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Book Talk & Giveaway: THE STARS AT OKTOBER BEND by Glenda Millard

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 April 2018 · 100 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1508491604l/36095353.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1508491604l/36095353.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="473" data-original-width="318" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1508491604l/36095353.jpg"[/url] width="215" /></a></div><i>i am the girl manny loves. the girl who writes our story in the book of flying. i am alice.</i><br /><br />Alice is fifteen, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone. Something inside Alice is broken: she remembers words, but struggles to speak them. Still, Alice knows that words are for sharing, so she pins them to posters in tucked-away places: railway waiting rooms, fish-and-chips shops, quiet corners. Manny is sixteen, with a scar from shoulder to elbow. Something inside Manny is broken, too: he once was a child soldier, forced to do terrible, violent things. But in a new land with people who care for him, Manny explores the small town on foot. And in his pocket, he carries a poem he scooped up, a poem whose words he knows by heart. The relationship between Alice and Manny will be the beginning of love and healing. And for these two young souls, perhaps, that will be good enough.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b309" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b309/"[/url] id="rcwidget_0tsfh9pt" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script><br[/url] />

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Author Kerry Reed On Taking A Germ of An Idea & Building It Into A Story

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 17 April 2018 · 130 views

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to us like a lightning bolt, through the lyrics of a song, or in the fog of a dream. Ask any writer where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers, and in that vein I created the WHAT (What the Hell Are you Thinking?) interview. Always including in the WHAT is one random question to really dig down into the interviewees mind, and probably supply some illumination into my own as well.<br /><br />Today's guest for the WHAT is Kerry Reed, author of <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35568726-dreamscape"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35568726-dreamscape[/url]" target="_blank">DREAMSCAPE</a>.&nbsp;Kerry graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in English and then from George Mason University with a Masters in Literature because apparently she couldn’t get enough of the books. She loves transatlantic accents, blackberry frappes, and old-school British detective novels. She writes YA Fantasy but enjoys a good story wherever she finds one.<br /><br /><b>Ideas for our books can come from just about anywhere, and sometimes even we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Did you have a specific origin point for your book?</b><br /><br /><i>I absolutely agree that ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. For me, the germ of an idea usually begins with one very clear scene or concept. I might not know how the story starts of where it ends but I can picture that one tiny piece in my mind and it all grows from there. For Dreamscape (I literally just opened an early draft to check) I wrote the first scene first, which for me is actually pretty rare. The story opens in Chloe’s dream, a sunlit field she remembers from childhood and a strange boy she’s never seen before. I really liked the idea of a serial dreamer so powerful she dreams an entire world into existence. The story isn’t quite like that, but that was the initial concept.&nbsp; &nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>Once I had this concept of Chloe’s dream-world, certain things fell into place. I wanted the magic in the story to feel like the way a dream works. This idea, that the “magic” of the dream-world mimics the fluid possibility of dreams in general, and is powerful but often unconsciously employed by the dreamer, ended up sparking the central conflict of the story.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?</b><br /><br /><i>Constantly. I usually do make a basic outline after I’ve written my first few scenes but if you look back at my outlines they rarely resemble the final project. Often it’s not until I’m in the middle of something that I figure out what actually makes sense (or what doesn’t) – or I think of something (hopefully) more clever than my original plan.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>I also tend to write in circles, adding in the parts I have most clear in my mind first and then working in the rest. When I reach the end, I begin again (and so forth and so on). Since I’ve started working with a critique partner I’ve modulated this somewhat – like everything else my writing process is a work-in-progress – but if I have a scene in my mind I always find it worthwhile to put it to paper, even if I change it later.&nbsp;&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>So many ideas, so little time. Right now since I only write part time, I feel like I have more ideas than I could ever actually use. Of course some of them are probably terrible… I have several abandoned drafts that didn’t quite “work” for one reason or another. And I’ve had those days where I literally cannot manage to write a single sentence and cut my losses and head to Netflix. But the idea part isn’t usually the problem.</i><br /><br /><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?</b><br /><br /><i>For me if there’s one idea or story that I can’t not write, even if I should be working on something else, I usually end up starting with that one. At minimum I try to get down whatever part is in my head even if I do set it aside after that. If I don’t have that itch I try to focus on whichever story is closest to completion. When in doubt it’s always better to have a full draft of something than to have a million openings (or, in my case, random scenes) of promising but unfinished projects.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>I have 8 cats (seriously, check my Instagram feed) and I usually have at least one or two snuggling with me when I write. Do you have a writing buddy, or do you find it distracting?</b><br /><br /><i>This question is making me miss my dog, who was a champion snuggler, and tempted me to write more than a few chapters on my couch. These days I do most of my writing in coffee shops and my local Panera where I have lots of stranger-writing-buddies. They don’t know me and they don’t realize it, but their imaginary judgment forces me to focus.</i><br /><br />

