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Podcast title Middle Grade Ninja
Website URL http://www.middlegradeninja.co...
Description A podcast about reading and writing middle grade novels utilizing ninja stealth and skill. Rob Kent interviews fellow authors and various publishing professionals to discuss the craft and business of producing middle grade and young adult novels. Episodes are also available as videos. Learn more at MiddleGradeNinja.com. Rob Kent is the author of BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES.
Updated Fri, 12 Jul 2019 11:55:45 +0000
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1. Episode 30 Author Debbie Dadey
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Description: Debbie Dadey and I discuss her nearly 30-year career publishing over 160 children's books, from her classic debut, VAMPIRES DON'T WEAR POLKA DOTS, to her newest series, MERMAID TALES. She shares how she and coauthor Marsha Thornton Jones agreed to collaborate on THE ADVENTURES OF THE BAILEY SCHOOL KIDS while working out, passing the story back and forth like a hot potato, which went on to sell over 34 million copies and became one of the top three bestselling series in Scholastic's history. She also provides many tips on how to write for children, advice on publishing contracts, critique groups, generating story ideas, creating compelling outlines, planning series, and so much more. This episode is packed with information every writer needs to hear and is not to be missed. Debbie Dadey taught first grade before becoming a librarian. It was while teaching that she first realized how much she wanted to write a book for reluctant readers. Her first book, Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots, with fellow teacher Marcia Thornton Jones, was the result of a very bad day. In fact, Marcia and Debbie joked that if they were vampire teachers all the kids would pay attention to them! Since then, Debbie and Marcia have collaborated on more than 125 books with sales of over forty-seven million copies. Debbie has sold 166 books and is enjoying writing the Mermaid Tales series for Simon and Schuster. She has had a great time channeling her inner girl (and inner mermaid) with the adventures of Shelly, Echo, Kiki and Pearl. In each book, the mergirls deal with kid issues, as well as learning things about the ocean in school. Debbie grew up in Kentucky, but has lived all over the country with her family. She currently lives in Sevierville, TN with her husband and two dogs. She loves it when her three children visit and enjoys visiting schools all over the world. She hopes you'll like her on Facebook.com/debbiedadey or visit www.debbiedadey.com.

2. Episode 29 Author M.G. Hennessey
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Description: M.G. Hennessey and I discuss her new middle grade novel THE ECHO PARK CASTAWAYS and her previous book, THE OTHER BOY, as well as the state of the American foster care system. Also, STAR WARS and flying saucers. M.G. shares her experience with multiple literary agents and gives a whole lot of excellent writing advice. And to top it off, I introduce a contest to give away three free books for those who subscribe to my YouTube channel before August 15, 2019 M.G. Hennessey loves Star Wars, the San Francisco Giants, strawberry ice cream, and dancing. She mentors teens at the Lifeworks program/LA LGBT Center and volunteers as a CASA with L.A. foster kids. She's also the dean of Camp Transcend Family Camp, and an organizer of the Gender Odyssey LA conference. A supporter of the Transgender Law Center, Gender Spectrum. and the Human Rights Campaign, she lives in Los Angeles with her family. She/Her

3. Episode 28 Editor Diana M. Pho
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Description: Diana M. Pho and I chat about her career in publishing from her time as an international marketing assistant with Hachette to her eight years and counting as an editor with Tor Books. She walks me through the process of selecting a submission, building a presentation for it to convince her house to publish the book, and the process of actually editing and shaping the project. She also gives me some tidbits on what's happening with Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME series and its next installment. This is another wonderful episode packed with quality content and you'll want to listen to it at least twice. Diana M. Pho is a two-time Hugo-nominated editor at Tor Books and Tor.com Publishing, though she’s worked in the publishing industry under various hats for the past decade. She’s also an academic scholar, activist, performer, and general rabble-rouser elsewhere. Her talented list includes Robyn Bennis, Alex Bledsoe, P. Djeli Clark, Marie Cruz, Lara Elena Donnelly, Thoraiya Dyer, A. J. Hartley, Margaret Killjoy, Kari Maaren, and Prentis Rollins; she also works with the best-selling The Wheel of Time® series and George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards universe. Books she has edited have gone on to win the Thriller Award (Steeplejack, for Best YA), the Ditmar Award (Crossroads of Canopy, for Best Novel) and to become finalists for the Nebula, Lambda Literary Award, Shirley Jackson Award, and Andre Norton Award for Young Adult. In the steampunk community, she is best-known for running Beyond Victoriana, an award-winning, US-based blog on multicultural steampunk. She has published numerous articles on science fiction and its community. She has been interviewed for many media outlets about fandom, including CBS’s Inside Edition, MSN.com, BBC America, the Travel Channel, HGTV, and the Science Channel. MiddleGradeNinja.com BeyondVictoriana.com

