket for Kids (Gallup) and Sorry! (Tricycle)— boffo Amazon sales, incidentally.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

we love Janice Repka!

The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco
six years back, i picked THE STUPDENOUS DODGEBALL FIASCO from the slush. it is a funny middle-grade, which is, take note, the consistently most sought-after kids' book category. the book-buying population peaks during the middle-grade years and few writers can reach it. the stories we see are derivative, trite, dreary; the storytelling is wordy, ill-shaped, and in a fake voice; the characters are flat, wooden, inauthentic. authors do not dig deeply enough into their imaginations to realize the children's experience. these readers are still children, but they are not cutesy, gosh-golly know-nothings, and i suspect fantasy and reality are more fluid constructions for them than becomes true for teens.

not only can Janice write for these illusory creatures, at once it was apparent how seriously she takes her craft— this is what i look for— and her work would only get better. through her own promotion, THE STUPENDOUS DODGEBALL FIASCO achieved solid hardcover sales (especially for a debut). even so, Dutton's paperback arm, Puffin, declined to publish a mass market edition. (it may yet correct its mistake.) nevertheless, we sold audio rights so at least you have two formats to chose from. we just sold Janice's second book and our expectations are high. Janice is a writer to watch.

Do You Know. . .

how much we like our Kindles? paper mss were the heart of my professional reading experience-- as for all agents and editors-- but electronic readers made their ungainliness instantly obvious. paper mss weigh a lot and keeping the pages together is a drag and slows reading. a light-weight Kindle holds everything, goes everywhere; and even though note-taking is trickier than marking physical pages, or going back to scrutinize issues of pace/character/logic/etc., these devices are sure to own future of reading.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


 THE WAIT IS OVER! This p-e-r-f-e-c-t picturebook publishes today. Get ye to a bookstore! 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Look What Maurie's Done Now!

Never thought I'd have a Gallup-- as in The Gallup Poll-- book. oh, the places you'll go (to coin a phrase) with versatile talent in the stable. Three cheers* for Maurie Manning!

* Margin for error plus or minus 1 cheer

We Can Hardly Wait!

Intrigued? This logo treatment is for Arthur Slade's Fall 09 steampunk series. Hold on to your stovepipe: it's creepy and mysterious and romantic and . . . hunchbacked!

Countdown to ROAWR!


The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed

Ain't it time you saw Julie Phillipps's debut picturebook? No stock problem here. it went back for a 2d printing— a mere week after it pub'd! Julie rocks!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Here You See. . .

This extraordinary constellation of talent met mid-March for mega meetings at Penguin. From left to right are Patti Gauch, Philomel editor supreme, illustrious Dutch illustrator Jan Jutte, and genius author Barbara Joosse. The first of three books by this PERFECT collection of creators (it is a  w-o-n-d-e-r  how they sparkle together) is due Apr 16: ROAWR! You must get your hands on this one: it brims with  BRILLIANCE. no joke. it is a study in a perfect picture book. Now, how often do you hear that?

Monday, March 30, 2009

©©©©©©©seen our website?©©©©©©©©©©

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We chatted it up for weeks and now is here! Oh, the myriad wonders that await.

Submissions Our on-line Submission Form (we jettisoned snail- mailed and emailed submissions)  means we now respond in THIRTY DAYS! (rather than our long-standing 90 days). 

Writers and/or Illustrators note: we still look hard for talent, established and new. Lest anyone forget, STNY has a tradition of finding new talent and launching first-rate careers.

Business Partners will work with ease on password-protected content areas.

Acquiring Editors can directly download illustrated manuscripts and/or large files and have access to continually updated ancillary materials and relevant websites.

Permission Editors can request work via an on-line Permissions Form!

Foreign Colleagues can source STNY’s continually updated catalogue and check the status of projects in development. Sales support materials— reviews, awards, licensing deals, and media coverage— will be posted for each title and/or author.

Who can ask for anything more?


This is THE BEST historical of all. Pat Hughes's first book went over big where she set it, Missouri, an undeclared state during the Civil War. Seven years after the hardcover release of  GUERRILLA SEASON, FSG is giving the world a paperback— hoping Missouri will require every middle-grader to buy— I mean, read it. If you write historical fiction— or anything at all— read GUERRILLA SEASON, it's downright scintillating.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wake Up and Smell the Dog P--- Well, Anyways

Here is a SPECTACULAR book by writing + illustrating dynamos (also husband and wife)  Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson.