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Recap of Release Week & A New Podcast On Writing and Branding

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 16 April 2018 · 132 views

<iframe class="wakeletEmbed" height="760" src="[url="https://embed.wakelet.com/wakes/88c8026c-403c-4d27-a3fe-ee20841999aa/list"]https://embed.wakelet.com/wakes/88c8026c-403c-4d27-a3fe-ee20841999aa/list[/url]" style="border: none;" width="100%"></iframe><!-- Please only call [url="https://embed-assets.wakelet.com/wakelet-embed.js"]https://embed-assets.wakelet.com/wakelet-embed.js[/url] once per page --><script charset="UTF-8" [url="src="]src="https://embed-assets.wakelet.com/wakelet-embed.js"></script><br[/url] /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">********************************************************************************</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div>Today’s guest on the podcast is JR Johansson author of the Night Walkers trilogy as well as CUT ME FREE and THE ROW. J.R. Johansson's books have been published in a dozen languages and more than twenty countries worldwide. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She joins host Mindy McGinnis to talk about the process of landing her agent, how writing thrillers came to be her brand, as well as the pros and cons of writing a series versus writing stand alones.<br /><br /><iframe [url="data-link="]data-link="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/vuuk2-8f52ed?from=yiiadmin"[/url] data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/vuuk2-8f52ed?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe>

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GIVEN TO THE EARTH Release Day & Giveaway!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 10 April 2018 · 130 views

It's here!<br /><br />GIVEN TO THE EARTH, the second and final in The Given Duet, releases today! If you're in Ohio, be sure to come and visit me and one of the many events I have planned throughout the week in order to celebrate three fantastic things:<br /><br />1) Given To The Earth Release<br />2) It's National Library Week<br />3) The Ohioana Book Festival<br /><br />I have a literal ton of events throughout Ohio this week. For more information on events outside of Ohio, <a href="[url="http://mindymcginnis.com/news.html"]http://mindymcginnis.com/news.html[/url]" target="_blank">check my site</a>! Enter the Rafflecopter below to win signed copies of both SEA and EARTH!<br /><br />April 10 6-8PM: <a [url="href="]href="https://www.covertocoverchildrensbooks.com/event/mindy-mcginnis-cover-cover"[/url] target="_blank">Cover to Cover Books</a><br /><br />April 11 @ 7PM: <a [url="href="]href="http://pickeringtonlibrary.org/event/meet-the-author-mindy-mcginnis/"[/url] target="_blank">Pickerington Library Sycamore Plaza Branch</a><br /><br />April 12 @ 7:30PM: <a [url="href="]href="https://www.facebook.com/events/308945422964565/"[/url] target="_blank">Cardington Public Library</a><br /><br />April 14 10:30 - 5 PM:<a [url="href="]href="http://www.ohioana.org/programs/ohioana-book-festival/"[/url] target="_blank"> Ohioana Book Festival</a><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1501084239l/34859900.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="317" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1501084239l/34859900.jpg"[/url] /></a></div><br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><i><b>Duty, fate, desire, and destiny collide in this intricately wrought tale, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.</b></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Although she was born to save the kingdom by sacrificing herself to the rising sea, Khosa's marriage to King Vincent has redeemed her. As the Queen of Stille, she's untouchable. But being Queen hasn't stopped her heart from longing for the King's stepbrother, Donil. And it hasn't stopped her body from longing for the sea itself, which still calls for her.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>While Khosa is made to choose between loyalty and love, Dara is on a mission for vengeance. Years ago, the Pietra slaughtered the entire Indiri race, leaving only Dara and her twin, Donil, alive. Now, spurned by King Vincent, Dara has embarked on a mission to spill the blood of Pietra's leader, Witt, and will stop at nothing to show his people the wrath of the last Indiri.&nbsp;</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>As the waves crash ever closer to Stille, secrets are revealed, hearts are won and lost, and allegiances change like the shifting sand.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b308" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b308/"[/url] id="rcwidget_1bmdwo6k" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script><br[/url] /><br />