4. Episode 27 Author Marie Miranda Cruz
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Description: Marie Miranda Cruz and I talk about her journey to write and publish her first novel, EVERLASTING NORA, including how she got her literary agent and her experience working with editor Diana Pho and even how she got the initial idea that sparked her story. We chat about the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the impact it had on her as well as her deep commitment to diversity in children's literature. And we talk about communities and the importance of creating a strong community of writers in your life. This is another wonderful episode that's not to be missed. Marie Miranda Cruz was born in the Philippines. She spent most of her formative years moving between her hometown, Cavite City, and several cities in the United States while her father served in the United States Navy. When her dad retired, she moved back to the Philippines where she completed both high school and college. The first holiday she experienced in the Philippines was All Saints Day. It was this experience that inspired her to write her first novel, EVERLASTING NORA. Marie now lives in Los Angeles with her family and a tank of fighting fish. When she isn’t writing books for kids, she may be analyzing chromosomes in a genetics lab, reading a good book, or knitting ponchos and fingerless gloves. MiddleGradeNinja.com CruzWrites.com

5. Episode 26 Author Amber Smith
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Description: Author Amber Smith and I discuss her newest novel, SOMETHING LIKE GRAVITY. We talk about where she got her idea originally, her process for writing it, and the techniques she employed in telling her story. We also talk about her journey of writing and publishing her first novel, THE WAY I USED TO BE, from the frustrations of rewriting it to the joys of it becoming an award winning New York Times Bestseller. She shares her tips for writing a romantic story, for building suspense, and for writing about characters respectfully without exploiting them. WARNING: We briefly discuss sexual assault as depicted in Amber's books, so discretion should be exercised for younger members of Esteemed Audience. Amber Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels, The Way I Used to Be, The Last to Let Go, and Something Like Gravity. Her debut, The Way I Used to Be (2016), was selected for the American Library Association’s Amelia Bloomer List of Feminist Literature and Texas Library Association’s TAYSHAS List, it was named a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, and nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in YA Fiction, Connecticut’s Nutmeg Book Award, and Indiana’s Eliot Rosewater Award. Her second novel, The Last to Let Go (2018), received starred reviews from Booklist and VOYA, and was named a most-anticipated book by B and N Teen Blog, Elite Daily, and Bookish. Her next novel, Something Like Gravity, will be released June 18th, 2019 from Simon and Schuster. Amber grew up in Buffalo, New York and now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her partner and their ever-growing family of rescued dogs and cats. Fueled by a lifelong passion for the arts, story, and creative expression, Amber graduated from art school with a BFA in Painting and went on to earn her master’s degree in Art History. When she’s not writing she’s usually reading, but can also be found in her studio making art or freelancing as an art consultant. She has also written on the topics of art history and modern and contemporary art. An advocate for increased awareness of gendered violence, including sexual assault and domestic or intimate partner abuse, as well as LGBTQ equality, she writes in the hope that her books can help to foster change and spark dialogue surrounding these issues. MiddleGradeNinja.com AmberSmithAuthor.com

6. Episode 25 Literary Agent Molly O'Neill
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Description: Molly O'Neill and I discuss her career in publishing from her start in marketing with Clarion Books to her time as an editor with Harper Collins to her current role as a literary agent with Root Literary. She shares the experience of discovering and editing DIVERGENT (and I reveal an embarrassing encounter I had with Veronica Roth). We talk about the relationship between authors and editors and how to keep it from going off kilter, the truth about rejection, and some practical tips for writing the dreaded synopsis. As a special bonus, we're treated to a live reading of ROBERT PATTINSON: ETERNALLY YOURS from one of its coauthors. This episode is packed with insight into the world of publishing and you'll want to listen to it multiple times through. Molly O'Neill is a literary agent with Root Literary. For the past sixteen years, she has held various roles inside the publishing industry: previously, she was an Editor at HarperCollins Children's Books, where she acquired Veronica Roth's juggernaut Divergent series, among many other fantastic projects; the Head of Editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; a member of the School and Library Marketing departments at both HarperCollins and Clarion Books; and an Agent at Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. Molly loves the creative process and early-stage project development, is invigorated by business strategy and entrepreneurial thinking, and is fascinated by the intersections of art, commerce, creativity, and innovation. Molly is especially passionate about the people behind books, and takes pride in discovering and evangelizing talented authors and illustrators, expanding the global reach of their work, and finding new ways to build connections and community among creators, readers, stories, and their champions. She hunts for new talent and speaks about the importance of books for young people at a variety of conferences for writers, illustrators, and educators around the world each year, and is on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course, where she helps train new generations of publishing professionals. Molly is an alum of Marquette University, an erstwhile Texan, and a current dweller of Brooklyn, NY. She is drawn to authors and artists who constantly challenge themselves, who are adept at communicating with their audiences, who are creative and flexible thinkers, and who have as much enthusiasm for their readers as for their own successes. Wit, strong writing, vivid settings, a passion for craft, or a well-timed reaction gif will always catch her eye. MiddleGradeNinja.com MollyOneillBooks.com RootLiterary.com

