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Author Spotlight and Interview: THE ELECT by Laura Carter

  Posted by Lora Palmer in Lora Palmer's Blog, 29 June 2016 · 21 views

Today I'll be spotlighting the awesome Laura Carter, who has an upcoming YA sci-fi/dystopian release called THE ELECT. Welcome, Laura, and thank you so much for being on the blog today!

Author Bio:
Laura Wadsworth Carter is a native of Oxford, Alabama, and is a graduate of the University of Montevallo. She received a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2008 and a Master of Education in 2009. When not teaching American history to teenagers, hunting for caffeine, or writing fiction, she spends her time with her musical husband, their hilarious toddler whose energy knows no bounds, and two ridiculous dogs. Together, they live in Huntsville, Alabama.

Contact Information:
Email: lauracarterwrites@gmail.com
Website: laurawcarter.wordpress.com
Twitter: @MrsCarterWrites
Phone: (256)282-9658

Summary of THE ELECT:
THE ELECT is a dystopian / sci-fi retelling of David and Goliath inspired by totalitarian governments (North Korea in particular). August, the main character (David) finds himself in a fight to overturn the rule of the Foundation, led by a giant dictator known only to the reader as the Man (Goliath).

Blurb for THE ELECT:
For the past thirteen years, the Foundation has ruled Belstrana with an iron fist and has protected its reign with an army of meticulously programmed child soldiers. As one of those soldiers, seventeen-year- old August has done terrible things to innumerable people, though he wasn’t aware of it at the time. But when one small accident leads to a major awakening for August and three other Young Ones, submission is the last thing on their agenda, and they soon find themselves at the front of a growing rebellion. Embroiled in a fight they have little chance of winning, they soon realize that deception hides behind the most unlikely faces and desperation leads to unthinkable acts. But all they need is a crack, and the Foundation will fall.

One small crack and the Foundation will crumble.

Young Adult science fiction / dystopian

Word Count:

Release Date:

July 14, 2016


Through no earnest intention of my own, I find myself awake and lying on my back. A network of gray, steel rafters weave across the ceiling above me, and a lacy netting of cobwebs and dust flutter against them from the cold draft in the room. To my right, a Man in Red grips a thick rope hanging from a bell, and he pulls downward with a huff, sending the bell into a fit of clanging to awaken us. Though I would like nothing more than to remain beneath the wool blanket that’s tucked around my chin, my body propels me into a sitting position as a groan escapes my lips. The cool grit on the floor bites into my bare feet, and my bunkmates, a few dozen boys around my age, mirror my movements with almost identical timing. But when they proceed to stand and straighten their bedding, I hesitate.
I’m caught up in a strange cycle that I know I’ve repeated thousands of times, but it feels new today. In this moment, something has changed. I stand up and run my fingers over my cropped hair and release a slow breath. I’ve spent years in this building, sleeping on this very cot, but the memories are wavy, like my mind has been flooded with fog. I press my palms over my eyes, squeezing them shut.
Most of the boys have now begun to change their clothes. None of them speak, and the silence leaves an eerie pall in the air. Across the room, my behavior has caught the attention of a middle-aged Man in Red. I lock eyes with him, and his expression narrows, folding his dark brows inward as he studies my face. It’s my first indication I’m doing something wrong, and I swoop down and tug the sheet and blanket over my cot, smoothing the wrinkles. I glimpse up and see him now speaking to another Man in Red, and they both watch me. The pistols on their hips and the menacing sneer on their faces remind me that they’re here to keep us in line. And right now, I am out of line.
Not wanting to draw more attention to myself, I hustle to the trunk at the end of my cot and withdraw my uniform. I shrug into the routine brown button-up shirt and matching pants and shove my feet into wool socks and a pair of black boots that pinch my heel. As I reach down to tie the laces, a black mark on my right wrist draws my attention from beneath the cuff of my sleeve. I tug the fabric back and see the thick outline of a triangle tattooed into the tender skin above the tendons and veins. The fingers of my left hand trace the symbol as I search my mind for its significance, but I find a murky void instead of a memory.
Annoyed, my fingers tie the laces, and I stand. I’m a few seconds behind everyone else now, and I scan the room to find them all clicking various weapons onto their belts. In the top of my trunk, beneath where my uniform had been placed, I find a sling and several perfectly smooth gray stones. The pad feels worn and familiar in my hands, and I stroke the braided leather handles. Beside me, a pale-skinned boy with dull eyes and a wild patch of freckles attaches his own sling to his waist.
The shrill screech of a whistle cuts through the room, and I flinch. The trunk lid slips from my fingers and slams shut. I suck in a breath and wait for a reaction from someone, but there is none, so I drop the stones in my pocket as though nothing is out of the ordinary. The boys around me are falling into line, and I step forward to join them as we prepare to leave the building, somewhat aware that we should be heading to retrieve our breakfast now.
Just as we begin to move forward, a firm hand grabs my right arm, and I’m jerked to the side. Panic snarls in my chest as a heavy arm pins me against a cool wall, and I struggle to not grimace as the back of my head smacks into the unforgiving cinder blocks. In front of me stands the same short, stocky Man in Red who had been staring at me earlier. His greasy, blond hair is slicked over to one side, and his deep-set eyes are dark and shifty as they bore into me. He wears a scarlet shirt and black pants, and a small golden triangle is pinned to the left side of his collar. As he opens his thin lips to speak, I inhale the scent of stale alcohol and tobacco, and my stomach clenches with nausea. He grabs my face with a calloused hand and squeezes my cheeks so my lips squish together, and I can’t help but feel like an animal being inspected for slaughter.
“What are you doing, boy?” he asks with a sniveling, high-pitched tone. My face drains of blood, and my heartrate picks up speed as the Red’s expression grows more furrowed. The surprise of the encounter has my mind reeling, but I know better than to reply. I feel awake for the first time since I can remember, and I intend to keep it that way. 
“What’s wrong with this one?” the Red mutters to himself. My heart pounds in my chest with such speed and voracity that I begin to worry the guard will hear it and my own body will betray me. All at once, the guard releases my face with an apathetic grunt and pushes me towards the door by my shoulder. I’m startled by my sudden propulsion, and I stumble forward into line as relief floods my body.

