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Monday Musings: “About That Call”

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 13 August 2018 · 157 views

 

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a long time since I posted a “Monday Musing” but I’m finally in a good place to stop and actually write something coherent after being way knee-deep in drafting a new book.

A disturbing issue has recently come up online I want to discuss. With the recent slew of posts about “bad practices” from literary agents, I want to go back over some thoughts about what it means to query and what you should be asking and researching when you decide to sign on the dotted line with an agent.

First, let’s talk about querying. I know, really I do, how hard it is to work on a book for months, maybe even years, to get it to a good place. Once you get it to that place, all you want to do is query the heck out of it and get a good agent. You’ve worked long and hard on it, it’s been through rounds with both critique partners and beta readers, and you’ve given it a ton of polish, right? Yes, right. Now, you want to connect with an agent and get your publishing career started.

Again, I get it, but remember you have worked your butt off on that book. You want to make sure it gets into the right hands. To ensure that happens, you need to develop a plan. You can’t just open “Query Tracker” and randomly pick people who rep. YA. Nope. You need to make sure you are seeking out those who represent your genre, too. Not all agents who rep. YA take all genres. Some may only be looking for fantasy or contemporary. It is your job to dig deep into research and find those agents who want your type of manuscript. The quickest way to get rejected is to submit a manuscript with a category and/or genre an agent does not represent.

Your job isn’t done here. Once you have your agent list, you need to look at their sales and who they currently represent. Yes, this is VERY important. This is not to say that a new agent with minimal sales might not be a good fit for you. If that person works for a reputable agency, and maybe has a seasoned agent as a mentor, they may still be a good bet for you. Again, you need to do the legwork to make sure you are sending your work to a professional who will properly advocate for your work.

Okay, moving on. So let’s say you’ve done your work, queried, gotten a request for more pages, and now the agent wants to talk. Do you jump on the phone right away? No, you still have work to do. First, you need to write out a list of questions to ask. These questions must cover a variety of topics from submission strategy, to communication style, to practices of the agency in regards to your work.

Submission strategy and communication style are KEY here.

In my years of blogging and interviewing many writers, the chief complaint I hear from people who have left their agents fall into these two categories. Please, to help yourself, ask up front how long they take to respond to emails, texts, and/or phone calls. This is one of the biggest frustrations I hear about. A writer has a question about a book proposal, or the sub process, and the agent takes many weeks to respond. THIS IS NOT NORMAL (unless there are extenuating circumstances like illness, family emergency). You as a client should be able to talk to your agent regularly. If this is NOT happening, it is a RED FLAG.

Second, your submission process. Let’s remember, the agent works for you. This means you need to be involved in all levels of the sub process. This should include, but is not limited to, seeing/reviewing the editor pitch, discussing what editors will be pitched, regular updates on editor feedback (pass/request for more), and the ability (if you so wish) to see rejection responses. Some writers want to be very involved. Others prefer a more “hands off” approach. It is up to you to communicate how you want to be involved in the process.

If you are inclined to sign with the agent, I recommend you take one more step. Talk with current and past clients (if possible). Ask them pointed questions about their experience with the agent. If you request to talk to a client, the agent should say yes. If you are met with resistance, this too is a RED FLAG. If the agent is professional, and has worked in a respectful manner with clients, they should be open to you talking to them.

One last topic before you end that call, and I know this is uncomfortable, but you must talk about the exit process. Ask things specifically about what are your rights if this happens. Can you exit in 30 days? 60 days? Does it have to be in writing? What are your rights about ongoing material (proposals, drafts) that have not been pitched to editors. Do those remain your property? Can you move on and pitch elsewhere? I’ve heard about bad practices in regard to this issue. Please double-check your contract and confirm material remains yours unless they have been purchased by a publisher. If it has a contract, then the agency gets to keep their fifteen percent, otherwise that material should remain yours.

Also, I’ve heard too many stories where writers and their agents part and they do not get their submission list. If you end your partnership with a book still on sub, you have a right to that list. Confirm with the agent you will get that list before parting. If this does not happen, it is another RED FLAG.

