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What Writers (and other Artists) Can Learn from Scientists

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 18 May 2016 · 23 views

I am often amazed that I am a speculative fiction writer, considering I grew up surrounded by scientists and other pragmatic thinkers. My late father was a brilliant virologist, my older brother (who conducted experiments in our kitchen when I was young) is an epidemiologist, and my younger brother works in horticulture. My mother, while not a […]

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QUITE THE QUERY: Jen Petro-Roy and P.S. I MISS YOU

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 03 May 2016 · 137 views

            If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few authors say […]

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LAST CALL for Free Novella!

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 29 April 2016 · 116 views

Last call!

My highly rated holiday novella where enemies turn to lovers, Eggnog and Candy Canes, is going back to its regular paid price of $1.99 this weekend! Grab it while it’s still free!

$1.99 FREE EBOOK: Amazon US Amazon UK Barnes and Noble iTunes Kobo Google

Get it in paperback for only $7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this sweet, clean read!
By Sonshine–Amazon.com

Jean Oram has a gift for putting couples together and letting them find their way to each other. I found myself smiling and laughing while reading Katie and Nash’s story.

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Sometimes enemies make the best boyfriends.

Nurse Katie Reiter’s nemesis, Dr. Nash Leham is back in Blueberry Springs and he came for one thing—Katie. Will their battles turn to stolen kisses in the midst of a Christmas storm or will Katie find her happily ever after in the arms of another?
Katie loves to be in control, and so does Nash. And while the two may have butted heads in the past, when a family member falls ill on Christmas Eve, Katie knows there is only one doctor in Blueberry Springs that she trusts to help the Reiter’s pull through in the midst of the blizzard. But what she doesn’t count on is how her heart begins to sing for the man she’s always considered an enemy…

Book 3 in the Blueberry Springs small town romance series. Can be read as a standalone!

Read a sneak peek here or snag it for FREE now!


Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Google


*** Liked it? Leave a review online! ***

The post LAST CALL for Free Novella! appeared first on Jean Oram.

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BOSTON KNIGHTS - A Story About A Little Gold And A Little Love

Posted by AK Paladin in AK Paladin's Blog, 29 April 2016 · 79 views
Love Gold Treasure

This story was inspired from two directions. The first was the discovery of two unusual keys at the Flinder's Market in Adelaide. The second was two ladies that I have known for many years that do everything together. And no, there is nothing of me in this story. Well, very little that I will admit to anyway.

This story practically wrote itself. The keys were discovered the first weekend in February, the story was finished and through the first critical editing by the second week in March.

The teaser for Boston Knights follows:

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The discovery that some ancient stories handed down in the families had more truth to them than fiction sparks a hunt for the real truth of the stories. Told as bedtime stories, three individuals find themselves working together to find out more about their ancestors and where they might have hidden some gold, or if it was after all, nothing but a hoax.

The adventure begins with Steve, whose elder brothers work in construction. Having found an old desk amidst some demolition work of theirs, they call their brother to salvage it and see if perhaps he might want to restore it and some other bits and pieces.

As Steve is an antiquities restoration expert, he is definitely interested. Within the desk, behind some well locked drawers, he eventually finds hints that the stories he was told as a kid, may have been more than just stories. In his pursuit of answers, he finds members of two other families that heard the same stories when they were children.

This begins a delightful adventure that finds the three of them embroiled in more and more details that lead them further and further from their homes.

Eventually, the puzzle pieces begin to come together in Ayr, Scottland when they make the acquaintance of some more members of the extended families, only to find their hopes dashed when they discover any gold that may have existed was quickly squandered. Moreover, any additional clues seem to have been destroyed.

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This is what I would call a light romance and adventure. At a somewhere over 63,000 words, it is a quick and easy read aimed at young adults and romantics looking for something a little different.

I will 'clean up' my teaser as I get this book through its final editing. It is, by the way, a finished manuscript ready for presentation to an agent/publisher.

I'm still looking.


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30 Day Blog Challenge Day 29: My Favorite Comfort Food

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 29 April 2016 · 51 views

It's day 29! The end is in sight! You get a whole week off after tomorrow before you hear from me again with another blog entry. Or you could say it's a whole week before you get to read another blog entry from me. It's all a matter of perspective. Today's assignment is to write about my favorite comfort food. This was an easy one and everyone in my family, at least the Stephens side, will know exactly what I'm talking about.

Pasta, Noodles, Plate, Eat, Lunch, Noodle Dish, Italian
These aren't my mom's noodles,
but I don't have an actual pictures of
those. They're always gone before
anyone can take a picture.
Every year in the fall and sometimes other times of the year, but rarely, my mom makes her noodles. They are similar to what some people call dumplings, but not at all like what I think of as dumplings, which are softer and round. These are noodles in either chicken or, best, turkey gravy. They are quite possibly the best food known to humanity. They're so good that they are a bit like crack. I've been known to knock small children out of the way to get seconds of them.

Come fall, when we start exchanging messages on Facebook about the Stephens family Christmas reunion, one of the first questions asked every single year is, "Is Aunt Nancy bringing her noodles?" She used to run out, so she just kept making more and more to the point that she brings a great vat of them every year. And people line up to take home extras.

Rolls, Baked, Golden Brown, Hot, Crust, BreadWhy are they so good? I have no idea. I've seen her make them and the ingredients are just the basics. She has no secret thing she adds into either the noodles themselves or the gravy. And I've tried noodles made using the exact same recipe by other people that just aren't as good. I guess it's just something magical about my mom that makes them the best comfort food I've ever eaten.