7. Episode 24 Author Dustin Brady
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Description: Author Dustin Brady and I discuss his experiences publishing both independently and traditionally for the middle grade market. We talk at length about his series TRAPPED IN A VIDEO GAME and the LEILA AND NUGGET MYSTERIES. We do a deep dive on his extensive experience as an Amazon seller and their AMS marketing platform. He gives a lot of practical, no-nonsense advice about cover design, book description, and all aspects of creating a quality book that's marketable. We also talk about school visits and his love for reaching reluctant readers. This is an episode you'll want to listen to multiple times through (and take notes). Dustin Brady writes funny, action-packed books for kids. Although he regularly gets locked out of his own accounts for forgetting passwords, Dustin still remembers the Super Mario Bros. 3 Game Genie code for infinite lives. It’s SLXPLOVS. Dustin lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife, kids, and a small dog named Nugget. MiddleGradeNinja.com DustinBradyBooks.com

8. Episode 23 Literary Agent John Rudolph
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Description: Literary Agent John Rudolph and I discuss his career in publishing from his start as a reluctant reader in childhood to becoming an editor to his current role as a literary agent with Dystel, Goderich and Bourret LLC. He offers a ton of great advice about how to evaluate an agent and how to engage one professionally and demystifies the role of an agent. We chat about diversity in publishing, the indie publishing revolution, and so much more. This is another topnotch episode packed end-to-end with quality information to help authors improve their craft. Don't miss it! John Rudolph joined Dystel, Goderich and Bourret LLC in 2010 after twelve years as an acquiring children’s book editor. He began his career at Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers as an Editorial Assistant and then moved to the G. P. Putnam’s Sons imprint of the Penguin Young Readers Group, where he eventually served as Executive Editor on a wide range of young adult, middle-grade, nonfiction, and picture book titles. He graduated from Amherst College with a double major in Classics and Music. While John’s list started out as mostly children’s books, it has evolved to the point where it is now half adult, half children’s authors —and he’s looking to maintain that balance. On the children’s side, John is keenly interested in middle-grade and young adult fiction and would love to find the next great picture book author/illustrator. For adults, he is actively looking for narrative nonfiction, especially in music, sports, history, popular science, “big think”, performing arts, health, business, memoir, military history, and humor. He is also interested in commercial fiction, but is very selective in what he takes on. MiddleGradeNinja.com Dystel.com

9. Episode 22 Author Daniel José Older
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Description: Daniel José Older and I chat about his bestselling young adult series SHADOWSHAPER CYPHER and his new middle grade series, DACTYL HILL SQUAD. And STAR WARS, of course, including what it was like to get to read the SOLO script early. Daniel José Older shares information about his process, marketing tips, and how to present an authentic version of yourself to the world. And his adorable dogs make cameo appearances. This conversation was an absolute treat and it's not to be missed. Daniel José Older is the New York Times bestselling author of the Middle Grade historical fantasy series Dactyl Hill Squad, the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, Star Wars: Last Shot, and the award winning Young Adult series the Shadowshaper Cypher, which won the International Latino Book Award and was shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize in Young Readers' Literature, the Andre Norton Award, the Locus, the Mythopoeic Award, and named one of Esquire's 80 Books Every Person Should Read. You can find his thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic and hear his music at http://danieljoseolder.net/, on youtube and @djolder on twitter. MiddleGradeNinja.com DanielJoseOlder.net

10. A Reading From Banneker Bones And The Alligator People
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Description: Author Rob Kent reads three chapters from his new middle grade novel, BANNEKER BONES AND THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE. About the book: Eleven-year-old cousins Banneker Bones and Ellicott Skullworth are back in their second adventure. Picking up where BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES left off, our heroes are soaring through the air on jet packs, as they do, when they spot a half man, half alligator that’s all terrifying. Naturally, they follow the alligator person deep into the sewers and are nearly eaten for their trouble. Worse, no one believes the boys were attacked. Not the kids at school, not their parents, not even Banneker’s faithful robot butler. Banneker and Ellicott must prove the existence of alligator people to both vindicate themselves and once again save Latimer City from certain destruction. For as Banneker warns TV reporter Chip Lieberman, "I don't want to alarm your viewers, Chip, but we may all die. This is the start of the alligator people apocalypse!" BANNEKER BONES AND THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE is a humorous, science fiction adventure for readers of all ages written in the spirit of a comic book.

11. Episode 21 Author Jessica Lawson
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Description: Jessica Lawson and I chat about writing and the strange quirks of being a writer. We discuss each of her books, where she gets her ideas, and her best writing practices. She doesn't sing a song about lost socks, alas, but she does talk about her editorial process and her best tips for successful school visits. Jessica and I have been online friends for years and it was a pleasure to finally have a conversation in person. I learned a lot and you will as well. Jessica Lawson enjoys living in Pennsylvania, where she and her family spend weekend hours hanging at the local orchard, pretending to be on Top Chef Junior, building with magnet blocks, making up new holidays, and reading plenty of books. She likes pizza. A lot. She is the author of The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher, a book that Publishers Weekly called “a delightfully clever debut” in a starred review, and Nooks and Crannies, a Junior Library Guild Selection and recipient of three starred reviews. Her 3rd book, Waiting for Augusta, won the Colorado Book Award for Juvenile Fiction, and was also a Junior Library Guild Selection. Of her latest book, Under the Bottle Bridge, School Library Journal says: "Beautifully written, with vivid characters, this exploration of family and friendship shines from the first page." She fell in love with storytelling at an early age, and is a sucker for Roald Dahl, Maurice Sendak, Linda Sue Park, RL LaFevers, Charles Dickens, Karen Cushman, Barbara Park, Amy Tan, Maryrose Wood, Barbara Cooney, Anne Ursu, Christopher Paul Curtis, Gail Carson Levine, Rita Williams-Garcia, Arnold Lobel, Isabel Allende, Sharon Creech, Eva Ibbotson, Shannon Hale, Maeve Binchy and many, many, many other wonderful authors and illustrators. She writes middle grade fiction, lots of to-do lists, and songs about lost socks. MiddleGradeNinja.com JessicaLawsonBooks.com

