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McKelle George On Finding An Editor That Gets Your Book

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 22 August 2017 · 51 views

<div class="MsoNormal">If there's one thing that many aspiring writers have few clues about, it's the submission process. There are good reasons for that; authors aren't exactly encouraged to talk in detail about our own submission experiences, and - just like agent hunting - everyone's story is different. I managed to cobble together a few non-specific questions that some debut authors have agreed to<br />answer (bless them). And so I bring you the submission interview series - Submission Hell - It's True. Yes, it's the SHIT.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1500555049l/30640834.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1500555049l/30640834.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/1500555049l/30640834.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div>Today's guest for the SHIT is McKelle George, author of SPEAK EASY, SPEAK LOVE, releasing September 19th from Greenwillow. McKelle is a reader, writer of clumsy rebels, perpetual doodler, and associate librarian at the best library in the world. She mentors with Salt Lake Teen Writes and plays judge for the Poetry Out Loud teen competitions (but has no poetic talent herself).&nbsp;</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>How much did you know about the submission process before you were out on subs yourself?</b><o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>Quite a bit! I’d been an acquisitions editor with Jolly Fish Press (and now Flux), so I knew what things looked like in an acquisitions meeting on the other side. I had a lot of author friends go through this before me—and also it calms my neurotic brain to research, research, research (I think I read every entry in this blog series, for example).<o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Did anything about the process surprise you?</b><o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>Not much about the actual process (see above), but it’s hard to know what it actually feels like until you’re in it, to be honest. The anxiety, the excitement, the pain. You won’t be able to completely prepare for that until you’re there.<o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Did you research the editors you knew had your ms? Do you recommend doing that?<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>No! Ha ha, my agent wouldn’t let me. She told me what houses/imprints she had sent to, but not the actual editors (precisely to keep me from internet-stalking them). After she had about six or so responses, she’d send them to me and then I’d learn who had read my ms.<o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>This turned out to be a good thing. One editor at Scholastic was basically the dream editor for my book. She loved Shakespeare, she loved the 1920s, and she’d been asking my agent about my book for months . . . but in the end, she rejected it. If I’d known all this before, I think I would have been religiously researching everything this editor had every written or said online, built up ridiculous expectations, etc. <o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>The rejection still hurt, but at least it happened all at once—instead of a drawn out process that ended poorly.<o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>What was the average amount of time it took to hear back from editors?<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>We went on two rounds, and the first (13 editors) took about five months to hear back from everyone. I think the first responses came in at about six weeks. The second round went faster, but that was because I had an offer after one week, from an editor who’d asked for a revision from the first round. It took probably 3-4 weeks after that for the rest.<o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>What do you think is the best way for an author out on submission to deal with the anxiety?<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>Yes, yes, write the next book. Everyone says that, and for me personally, it’s what works. The best way I deal with publishing anxiety is by writing. But that doesn’t work for everyone. I think the nicest thing you can do for yourself is to take your feelings seriously. They’re not silly or out-of-proportion or invalid just because “everybody” has them. Take the time to figure out what you need to do (whether it’s writing something else, setting up a system with your agent, distancing yourself from publishing altogether, etc.) and do that.<o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>If you had any rejections, how did you deal with that emotionally? How did this kind of rejection compare to query rejections?</b><o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>Okay, I’m going to combine this question with the next question (</i>If you got feedback on a rejection, how did you process it? How do you compare processing an editor’s feedback as compared to a beta reader’s?)<i>, because for me, they’re related.<o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>So, SPEAK EASY, SPEAK LOVE was rejected by 24 publishers (if I’m counting correctly . . . I might have missed one), and it took almost a year to sell the book. And I guess they were what people call "nice" rejections? What I got a lot of was: “Her writing is great, please send me any other project she does, but I just don’t think we can sell a 1920s book.” Many editors, at least in the first round, also said they struggled a little with the plot’s ending (which is what we revised before the second round). Marketing-wise, it was a hard sell. It’s a standalone historical. And there isn’t really any YA 1920s book that’s done spectacularly well.