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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: GIRL IN A BAD PLACE by Kaitlin Ward

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 03 November 2017 · 51 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492011653l/34669562.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492011653l/34669562.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="314" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492011653l/34669562.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div>Mailee and Cara take care of each other. Mailee is the star of the high school plays; Cara is the stage manager. Mailee can't keep her life together; Cara has enough organizational skills for the both of them.<br /><br />So when the girls are invited to visit the Haven, a commune in the mountains near their suburban Montana homes, it seems like an adventure. Until Cara starts spending every waking minute there ... and Mailee thinks it's creepy, almost like a cult. When Cara decides she's going to move to the Haven permanently, Mailee knows it's a bad idea. But how far will she go to save her best friend ... from herself?<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">*********************************************************************************<br /><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Want to help me with mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated! Donating has no impact on your chances of winning.</div><form [url="action="]action="https://www.paypal.com/fk/cgi-bin/webscr"[/url] method="post" name="_xclick"><input name="business" type="hidden" value="bigblackcat97@gmail.com" /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><input alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!" border="0" name="submit" [url="src="]src="http://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-butcc-donate.gif"[/url] type="image" /><br /></form><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b285" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b285/"[/url] id="rcwidget_6nziu58s" 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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Katie A. Nelson On Mixing Trial & Error With Inspiration

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 31 October 2017 · 41 views

<a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1486180055l/31213230.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1486180055l/31213230.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="316" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1486180055l/31213230.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a>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 Katie A. Nelson, author of <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31213230-the-duke-of-bannerman-prep?ac=1&amp;from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">THE DUKE OF BANNERMAN PREP</a>, available from SkyPony.&nbsp;Formerly a high school English and Debate teacher, she now lives in Northern California with her husband, four children, and hyperactive dog.<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>In my former life, before I became a full-time writer, I was a high school English teacher. One of the challenges that high school teachers face is trying to find a way into classic literature for their students. I taught American Lit for years, and when I taught The Great Gatsby it was always a struggle to relate the story to my students’ personal lives. So I’d been thinking about the themes and characters in the book for years before the story really took shape.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>One of the things we always discussed when I taught Gatsby was the idea of the American dream and the concept we have accepted as a society that if you just work hard enough, you can achieve anything you want. At the same time, I was coaching Speech &amp; Debate. Speech &amp; Debate is similar, in that it doesn’t take physical prowess to be successful, just a lot of hard work. And yet, as I taught and coached, it became obvious that there were issues of privilege at work in that area, just as there are in modern life. If your school has a large budget for Speech, if the students don’t have to work part time jobs and can spend their free time researching, etc. then that team has an advantage over less privileged schools. I thought it would be interesting to mash up the two ideas, and the initial idea for The Duke of Bannerman Prep was born.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>Initially, I tried to stay pretty close to the plot of Gatsby, hitting the major plot events in the classic novel. I found out relatively early, though, that it wouldn’t work for my story. In Gatsby, the narrator, Nick, observes the story, but it isn’t his story. I didn’t want that for my book, partly because it was one of the things that always bugged me about the original. So I made my Nick character (Tanner, in my novel) more of a central player, and the plot changed as a result of it.&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 /><i><br /></i><i>Definitely! My first draft of this novel was very different. It opened after the climax in the book, then flashed back to earlier scenes. While I like books that are written this way, it didn’t work for my story because it was hard for readers to care about these characters in crisis when they hadn’t met them yet.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I also wound up changing the plot of the last third of the book, so that required a massive rewrite as well. My critique partners were so patient with me, especially because I kept saying that I’d finished the book, only to re-write it six or seven more times.</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>Seeds for stories come to me all the time. I think I have four in various notebooks right now. I usually need a lot of time to think about them, to develop characters and see if there is any kind of plot that can come out of those seeds. I’ve been known to bring several first chapters to my critique group, only to set them aside and work on something else. I don’t know why, but that’s just how my brain works.</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>Usually through trial and error. I’ll start working on something, only to find that the story isn’t coming. Either I can’t quite hear the character’s voice yet, or I’m telling the story from the wrong point of view, or the story isn’t developed enough to be an actual story. When I find that I’m really struggling to write, usually that means that I need to set it aside and work on something else.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>2016 was not an easy year. Do you draw any inspiration from the world around you, or do you use writing as pure escapism?</b><br /><br /><i>Both? I usually find that my story ideas come out of the “what if” questions that I often ask. I see a story on the news and wonder what could have happened if a choice had been different. Or I read or hear about a person and wonder what it was that led them to a crucial point in their lives. All of my novels have been contemporary novels, so there are usually seeds of the world around me in all of them.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>At the same time, when I’m watching too much news or spending too much time on social media, it can be really scary and overwhelming. So I like to write to create a way out of darkness for my characters, which is invariably really what I need in my life at that particular time. 2016 was a difficult year, but I’ve also seen that out of all of the noise, some really amazing things have happened. People are speaking out more, getting involved and trying to make a difference. We’re having difficult conversations that we need to have. I’ve learned so much from the conversations that are happening, and I hope that my writing will be more empathetic as a result of it.</i>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2017/10/katie-nelson-on-mixing-trial-error-with.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2017/10/katie-nelson-on-mixing-trial-error-with.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Do You NaNo? & Books By The Banks 2017!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 30 October 2017 · 44 views