12. Episode 20 Literary Agent Elana Roth Parker
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Description: Literary Agent Elana Roth Parker and I discuss her career as an editor and a literary agent (and a few other jobs). We talk about how authors should evaluate agents as well as how she evaluates potential clients, including what one author did to rule themselves out during a potential offer call. Bonus: you'll get to hear about a possible close encounter. This is a wonderfully informative conversation with a seasoned expert you don't want to miss. Elana Roth Parker is a Detroit-based creative type of the word variety. Elana has a few college degrees that explain where she came from and where she is now: one in English literature from Barnard College and one in Bible from the Jewish Theological Seminary. The magic happened when she lucked into her dream internship at Nickelodeon Magazine—a career in children's content was born. Book publishing followed, and over the next 15 years Elana went from editor to agent, with some stops in marketing and content strategy along the way. A literary agent for 10+ years, she currently represents children's book authors and illustrators at Laura Dail Literary Agency. After 17 years in New York City, Elana and her creative director husband relocated to her native Michigan, where she now drives around their two sons in a minivan. MiddleGradeNinja.com Elana.me Ldlainc.com

13. Episode 19 Editor Alison S. Weiss
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Description: Editor Alison S. Weiss and I discuss her career in publishing and her editing expertise. We cover a little bit of everything from how she got her start in the business to recommendations for those who want to establish careers in publishing. We go through the services she provides to writers and her tips for tightening pacing, creating non-stereotypical characters, making your prose read like music, finding the right ratio between dialogue and action in a scene, and whole lot of other great stuff. This is a highly informative episode you'll want to listen to more than once. Alison S. Weiss has been in publishing for more than ten years. She currently is an editorial consultant at Alison Weiss Editorial. Prior to that, she was Editorial Director at Sky Pony Press, where she works on picture books through YA including William C. Morris Finalist, Devils Within by S.F. Henson, the Project Droid series by New York Times bestselling Nancy Krulik and Amanda Burwasser, illustrated by Mike Moran, and the popular Timekeeper trilogy by Tara Sim. In 2016 she was named Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. She’s been trying to live up to the title ever since. Find information about her services at alisonweisseditorial.com and follow her on Twitter @alioop7. MiddleGradeNinja.com AlisonWeissEditorial.com

14. Episode 18 Literary Agent Holly Root
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Description: Literary Agent Holly Root and I discuss her career in publishing from working in the mail room, to making a name for herself as an agent, to now running her own agency. She also takes us through the cycle of a published manuscript from the time it starts out as a query in her inbox, to the time she negotiates its contract, to guiding its author through launch and onto their next book and the rest of their career. And she makes a JURASSIC PARK reference, so you know she's awesome. Prepare to learn a lot about publishing and to be inspired. Holly Root began her publishing career as an editor in her hometown of Nashville, TN. Prior to joining the Waxman Literary Agency in 2007, she worked at the William Morris Agency and Trident Media Group. Holly has launched over two dozen New York Times bestsellers before founding Root Literary in 2017. The agency's clients benefit from its agents' proven skills in identifying talent, negotiating advantageous deals, and advocating for its books all the way from submission to publication. They offer their clients broad-based industry insights as well as individualized strategic thinking to empower each author to define and pursue their own unique path to success. MiddleGradeNinja.com RootLiterary.com

15. Episode 17 Author Padma Venkatraman
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Description: Padma Venkatraman and I discuss her new middle grade novel, THE BRIDGE HOME. We discuss everything from her childhood in India to her becoming an oceanographer and now an award-winning author. We also discuss religion, spirituality, writing about them for the middle grade market, and, of course, flying saucers. This episode is filled from end to end with fascinating insights about writing and storytelling, as well advice for living. Padma Venkatraman is the author of 4 novels: THE BRIDGE HOME, A TIME TO DANCE, ISLAND'S END and CLIMBING THE STAIRS, all of which were released to multiple starred reviews (for a total of seventeen stars so far). Her latest, THE BRIDGE HOME, was released this February to five starred reviews (in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal and School Library Connection), won an Audiophile Magazine Earphone Award, and is the 2019 middle grade Global Read Aloud. Her previous three young adult novels have won several awards (South Asia Book Award, Paterson Prize, Boston Authors Club Julia Ward Howe, Rhode Island Book of the Year etc.) and received numerous honors (including the ALA Notable, ALA BBYA, Kirkus BBYA, Booklist Editor’s Choice, NYPL Top 25 and Bank Street Best Books). MiddleGradeNinja.com PadmaVenkatraman.com

