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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 23 February 2013 · 98 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://crossingthehelix.blogspot.com/"]http://crossingthehelix.blogspot.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, shoot us an email.<br /><br /><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ys6toRSVJD4/UADeqdCGAKI/AAAAAAAAArg/zFHQIB3dYgs/s1600/NewestSatSlash.jpg"]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ys6toRSVJD4/UADeqdCGAKI/AAAAAAAAArg/zFHQIB3dYgs/s1600/NewestSatSlash.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="[url="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ys6toRSVJD4/UADeqdCGAKI/AAAAAAAAArg/zFHQIB3dYgs/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ys6toRSVJD4/UADeqdCGAKI/AAAAAAAAArg/zFHQIB3dYgs/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg[/url]" width="246" /></a></div>We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch &nbsp;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 />Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/"]http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/[/url]" target="_blank">AgentQuery Connect</a>. You'll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!<br /><br />When twelve year old Maia Quinn arrives at her aunt’s mansion in a remote village of Grunewald, she is none too excited. With her parents away overseas, she has resigned herself to a long and dull summer, or so she thinks. <span style="color: #38761d;">You need a better hook here. Your first sentence is weighed down in detail, and I don't have any sense of originality here. So an MG MC reluctantly goes somewhere boring for her summer vacation, but finds out there's more in store? Been there, done that - why is yours different?</span><br /><br />The night she attends the Start of the Summer Party, a mysterious flying trapeze artist brands her with a glowing silver star and then disappears without a trace. <span style="color: #38761d;">Ah - now this seems interesting. Trapeze artists and a brand? Get this in the hook.&nbsp;</span>Soon after, the wall drawings at the mansion start to come alive, warning her that Grunewald is in grave danger. <span style="color: #38761d;">This is better, there are definitely unique qualities here but I have no idea how they come together. What is a Start of the Summer Party? Is this a village thing? A circus, I assume, since there is a trapeze artist. What do you mean by "brands her?" Does she have a tattoo now? And what does this have to do with the drawings?</span><br /><br />Now Maia is determined to learn the truth <span style="color: #38761d;">truth about what?&nbsp;</span>and even having a giant green hound for a stalker won’t frighten her away. She discovers that one of her ancestors was an immortal from the Faie realm, and because of this she was born a Wanderer, someone who can travel between two worlds. The immortals reveal to Maia that their race is in peril from the warring Nature Spirits, who were forced into a struggle by the thoughtless actions of a human. As a Wanderer, it is within Maia’s power to stop their conflict and bring both their worlds from the brink of destruction. That is, if she can survive the mission. <span style="color: #38761d;">Better - there's more detail here so we can understand the plot here, but you need to tie all these ideas into what has come before. What about those moving portraits? Why exactly is Grunewald in danger?</span><br /><span style="color: #38761d;"><br /></span><span style="color: #38761d;">You need to make your plot more clear and tie these elements together in order for this to pop. It's difficult because as the author you already know the answers, and so instinctively draw the lines in between elements that seem unrelated to a fresh eye. Get those lines drawn clearly and you'll be in a lot better shape.</span></div>

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Book Talk - PIVOT POINT by Kasie West

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 22 February 2013 · 98 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356020486l/11988046.jpg"]http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356020486l/11988046.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="[url="http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356020486l/11988046.jpg"]http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356020486l/11988046.jpg[/url]" width="212" /></a></div>Even in a school of Paranormals, Addy is special.<br /><br />Most of the mind-readers and telekinetics call Addy a clairvoyant, even though her gift is more complicated. Addy can see the future, true - but she can see more than one. Whenever Addy is faced with a choice - from what color shirt she wears in the morning to whether or not she studies for a math test - she can perform a Search, experience both lives simultaneously, and know the outcome either way. With this gift, most of the decisions in her life have been easily made - until now.<br /><br />Her parents are divorcing. Mother, a strong woman but a driving taskmaster, is choosing to stay inside the well-hidden Compound of Paranormals. Her dad, with whom she as a stronger bond, wants to live in the normal world. Addy has to choose which parent she's going to live with, a choice that will drastically re-route her entire life.<br /><br />With her best Para friend by her side, Addy does a Search, living both choices out to their end. She has no way of knowing that they will converge, one ending in a death, while the other requires her to forget a new relationship that has sparked trust, and encouraged the bloom of first love even in the devastating aftermath of her parent's divorce.<br /><br />A choice is inevitable and Addy has to make it - which parent will she choose? And who will she sacrifice?