NOTE: I am not an attorney. In regards to any contract, I highly recommend you have a lawyer look at the details. 

Let me say this one last thing. Signing with an agent should be a partnership. Both of you working together to build a career. Key word here is TOGETHER. You should never be afraid to reach out to your agent to ask questions or to follow-up if you are not getting a response. They work for YOU and YOU should receive kindness and respect during the process.

The most important thing to remember is communication is critical to this relationship. If you’re worried, confused, unhappy, you must talk about this with your agent. Many times the situation can be worked out. You have enough to worry about with trying to draft a new book, work, school, family, and all your other responsibilities. You should not have to fret over why it’s taking your agent six months to read your new book – which by the way, reading timeframes should also be discussed in the call.

I’m sure I have not covered everything about the writer/agent relationship, but I’ve tried to cover the critical aspects. The most important issue here is that you and your work deserve respect. There are dozens upon dozens of good, professional agents out there. Be sure to do your research and hopefully you will connect with one of them.

 

Here are some great articles about “The Call” process.

Writers Digest: 10 Questions To Ask An Agent Before You Sign

The Next Set of Questions To Ask Prospective Agents – Janet Reid, Literary Agent

5 Questions Authors Don’t Ask but Should When an Agent Offers Rep. – Nelson Literary Agency

 

 

 

 

 

 



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20 in 2018: Featuring I AM STILL ALIVE, SANCTUARY, and HERETICS ANONYMOUS

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 07 August 2018 · 142 views

 

One of the things I’m incredibly happy about is being a part of the Class of 2K18 and supporting my good friends as their book babies make it out into the world.

The Class of 2K18 is a group of 20 talented Young Adult and Middle Grade writers who have their first books releasing in 2018! We’ve come together not only to support one another but also help promote each other’s titles.

The “20 in 2018” series features a new release from the Class of 2K18 and includes the cover, blurb, and buy links for that debut. At the end of the following week, I’ll be giving away that book (or books) as we do have some writers who share a book birthday!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a name and contact info in the comments below by Friday, August 17 at 11 p.m. EST. Email or Twitter handle is just fine.

U.S. entries only please.

Winner will be announced on Monday, August 20.

Today there are THREE books in the “20 in 2018″ giveaway…

 

I AM STILL ALIVE by Kate Alice Marshall 

After

Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.

Before

Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.

After
With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father… and she wants revenge.

Now available via Amazon, B&N, and IndieBound.

 

SANCTUARY by Caryn Lix

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

Now available via Amazon, B&N, and IndieBound.

 

HERETICS ANONYMOUS by Katie Henry

Michael is an atheist. So as he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s—a strict Catholic school—sporting a plaid tie, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow nonbeliever at that. Only this girl, Lucy, is not just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.

But Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism. After an incident in theology class, Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies. When Michael takes one mission too far—putting the other Heretics at risk—he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom, or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself.

Now available via Amazon, B&N, and IndieBound.

 

Want to win a copy of one of these beautiful books? Remember to leave your name and contact info in the comments. Please specify which book you would like. If open to any of them, please let me know.

 

 

 



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“20 in 2018” features WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 03 July 2018 · 180 views

 

One of the things I’m incredibly happy about is being a part of the Class of 2K18 and supporting my good friends as their book babies make it out into the world.

The Class of 2K18 is a group of 20 talented Young Adult and Middle Grade writers who have their first books releasing in 2018! We’ve come together not only to support one another but also help promote each other’s titles.

The “20 in 2018” series features a new release from the Class of 2K18 and includes the cover, blurb, and buy links for that debut. At the end of the week, I’ll be giving away that book (or books) as we do have some writers who share a book birthday!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a name and contact info in the comments below by Friday, July 6 at 11 p.m. EST. Email or Twitter handle is just fine. U.S. entries only please. Winner will be announced on Monday, July 9.