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New Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire Podcast Episode & Where I'll Be This Week

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 09 April 2018 · 129 views

This is a very busy week for me, with three events today alone (I'm throwing together a post here in a library before I do an event in half an hour), and a launch party for GIVEN TO THE EARTH tomorrow.<br /><br />Today’s guest on the podcast is <a href="[url="http://readjennymartin.com/about/"]http://readjennymartin.com/about/[/url]" target="_blank">Jenny Martin</a> author of the Sci Fi YA Novels TRACKED and MARKED. Jenny joined me today to talk about the importance of critique partners – how to find them, how to treat them, and how to keep them, as well as writing for the sake of writing, instead of for the sake of being published.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/--Fm2EH9WIwI/WsvjnTxKO6I/AAAAAAAAEPk/M6hsPLNkqIUvnLv26LZKB7K0anbtopQVgCLcBGAs/s1600/JMarin.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="471" data-original-width="625" height="241" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/--Fm2EH9WIwI/WsvjnTxKO6I/AAAAAAAAEPk/M6hsPLNkqIUvnLv26LZKB7K0anbtopQVgCLcBGAs/s320/JMarin.jpg"[/url] width="320" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><iframe [url="data-link="]data-link="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/j2jjr-8ed4ac?from=yiiadmin"[/url] data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/j2jjr-8ed4ac?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe><br /><br />I have many, many, many events both this week and throughout the month of April! <a [url="href="]href="http://mindymcginnis.com/news.html"[/url] target="_blank">Please check out my site</a> for the clickable links for each event listed below:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-G9rUomTU1OU/Wsvj5Ajb2hI/AAAAAAAAEPo/Vx9Cj7LwqmkF1hVjm9IRwQBJvE4Yn-yFwCLcBGAs/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2018-04-09%2Bat%2B6.05.43%2BPM.png"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="162" data-original-width="491" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-G9rUomTU1OU/Wsvj5Ajb2hI/AAAAAAAAEPo/Vx9Cj7LwqmkF1hVjm9IRwQBJvE4Yn-yFwCLcBGAs/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2018-04-09%2Bat%2B6.05.43%2BPM.png"[/url] /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><br /><br />