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Thursday Thoughts

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 21 February 2013 · 71 views

Thoughts lately...<br /><br />1) I'm rather in awe of the human body. It does awesome things all on it's own without us telling it to, and most of those things are really helpful - like breathing, blinking, and also the fact that our hearts beat. But when I wake up covered in my own drool I have to think this particular function serves no real purpose.<br /><br />2) On the same note, when I can't sleep because my brain is refusing to turn off <i>(Hey MINDY - I have a great idea for a new blog series!!! MIIIIINNNDDDYYY!!!! Oh guess what! Here's something I thought of the other day for a new short story - pretty great, right? You should write that down NOW b/c you'll forget in the morning.)</i>&nbsp;I have to wonder what all that looks like inside my head. If only I could sleep in an MRI machine.<br /><br />3) I don't have free time, so I'm really picky about what movies I watch. I typically want something with real depth to it, but I'm no stranger to a brainless action flick either. But, I have to wonder while I watch all these highly choreographed super-slick fight scenes, why no one ever punches anyone else in the ass? When you hurt your ass it REALLY, REALLY hurts. Strategically, I can see this being a smart move in a fistfight.<br /><br />

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Wednesday WOLF

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 February 2013 · 97 views

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. I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of another acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field - that's right, the WOLF (oh, how clever is she? She made an acronym out of her agency's name!) Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.<br /><div><br />You've probably realized by now that I'm a pretty big fan of acronyms. Yes, it's true. I kind of love them. You can make up a hilarious acronym out of nowhere once you've trained your brain to do it, and it's also a great party skill. Or it annoy the crap out of people... kind of depends on the crowd you hand with.<br /><br />In any case, what does <i>acronym</i> even mean? It's Greek (like a lot of other things we stole from them) and it means "top name." We take the <i>top</i> letter of each word encompassed by the acronym to make the new <i>name</i>.<br /><br />There are a lot of acronyms you use fairly often, which I'll rip off right here real quick:<br /><br /><ul><li>RSVP: Respondez S'il Vous Plait - French for "please answer"</li><li>PS: Post Scriptum - something you tag on "after writing"</li><li>i.e.: "id est" which translates from Latin "that is"&nbsp;</li><li>e.g: "exampli gratia" again from Latin "for example"</li><li>etc: "et cetera" again, more Latin "and the rest of them"</li><li>AM: Ante Meridiem</li><li>PM: Post Meridiem</li></ul><br />And of course there are about a ton of corporate examples, and if you wander into military territory we're talking about millions of acronyms.<br /><br />My favorite acronym though is the early Christian usage of ICHTHUS, which is Greek for "fish." The acronym, (again in Greek) stands for "Iesous Christos Theou Huios Soter" meaning "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." Christians used to identify each other by drawing a fish in the sand at their feet with their toe while talking to another person they suspected might be a Christian. If the other person answered with a fish, they knew the could speak openly.<br /><br />We still use the fish today. You can see it on any number of cars if you look - and now you know why.</div>

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An SAT with Nicole McInnes, Author of BRIANNA ON THE BRINK

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 19 February 2013 · 110 views