Today’s book in the “20 in 2018″ giveaway is…

 

WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW by Cindy Baldwin

 

Twelve-year-old Della Kelly has lived her whole life in Maryville, North Carolina. She knows how to pick the softest butter beans and sweetest watermelons on her daddy’s farm. She knows ways to keep her spitfire baby sister out of trouble (most of the time). She knows everyone in Maryville, from her best friend Arden to kind newcomer Miss Lorena to the mysterious Bee Lady.

And Della knows what to do when the sickness that landed her mama in the hospital four years ago spirals out of control again, and Mama starts hearing people who aren’t there, scrubbing the kitchen floor until her hands are raw, and waking up at night to cut the black seeds from all the watermelons in the house. With Daddy struggling to save the farm from a record-breaking drought, Della decides it’s up to her to heal Mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville for generations.

She doesn’t want to hear the Bee Lady’s truth: that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain than with healing Della’s own heart. But as the sweltering summer stretches on, Della must learn—with the help of her family and friends, plus a fingerful of watermelon honey—that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

 

Now available on Amazon, B&N, and IndieBound.

 

Want a chance to win a copy of this beautiful book? Remember to leave your name and contact info in the comments.

 



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“20 in 2018” features YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 26 June 2018 · 202 views

 

One of the things I’m incredibly happy about is being a part of the Class of 2K18 and supporting my good friends as their book babies make it out into the world.

The Class of 2K18 is a group of 20 talented Young Adult and Middle Grade writers who have their first books releasing in 2018! We’ve come together not only to support one another but also help promote each other’s titles.

The “20 in 2018” series features a new release from the Class of 2K18 and includes the cover, blurb, and buy links for that debut. At the end of the week, I’ll be giving away that book (or books) as we do have some writers who share a book birthday!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a name and contact info in the comments below by Friday, June 29 at 11 p.m. EST. Email or Twitter handle is just fine. U.S. entries only please. Winner will be announced on Monday, July 2.

Today’s book in the “20 in 2018″ giveaway is…

 

YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT BY LAUREN SPIELLER

 

Dessa Rhodes is a modern day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs, and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, whom she knows she can never be with. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance.

Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.

Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss—and herself—that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving?

Now available on Amazon, B&N, and IndieBound.

 

Want a chance to win a copy of this beautiful book? Remember to leave your name and contact info in the comments.

 

 



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“20 in 2018” Features FAT GIRL ON A PLANE and SWEET BLACK WAVES

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 05 June 2018 · 244 views

 

One of the things I’m incredibly happy about is being a part of the Class of 2K18 and supporting my good friends as their book babies make it out into the world.

The Class of 2K18 is a group of 20 talented Young Adult and Middle Grade writers who have their first books releasing in 2018! We’ve come together not only to support one another but also help promote each other’s titles.

The “20 in 2018” series features a new release from the Class of 2K18 and includes the cover, blurb, and buy links for that debut. At the end of the week, I’ll be giving away that book (or books) as we do have some writers who share a book birthday!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a name and contact info in the comments below by Friday, June 8 at 11 p.m. EST. Email or Twitter handle is just fine. U.S. entries only please. Winner will be announced on Monday, June 11 .

Today there are TWO books in the “20 in 2018″ giveaway…

 

FAT GIRL ON A PLANE by Kelly deVos

 

Don’t miss this unforgettable debut novel, told in two timelines, about smart fashion, pursuing your dreams, and loving yourself!

FAT.

High school senior Cookie Vonn’s post-graduation dreams include getting out of Phoenix, attending Parsons and becoming the next great fashion designer. But in the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin. It doesn’t help that she’s constantly compared to her supermodel mother—and named after a dessert.

Thanks to her job at a fashion blog, Cookie scores a trip to New York to pitch her portfolio and appeal for a scholarship, but her plans are put on standby when she’s declared too fat to fly. Forced to turn to her BFF for cash, Cookie buys a second seat on the plane. She arrives in the city to find that she’s been replaced by the boss’s daughter, a girl who’s everything she’s not—ultrathin and superrich. Bowing to society’s pressure, she vows to lose weight, get out of the friend zone with her crush, and put her life on track.

SKINNY.

Cookie expected sunshine and rainbows, but nothing about her new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day.