We're close! November is <a href="[url="https://nanowrimo.org/"]https://nanowrimo.org/[/url]" target="_blank">National Novel Writing Month</a>, and for a lot of us, this means warming up the knuckle joints and stocking up on K-Cups.<br /><br />What is NaNoWriMo? It's a worldwide effort to get writers in front of laptops, typewriters, or just plain notebook paper, and write 50k words in a month. That might be a whole novel for you, it might not. You can start a book, finish one, or just crack out a lot of shorts over the course of the month. The daily word count goal is 1,667 words - totally doable.<br /><br />I'll be NaNo-ing this year, looking to finish one project and perhaps start another!<br /><br />And don't miss the newest <a [url="href="]href="https://writerwriterpantsonfire.podbean.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire podcast</a> episode, with guest Kate Watson. We talk about a variety of things, from how to market a quieter book, to the many different ways a person can be strong... and of course, we talk NaNo.<br /><br /><iframe [url="data-link="]data-link="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/e9mry-79ac7e?from=yiiadmin"[/url] data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/e9mry-79ac7e?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe><br /><br />I spent the weekend at Books by the Banks in Cincinnati -- and of course I had to Storify that.<br /><br /><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/books-by-the-banks-2017/embed?border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/books-by-the-banks-2017.js?border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/books-by-the-banks-2017" target="_blank">View the story "Books By the Banks 2017" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div>

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 28 October 2017 · 52 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 /><br /><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 />Freja first experienced a claustrophobic attack when her aunt was sentenced to death. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">It's an interesting hook, but it sounds more like an anxiety attack than true claustrophobia if it came on suddenly.&nbsp;</span>Still plagued by the memory, Freja dives into the planet-wide ocean <span style="color: #6aa84f;">if it's planet-wide how does she dive into it? Wouldn't she require something to dive off of?</span>&nbsp;to escape the constant torment of her underwater home. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Confusing. She dove into the ocean to escape her underwater home? Wouldn't it make more sense to simply say she ran away?&nbsp;</span>Too bad the o-mask doesn’t protect her from the toxicity of the water. Or from her dead aunt’s voice. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Definitely confused when it comes to world building. She lives underwater yet requires a mask, so are there underwater cities that are built for humankind? When you say she dives into the ocean you mean that she left her home, right? Definitely clarify. Right now it's foggy. And why would she leave if she knows the water is toxic?</span><br /><br />Freja thinks she’s imagining it until her dead aunt leaves messages on her task screen <span style="color: #6aa84f;">so she's out in the massive ocean wearing only a mask?</span>&nbsp;warning of sabotage and murder. When she overhears the cloister leader <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So she didn't leave? She's back home? Did the toxicity of the water drive her back?&nbsp;</span>whispering about the same things behind closed doors, Freja searches for evidence. She abhors the cloister, but she won’t stand idle while something -- or someone -- attacks her home. It is, unfortunately, still the only habitable place left on the planet. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is the first real grounding we get for setting in this query. Unfortunately the plot is still really murky - she's getting these warnings of sabotage and murder, but sabotage of what, and murder of who? Why does she hate the cloister and her home life so much, especially if it's the only place to live? We need reasons.</span><br /><br />To assist her, Freja recruits her best friend and partner-in-crime: Markus. He helps unravel their leader’s secrets until an accident puts him in a coma. He may know the last piece of information needed to expose the truth and rescue their home, but the cloister leader refuses to heal him. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">With magic, or medicine?&nbsp;</span>To save Markus and protect the cloister, Freja will have to break stricter laws than ever before. But, in doing so, she’ll risk death by removal from the cloister. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So what? She already left once of her own volition.&nbsp;</span>Just like her dead aunt. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is she actually dead if she's receiving these messages?</span><br /><br />SUBMERGED is a young adult science fiction novel complete at 84,000 words. It will appeal to fans of the TV show Ascension and Emily Skrutskie’s The Abyss Surrounds Us.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Right now you're being too vague about what the secret is. The biggest job of a query is to set the stakes - what's at risk? The only habitable place on the planet, okay. But WHY would anyone want to attack / sabotage such a place unless they are located elsewhere? Is it the only habitable place? Is that part of the plot? Don't be cagey in a query - tell us who the bad guy is, what their goal is, and how the protag is going to try to stop them.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">You're opening with an attack of some sort, but that doesn't actually seem to be key to the plot. Freja hates her home (why?) but can't leave (clarify) yet becomes the unlikely savior of it because... her dead aunt says so? It sounds like you have an interesting setting for an SF - spruce up the query to get the plot across.</span>

