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QUITE THE QUERY: Jennifer Blackwood’s UNETHICAL

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Chasing The Crazies , 31 October 2014 · 22 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 writers say writing […]

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Book Talk & Giveaway: DAMAGED by Amy Reed

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 31 October 2014 · 20 views

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.<br /><div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://d.gr-assets....7l/19542859.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387330757l/19542859.jpg" width="210" /></a></div><div>Camille was Kinsey's best friend. College was on the horizon - they would go together, of course. Plans were made, along with promises. Then Hunter arrived, and Camille changed. Time that used to go Kinsey was now Hunter's, and all of Kinsey's not-so-subtle hints about their future plans seemed to slide off of Camille's new exterior.</div><div><br /></div><div>Then a car accident - with Kinsey at the wheel - means no future plans at all for Camille, a complete emotional detachment for Kinsey, and a downward spiral of alcohol and drugs for Hunter. Desperate to just finish the last few weeks of high school and move on, Kinsey tries to ignore all the warning signs her body is giving her.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Camille haunts her dreams, Hunter haunts her steps in real life, and Kinsey's conscience won't let her leave behind the car accident. Sleep-deprived and emotionally numb, Kinsey agrees to a cross-country road trip with Hunter that she hopes can deliver her from the trap of her present. But Hunter won't let her forget the past, and with it comes dealing with the truth about her friendship with Camille and her feelings for Hunter.</div><br /><a class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b85/" id="rc-2071810b85" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script>

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Friday Freeday: Being Black in Writerville

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 31 October 2014 · 16 views

I eluded to this in my Wednesday post and am actually writing this on Wednesday because I won't be at my office.

But first, Happy Friday, and HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEENNN, ooooooo!!!!

Teehee. Now...

So, I'm black. haha (DUH, right?!). I don't call myself African American. I've often called myself an American of African Descent. That's more accurate. Africa's not even a country, so...anyhow.

Writing is already a profession/hobby/passion for which people give you strange looks when you tell them you do it. When I temped at Del State, an HBCU with a predominantly black staff, I used to work on my WIP at my computer. One of the ladies asked me what kind of stuff I write, and when I said fantasy, she was extremely confused (she kept asking me, "Like Star Wars?" which, duh, is science fiction). Black writers who do more than poetry and erotica? What?

Like, seriously, I had to Google black writers just now because the only one I could think of that wasn't Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, or the other classic writers was Zane. I know there are more because my cousin suffers through the WORST Netflix movies, some of which were based on books she'd read. I could be jaded, but in my opinion, black people tend to only read books that show them the "black experience": the streets, non-suburban, racial struggles, sex, hip-hop. I know that's partially untrue because my mother loves Shakespeare and Jane Austen, so I know there are more black people who do.

*raises hand* I didn't have the typical black experience, and I can't fit comfortably or truthfully into that kind of box, so I won't try.

There are 318.9 million people in the U.S. About 13% of them are black. About 190 of THEM (even though, some are probably nearly dead, and they counted Oprah, and I can't stand Oprah) are writers in some capacity. ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY! How many of THEM are speculative fiction writers?

There are 6 essential ones, according to Troy L. Wiggins. So that's 3% of black writers...What's the math on 6 out of 318.9 million? I feel like there will be an e next to the number (THERE IS! 1.880924913477454e-8).

So, prologue aside, when it comes to writing what I love, fantasy, I feel like I have a double-edged sword to battle: how can I be accepted by black readers who may not even read speculative fiction (though I know they're out there because I'm one), and how can I be accepted by non-black speculative fiction readers of a world dominated by non-black writers, agents, and publishers?

Because:

That was in response to a review I read about Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I think has been taken down since I tweeted...I tried not to respond in a way that seemed attacking, but it was a serious question I had.

My WIP isn't set in a medieval European world, and when I had tried to do it even a little bit (Ghuli spoke straight out of King James's world), it sounded horribly forced. So there are elf-like people and giant-like people, but the world is an American Progressive Era world. The ones who lived in what would probably be considered medieval European were wiped out before the story began. You see mules and steam-powered vehicles more than horses and only one actual castle. The characters speak differently depending on their nationality, but there are no forthwith's or Your Grace's (though I do use howbeit and my lady). Will readers who love Euro-centric fantasy be okay with that? My main character is a young interracial (by our definition, but not by their world) woman whose main issue is borderline (or just completely) existential, but not because she is a person of color. Will black readers be able to understand her inner plight without needing her to be worried about her color?

Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory created a WONDERFUL non-medieval European world in their Enduring Flame Trilogy (it had dragons, but there were ZOMBIES, too!). I related so well to the characters and loved that trilogy so much that I penned myself after their legendary hero, Kellen the Poor Orphan Boy.

I want people to read my book and not be put off that they don't see what they're used to seeing. There are no knights and dragons and fair maidens that some relate to fantasy. The black and blackish people aren't oppressed or living in neighborhoods to which others relate. But I want PEOPLE, not just black and not just white, to be able to relate to the big picture. I want them, like we all do, to like my MC just for being her, and I want them to appreciate this new world I'm presenting to them without feeling isolated because of what I didn't do in the story.

I also want to be an inspiration to upcoming writers who, like me, want to be a voice that can break through the tropes and trends and do it successfully. SO, here's to hoping!

Thanks for staying so long, if you did. I hate long posts.

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Happy Happy Halloween!

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 31 October 2014 · 15 views

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!


Make sure to have a spooky awesome amazing time! I'm going to dress up as a Hufflepuff this Halloween. They're under-appreciated and few people see their true awesomeness. 

How about you? Costume ideas? You? Your kids?


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Los Angeles celebrates Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary

  Posted by Sakura Eries in Sakura Eries' Blog: Keeping It In Canon …mostly, 31 October 2014 · 24 views

Hello Kitty aficionados will be swarming upon Los Angeles this weekend. 2014 marks the 40th anniversary of Sanrio’s signature character, and they’re celebrating with the first official Hello Kitty Convention in LA’s Little Tokyo. My husband and I were hoping to attend Kitty Con, but sadly, that’s not going to happen. He has to travel to Asia for work, and even if his schedule suddenly changed, Kitty Con has sold out.

kitty giantsOur one consolation is that the exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum celebrating the event will be on view through April 26, 2015. Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty explores the evolution of Hello Kitty through a display of rare and unique pieces from Sanrio’s archives. We’re planning on being in LA in March, and you can bet that the Japanese American National Museum will be our first stop.

Hello Kitty has gone a long way in her forty years. The two of us are roughly the same age, and I remember when her products are only available in specialty stationery shops. Now she’s on jewelry, electronics, car accessories, home furnishings, food products–she’s even wrangled deals with Major League Baseball! One market that she has yet to take over is male clothing, but my husband holds out hope for a line of Hello Kitty menswear in the United States.

kitty patchBefore you scoff, check out these pictures. The United States is not the only place celebrating Kitty’s 40th. While my husband was in Hong Kong this summer, he stumbled across Giordano, a fashion retailer that was honoring Kitty’s anniversary with a special line of women’s and men’s clothing. Granted, the men’s selection was smaller than the women’s, but it was still there. As far as he’s concerned, it’s just a matter of time before American men are sporting garments featuring Japan’s most famous cat.

kitty tshirtOh wait… she’s not a cat.

An odd consequence of the Hello! exhibit is the shock Kitty fans got last August. When curator Christine Yano was preparing her written texts for the Japanese American National Museum’s exhibit, she described Hello Kitty as a cat, and “was corrected–very firmly.”

According to Sanrio: Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.

Perhaps that was clear to the Japanese, but on our side of the Pacific, all sorts of minds were blown. It did answer one question for me and my husband. We had always wondered about Charmmy Kitty being Hello Kitty’s pet. After all, for a cat to own another cat sounds like a bizarre kind of indentured servitude. But if Hello Kitty is a little girl, then obviously the relationship is okay. Of course, it raises a lot of other questions that have made for some interesting conversations.

But whether she is cat or a mutated human child, her goods remain adorably appealing. Which means we’ll continue to buy them. Since the announcement of Hello Kitty’s official not-a-cat status, my husband has bought three additional Hello Kitty plushies to add to the collection that is starting to take over our bookshelf.

kitty shelf

Happy 40th, Kitty!

 




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A NaNo Lament

  Posted by From The Write Angle in From The Write Angle Blog, 31 October 2014 · 17 views

by Jemi Fraser

'Tis the week before NaNo,
And all through the 'verse
Writers are mumbling, and cursing,
And swearing, and worse.

November is on us,
How'd it get here so fast?
The last time we checked,
Summer barely had passed!

We need time to start plotting,
We need time for a plan!
We need time to develop
Our characters...oh, man!

The outlines are bare
No settings are made,
The backstory's blank
No foundations are laid!

At From the Write Angle,
We writers are tough,
But it's that time of year,
So we're screaming, "Enough!"

NaNoWriMo is calling,
We must heed its call,
So we'll be back in December,
With more posts for you all!

Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs  and tweets while searching for those HEAs.