Will she realize that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?

Now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

 

SWEET BLACK WAVES by Kristina Pérez

 

Not you without me, not me without you.

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.

Now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.

 

Want to win a copy of one of these beautiful books? Remember to leave your name and contact info in the comments. Please specify which book you would like. If open to either, please let me know.



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Monday Musings: Grateful For Those Who Believe

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 07 May 2018 · 269 views

 

I’ve never been shy about sharing how aggravating, brutal, and somewhat devastating this whole publishing journey can be. You can write and write for years and get nowhere. I just listened to Mindy McGinnis’ latest WRITER WRITER PANTS ON FIRE podcast with YA writer, Beth Revis. Beth talks at length about the TEN (!!!) books she wrote before she sold her ELEVENTH novel, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE to Razorbill (an imprint of Penguin/Random House). That book, her debut, went on to be a NYT Bestseller! Mindy herself often shares her story about how it took her ten years before her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK was published.

For me these stories are incredibly important because they show writers that publishing is going to be a LONG HAUL. It is very, very rare to get an agent, and then a contract, with the first book you write. Which brings me to what I want to discuss today: PERSEVERANCE and FINDING THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN YOUR WORK.

I don’t throw the word perseverance around lightly. In fact, I thinking in publishing a lot of people are sick of hearing it. But the truth is, the people who stick with writing are the ones who eventually get published. It could be four years, it could be eight. Hell, it could even be ten years like in Mindy and Beth’s cases. The one thing that unites these two writers is the fact that they never gave up in spite of the constant wave of rejection.

For me what was so devastating during the road to publication was the overwhelming sense that I was writing in a “dead genre”. Basically, I was being told over and over that historical, particularly in YA, “just didn’t sell”. If a publisher was going to take on a historical, and that was a big “IF”, they would only put one on their list per year. That fact alone was devastating to me because there are a heck of a lot of talented YA Historical writers out there. If they were producing a book a year, how was I ever going to break into one of those publishing houses?

What happened to me with NOTHING BUT SKY was a combination of luck and timing. Right editor. Right time. It sounds flippant, but it’s not. What I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes in publishing it boils down to these things and one more ingredient: belief. Yes, belief in the importance of your story.

Belief in story has been a recurrent theme this past week for me. First, after keeping secret for a while, I was finally thrilled to share with the world that Flux has bought the rights to my next book, ACROSS A BROKEN SHORE. I’m incredibly thankful that Flux is allowing me to share another story of a headstrong female who pushes boundaries, this time in 1936 San Francisco!

Here is the announcement with a small blurb:

 

Belief in the importance of YA Historical stories also had a big victory this past Saturday when YA author Mackenzi Lee announced that Greg Berlanti (Director of Love, Simon and past producer of such shows as Riverdale, The Flash, And Arrow) optioned her YA book, THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE and VIRTUE. When I read this I sobbed because it was another nod in the mainstream media to the importance of these stories.

I will continue to be grateful to those influencers in the media and publishing world who see merit in YA Historical. As we continue to share them in the market, I hope interest in these books will continue to grow.

If you’re curious about what’s coming up in YA Historical, here are a few books to check out and add to your “Want To Read” list on Goodreads.

White Rose by Kip Wilson 

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Semper Augustus by Mackenzi Lee

A Place for Wolves by Kosoko Jackson

 

 



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“20 in 2018” Features LOVE SONGS & OTHER LIES and SKY IN THE DEEP

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 24 April 2018 · 195 views

 

One of the things I’m incredibly happy about is being a part of the Class of 2K18 and supporting my good friends as their book babies make it out into the world.

The Class of 2K18 is a group of 20 talented Young Adult and Middle Grade writers who have their first books releasing in 2018! We’ve come together not only to support one another but also help promote each other’s titles.

My new series, titled “20 in 2018” features a new release from the Class of 2K18 and will include the cover, blurb, and buy links for that debut. At the end of the week, I’ll be giving away that book (or books) as we do have some writers who share a book birthday!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a name and contact info in the comments below by Friday, April 27 at 11 p.m. EST. Email or Twitter handle is just fine. U.S. entries only please. Winner will be announced on Monday, April 30 .

