Sunday, August 22, 2010


For those of you who've been reading me over at Livejournal, planning to gradually transition here. I'll be posting in both places for a while.

Just wanted to let you know about a few exciting things going on. First of all, a bunch of us who write contemporary realistic YA have banded together to form THE CONTEMPS.

Here's our press release:

“The Contemps” are Keeping it Real with Outreach, Resources and New Releases

Twenty-one authors have banded together to put real life in the spotlight and to keep readers up-to-date on the latest in contemporary young adult fiction.

“There are so many wonderful authors writing contemporary realistic fiction,” said Contemps co-founder Lisa Schroeder. “As much as we love other genres, the marketplace can feel dominated by paranormal, fantasy and dystopian novels. We want to celebrate the unique way that contemporary stories help teens feel they’re not alone in this real world.”

“The Contemps” officially launched on August 17 with a mission to help teens, booksellers, librarians and publishers connect with books that feature real-life settings, characters and situations. Group members range from debuts to veterans with several titles on the shelves, and all have new releases coming out between September 2010 and August 2011. They hope to not just build buzz for members’ books, but to create excitement and appreciation for the contemporary realistic genre in general.

In an August 6, 2010 article in The NY Times about the rise of Young Adult fiction, historian Amanda Foreman said, "Good Y.A. is like good television. There's a freshness there; it's engaging." The Contemps write about real teen issues in real-life situations with the energy and grittiness and passion of that age.

That means that The Contemps' corner of the web ( will be a little more self-disclosey than others. A number of activities are planned, including sharing from the authors' own teenage years, giveaways, spotlighting other contemporary realistic authors, and multi-author events. You might find a few naughty words thrown in (right next to the shiny clean ones). There may be stories about hanging out, making out, parents, best friends, sexuality, homework, high school bloopers, teachers, bullies, racism, parties, and pop culture. Look for some odd and lively mash-ups!

“We’re reaching out to a variety of audiences,” said co-founder Lindsey Leavitt. “We want readers, teachers and librarians to know about the wealth of awesome books out there. And we want the industry to know about the authors who create these books. There’s a strong market for contemporary realistic fiction, and we plan to demonstrate that.”

The members are: Brent Crawford, Hannah Harrington, April Henry, Kirsten Hubbard, Denise Jaden, Kody Keplinger, Jo Knowles, Lindsey Leavitt, Sarah Darer Littman, Michael Northrop, Sarah Ockler, Micol Ostow, Lisa Schroeder, Elizabeth Scott, Mindi Scott, Emily Wing Smith, Courtney Summers, Kristen Tracy, Melissa Walker, Sara Bennett Wealer, and Daisy Whitney.

I hope you'll head over to join in the conversation. We've also got a Facebook group and you can follow us on Twitter.

The animation of my son's StoryCorps interview of me, Q & A, is going to be on TV! Check out the listings of your local PBS station for this coming Tuesday. It will be shown at the beginning of the program POV. If you haven't seen the newest animation by Rauch Brothers Animation and StoryCorps, Danny and Annie, than you are about to see one of the most beautiful love stories in the history of the world. I'm not exaggerating. Just make sure you have a tissue handy.

Danny & Annie from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

As Time critic Richard Corliss put it:

"I'll just say that if Danny and Annie don't touch your heart, seek immediate medical attention, because you might not have one."

Meanwhile, I've been working at the Voracious Reader, working on a book proposal, getting steamed about what's happening in New York, planning a belated book launch party for Life, After (September 21st, 7pm at Just Books in Old Greenwich), taking my son to visit colleges and wondering if I will ever see the bottom of my desk and my filing tray again.

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