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Dan Koboldt On The Importance Of A Mailing List

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 13 February 2018 · 53 views

Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is <a href="[url="http://dankoboldt.com/"]http://dankoboldt.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Dan Koboldt</a>,&nbsp;who has worked as a research scientist in the field of human genetics and genomics. Currently, he's a principal investigator for the Institute of Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.&nbsp; His debut novel THE ROGUE RETRIEVAL, about a Vegas stage magician who takes high-tech illusions of magic into a medieval world that has the real thing, was published by Harper Voyager on March 1st, 2016. The sequel, currently entitled THE ISLAND DECEPTION, published in February 2017, and the third in the series, THE WORLD AWAKENING, releases today!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1453682607l/28595063.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="400" data-original-width="248" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1453682607l/28595063.jpg"[/url] width="198" /></a></div><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>Oh, I’m a pantser from way back. But I prefer the term discovery writer. I don’t start a book with no plan whatsoever. When I have an idea, I work out the central premise (how it starts) and I and I usually know how it’s going to end. It’s the stuff in between that I like to figure out as I go.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>When I started, I was a pure discovery writer. That’s one of the perks of being a new writer trying to break in. I had no deadlines, no contracts, and no reason to outline anything. That changed after my first book deal. I had to learn to write a competent outline for the as-yet-unwritten future books in the series. Luckily, I discovered Larry Brooks and his StoryFix 2.0 story structure. Outlines still don’t come easily to me, but now at least I have a decent framework.&nbsp;&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><br /><i>I’d say it’s usually 3-4 months, assuming that one of those months is November. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for almost a decade, and it contributes an important boost to my writing productivity each year. I wish I could write at that pace outside of November! I really admire authors who consistently write 2,000 words a day.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi-tasker?</b><br /><br /><i>It’s easier for me to focus on a single project, but I rarely have that luxury. There were times this year when I was writing one project, revising a second, promoting a third, and pitching a fourth. It’s hard to keep them all straight! That being said, I’m the kind of person who enjoys multi-tasking, because not every activity stimulates me all the time.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>Nope. But I didn’t know what I was doing.</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?</b><br /><br /><i>I wrote two books before The Rogue Retrieval, though I never queried them. I look at them as learning exercises that helped me become a writer. It’s always possible that I’ll go back to them someday and see if I can make them into something publishable. But it would take a lot of work, and I have newer ideas that get me more excited.</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b><br /><br /><i>I’ve quit (or walked away) from a few projects, sure. Usually that happens when I look at something and realize that the emotional and physical cost of finishing them exceeds the benefit I’m likely to get in return. In other words, I decide that my time is better spent elsewhere.&nbsp;&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How long did you query before landing your agent?&nbsp;&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I researched the query process before I started, mostly because I found it fascinating. Thanks to the wonderful resources like Anne Mini’s blog (now defunct) and QueryTracker, I think I managed to avoid some of the common pitfalls of new writers. Of course, that doesn’t mean I got no rejections. I received plenty of them. If memory serves, I queried about 30 agents over the course of four months before getting an offer of representation.</i><br /><br /><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1481767270l/30531555.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="294" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1481767270l/30531555.jpg"[/url] width="198" /></a><b>Who is your agent and how did you get that “Yes!” out of them?</b><br /><i><br /></i><i>I’m represented by Paul Stevens of Donald Maass Literary Agency. The story of how we began working together is a bit convoluted. I landed my first agent through standard querying, and she sold my book to Harper Voyager in a one-book deal. After that, I was all set, right? Well, not so much. My agent and I had a falling out shortly after that was published.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>So I didn’t have an agent, but there was an option clause in my contract specifying that my publisher got an exclusive look at my next manuscript. Which, as it happened, I’d just finished: it was the sequel to The Rogue Retrieval. I sent it to him, along with an outline for a possible book three. My editor said, “Let’s do both.”</i><br /><br /><i>That two-book offer put me in a rare and much-envied position for a writer seeking representation. I reached out to a handful of agents (ones I really admired) to say that I had an offer and was looking for someone to handle the contract. Paul called me that afternoon. We clicked right away. He was familiar with my imprint at Voyager and knew it wasn’t a big money deal, but he offered anyway.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b><br /><br /><i>The first thing I’ll say is that you’re not alone. Many of my writer friends whose work I admire are in the query trenches with you. I always encourage writers to query widely, and not to set their heart on one particular agent or agency. Keep querying until you find an agent who loves your book as much as you do. And while you’re doing that, write another book. Not a sequel, but a different book that you can query if the first one doesn’t find a home.</i><br /><br /><b>How did it feel the first time you saw your book for sale?</b><br /><br /><i>The moment for me was when I opened up a surprise package from my publisher, and found my advance copies inside. That was a great moment, and I’ve had many others since. Every time I see my book at a bookshop or in the library, I get the same thrill. I also get it when someone new reaches out to let me know they read and enjoyed my book.