<a href="[url="http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1340392459p5/5757970.jpg"]http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1340392459p5/5757970.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="[url="http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1340392459p5/5757970.jpg"]http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1340392459p5/5757970.jpg[/url]" /></a>Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is fellow Class of 2k13 member Nicole McInnes. Nicole is the author of BRIANNA ON THE BRINK. Nicole was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, received a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature (Creative Writing emphasis) from the University of California at Santa Cruz (go, Banana Slugs!). She also received a Master’s Degree in English (Creative Writing emphasis) from Northern Arizona University (go, Lumberjacks!).<br /><br /><a href="[url="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13496312-brianna-on-the-brink"]http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13496312-brianna-on-the-brink[/url]" target="_blank">BRIANNA ON THE BRINK</a> is about a one-night stand that has life-altering consequences for popular, sixteen-year-old Brianna, who must then accept help from the one person closest to her mistake. Available now from Holiday House.<br /><br /><b>Writing Process:</b><br /><div><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: Actually, I think I’m a little of both. I like to keep careful notes on book ideas, but then once one of them “takes” I do like to let things percolate a bit and/or take me by surprise during the initial drafting.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: I’d say it typically takes about 8 months to get a fairly solid draft hammered out, especially if I can keep myself in a more-or-less productive work mode while writing the thing.</div><div><br /></div><div><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: My main focus is always on one book at a time. That said, it seems inevitable that ideas for other stories, characters and titles come to me while writing. I try to always write these down for later use.</div><div><br /></div><div><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, and I started doing it because I first loved reading. I think starting from that place of excitement and feeling like there were no imposed rules or boundaries really kept me from being fearful back then. As an adult, of course, I often find myself at some point on the fear spectrum when sitting down to write.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><b>How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: One</div><div><br /></div><div><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: There was one manuscript I wrote after I had an agent that just never amounted to anything. While I still like parts of it, it was written during a time of huge upheaval in my personal life, and I think the writing was disordered as a result. I may go back and scavenge from it someday, though. You never know. Abandoned manuscripts are sometimes useful for parts if nothing else.</div><div><br /></div><div><b>Querying and Agent Hunt Process:</b></div><div><b>Who is your agent and how did you get that "Yes!" out of them? &nbsp;</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: My agent is the extraordinary Stacey Glick at Dystel &amp; Goderich Literary Management. After my initial query letter, she contacted me requesting a partial and then, I *think*, a full. By the time she offered representation, I had another agent interested as well. As soon as Stacey and I talked on the phone, though, I knew I’d be a fool to not go with her. Thankfully, I listened to my gut, because she’s been wonderful not just in getting my work in front of editors but in helping me develop projects as well.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><b>How many queries did you send before getting an agent? &nbsp;</b><br /><br /></div><div>NM: While I don’t have an exact count, I’m pretty sure I still have a box somewhere up in my closet with a few dozen rejection slips inside.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: Sending out queries and receiving rejection after rejection can be such a brutal, disheartening process. I don’t know any successful way out of it other than through, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly you forget all those rejections when you get that first “Yes.” That said, this time before landing an agent is important. It matters. It’s teaching you things that will carry you through your writing career – things like persistence and how you’re going to choose to handle disappointment (both of which will be totally necessary skills after you sell a book, by the way).