Saturday 31 December 2011

Happy New Year from the Slushpile!

Notes from the Slushpile Christmas Countdown
We hope you enjoyed our Countdown to Christmas series (view all the posts again here). Pulling it together was great fun, but there were flurries of emails, last minute schedule changes and chasing up contributors. The stress may have got to us a little in the lead up to Christmas, though ... here is a little peek at the behind-the-scenes madness.....

Addy Farmer: Just had an e-mail from 'X' to say she's sending something tomorrow! Sorry for the flurry of worry! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 18:12

Teri Terry: 'Flurry of worry' should be made into a poem, I'm sure! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 18:17

Maureen Lynas: I'm on it! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 18:30

Addy FarmerGet off, Maureen - it's mine! Actually, having just read Jude's post, thinking I might make a pic book... Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 18:59

Maureen Lynas: Done it! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:11

Addy Farmer: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! You beat me! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:20
Addy Farmer: We could have a poetry write-off! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:21

Jo Wyton: Is this going to end in a fist fight with 'Y' standing off to one side crying? Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:21

Slushpile note: 'Y' is an agent of considerable renown who rather likes Slushpile poetry

Addy Farmer: I could do swords but hang on, the pen is mightier than the sword. Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:24

Jo Wyton:
Not as exciting as a fight,
But if you insist, alright.
Just make sure,
You don't sadden or bore,
Or give 'Y' a fright.
Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:25

Addy Farmer: I like the idea of 'Y' crying over us - who will I choose? Waaa, no I'll take BOTH of them! (have had wine which induces fantasies) Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:26

Maureen Lynas: But my pen's bigger than your pen! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:27

Addy Farmer: En garde! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:31

Maureen Lynas: Not fair! You've got all the gear! I submit! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:35

Jo Wyton

Pens at the ready! Get ready to show
Us all what you are made of.
Synopses - who cares? Plot plans - not me -
It's all about the Slushpiler pen-off!
Man, I'm really bored... can you tell? Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:45

Addy Farmer: Hasn't anybody ever told you that thing about size? Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:46

Jo Wyton: Bigger is always better? Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:50

Maureen Lynas:

With pens at the ready
the authors stood steady
They clicked and turned
pages so white
Words they did scrawl
They were having a ball
As story and plot they did write
I'm finished cried Addy
Maureen was maddy
And so she squared up for a fight

She won
Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:51

Jo Wyton: I'm going to go hide and sulk now... ;o) Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:53

Maureen Lynas: Bored and sulky, oh dear :( Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:54

Addy Farmer:
Your pen is nifty

your words come swifty

think I'll look over your shoulder

and risk looking shifty
Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:01

Teri Terry:

it is impossible to rhyme
when your wine glass is empty
I'd have a much better time
With a wine glass of plenty
Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:05

Jo Wyton: Wahay! Shall we get you one of those wine glasses that holds a whole bottle for Christmas?! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:07

Slushpile note: YES please. Oops. Am I giving away my secret identity?

Addy Farmer: I think you could put that to music and make a drinking song Sent:Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:08

Maureen Lynas:

I wear shoulder pads
from Dallas no less
They're heavy and cause me distress
But wear them I do
to foil those who try
To peek, pink, copy 'borrow' or spy

I should be ironing! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:10

Addy Farmer:

Sword stabs,
fists fly,
gun shoots
rope ties
but tippy tap of black on white
mean words will win the war outright

Hmmm, bath time for Wilf and Christmas wrapping! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:26

Maureen Lynas: Aren't we all so talented! Yay slushpilers!!!! Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:28

Teri Terry:

The neighbours are drunk
the wine is all gone
I look at my watch
but they just won't go home
Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:31

Slushpile note: if any neighbours happen to see this, poetic license! I wasn't REALLY looking at my watch, honest!
Maureen Lynas:

There is no Teri Terry
On the internet today
So all the emails in my inbox
Are not from her, no way

Off to bath with a gin and tonic. Bye :)  Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 19:38

Slushpile note: Teri had earlier in the day claimed she'd have the internet off all day whilst editing! We were skeptical

Teri Terry:

Red Wine And Poetry Do Not Mix

If I have this glass of wine
I know I’ll find the perfect rhyme
And follow on to two or three
it’s sure to help my poetry
Metaphors will lightly spring
enjambment will take true wing
One more luscious red to sip
until I find the perfect quip
When morning comes, I fear and dread
the bleary eyes, the painful head
And hands do shake as page unfolds
what Masterpiece will now be told?
Oh no, it sucks! My deepest fear
perhaps tonight I’ll stick to beer
Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:42

Maureen Lynas: And the prize goes to Teri Terry!!!!!! If she is actually on the internet. Now I'm going in the bath. Sent: Thursday, 15 Dec, 20:44