</i><o:p></o:p><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>But what I internalized hearing all of this was that, yes, maybe the market for standalone historicals tended to be an uphill battle . . . but for a truly exceptional book, they would fight that battle. And mine wasn’t. Even mentally knowing everything I know about this business and how subjective it is and how little an author can ultimately control, emotionally all I took in was: “Your book is just kind of crap, no one is that excited about it, no one ever will be, and you are simply not good enough to be published at this level." <o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>Which surprised me, because usually I take rejection and criticism pretty well. I'm happy to revise my work and during the query process, I was able to say, "Okay, not that one, but maybe the next one!" and move on without taking it personally. There was something about the submission process that felt so </i>final.<i><o:p></o:p></i><br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>After the first round, there was one editor who asked if I'd be willing to rewrite the book (because, again, she liked my writing, not the genre) in a contemporary setting. In retrospect, I don't know why I agreed to this. I wrote it in the time period I did for a reason and the characters were definitely informed by their environment. Anyway, I struggled with a few opening chapters for this different book before calling it quits. </i><o:p></o:p><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>Then I set to work revising the manuscript for the second round of editors. Having internalized twelve plus rejections, I had basically decided that my book was terrible as it was and I wrote a 70K draft of essentially BRAND NEW WRITING in three and a half weeks and showed it to my agent.<o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>My dear agent—who by the way took my efforts of trying to write an entire new book not once, but twice, in stride—sent me a PDF with all of the rejections combined in one document. She was not, in fact, trying to kill me, but made a point of highlighting that all of the feedback focused on how much they loved it . . . but just couldn't take it on for this or that reason. Her point was to show me that my book wasn't completely awful and I didn't need to scrap the entire thing . . . just maybe fix the ending some.<o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>It took about a year for SPEAK EASY, SPEAK LOVE to sell—but that includes a five month period of three revision efforts (one successful) which was the equivalent of me kind of desperately flinging last-minute options because I thought the manuscript was bad and wouldn't sell otherwise.<o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>When you got your YES! how did that feel? How did you find out – email, telephone, smoke signal?<o:p></o:p></b><br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>It felt surreal. By this point, I had decided that I, like many authors, was not going to sell my first book. And I was okay with that! I was feeling pretty crummy about the manuscript and ready to try with something new—something better!</i><o:p></o:p><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>When we went on the last round, my agent said she had some editors lined up but if there were any she'd like me to sub to, let her know. In 2013, I attended a YA bootcamp at my local indie bookstore, The King's English, and Martha Mihalick (now my editor) was one of the guest instructors. She was awesome in the bootcamp, but also I'd just started working on SPEAK EASY, SPEAK LOVE. We workshopped hooks and pitches for our WIPs, and I remember her saying something like: "Now, Much Ado About Nothing in the 1920s, that I could sell."<o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>So, Martha was the one editor who I knew had it before she sent a response. Another editor made an offer (one from the first round who liked the revision) and a few weeks after my agent nudged the rest, she sent me an email with the subject line: MARTHA WANTS TO TALK ON THE PHONE<o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>I sent back a super ecstatic email... and then my sister called and said she had a flat tire and could I come pick her up.<o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>!!!<o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>The reason this was excruciating was because at the time I didn't have a smartphone. There was no way to check my email after I left the house. I was freaking out!<o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>So I had to wait... but then I called my agent, who prepped me for the call with Martha, then I called Martha, who was wonderful. I barely knew what was happening. Instead of saying the 1920s was a bad idea, she was saying she thought it was really smart to set the retelling in that time period. She understood my book, right from the beginning.<o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>And then another call from my agent a few hours later to say that Martha and Greenwillow had formally offered! I was excited, but also I remember Katie (my agent) saying, "You're a lot more calm about this than I was."<o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>But I wasn't calm. I just have a complete inability to process emotion when someone is watching/listening. Which means I had a delayed reaction that resulted in abruptly bursting into tears while I was brushing my teeth that night. ANYWAY.<o:p></o:p></i><br /><i><br /></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i>Also now I had to do a mental backtrack, because I'd been So Ready to move on from this book, and suddenly I had a reason to be excited about it again. It was strange. Good strange.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp; </span><o:p></o:p></i></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Did you have to wait a period of time before sharing your big news, because of details being ironed out? Was that difficult?</b><o:p></o:p><br /><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: 15.0pt; mso-line-height-rule: exactly;"><i><span style="mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">Yes! We didn't want to announce until I had a title (we changed it from what it was during the submission process; formally </span></i><span style="mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">A MERRY WAR), <i>and that took a long time. In fact, it still didn't have a title when we announced, but it had been five months so we just did it . . . On the other hand, while I didn't announce it formally online, I very happily told anyone who asked about it, so a lot of people knew at that point. :P</i></span></div>

