Stuff in the ‘Middle Grade’ Category

2 February, 2016

Where I Write: Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

My home office. Here I am signing my latest contract with Harper Collins!

This edition of  “Where I Write” is from Jennifer Alvarez author of the Guardian Herd Series from Harper Collins Childrens Books.  The third book of the series LANDFALL releases today!  And don’t miss the first two books STARFIRE and STORMBOUND.

 “I write a minimum of five days a week in my home office, but I do a lot of my thinking out on the horse trails. My current project is the Guardian Herd series, tween fantasy novels starring flying horses. The setting for each herd is based on a place I‘ve lived. The main character, Star, lives in Sun Herd’s territory, which resembles the wilds of Northern California where I live. Jack London called this area the most beautiful land in California, and I‘d have to agree. In fact, I‘ve ridden my horse right by his co
Jennifer Alvarez

My Mobile Office

ttage where he used to write. It’s often on these trail rides where I find my inspiration. I took this picture while riding my mare Maddie. See the hill we’re looking at? Well, I like to imagine my pegasi characters flying over this hill and landing at the lake for a drink of water. When I return to my desk at home, I‘m revived and ready to record the exciting things I‘ve imagined.” — Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

You can learn more about Jennifer on her Author Website: www.jenniferlynnalverez.com and follow Jen on Twitter @JenniferDiaries
You can check out all things Guardian Herd on the Official Series Website www.theguardianherd.com

5 October, 2014

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez hits the road with The Guardian Herd!

GuardianHerdSigning4

Copperfield’s Bookstore in Santa Rosa, CA

Jennifer Lynn Alvarez is on tour in September/October with her new middle-grade series THE GUARDIAN HERD: STARFIRE, which released on 09/23/14. Jennifer is visiting elementary and middle schools around the country for two weeks, followed by a round of school visits with the HarperCollins “Class Acts” school tour.

GuardianHerdTour

Circle View Elementary in Huntington Beach, CA

At her first in-store signing, THE GUARDIAN HERD: STARFIRE sold out in fifteen minutes! While it pained Jennifer to watch children leave empty-handed, she will be returning to the same store in October to sign more books. For more information about Jennifer and her new fantasy series for tweens, please visit her website.

 

 


23 September, 2014

The Guardian Herd: Starfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Starfire - Jacket

An action-packed debut novel in an exciting new tween fantasy series, perfect for fans of series like Warriors, Survivors, and Guardians of Ga’Hoole.Once every hundred years, a black foal is born, prophesized to either unite or destroy the five herds of flying horses that live in the land of Anok. This foal is fated to become the most powerful pegasus in all of Anok. Star is this black foal.Even though Star has malformed wings that make him unable to fly, the leaders of each herd will take no risks. They will execute Star on his first birthday. With the help of his friends, Star must escape the clutches of the powerful leaders. His epic journey of self-discovery turns into a battle between good and evil that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages.

23 September, 2014

The Guardian Herd: Starfire pubs today!

Starfire - JacketWe want to wish a happy book birthday to the one and only Jennifer Lynn Alvarez.  Her fantasy-adventure middle-grade debut THE GUARDIAN HERD: STARFIRE pubs today. We can’t wait for you to meet Star and his friends, the pegasi of Anok.  Book 2, STORMBOUND, is coming in April!

“The typical fantasy tale of an ordinary being destined to become something extraordinary is infused with verve and ingenuity. The pacing is quick, chock-full of adventure and twists, making it difficult to put down. Readers will be clamoring for the next book in this adventure.”—Library School Journal

“From page one, Jennifer Lynn Alvarez weaves an epic tale of a doomed black Pegasus foal named Star, whose race against time will lift the reader on the wings of destiny and danger, magic and hope. It’s a world I did not want to leave, and neither will you.” — Peter Lerangis, New York Times bestselling author in the 39 Clues series and of the Seven Wonders series


18 April, 2014

Alvarez

JENNIFER ALVAREZ-headshotJennifer Lynn Alvarez grew up with a crazy love for horses, but her family couldn’t afford them. To satisfy her cravings, she read horse books, volunteered at stables, bought horse toys, took lessons, and played “horses” at recess with her friends. She wrote in her childhood diary that one day she would be a published author, and she would own a horse that lived outside our window.

In pursuit of her goal, she worked hard at school and earned a scholarship to UC Berkeley, where she studied English literature. She wrote in her college essay that her ambition was to write animal stories for children. After she graduated from college, she proudly purchased her first horse, a failed Thoroughbred racer named Splash. The mare reared every time she rode her, kicked her twice, and trampled her once—of course Jennifer loved her dearly. Meanwhile, Jennifer wrote middle-grade novels about animals, but she was intimidated by the process of getting them published.