Candy Gourlay: (Emerging from Writer's Cave) What's going on? This is EXTREME PROCRASTINATION! This poetry thing is dangerous! Sent: Friday, 16 Dec, 8:03
Addy Farmer: For my part (and I have my suspicions about Teri and Jo), wine had been drunk. Sent: Friday 16 Dec, 8:08

Candy Gourlay: And ... "Maureen was MADDY?"Sent: Friday, 16 Dec, 8:05
 Maureen Lynas: Addy, I was stone cold sober! Candy ... Maddy? You find something to rhyme with Addy in five seconds! Anyway, where is your contribution! *taps fingers, waiting* Would make a good post though. Yes. Sent: Friday, 16 Dec, 8:22

Jo Wyton: Was thinking that last night! Would be hilarious! Only writers can occupy themselves for that long by having an email conversation in verse. Sent: Friday, 16 Dec, 8:27

Teri Terry: How about as a NY eve post? Sent: Friday, 16 Dec, 10:06
Jo Wyton: Good plan, poetic Batman. Sent: Friday, 16 Dec, 10:10

Maureen Lynas: That would be very funny! Drunken wishes! Sent: Friday, 16 Dec, 10:12

Slushpile note: the keen reader may have noticed that earlier, Maureen claimed to be sober through out; yet she did mention gin and tonic in the bath....

Teri Terry:: I'm on it! Another minute or two (or three) of editing procrastination... Sent: Friday, 16 Dec, 10:42

Maureen Lynas: Get off the internet! Edit! Edit! Edit!!!
Sent: Friday, 16 Dec, 10:49

From all of us at Notes from the Slushpile: Happy New Year!!

Sunday 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas from All of Us On the Slushpile!

... and that was our countdown to Christmas! Thank you to all the editors, agents, authors and other lovely denizens of the children's book world who agreed to contribute. We slushpilers offer you our final, happy wishes ...

Saturday 24 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Senior Commissioning Editor, Hachette Children's Books, Beverley Birch

Beverley Birch, friend and mentor to many slushpilers and published authors alike, gives us the last Advent gift. Beverley is a senior commissioning editor for Hachette Children's Books and three times nominated Brandford Boase editor. She is a writer of more than 40 books including novels, picture books, biographies and retellings of classic works. Her novel, 'Rift' came out in 2006 and you know you are in the hands of a true storyteller when you read the very first page.

When she was young, Beverley wanted to be a pilot...

 ...or an explorer...

 ...something which took her to new places and where she could be brave and intrepid.

 Writing takes her there now!

So, what is Beverley's Christmas wishlist?

1. Vigorous, original voice – serious or funny, quirky or strange, I’m open to any – but something that sucks me in, so I feel a very personal connection with characters and their predicament.

2. To be bewitched by curiosity from the outset. That ‘Oh! Where is this going? Where’s it taking me?’ feeling. Any genre or tradition in story-telling – no boundaries – but I want to be grabbed by the intrigue or puzzle or humour from that very first page.

3. A writer with something interesting/illuminating to say – not ‘just a story’ but a tale that is a revelation in some way, a window onto something, leaving me richer than I was before I read it, transmitted through the characters and how they knock against each other and their environment, the choices they make, in the bones and sinews of their story.

Slushie note: Check out Beverley's masterclass and make your writing soar in 2012!

Anne of Green Gables

Favourite book from childhood: Anne of Green Gables which Beverley loved for its sense of place.

Take a look tomorrow, dear readers, for Christmas wishes from the Slushpile Team!

Friday 23 December 2011

Countdown to Christmas: Brenda Gardner, Managing Director, Piccadilly Press

Brenda Gardner, publisher and MD started Piccadilly Press 28 years ago. Brenda’s experience in publishing was through editorial and she worked for Penguins, W H Allen, and Evans before setting up Piccadilly. Piccadilly won the Independent Publisher’s Award in 2009 after being shortlisted three times and publish across a wide range from picture books to young adult.

Brenda Gardner, Piccadilly Press

Brenda's wish list:

1. We’d love an interesting and fresh novel for young adults. 
A love story that could be a crossover book perhaps.

2. A sharp witty picture book text would be
 an ideal present from Father Christmas

Illustrated by SCBWI's very own Mike Brownlow

3. Illustrations with animals and small children that touch the heart.

Written by SCBWI's very own  Juliet Clare Bell 

4. A knock them dead funny series for 7-12 would be a great present.

You don't get much funnier than Dinopants

5. Authors and illustrators who have studied our website and know the sorts of books we publish and even read some of them, before sending in material, would win our hearts.

Book I wished we published: Diary of A Wimpy Kid.
Not only because it is a bestseller but I did spot it some years ago and was just days too late as Puffin had snapped it up. I thought it was a great concept – fresh and appealing and at the same time very reassuring and funny.

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