LITTLE LIONS, BULL BAITERS, & HUNTING HOUNDS traces 50 dog breeds to their geographic origins, connecting them to the jobs they were breed specifically to perform. Jeff and Shelly's next book, on Horses, is in-the-works.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Who Says Janie Bynum Doesn't Rock?

No one! And that's because she does! ONE LITTLE FLOWER GIRL won a 2009 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio GOLD  BOOK AWARD! hip hip hurray for Janie Supreme!

Sunday, March 15, 2009 is coming this week! (we expect) will launch this week! 

John and I are now reading on electronic readers, and submissions henceforth are ONLY accepted via our electronic submission form. Now, before you start grousing, take heed: we will now respond MUCH faster. We still want exclusives but our turnaround will be one-third our long-standing 90 days. We will now respond to submissions within 30 days. Cool, right?

Also Note
  • Snail-mailed hardcopy submissions will be returned un-opened.
  • Submissions emailed to our STNY mailboxes will be deleted unread.
  • We will not answer submissions for screenplays or for the adult market.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Pamela Travers Said

(Who is Pamela Travers? That's why we have Wikipedia.)

In a British review, she wrote that anyone who writes for children successfully is probably writing for one child, namely the child that is him/herself. That one true inner critic, to me, ALWAYS knows best. if there is a barrier to sourcing it, you have to get over it.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Wendy Lamb Books (R-H) Publishing Event!

New Art Slade novel! 
For your delectation, an original blend of boy, pig, truffles, and lightening— oh, and an odd prep school where the kids have to wear kilts. Click now and let the entertainment begin!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Just look how fabulous Janie Bynum is. We're not kidding!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Here She Comes. . .

 Janie Bynum's super cute, pastel-y pictures will smile you up (despite the kinda lame text). LITTLE FLOWER GIRL wannabes might commence plucking petals themselves for tossing practice. Not to worry: the book comes with a packet of FREE silk organza petals. Now, that's fancy!

Monday, February 23, 2009

We Almost Forgot!

Don't you forget! This awesome book by Gail Giles! is now in paperback. You won't even have to spend an arm and a leg for edification! Get reading!

Did we mention awesome?

Monday, February 16, 2009

What About a Query Letter?

Read enough query letters and they start to sound the same. I read hundreds each week, and after a couple hours my eyes glaze over. Okay - what's the main character's crazy name? Is the bully on the soccer team or the football team? What odd/curious/quirky place has the family moved to this time? What device activates the time travel?

I do not want to go into what is derivative and what is original in a story. I want to tell you that an excellent query letter will separate you from the pack. By "excellent" I mean "convenient for me" - but this will apply to all the other assistants on the front line.

Open directly Please consider. . . or I hope you will want to request. . . . Resist introducing yourself with Hello, my name is. . . Your stationery and signature will do that. Include a brief synopsis - no more than a paragraph. This isn't a jacket blurb, so it's okay to spill the ending. If there is one thing that drives me crazy— and it is really only because 90 percent of queries open this way— it is the "provocative" question: What would you do if. . . ; How does a teenager cope when. . .; What can possibly go wrong when. . . .

If you know something about STNY and our list (which you absolutely should, if you submit to us), tell us. Familiarity with our authors is a big plus. I can't tell you how many How-To-Save-Your-Marriage proposals I get. These writers don't know beans about STNY. Do your homework!

A brief bio is welcome. If you've published before, we want to know with whom. Do you have relationships with editors? Do you have a platform?. Also, if your manuscript has been rejected by a lot of publishing houses, it's important we know. Do not suppose that they will accept it because STNY submits it. We generally will not want to return to those houses, anyway. Finally, if your manuscript has been rejected and rejected and rejected, it makes me wonder why you do not write another.We look for career authors, not one-book Johnny's. Now, I know writers comfort themselves reciting the famous books that were rejected fifty times before landing with an editor. Just know, this is RARE and not the model you want to aspire to.

A query should pique our interest but also show your professionalism. Dazzling wit and imagination are highly desirable— but in your work, not your cover letter.


Thursday, February 12, 2009



Talk about great reviews for Julie Phillipps's debut!

Phillipps shows off her true calling. . . . Kirkus Review

Phillipp's ebullient and multipatterned cut-paper artwork bears a strong resemblance to the animation style of South Park, though more sophisticated and with a Japanese flavor, and, definitely, much less crass." Booklist

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