16. Episode 16 Public Relations Expert Megan Beatie
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Description: Public relations expert Megan Beatie and I discuss book marketing for middle grade novels, young adult novels, and picture books. She shares her history navigating the publishing industry in the start of her career in 1996 all the way to the present, gives an overview of all the things she does for her authors, and provides numerous invaluable tips for book promotion and working with publicists. This is an invaluable conversation for anyone interested in marketing a book. Megan Beatie is a veteran book publicist with more than two decades of experience. She has executed the publicity campaigns for books in nearly every conceivable genre including literary fiction, mysteries&thrillers,science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, young adult and children’s books, as well as nonfiction covering the topics of pop culture, film, entertainment, health, lifestyle, parenting, and relationships. Some of the esteemed writers she has represented over the course of her career include Marcia Clark, Dr. David Agus, Dr. Nina Shapiro, John Lahr, Barry Eisler, Lee Goldberg, Seth Greenland, Leslie S. Klinger, Attica Locke, John Connolly, Chris Farnsworth, and many others. She has a specialty in children’s book publicity and has worked on picture books, middle grade books and young adult books by authors including Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, IbiZoboi, Elana K. Arnold, Maureen Johnson, Melissa de la Cruz, Margaret Stohl, Amber Smith, Alexandra Monir, and many more. The fifth generation of a farming family from Southern California’s Ventura County, Megan lives and works in Los Angeles. Visit her company’s website at www.meganbeatie.com and follow on Facebook @MeganBeatieCommunications, Instagram @mubeatie, and Twitter @mbeatie. MiddleGradeNinja.com

17. Episode 15 Author Kathi Appelt
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Description: Kathi Appelt and I discuss her first young adult novel, ANGEL THIEVES, as well as her many wonderful picture books and middle grade novels. She reveals her writing and research process and is very candid about the highs and lows of her publishing career, from the runaway success of THE UNDERNEATH to the tale of the picture book that took 17 years to finally be published. We also discuss religion and politics and are generally impolite, as authors ought to be. We even say a naughty word apiece, so look forward to that and more in this amazing episode packed with outstanding advice for writers from a master of the craft. Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award-winning, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Keeper, and many picture books including Counting Crows. She has two grown children and lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband. MiddleGradeNinja.com KathiAppelt.com

18. Episode 14 Author Lamar Giles
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Description: Lamar Giles and I discuss his newest middle grade adventure novel, THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER, his young adult thrillers, and our mutual love for Stephen King. We also talk about the founding of We Need Diverse Books, his transition from self published author to traditionally published author (and the advantages of each publishing model), and also Stephen King. We actually talk about Stephen King a lot. If you'd like to support We Need Diverse Books, head to: https://diversebooks.org/our-programs/ And to apply for the grant Lamar mentioned, head to: https://diversebooks.org/our-programs/walter-grant/ And to read my open (love) letter to Stephen King, head to: http://www.middlegradeninja.com/2016/10/ninja-stuff-open-letter-to-stephen-king.html Lamar Giles is a well published author and a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. Lamar has two novels forthcoming in 2019: his debut middle grade fantasy THE LAST LAST-DAY-OF-SUMMER (Versify / HMH) and his fourth YA thriller SPIN (Scholastic). Lamar Giles is a two-time Edgar Award finalist in the YA category, for his debut YA thriller FAKE ID (HarperCollins, 2014), and his second YA thriller, ENDANGERED (HarperCollins, 2015). His third YA thriller, OVERTURNED (Scholastic, 2017) received this glowing New York Times review, and was named a Kirkus Best Book of 2017. You can see the book trailer for OVERTURNED here. FAKE ID has been optioned by Sony Pictures (not yet announced). Lamar is a contributor to the YA anthology THREE SIDES OF A HEART (HarperCollins, 2017), the editor of the forthcoming We Need Diverse Books YA short story anthology FRESH INK (Random House 2018), a contributor to the forthcoming YA anthology BLACK ENOUGH: STORIES OF BEING YOUNG & BLACK IN AMERICA (HarperCollins / Balzer and Bray 2019), and a contributor to a forthcoming We Need Diverse Books middle grade anthology. MiddleGradeNinja.com lamargiles.com