By the way, the best way to eat them is poured over mashed potatoes. The perfect bite has some turkey, some mashed potatoes and some noodles. And then you sop up the gravy after you're finished with homemade hot rolls slathered in butter. If that ain't comfort, I don't know what is.

Cake, Cheesecake, Eat, Plate, Fork, Dessert, PastriesA pretty close second is cheesecake with me. It's my favorite dessert most of the year. I'll eat it plain or with practically any kind of topping. In the fall, though, pumpkin pie and the pumpkin pie Blizzard from DQ take its place.

So what's your favorite comfort food?

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DOWN WITH THE SHINE Author Kate Karyus Quinn On Swag That Works & Giveaway!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 26 April 2016 · 83 views

Most authors will agree that the creative part of the job is where we excel, the business and marketing side, slightly less. It’s lovely when the two can meet in the form of SWAG – Shit We All Generate. I’ve invited some published authors to share with us their secret to swag… little freebies that can sell a book longer after the author is no longer standing in front of a prospective reader. In order to create great swag, you have to be crafty – in more ways than one.

Today's guest for the SWAG is Kate Karyus Quinn, an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would... build character. She is also the author of ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE and (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME both from HarperTeen.

Finding something that represents your book and hasn’t been played out by a million authors before is difficult. What’s your swag?

Hahahaha. I have done so much swag. DOWN WITH THE SHINE (available today!) is my third book (well I'm also part of the AMONG THE SHADOWS anthology so technically DWTS is my fourth) and I've tried a variety of things with all of them
I was definitely most enthusiastic with my debut, ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE. I started with the classic bookmark... and then kind of built from there. Listerine breath strips play a part in that book so I bought those and printed out teeny tiny stickers with my book cover on them to attach to the back. I also made stickers that I stuck onto little notebooks. Postcards, sell sheets, and bookplates were other easy printables. (pic: ALP postcard front final,  sell sheet, book plate).


I DIY'd all of that stuff too. Because I am cheap. Also because I am not always good at planning ahead, so I'll realize I need something and instead of finding someone to do it and waiting for whatever their turnaround time is, I just sit down at my computer and do it. Myself. I do not have a graphic design background, so there was a steep learning curve. I also do not have Photoshop, nor do I have any interest in learning how to use Photoshop. So instead (to this day!) I make due with a program I bought called Serif PagePlus X5. It's really meant for making newsletters, but so far it's done okay for my purposes.

The last thing I did for ALP was buy some iron-ons (they sell them at Office Max) and put them on t-shirts and canvas bags.

With my second book, (DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME, I calmed down a little. I made more bookmarks (of course) - ones that featured ALP on one side and DYFAM on the other. I also made a mixtape, which was kind of silly and fun and really a very very limited edition type of swag.

My big buy though were buttons, which again I designed myself and then had made by PureButtons.com The buttons were a really popular item at all the events I brought them to, but I quickly found out that A. They were heavy to travel with and B. They were also a bit pricey.


And that brings us to DOWN WITH THE SHINE. Again I began with bookmarks.

After those were taken care of I wanted something special to celebrate the cover reveal. Since a mason jar full of moonshine is at the front and center of my cover, I thought it would be fun to do something with that. After an afternoon spent wandering around JoAnn Fabrics, I finally decided to etch my title onto a glass mason jar mug. Wow. Of all my crackheaded DIY projects, this one was definitely the most crackheaded of all. Etching glass is no joke, because the stuff you use to do it can burn through your skin. So I had to buy gloves and painters tape and stickers (to make the title) and honestly the whole thing turned out to be a lot more work than I'd first anticipated. Also, shipping heavy glass mugs is pricey. On the bright side they did turn out well. Regardless, despite still having a nearly full jar of etching cream, I doubt this is a project I'll be doing again.

I decided to return to simpler, cheaper swag and so for my next piece of DWTS swag I made collectible stickers. I made them using apps on my phone (These apps were free when I downloaded them but are probably not free now. Every week there is a free app of the week at the Apple store and I always make sure to check it out and usually download it to give it a try. They vary from games to productivity apps to photo editing apps. If you are cheap like me definitely make checking the Apple store a weekly appointment.) The apps I used were WordSwag and then Brushstroke to put a sorta fuzzy just painted filter over them. I bought the stickers through Moo.com since they allow you to print multiple designs through one order (I also used them for my business cards and they make really nice ones of those too). I am really happy with how the stickers turned out, but I haven't yet brought them to an event so I'm not yet sure how popular they'll be.

My most recent adventures in swag was putting together a big box of swag to send to RT (which sadly I was not able to also attend) for an event called: You're Never Too Old For YA. I wanted to do something fun so I bundled together a DWTS bookmark, sticker, and then disposable straws (that I bought on Amazon) along with a tag on them (made by ordering cheap business cards through VistaPrint, cutting them in half, and then cutting slits in them to put them over the straws... which at 200 pieces was actually quite a tedious bit of work) that read: Take a Sip. Make a Wish.


How much money per piece did your swag cost out of pocket?

I have no idea. By DIY'ing everything I haven't had to pay for design but printing materials can still add up. The buttons were probably my priciest item per piece (I had to pay not just for the actual buttons but also the artwork I used to make the buttons which I found on Shutterstock.com), which is why I haven't done them again.