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Climbing out of the Quagmire

  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 31 October 2014 · 10 views

The last few months have been really rough here. A close family member lost her fierce battle with cancer and we're all reeling with the emotions (obviously). My go-to response to fear and sadness and tragedy is cooking/baking and I've stocked up everyone's freezers & fridges with enough soup, lasagnas, meatballs, chili, muffins, and cookies to last them through the next few weeks.

My creativity has been pretty much shot since we heard the news back in January, but I want to give myself a boost, so I've signed my foolish self up for NaNo again. I really don't need another first draft kicking around - I have 3 stories ready for those final revising rounds as well as 3 more first drafts with lots of potential and lots of needs. But, my heart is sore and weary and I'm hoping this might help me rebound.

As usual, I have no plan, no plot, no outline. Heck, I don't even have character names yet. But I think this one will involve some hi-jinks in the snow. Or not. I guess I'll find out soon! One thing I do know is there will be a HEA (happy every after) because that's exactly what I need right now.

So, if you're on the NaNo trail, join me (I'm jemifraser over there) and let's pound out some words together!

And if you're so inclined, pop on over to From the Write Angle, where we're talking NaNo as well.

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Name Calling

  Posted by Professor VJ Duke in The Punchy Lands!, 30 October 2014 · 15 views

So, you know how it usually happens.

The professor is about when something dreadfully vexing happens. Well, in this case, it wasn’t vexing, just a bit silly.

And maybe embarrassing.

Especially after all I’ve said about that fellow with the wig and sandals named Darcy.

You see, this professor had stopped by…well, now that I think about it, I’m not sure what type of place it was. But it was a place where one could get some food.

But it wasn’t a normal place.

But it wasn’t normal food.

But it wasn’t a normal place.

Anyway, I had placed my order, and a name was asked for.

Now, you must understand, that this professor is secretive. You see, I don’t go by my real name when I’m out (i.e. Professor VJ Duke), for then this professor might get into trouble.

So, I gave my fake name for this order, and…well, they must have gotten the name wrong.

This was the name on the order. And I think I promise it wasn’t the name I gave. Professorish promise.

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Getting the Call with Tasha Cotter

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 30 October 2014 · 23 views

I'm happy to have Tasha Cotter here to provide inspiration right before the big agent round starts for Nightmare on Query Street! From poet to commercial writer. You need an agent in your corner.




There are a lot of things I never realized back in my MFA days. For one thing, I didn’t understand what an agent actually did (no one talked about agents), and I certainly didn’t know when you might need one (if you plan to query commercial projects) and when you don’t need one (looking at you, Poets). It was only after I got an MFA in Creative Writing that I began to shift from poetry to fiction. And after checking out lots of library books and reading lots of blogs I began to sort of connect the dots: Agents are there to serve writers. They help writers get a foot in the door. They are deal-makers. They are an advocate for the author.

I got my first agent at a young age, and the experience didn’t go so well. It did, at first. I was told my work was great. I was informed that editors were reading my work and they were very interested (whatever that meant). I was told a lot of things. Years passed and I began to feel like the relationship was not working the way it needed to: there were too many unanswered questions. I was in the dark a lot, and getting no feedback on my work (editorial, or otherwise). Looking back, I was young and naïve and I didn’t know what was to be expected and what wasn’t. In the end, I had to part ways with that agent, which was a very scary experience, but, looking back, a necessary one.

I decided to venture into the publishing world on my own. I discovered that there were lots of indie presses and open calls for new work. If you were writing fiction, especially literary fiction, you could get your work read by small-to-medium sized indie publishers. But in order to get a more commercial project looked at by a big house, you still needed an agent.

I felt a little burned by my whole experience with an agent, to be honest, so I didn’t look for another one right away.  I focused on my writing. I did a lot of online research and reading about the publishing industry. I began to query for a book I co-wrote with my friend Christopher Green. The book, Us, in Pieces, began as an idea back in 2010 and it was completed in 2011. We’d been continuing to work on it over the last few years and I knew the book was something special. We kept the most up-to-date version in Google Drive, and continued thinking about the book, re-writing sections, and emailing each other about the book. Each time I opened the manuscript I began to feel like it needed to be out there, circulating. It felt like the most wonderful secret. Us, in Pieces is a love story across time. It’s a novel-in-letters (and e-mails, and text messages, and chats). It’s a whip-smart love story born out of silence that follows two old friends into the unforgiving and wild terrain of the heart.

I began to send the book out. At one point I think I emailed Chris to say, hey, here’s a list of where I’ve sent our book!  