Today there are TWO books in the “20 in 2018″ giveaway…

 

Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington

 

 

It’s summer romance and second chances, the songs that stay in your head, and the boy you’ll never forget.

Two years after rock-song-worthy heartbreak, Virginia Miller is looking forward to a fun, carefree summer. Her friends just landed a spot on a battling bands reality show, and Vee is joining them for her dream internship on tour. Three months with future rockstars seems like an epic summer plan. Until she learns she’ll also be sharing the bus with Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Now Vee has more than just cameras to dodge, and Cam’s determination to win her forgiveness is causing TMZ-worthy problems for both of them. With cameras rolling, she’ll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she’s brave enough to expose her own secrets to keep Cam’s under wraps.

Now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

 

Sky In The Deep By Adrienne Young

 

OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

 

Want to win a copy of one of these beautiful books? Remember to leave your name and contact info in the comments. Please specify which book you would like. If open to either, please let me know.



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“20 in 2018” Celebrates The Release of THE DIMINISHED

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 10 April 2018 · 213 views

One of the things I’m incredibly happy about is being a part of the Class of 2K18 and supporting my good friends as their book babies make it out into the world.

The Class of 2K18 is a group of 20 talented Young Adult and Middle Grade writers who have their first books releasing in 2018! We’ve come together not only to support one another but also help promote each other’s titles.

My series, titled “20 in 2018” features a new release from the Class of 2K18 and will include the cover, blurb, and buy links for that debut. At the end of the week, I’ll be giving away that book (or books) as we do have some writers who share a book birthday!

To enter, all you have to do is leave a name and contact info in the comments below by Friday, April 13 at 11 p.m. EST. Email or Twitter handle is just fine! U.S. entries only please. Winner will be announced on Monday, April 16.

Today’s featured book is THE DIMINISHED by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson.

 

 

In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone.

The singleborn

A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him.

The diminished

When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died. Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what’s left of her life in peace.

As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures—one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined.

 

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.

 

Want to win a copy of this beautiful book? Remember to leave your name and contact info in the comments.



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Monday Musings: The Card, The Shirt, and The Dress

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 09 April 2018 · 198 views

 

 

Whew! I’m almost two weeks out from my debut novel releasing and it has been a whirlwind ride. Thank you so much to everyone who reached out to me on social media and here on the blog. I really did try to reply to each comment, and I hope you know how much I appreciate the support.

Today I want to talk about my publishing journey. If you’ve read this blog from its early beginnings in 2012, you know I started out being completely clueless about the publishing game. I made all the rookie mistakes – sending out a terrible query for an equally horrific first novel. Emailing a manuscript to an editor that was formatted completely wrong (single-spacing – what was I thinking???). I even sent out a batch of queries without double-checking the spelling of each agent’s name (yes, I’m cringing right now).

It’s true I’ve stumbled through this journey, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I feel like each mistake I’ve made has forced me to be stronger. To do a better job of vetting out the business and understand its inner workings. But even if you understand how the business works, it still doesn’t keep you from disappointment and heartbreak.

As the title of today’s blog states, I want to share with you a story about a card, a shirt, and a dress.

Let’s start with the card. One of my favorite publishing blogs is Pub(lishing) Crawl. It has many well-known contributors, including such YA stars as Susan Dennard, Stephanie Garber, and Stacey Lee. The posts vary from craft instruction to personal stories of rejection and triumph.

One particular post hit me hard. It’d been a terrible week. My manuscript for NOTHING BUT SKY had been on sub for a long time and things weren’t going well. I was standing in line waiting to order at a restaurant and scanned my phone to pass the time. I came across a post written by Stacey Lee and Stephanie Garber called “Index Card of Power”. To paraphrase the post, you write down what you want most on the notecard and by doing so it gives you power to let it go. I cried as I read. I’d wanted this publishing dream for a long time but it always seemed beyond my grasp.