Of course, the time I spend designing or ironing things on or etching glasses while trying to keep my skin from being burned away by corrosive chemicals is time that I'm not spending writing... or with my family. So there's a cost there too even if it's not in $$$.

Do you find that swag helps you stand out at an event? 

Umm... yes and no. It kinda gives me something to do when someone comes to my table at an event. I can be like, "Hey, take a bookmark/sticker/button." It almost works like an icebreaker, which if you're an introvert sitting at a table trying to sell books to strangers then that can be a really good tool to have in your arsenal. It also makes me feel like I'm being a good table hostess. And all people like free stuff so it can be a draw - I definitely saw that the most with the buttons... but it's nothing like the sample stampede you'll see at Costco on an average Saturday afternoon.

What do you think of big item swag pieces versus cheaper, yet more easily discarded swag like bookmarks?

Eh, everything is easily discarded. I've tossed free t-shirts - or only used them for car washing day. Even nicer, pricier items can be seen as junk by someone who doesn't want/need them. I try to find the balance between swag that is relatively cheap but also kinda fun and original. With the buttons I wanted something that was more than just the book cover - something you might want to pin on your purse or jean jacket. Same with the DWTS stickers - I wanted them to be something you might stick to your notebook or locker... instead of the trash can. In the end, though, I think a lot of swag - no matter how nice - gets tossed.

What’s the most clever / best swag by another author?

Well I thought it was clever when Mindy McGinnis put stickers on bottled water for NOT A DROP TO DRINK. I think collectibles are really cool too and that seems to be a thing that's becoming more popular among authors.

And the biggest question – do you think swag helps sell books?

Oh, hmmm... I'd say, no, not really. But also yes. I mean, I'd be pretty dumb to have spent time and money on all this swag if I didn't believe it was doing something. But I don't think swag directly leads to sales. I do, however, think it helps raise awareness. It puts your book title or cover in front of eyeballs that might not have seen it otherwise and eventually that person might be craving something new to read and they'll remember your book... all because you handed them a free bookmark one time.

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MIRROR MASTERS Book Release Day!

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 21 April 2016 · 70 views


My debut YA sci-fi/fantasy, THE MIRRORMASTERS, is now available in ebook through Clean Reads, Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo!


After years of writing, editing, and all the ups and downs of querying--including all those twitter pitch parties--this moment has finally arrived. I want to take this opportunity to thank so many of you who have helped to make this book a reality. My family, who has been so supportive and encouraged me to pursue this dream. The good folks at AgentQueryConnect, WriteOnCon, QueryTracker, and Novelty Fiction. All the lovely writers I've met during this long journey who have been so lovely and supportive. The wonderful ladies behind #Pit2pub, and most of all, Stephanie Taylor of Clean Reads for taking a chance on me and my book. Words cannot begin to express my gratitude.

I hope all who pick up a copy of my book have as much fun reading it as I did writing it! :)

And now, onto the book launch events:

BLOG HOSTS:
Today, Leandra Wallace and Vicki Weavil have graciously agreed to host me on their blogs, so I hope you will stop by and check out their websites. I have several more stops on the blog tour planned in the coming days, and I will add the details here as I get them confirmed.

RELEASE DAY PARTY:
Tonight from 7-9 pm on Facebook, I'm holding a release day party to celebrate the book launch. If you get the chance, stop by and enjoy fun book chat, games, trivia, and more. Enter to win a giveaway of the ebook, as well as other door prizes, including a $25 Amazon gift card!

THUNDERCLAP CAMPAIGN:
Spread the word! I've started a thunderclap campaign where people can share the info about my book release on social media. I'd love it if you would take a moment to support the campaign here! :)

ENTER THE MIRRORMASTERS GIVEAWAY:

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Win the Paperback!

  Posted by Jean Oram in It's All Kid's Play Blog, 19 April 2016 · 55 views

Do you have bored kids? Want to cure their boredom blues while creating laughs and fun memories?

Let’s do this!

Jump over to Goodreads and enter my giveaway for 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas! It’s open internationally and ends May 2nd. Have your best summer ever with a book from me! Good luck!




Goodreads Book Giveaway


1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas by Jean Oram


1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas


by Jean Oram



Giveaway ends May 02, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter Giveaway



Not on Goodreads, missed the giveaway, or didn’t win? No worries! This awesome boredom busting book is available in book ebook and paperback through all online stores. Grab your copy today and turn those bored frowns upside down! Available at:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
iBooks
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Google


Ebook only $2.99. Paperback available for a low price of $11.99. Your kids will thank you.


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Batman v. Superman A Movie review

  Posted by Utsav M in Pineapple Lightning, 16 April 2016 · 48 views



Wassup peeps. Last week has been a bit busy, so this is a little late. I meant to watch and review this movie earlier than this but even though I did manage to do the watching part, I did not feel like reviewing it. Why you ask? Because they messed up a potentially epic movie.

Starting off Batman as a seasoned crime-fighter is great. It gives us a perspective few super-hero movies do. However, even though they make him a grizzled veteran, they cannot but help show his origin story of parents dying and falling into a cave of bats. Make that the first scene and we are already into 15 minutes of logos (yeah, call out to cinema sins) and a story shown in a much better and detailed manner in Batman Begins a decade ago. Batman is portrayed decently by Ben Affleck, who has found his acting chops since the horror known as Daredevil- the movie. Thankfully both Affleck and Daredevil seem to have moved on to bigger and better things.

