Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

Welcome Visitors

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Adventure Mantra 2011

Soon it will be 2011, an entire decade from the maelstrom of 9/11. The creator of facebook has been crowned man of the year. Email is rendered uncool, as it's all about texting, apps and iPads. The economy is creaking uphill, and the book industry is in a chaotic swirl. As Vampire lit is trending out, Aronofsky's luminous film, Black Swan cements the trending in of magic realism, and the subsequent blending of horror and magical realism. Conan's back, and his holiday set has been designed by a freaky New Agey guy living in the California desert and sporting a beard and a shalwar kameez.
Life in the good ole US of A. Weirdness, color and adventure.

Which brings me to thinking about dreams and wishes for 2011. I'm not really interested in New Year's resolutions, as they tend to be dropped after a couple of weeks. I'm thinking more along the lines of an overarching dream.

Adventure! Go places that fire up your imagination and inspire your writing. For me, that's traveling to places less familiar to Americans. For me, it was India, Russia, and now China. In 2011 it may be Istanbul. Take a notebook and fill it with sketches, ramblings, observations.

Pamper yourself between stints of hard work. Go for that massage, that spa visit, a day hike, a leisurely bike ride with friends.

Make a new writer friend. Have lunch, dinner, or a cuppa joe. Establish a pen-pal back and forth. Exchange ideas!

Subscribe to a foreign online paper. The Shanghai Daily? The Guardian? Expand your tight circle of where you get your info.

Make a gratitude list of all of your accomplishments of 2010. Don't fall into the trap of thinking about what you didn't accomplish. For a warning on this, check out Kelly Hashway's great post on Finding Balance:

Above all, don't take yourself so darn seriously! Have fun with what you do.

Seek adventure, take calculated risks, and more adventure! That's my mantra of 2011.
What's yours?

I'll think of you all fondly when I'm standing on the Great Wall of China, and freezing my ___ off as the Mongolian wind roars over the mountains. Cheerio!

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Trends in Children's Books for 2011

Hi all
Recently, Publishers Lunch posted a blurb from Scholastic Book Club president, Judy Newman, on New Trends in Children’s Publishing, and I thought it was worth posting again. Here's what she thought was notable for 2011:

1. The expanding Young Adult audience
2. The year of dystopian fiction
3. Mythology-based fantasy (Percy Jackson followed by series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls)
4. Multimedia series (The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, The Search for WondLa)
5. A focus on popular characters - from all media
6. The shift to 25 to 30 percent fewer new picture books, with characters like Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books
7. The return to humor
8. The rise of the diary and journal format (The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate)
9. Special-needs protagonists
10. Paranormal romance beyond vampires (Linger and Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters)

What do you think of these? Do you see other trends building? Do you see your fiction fitting into any of these, or do you prefer not to pay attention to trends? Which trends will you miss when they fade? What would you like to see more of?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thrilling Holiday Gifts for your Author Friends

The holidays are fast approaching and you need to find those perfect gifts, including ones for your writer friends! Susan Kaye Quinn’s fun post on her Ink Spells blog about holiday presents for writers got me inspired to research and think up more great gifts.

You could buy your special author friend a party dress made entirely out of paper—specifically, out of phone books, designed by the awesome Jolis Paon. What a cool way to recycle! How about a gift certificate to a day spa for a massage, focusing on your writer buddy’s troubled neck. Or what about a tropical cruise? Neal Schusterman, the YA thriller author swears by cruises, and says that’s where he writes his best novels! Does your friend like jewelry? What about custom jewelry for writers? Tickets to hear your friend’s favorite author speak will, no doubt, be appreciated. A chocolate keyboard? Or simply some random keys? If your beta reader has a philanthropic streak, you could donate money to his or her favorite scholarship fund., for instance, funds Freedom to Write and prison writing programs. Or you could donate to an scholarship fund, such as the work in progress grant for a needy author. A gift certificate to your friend’s fave indie bookstore is always a sure bet. Does your friend like to entertain as well as write? Then how about a great authors coaster set? Cups that say “Be careful or you'll end up in my novel” are always conversations starters. Finally, for the fanciful cook or writer of historical fiction, you could always gift a digital Medieval cookbook, with recipes from 1390, some from Richard II’s own kitchen!

What is your dream present? Any other great ideas to add to the list? Feel free to list as many as you want! And don’t get too distracted by putting up the tree and making sprinkle cookies to keep on writing!