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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM by Dave Connis

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 27 October 2017 · 64 views

<a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492657399l/34138283.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492657399l/34138283.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="314" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492657399l/34138283.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a>Adam Hawthorne is fine.<br /><br />Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.<br /><br />But Adam is fine.<br /><br />When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.<br /><br />Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">*********************************************************************************</div><div style="text-align: left;">Want to help me with mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated! Donating has no impact on your chances of winning.</div><form [url="action="]action="https://www.paypal.com/fk/cgi-bin/webscr"[/url] method="post" name="_xclick"><input name="business" type="hidden" value="bigblackcat97@gmail.com" /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><input alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!" border="0" name="submit" [url="src="]src="http://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-butcc-donate.gif"[/url] type="image" /><br /></form><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b284" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b284/"[/url] id="rcwidget_ib1u6b2o" 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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Alex Lidell On Using Swag To Build Rapport

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 24 October 2017 · 45 views

Most authors will agree that the creative part of the job is where we excel, the business and marketing side, slightly less. It’s lovely when the two can meet in the form of SWAG – Shit We All Generate. I’ve invited some published authors to share with us their secret to swag… little freebies that can sell a book longer after the author is no longer standing in front of a prospective reader. In order to create great swag, you have to be crafty – in more ways than one.<br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490639827l/34397006.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490639827l/34397006.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="316" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490639827l/34397006.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Master and Commander meets Sarah J <br />Maas in a seafaring adventure of duty, <br />love, magic, and a princess’s quest to <br />protect her kingdom on her own terms.</td></tr></tbody></table>My guest today for the SWAG is Alex Lidell, an Amazon bestselling author of AIR AND ASH (Danger Bearing Press, 2017) and an Amazon Breakout Novel Awards finalist author of THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). She is an avid horseback rider, a (bad) hockey player, and an ice-cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s life long love for YA fantasy books. Alex is represented by Leigh Feldman of Leigh Feldman Literary. She lives in Washington, DC.&nbsp; Learn more at <a [url="href="]href="http://www.alexlidell.com/">www.alexlidell.com</a><br[/url] /><br /><b>Finding something that represents your book and hasn’t been played out by a million authors before is difficult. What’s your swag?</b><br /><br /><i>I have two very different freebies and they each have a purposeful role in my marketing strategy.&nbsp;&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Silicone bracelets. They are colorful, they stay on the wrist for others to see and ask about, and they have a reminder of my books on them along with a “Challenge The Odds” slogan. The greatest impact of these comes not from the freebie itself, however, but in the way I deliver it.&nbsp; I shoot them like rubber bands at kids and teens who answer/ask a question, make a comment, or do something else I can find a reason to reward them for.&nbsp; There is always laughter and people ducking to not get hit, and a general demolition of the barrier to interact. Also, ducking away from a rubber band creates an emotional engagement, that helps people remember who I am and wear the bracelet longer.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>E-novella. FIRST COMMAND is a prequel novella to my TIDES series and for a while I used it as a freebie magnet to entice people to join my mailing list, interact, and get familiar with my writing. I still sometimes gift it to readers for things like answering a riddle in my newsletter correctly.</i><br /><br /><b>How much money per piece did your swag cost out of pocket?</b><br /><br /><i>The bracelets were maybe $0.30-40 each?&nbsp; I got them in such massive quantity that I don’t remember.&nbsp; The novella is an ebook.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you find that swag helps you stand out at an event?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>The bracelets seem to be fairly high value swag as far as in-person freebies go - however putting things out on a table has never worked as well for me as “shooting” bracelets at readers. I have learned to be careful - the bracelets really don’t fly far or hard but some people think they will.&nbsp; So if I see a little fear, I aim at the floor or throw high up in the air.</i><br /><br /><b>What do you think of big item swag pieces versus cheaper, yet more easily discarded swag like bookmarks?</b><br /><br /><i>I think it’s about utility, and people USE bookmarks more than other things. I had some expensive swag like dog-tags, which cost me $2 a piece, and I found that the low quantity made them less than helpful. I now stick to bookmarks, bracelets and e-books.</i><br /><br /><b>What’s the most clever / best swag by another author?</b><br /><br /><i>Bracelets. I stole that idea from another author :)&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>And the biggest question – do you think swag helps sell books?</b><br /><br /><i>Bracelets do not help me sell books directly, they build rapport, my brand, and people’s memory of me. Bracelets are one of seven touch points of advertizing the customer goes through before deciding to buy.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>The novella absolutely helps sell books by getting readers to try the series.&nbsp;</i>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2017/10/alex-lidell-on-using-swag-to-build.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2017/10/alex-lidell-on-using-swag-to-build.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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My Insane Past Two Weeks

