Sunday, December 16, 2007

Merry Christmas to all...and to all a good write!

Wherever you are and whatever you do, may you spend your December in your favorite setting with all of your favorite characters.

Happy Holidays, from Janelle

Friday, December 7, 2007

Countdown to the CYBILS

The time for the public to nominate books for the CYBILS awards has now passed, and the nominating panelists are feverishly reading hundreds of books and narrowing them down for the judges in each category to consider. You can check out the nominated books in each category (from picture books, to MG fantasy to graphic novels and more) at

Will the winners be someone in your crit group; someone you've met at a conference? Or will it be one of the tried and true masters of the trade who just happen to have a new book out this year? Looking at the nominated fantasy books this year (there are 94 of them,) the nominating committee is having to measure books written by Ursula Le Guin, Meg Cabot and Lloyd Alexander against new books by lesser known authors who may have just thrust their first fantasy writing into the market. Have no doubt though, at this point it's anybody's award to win!

As noted earlier on this blog, I'll be judging for fantasy this year. And I'm looking forward, with excitement (and trepidation,) to the task of reading so many great novels and working with the others on the fantasy judging panel to pick the WINNER for 2007. Check back here beginning in January for thoughts on the various books as I read them and the judging panel begins to discuss them.

I've chosen the cover of "Powers" by Ursula LeGuin (one of the nominated fantasy books) as the picture for this blog post because of the great job the illustrator did on the cover. Alas, we will not be judging the books in this competition by their illustrations. But to all of you illustrators out there, I still salute you. Afterall, the cover of a book is the very first thing that makes us pick it up off of a bookstore or library shelf. Following that we generally look at the title, and after that if the synopsis on the back is good and the first page seems intriguing, we might just take the book home and give the actual plot and characters inside it a chance to impress us. But it's the Illustrators who get us started. So, kudos to the ILLUSTRATORS who make readers give each book it's first chance!

As to the fantasy nominees: check out the books on the blog at the CYBILS website, and join the judges as we read them. If you don't agree with us in the end, perhaps you'll be inspired to look into becoming a judge next year yourself! :) But we surely will do the best we can to make a good selection! Ack! No pressure!

In other news, there are several new items lining the left hand side of this blog, and I hope you'll check them out. There is 1.) a writer's poll which will have a new topic every month from now on. 2.) a recommended YA/MG book of the month, and 3.) a "Favorite Line" from a YA/MG book that I'm currently reading to provoke each of us to write even greater sentences of our own.

I hope these will be of interest, make you smile, and make your writing life better just like they are making mine.