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Gnomes. And the CYBILS awards.

There I was, diligently working (and working and working) on completing my double sestina summarizing the plot of Pride & Prejudice for the Jane project (2 stanzas plus the final envoi to go, thanks), when I heard it. A susurrus (a word I learned from reading The Wee Free Men - thanks, Terry Pratchett!) A murmuring sort of hum, coming from somewhere in the back room of my brain. And no, Feegle fans, it was not the sound of small blue men shouting "Crivens!", although I was tempted to shout "Crivens!" myself when I realized what it was. It was the unmistakable sound of garden gnomes, shuffling their way toward the surface again.

I was able to ignore the sound almost entirely for a full week. And then far less successfully for another week, as the decibel level grew. But once I stopped hearing "murmurmurmurmurmur" (a la Dr. Hfuhruhurr in The Man With Two Brains), and started to make out words like "revision" and "rereading" and "NOW!", well, I gave in.

And so, my friends, that is how I find myself in the midst of another round of revisions, prior to sending my gnomish friends out into the cold, cold world. I am deeply grateful to my erstwhile readers for their time, comments, and encouragement. And I am hoping that I can continue to hover here at the mouth of the cave of revision, without needing to dive deep into its depths.
                                                Gnomes in front of the Superstition Mountains in April

Just in case, I should keep the promise I made to Melodye yesterday and say a word or two about the CYBILS awards, the gears of which are being oiled in anticipation of movement in the near future. The CYBILS are the Children's and Young Adult's Bloggers' Literary Awards, and this is the third year of their existence. They are the brainchild of kidlit bloggers Kelly Herrold, co-founder and director, keeper of the blog Big A little a, and founder and publisher of the online magazine, The Edge of the Forest, and of Anne Boles Levy, co-founder and editor, professional book reviewer and publisher of Book Buds.

How the CYBILS awards work: By magic, naturally. The slightly longer answer is that it begins with a truly crazy nominating process. Anyone over the age of 13 with an internet identity (i.e., you can't be anonymous) can nominate ONE book in each of the categories within the CYBILS, some of which are split (e.g., graphic novels was broken into two tiers last year: "young adult" and "younger readers" (which is probably not what it was called, but it was what it included)). Nominating a book that has already been nominated is pointless: once it's on the list, it's on the list. This year, only books with release dates prior to October 15, 2008 are eligible (in order to, hopefully, improve the ability of panelists to obtain copies: some are review copies, but panelists often have to beg, buy, or borrow the books that have been nominated).

All of the members of the nominating and judging committees are bloggers who are involved in the world of children's and young adult literature, at least in part. And all of them have had a blog since at least January of 2008 (many of them much, much longer), with a demonstrated expertise in the subject area and a demonstrated expertise in blogging.

The nominated texts are all read by the people on the nominating committee. In some instances, this requires superhuman abilities, as in YA novels, where well over 100 novels were nominated. And no, they can't just read flap copy and opt out: all panels must commit to reading at least the first 50 pages of each nominated book. The committee operates with a pretty short turnaround, but they soldier on, reading and conferring and discussing and winnowing, until they select a short list to pass along to the judging committee. At which point, the nominating committee members collapse, and the judging committee starts reading the finalists. They read and confer and discuss and winnow, and eventually, they select a winner for their category (or categories). Awards and press releases and fanfare ensues.

You can find all of this information (probably better said, and definitely 100% accurate) over at the CYBILS site. I hope you'll start watching the CYBILS site now, and not wait for the nominations to open on October 1st.

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( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 19th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
Gnomes and Terry Pratchett mentioned in the same post--how delectable! The gnomes project is utterly tantalizing, especially since one of the little guys sits on my shelf (the one clutching the daisies), when he's not off marauding and galivanting.
Sep. 19th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
Marauding? Perish the thought!

The gnome project is lots of fun. I'm psyched about this particular set of revisions, and especially about the next step.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 19th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
Hard-working bloggers indeed.
Sep. 19th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC)
I get so excited when you talk about those gnomes!
Sep. 19th, 2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
So do I! Here's hoping the publishing industry gets excited as well!
Sep. 19th, 2008 05:26 pm (UTC)
I am a lucky girl to be working with all of you on this poetry panel. Man, I'm gonna learn so much.

Sep. 19th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
You already know so much! I'm so glad you agreed to join us, Jules!
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 19th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
You are most welcome.
Sep. 19th, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
TadMack says: :)
Man, your projects sound so creative and unusual. I still can't wait to read the Jane poetry. I'm assuming the gnomes -- not the six statuettes, but the book -- are not in any way poetic?
Sep. 19th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
Re: TadMack says: :)
That is correct. They are prose all the way.
Sep. 19th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
Re: TadMack says: :)
...somehow I am sure that the statuettes compose syllogisms and strum the lute.
Sep. 20th, 2008 12:01 am (UTC)
Re: TadMack says: :)
Good God! (Leaving me to wonder what gnomish syllogisms would sound like, exactly.)
Sep. 20th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
Ha! Gnomes! Even better, pictures of gnomes!

Congratulations on being on the CYBILS committee again this year.

Gnomes. hee hee
Sep. 20th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
The gnomes are so much fun.

Thanks for the congrats!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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