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 07 April 2018 · 129 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://rclewisbooks.com/"]http://rclewisbooks.com/[/url]" target="_blank">RC Lewis</a>&nbsp;and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/p/query-critiques.html">shoot[/url] us an email.</a><br /><a [url="href="]href="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/p/query-critiques.html"><br[/url] /></a><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s400/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] width="247" /></a>We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to&nbsp;punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.<br /><br />If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/"[/url] target="_blank">AgentQueryConnect</a>. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br />After the death of her older brother, eleven-year-old Riley Tompkins looks for escape within a mysterious book written by her grandfather. But when the book’s story begins to spill into reality, Riley discovers that its pages hide a dark secret: one that could help bring back her brother—or unleash a terrible power. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Oooohhh. Good hook.</span><br /><br />After Riley finds Summer in the Wood under a floorboard in her grandfather’s old house in Vermont, she follows its plot deep into the woods. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">You're backtracking a little bit here, which is a waste of space in a query.&nbsp;</span>There, she meets an enigmatic girl who let’s <span style="color: #6aa84f;">no apostrophe</span>&nbsp;Riley in on the secret she’s been waiting for: Magic is real, and there’s a summer camp just up the Connecticut River where kids can learn it.<br /><br />Riley enrolls at the Wheelock Institute’s Summer Program to study dunamis—the ancient art of using imagination to shape the world. But between lessons on Bookmaking, Cloudherding, and a host of other magical disciplines, Riley must unlock the secrets of her grandfather’s past and race to uncover a long-lost magical object—one that could change the fate of the entire world. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">By bringing back the dead? You're teasing just a little bit here.</span><br /><br />SUMMER IN THE WOOD is a 63,000-word middle-grade fantasy with series potential for fans of the PECULIAR CHILDREN series and Scarlett Thomas’ DRAGON’S GREEN.<br /><br /><strike>Hello! </strike>I graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in creative writing and am currently an editor on Scholastic’s Science World, a magazine for grades 6-10. In addition, I have a nonfiction science book scheduled for publication next year with Scholastic library publishing.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Great bio, great query. With a little tweak on that corpse tease, you're good to go.</span>

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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: THE MORTIFICATION OF FOVEA MUNSON

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 06 April 2018 · 127 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1513765702l/29774899.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1513765702l/29774899.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="385" data-original-width="255" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1513765702l/29774899.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div>Fovea Munson is nobody's Igor. True, her parents own a cadaver lab where they perform surgeries on dead bodies. And yes, that makes her gross by association, at least according to everyone in seventh grade. And sure, Fovea's stuck working at the lab now that her summer camp plans have fallen through. But she is by no means Dr. Frankenstein's snuffling assistant!<br /><br />That is, until three disembodied heads, left to thaw in the wet lab, start talking. To her. Out loud.<br /><br />What seems like a nightmare, or bizarre hallucination, is not. Fovea is somebody's Igor, all right. Three somebodies, actually. And they need a favor.<br />With a madcap sense of humor and a lot of heart (not to mention other body parts), this is a story about finding oneself, finding one's friends, and embracing the moment.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b307" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b307/"[/url] id="rcwidget_3ips07n6" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script><br[/url] />

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Jennifer Sommersby On Planning Vs. Pantsing