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Fall Appearance Schedule & Some Writing Advice

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 21 August 2017 · 36 views

<div style="text-align: center;"><div style="text-align: left;">I have a wildly busy fall planned for the release of THIS DARKNESS MINE. Everyone keep their fingers crossed and hope that I don't come down with laryngitis like I did last fall while promoting THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES.</div></div><br />Like all things, when I go, I go big. So I don't just have a scratchy voice. I lose it entirely. Traveling with no voice is difficult, to say the least. I was pointing at pictures on restaurant menus, typing notes on my phone to communicate with people, and ordering room service was... challenging.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TPB3e01d91s/WZr-lwA35oI/AAAAAAAAEAM/za4nfdtjtPA5Wqx-1zVSVXp9_rxR9wlVwCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Appearances.png"]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TPB3e01d91s/WZr-lwA35oI/AAAAAAAAEAM/za4nfdtjtPA5Wqx-1zVSVXp9_rxR9wlVwCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Appearances.png[/url]" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="253" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-TPB3e01d91s/WZr-lwA35oI/AAAAAAAAEAM/za4nfdtjtPA5Wqx-1zVSVXp9_rxR9wlVwCK4BGAYYCw/s400/Appearances.png"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><div style="text-align: left;">In addition I will be celebrating Barnes &amp; Noble's YA B-Fest (BookFest) at two different locations in Ohio. You'll be able to catch me in Pickerington at 1PM and again in Akron at 4 PM (or whatever time I get there from Pickerington). Let's say 4ish.</div></div><div style="text-align: center;"><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div></div><div style="text-align: center;"><div style="text-align: left;">I also have some great Epic Reads meetups scheduled alongside some fellow fantastic authors:</div></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fPiBv69PW_U/WZr-92BbNdI/AAAAAAAAEAU/XKjJ9PyRf-sy8_9OfaGOlbX2CFjFNTdkgCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/-6N4aOKoULVwn2bWO4VFzN8hrE-l2Kub283DtlGXEGXFR9GyJkUOa9OJ9tQZbEUf.png"[/url] imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="290" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-fPiBv69PW_U/WZr-92BbNdI/AAAAAAAAEAU/XKjJ9PyRf-sy8_9OfaGOlbX2CFjFNTdkgCK4BGAYYCw/s400/-6N4aOKoULVwn2bWO4VFzN8hrE-l2Kub283DtlGXEGXFR9GyJkUOa9OJ9tQZbEUf.png"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div>I've also been participating in some great online events lately. If you missed my Character MasterClass with the WattPad4 you can check that out below.<br /><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" [url="src="]src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k_sNDl1rdJE"[/url] width="500"></iframe><br /><br />I also recently was on Writing Fun. For more writing tips, thoughts, tricks, and my basic (quasi) process, check it out:<br /><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" [url="src="]src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lGoOZ3ddYR0"[/url] width="500"></iframe><br />