</div><div><br /></div><div>Of course, professionalism and attention to detail are mandatory. You MUST adhere to the cardinal rules of querying, including knowing the names and preferences of agents who interest you. Do they represent the kind of book you’ve written? Are they taking new submissions? Do they have a list of pet peeves? It’s the Internet Age, so there’s no excuse for not doing as much research as possible to avoid wasting your time and theirs. Also, publishing is a remarkably small world. Don’t be “that guy” or “that gal” with a reputation for being unprofessional. People will notice, and they may well remember. It’s hard to be gracious when gnashing ones teeth in frustration over the latest “not quite right for us” note. Be gracious anyway. Don’t burn bridges.</div><div><br /></div><div><b>On Being Published:</b></div><div><b>How did that feel, the first time you saw your book for sale?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: Technically, the first time was when I saw the pre-order pages for BRIANNA ON THE BRINK on IndieBound, Barnes &amp; Noble, Powell’s, etc. It was amazing as one might suspect. A little surreal, too.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353165138l/13496312.jpg"]http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353165138l/13496312.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="[url="http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353165138l/13496312.jpg"]http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353165138l/13496312.jpg[/url]" width="212" /></a></div><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: Well, my editor (the amazing Sylvie Frank) called to ask me what sort of vision I had for the cover. Basically, I didn’t want any ball gowns (they wouldn’t have fit the story anyway), and I didn’t want a too-skinny, Photoshopped fembot-type model. Girls are already so bombarded with images of this sort of false “perfection”, and it was important to me that Brianna look like an actual human female. I was thrilled with the naturally beautiful model who was chosen, and I couldn’t imagine a better Brianna.</div><div><br /></div><div><b>What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: I was really surprised by how much I learned about story development and editing and the business of writing in between signing the contract and receiving my first copy of the finished book. I think I assumed that once an author sold a book, that was it. He or she was a master. Now I realize just how much I still have to learn to get my writing to where I want it to be. It’s truly a lifelong endeavor.</div><div><br /></div><div><b>Social Networking and Marketing:</b></div><div><b>How much of your own marketing do you? &nbsp;Do you have a blog / site / Twitter?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: I try to think of marketing as play more than anything, as a chance to connect with people and support other artists more than just as a place to hawk my wares. I’m on <a href="[url="http://twitter.com/@Nicole_McInnes"]http://twitter.com/@Nicole_McInnes[/url]" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="[url="http://nicolemcinnes.tumblr.com/"]http://nicolemcinnes.tumblr.com/[/url]" target="_blank">tumblr </a>and <a href="[url="https://www.facebook.com/NicoleMcInnesAuthor"]https://www.facebook.com/NicoleMcInnesAuthor[/url]" target="_blank">Facebook</a> quite a bit, so I guess in that sense I maintain an online presence. Meanwhile, the heavy lifting is done by my wonderful publicist. I also have a <a href="[url="http://www.nicolemcinnes.com/"]http://www.nicolemcinnes.com/[/url]" target="_blank">writer's site</a>.</div><div><br /></div><div><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: When I first signed up for this writing-for-publication gig, mastodons still roamed the planet and there was no such thing as an online platform. There were literary journals and graduate theses, so that’s where I put some effort. Nowadays, it seems important to be findable online at all stages of the game – when searching for an agent, when having a book out on submission to editors and when waiting for your book to land in the hands of readers. At the very least, people are going to want to get a sense of who you are and how you might be to work with.</div><div><br /></div><div><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b></div><div><br /></div><div>NM: Oh, absolutely. What I love most about social media is the ability to share thoughts and laughs with people I’d otherwise never get to meet. And again, readers can get a sense of the writer behind the book this way. It’s not important to every reader, of course, and I suppose there are plenty out there who prefer to not know about authors, but I think a certain amount of curiosity is natural. Also, it goes both ways. It can be fun for authors to get a sense of their readership, to find out what types of people are into their books as well.</div>