As far as Superman goes, I have never liked Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel and I did not like the movie either. I am glad they kept continuity from the movie and turned the mass destruction of Metropolis into a plot point but the story feels hollow even with the bone-structure of a great movie. Superman is conflicted but not conflicted enough to hang up his cape. Lois is ever present and irritating (I cannot believe I said that about Amy Adams) and is supposed to be his human anchor but again feels forced.

Luthor - well...sigh. While they alluded to the fact that this is Alexander Luthor not Lex Luthor, I wonder why they would not pull the trigger on one of the most iconic villains of all time. With the story backdrop, he would have been perfect as a foil to bring down Superman. Instead, we get a Joker ripoff trying to build Doomsday and kidnapping Superman's mother to goad him into a fight with Batman. Talk about lame and cliched.

As far as the fight is concerned, it is a good fight but the end of the fight is contrived and feels...you guessed it...forced. I mean, who in their right mind would say, "Save Martha", instead of  "Save my mother"? I want to slap the guy who came up with the cool realization that both Batman's and Superman's mother share a name and would be a cool plot point to use that to stop their fight.

The only breath of fresh air is Wonder Woman who is mysterious and understated and her reveal is very well done. She looks every bit Superman's equal in the fight against Doomsday. The fight was well done and Superman sacrificing himself was a good twist...except that it wasn't.

Everyone and their three next generations know a Justice League movie is coming and Justice League cannot not have a live and flying Supes. Ending the movie without showing his casket move would have been brave for the new Justice League. Let it be formed without Superman. Let him join in a dire hour. Make his return monumental. But nah...DC has no cojones.

And as far as the random teasers for the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman sprinkled throughout the movie, they feel ...gah...yes ...forced and unnecessary. They could have just mentioned their names without having video trailers for each of them. Learn from Marvel, Thordamnit!!

Anyhow, I am disappointed even though I never had much hope to begin with, which shows how poor a job they have done. And I am forced to stop myself from ranting.

Signing off,

Utsav



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Query Kombat Submission Instructions 2016

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 15 April 2016 · 44 views









Bloggers Laura, Michael, and Michelle are back again to bring you the fourth annual Query Kombat tournament.

The Basics

Query Kombat will host 64 kombatants in a single-elimination, tournament style query-off. Entries will go head to head(one on one) with one another until only ONE entry remains. There will be a total of six rounds in Query Kombat. 64 entries in round one, 32 in round two,16 in round three, 8 in round four, 4 in round five, and 2 in round six.

Unlike traditional tournaments, we won't be using tournament brackets. Entries will be matched up based on target audience and genre. We'll continue grouping that way until it's no longer possible.

If you secure a spot in the tournament, your query and the first 250 words of your manuscript (to the end of a complete sentence) will be pitted against another query and first 250 words. Judges will read each match-up and vote 'Victory' on the best entry. Remember, this is subjective. Considering last year, votes may come down to personal tastes.

The entry with the most ‘victories’ at the end of the round will advance to the next round until only one champion remains.

The agent round will be held after the first round. That mean the top 32 entries will make it to the agent round.


Of course, there's a twist!

The agent round will be conducted in secret. And by secret, we mean TOP SECRET. Entrants won't know who requested what—or how much—until that entrant has been eliminated from the contest.

On the plus side, winners of the first round will be able to submit and updated entry prior to the agent round. So, any feedback the judges give can be implemented before the agents see your work.

Who’s Invited to Submit:


The Query Kombat tournament is open only to unagented writers seeking representation. Your manuscript must be complete, polished, and ready to submit.

If your manuscript has already been in the agent round of another contest in the last six months, you are not eligible to participate in Query Kombat. Please don’t try to sneak in. The QK team includes about fifty people and a few hundreds of spectators. Someone will notice and inform us. Submissions for MG, YA, NA, and Adult works will be accepted. (Sorry no picture books or chapter books this year.) Only one entry per person. Do not attempt to submit more than one entry by using different email accounts. Again, the QK family is huge. Someone will notice.



Submission


The submission window will open May 16th at 9:00 AM Eastern time and close on May 20th at Noon.

We will have email confirmation. If you don't receive it within an hour of submitting your entry, contact us via twitter and let us know. Kontestants will be revealed on May 27th, and the tournament will kick off on June 1st.

IMPORTANT: The Query Kombat team reserves the right to disqualify any entrant at any time for any reason.If an entrant is disqualified before the agent round, an alternate will take its place. If an entrant is disqualified after the agent round, the opposing entry will automatically advance to the next round. The only time we will ever disqualify an applicant is if you say or do something to blemish the spirit of query contests. Query Kombat is supposed to be fun… 

http://mylittlefacewhen.com/media/f/img/mlfw903_1318180342933722.gif

So none of this!


In order to enter the contest you MUST follow formatting guidelines, and submit during the contest window. All entries that follow said guidelines will be considered. 

In the event that we receive more than the available 64 spots (this is highly expected), Michelle, Laura, and I will savagely attack the slush pile in attempts to build the best team. We will pick (and announce) three alternates in case a submission is disqualified.

Entries should be sent to:  QueryKombat (at) gmail (dot) com.

Formatting Guidelines:


Font: Times New Roman (or an equivalent), 12pt font, single-spaced with spaces between each paragraph. No (I repeat: NO!) indentations.
 
Subject line of the Email: A short, unique nickname for your entry [colon] your genre (audience included). Do not skip this step or your entry will be deleted. (ex. I Fell in Love with a
Ken Doll: Adult Erotica)

For the nickname, make it as unique as possible so that there are no duplicates. These will be the names used in the tournament (or an abbreviated version if it's too long) so keep it PG-13 and try to have it relate to your story in some way.