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 05 April 2018 · 142 views

Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is <a href="[url="https://www.jennsommersby.com/"]https://www.jennsommersby.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Jennifer Sommersby</a> author of <a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1515187760l/35756895.jpg"[/url] target="_blank">SLEIGHT,</a> releasing April 24th from SkyPony Press. Jennifer is a writer, copy/line editor, bibliophile, and mom of four living in the Great White North.<br /><b><br /></b><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1515187760l/35756895.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="464" data-original-width="318" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1515187760l/35756895.jpg"[/url] width="219" /></a></div><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>I used to be a devoted pantser. Don’t tell me what to do! I’m a writer with free will! But then I wrote a book that was a hot mess and the editor working on it had me start from scratch—by writing an OUTLINE. Egad! I ended up writing several detailed outlines, around 40-45 pages each, and when we finally settled on one that felt right, only then was I green-lit to start (re)writing the book. However, even that proved challenging because at about page 20 on the outline, the story diverged wildly and unexpectedly, so basically the remainder of the outline was useless.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I’ve since found a better system that works for me—a detailed synopsis. I try to write it like what you would read on the back cover of a novel, and then go into greater detail farther down the page. I aim for five to ten pages and cover major characters, central plot, subplots, secondary characters, major conflicts, the main character’s objective, and even dialogue and snippets of scenes I don’t want to forget. I’ve found the synopsis route to be awesome—I’m only spending about a week or so writing it, and that frees up plenty of time to tweak before I actually start writing the book. I can also show this to my agent or an interested editor if they’re asking about what other projects I have on the go.</i><br /><br /><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><br /><i>Depends on the project. I write romantic comedies for grownups under a pen name (Eliza Gordon), and while I am a meticulous researcher, I can write an Eliza book in four to six months, sometimes less if work and life don’t get in the way. SLEIGHT, however, well, she’s an anomaly. I wrote the first draft longhand over 360 nights sitting in my car at a local coffee shop (fueled by peppermint tea!); that was in 2009-2010. The book has gone through a grueling editing and rewriting process to reach the stage it’s at now. So, it’s not inaccurate to say this book has taken me eight years to write … But the truth is, there were 15 drafts written during that time, and many of those were rewritten starting from a blank page. I’m currently writing SLEIGHT’s sequel, SCHEME, and I’ve been working on this latest draft for five months. I still have a long way to go since it is VERY research intensive. Me and my big ideas. Oy.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multitasker?</b><br /><br /><i>Definitely a multitasker. I have about five or six projects I’m putting words down for, even if they’re just one line or an idea as it occurs to me, and not all of these projects will necessarily turn into anything sellable. But remember, I also write under two names, in two very different genres/styles, and I’m not a rigid 2000-plus-words-a-day writer. I wish!&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>Perfectionism. It’s been a lifelong plague that almost saw me flunk seventh grade algebra because I wasn’t turning in my homework—“But Mr. Reiland, I can’t turn it in because it’s not perfect!” Yeah, so as a writer, one of the reasons I’m so slow is because I’m also an obsessive self-editor and rewriter. I will go over and over a chapter until I think it’s in decent shape, and only then will I move on to the next chapter. So the fear that knocks me to my knees almost every time? Fear that it won’t be perfect. Which is ridiculous. Writer Anne Lamott says, “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.” Reading her advice back in 2007 gave me permission to start writing shitty first drafts. Which I did.</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?</b><br /><br /><i>Nothing finished! See above notes on perfectionism.</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b><br /><br /><i>Yes. It sucks because I still love the idea, but the execution is proving too complicated. When I spend months thinking about a project and it presents me with an unsolvable problem that then spawns into five or more unsolvable problems, I know the project is begging to be abandoned.</i><br /><i><br /></i><b>Who is your agent and how did you get that “Yes!” out of them?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>In 2010 I started querying agents for SLEIGHT. I had a few requests for fulls but it didn’t get any further until I queried Dan Lazar, my DREAM agent, on Easter Sunday. He got back to me an hour later, asked for a full, and rejected me a week later. He graciously offered me several chances to edit and resubmit but ultimately passed. The abbreviated version of a rather long story: I self-published a version of SLEIGHT in 2011. It was only out for a few months, but reviews were great and sales weren’t terrible, so I emailed Dan and said HEY LOOK ARE YOU SURE YOU DON’T WANT THIS BOOK. He then referred me to the incredible in-house editor for Writers House, Genevieve Gagne-Hawes. Gen and I reworked SLEIGHT throughout 2011 and into 2012, and then in May 2012, Dan agreed to sign me. A week or so later, we got a pre-empt from HarperCollins Canada for a two-book deal. Woohoo! Recently I transferred to Dan’s junior agent, Victoria (Torie) Doherty-Munro, because I’m a hyperactive client with a lot of irons in the fire between the Sommersby books in development and then the Eliza Gordon books—Dan is extremely busy and Torie is young and hungry and has the space to help me develop some of these other ideas, so it’s a win-win all around. I get the best of both worlds!</i><br /><br /><b>How many queries did you send? (whichever you’re more comfortable answering)</b><br /><br /><i>I racked up 23 rejections before getting a yes from Dan. And as you read above, that was quite a long process.