And now, onto the interview!

What are your favorite genres to read/write? I will read pretty much anything (except horror or erotica), but my favorite genre is still young adult. From contemporary authors like John Green to fantasy/sci-fi authors like Amy Bartol or Jennifer Armentrout, I'm just looking for a good story with lovable characters... and a little bit of romance doesn't hurt!

Besides writing, what are some of your other hobbies? I love to travel. Road trips are my favorite, because they allow for spontaneity, and my husband and I try to take one every summer. I also enjoy gardening. Working with seeds and soil and flowers and vegetables is very gratifying to me and is definitely an investment and lesson in patience.

I read on your site that The Elect was inspired by a dream. Would you like to tell us a little about that dream?  Sure! Without giving too much of the plot line away, the dream I had was of a young man running and taking refuge in an abandoned warehouse. He was being chased by someone and had these incredible abilities to jump and fight - superhuman strength, if you will. I knew when I woke up that there was something in that dream, a story that needed to be told, so I wrote down everything I could remember. That scene is now in the middle of the book and is one of my favorites.

Which character in The Elect is most like you, and why? I find that I share some similarities to each character, but the one I probably relate to most is Elisa (or at least that's what I hope). She's an optimist - hopeful, faithful, loving, and a little naive. But at the same time, she can take care of business when she needs to. These are all qualities that I strive to reflect in my personal life, even though I'm sure I fail often.

What project(s) are you currently working on? I'm currently working on two novels. The first is the sequel to The Elect. The other is a YA contemporary set in my home state of Alabama. I'm still not sure where either of them are going, but I'm excited to find out!

In your writing process, are you a plotter or a pantser? This actually relates to my last answer quite well. I think I'm a little of both, but I'm mostly a panster. I have a general idea of where I want my stories to go, but often my stories get hijacked by my characters, which is fine with me and often quite a surprise.

Share with us a favorite book quote! As strange as it probably sounds, I don't know that I have one. I'm not much of a quotes person, but if you're looking for a quotable book, one of my absolute favorites is All Over But The Shoutin' by Rick Bragg. His story-telling style is phenomenal, and his understanding of history and heritage in backwoods Alabama (my home state) is just excellent. I'll recommend this book to anyone I meet.