&nbsp;&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>My publisher has been very good about this, and asked for suggestions. For The Rogue Retrieval, developed the concept art from a stock art image I’d suggested. Their cover artist does amazing work with the art, layout, and coloring. For The Island Deception, my editor sent me two different cover concepts. I loved them both, so I asked them to save one for book three. It turned out to be my favorite of them all.&nbsp;&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>The kindness of strangers! So many people who didn’t owe me anything showed up to support my books. Obviously, my family and friends have always gone out of their way to help, but it surprised me how often strangers would lend a hand, too. Book reviewers are a great example. These people volunteer their time to read and review books, often on short notice. They’re the unsung heroes of the publishing industry, in my opinion. Several of them reviewed each of my books as they came out, simply because I asked. I’m a little surprised, and very grateful.</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I do most of it, which is the case for many authors. In 2016, the year The Rogue Retrieval came out, Harper Voyager published more than 70 titles. They have done a great deal to get the word out about my books, but they’ll never have as much time or dedication to them as I will.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1500728041l/35068695.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="400" data-original-width="252" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1500728041l/35068695.jpg"[/url] width="201" /></a><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>I think authors should not devote much effort to platform until they have not only an agent, but also a book deal. Until then, you don’t know for certain that you’re going to need a platform. Furthermore, you may not want to establish your brand until you know what your debut novel might be.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>For writers who haven’t gotten that far yet, it’s more important to focus on (1) writing, and (2) engaging the community. The latter is especially important so that you have a support network as you move forward in your publishing career. Some of my closest friends – and most ardent supporters – are writers I met before I broke in. Don’t worry about platform too early. Instead, find your tribe.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b><br /><br /><i>No. I think social media helps you engage your readership (hence the word social). It offers a wonderful, powerful tool to connect authors with the people who read their books. However, contrary to popular opinion, most people do not get their book recommendations from their social media feeds. Maybe if you’re fun and interesting online, someone is more likely to take a chance on your book. Word of mouth and reviews are far more powerful drivers of book sales.</i><br /><br /><i>Once there is a relationship (i.e. once a person buys your book), social media is a great tool to develop it. The reader enjoys access to an author whose work they admire. The author gets the comforting reassurance that someone out there read his book and cared about it. That’s a powerful thing. Social media is also useful for notifying fans about price promotions and future releases.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>It’s important to recognize that when you don’t pay to use an online service, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. Companies like Facebook and Twitter are making it increasingly difficult to reach your followers without paying for that privilege. They’re in this to make money, after all, not to serve humanity. Authors should thus focus on getting social media followers onto their mailing list. That’s the only way to guarantee that you can reach your fans when you need to.&nbsp;</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 10 February 2018 · 64 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 />In Syrendale, citizens find their mate at the Maiden Night Ball, and sparks fly through the air each time a match is made. But at the age of eighteen, life for one daughter from each family holds a different fate. The daughters selected as their family’s Maiden give themselves to the sea and transform into the noble creatures that guard Syrendale’s shores. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is good - you're setting up your world and while the hook isn't necessary splashy, it's effective. The tiniest tweak is to maybe indicate how many families there are, or how many girls become Syrens.</span><br /><br />Bookish Verabelle Chetworth is more comfortable immersed in the world of a story than she is in real life. Verabelle is pinned their family’s Maiden, but at the last minute her protective older sister Ameryst suddenly and without explanation volunteers to take the pin for her, leaving false evidence behind to suggest she took the noble leap. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I'm not understanding about the false evidence that is left behind...&nbsp;</span>The unveiling of Ameryst’s escape prompts a search for her throughout the land and the family’s obligation remains unfulfilled, leaving Verabelle to confront her insecurities and summon up the bravery that will be required to step off the cliffs of Syrendale during her Maiden Night Ball.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Okay, so Ameryst says she'll be the person to become a Syren, in place of her sister but it's not an immediate thing... so she makes it seem like she made this sacrifice, but actually she just split. Because there are Hunger Games overtones here, I felt like this would be more of an immediate thing - Ameryst is tossed off a cliff, or dragged to the sea, without getting the chance to leave behind false evidence... or anything whatsoever. You need to get that clarification in there, otherwise it's a bit confusing.</span><br /><br />As Maiden Night approaches, Verabelle discovers an eerie connection between Syrendale and the world of one of her stories. A world trapped under a vengeful curse, where a sacrifice of women’s lives is hidden under a fairytale sheen. When Ameryst returns and confirms her worst fears are true, Verabelle must decide if she is brave enough to find a way to save herself and those she loves from the Maiden’s macabre fate.<br /><br />LITTLE WOMEN meets BROTHERS GRIMM, young adult fantasy THE BRAVEST OF THEM ALL combines the bonds and trials of sisterhood within the context of a dark fairytale conflict and setting. It is told in the alternating viewpoints of Verabelle and her two sisters and is complete at 74,000 words. I hold a B.A. in Creative Writing, work as a literacy coach in urban schools, and am a wife and mother to three. I write while my children sleep in Southeastern Wisconsin, amidst the finest cheeses and beers in the Midwest.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Honestly, this is in great shape except for that little clarification snag. Best of luck querying!</span>