19. Episode 13 Author Steven K. Smith
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Description: Author Steven K. Smith and I discuss indie publishing for the middle grade market and his advice for writers. We talk about his series THE VIRGINIA MYSTERIES and how utilizing local landmarks and history helped him build a network of educators and bookstore owners to help him market his books. Steven and I both have a background in sales, so we discuss how that's extremely helpful for authors. And we get into the nitty gritty on Amazon ads and other subjects specifically helpful for indie publishers. Another episode that's not to be missed! Steven K. Smith writes the middle grade series The Virginia Mysteries, adventures with a twist of history, and Brother Wars. Sign up for Steven's Reader's List to be notified of new books and events at: http://eepurl.com/bmgO8T Steven lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife and three sons. Born and raised in rural northwestern New Jersey, he moved to Virginia in 2011 and quickly fell in love with its history and charm. Visit his website at www.stevenksmith.net. He also writes contemporary fiction for grownups as Steven Sawyer. When he's not writing, Steven enjoys coaching his boys in sports, hiking, kayaking, naps, and taking away his kids' screen time. Some of his favorite children's books include Where the Red Fern Grows, Rascal, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Bridge to Terabithia, and the Chronicles of Narnia series. The Virginia Mysteries - Adventures with a twist of history Book 1 - Summer of the Woods Book 2 - Mystery on Church Hill Book 3 - Ghosts of Belle Isle Book 4 - Secret of the Staircase Book 5 - Midnight at the Mansion Book 6 - Shadows at Jamestown Book 7 - Spies at Mount Vernon Brother Wars Brother Wars: Cabin Eleven Brother Wars: The Big Apple Parenting Non-Fiction Splashing in the Deep End: Adventures Raising Boys MiddleGradeNinja.com myboys3.com

20. Episode 12 Literary Agent Jennifer March Soloway
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Description: Literary Agent Jennifer March Soloway and I discuss the types of projects she's looking for, how she evaluates queries and writing samples, and the sorts of services she provides to her clients. She demonstrates her vast knowledge of the market and why she would be an ideal literary agent to represent authors, and throws out plenty of fabulous tips for writers. This is an episode you'll want to listen to a few times and take notes. Jennifer March Soloway represents authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and YA stories, and is actively building her list. Although she specializes in children’s literature, she also represents adult fiction, both literary and commercial, particularly crime and psychological suspense projects. For picture books, she is drawn to a wide range of stories from silly to sweet, but she always appreciates a strong dose of humor and some kind of surprise at the end. When it comes to middle grade, she likes all kinds of genres, including adventures, mysteries, spooky-but-not-too-scary ghost stories, humor, realistic contemporary, and fantasy. YA is Jennifer’s sweet spot. She is a suspense junkie. She adores action-packed thrillers full of unexpected twists. Throw in a dash of romance and she’s hooked! She's a huge fan of psychological horror that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or recovery. In such stories, she is particularly drawn to a close, confiding first-person narrative. Regardless of genre, she is actively seeking fresh new voices and perspectives underrepresented in literature. That’s her wish list, but the truth is an author might have something she has never considered before, and it might be absolutely perfect for her. She is open to any good story that is well written with a strong, authentic voice. Surprise her! Prior to joining ABLA, Jennifer worked in marketing and public relations in a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, and toys. She has an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College and was a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto in 2012. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, their two sons, and an English bulldog. Jennifer regularly presents at writing conferences all over the country, including the San Francisco Writers Conference, the Atlanta Writers Conference, and regional SCBWI conferences. For her latest conference schedule, craft tips and more, follow Jennifer on Twitter (@marchsoloway). MiddleGradeNinja.com andreabrownlit.com

21. Episode 11 Author Tommy Greenwald
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Description: Author Tommy Greenwald and I discuss his career in publishing and his advice for writers. We do a deep dive on his process from having his initial idea to planning the story to planning a series and working with his editors and illustrators to produce a final book. He gives several invaluable insights into marketing and targeting his fiction. We also talk about his experience writing and advertising musicals as well as writing about sports. Tommy Greenwald is the author of many books for children, including the CRIMEBITERS! series, about a group of friends and a (possibly) superhero crime-fighting vampire dog, and the CHARLIE JOE JACKSON books, a middle-grade series about the most reluctant reader ever born. His most recent book is GAME CHANGER, about the pleasures and perils of youth sports. Tommy is also the Co-Founder of Spotco Advertising, a theatrical and entertainment advertising agency in New York City, and the lyricist and co-bookwriter (with Andrew Lippa) of JOHN and JEN, a 1995 musical which was revived off-Broadway in 2015. MiddleGradeNinja.com TommyGreenwald.com

22. Episode 10 Author Daniel Kenney
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Description: Author Daniel Kenney and I discuss his career in publishing and his advice for writers. We go to some weird places with our mutual love of flying saucers and even discuss whether or not the moon landing was faked (probably not, but maybe). And I read a selection from BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES. My apologies for coughing and sniffling as I'm getting over a nasty bought of the flu. Daniel Kenney is the co-author of the hit detective series, The Math Inspectors and the author/illustrator behind the hugely successful Big Life of Remi Muldoon series. He writes funny books for smart kids and his titles include The Beef Jerky Gang, Pirate Ninja, and Katie Plumb and The Pendleton Gang. Daniel and his wife live in Omaha, Nebraska with zero cats, zero dogs, one gecko, two very lost toads, and a large shoe full of kids. When those kids aren't driving him nuts, Daniel is busy with his other passion, traveling the world by jet pack. MiddleGradeNinja.com Facebook.com/AuthorDanielKenney Twitter.com/danielkenney