Any advice for other writers? Keep at it, but take breaks. I know you've probably heard it before, but that's what I'm sticking with. It took me 4 years to finish this novel and find a publisher, and I often wanted to give up. But I'd shelve the book for a while to clear my mind and then bring it out a month or two later. Fresh eyes are a necessity, especially when revising and editing. Also, don't be scared to let your friends read it and give you honest feedback - you'll need it.

Any tips for breaking through writer's block? It helps me to rewrite a scene further back in the book. I've found the problem is often not where I thought it was, so going back in the book (as terrifying as it is), opens up more possibilities for pushing past those moments where you want to set your computer on fire. Just make sure you save the first version in an alternate document in case you want to come back to it!

If you could choose anywhere in the world to visit, where would it be? Oh, this is a tough question. There are tons of places on my bucket list. BUT, assuming my budget was unlimited, I would visit the British Isles. Most of my family lineage is from Ireland and England, and I'm a bit of an Anglophile (I teach history for a living). It also doesn't hurt that Ireland and Scotland look absolutely beautiful from everything I've seen!

Great interview, and thanks again to Laura for stopping by the blog today! Your upcoming book sounds amazing! So, take note, people--check this book out on July 14th :)



W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Rachel Lynn Solomon

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 29 June 2016 · 30 views

          Every writer has their own path to publication. Some paths are long and winding. Others are a straight shot. No matter the tale, the journey always involves ups and downs, caution signs, and for some, serious roundabouts, but what always remains is the writer’s commitment to their craft and their […]



Successful Author Talk with Tracy Edward Wymer & The 100 Queries That Came First

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 28 June 2016 · 46 views

The interview series is back for a summer session today in the form of an SAT (Successful Author Talk). Today's guest for the SAT is Tracy Edward Wymer, a member of the Class of 2k16 whose MG novel, SOAR releases July 5th from Aladdin / Simon & Schuster.

Are you a Planner or Pantster?

I’m both, or in between. I plan out with running lists or chapter titles, which I call a “Set List.” However, I don’t do too much planning. Finding out what happens next is what brings me back to every story. 

How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?

This can vary dramatically. It can take two years, it can take 6 months. I typically take longer than most of my peers, from what I can tell. 

Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?

I’m a multi-tasker. I’m usually working on a couple of projects; however, I tend to research for one project while drafting another. Drafting two novels at once doesn’t seem to work for me. 

Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?

Not really. I’ve been writing since high school. Back then, I wrote poetry about famous athletes. Yeah, it was terrible. But I was writing and it felt good, even back then. 

How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?

I self-published a book called The Color of Bones. I then found an agent with my next book, which came to be known eventually as Soar.

Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?

I have several half-baked manuscripts. I know it’s time when I stop thinking about it. That’s my writer brain telling me to move on. If a story captures me completely, you can find me walking around in a fog, which is then not good for my other professional life. 

Who is your agent and how did you get that "Yes!" out of them? 

My agent is John Rudolph of DGLM. I sent a query to him for a novel called Bird Nerd. He loved it and I signed with him. We worked on the book for at least six months, then he submitted it to editors. We received two rounds of rejections. I then changed the title to Might Fly Away, right before the third and final round of submissions. I had reservations about Bird Nerd as the title, because the story was more “literary” than the title suggested. This time, the novel sold to Aladdin/S&S. Once the book sold, with the Aladdin team’s guidance, we changed the title again, this time to Soar.   

How long did you query before landing your agent?  

I sent over 100 queries for The Color of Bones. I had a lot of requests for my full manusc
ript, but no one ever wanted to represent me or that book. With Soar, I also sent at least 50 queries before an agent loved it. 

Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?

Keep querying. It’s a numbers game. Liking a story, or book, is one of the most subjective ideas on the planet. There’s the premise, the writing, the characters, the setting. There are so many moving parts, readers are bound to not like something about your story. Be persistent, but always remain professional. Don’t query the same agent with the same project more than once. That’s just being unprofessional. 

How did that feel, the first time you saw your book for sale?

When strangers read your book, it is just that… a strange feeling. As far as seeing your book for sale, it’s an out of body experience, one I’ll probably never get used to. 