Afterwards, I rushed home, found a notecard, and scribbled down the top 3 things I wanted for my writing career. Below is the beloved card which has moved from drawer to drawer over the years. At my lowest moments I wanted to crumple it up and throw it away as it was a constant reminder of everything I couldn’t have. Deep down some part of me knew I needed to keep it no matter how bad things got. I’m so glad I did.

 

 

I look at the card now and cry different tears. I’m so grateful for reading the post on that day and for being strong enough to hold onto it even though it was a reminder of all the things I hadn’t achieved.

There is a theme going on here as far as dreams and hopes for NOTHING BUT SKY. In 2014, I was walking through an Anthropologie and came across this shirt.

 

 

I was in the first phases of gutting an early draft of NOTHING BUT SKY. At that point I was positive it would never see the light of day because I’d already had 70 agent rejections. And let me point out that was after at least 20 (!!!) had read the full manuscript.

A part of me still believed in the story and I bought the shirt. I wore it occasionally to remind myself how much I loved my little book about a wing walker who wouldn’t give up. But later, in darker days, it would be moved to a coat closet because I couldn’t bear to look at it anymore.

The same tale holds true for a dress I bought from Modcloth in early 2015. I had a friend who saw it online and told me I had to buy it to wear to my launch one day. I was still very cynical about my book, but when the dress went on sale I bought it anyway. It too would hang in my closet for almost two years before it was relegated to the coat closet with the shirt. Again, both of them symbols of a goal gone unachieved.

Here is the light at the end of the tunnel though. In Spring of 2017 an email changed my life. McKelle George, a past editor at Flux, wrote that my book had been approved in acquisitions and was going to be published. I was in the produce section at COSTCO and burst into tears. The poor elderly man picking out apples next to me was very freaked out.

That day (after calling every single member of my family) I went home and opened that coat closet. I yanked out the shirt and the dress and happily rehung them in my closet. Like the card, they would become reminders of everything I’d been through and a point of inspiration as I worked on future edits.

In hindsight one thing has become clear. Even in those dark moments, there was one thing that kept me going. Forced me to sit and write every day. It’s why I scribbled my dreams on a card. Bought the shirt and dress. It was HOPE.

Whether you’ve received 100 rejections from agents, or a dozen editors have passed on your book, my wish is that you’ll still believe in the power of hope and the importance of your work. Keep believing. Keep writing. My eight-year journey proves perseverance wins out.

One final note…

Last week I had my debut launch at Changing Hands in Tempe, Arizona. It was a proud day and you better believe I wore that dress from Modcloth I bought so many years ago!

 

 



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It’s time for the YA Scavenger Hunt!!!

  Posted by Amy Trueblood , 03 April 2018 · 234 views

 

Welcome to the YA Scavenger Hunt! Hi! I’m Amy Trueblood and this is my section of the hunt! Here are a few details in case you’re new to the process…

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 120 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all!

I’m a part of the RED TEAM–but there is also a blue team, a gold team, a green team, a purple team, and a pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Before we get to the hunt and the exclusive bonus content, here’s a little about me…

 

I write Young Adult Historical fiction. My debut, NOTHING BUT SKY released last Tuesday!

 

 

Grace Lafferty, an eighteen-year-old wing-walker, thrills crowds with barrel rolls and loop-the-loops in hopes of making enough money to get to the 1922 World Aviation Expo. When one of her maneuvers saves a pilot’s life, a film studio offers Grace a chance at a coveted Hollywood contract. But after a stunt goes wrong, Grace must decide whether her life is worth risking for one final trick.

 

When I’m not writing, I’m always on the search for good salsa and guacamole. I have a soft spot for villains who have a compelling backstory and love books where the world building makes me forget where I am for a few hours. Also, if you give me Red Vines I will be your new best friend!!

 

On to puzzle details…

 

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

 

 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the RED Team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).

