Guest post: The Rise of New Genres by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of genres, is brought to you by children’s and non-fiction author Shaunda Kennedy Wenger.

The Rise of New Genres

I remember sitting in a workshop at writer’s conference about five years ago when one of the attendees asked the visiting editor from New York why publishers didn’t print books featuring college-aged characters (18-25). The editor replied that there wasn’t a market for them, and likely never would be.

If I have learned one thing about the publishing industry, it is this: everything changes. What is wallowing in the deep, dark, off-the-radar abyss today could be hot-trotting all over the best-selling lists tomorrow. And despite our desire to appease and allure book editors in NY with what they say they want, these peeps don’t know everything. And it’s likely that a writer who has done her homework and has written a book that been begging to be written might know a bit more. Which is why I loved meeting author Angela Corbett (Eternal Starling) at a book fair last winter. Angela, along with many others, writes in the New Adult genre—that one that was deemed unmarketable and unpublishable five years ago.

And that’s not all.

What tickles my toes even more is discovering another new genre that one of my own books, The Ghost in Me, fits into: Spirit Travel. The Spirit Travel genre was coined by author Mimi Barbour (We’re One). This genre can loosely be described as novels wherein two spirits exist in one body. While this genre is encompassed under the Paranormal umbrella, it is nice to have a sub-genre that beautifully and succinctly alludes to specific plot elements. Indeed, Mimi and I are not alone in the Spirit Travel genre and can give a wave toward other writers, Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound) and Stacey Kade (Body & Soul), who are included as well.

Never say never.

Absolutely. Thank you, Shaundra!

Shaunda Kennedy Wenger is an author of 8 books for children and a cookbook (with one more on the way!). The summer of 2012 marks her 10th year navigating the publishing industry. Her first book, The Book Lover’s Cookbook, Celebrated Works of Literature and the Passages That Feature Them (Ballantine Books) was featured as a National Public Radio holiday gift pick in 2003. She has five titles published for the educational market, which include Caterpillar Can’t Wait, Watch a Butterfly Grow, and In Black Bear Country. In 2010, she released The Ghost in Me. This paranormal middle-grade novel for tween and teens has received much note-worthy praise. Her second book, Little Red Riding Hood, Into the Forest Again, won the 2011 KART Kids Book List Award for young readers and the 2012 Purple Dragonfly HM Award. Reality Bites, Tales of a Half-Vampire is her newest paranormal book for tweens. To learn more about Shaunda and her books, visit www.shaundawenger.blogspot.com.

Synopsis of The Ghost in Me:

Myri Monaco has problems she doesn’t know how to deal with: a crush on her best friend’s boyfriend, a mother who’s dating her science teacher, and a “punishment” for a science project that lands her in auditions for the school play (the last place she wants to be). But most girls don’t have a ghost living at home who is willing to “trade places” whenever she’s needed. Will ghostly possession be an easy solution when problems collide? Or will Myri lose everything to a ghost wanting to fulfill her own desires?

And what others have said…

“This is the kind of book I loved to read when I was a kid–lots of humor, lots of suspense, fun characters… just the right blend for kids that want a fun, exciting read.” –Rick Walton, author of over 80 books for children

“Wenger provides plenty of humor along with suspense.” –author Carole Thayne Warburton

“I definitely recommend it.” L.D. Brown

FOR READERS WHO LOVE Meg Cabot, Roald Dahl, and Judy Blume

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If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with non-fiction & travel author Tony Cappasso – the five hundred and thirty-ninth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internetview my Books and I also have a blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference by Theodore P Druch

A few weeks ago I posted an announcement about this Puerto Vallarta conference and I’m pleased to bring a report from its director, and regular Flash Fiction Fridays contributor, Theodore P Druch.

The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference

The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference was a success in spite of my losing two major presenters.

Two weeks before the conference, Mitchell Wieland, editor of the Idaho Review, one of the top literary magazines in the US, informed me that he had suffered a herniated disc and would not be attending.

A little fancy dancing and I managed to get the other presenters to take on a bit more to make up for it.

Then, one week before the conference, Jacquelyn Mitchard, the keynote speaker, informed me that she had to undergo surgery and would not be able to attend either.

Luckily, we have several other conference organizers in our group, and I was able to secure the services of Caleb Pirtle, author of 55 books and a successful Hollywood screenwriter. Together with James Strauss, also a successful screenwriter, they kept us in stitches.

William C. Gordon, an author of detective fiction, and married to Isabel Allende, was tapped for the keynote speech and several workshops.

Marie Beswick-Arthur, a local children’s author, took over the children’s and young adults workshop and did a marvelous job with the help of Erin Staley, another of our published authors.

Dan Grippo and Joy Eckel, also local members did a workshop on editing and structure that got the highest marks of all.