In the body of the email (with examples):

Title: Eunuchs and Politics
Name: Michael Anthony
Email address: myboyfriendwasbittenbyashark (at) gmail (dot) com.
Twitter Handle: @Michelle4Laughs


Entry Nickname: I Fell in Love with a Ken Doll
Word count: 68K
Genre: Adult Erotica

Query: 

I FELL IN LOVE WITH A KEN DOLL tells the harrowing story of Barbra B. Doll, a US senator who goes against country, family, and the Illumaniti to be with an amateur surfer with no genitalia. 

First 250 words:

Words, words, and more words.


Don't include the chapter title and please, don't stop in the middle of a. Do not include a bio or comp title.

All queries submitted are FINAL.
We will not edit them in any way, shape, or form. Please read, reread, and rereread your submission before you hit send. You have several weeks to polish your work. Take advantage of it. Competition will be fierce.


Host Blogs:

Because the immense amount of work ahead of us, the tournament will be hosted on three separate blogs. In order to enter the contest, you MUST following Michael, Michelle, and Laura's blogs (Twitter is cool too). All three blogs will host the first round and agent round. The second round will be hosted by Michelle and Laura. The third round will be hosted by Michael. The fourth round will be hosted by Laura. The fifth round will be hosted by Michelle. The final round will be hosted by Michael. Have no fear, each blog will have links to all rounds so you will not get lost.

Agents and judges will be revealed soon. (As of now we have 22 agents and 34 judges!)

Questions can be left in the comments and I'll answer them as quickly as possible.



One last thing and this is new: 

Contests are very time-consuming (we've already spent hours of time), and in order to continue hosting each year, we’re asking everyone who enters to give a $5-$10 donation when submitting. Asking for donations is one way to ensure we’re able to give you the time needed to carefully consider every entry. Chosen Kontestants receive feedback from up to 30 agented/published writers on their query and first page, plus the ability to query agents they otherwise may not have connected with. Some agents even read requested contest entries before the rest of their slush pile! Everyone, chosen or not, receives free slush tips from the hosts and the camaraderie that develops from entering contests together. Many writers find life long critique partners and good friends from these contests (I did).


Because of this, we are holding the sub window open much longer and no longer restricting the number of entries.

Donating this year is strictly voluntary. Giving a donation
does not increase your chances of being picked. Giving less than $5 or more than $10 will also have no impact on your chances. Donating will not affect how many rounds a person makes it through if chosen. People who are not able to donate will not be disqualified.


Please see the blog sidebar for the link to donate. Also note that a percentage of the donations will be given to Flint Kids to help the children of Flint. 

Thanks for your understanding.
Best of luck in the tournament!




If anyone finds this Easter Egg, contact me on twitter and I will send you a free paperback of GRUDGING. 






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Query Review Request

Posted by KellyMoore in KellyMoore's Blog, 12 April 2016 · 108 views

AS IT SHOULD BE, a women’s fiction novel of 81,000 words. Emily’s marriage crumbles when she discovers her husband’s secret love nest – filled with the furnishings she has carefully stored away for their future vacation home; and on the heels of their divorce, due to an unexpected night of passion during their estrangement, she finds herself expecting the child she has always longed for. When her ex-husband, Tom, marries his new lover, Emily escapes her heartache by making a new life for herself and her child in a place that stole her heart long ago - the captivating village town of Seaside.

As It Should Be is the story of a woman who finds herself with the chance to redirect her path from that of one who is tossed aside and struggling against bitterness, to a woman with new hope - and fresh new purpose for her life. It is a tale of transition: from a seemingly secure marriage, to the awkwardness and uncertainties of singledom; from a life without the responsibilities of children, to the wonders and challenges of pregnancy and motherhood; from the familiar comforts of home - to the possibilities of life and love in a bright new place.

I am happy to forward all or a portion of my manuscript for your review if you are interested. Thank you sincerely for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.
Warm regards,
Kelly Moore

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The Short Story Process

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 12 April 2016 · 114 views
Short Stories and 6 more...

Short Stories.
We've all done them.

I started just after my first novel, The Insertion, had reached draft – hopefully that's a book that'll never see the light of day. This was back in 2009. I was on Litarena, a site over at http://www.litarena.com/discussion/ I did 4 pieces there - essentially spin-off tales from The Insertion (all I could think of). My biggest problem: I was thinking 'novel'. That site was difficult to navigate and I headed over to Creative Writers on My Telegraph where I became a regular contributor to their monthly contest. It took me about six months to get the hang of trimming the story to size. Things started to click when I based my story model on American comic book monster tales - these were panel drawn art work, 4 and 5 pages in length as published in 1960s titles such as Monsters on the Prowl, Creatures on the Loose, Tales of the Unexpected.

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In all, I reckon I must have submitted over 40 stories to them. CWG as it's known, is hosted on the blogging platform of the Daily Telegraph and membership is free. Up to recently it was still going strong and can be found at http://my.telegraph....-writing/forum/ If you go there, look for Bleda or Atiller (username handles) and say 'Archie sent me'. Later I joined the Short Story Club, also on My Telegraph. Our hostess was author, Louise, Doughty and I got stuck into the exercises she set, producing a few promising novel starts in the process.