 

Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

 

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, April 8 at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

 

SCAVENGER HUNT POST

 

 

Today, I’m hosting Lisa Maxwell on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Lisa is the New York Times Best-Selling author of The Last MagicianThe book is being translated into ten languages and has been sold in eleven territories. Her other books for Young Adults include the award-winning Unhooked, as well as the critically acclaimed Sweet Unrest and Gathering Deep She has a PhD in English and is a professor at a community college outside of D.C.  She drinks way too much coffee and has a soft spot for loud music and fast cars. When she’s not teaching or writing, you can probably find her catching a live band or going on adventures with her husband and two boys.

 

Find out more information by checking out her author website: Lisa-Maxwell.com

 

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT-DELETED SCENE

 

 

The building’s twin turrets each had ornate balconies and were capped with bulb-shaped rooftops that came to points five or six stories above the crowds. Between them, a sign in electric lights spelled out “Baby Incubators.” Curious, Esta followed the walk toward until she was in the middle of the manicured courtyard that anchored the u-shaped building. Unlike some of the other attractions on the Pike, this building wasn’t meant to look like some version of a far-off land. It was a fairly sedate structure, by comparison, built of red brick and surrounded by manicured gardens. Two stories tall, the columned façade curved around the landscaping of the courtyard. In the center of that courtyard stood an enormous statue of a woman surrounded by cherubic children.

As she moved farther into the courtyard, Esta was surprised by the hushed atmosphere she found there. Just steps away was the raucous noise of the parade and the spectacle of the Pike itself, but here, the crowd seemed transformed, almost-reverent. Occasionally, a woman in a white apron and cap would emerge from one of the arched doorways of the building and make her way across the courtyard to a door on the opposite side. A pair of white-aproned women sat in the shade of a pear tree, eating a pretzel together.

Esta found an empty spot on one of the stone benches that lined the courtyard and watched as other fairgoers trickled into the courtyard and went through one of the entrances on the left side of the building. After the heat of the sun and the crowd out on the main street, the shade felt like a relief. She took off the cap was wearing long enough to wipe the sweat from her brow and push her hair back out of her eyes again. She could have stayed in the shade of the courtyard until the parade passed and the crowd outside thinned, but after a few minutes, she started to feel antsy, as though every time one of the white-aproned women looked her way, she’d be able to see right through her disguise.

Keep moving. It was better than drawing any more attention.

She didn’t want to go back out into the crowd, so she decided to see where the steady stream of visitors were going and what was inside of the building. She wasn’t sure what to expect—“baby incubators” could have meant nearly anything, especially considering the strange carnivalesque atmosphere of the rest of the Pike. She had the brief image of science-fiction babies swimming in test tubes of glowing goo, but the reality was more disappointing. The interior of the building had the sedateness of a hospital mixed with the architecture of a church. Again, silence seemed to pervade the atmosphere of the place.

Keeping her hands tucked into her pockets, Esta followed the thin line of people through the corridor until she came to a large room with a glass wall that separated the crowd from the row of cube-shaped boxes. The glass-fronted boxes were being monitored by a crew of white-aproned nurses, and each of the boxes contained a small lump of an infant.

They were tiny… Terrifyingly fragile.

Instinctively, Esta backed away from the row of boxes, away from the fragile creatures and the nurses who didn’t seem to see the crowd watching them. The babies floating in goo her imagination had conjured would have been less unsettling than finding these perfectly human babies on display here, like some sort of freak show attraction. To have morose-looking nurses tending to them in the middle of the revelry and audaciousness of the Pike, as though this were some perfectly normal hospital ward.

Esta was already nearly to the exit when she felt it—a warmth in the air that had nothing to do with the air pumped into the incubators.

Someone here was Mageus. Someone was using an affinity.

Julien had told them that the Jefferson Guard looked for Mageus, but Esta hadn’t really believed that could be possible. In truth, she hadn’t wanted to believe it. But the sizzling warmth of the magic floating through the air was unmistakable to anyone who shared an affinity with it, and it was here, at the Exposition. Here, in the midst of this crowd. And she wanted to know who it was.

WOW!! That was awesome. Thank you, Lisa!

 

Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Lisa Maxwell, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is. Hint: There are 5 siblings in my family!!! Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the Red team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

 

CONTINUE THE HUNT

 

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, S.F. Henson!

 



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