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My Cover & ARC Arrival!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 18 February 2013 · 99 views

In case you haven't seen it....<div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://www.yabookscentral.com/images/easyblog_images/NotaDroptoDrink_final_1.jpg"]http://www.yabookscentral.com/images/easyblog_images/NotaDroptoDrink_final_1.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" src="[url="http://www.yabookscentral.com/images/easyblog_images/NotaDroptoDrink_final_1.jpg"]http://www.yabookscentral.com/images/easyblog_images/NotaDroptoDrink_final_1.jpg[/url]" width="420" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Yes, it's true. It really is quite beautiful. I'm not biased. &nbsp;And wouldn't you know it on the same day that the cover released, my ARC's came. Here they be:</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ixe6TUh6h4M/USGoi_OCukI/AAAAAAAABog/DOm8kbVAlMI/s1600/IMG_1471.jpg"]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ixe6TUh6h4M/USGoi_OCukI/AAAAAAAABog/DOm8kbVAlMI/s1600/IMG_1471.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="297" src="[url="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ixe6TUh6h4M/USGoi_OCukI/AAAAAAAABog/DOm8kbVAlMI/s400/IMG_1471.jpg"]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ixe6TUh6h4M/USGoi_OCukI/AAAAAAAABog/DOm8kbVAlMI/s400/IMG_1471.jpg[/url]" width="400" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;">So that's what the spine looks like. And I'd really hate for you to spend a lot of time worrying about the back cover, so I went ahead and took a picture of that for you too:</div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-atQ0YQuGOB4/USGoi57RqrI/AAAAAAAABok/y_z2cyH0Rd8/s1600/IMG_6111.jpg"]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-atQ0YQuGOB4/USGoi57RqrI/AAAAAAAABok/y_z2cyH0Rd8/s1600/IMG_6111.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="297" src="[url="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-atQ0YQuGOB4/USGoi57RqrI/AAAAAAAABok/y_z2cyH0Rd8/s400/IMG_6111.jpg"]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-atQ0YQuGOB4/USGoi57RqrI/AAAAAAAABok/y_z2cyH0Rd8/s400/IMG_6111.jpg[/url]" width="400" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div>I bet your wondering how in the world you can get your hands on your own ARC of NOT A DROP TO DRINK, right? Well, it's possible. The lovely ladies over at <a href="[url="http://69.195.136.18/blogs/14725-cover-reveal-not-a-drop-to-drink-by-mindy-mcginnis"]http://69.195.136.18/blogs/14725-cover-reveal-not-a-drop-to-drink-by-mindy-mcginnis[/url]" target="_blank">YABC hosted my cover reveal, along with a signed ARC giveaway</a>. Yes - you can have one of the books in this picture, complete with my signature, and also rest assured that I probably rubbed my face on it.</div>

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 16 February 2013 · 95 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://crossingthehelix.blogspot.com/"]http://crossingthehelix.blogspot.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, shoot us an email.<br /><br /><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ys6toRSVJD4/UADeqdCGAKI/AAAAAAAAArg/zFHQIB3dYgs/s1600/NewestSatSlash.jpg"]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ys6toRSVJD4/UADeqdCGAKI/AAAAAAAAArg/zFHQIB3dYgs/s1600/NewestSatSlash.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="[url="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ys6toRSVJD4/UADeqdCGAKI/AAAAAAAAArg/zFHQIB3dYgs/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-ys6toRSVJD4/UADeqdCGAKI/AAAAAAAAArg/zFHQIB3dYgs/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg[/url]" width="246" /></a></div>We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch &nbsp;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 />Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/"]http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/[/url]" target="_blank">AgentQuery Connect</a>. You'll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!</div><br />Breaking into a high security space station and getting out with anything but cuffs on your wrists is impossible for most 26th century thieves, but Jez Starwisp isn’t your average criminal. <span style="color: #38761d;">Nice hook. I'd consider starting a new sentence at "but," even though I'm sure somewhere along the way somebody probably told you that's a no-no. It'll reduce the run-on feel, and honestly, I think starting with "But" is perfectly fine.</span>&nbsp;Raised on a backwards colony where the most advanced tech was a butter churn, she knows her way around lock picks and other archaic tools that top of the line security isn’t designed to handle. Along with her annoying android partner, Jez sets out to make a name for herself as the greatest thief in the Stymphalian solar system. <span style="color: #38761d;">Very, very good. Lots of voice here. You totally have my attention.</span><br /><br />Her next target: Stymphalian Station Beta and a priceless statue belonging <span style="color: #38761d;">missing "to?"&nbsp;</span>an important delegate. Everything goes according to plan, until the delegate <span style="color: #38761d;">echo here with "delegate," how about "owner" instead?&nbsp;</span>enters the vault as she’s robbing it. Before he can raise an alarm, a security guard walks in and shoots the delegate <span style="color: #38761d;">another echo, how about just a pronoun here?</span>, leaving Jez alive and well to take the blame. With a murder charge on her head, half the solar system is after her (not quite the infamy she wanted), and Jez is staring at the very real possibility of being sentenced to life on the inescapable prison planet. With the help of a bitter adversary, unscrupulous space pirates, and some old-fashioned skill, Jez has to clear her name, stop a murderer, and, oh, save a planet.<br /><br />The Stymphalian system asked for a hero. They got a thief. <span style="color: #38761d;">Fantastic sinker.</span><br /><span style="color: #38761d;"><br /></span><span style="color: #38761d;">The actual query that you've written here is very nice, but I'm fuzzy on two points. It could just be me, but I was under the impression as I read that Jez was captured (maybe it was the phrase "take the blame"), but it seems from subsequent sentences that she's actually on the run. So there needs to be some clarification there.</span><br /><span style="color: #38761d;"><br /></span><span style="color: #38761d;">The other thing not quite working for me is the rather grandiose statement that Jez has to save the planet... um, where did that come in? I pieced together for myself that "stop a murderer" applies to the security guard (who presumably disappeared?) and therefore that makes me think there's some kind of political espionage at work here, which leads to her clearing her name and saving the planet. But I shouldn't have to put all that together myself (and I could be wrong, too).&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #38761d;"><br /></span><span style="color: #38761d;">Be a little more straightforward with your plot elements and you're looking good. Right now you've got a wonderful hook, and sinker, plus fantastic voice in the query. Honestly you've got the hard work behind you! Good luck!</span>