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 19 August 2017 · 49 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 />A vampire, a fae prince and a mutant werewolf enter the bar. You may know the joke. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is a really different approach to a hook, and I think I like it. That's going to be highly subjective though.</span><br /><br />But Claire doesn’t. Not when she travels through the States <span style="color: #6aa84f;">no one within the US calls it "the States." If you're sending to American agents you might want to rephrase</span>&nbsp;with nothing but a suitcase <strike>of clothes</strike> and the memories from Chicago haunting her steps. Then, circumstances lead her to take the job of a doorkeeper to a mansion outside a small town, somewhere between Virginia and North Carolina. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Technically, there's nothing between VA and NC so the mansion is either in one or the other.</span><br /><br />And the mansion’s residents? There is Todd, the vampire who likes a good J.R. Ward book and marshmallows in his cup of blood. He likes to banter, a lot, with Elfas, the Fae Prince from the second floor who likes books by Karen Marie Moning and drinks lots of tea. Which comes from human waste. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">BLARGH. Holy crap I'm imagining his breath. Other than that, the literary allusions might be a little heavy here. Do all supernatural creatures read novels in their leisure time?</span><br /><br />And there’s Jericho, the werewolf of the third floor who likes cooking and woodcarving. For him everything would be better if he wasn’t born in his wolf form and didn’t dread the moment the full moon touches him every month. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Making a note here that this is the only creature for whom you have given an insight into their feelings rather than their preferred snack or reading material.</span><br /><br />Claire also has to consider the cursed willow tree by the garden, as <span style="color: #6aa84f;">(and?)</span> also the gargoyle named Fred who comes to life every night and guards the skies. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Consider it in what way? She already took the job, right?</span>&nbsp;The job couldn’t be worse, right?<br /><br />Then a witch, named Mina&nbsp;appears, claiming that the curse around the house and the residents is failing. She is the only one who can save them and free them from the confines of the house. Or else, she’ll die losing her powers. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Wait, I'm confused - the curse keeps them inside the house, so that sounds like a bad thing (curses generally are, right?) So if it's failing, why do they need saved and freed? And I'm confused about the tie between her powers and the curse.</span><br /><br />Claire will have to work along with three creatures of pop culture and myth, help the witch break the spell and stop her growing feelings for Jericho. When her past from Chicago catches up with her? Well, things will become complicated for everyone.<br /><br />THE OUTCASTS is a stand-alone Young Adult, Paranormal Romance of 67.323 words. It will appeal to readers of Rachel Hawkins, Julie Kagawa and Claudia Gray.<br /><br />I’m a graduate student of History and Archaeology and I have participated in short story contests hosted by REUTS Publications. Two of my short stories will be published in the forthcoming anthology "Not-So-Local Legends of Triumph &amp; Terror" by the same Publishing House. The first trilogy I’ve written is also published on Tapas.<br /><br />I have also been a blogger/reviewer since 2013 with wide reading range of almost all genres, so I have a great deal of knowledge of the Young Adult market. I live in Greece and write novels in the genres of sci-fi, paranormal, romance and fantasy. The full manuscript of THE OUTCASTS is available upon request.<br /><div><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Good bio.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Right now what this query is doing is giving us the setting, but not much else in terms of plot. You hint at the beginning and the end that Chicago and things that went on there are going to be an element, but I don't know what happened there, or how it will tie into anything at all. Don't be coy in the query - things need to be laid out here.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Also, you say right away that Claire doesn't have a foot in the supernatural world, but she picks up this job and there's no reference whatsoever about her feelings or reactions to this new world. Is she scared? Shocked? Intrigued? Is she staying only because she doesn't have other options at first? It's clear at the end that she's all in - possibly for romantic reasons - but we need to know more about her initial reactions, and cause for remaining.</span></div>

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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: THE DAZZLING HEIGHTS by Katharine McGee