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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: AKATA WITCH & AKATA WARRIOR by Nnedi Okorafor

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 09 February 2018 · 72 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/1488296287l/32968540.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1488296287l/32968540.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/1488296287l/32968540.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>Sunny is an albino Nigerian who was born in New York City. When her parents return to their home country Sunny doesn't fit in for a lot of reasons. 1) She's an albino 2) She's perceived as an American and 3) She keeps seeing the end of the world inside candle flames.<br /><br />Sunny is smart enough to keep this information to herself, but her odd qualities draw the attention of Orlu and Chichi, fellow students at her public school who are Leopard People (magical folk) and suspect Sunny may be as well. Although years behind in training and study, Sunny is distinct even in the magical realm of Leopard Knocks. She's a "free agent," a Leopard person born of two non-magical parents.<br /><br />And no, Leopard Knocks isn't Hogwarts. Not even close. Instead of flying around on broomsticks and throwing balls through hoops the adult champions of this magical realm fight each other to the death in a yearly entertainment spectacle. The winner is the winner, the loser is... a saint. And going to your next class isn't as simple as looking at your schedule and manipulating moving staircases. The path to their teacher's hut is a test in itself, one that could kill them if not traveled properly. This is a place where group work is rewarded by everyone surviving to the next day and your juju knife chooses you not by obeying your commands but by slicing your hand open when you reach into a bag.<br /><br /><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1484628903l/18746776.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="469" data-original-width="318" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1484628903l/18746776.jpg"[/url] width="216" /></a>So why are children being subjected to these tests? To drive them into a sacred bond, as they have been selected by fate to bring down a serial killer. Black Hat Otokoto has been kidnapping Nigerian children and returning them minus eyes and ears. He's gathering black magic to him in order to call up a dark spirit whose power will unleash the vision that Sunny has seen in the candles. Sunny has a limited amount of time to harness the power she's inherited through her Grandmother's spirit line to stop him from succeeding and bringing about the end of the world.<br /><br />Enter the Rafflecopter below to win both AKATA WITCH and an ARC of the sequel AKATA WARRIOR!<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b298" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b298/"[/url] id="rcwidget_bsa9j58p" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script><br[/url] /><br /><br />

