Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I LOVE THIS BOOK and so does KIRKUS!!! Plus, read Martha's amazing post about the star!

Author: Brockenbrough, Martha

Review Issue Date: April 15, 2012
Online Publish Date: March 28, 2012
Pages: 304
Price ( Hardcover ): $17.99
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-545-38213-7
Category: Fiction

Jerome is no teen angel.

A hell raiser when alive and killed by his cousin in eighth grade in an unfortunate archery accident, he has spent his afterlife in Soul Rehab assigned to Heidi in an attempt to win his way into Heaven. Not that he's very committed to the notion; he lost his "Guardian Angel's Handbook" pretty much right away, but he sort of tries. Heidi has more or less enjoyed Jerome's company, though he could sometimes be annoying. When Heidi, having experienced unendurable humiliation in a high-school talent show, ventures onto thin ice and falls through, Jerome does his best to save her soul-as much for her own sake, he's surprised to find, as for his. Brockenbrough devises a devilishly clever narrative, alternating Jerome's first-person account with Heidi's tightly focused third-person perspective. Tying both together are commandment-by-commandment excerpts (often footnoted) from Jerome's lost handbook, each stricture slyly informing the succeeding chapter. The rules governing Jerome's afterlife lead to frequently hysterical prose. He can't swear, of course, so he substitutes euphemisms: ". if I weren't so chickenchevy"; "It was a real mind-flask." Beneath the snark, though, runs a current of devastatingly honest writing that surprises with its occasional beauty and hits home with the keenness of its insight.

As the clock ticks down on Heidi's soul, readers will be rooting for both Jerome and Heidi with all their hearts. (Paranormal adventure. 12 & up)
Used with permission from Kirkus Reviews Online | © 2012 Kirkus Reviews

Monday, March 26, 2012

JANET GURTLER's I'M NOT HER is a double RWA Rita Finalist!!!

Congratulations to Janet Gurtler for I'M NOT HER garnering 2 RWA Rita Finalist awards:

2012 RITA Finalists for Best First Book

2012 RITA Finalists for Young Adult Romance

Wow! What an amazing honor!

Check out Janet's other books too--all are fantastic. Plus, HUGE news coming soon from Janet and her editor Leah from Sourcebooks!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I now have an amazing assistant--Eve Porinchak--and at this time she is doing all the intern work I need done.

To all those that applied, so many of you sound perfect for the position and I will hold on to your applications for when I do need to add a remote intern. 

Thank you all for applying and I'll be in touch when the work gets overwhelming for the two of us:)

Many of you know Eve, but if you don't, I'll brag about her a little. Eve is fantastic at spotting talent and is now reading all my queries (WOOT!). She is also a wonderful writer, very happily repped by the Andrea Brown Agency.

She used to blog here and here, maybe she will again on her own blog but I do know she will start guest blogging here on my blog.

Eve also teaches writing to kids at the wonderful non-profit InsideOUT Writers.  InsideOUT Writers conducts weekly writing classes within the Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall System. The classes, taught by writers, poets, screenwriters, journalists and educators, give students the opportunity to refocus their lives without the influence of peer pressure and build their self-esteem. Through writing, participants are able to tell their stories, reflect on the past, and decide how they will write the next chapter of their lives. 


I am in need of two interns, one remote and one able to drive to my office in Palos Verdes, CA.

Both will help maintain the query pile. (For now, this won’t necessarily include reading full manuscripts, it will be query letters only, but that could change in the future if mutually agreeable). It means managing an email account by screening the queries into folders for my review, and sending the requests/rejections once I’ve reviewed them.

The in-office intern will drive to my office once a week to update submission lists, paper and virtual filing, etc. This is an evolving position with huge potential to learn about the publishing industry. 

For now, these are unpaid internships, but I am happy to chat with you about publishing and give basic advice. 

Also, with my book, DARE TO DREAM...CHANGE THE WORLD coming out and the creation of the DARE TO DREAM...CHANGE THE WORLD FOUNDATION (news on this will be announced soon), there is an opportunity to also work on book promotion and with the foundation. 

If you are interested in either of these positions, please send an email with the word INTERN in the subject line to: jill at HermanAgencyInc dot com


-Any publishing background (No experience required, but it’s good to know if you do have some)

-Educational background

-Job history

-at least one reference I can contact

-A list of your favorite books (5 or 10 titles)

Some basics for the remote position:
You can live anywhere.
You can work at any time of the day.

Some basics for in-office position:
Day and times will be mutually agreed upon and are extremely flexible--not necessary to have same day/time each week.
Must be ok with cats and dogs, as they are my office buddies:)

Monday, March 19, 2012


So I am seeing a number of 'start-up publishers' that are making offers and even announcing deals on Publishers Marketplace. Though primarily e-book publishers, these new publishers are securing distribution deals for their print books and most often offering $0 - $200 advances with generous royalties. BUT--many, but definitely not all, have no professional editors on their staff nor do they hire professional freelance editors.

So I ask you, my blog readers....What is the benefit of going with these start-up publishers rather than self-publishing and keeping all your royalties?