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 23 October 2017 · 51 views

<div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/my-insane-past-two-weeks/embed?border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/my-insane-past-two-weeks.js?border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/my-insane-past-two-weeks" target="_blank">View the story "My Insane Past Two Weeks" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div>

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 21 October 2017 · 47 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 /><br /><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 />Seventeen-year-old Zaymie is sick to her soul of living in the super-cramped, domed city that shields humanity from the over-polluted Earth. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Cool, good opening with setting and genre very clear.&nbsp;</span>So when she and her two friends almost discover a way to eradicate the contagion <span style="color: #6aa84f;">how do you "almost" discover something?</span>, the government lets them in on a whopping secret: The pollution is about to finally eat through the dome and annihilate everyone. Impressed by the teens’ genius and dedication to improving humanity, the government selects them for a desperate, top-secret mission of traveling back in time and preventing the advent of the pollution. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Wait - so they almost discover a way to fix the problem that is going to kill everyone, and instead of giving them the resources to try and actually fix the problem and use their genius in that way, they instead send them traveling through time? I mean, I get that it's a government solution but this seems pretty backwards.</span><br /><br />But shortly after blastoff, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">so the time machine is like a rocket?</span>&nbsp;Zaymie and her friends’ time machine malfunctions, stranding them in an unknown time filled with giant, mechanical spiders and ferocious, outlandish beasts, including bears with tusks and alligators with shark heads. Without tools to fix their machine so they can resume their mission, the teens climb a mountain in search of intelligent life—only to eavesdrop on a government meeting. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Why would they climb a mountain in search of intelligent life? Are they going towards something like a building or a city?</span><br /><br />Turns out Zaymie and her friends have been in the current time all along and were dispatched in a deadly jungle, left to die. Apparently the rulers lied to the public about Earth still being polluted, the jungle created by one of the cities’ sadistic rulers out of sheer enjoyment. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">What about the jungle makes it sadistic? Has it been created to dispatch problem humans? Or is the animal experimentation the sadistic angle?</span>&nbsp;The rulers seek to relish <span style="color: #6aa84f;">unsure of word choice here&nbsp;</span>planet Earth all for themselves, and the teens are a threat to that. Even worse, the rulers catch the teens eavesdropping on their meeting. Now Zaymie and her friends must make their way back to the domed city and inform everybody of the leaders’ corruption before the rulers liquidize the teens—or worse. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is liquidizing a common punishment? You might want to clarify.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Okay, so, the fakeout of the time machine not being a time machine does clarify some of the questions I had about that being a weird approach in the first para, but it makes more sense as I go. However, it still raises the question of how smart these kids are supposed to be if they are like, time machine - yeah! Sure! I'd consider starting the query with them already having been duped - and realizing it. Right now the query feels confusing, and raises questions about whether or not the manuscript itself is as well.</span><br /><br />EXTINCTION DAY is a 65,000-word young adult LGBT light science fiction that will appeal to fans of Elizabeth Briggs’s FUTURE SHOCK. This is a multiple submission. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Generally speaking they will assume it's a multiple submission so I wouldn't worry about saying so.</span>&nbsp;My debut young adult dystopian novel, THE FOURTH GENERATION, was released by Clean Reads/Astraea Press on August 2015, with a middle-grade science fiction novel called PICKET TOWN on the way. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Meaning it has a publication date, or that you're working on it? Clarify.</span>&nbsp;I have a degree in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and won the individual award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Writing. I also obtained an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in 2013. I interned at Kensington Publishing Corp. in New York City in the Publicity and Marketing departments. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Nice - great bio! I would clarify as well if you were formerly agented or if you submitted to the press on your own.</span>