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Outside the net, I go to local writing groups in and around Rossendale, in the North of England. Hasiwriters, based at Haslingden Library, are largely to blame for the many unfinished pieces in my collection - as many as 40. By definition an unfinished piece is a minus – of course on the plus side, it had to have had something to interest me - I don't start unless my imagination is triggered. I think of unfinished stories as a back-catalogue of ideas to pick up and develop when my creativity is all worn out :-).
Other groups I attend vary; Irwell Writers (The Mosses Centre, Bury) does idea generation, read-around and feedback, whereas Manchester Speculative Fiction (MadLabs, Manchester) does pure feedback - they use the Milford Method. Burnley Writers were competition geared last time I looked in. Holmfirth Writers (over the Pennines in Yorkshire) does idea generation, writing + read around. The trick is keeping a focus on your personal writing projects. In my head, I've enough unfinished stories (40) and unfinished novels (10) to keep me going to Doomsday.

Detailed stats – these change all the time. Typically I write around 300 words in a session. Recently I started a piece called Fickleday – it's now at 1,000 and when it's done it'll come to between 5k and 10k words. The setting is the Earth's lithosphere (underground) — I might have Nazis in! Before I do more work on it, I have to get back to Dragonshard, two thirds done. Dragonshard will come in around 10k. Both these pieces are a take on pulp themes - updated with bits of fresh science.


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Ella Carey and Aspiring to be Better

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 11 April 2016 · 43 views

Please welcome Ella Carey back to the blog today!
***
When you have the urge to write…

What a wonderful blog you have here Jemi! Thank you for having me here today. (Thanks so much, Ella!! ~ Jemi)

I think that Musings of an Aspiring Writer is a splendid title. Because every writer is always aspiring to do better- we aspire all the time. What I want to share with you today, if I may, are some of the best tips I was given before I was published.

Before I was published, I worked every day- I wrote. I kept writing novels, so I just pretended I was like any other author and got on with it- published or not. I’m doing exactly the same job now I’m published as I was before, albeit with wonderful support and editors- it’s still me and my imagination for most of the time! 

So-  here goes:


  1. Set up a really strong writing routine. And stick to it. You need to be disciplined in this game. Before you are published. By the time you are accepted for publication, you are professional, can meet deadlines and will always be on time with your revisions. So, set up a timetable, don’t wait for the muse to strike, just write!
  2. One piece of advice that I am just so glad I followed is do not send out submissions to publishers until you know your work is ready. Trash the manuscripts you are not sure of, and wait to submit until you just know you have the right piece of work.
  3. Do sign up for online courses- make sure they are reputable before you pay, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t need to learn. Writing is a craft and you will gain enormously from studying it. You’ll always pick up something from writing courses. Just take what resonates with you, and keep writing and developing your voice.
  4. Do join a professional organisation, your local writer’s center, or such. Do meet other authors and talk to them. There is something incredibly special about the bonds you will make with real writer friends. It is perhaps they alone who will understand how hard this career is, and how success comes in one big sugar lump- you get published! You just have to keep going in the meantime, there aren’t really incremental steps, and those writer friends will make all the difference.
  5. Ignore the voice that tells you that you’ll never get there, that getting published is like winning the lottery, all of that jazz. Because, you know what- someone has to get there, and that someone may as well be you! Ignore the people who tell you that it’s too hard as well. Just smile politely and continue to write! 
  6. You need the most enormous amount of self belief. You just have to believe in what you write. Stay focussed, like you would in any other job and do your apprenticeship.
  7. And here’s the final thing. No matter how much talent you have, no matter how hard you work, it takes the average writer several years to get a publishing contract, several years of hard work, of producing a major work every year, until you finally get there.

So- do not give up!!
***
Ella Carey is a writer and Francophile who claims Paris as her second home. She has been studying French since the age of five, and she has degrees in music and English. Her debut novel, The Paris Time Capsule, has captured global attention and her second novel, The House By The Lake, will be released on March 29th, 2016. She lives with her two children and a pair of Italian greyhounds in Hobart.

Ella Carey on the web:


Facebook        Twitter        Author Page    Website

The House by the Lake

Anna is content with her well-ordered life in San Francisco. But her world is turned upside down when her beloved grandfather, Max, reveals a startling secret: Anna is part of an aristocratic family who lost everything during World War II. What’s more, Max was forced to leave behind a precious item over seventy years ago in their estate in old Prussia. It’s now his ardent wish that Anna retrieve it.
Anna burns with questions as she heads for Germany: What memento could be so important to her grandfather? And why did he keep their history hidden? As she searches for answers, she finds herself drawn to Wil, a man who may hold the key to unlock the mystery. Together they discover that her family’s secrets are linked with an abandoned apartment in Paris, and these secrets go deeper than she ever imagined.
Alternating between 1930s Europe and the present, The House by the Lake illuminates the destiny of a family caught in the tumult of history.
Buy Links:     
Amazon Kindle          Amazon Paperback        Audio CD

Amazon UK              Book Depository

***
Thanks so much, Ella! That's terrific advice. Approaching the job as a professional helps at all points of the journey.
I'm working on that self-belief, but it can sure be tough!!

How about you? How are you aspiring to improve? 


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First Things First!

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 04 April 2016 · 62 views

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Today I am sharing a guest blog post I shared on Books a la mode this past week. It is on the importance of first lines. I’ll post the beginning of the piece here and you can finish reading it on the Books a la Mode website. Also, add a comment in the comments section to be entered to win a copy of WHEN I’M GONE!