How much input do you have on cover art?

I asked my editor to not put a kid on the front cover. I’m not a fan of cartoony looking kids on covers. Now, silhouettes of kids on book covers are all the rage. I’m so happy that Brian (Biggs) and the Aladdin team created something different, a kid’s shadow, which also communicates a meaningful action. 

What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?

It takes a long time. Longer than you will ever think. 

How much of your own marketing do you?  

I connect with educators and librarians all the time. They are my people. I love talking books with teachers. I have a website and a Twitter account. 

When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?

You should be connecting with people professionally from day one. Don’t wait until you’re published. Entrench yourself in the writing and book communities. It will pay off when the time comes. 

Do you think social media helps build your readership?

Yes. Educators and book lovers are all over social media. You just have to spend time finding them. Then once you find them, you have reach out and make connections with people. Social media connects everyone, make it work in your favor. And always say positive. If you don’t have anything positive to say, bite your tongue. 



iBooks Galore WEEK FOUR: Book a Day Giveaway

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 25 June 2016 · 59 views

Giving away romance ebooks through ibooks june 2016. One book a day with over 50 participating authors including Jean oram with Blueberry Springs and the summer sisters.


Last chance to win an iBooks ebook! And this one is going to be special!

As a wrap up for this week’s giveaway I will be giving this week’s winners a download code for the Blueberry Springs series starter box set. This set contains:

Whiskey and Gumdrops
Rum and Raindrops
Eggnog and Candy Canes


Three novels from Blueberry Springs bestselling small town romance series by Jean Oram


Here is the fine print:

  • You must have the iBooks app–it’s completely free! The only catch? You can only get the app for Apple products (Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch. That means no android or Kindle, unfortunately).

  • I will email winners one free download code on June 28th and it will ONLY work through iBooks–the coupon will expire after 28 days. For this giveaway, I will not reissue codes and I won’t be chasing winners. One email notification will be given via the email address used to log into the entry form below. Please check the email address you use to enter the giveaway!

  • iBooks is not affiliated with this giveaway. No cash value or exchanges.



Let’s do this!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post iBooks Galore WEEK FOUR: Book a Day Giveaway appeared first on Jean Oram.



Busy Summer

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 25 June 2016 · 51 views

My first week back from Louisville has been a busy one. I've written two articles for Clutch, started writing the rough draft of my newest book, led a writing workshop, and been all over the  MOV setting up readings and signings. Here's a rundown of all the events I have coming up in the next few months. This schedule is subject to change and I hope to add more, so go to my website and click on the News & Events tab to see the newest information.

June 25 (That's today!): I'll be at J&M's Used Bookstore from 11am to 2pm signing books. They're in the old Blockbuster store near the Southside Kroger. Note--buy the book from the bookstore and then I'll sign it. That's not how it works at the library.

July 5: Vienna Public Library from 6pm to 8pm. That will include a reading and q&a time at 6:30.

July 16: Parkersburg and Wood County Public Library on Emerson Avenue from 11am to 1pm. PLEASE NOTE: That's a change from the original announced time. I changed it so I could attend a personal event of great importance.

July 23: South Parkersburg Library from 10am to 2pm. This too will include a time for readingsfrom Dawn of Grace and q&a. The reading will take place at 11am.

July 30 (this is tentative): Point Park Marketplace. Times TBA, but I plan to be there sometime early in the day. This coincides with Market Vendor Fair, so come down even if you don't want to buy a book! BY THE WAY: You can now purchase all my books at the Marketplace. Same great price.

September 30-October 1: Pullman Square in Huntington. I'll have a sale booth at the Ohio River Festival of Books. Exact times are TBD.

October 28-29: West Virginia Book Festival at the Charleston Civic Center. This is a huge event with dozens of booths, along with big name authors doing readings. There are also always activities for kids, lots of giveaways, and a gargantuan used book sale.



Just playin' with preview.

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 22 June 2016 · 79 views



Robin Gianna & Research Your Way to a More Believable Book

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 20 June 2016 · 80 views

Please welcome Robin Gianna back to the blog today!