23. Episode 09 Literary Agent John Cusick
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Description: Literary Agent and author John Cusick and I discuss his career in publishing and his advice for writers. We talk about diversity in publishing, his tips for landing an agent, and many other great things you won't want to miss. Here is a link to John's video "A Pretty Much Foolproof Silver Bullet Query Opening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27VHP... And as promised, here's a link to my post about diversity in traditional publishing: http://www.middlegradeninja.com/2015/03/ninja-stuff-on-heartbreak-and-diversity_27.html John Cusick (@johnmcusick) is a VP and literary agent with Folio Jr. / Folio Literary Management. He represents a diverse list of bestselling and award-winning creators of picture books, middle-grade, and young adult novels. He is also the author of Girl Parts and Cherry Money Baby (Candlewick Press), and co-editor of the YouTube series Agent Brain/ Writer Brain. www.middlegradeninja.com johnmcusick.wordpress.com foliolit.com

24. Episode 08 Editor Amy Tipton
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Description: Editor and former literary agent Amy Tipton and I discuss her career in publishing and her approach to editing. We chat about her time representing Courtney Summers, Amy Reed, and many other famous YA authors and I thank her for a crucial note she gave me when I was revising Banneker Bones and the Giant Robot Bees. She shares her philosophy of revision, the new services she's offering through Feral Girl Books, the most common mistakes writers make, and much, much more. In her own words: I graduated from Naropa University with a B.A. in Writing and Literature and received my MFA from New College of California in Writing. I have been working in the publishing industry for 13 years and started freelance editing in 2018. Prior to that, I was a literary agent at Signature Literary Agency since 2009. (I first stepped into the role of literary agent at Peter Rubie Literary Agency, now FinePrint Literary Management, in 2007.) I started out as an assistant and office manager at several agencies including JCA Literary Agency, Diana Finch Literary Agency, Gina Maccoby Literary Agency, and Liza Dawson Associates, as a book scout for Aram Fox, Inc., and as a freelance editor for Lauren Weisberger (author of The Devil Wears Prada). My years of experience culling books from the slush pile give me confidence I can help you too! (Not just a service for those looking for an agent … Maybe you already have an agent but they are less editorial-minded and you are going on sub or got an RR from an editor … Maybe you’re self-publishing … Whatever the situation, consider me your professional CP! ) www.middlegradeninja.com amy-tipton.com

25. Episode 07 Author Jacqueline West
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Description: NYT Bestselling author Jacqueline West and I discuss her career in publishing as well as her approach to writing and her background as a performer and English teacher. She shares many tips for how to write successfully and gives recommended resources for aspiring authors. I also read a small selection from Banneker Bones and the Giant Robot Bees. Jacqueline West is the author of the NYT-bestselling middle grade series The Books of Elsewhere, the YA novel Dreamers Often Lie, and the new middle grade fantasy The Collectors. She is also the author of two poetry collections, Cherma and Candle and Pins: Poems on Superstitions, and her poetry and short fiction appear in a variety of publications. She lives in Red Wing, Minnesota, with her family. www.middlegradeninja.com jacquelinewest.com

26. Episode 06 Author Susan Kaye Quinn
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Description: Author and indie publishing expert Susan Kaye Quinn and I discuss her career in publishing as well as her approach to writing and editing. She shares many tips for how to be successful as an indie author. You'll want to revisit this episode a few times and take notes because Susan has more knowledge than could ever be packed into a single episode. Note: a few crucial seconds have been removed from this conversation to protect the identity of Susan's pen name. Susan Kaye Quinn is a rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. She writes young adult science fiction, with side trips into adult future-noir and sweet royal romance. Her bestselling novels and short stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German, and featured in several anthologies. Susan grew up in California, got a bunch of engineering degrees (Aerospace, Mechanical, and Environmental), and worked everywhere from NASA to NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research). She has designed aircraft engines, studied global warming, and held elected office (as a school board member). Now that she writes novels, her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist,” but she spends most of her time inventing her stories, petting her cats, and rescuing her Roomba from evil socks. Susan writes full-time from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. She is a member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is represented by Sarah Hershmann at Hershmann Rights Management. www.middlegradeninja.com susankayequinn.com

27. Episode 05 Editor Mary Kole
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Description: Editor and former literary agent Mary Kole and I discuss her career in publishing and her approach to editing. She shares many tips for how to create memorable characters, how to improve a story's pacing, how best to market a book, and all sorts of other invaluable advice for writers. You'll want to revisit this episode a few times and take notes as it's packed with great content. And do not forget to check out KidLit.com, MaryKole.com, and purchase your copy of Mary's excellent book on craft, Writing Irresistible Kidlit. As promised in the show, here is the text of the kind rejection I recieved from Mary back in 2010: "Thank you so much for the opportunity to read BANNEKER BONES. Unfortunately, this is a pass for me. The writing here is good and the premise is fun and interesting but I'm having a hard time imagining how to pitch or sell this in today's market. The voice just isn't 100% there for me, and it really has to shine for me to take something on. You've obviously a very skilled writer and I know I'll be kicking myself, but I'm not connecting to the material enough to be the best advocate for it in the marketplace, and you deserve nothing less. I'm sure another agent will feel differently and I look forward to reading about your many successes. You're plugged in and getting there, I can tell, but you're not quite there yet."