 

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Excerpt from Books a la Mode:

 

Sometimes when you are writing a book you feel incredibly powerful. “I, authoress Emily Bleeker, created this world…these people…these emotions and lives!!!” And then other times you feel completely at the whim of outside forces. “I, secret writer EmilyB, wrestle with writer’s block…plot holes…rebellious characters and self-doubt….” Both of these personas are there, living inside of me (in the healthiest possible way for multiple personalities to exist). But, moments of great power and weakness aside, there is one part of the creative process that I refuse to leave to the whim of my power/humility struggle and that is—the opening line.

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to first lines in books. I always take special note of which sentence an author chooses to share with the world. All my favorite books have my favorite first lines: Pride and Prejudice, Tale of Two Cities, Gone With the Wind…I could go on. Before I became an author I don’t think I even noticed those first words, at least not in a conscious way. I’d jump into a book and not really understand why it pulled me in, called to me. But now I understand how those first glimpses of your story, your tone, your characters—are incredibly significant and honestly quite fun to create.

For both Wreckage and When I’m Gone I knew the first lines of these stories before I had even worked out all of the major plot points……READ THE REST AT: Books a la Mode! 




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Must read 'Pursued'

Posted by arielle99 in AuthorGSW, 12 March 2016 · 197 views
love, romance, thriller, fiction and 3 more...

Must read 'Pursued' Attached Image

It's finally here! At last, I know the wait must've been very crucial and long but it is done. Just want to thank my AgentQuery FAM for making this dream come true, thank you so much for your kind DM and loving words, it was much appreciated! Could not have done it without you all! ❤️😭🙈❤️ *** Did not know where to post this,, but wanted to thank everyone for their everlasting support and kinds words*** Being a new author is difficult, props to all authors, but I would really appreciate if you all could spread the love, word around social media !! Thanks a million AgentQuery FAM


SUMMARY: Arielle Platinum, CEO of Gregory Industry, has everything she ever asked for–until she witnessed the death of an exotic dancer. Thought to be a liability by the mob, a hit is placed on Arielle. Now on the run, Arielle finds herself alone and scared. Her life was nearing its end. About to give up, she is rescued by the last person she ever thought of, Jason Hampton-a man she had not seen since he dropped out of high school. Jason, now a wanted criminal for previous crimes, asks her to trust him and together they will defeat the mob.


Blog with the first 3 chapters: Whisperingit.wordpress.com


Lulu link: http://www.lulu.com/...t-22602699.html


Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...C/ref=r_soa_w_d


iBooks: Coming soon


social media insta: @authorgsw


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Claiming the Katana

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 03 March 2016 · 80 views

Birds of a feather don’t flock together because birds of a feather tend to be jealous of that feather.

V. Shnodgrate, Renowned PL Poet

Untitled“Hehaha!” Salami laughed triumphantly.

And he jumped up on a stool for added height. Daddy Salami isn’t too tall, you know. And the stool didn’t add too much to his height. It was a 3-inch stool, if that.

Salami scowled and became decidedly more cranky.

The stool had betrayed him, see.

“Ya cur-belly!” he shouted from his perch. “Ya think ya won? Ya just lost!” And then he belted forth in a strained voice: “Ya just lost evvvvvvvvvverything!

The professor really wished he hadn’t said that. After all, we were the ones that lost. Well, sorta. Must always keep in the warrior frame of mind, see.

Warrior Frame of Mind:

How are we? Solid.

Chance of success? 100%.

What to fear? Nothing.

I am the reaper.

See. Double-see. And a triple-see, just to make sure you saw.

King Arthur shook his head.

“You think you won?” he asked. “Yeah, no. Not even close.”

Arthur strode further into the room, his regal cape flapping in the breeze behind him.

There was no breeze since we were in a castle. But any time a cape is described in writing, there’s always a breeze, I find. So, I added one for kicks, giggles, and whatnot.

Arthur stopped inches from Ruber Salami.

The ant had met the bear. That was the size difference anyway.

See what I mean? You can't even see the ant.

See what I mean? You can’t even see the ant.

“I’ll enjoy seeing you suffer,” Arthur said.

“Me?” Ruber asked, aghast. “It was his plan.” Ruber stuck a thumb out in Salami’s direction. “Why come and pick on me? And, look, there’s PVJ, too!”

“Ruber,” I said, “don’t bring me up. I’d rather not be brought up; I’d rather not be here; I’d rather just not be–at this special moment.”

Arthur looked at me with a scowl and shook his head.

Then to his soldiers: “Off to the dungeons with them.”

“Didn’t ya hear me?” Salami screamed, frantic from his perch. “I’ve won, cur-face!”

Arthur spun. “Really? You think that by saying that you’re going to win?” He sighed.

And that’s when it happened: Salami propelled himself from his perch, towards the katana. He scooped it up and tossed it to his son. Ruber grabbed it but was immediately torpedo-ed (new word) by Arthur. The katana hit the ground.

This professor scooped it up; the soldiers charged in, and the battle begin.

I traded thrust for thrust, slash for slash. Their broadswords and this professor’s katana lit up the night sky.

Figuratively speaking.

Like this.

Like this.

Ruber and Salami were also fighting.

Somehow this professor ended up fighting Arthur. The king was holding a katana–it looked exactly like the Jeweled Katana, in fact, save for one significant characteristic: It was way smaller, to fit a person of Arthur’s size.

But still.

Why make a copy of the sword?

We traded blows.

Crack!

