Author Darcy Pattison had a great idea a few years ago: a week authors could devote to promoting other authors. This is the week, and I'm going to start right off with Darcy.
Novel Metamorphosis, and I had enough new ideas and strategies to see me through any number of novel revisions. Not to mention seeing in bold where my work was flawed and what I could do to shore up sags.
I've said it before, but I'll say again: I could not revise a thing without the help of Donald Maass and his two outstanding books: Writing the Breakout Novel and Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. I learn something new each time I re-read - which I do each time I revise.
I have struggled with plot, but Martha Alderson is a clear light in the dark forest. Her Blockbuster Plots video is a staple of mine, and I never plot now without checking my draft against her brilliant template.
Now, I don't review fiction; but I'd like to introduce readers to two authors whose work I admire greatly. Both are Canadian, and their books don't get lots of publicity in the States, but they deserve an audience.
The first is a man who writes across genres - adult, young adult, middle grade - and he is richly talented. His name is Alan Cumyn.
Alan has written three charming and hilarious middle grade novels that commence with the award-winning The Secret Life of Owen Skye. These novels are the best kind of "boy books" - totally engaging, respectful of their audience, beautifully written. His newest fiction is right at the top of my TBR pile, a young adult novel, Tilt.
The second novelist I'd like to honor is Sarah Ellis. (Sarah writes reviews for The Horn Book, but don't let that left-brained activity fool you. She also writes fiction with heart.) Sarah's award-winning middle grade novel Odd Man Out had me laughing out loud. She, like Alan, is able to voice the mind of a young boy with exceptional clarity.
You may not find Alan's and Sarah's books on your local bookstore shelves but they are worth ordering - for yourself, or a young reader you know, who will truly thank you.