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NOT A DROP TO DRINK Cover Reveal and Signed ARC Giveaway!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 15 February 2013 · 127 views

Yes, it's happening.<br /><br />I know everyone has been waiting a long time for my cover reveal, and wouldn't you know that the sky is <a href="[url="http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/15/world/europe/russia-meteor-shower/index.html?hpt=hp_c1"]http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/15/world/europe/russia-meteor-shower/index.html?hpt=hp_c1[/url]" target="_blank">literally falling</a> on the day that it happens.<br /><br />But hey, let's think positive.<br /><br /><a href="[url="http://www.yabookscentral.com/"]http://www.yabookscentral.com/[/url]" target="_blank">YABC is hosting my cover reveal AND a signed ARC giveaway!</a> You could be one of the first people to read <a href="[url="http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13112869-not-a-drop-to-drink"]http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13112869-not-a-drop-to-drink[/url]" target="_blank">NOT A DROP TO DRINK</a>... if you mosey over to the reveal and enter to win.<br /><br />Reveal goes live at 12 PM EST! I would love for you to tweet me your reactions:&nbsp;@MindyMcGinnis<br /><br />All I'm going to say is that I hope it's legal to marry a paperback in Ohio, because I'm taking my ARC's to the courthouse this afternoon.

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Happy PAPfest Day!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 14 February 2013 · 104 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-32BAB1jFY58/UPMCU9GLysI/AAAAAAAABfQ/bd61q49r9n4/s320/PAPfest3.jpg"]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-32BAB1jFY58/UPMCU9GLysI/AAAAAAAABfQ/bd61q49r9n4/s320/PAPfest3.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="[url="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-32BAB1jFY58/UPMCU9GLysI/AAAAAAAABfQ/bd61q49r9n4/s320/PAPfest3.jpg"]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-32BAB1jFY58/UPMCU9GLysI/AAAAAAAABfQ/bd61q49r9n4/s320/PAPfest3.jpg[/url]" /></a></div>Thanks to everyone who participated in the PAPfest! We had some wonderful entries and are looking for great things to come from the writers who were selected to move on to the agent judging round. Our lovely agents - Adriann Ranta, Tina Wexler, Jennifer Laughran, Suzie Townsend, Laura Bradford and Pooja Menon - will be cruising the entries and making their requests in the comments of the entries until 9 PM EST tonight.<br /><br />Don't forget the entries are spread out over my co-hosts blogs as well. <a href="[url="http://marcykate.com/"]http://marcykate.com/[/url]" target="_blank">MarcyKate Connolly</a> and <a href="[url="http://crossingthehelix.blogspot.com/"]http://crossingthehelix.blogspot.com/[/url]" target="_blank">RC Lewis</a> have PAPfest entries on their blogs as well, so don't miss out on some excellent new MG and YA voices being hosted on all three blogs.<br /><br />And please if you're not an agent don't do any commenting on the entries until the judging is over! The entries will remain up and be available for cheerleading once the judging ends at 9 PM EST.<br /><br />The PAPteam<br /><br />Mindy McGinnis<br />RC Lewis<br />MarcyKate Connolly