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Young Adult Author Debbie Zaken On Finding Inspiration In Music

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 06 February 2018 · 32 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 <a href="[url="http://www.debbiezaken.com/"]http://www.debbiezaken.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Debbie Zaken</a>. Born in Miami, Debbie grew up in Guatemala and is fluent in English, Spanish and Hebrew. She currently resides with her husband and her two fabulously trilingual and adorable girls in South Florida. Her debut novel, <i>Colliding Skies</i>, received 1st place in the Society for Children’s Book Writers &amp; Illustrators Florida Rising Kite 2016 Award<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 /><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1510244881l/36428272.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="297" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1510244881l/36428272.jpg"[/url] width="200" /></a><i>Music has always been an important part of my life. As an author, music fuels my writing. Almost every scene I write has a song associated with it. It’s not so much that I look for songs to match a specific scene. It’s more that certain songs will inspire entire scenes. So a song will prompt a scene in my head and once it’s there, I’ll play it over and over, until I can see it clearly, down to the characters' dialogue. That is how the premise for Colliding Skies came to me. I was in my car listening to a specific song one morning and the idea just popped into my head. It was like an entire music video played in my mind while I drove. I played the song on repeat the entire way and by the time I got to work that morning, I had the basic premise of the book fleshed out. I went home that night and wrote a brief outline. After that, music became my go to for inspiration. I even had the song titles for each chapter on my outline. <a [url="href="]href="http://www.debbiezaken.com/inspiration.html"[/url] target="_blank">The full playlist for Colliding Skies is on my website.</a></i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>Once I had the premise, I wrote a very basic outline of the story that just laid out the beginning, the middle, and the end. With that, I began writing the first draft. As one idea lead to another, one chapter to the next, I tightened the outline. Pretty soon, I went from a loose outline to one that was broken down into chapters and scenes, some even with entire chunks of dialogue as they came to my head. Before I knew it, I had the entire plot figured out. Around that time was when I realized that the full story was not going to fit into one book and that I was looking at a duology. So I began to plot the sequel while I finished drafting the first book. I knew that as a debut author it was going to be hard to sell a series and that Colliding Skies had to stand on its own. It took me a while to figure it out, but thanks to some amazing critique partners, I was able to give Colliding Skies the depth and breadth to stand on its own.</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>I consider myself a plantser, a hybrid of a plotter and a pantser. I outline enough to have a solid structure to start writing with, but keep it flexible enough so that I can adapt it as the story progresses. An interesting thing that happen to me with Colliding Skies was that I introduced a character, which initially was going to be a minor one, very early on in the story, and ended up falling in love with them. The moment this character entered the story, they became an important secondary character and ended up changing integral parts of the plot. The premise of the story stayed the same. But this character that originally wasn’t even part of the story, became a central character, adding a completely new layer to the plot.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>I wish I was one of those authors that constantly came up with brilliant story ideas. Ideas for stories don’t come to me very often. On the positive side, the occasional story ideas I do get come to me pretty fleshed out and tend to really captivate my imagination. So once I have the idea, I’m so drawn to it and itching to put it all on paper, I can really focus on the project and see it through to the end. In a way, I’m actually glad that I don’t have so many story ideas bouncing around in my head at the same time. I think I’d find it hard to choose one and focus on it if I did.</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>Since I’m not constantly bombarded with story ideas, that hasn’t really been a problem for me. But if I did have a few story ideas to choose from, I think I would go with whatever was calling to me the most. That is kind of the challenge I have now with the sequel for Colliding Skies. I have a different Work In Progress that is really calling to me but because of a looming deadline for the sequel, I’ve had to put it on the back burner. This has made writing the sequel not the most fun experience for me. But my plan is to go back to my Work In Progress the moment the sequel is with my editor.</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>I don’t have any pets. But I do have two young children. There is no way I can write with them around. I can barely complete a thought in my head without being interrupted by one of them. Honestly, I prefer to be by myself when writing. I don’t mind writing at a coffee shop or at a library. I just can’t be with someone else while I write. I guess my writing buddies would be my coffee, a glass of water, and maybe some cookies. Oh, and music. Always music.</i>