Research is one of those things some writers love and others hate, but no matter which camp you belong to, most stories require at least a little information-gathering. The trick to research is to learn enough to enrich your story with believable detail, but not to spend so much time on it that you never get the book written, or even started!  

Give yourself a set period of time for the first sweep of research.

Avoiding the pitfall of researching in place of writing is fairly easy. Give yourself a set period of time, maybe a week, to get important research done.  Information about your setting, for example, or details about your characters’ professions, or the time period you’ve set the story in.  After a week, get going on the book.  When you’re writing and come to a place in the story where you realize you need to look something up, don’t stop to do it!  Instead, put a bracket there and keep going.  When you’ve hit your word count goal, put on your research hat again, search for the brackets in the manuscript, then spend time finding out all you need to know for those particular scenes.

The Internet

Where and how to research will depend a bit on what you’re writing, but the easiest place to get started in on the Internet. The Web is, of course, an amazing resource, making our lives as writers so much easier than it used to be.  What’s the average temperature in Italy in April?  What do Parisians usually eat for breakfast?  What do houses in Guatemala look like?  Ask most any question, and you can find an answer.  

The library

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I still stop into the library when I’m starting a book. While there are plenty of images to be found online, I love having a book with photos of where I’m setting my story, filled with information that often is easier to look through than surfing dozens of Internet sites.  I’ve also had a few occasions where I was able to find a memoir or biography that enriched my story in ways I couldn’t have foreseen.

Talk to people who know

But nothing beats talking to people who are experts on whatever you’re researching.  For my medical romances, I talk to family, friends, and acquaintances in the medical field for ideas, details, and sometimes even dialogue so I’ll know how characters would really talk in a trauma situation, for example, or in the OR.  I hear you saying, “Well, that’s nice for you, Robin, because you know people in the field, but I don’t know any police officers to interview for my suspense story.”  In my experience, people enjoy talking about their work and what they do, or what it was like growing up in New York City, or their work travels to foreign countries.  I’ll bet you know people who’ve had interesting experiences that might trigger a story idea.  And if for your current WIP you need to learn about police procedure or what the life of an EMT is like or what an archaeologist does on a dig, a phone call will likely get you invited to the police station or firehouse or university to talk to one or more people about it all.  I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Research your way to new ideas

And that brings me to my last, but more important, point about research! Often, we don’t even know what we need to know for a story until we talk with people who have a deep understanding of what we want to learn, or study a book on the subject in-depth. A number of times, research has given me insight I would never have found on my own, and which gave me a new scene or even sent my story in a direction I hadn’t planned on. Sometimes that happens through Internet research, but it occurs more often when I’m talking one-to-one with someone. And those scenes and new directions always have enriched my stories for the better. For this reason, I believe writers should research more deeply than we think we need to, even if we only use 20% of what we learn in the actual book. Knowing a lot about a setting or time period or career gives us a deep understanding of the world our characters live in, which shines through when we’re writing from their perspective. It’s one of the things that brings a character to life for the reader, which is so important.

So remember—research isn’t just about those little details like average temperatures or popular foods in Venezuela or trendy places to live in San Francisco. Digging deep will truly inspire new ideas and directions that will make your characters more believable, your story stronger, and maybe even make it easier to writer.  And isn’t that always a great thing?

How about you?  How do you go about researching your stories?  Any interesting things that have happened to you along the way that brought a book to life?  I’d love to hear about it.


Robin Gianna on the web:

Website             Facebook         Twitter

His Cinderella midwife 

Gabriella Cain prides herself on the exemplary service she provides to her celebrity moms-to-be. So she certainly doesn't appreciate Dr. Rafael Moreno suddenly taking over her department…even if he is royalty—and gorgeous! 

But distrust soon turns to secrets shared as irresistible Rafe proves dangerously easy to fall for. With a painful past behind her, can Gabriella dare hope for a fairy-tale ending with her prince?

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle             Amazon UK           Amazon Aust

B&N            Harlequin US

M&B UK            M&B Aus

iBooks               Kobo               Book Depository

One Kindle Copy Giveaway of The Prince and the Midwife to one commenter!       

Enter this Goodreads Giveaway to win a signed copy of The Prince and the Midwife.

Thanks Robin!
It sure is easy to disappear into a research cave - love the idea of setting a timeline to avoid staying there too long.