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Book Talk & Giveaway THE 57 BUS by Dashka Slater

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 October 2017 · 55 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1503141060l/33155325.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1503141060l/33155325.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="315" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1503141060l/33155325.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>One teenager in a skirt.<br />One teenager with a lighter.<br />One moment that changes both of their lives forever.<br /><br />If it weren't for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">*********************************************************************************</div><div style="text-align: left;">Want to help me with mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated! Donating has no impact on your chances of winning.</div><form [url="action="]action="https://www.paypal.com/fk/cgi-bin/webscr"[/url] method="post" name="_xclick"><input name="business" type="hidden" value="bigblackcat97@gmail.com" /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><input alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!" border="0" name="submit" [url="src="]src="http://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-butcc-donate.gif"[/url] type="image" /><br /></form><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b283" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b283/"[/url] id="rcwidget_7rrg8rcy" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script><br[/url] /><br /><br /><br />

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Margo Kelly On Deleting 10,000 Words

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 17 October 2017 · 51 views

Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is Margo Kelly, author of WHO R U REALLY? which was published by Merit Press in September 2014 and UNLOCKED which was published by Merit Press in October 2016. Margo welcomes opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1465237104p5/7350538.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1465237104p5/7350538.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="266" data-original-width="190" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1465237104p5/7350538.jpg"[/url] /></a></div>Margo loves to be scared … when she’s reading a good book, watching a good movie, or suffering from the hiccups. She enjoys writing thrillers for young adults and hopes her stories give readers the goose bumps or the itchies or the desire to rethink everyday things. Margo is represented by the not-so-scary, but totally awesome, Brianne Johnson of Writers House.<br /><br /><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>Writing the first draft of UNLOCKED is what converted me from a “pantster” (just see where the story takes me) to a “plotter” (detailing major plot points in an outline). I was having a blast writing that first draft of UNLOCKED until I wrote myself into a corner. I stopped and brainstormed for days, wondering where I’d gone wrong with the plot. Once I figured it out, I had to delete 10,000 words. TEN THOUSAND words. Deleted.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>That turning point in the story happened when Plug and Hannah stopped to watch the firemen at Manny’s house. In the original draft, Hannah was arrested right there. In the final draft, she’s not. And that one change altered the entire outcome of the story. I will always be an outliner from now on. One of my favorite quotes from the story comes from that very scene in the book. Hannah said to Plug in the story: “We just fled the scene of a crime. … What does that make us?” Plug replied, “Determined.” Really, it was me, the author, feeling very determined in that moment to make the story work.</i><br /><br /><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><br /><i>I can spew out the initial draft of a story in as little as thirty days, however, it’s messy and unfinished. I never let anyone see that first draft. For me, the real magic happens during revisions, and it takes me nearly a year to revise and polish a story. Somedays I feel like the process takes forever, but I know the extra time makes the story better.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi-tasker?</b><br /><br /><i>I used to only work on one project at a time, because it was too hard to keep all the characters and stories straight in my head; however, recently, I’ve stepped away from one project, because I’ve become quite passionate about another. As soon as this new project is in my agent’s hands, I will go back to the unfinished project. Oh. But. I guess that means I can only work on one project at a time. Ha.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>No. The first time I sat down to write a novel, I had no fears because I was clueless. I had no idea there were so many things I did not know.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?