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 03 February 2018 · 53 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.<br /></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 />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 />What if the best sea-navigator in the land is asked to do something impossible: find the gifted healer and Sea Queen, Rusalka, before illness and darkness purges the kingdom of Turkas? <span style="color: #6aa84f;">In general, you don't want to open with hypothetical questions. This is even more true in fantasy where the "what if" doesn't really mean anything to the reader. We don't know the world, so therefore we don't know how possible or impossible this task is.&nbsp;</span>In EVREN, the first book of my fantasy trilogy, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">unfortunately, it's difficult for a debut to get picked up on a trilogy these days. I highly suggest you find a way to make the first one a stand alone with series possibilities</span>&nbsp;THE LOST SAGES, Evren Greenwood agrees to this dangerous and high-paying job, because this will pay for her wyvern flight across the seas. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Again, it's hard with fantasy to know why this matters. I don't know what a wyvern flight is.</span>&nbsp;This is her chance to finally escape the invisible pirate army – the Naja -&nbsp; who want her dead. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Okay, so there is a LOT of information here in your first para - is the best sea-navigator in the land Evren? So there's an illness and darkness in the kingdom? Are they the same thing? And why are pirates (invisible ones?) after her?</span><br /><br />When the Sun Goddess, Amataru, saves Evren from the Naja before she gets on the ship, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">what ship? </span>Evren begins to realize that she is stepping into a complex web of mystery and darkness that is creeping across the land. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">don't tell us about this complex web - show us.&nbsp;</span>Before leaving, Amataru asks Evren to answer her call when the time comes.<br /><br />Before she can leave Turkas and the Naja behind forever, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">but I thought the purpose was to find someone who can fix Turkas, right? Doesn't that mean returning with them?&nbsp;</span>Evren must face sea serpents, water nymphs that make the pirate crew <span style="color: #6aa84f;">different pirates than the Naja?</span> nervous, and fend off growing feelings for the handsome and eccentric Captain Sa’av.<br /><br />All the races – elves, sun sprites, water folk, and landwalkers -&nbsp; must work together to fight the darkness <span style="color: #6aa84f;">what darkness? the illness?</span>&nbsp;and reunite the Lost Sages: those prophesied to fight back when the moon is covered and the villain, the Star of Shadows returns. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So is the Star of Shadows the one causing the illness / darkness?</span><br /><br />Torn between the desire to win her freedom <span style="color: #6aa84f;">freedom from who / what?</span> and engage in a quest much bigger than herself, Evren must decide what to do. Does she answer the call and discover the forgotten magical past within her <span style="color: #6aa84f;">so she's magical?</span>, or will she turn her heart on everyone she loves and leave behind Turkas and her Captain, forever?&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">Also a bad idea to end with a rhetorical.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">So, your basic problem is way, way too much info. I don't understand the overall goal here - find Rusalka, or reunite the Lost Sages? You open with one, then lean towards another. I'm unclear on why pirates are after Evren in the first place, or what the Sun Goddess has to do with anything. It sounds like a fun adventure fantasy, but you've got to get only your most main points in here, otherwise you've got a mishmash of character names and plot goals, which will only make an agent think that the manuscript is the same way.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Winnow down to the main plot point or obstacle, use that as your hook. You've got too many character names in here, creating a soup that makes it hard for the reader to tease out what matters. You did a good job in the para with the love interest of mentioning subplots at a glance. Use that same approach Amatura and the Naja - no proper nouns - and get your major villain and obstacle out front and center.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">I feel you here - fantasy queries are <i>hard</i>. You've got so much world-building, and you want to show it all. This isn't the place - that's what the synopsis is for.</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-saturday-slash.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-saturday-slash.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: INVISIBLE GHOSTS by Robyn Schneider