28. Episode 04 Author Darby Karchut
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Description: Author Darby Karchut and I discuss her new middle grade novel, Del Toro Moon, as well as her advice for writers and thoughts and writing and publishing in general. We also chat a bit about our mutual love for author Mike Mullin. Late in the show, there are some slight technical issues with the video, but the audio is continuous and this was an amazing conversation I really enjoyed. Darby Karchut is a multi-award winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy at her writing desk. Her books include the best selling middle grade series: THE ADVENTURES OF FINN MacCULLEN. Best thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film. Her latest book is DEL TORO MOON from Owl Hollow Press. Visit the author at www.darbykarchut.com

29. Bonus Episode Indy Author Fair 2017 Genre Writing Panel
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Description: I chat with fellow genre writers Maurice Broaddus, Sandy James, and Tony Perona during the Genre Writing Panel at the Indy Author Fair held Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Central Library in Indianapolis. Maurice Broaddus is the author of the Knights of Breton Court trilogy, and the upcoming middle grade novel, The Usual Suspects. He has published dozens of short stories, essays, novellas and articles. He founded the Phoenix Arts Initiative, which encourages use of the arts for at-risk youth to express themselves. He teaches at the Indiana Writers Center. Sandy James has published numerous romance novels with Forever Yours and Carina Press, and is the recipient of two HOLT Medallions for excellence in that genre. Her indie-published romance novels have been Amazon #1 Bestsellers. She lives in suburban Indianapolis. Tony Perona is the author of the Nick Bertetto mystery series (SECOND ADVENT, ANGELS WHISPER, and SAINTLY REMAINS), the standalone thriller THE FINAL MAYAN PROPHECY, and co-editor and contributor to the anthologies RACING CAN BE MURDER and HOOSIER HOOPS & HIJINKS. Tony is a member of Mystery Writers of America and has served the organization as a member of the Board of Directors and as Treasurer. He is also a member of Sisters-in-Crime.

30. Episode 03 Author Jeff Norton
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Description: Author Jeff Norton and I discuss his new middle grade novel, Alienated, as well as his philosophy on writing and his advice for writers. Naturally, we also discussed our mutual love for zombies and the series Choose Your Own Adventure. And I got him on the record about his feelings regarding UFOs and alien abduction. You don't want to miss this episode! Jeff Norton is a London based writer-producer, author of the award-winning 'MetaWars' series from Hachette, 'Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie' series from Faber, and the new YA thriller 'Keeping The Beat' with co-author Marie Powell and published by KCP Loft. A reluctant reader as an adolescent, Jeff created the futuristic world of 'MetaWars' to rival the most exciting video games and to challenge readers with big ideas. His aim was to write "a video game you can read." Originally from Canada, Jeff began his career in advertising, worked in the movie business in Hollywood where he produced the critically acclaimed interactive film 'Choose Your Own Adventure,' and upon moving to the U.K., managed the literary estate of Enid Blyton, Britain's best-loved author. He now writes full time, with a focus on creating big, immersive worlds. Jeff is also a producer and director in multiple media. He lives London with his wife and two young sons. jeffnorton.com

31. Episode 02 Author Barbara Shoup
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Description: Barbara Shoup, one of my most favorite writers and the executive director of the Indiana Writers Center, joined me for this second episode. We had a fantastic discussion about writing, young adult novels, the Indiana Writers Center, and our love of being Hoosiers. This is one of my favorite conversations I've had with a fellow writer. Barbara Shoup is the author eight novels, including Night Watch, Wish You Were Here, Stranded in Harmony, Faithful Women, Vermeer's Daughter, Everything You Want, An American Tune, and Looking for Jack Kerouac, as well as the co-author of Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process and Story Matters. Her young adult novels, Wish You Were Here and Stranded in Harmonywere selected as American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults. Vermeer's Daughter was a School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Young Adults. She was the recipient of the 2006 PEN Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship. She lives in Indianapolis, where she is the Executive Director of the Indiana Writers Center.

32. Episode 01 Author Laura Martin
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Description: Laura Martin, my friend and author of THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION series discusses her newest middle grade novel, FLOAT. She also shares intimate details into her writing process and her writer's journey thus far and provides unique insight to inspire authors at all stages in their career. Our discussion of the edited "skinny dipping" scene from Float alone is well worth your time. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this discussion between two middle grade authors about writing, publishing, and life. Laura Martin believes in chasing dreams, and she brought that philosophy to her classroom for six years as a seventh-grade English teacher. She is the author of the Edge of Extinction series. When she isn’t writing stories about dinosaurs and underground civilizations, she can be found in the Indianapolis area with her dashing husband Josh, her two adorable kids London and Lincoln, and two opinionated bulldogs. You can visit her online at www.lauramartinbooks.com. Her latest, Float, released on May 29th, 2018