</b><br /><br /><i>One. And I still love that story. Maybe someday it will see the light of day. Maybe not.</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b><br /><br /><i>I stepped away from my first manuscript, because I recognized after a gazillion rejections that I needed to start over with a new idea. I took everything I’d learned from the process of writing that first manuscript and everything I’d learned from studying the craft of writing and began again.</i><br /><br /><b>Who is your agent and how did you get that "Yes!" out of them?&nbsp;&nbsp;</b><br /><i><br /></i><i>Brianne Johnson of Writers House is my agent, and I connected with her through the traditional query process. I sent her a query letter along with the first ten pages of the manuscript. She requested the next fifty pages; then the whole manuscript; and then a phone call. During the phone call, we discussed revision options, and I loved her ideas. After working together on the revisions, she offered me a contract.</i><br /><br /><b>How long did you query before landing your agent?</b><br /><br /><i>I queried for over two years before signing a contract. That time period included querying my first manuscript and my second. My second manuscript, WHO R U REALLY?, is the one that got me an agent.</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b><br /><br /><i>Don’t quit. Rejection is part of the publishing process, but dejection is a choice. Let yourself be disappointed sometimes, but put a time limit on it. Do a day of pajamas, Netflix, and ice cream (or whatever works for you). Then get back to work. Make sure your manuscript is as polished as possible and when you receive feedback from agents or editors, consider the advice carefully and improve your manuscript based on the feedback you’ve received. Then throw yourself back into the querying trenches and keep at it. It takes time to connect with the right agent.</i><br /><br /><b>How did it feel the first time you saw your book for sale?</b><br /><br /><i>Seeing my debut novel in a bookstore for the first time felt like I’d released a breath I’d been holding for years. Huge sigh. Then a fist pump. And then I rearranged the shelving so my book would sit at eye level for the customers. (At the time, I didn’t realize the books were arranged alphabetically, and I’m sure an employee corrected it after I left, but it felt great to see it at eye level.)</i><br /><br /><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>Zero. The fabulous Frank Rivera designed both of my book covers. I had final approval on both covers but zero input on their design.</i><br /><br /><b>What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>Writing can be such a solitary experience, and I was honestly surprised by the sense of community I found with other writers. Fellow writers can provide excellent moral support. One of the best things about the publishing industry is the people. Other writers are going through the same things I am, and being able to discuss issues with them has been a huge blessing in my life. Critique partners, agency siblings, and publishing siblings—these are some of the people with whom I’ve aligned myself. They bolster me up when I’m feeling dejected, and they cheer me on when I’ve received good news.</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you?&nbsp;&nbsp;</b><br /><br />I have participated in online book blog tours, contests, giveaways, and local in-person events. The publisher has also done marketing efforts, including sending advance reading copies to industry reviewers and providing giveaways. You can also find me on my <a [url="href="]href="http://www.margokelly.net/"[/url] target="_blank">site</a>, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.facebook.com/MargoKelly.author"[/url] target="_blank">Facebook,</a> <a [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/MargoWKelly"[/url] target="_blank">Twitter,</a> <a [url="href="]href="https://www.instagram.com/margowkelly/"[/url] target="_blank">Instagram</a> and <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/margokelly"[/url] target="_blank">Goodreads</a>, or <a [url="href="]href="http://ow.ly/L8FC30er5qe"[/url] target="_blank">sign up for my email newsletter</a>!<br /><br /><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>It’s important to connect with fellow writers and readers, but it’s also important to focus on the act of writing your novel. So make sure you balance your time appropriately. Of course, if you’re writing nonfiction, you must build your platform before trying to get an agent. With fiction, the size of your platform is not as essential to getting an agent or a publishing deal.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b><br /><br /><i>Maybe. Coming from the business world, I know statistics show that typically someone needs to see something seven times before finally saying yes to it. So if potential readers see me or my books online because of social media, then theoretically, it should increase readership. Maybe.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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