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 02 February 2018 · 53 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1513817124l/35230429.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1513817124l/35230429.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/1513817124l/35230429.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div>Rose Asher believes in ghosts. She should, since she has one for a best friend: Logan, her annoying, Netflix-addicted brother, who is forever stuck at fifteen. But Rose is growing up, and when an old friend moves back to Laguna Canyon and appears in her drama class, things get complicated.<br /><br />Jamie Aldridge is charming, confident, and a painful reminder of the life Rose has been missing out on since her brother's death. She watches as Jamie easily rejoins their former friends--a group of magnificently silly theater nerds--while avoiding her so intensely that it must be deliberate.<br /><br />Yet when the two of them unexpectedly cross paths, Rose learns that Jamie has a secret of his own, one that changes everything. Rose finds herself drawn back into her old life--and to Jamie. But she quickly starts to suspect that he isn't telling her the whole truth.<br /><br />All Rose knows is that it's becoming harder to choose between the boy who makes her feel alive and the brother she isn't ready to lose.<br /><br />Want to help me with all the 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.<br /><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;"><input name="item_name" type="hidden" value="Mindy's Mailing Costs" />*********************************************************************************</div><input name="amount" type="hidden" value="00.00" /><br /><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="2071810b297" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b297/"[/url] id="rcwidget_838lsrbc" 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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JB Lexington On Balancing A Writer's Ego & Insecurity

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 30 January 2018 · 286 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 /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1453789799l/28701910.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1453789799l/28701910.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/1453789799l/28701910.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div>Today's guest for the WHAT is <a [url="href="]href="http://www.readjb.com/"[/url] target="_blank">JB Lexington</a>, a romance writer based out of Toronto, Ontario. Her first romance novel, <a [url="href="]href="http://www.readjb.com/forevereve/"[/url] target="_blank">FOREVER EVE</a> is available now and she is working on the sequel and another series. JB lives with her husband, 2 kids and 2 dogs. When she isn't writing JB can be found at the gym, strolling designer boutiques in her neighbourhood or sipping a glass of Pinot Grigio at a local restaurant.<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’ve always been fascinated with the concept of past life and have more than a handful of times experienced Déjà vu so intense that I felt viscerally transported to another place. It only made sense for me to write a story about one’s past life experience and how it translates into their present.</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>When I came up with the storyline I could visualize every moment in my characters lives. I knew how I wanted it to begin and how it would end and everything in between was literary gravy. Every now and then I would think “wow I just wrote that line." We writers are a balanced dichotomy of ego and insecurity ;</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?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>Not yet. Forever Eve is my first published novel and I’m currently writing the sequel. With these two stories the plot was firmly in place but with the help of my amazing editor’s suggestions the storyline underwent a metamorphosis from the cocoon it started as into a beautiful butterfly.</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>Ideas come to me often and quite clearly, unfortunately I’m struggling with finishing them all now. I haven’t dedicated much time to my writing lately so I have a few half finished stories that I need to resurrect.</i><br /><br /><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?&nbsp;&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I’m usually quite organized in life, and some people I know might actually suggest that I have a tad bit of OCD, but when it comes to my stories I might as well be chasing butterflies. I have about 4 stories on the go now and I jump between all of them, depending on my mood or any elements that may have influenced me throughout the day.</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?&nbsp;&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>If a glass (bottle) of Pinot Grigio counts, then I most definitely have a writing buddy ;) Otherwise my doggies don’t stray too far from me so I can always count on them for company.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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Wednesday WOLF