Anyone have interesting research stories? I know I've found out more about branding cattle than I ever thought I'd know! 



9 Simple Ways to Get Outdoors as a Family

  Posted by Jean Oram in It's All Kid's Play Blog, 23 May 2016 · 47 views

Posted ImageSo many schools are reducing recess–outdoor play–due to budget cuts and hopes of boosting test scores. However, studies show that increased recess time results in better test scores compared to increasing time in the classroom. Yikes!
But here’s something you may not have heard about in the argument for keeping recess. Outdoor play–and specifically, recess–helps our kids eyesight. I know! Wow, right?
On the website All About Vision, they quote several studies that found all sorts of interesting results. Here are a few quotes I found particularly interesting:

The researchers calculated a 2 percent drop in the risk of developing myopia for each additional hour children spend outdoors per week. “This is equivalent to an 18 percent reduction for every additional hour of exposure per day,” they said.
Compared with children with normal eyesight or farsightedness, children with myopia spent an average of 3.7 fewer hours per week outside.

In other words, more time outside means you’re increasing your child’s chance they WON’T need glasses. Think of all the money you’ll save!
In favour of recess:

The study authors concluded that outdoor activities during recess in elementary school have a significant protective effect on myopia risk among children that are not yet nearsighted and reduce the progression of myopia among nearsighted schoolchildren.

The 12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors had less myopia at the end of the two-year study period than others in the study.

There you have it.
Let’s get outside and play! What do we do in the Oram household? Well, first of all we got a dog. Why? Because not only does it teach our kids empathy and responsibility for others, but our dog gets us outside daily. We walk the dog, the kids ride their bikes alongside or walk too. It’s great exercise for all of us!

The brain is better able to pay attention, hold things in memory, and show self-control after it has been outdoors.
–Gabrielle Principe, Your Brain on Childhood

Getting a dog isn’t your thing? It doesn’t have to be complicated or strenuous. How about these simple activities that will get you outdoors:
9 Ways To Get Outside as a Family

Watch the Sunrise / Sunset
Does the world seem different at this time of day? What colors do you see in the sky?
Find Cloud Animals
Lie on your back and look at the clouds—whoa! Is that a giraffe?
Draw on the Sidewalk with Chalk
Try and Catch Your Shadow
Can you catch it?
Water Fights
Ring Toss
Make your own rings out of plastic container lids. Then shove a stick into the ground to toss them onto!
Play CatchPosted Image
Eat Outside
Picnic, BBQ, simply taking your meal out on the deck–it’s still outdoors and you’ll still get the benefits of being out in nature. Both for your soul and your eyesight.

Thanks for playing! See you next time. And if you need more activity ideas don’t forget to check out my book, 1,001 Boredom Busting Play Ideas. It’s reasonably priced so everyone can play.



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

Posted by AK Paladin in AK Paladin's Blog, 29 April 2016 · 108 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:


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.


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.


Batman v. Superman A Movie review

  Posted by Utsav M in Pineapple Lightning, 16 April 2016 · 69 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,




Query Kombat Submission Instructions 2016

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 15 April 2016 · 64 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.


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… 


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


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. 



Query Review Request

Posted by KellyMoore in KellyMoore's Blog, 12 April 2016 · 149 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


The Short Story Process

Posted by Terence Park in T.P. Archie's Blog, 12 April 2016 · 139 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.

Attached Image

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.


First Things First!

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 04 April 2016 · 89 views


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!


Screenshot 2016-04-04 06.15.33

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! 



Must read 'Pursued'

Posted by arielle99 in AuthorGSW, 12 March 2016 · 222 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


Claiming the Katana

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 03 March 2016 · 100 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.


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.

PL Symbol



How to Create a Successful Writing Habit

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Helpful Writer, 29 February 2016 · 123 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.



Hay House has some videos for anyone new to publishing.

Posted by CartoonistWriter in CartoonistWriter's Blog, 18 February 2016 · 148 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.





Secrets Unveil- Synopsis

Posted by PamH in PamH's Blog, 16 February 2016 · 139 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?


Potential Query

Posted by vonnewhat in vonnewhat's Blog, 15 February 2016 · 156 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.



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