If you could hire the likes of Emma Dryden, Karen Grove, Deborah Halverson, Tamson Weston....the list goes on and on and feel free to add their names to the comments section so people who do want to self-publish know who the freelance professionals in kids books are...and you can hire a reasonably priced cover artist, and you can learn how to upload books onto the ebook platforms, why go with a start-up publisher?

I am not saying anything negative about these publishers as they may be publishing amazing books and making an impact on our industry and our reading in the months and years to come, I just would love to know your thoughts...

Happy Monday, Everyone!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories!

Imagine a workbook in which you are expertly guided on how to plot your novel, screenplay, memoir, etc. In which you fill in a PLOT PLANNER, a SCENE TRACKER, get to really understand your characters....a workbook in which you will plot your next book and from which you will create a sure-fire page-turner. Well get ready, because in the Fall of 2012 the The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories lands in bookstores nationwide! 

From Publisher's Marketplace: International plot consultant Martha Alderson's THE PLOT WHISPERER WORKBOOK, a companion to her THE PLOT WHISPERER, with exercises and tools including her innovative Plot Planner, Scene Tracker and Thematic Bubble Chart with which authors create a detailed plot for their novels, memoirs and screenplays, to Adams Media, for publication in Fall 2012.

Want to get a taste of what you will learn? Watch Martha Alderson's FREE VIDEOS  27 STEP PLOT VLOG SERIES!  Here is the kind of emails/blog comments I get about these vlogs:  I just watched all 27 and wow. I wish I'd have seen these before my first 2 novels I wrote. She's fantastic! I'm mapping out my next story with these exact guidelines. Thanks Jill! 

Just in time for NaNo 2011, Adams Media released Martha Alderson's THE PLOT WHISPERER: SECRETS OF STORY STRUCTURE ANY WRITER CAN MASTER.

The book is selling like crazy...WHY? Because it is fantastic! 

Also read my previous blog posts about Martha AKA the Plot Whisperer so you can see why I think this is a must read for writers of every genre!

Order THE PLOT WHISPERER from Amazon, Order from Barnes Noble, Oder from Borders, Order from INDIEBOUND

Product Description:
Plotting Made Simple, from the Plot Whisperer. When it comes to writing bestsellers, it's all about the plot. Plot is where most writers fall down - and they have no idea how to get back up. But with "The Plot Whisperer", celebrated writing teacher and author Martha Alderson shows writers how to breathe life into the most moribund of stories - one scene at a time. Alderson provides a plotting primer that's as easy to implement as it is to understand. With this foolproof system, writers of all genres can learn to devise a successful storyline that: tells the story in the best way; builds suspense; incorporates effective sub-plots; ties up all the loose ends; and, keeps the reader turning pages. "The Plot Whisperer" is the ultimate guide to writing page turners that sell.

About the Author:
Martha Alderson has worked with hundreds of writers in plot workshops, retreats, and plot consultations for more than fifteen years. Her clients include best-selling authors, New York editors, and Hollywood movie directors.

Product Details:
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Adams Media (October 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1440525889
ISBN-13: 978-1440525889

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I am a huge fan of a fabulous first line. It truly sets the tone of your book and let's me know I am in for a great ride.

Elizabeth Bluemle has a must-read post on first lines today in PW SHELFTALKER called Great Beginnings. I often tell writers to read the first line, first paragraph, first chapter of books, tons of books...just the see how those firsts effect them.

Then, go create a unique, enticing beginning.

E. Bluemle points out in her post, Martha Brockenbrough did just that, twice in one book!

Martha Brockenbrough, Devine Intervention (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine).
This one has two great openings:
  • First is a reproduction of a document titled “The Guardian Angels’ Handbook: Soul Rehab Edition,” which begins: “Congratulations! You have been selected for membership in SRPNT, the Soul Rehabilitation Program for Nefarious Teens (Deceased).
  • And then Chapter One: One Monday morning, a couple years before my cousin Mike shot me in the forehead with an arrow, my eighth-grade homeroom teacher brought two cartons of raw eggs to school.
For more on how to write enticing first lines check out my post ACTIVATE YOUR STORY!

Monday, March 5, 2012


click on this cover to read the type


  • Alan Katz
  • Alice Schertle
  • Bruce Coville
  • Carol Tanzman
  • Curtis Crisler
  • David L. Harrison
  • Denise Lewis Patrick
  • Elaine Magliaro
  • Ellen Hopkins
  • Georgia Heard
  • Hope Anita Smith
  • Hope Vestergaard
  • J. Patrick Lewis
  • Jacqui Robbins
  • Jane Yolen
  • Janet Wong
  • Jill Corcoran
  • Joan Bransfield Graham
  • Joyce Lee Wong
  • Joyce Sidman
  • Julia Durango
  • Kelly Ramsdell Fineman
  • Laura Purdie Salas
  • Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • Lisa Wheeler
  • Marilyn Singer
  • Rebecca Kai Dotlich
  • Rose Horowitz
  • Stephanie Hemphill
  • Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
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