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 18 August 2017 · 64 views

New York City, 2118. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible – if you want it enough.<br /><br />Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a beacon of futuristic glamour and high-tech luxury… and to millions of people living scandalous, secretive lives.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490729236l/32711705.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490729236l/32711705.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/1490729236l/32711705.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div>Leda is haunted by nightmares of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’s afraid the truth will get out – which is why she hires Watt, her very own hacker, to keep an eye on all of the witnesses for her. But what happens when their business relationship turns personal?<br /><br />When Rylin receives a scholarship to an elite upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being here also means seeing the boy she loves: the one whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.<br /><br />Avery is grappling with the reality of her forbidden romance – is there anywhere in the world that’s safe for them to be together?<br /><br />And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who’s arrived in New York with a devious goal in mind – and too many secrets to count.<br /><br />Here in the Tower, no one is safe – because someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, you’re always only one step away from a devastating fall…<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b270" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b270/"[/url] id="rcwidget_g0ltielz" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>[/url]

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AMONG THE RED STARS Author Gwen C. Katz On Illustrated YA Covers

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 15 August 2017 · 68 views

I love talking to authors. Our experiences are so similar, yet so very different, that every one of us has a new story to share. Everyone says that the moment you get your cover it really hits you - you're an author. The cover is your story - and you - packaged for the world. So the process of the cover reveal can be slightly panic inducing. Does it fit your story? Is it what you hoped? Will it sell? With this in mind I put together the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) Interview.<br /><br />Today's guest for the CRAP is Gwen Kacz, writer, artist, game designer, part-time mad scientist (retired). Her debut novel, <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30122938-among-the-red-stars"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30122938-among-the-red-stars[/url]" target="_blank">AMONG THE RED STARS</a>, releases October 3rd from HarperTeen.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1486145204l/30122938.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="303" height="640" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1486145204l/30122938.jpg"[/url] width="408" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><i>World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines.&nbsp;</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.</i>&nbsp;</div><br /><b>Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?</b><br /><b><br /></b> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings></xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>JA</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> 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mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1107305727 0 0 415 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-font-alt:"MS 明朝"; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:modern; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 134217746 0 131231 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho";} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho";} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --></style><!--[if gte mso 10]><style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} </style><![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><i>I'm an artist myself, so I actually made a couple of mock covers just for fun while I was writing AMONG THE RED STARS.</i><o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Zf5cicOIzjo/WZHVFr2UgGI/AAAAAAAAD_s/FJVbykNJBqsritKLhrUC343OgqXAZHpJwCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-08-14%2Bat%2B12.50.38%2BPM.png"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Zf5cicOIzjo/WZHVFr2UgGI/AAAAAAAAD_s/FJVbykNJBqsritKLhrUC343OgqXAZHpJwCK4BGAYYCw/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-08-14%2Bat%2B12.50.38%2BPM.png"[/url] /></a></div><i><br /></i><i>Not totally amateurish, but it clearly needs work. It's too low-contrast, and it's obvious that I'm working with preexisting artwork that wasn't designed to fit the space. Also, artwork that looked great on my DeviantArt account was not necessarily cover quality. Later on I made a second one.</i><br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Zw_Sut01huk/WZHVfh8nFyI/AAAAAAAAD_0/asMnkUzJq9UAF7cpfutwoQvgv_rSOORFQCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-08-14%2Bat%2B12.50.42%2BPM.png"[/url] imageanchor="1"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Zw_Sut01huk/WZHVfh8nFyI/AAAAAAAAD_0/asMnkUzJq9UAF7cpfutwoQvgv_rSOORFQCK4BGAYYCw/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-08-14%2Bat%2B12.50.42%2BPM.png"[/url] /></a></div><br /><i><br /></i><i>This one is nice and clean, but it doesn't communicate the basic information that this is a YA book about girls. No one would be able to tell what this book is about or who it's for based on this cover. Clearly I needed a professional designer.</i><br /><br /><b>How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?</b><br /><br /><i>About a year in advance, I think.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have any input on your cover?</b><br /><br /><i>I was amazed at how much input I got! The designer actually emailed me to ask for photos of the planes and uniforms, so not only does it look amazing, it's all historically accurate, too.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>One of my requests was that if Valka was on the cover, she should be facing forward. A lot of YA covers feature girls looking back over their shoulders, a pose that looks vulnerable and powerless. I wanted Valka to look like she was in control. I love the assertive pose she has on my cover!</i><br /><br /><b>How was your cover revealed to you?</b><br /><br /><i>I just got it in an email. There was some back and forth with tweaks, but the final cover is still very close to the original draft.</i><br /><br /><b>Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?</b><br /><br /><i>Yeah, I did a cover reveal on YA Books Central and it went great!</i><br /><br /><b>How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?</b><br /><br /><i>It was a process, but I think we'd gotten the final draft nailed down about a month ahead.</i><br /><br /><b>Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?</b><br /><br /><i>Of course! The cover reveal is really your first big book news after the deal announcement, so it's a very exciting moment. It was hard to be patient!</i><br /><br /><b>What surprised you most about the process?</b><br /><br /><i>I was completely surprised that they went with an illustrated cover. I love illustrated covers, but you really only see them in middle grade these days; YA usually goes for photo covers instead. So I didn't even ask for an illustrated cover. I was thrilled when that was what I got!</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?</b><br /><br /><i>Remember that everyone involved wants to give your book the most amazing cover possible!</i><br /><div><br /></div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2017/08/among-red-stars-author-gwen-c-katz-on.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2017/08/among-red-stars-author-gwen-c-katz-on.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Join Me For An Online Character MasterClass!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 14 August 2017 · 63 views