</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b><br /><br /><i>PERSEVERE. And patience, my friend! Be open to the constructive criticisms coming at you from potential agents—seriously, a good agent knows the business and if they’re telling you your protagonist isn’t believable or the plot is flimsy, they’re not being mean. They’re telling you this because the story is undercooked. The hardest lesson I’ve learned so far—this business isn’t personal. Because it IS a business. They’re not rejecting YOU; they are rejecting the manuscript based on flaws that may or may not be fixable. But being bullheaded and inflexible will get you nowhere.</i><br /><br /><i>Never be afraid to dive back in and fix what you can. Hire a trustworthy editor—but vet them first! Don’t hire your neighbor because she’s good with commas. I know very few agents will go that extra mile to provide editorial feedback until they’ve signed you (they are absolutely swamped all the time), but if you get a request for a partial or full and the agent still rejects the manuscript, if they offer actionable advice, strongly consider taking it and look at fixing whatever isn’t working.</i><br /><i><br /></i><b>How did it feel the first time you saw your book for sale?</b><br /><br /><i>Euphoria. And pride. It was very emotional, actually. This book has taken its toll on my mental health—not gonna lie—so to see fifty copies sitting there on the display shelf at the front of the store where people can pick her up and hug her and then take her home? Pretty bloody great. And at the launch-day signing, I actually started crying when I got to my table and saw Chapters Indigo had one of those six-foot banners they make for their signing guests—only this one had MY name and MY book on it. It was my Velveteen Rabbit moment, and I was overcome. It’s the little things, you know?</i><br /><br /><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>For the HarperCollins Canada version, I didn’t have any input until they sent me the first draft of the artwork—and it was terrific, so my only input was YES I LOVE IT IT’S PERFECT. It’s VERY elegant. For the Sky Pony Press (US) version, I was a lot more involved with the process, which was also very cool—Alison Weiss, my editor, gave Dan and me a lot of room for feedback. Sky Pony worked with Sarah J. Coleman (InkyMole on Instagram—follow her!), and it was fantastic to see our suggested changes happen so quickly. (And the cover is filled with Easter eggs!) The end results of both versions make me cry all the happy tears. It’s just surreal.</i><br /><br /><b>What’s something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>How much marketing authors (especially debut authors with no track record yet) have to do on their own. Yikes!&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I do a ton of my own marketing. The lion’s share, in fact. I’m active on social media—primarily <a [url="href="]href="https://www.facebook.com/jennifersommersby/"[/url] target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.instagram.com/jennsommersbyauthor/"[/url] target="_blank">Instagram</a>, and <a [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/JennSommersby"[/url] target="_blank">Twitter</a>. My <a [url="href="]href="https://www.jennsommersby.com/"[/url] target="_blank">website</a> is pretty basic but it provides people with a place to go to find necessary links. I had a blog for years but I’m a lazy blogger, so it’s sort of hiding out there in the ether right now, long ignored. Sorry, little blog. I also make and order my own bookmarks, pens, postcards, and other marketing collateral (yup, I pay for it) and I do as many giveaways as I can afford. (Postage from Canada is insanely expensive.) I use Canva and Photoshop Elements for social media graphics, and we’re a family of photographers so if I can’t find an image I want on a stock site, one of us can probably shoot it. Also, my husband works in film and for SLEIGHT, we’ve made an incredible book trailer that I hope folks will love.</i><br /><br /><i>I run the occasional Facebook ad, but I haven’t found those to be necessarily worth the cost. Also, I still believe very strongly in word of mouth, so I arrange book signings with local bookstores—I’ve spent years cultivating my relationships with the booksellers—and I do hire a blog tour company to get the books into the hands of bloggers so they can help with the blast process.</i><br /><br /><i>I have a newsletter for Eliza Gordon but not for Jenn Sommersby—I know the marketing gurus tout the amazing strength a newsletter can provide for an author but I haven’t found that to be super true for me yet. A friend who runs her own author-focused marketing business (www.JulieInk.com—tell her Jenn sent you!) often reminds me that I need to be doing more frequent newsletters, but I’m still working on that bit. It’s a tough balance!&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>I don’t think it hurts to be building as soon as you decide that you want to be writing stories the world will eventually see. I started engaging on Twitter pretty heavily back in 2011 when the first self-published version of SLEIGHT was out (the version with the redhead on the cover—if you’re reading that obsolete version, it’s either pirated or one of the few paperbacks still floating around Amazon). I don’t have huge followings on Twitter or Facebook (damn algorithms!) or even Instagram but slowly, slowly, I am building.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>On social, I share books I’ve bought and what I’m reading, helpful tips for writers, funny memes, whatever soundtracks I’m listening to, pictures of my very spoiled cat, etc. I try to engage with readers instead of just scream BUY MY BOOKS. And because SLEIGHT has had such an unusually long journey to publication, I’ve been hesitant about focusing too much time on building the platform as I didn’t know until mid 2017 what to tell people when they asked about when the book would be coming out. In hindsight, this was a mistake. Find a way to engage people about your world as a writer—it doesn’t just have to be about your book that may or may not ever be published.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b><br /><br /><i>I don’t know how I would find a readership without social media! I rely heavily on friends I’ve made online, the bloggers, the readers who love books—without social media, it would be me sitting alone in my office with my cat and my Superman collection, hoping someone will find my books. I’ll forever be grateful to the nerds who understand how to write the code that enables me to reach an entire world of amazing readers and booklovers!</i><br /><br /><br /><br />