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 24 January 2018 · 62 views

I'm a nerd. In fact such a big nerd that I tend to look up word origins in my spare time because I'm fascinated by our language. The odder the origin, the better. I've got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications.<br /><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div></div></div></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">In any case, I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of the new acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field - that's right, the WOLF. Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.</div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">Recently a follower filled me in on an interesting tidbit. Lake Erie figures into my novel NOT A DROP TO DRINK, and the original name for Lake Erie was actually <a href="[url="http://www.great-lakes.net/lakes/ref/eriefact.html"]http://www.great-lakes.net/lakes/ref/eriefact.html[/url]">The Lake of the Cat</a>, which I just love. Why was it the Lake of the Cat? The original inhabitants of the area were the Erielhonan Indian people, which means People of the Cat in their language. When the French showed up, they referred to the nearby lake (Lake Erie) as the Lake of the Cat.<br /><br />And you know what else? "Cat"in Gaelic is... "cat." It hasn't changed, like ever. God bless you Irishfolk.</div></div></div></div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/01/wednesday-wolf_24.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/01/wednesday-wolf_24.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Peter Hoffmeister On Being Rejected Even As A Published Author

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 23 January 2018 · 75 views

Welcome to the SNOB - Second Novel Ominipresent Blues. Whether you’re under contract or trying to snag another deal, you’re a professional now, with the pressures of a published novelist compounded with the still-present nagging self-doubt of the noobie. How to deal?<br /><br />Today's guest for the SNOB is Peter Hoffmeister, an author, rock climber, public speaker, outdoor expert, and athlete gear-tester for Ridgemont Outfitters. He teaches at South Eugene High School:&nbsp; Literature, creative writing, outdoor pursuits, and survival. He also served as the spring 2015 Writer-In-Residence at Joshua Tree National Park.<br /><br />He is the author of two books of nonfiction and three novels. His current novel, <a href="[url="https://peterbrownhoffmeister.wordpress.com/too-shattered-for-mending/"]https://peterbrownhoffmeister.wordpress.com/too-shattered-for-mending/[/url]" target="_blank">Too Shattered For Mending</a>, was released this fall by Knopf, Random House. The New York Times Book Review wrote that Too Shattered was “A portrait of the heart and will that's so tragic and beautiful it singes.” Hoffmeister lives in Eugene, Oregon and is currently at work on his sixth book, An American Afterlife, a novel that will be rejected before it is published.<br /><br /><b>Is it hard to leave behind the first novel and focus on the second?</b><br /><br /><i>There are two answers to this. First, if you like how your first novel turned out, then yes, it’s hard to leave it behind and focus on the second. Change is difficult. But more importantly, you should already be working on that second novel. During every glacial delay in the publishing process (for example: while your agent is reading a draft, or while your editor is reading a draft, or while you’re waiting for copy edits to be returned, or while you’re waiting for the publication date, etc.) you should already be working on your next book. Since the whole publishing process takes one to two years, I always aim to have a draft of the next book by pub date. It doesn’t have to be a great draft, but have a full-length draft, ready to revise.</i><br /><br /><b>At what point do you start diverting your energies from promoting your debut and writing / polishing / editing your second?</b><br /><br /><i>This is something I’m not good at and I’m trying to learn from my mistakes in the past. So I’m spending more time promoting my current book, rather than focusing on and stressing about my next book. In the past, I’ve mostly left my current release alone and moved on completely. But it’s good to find a balance: Work for at least an hour every single day on your next book, but also spend some time each week to promote your current release. Also, go on social media and build community, message other authors, and post about books you love.</i><br /><br /><b>Your first book landed an agent and an editor, and hopefully some fans. Who are you writing the second one for? Them, or yourself?</b><br /><br /><i>That’s also a good question. As a writer, you have to write the story that you’re passionate about. If you’re not in love with your idea, no one else is going to be. But publishers are fickle, and they won’t just pick up any old thing that you want to write. So expect rejections at this point even though you’re already a published author. Your publishing house might reject a next book proposal or a partial draft. Even if you have an option, they might reject three proposals in a row. But keep after it. This is maybe one of the most unexpected things in a publishing career. Everyone talks about rejections before you get a book deal. Not many people talk about the hundreds of rejections after you get a book deal. I have five books out now and have been fortunate enough to get starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get rejected all the time. I had two essays and a story rejected this week. As a writer, rejections are something you’re going to face for the rest of your life. So write the story you want to write, but realize that the market will always be tough.</i><br /><br /><b>Is there a new balance of time management to address once you’re a professional author?</b><br /><br /><i>Yes. For example, I never got interview requests until I was a published author. But the specific demands depend on how much money you’re making, how much marketing is being done by the house, and how much publicity you’re hustling on your own. If you have a huge book deal (and most of us don’t) you’re being flown all over the country, going to every conference, and constantly doing events. For most authors though, it’s 10-20 interviews or essays a year and 3 to 5 events. So time management is really about maintaining the daily discipline of sitting down to write at your own desk. If you want to move on to a second novel, then you have to keep getting in that chair every day. Set a daily word or page goal and hit that goal.</i><br /><br /><b>What did you do differently the second time around, with the perspective of a published author?</b><br /><br /><i>Since I’ve published with four different houses, I’m sort of eternally working on my “second book.” I’ve never gotten to the place where my editor pledges her eternal love and a house just keeps renewing my contract. So I go through the same process over and over. I write, revise, edit, submit, get rejected, revise, and submit again. From what I know of other authors’ careers, this is more common than you’d think. The days of authors staying with single houses for entire careers are mostly gone. A few authors are that lucky, but most are not. And – truly – none of that matters. In the end, you have to ask yourself, “Do I love writing stories? And am I excited about the revision and editing process?” If so, if you’re in it for the long-term, things will work out. Just keep writing.</i>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/01/peter-hoffmeister-on-being-rejected.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/01/peter-hoffmeister-on-being-rejected.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 January 2018 · 70 views