Tonight I'll be joining the Wattpad4 lineup of authors doing master classes through a Google chat. I'll be live TONIGHT at 8PM Eastern <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_sNDl1rdJE&amp;feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">on this channel!</a><br /><br />I promise to wash my hair, and stuff.<br /><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="[url="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k_sNDl1rdJE"]https://www.youtube.com/embed/k_sNDl1rdJE[/url]" width="500"></iframe>

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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: JANE UNLIMITED by Kristin Cashore

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 11 August 2017 · 63 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1493651118l/32991569.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1493651118l/32991569.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="316" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1493651118l/32991569.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.<br /><br />Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.<br /><br />Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.<br /><br />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.<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 /><br /></form><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b269" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b269/"[/url] id="rcwidget_yd9m2f0r" 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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Kes Trester On The Cover Process

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 08 August 2017 · 61 views

I love talking to authors. Our experiences are so similar, yet so very different, that every one of us has a new story to share. Everyone says that the moment you get your cover it really hits you - you're an author. The cover is your story - and you - packaged for the world. So the process of the cover reveal can be slightly panic inducing. Does it fit your story? Is it what you hoped? Will it sell? With this in mind I put together the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) Interview.<br /><br />Today's guest for the CRAP is Kes Trester, a former feature film development executive, independent film producer, and television commercial producer. In an attempt to raise kids who could actually pick their mom out of a line up, Kes turned to writing full-time. Her contemporary novels for young adults are cinematic, fast-paced, and above all, fun.<br /><b><br /></b><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1494074376l/30143031.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1494074376l/30143031.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 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/1494074376l/30143031.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>Seventeen-year-old Riley Collins has grown up in some of the world’s most dangerous cities, learning political strategies from her ambassador dad and defensive skills from his security chief. The only thing they didn’t prepare her for: life as an American teenager.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>After an incident forces her to leave her Pakistani home, Riley is recruited by the State Department to attend Harrington Academy, one of the most elite boarding schools in Connecticut. The catch: she must use her tactical skills to covertly keep an eye on Hayden Frasier, the daughter of a tech billionaire whose new code-breaking spyware has the international intelligence community in an uproar.</i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><i>Disturbing signs begin to appear that Riley’s assignment wasn’t the walk in the park she’d been promised. Now, Riley must fight for her life and Hayden’s, as those around her reveal themselves to be true friends or the ultimate betrayers.</i></div><b><br /></b><b>Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?</b><br /><br /><i>My book, A DANGEROUS YEAR, is fast-paced and action-packed (think “Alias” meets “Gossip Girl”) so the cover had to convey elements of action and romance. I also wanted colors and a font that were a bit playful, so readers would know this book is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.</i><br /><br /><b>How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?</b><br /><br /><i>Just after I signed my contract, which was about eighteen months before publication, I sent my publisher ten book covers I liked. I listed what I liked about each one, and even sent headshots of actors/models as visual references for the main characters.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have any input on your cover?