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Author & Editor Jess Verdi On Personalizing Queries

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 03 April 2018 · 119 views

Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is Jessica Verdi, author of Jessica Verdi author of young adult novels and children’s books about identity, family, acceptance, and love. Jess received her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School and is a freelance editor of romance, women’s fiction, chick lit, YA, and kid lit.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>A little of both! I start new projects as a pantster, writing down whatever comes to mind, then I pause to try to put those thoughts and ideas into some sort of coherent form or story arc, and then I go back to pantsting (is that even a word? haha) for the actual writing of the scenes.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><br /><i>It really, really varies, depending on the project and my schedule at any given moment, but on average I’d say a year.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?</b><br /><br /><i>Usually just one at a time. Sometimes I have to multi-task if different projects are in different stages and there are deadlines involved, but I tend to do much better if I can give my full attention to one story at a time.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>Yes, definitely. I had this preconceived notion that the only people who could be authors were the people who had been writing stories since they were two years old, and had a degree in comparative literature or something. I was a singer and actor at the time, and all I wanted was a creative outlet that didn’t require auditioning or getting cast in a show. So even though I had major imposter syndrome, I made myself sit down and figure out how to tell a story on a page. And I fell in love with it!</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?</b><br /><br /><i>Two complete manuscripts. I guess third time’s a charm!</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b><br /><br /><i>Yes, quite a few times, actually. I usually know it’s time to move on to something new when the current project feels like it’s missing passion. Even though writing is hard, and it can often feel like pulling teeth, I know a project is worth pursuing when I feel that little spark when I think of it being a complete, finished novel.</i><br /><br /><b>Who is your agent and how did you get that "Yes!" out of them?&nbsp;&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>My agent is Kate McKean, vice president and agent at the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. I was referred to her by two friends of mine who are also clients of hers.</i><br /><br /><b>How long did you query before landing your agent?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I queried a completely different project before querying the book that became my first published novel, so the query process lasted a couple years for me, on and off.</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b><br /><br /><i>I am also an editor at Crimson Romance, a digital romance imprint at Simon &amp; Schuster, and I read queries all day every day. So, from that perspective, I’d say definitely do your research—don’t just send mass queries to a bunch of agents at once. Address the query with the person’s name, and include a line at the beginning about why you chose to query that agent (you read an interview with them where they said they were looking for projects like yours, or you think your book is a comparable title to another book they represent, etc.). Also make sure your query is succinct, proof-read, and zeroes in on what is unique or different about your book.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How did that feel, the first time you saw your book for sale?</b><br /><br /><i>Wonderful! It’s such a special feeling, to know that there’s a piece of art out there in the world that came from your own brain. No one will ever be able to take that away from you!</i><br /><br /><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>Almost none, haha. In my experience, the design team does their thing, and only shows the author near-finished concepts. They will change something if the author has a concern about something being misinterpreted or offensive, but otherwise the author doesn’t get much of a say in the overall cover concept.</i><br /><br /><b>What’s something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>Something that always surprises me is how people who don’t work in publishing often have no idea what the editing process is really like. They often think “editing” means “copy editing” (fixing grammar, punctuation, etc.), and are shocked to learn how many story revisions a book will go through, and how long the process really takes, before the book is ready for publication.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you do?&nbsp;&nbsp;</b><br /><i><br /></i><i>I do as much as I possibly can, as I do think it’s important for an author to help get the word out about their book, but I also don’t have a ton of time and resources to dedicate to marketing, especially when I’m trying to write the next book. I do have a <a href="[url="http://jessicaverdi.com/"]http://jessicaverdi.com/[/url]" target="_blank">website</a>&nbsp;and social media (@jessverdi on both <a [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/JessVerdi"[/url] target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a [url="href="]href="https://www.instagram.com/jessverdi/"[/url] target="_blank">Instagram</a>), and I’ve found school visits are a good way to get the word out about a book too.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>I think it doesn’t hurt to establish yourself on social media beforehand, so that if an agent looks you up they can see that you’re professional and friendly. But don’t worry about getting thousands of followers or anything!</i><br /><br /><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b><br /><br /><i>I’m honestly not sure. It certainly doesn’t hurt! But I also don’t think most readers rely on Twitter to find new authors or books—some social media is good, but don’t let it distract you from writing your next book! That’s the most important thing.&nbsp;</i>