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PAPfest Entry - THE SUMMER I STARTED A BUSINESS...

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 14 February 2013 · 79 views

<b>TITLE:</b> THE SUMMER I STARTED A BUSINESS, SOLVED A BANK ROBBERY, AND SHOWED UP ON CAJUN PAWN STARS<br /><br /><b>GENRE:</b> Contemporary MG<br /><br /><b>WORD COUNT:</b> 30,000<br /><br /><b>QUERY:</b><br /><br />An old folks’ home is not where twelve-year-old Haley wants to spend her summer, but it’s where her mom works and Haley is stuck tagging along. At least she has plenty of time to figure out a way to make enough cash to buy a cell phone and smuggling contraband in is just the ticket. It turns out old people have a sweet tooth and selling snacks to the residents is a real money-maker.<br /><br />Things turn less lame when Haley finds out that the newest resident, a retired Marine, likes her favorite TV show. He lets her watch Cajun Pawn Stars with him for the small price of a few Oreos an episode. Haley’s summer gets exciting when she discovers sixteen-year-old Rachel who’s living at the facility because it’s cheaper than a hospital. The only problem is she’s in a coma thanks to the driver of a getaway car. Rachel’s roommate is 80-something Miss Essie who can’t remember that the year is 2013 and Jimmy Carter is no longer President. So when she tells Haley that the strange men who come to visit Rachel are actual bank robbers who want to hurt the only witness, Haley has to decide if Miss Essie might be right.<br /><br />If a kid who’s stranded for the summer, a former Marine General who’s given up on life, and an old lady with Alzheimer’s can solve a bank robbery and prevent a murder, &nbsp;it’s possible Haley will have the best <i>How I Spent My Summer</i> essay in the history of middle school.<br /><br />THE SUMMER I STARTED A BUSINESS, SOLVED A BANK ROBBERY, AND SHOWED UP ON CAJUN PAWN STARS is a 30k middle grade novel. I’ve been a teacher and school counselor for over twenty years. Currently, I’m a middle school counselor with the largest school system in the Southeast. I am also a member of SCBWI.<br /><br /><b>FIRST 200 WORDS:</b><br /><br />The smell hit me as soon as I stepped into the lobby. Old people. A combination of Lysol, Old Spice, hair spray, and peppermint. If you’re not prepared, it’ll knock you over.<br /><br />Go ahead and take a whiff the next time you walk into a nursing home. Wait—I’m the only almost 7th grader who has to spend her summer in one. This was going to be the worst two and a half months of my life—stuck for the third time in a row at Mom’s work.<br /><br />I saw Amy walk in the front door and followed her to the beauty parlor.<br /><br />“Hey, Haley. How’s your summer going?” Amy asked as she balanced the box of beauty supplies on her hip and unlocked the parlor door.<br /><br />“So far it stinks. Mom won’t trust me to stay home by myself."<br /><br />Amy almost fell in when the door gave way. “She’s scared you’ll burn the house down, huh?”<br /><br />I walked in and plopped down in the first pink chair with the old-lady-helmet style hair dryer attached to it. “No. She’s afraid I’ll spend my whole summer in front of the TV watching Cajun Pawn Stars. I told her that wasn’t even possible seeing how it only comes on a couple of times a week. But as you can see, I’m here.” I pushed the buttons. ON. OFF. COOL. OFF.

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