Another of our members, Eileen Obser who teaches creative writing at several colleges and universities in the New York area presented three workshops on writing memoirs and essays.

Joseph M. Staszak, a publisher who lives in Mexico City handled workshops on e-publishing, and Luis Cotto, a professional photographer was flitting around all over the place taking photos that he will be offering free to all the attendees.

In addition, we had two agents in attendance, Marcy Posner of Folio Literary Management of NYC, and Susan Crawford of the Crawford Literary Agency, so everyone who had a book to pitch got to pitch it twice.

Several of us have already been signed.

The highlight of the conference was the Sunday Book Fair during which all our authors got to sell their books while the crowd was held entranced by a Mexican Folk Dance troupe and Mariachis, and fed their faces from several local Mexican food vendors who put up their tables on the grounds of the beautiful Los Mangos library that hosted the Conference.

All in all, a huge success.

Thank you, Ted, I’m so glad it went well.

Born in Milwaukee, educated at Brandeis and later at the Timothy Leary commune in Millbrook, NY, Theodore P. Druch, Ted to his friends, spent most of his life in trivial pursuits – like making a living. After chucking it all and traveling around the world for ten years like a dandelion seed on the wind, he settled in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He is an active member of the Puerto Vallarta Writer’s Group, and conducts a weekly workshop for serious authors. In the last two years, Ted has published four full-length non-fiction e-books, and is currently working on his first novel, a historical fantasy of 1492 called King David’s Harp. He fully expects it to be a blockbusting best-seller, filled as it is with pirates, adventurers, corrupt popes and priests, several heroes and heroines, and a search for clues to the hiding place of the harp of King David, the recovery of which might bring about the return of the Messiah.

Ted’s books are available at Amazon for the Kindle and at Smashwords for all other readers.

Footprints on a Small Planet is also available as a trade paperback through Amazon. Ted’s blog can be found at http://selfpublishedandbroke.wordpress.com and you can watch his African Odyssey trailer here.

You can also read some of Ted’s short stories on my Flash Fiction Fridays page. 🙂

If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with novelist and autobiographer Leila Tavi  – the three hundred and seventeenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo. And I have a new forum at http://morgenbailey.freeforums.org.

The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference, Mexico

One of my regular contributors*, Ted Druch, emailed me to say that he’s directing the next Writers Conference at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Sadly, I’m too far away but for anyone less geographically-challenged, here are the details:

The 7th Annual Puerto Vallarta Writers Conference will take place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, from Feb. 24-26.  The conference theme is “Writing Well” with an emphasis on brevity and economy of expression.

Conference presenters are Jaquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean, the first novel chosen for Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, and considered to be one of the 25 most influential books of the 20th century. Mitchard will deliver the Keynote Address, and will lead seminars and workshops.

James Strauss, successful Hollyood screenwriter, has written for projects as diverse as House and Deadwood. The Boy, his novel of prehistoric times is being filmed by Walt Disney Studios. He is currently working with the legendary Stan Lee on a new set of superhero graphic novels.

Mitchell Wieland is the editor of the Idaho Review, considered to be one of the best literary reviews in the US. He is a novelist, short story writer, and essayist.

William C. Gordon is a detective novelist, when he’s not practicing law, living in San Francisco with his wife, novelist Isabel Allende. His books have been published in 10 languages. Bi-lingual, he has had a distinguished career defending Hispanic Americans in labor disputes.

Eileen Obser is a member of the Puerto Vallarta Writers Group, though she spends most of her time on Long Island, NY, where she teaches Creative Writing at several colleges and Universities.

Daniel Grippo and Joy Eckel are long-time PV residents. Dan is a publisher and editor, and Joy edits professionally, having edited for many of our local authors. They will be co-leading a workshop on plot, structure, and editing.

Joseph Staszak is the Mexico City Director of ExLibris, an e-publication firm. He will be leading our Sunday sessions devoted to publishing and marketing.

Marcy Posner is a literary agent with Folio Literary Management of NYC. She will be holding private pitch sessions for those who have completed books.

Workshops will include plot and structure, narrative and description, dialogue, memoir and essay, editing, and writing for children and young adults.

The conference will take place at the spacious Los Mangos library, and after the final presentation, the library will be hosting an open  Book Fair with entertainment and book launchings, including works by local Mexican authors in Spanish. We hope to attract a large crowd from the surrounding community.

The cost is just $125 (or $110 if you book today, 31st Jan!). Information and enrollment forms can be found at www.pvwg.com and Ted’s blog is http://selfpublishedandbroke.wordpress.com (home to one of my favourite pictures :)).

*you can read everything Ted‘s done for me here: flash fiction no.4flash fiction no.10flash fiction no.18interviewpodcast s/s ep.002, ep.004. and ep.006.