Arthur’s katana split in half.

He stepped back, and this professor made towards the exit.

Like an giant anteater running from a jaguar.

Only I don't have a tail like that.

Only I don’t have a tail like that.

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How to Create a Successful Writing Habit

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Helpful Writer, 29 February 2016 · 97 views

I assume you are a writer if you are reading this and that you want to take your game up to A-Game level. You want to create a writing habit that is efficient, effective, and ultimately successful.

Being within the first few weeks of the new year, some of us have grand and lofty writing goals and resolutions such as: I will write every day. Or: I will finish this story draft by summer holidays.

But how do you create a habit? Or flipping that around, how do you break bad habits in order to form good ones?

I was listening to a podcast on Social Triggers the other day while driving across the frosty prairie and Derek Halpern was interviewing Charles Duhigg, the author of “The Power of Habit.” He had some interesting things to say about habits. Namely that there is a cue that pops us into a reward system that creates a routine or habit.


For me, the cue is my son’s morning nap. He’s in his crib and that is my cue to ‘reward’ myself with a big cup of green tea and sit down and write (also a reward). If I don’t have that big cup of tea I begin thinking about it instead of writing. Drinking tea while I write in the morning while my son naps is my routine. It is a habit that works for me. I have even managed to transform a less efficient time of day into an efficient one with this habit.

But what if you don’t have a good writing habit? How can you make one? Well, I suggest you check out this awesome flowchart of Charles Duhigg’s. (Used with permission.) As well, you can get more background on this by checking out Derek Halpern’s podcast–you can listen to it straight from your computer–or reading Charles’ book “The Power of Habit.”


How to Change a Habit Flowchart by Charles Duhrigg

How to Change a Habit from Charles Duhrigg–click to enlarge. (Then click again until you get the ‘+’ button on your cursor.)


So how about you? Do you have a cue that signals that it is time to write? Do you have a routine that makes you successful? Think about it. If you do, share what works for you. If not, share what you think you might be able to do. Let’s make 2013 our best writing year yet!

 



*Originally posted on jeanoram.com in 2013

The post How to Create a Successful Writing Habit appeared first on The Helpful Writer.


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Hay House has some videos for anyone new to publishing.

Posted by CartoonistWriter in CartoonistWriter's Blog, 18 February 2016 · 124 views
new authors, new to publishing and 2 more...

My wife had forwarded this free information released by Hay House for new authors about the publishing process.

http://www.learn.hay...tm_content=6550

http://www.learn.hay...tm_content=6550

http://www.learn.hay...tm_content=6550

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Secrets Unveil- Synopsis

Posted by PamH in PamH's Blog, 16 February 2016 · 121 views
fictionSecrets Unveil and 1 more...

(This is NOT an actual synopsis for my book when inquiring an editor/agent.)



Synopsis of Secrets Unveil

In this novel, the main female character, Paris is torn between two best friends. Although, she loves one, her heart belongs to another, Trent. Paris is a college student majoring in nursing. She's ambitious, bit of an introvert, and open-minded. When her best friend snags Trent before Paris can say Rumperstiltskin, her best friend is pregnant by him.

Trent is also a college student who comes from a wealthy family from Jamaica. He's attractive, muscular build, a lover at heart. Nothing stands in his way to what he fights for as is his undying love for Paris.
Trent's heart is with Paris as well. She's his soul mate. He will do anything for her. They click on a level that no one can understand.

They have this dignified bond to a point where they aren't ashamed of their love. With his baby mama (Paris' friend) constantly in his pockets and treating him like he's nothing more than a meal ticket, it only pushes Trent closer to Paris who only wants him for him.

As time goes on for Paris and Trent, she meets a new female friend who turns out to be major trouble. Drugs, sex, extortion, a whole new world finds Paris. But, when she is brutally attack by a gang, Trent gets revenge. Their love for each other is being tested. How far will Trent go to get vengeance for his beloved?

All the characters harbor their own secrets. But can one tell and/or keep one from one another?

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Potential Query

Posted by vonnewhat in vonnewhat's Blog, 15 February 2016 · 137 views

Feel free to leave any ideas/criticisms in the comment sections!

Dear (Agent),

I paint stories with the lines of letters and the strokes of a pen,
Prose and punctuation are my closest friends.
The rhythm comes from within,
Much like the core of the Earth aids its spin
While the radiating Sun pulls us in,
Puts us to sleep, and wakes us up again.
Mathematics show the design of things,
While the characters of language sing
About the freedom we too often forget.
Amazing how dots turn into lines, curve and sigh,
Into an ellipsis of imprisoning dollar signs.
How to state simply why it is we survive?
The battle of numbers and letters is what I aim to revive.

The above was chosen while brainstorming this query and is one of 40 select short poems in a collection generated over eight years of a Jungian spiritual journey. Written while struggling with the classic and tragic symptoms of an artist, my poetry attempts to describe the strange and beautiful mysteries of the Universe including paranormal experiences, time travel, the celestial soul, and many others using several forms of classic structure as well as free verse.

New to seeking publication, I currently have nothing in my resume except a short list of news stories for high school and collegiate newspapers. I did receive a Superior Distinction, the highest award for news writing, in the 2006 JEA national write-off contest with only one year of journalistic experience. My natural knack for journalistic writing earned me a job as Editor-in-Chief of the Colorado High School Press Association's newsletter for two years.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please let me know if you would like more examples from my collection.

Sincerely,

(me)
(email)
(phone



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