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The Danger In Place Names

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 02 April 2018 · 123 views

Reality is part of what makes good fiction work. From literature of place to a post-apocalyptic view of a well known city, those little details can be part of what really drives a piece of fiction home.<br /><br />Or... it can be what completely pulls the reader out.<br /><br />I was recently reading a book set in Ohio, my stomping grounds. I've been here my whole life, and while I can't say I know everything about it, I do know what kinds of trees are here, what wildlife you can expect in certain parts of the state - and also what simply wouldn't be there. I know the lay of the land - literally. From the Appachian foothills in the south to the flat plains in my part of the state, I have a pretty good general idea of what Ohio looks like, where.<br /><br />So when the character in the book I was reading encountered a toll road in a part of the state where there simply isn't one (it's not hard to spot - there's only one), I was completely taken out the book. Was there a toll road I didn't know about?<br /><br />A quick Google search told me that no, there wasn't. And while I can't claim that it ruined the book for me (it certainly didn't), what it did do was put a speed bump in my way. I was jolted right out of the story, the narrative was broken, the fictional world I'd invested in shattered based on a simple mistake.<br /><br />And that's what it is - an easy, simple mistake. I've made more than a few in my own books, so I'm not faulting the author. What I did take from this experience was a solidifying of something I've suspected for a long time... it's just easier to make shit up.<br /><br />I usually set my novels in fictional towns, the generalities are covered - regional area, state, etc. - but I tend to avoid specifically stating a town or city where my characters are... and this is exactly why. I want my readers to stay invested in the world I've built around them, which is in fact, a fictional one. When what I'm trying to paint for them doesn't jive with what they know as fact, it throws a wrench in the very tenuous spell that fiction weaves.<br /><br />This is personal opinion, and there are great - and true - arguments for using real settings in your fiction. If that's what you prefer to write, I completely support that.<br /><br />Just make sure you know where the toll roads are.<br /><br />________________________________________________________________<br /><br />The newest ep of the <a href="[url="https://writerwriterpantsonfire.podbean.com/"]https://writerwriterpantsonfire.podbean.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire podcast</a>&nbsp;is up! Join myself and guest Randy Ribay as we talk about&nbsp;the importance of having an agent in order to negotiate the best possible contract, the power of writing concisely and how to make time to write while holding a day job.<br /><br /><iframe [url="data-link="]data-link="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/pkcw6-8e6a2b?from=yiiadmin"[/url] data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/pkcw6-8e6a2b?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe>

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