<div style="font-family: times;">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>.</div><div style="font-family: times;"><br /></div><div style="font-family: times;"><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.</div><div style="color: #222222; font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"></div><br /><div style="-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; color: black; font-family: times; font-size: medium; font-style: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: start; text-decoration-color: initial; text-decoration-style: initial; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px;"><div style="margin: 0px;">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>.</div></div><br />Carla Dubrov has fought all her life against the voice inside her head, her father’s true daughter. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Confusing sentence structure. Is she her father's true daughter b/c she's fighting the voice, or is the voice inside her head belong to her father's true daughter?</span><br /><br />Despite the feud between their families, Carla falls in love with Anthony D’Cartey. When their love is discovered, her father condemns her to death, but Anthony gives his life to save her. His murder turns the smoldering feud into the war Carla’s father has long yearned for. Shattered by Anthony’s brutal execution, Carla’s grief turns her into the very killer her father wishes her to be; a killer he molds into his most lethal weapon, a killer he is proud to call daughter. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This para itself is great, but as of right now this could be a fantasy, or a historical. I don't have a grasp on the setting or genre. Also, I don't know what this has to do with the voice inside her head? What is it saying?</span><br /><br />Tough <span style="color: #6aa84f;">thought?&nbsp;</span>she escapes from under her father’s control, her Shadow still resides just underneath the surface. Now, more than ever, she must keep her darkness at bay. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">What is this darkness? What is a Shadow?&nbsp;</span>Her life has finally porous again. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">No idea what this means.&nbsp;</span>His name is Jason. He is Anthony’s brother, and the secret son of her father’s sworn enemy. Carla knows her father wants nothing more than to bring D’Cartey to his knees by killing his second son as well. Carla can finally honor Anthony’s sacrifice by saving his brother.<br /><br />As her father’s assassins close in, Carla realizes her father used Jason to lure her into his trap. If he kills Jason, her heart will be shredded again, and her grief will push her back into the darkness controlled by her father. He will use her against the very ones she's trying to protect.<br /><br />But before she can face her father, Carla must find a way to overcome her own darkness. The voice that grows ever stronger craves the same things as her father: death and destruction. Her Shadow’s voice.<br /><br />SHADES OF DARKNESS: THE LIGHT is a young adult urban fantasy novel with series potential, completed at 83,000 words.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">I think the biggest thing here is that we don't know much about the setting. Is this in a normal world with magical elements? Or a different setting entirely? Why are these groups fighting in the first place? What is a Shadow and what does the voice in her head that you lead with have to do with anything?&nbsp;</span>

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