</b><br /><i><br /></i><i>As it turned out, I had a tremendous amount of input. The first two sets of cover mockups were, in my opinion, targeted to the adult fiction market. The Riley Collins series has crossover potential, but Riley is a 17-year-old high school senior. I was concerned about being overlooked by YA readers, and conveyed my reservations to the publisher. To my surprise and delight, they tossed the covers and brought in a new designer.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>By the time we settled on the final cover, my publisher had presented me with seven distinctly different choices. Once we decided on the general design, they allowed me to influence color and edit the objects pictured on the cover. It was a long, stressful process, but I’m tremendously happy with the final image.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How was your cover revealed to you?</b><br /><br /><i>Designing the cover was a three-month process with mockups sent at intervals. The “reveal” was the moment I saw the cover revised with my suggestions and realized the designer had nailed it.</i><br /><br /><b>Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?</b><br /><br /><i>The cover turned out so well, Hypable.com offered to do <a [url="href="]href="http://www.hypable.com/cover-reveal-kes-trester-debut-novel-a-dangerous-year/"[/url] target="_blank">an exclusive cover reveal!&nbsp;</a></i><br /><br /><b>How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?</b><br /><br /><i>The cover was finalized about three weeks prior to the reveal.</i><br /><br /><b>Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?</b><br /><br /><i>I had shown it to a few trusted friends for input, but I was dying to send it out into the world. It would be the first impression people would get of my book, and it was hard to keep it under wraps!</i><br /><br /><b>What surprised you most about the process?</b><br /><br /><i>The generosity of my publisher, and the respect I have been shown as a writer. The CEO of the imprint personally communicated with me during the design phase to insure I was satisfied with the direction of the cover.</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?</b><br /><br /><i>Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Carrie Fisher got stuck with the Princess Leia hair buns because she was afraid to tell George Lucas what she really thought. Don’t get stuck with hair buns. Politely and respectfully communicate your opinions. You’ve got nothing to lose.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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Where I'll Be This Week!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 07 August 2017 · 69 views

I've got two events this week!<br /><br />Tomorrow I will be at the B<a href="[url="https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/author/364320"]https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/author/364320[/url]" target="_blank">arnes and Noble in Akron, OH</a> with fellow YA author Lisa Maxwell. Come see us at 7 PM for reading and signing!<br /><br />On Wednesday, August 9th I will be at the <a [url="href="]href="http://www.sandusky.lib.oh.us/adult_programs/programs.php"[/url] target="_blank">Sandusky Library</a> to talk about the inspiration behind NOT A DROP TO DRINK, as well as my other books. Find me there at 6 PM!

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Book Talk & Giveaway: THE SUMMER THAT MELTED EVERYTHING by Tiffany McDaniel

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 04 August 2017 · 77 views

<a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1462949293l/26114523.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1462949293l/26114523.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="313" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1462949293l/26114523.jpg"[/url] width="210" /></a>Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.<br /><br />Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.<br /><br />When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperature as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestle with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.<br /><br />Don't miss my podcast episode featuring Tiffany, where she talks about eleven years of rejection, making sure that human emotion and characters trump the setting, being a female author who prefers to write dark themes, and the cons of using technology in your manuscript.<br /><br /><iframe [url="data-link="]data-link="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/b6pxn-6c079b?from=yiiadmin"[/url] data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/b6pxn-6c079b?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe><br /><br /><br />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.<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 /><br /></form><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b267" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b267/"[/url] id="rcwidget_06o1aj99" 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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