Time went by, and once her youngest child began school, Jennifer resurrected her publishing dreams. She still wanted to Starfire - Jacketwrite a book about horses, but she felt like every horse story had already been told. Then in June 2012, she was driving down the freeway and she was struck by an intense visualization. Jennifer saw a herd of flying horses and they were migrating! A white mare, heavily pregnant, was struggling to keep up.

A burning curiosity to know more about the pegasi and the special unborn foal overcame her. As soon as she arrived home, Jennifer began Starfire. She wrote the first draft at a lightning pace, revised it, and then sent it to Jacqueline Flynn at Joelle Delbourgo & Associates. Everything happened quickly after that because as it turns out . . . not every horse story has been told!

Jennifer is now living her dream. She is the author of The Guardian Herd Series, and her “real” horses live in a pasture outside her window.The Guardian Herd #1, STARFIRE and #2 Stormbound are in stores with Guardian Herd #3: Landfall releasing 02/02/16 from HarperCollins Children’s Books.  Look for book #4 Windborn in September 2016.

You can find more information about Jennifer and her projects on her website, on Twitter @JenniferDiaries, and on her Facebook author page.

Learn more about the Guardian Herd Series on the Official Site


12 August, 2013

Story Telling vs. Story Trapping, by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

JENNIFER ALVAREZ-headshotThe process of writing the first draft of book one of The Guardian Herd Series was magical for me. The story leapt from my head, fully formed, like Venus. There is something sacred about that, right? You don’t mess with a story straight from the muse, do you? I thought you didn’t. I thought a story’s first shape and form must be its best shape and form.

And then I met my editors.

Rosemary Brosnan and Karen Chaplin at HarperCollins Childrens Books know a thing or two about stories (and the muses they ride in on). When I received my first suggested edits for book one, I was perplexed and empowered. They unleashed my plot and revealed my characters without changing them. How could such significant revisions result in the exact same story—only better?

It was my librarian mother who explained it to me. “They are the advocates for the reader,” she said.

Oh yeah, the reader.Author Photo - Jennifer and horse

A first draft for me is not about story telling, it’s about story trapping. I am flying in the clouds with my pegasi, or galloping across the grasslands, or hiding in a tree while they battle with sharpened hooves and flared wings. I record what I see and try to stay out of their way. I am either covered in blood, or dripping cloud sweat, or crying over a fallen hero at the end of each writing session. The one thing I am not doing is thinking about the reader.

Not yet anyway.

Once the story is trapped, I’ve corrected all my misspelled words, and put away my thesaurus (yes I use one and I’m not afraid to admit it), I am at the end of my abilities to improve the story because I was there. I lived it. I know more than what I’ve written on the page. I can’t know what it’s like to view the manuscript without carnal knowledge of it.

This is when my editors come into play according to my wise mother, not to tame the story, but to frame it. Not to create a better draft, but to create a better read. My editors are doing this for The Guardian Herd Series as we continue to work on the first manuscript together.

My relationship with my muse remains intact. I’ve written the second book and a prequel to the series with the same gusto that infused book one. Knowing I have editors to help me wrangle my stories once I trap them has freed me to go hunting for more.

So the answer for me is, no. I don’t mess with the stories I receive straight from the muse, my editors do. And my books are gratefully better for it.


26 January, 2013

The Winged Herds Land at HarperCollins Childrens’

JENNIFER ALVAREZ-headshotAs announced in Publishers Weekly, we are thrilled that our fabulous  client Jennifer Lynn Alvarez inked a 4-book deal for a new middle-grade series this week with Rosemary Brosnan and Karen Chaplin at HarperCollins Childrens’.    Deals: Week of January 21, 2013.

In Alvarez’s richly imagined world of THE WINGED HERDS OF ANOK the skies are ruled by herds of winged horses, called pegasi. Every hundred years the balance of power is threatened when a black foal, prophesied to either unite or conquer the five herds, is born. No pegasus—not even the foal—knows which he has come to accomplish.  Though this century’s black colt, Star, is born malformed and unable to fly, the over-stallions of the five herds plan to execute him on his first birthday. Because his over-sized wings drag on the ground, Star suffers a constant ache between his shoulder blades, and he must travel by hoof like a common horse. His greatest wish is to be a regular flying foal like his friends, but death and destruction seem to follow his every step.  With the future of the herds in the balance, and more importantly the lives of his best friends, the black foal rockets toward his inescapable destiny.

Look for the first title in late 2014!


9 October, 2012

THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING EVERYTHING, Ben H. Winters

The sequel to Edgar-nominated THE SECRET  LIFE OF MS. FINKELMAN (HarperCollins), Ben H. Winters “offers another fast-moving middle-school puzzler.” (Kirkus Reviews) “A fast-paced, funny and highly original story.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)  Winters is the author of adult novels, including his latest, THE LAST POLICEMAN (Quirk Books).