There was some initial interest. One agent in particular seemed to match our level of passion about the project. Her name was Alice Speilburg. I found out about her from a friend. She opened her literary agency, Speilburg Literary in Louisville, Kentucky in 2012. After reading her website, I liked what I saw. I also liked that she clearly had placed books, and had a background in the business.

After sending her a partial, she got back to me almost right away that she’d like to read the full manuscript. I sent it to her immediately, then waited.

A little over two weeks later I got an email from her that began: I love this story.

I was eating lunch at the time, squinting to read the email on my phone. After rereading her email, I got up and threw away my lunch, half-eaten. I was grinning from ear to ear, stunned. I re-read her email again then forwarded it onto Chris. I loved how interested she seemed. I could sense her passion for the project right away and I appreciated her observations about the manuscript. It was clear that she had experience in the industry and saw a lot of potential in the book.

Two days later I spoke to her on the phone and after talking for about thirty minutes she offered representation. I loved how open and transparent she was about how she works. She knew I’d had a bad experience in the past and she was willing to be detailed about how she worked, how she preferred to communicate, and what I could expect if we were to work together.

The tricky thing about working on a collaborative project, and then shopping the project to agents, is that there has to be an open line of communication. I knew Chris had started querying agents himself, so I sent an email to Chris letting him know about the discussion and letting him know that he’d likely be getting a call from her, too. Since he didn’t have an agent, she may be offering him representation, as well.


It was a good day. Scratch that. It was a very good day.

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Tasha Cotter's first full-length collection of poetry, Some Churches, was released in 2013 with Gold Wake Press. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her work has appeared in journals such as Contrary Magazine, NANO fiction, and Booth. Her debut novel, Red Carpet Day Job, is forthcoming in 2015 with Bookfish Books. A graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Bluegrass Writers Studio, she lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where she works in higher education.



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An Interview by Fiona Mcvie

  Posted by Deb Borys in Debra R. Borys, 29 October 2014 · 23 views

Finoa Mcview has one of the most prolific author interview sites I’ve ever seen.  If you want to find new authors to follow, or learn more about some of your favorites, I suggest you visit her blog, “Author Interviews.” She … Continue reading

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Love & perspective: How to succeed at NaNoWriMo

Posted by Selene Bell in Confessions of a Binge Reader, 28 October 2014 · 40 views

Last November, I wrote 59,863 words, completing the rough draft of what I would come to title Little Bird, Broken Monster. It was hard work, but it didn’t seem like it because I had so much fun and was so invested in my story. Almost all of that writing ended up in my completed manuscript. Here are some tips:

Make a plot plan before November starts. Before this, I’d always been a pantster—as in I plotted as I wrote. Because of my concept, though, I knew early in the process that wouldn’t work. There were multiple story lines I had to plot and match with the others to figure out the best way to shape the puzzle, essentially. I hung big posters above my writing desk, each focusing on an essential idea.

Know who your characters are. I had named them, I’d determined what their motivations were, and I knew what my main character didn’t know about the secondaries—which was key to the plot. I decided I would write a first-person, present tense, single speaker POV—which I had confidence I could just let pour out, so I wouldn’t have to think about it as I wrote. I also knew Wren would be sarcastic and all her description would come from the experience a poor kid would have. So my word choice and writing style had to match that.

But stay flexible. As I wrote, I didn’t pressure myself to stay tied to my story plan or character sketches. If something didn’t feel right, I changed it—up to and including the fate of my main character.

Give your story something to mean. By that, I mean give a character an issue you’re passionate about, or make a character represent an injustice that pisses you off. When you feel strongly about an issue, the words flow—and when you feel like you’re doing good in addition to writing your heart out, it’ll help motivate you through tough spots. For example, the plight of foster kids without a clear future, or a chance for a promising future, upsets me like just a few other issues. The main character in the book I did for NaNoWriMo last year is just such a character.

Write. And write. And write write write write. I wrote when I got up in the morning. I wrote when my 3-year-old was in the bathtub, in preschool and ballet. I wrote when I’d usually nap, and I wrote when I got home from work at midnight. I didn’t watch TV. I stayed off Twitter, Facebook and email. I didn’t write blog posts. I didn’t read any novels that month or any of my critique partners’ work. And mostly, I didn’t miss those things. I was enthralled by my story. In fact, the only time I didn’t write was when I was at work, commuting, showering, sleeping, and when my daughter was at home and I was the only person here with her. I did write while I made us lunch though. And often, when I couldn’t write, I was thinking about what I’d be writing next.

But don’t focus too much on your word count. It sounds counterintuitive, but when you pay so much attention to the numbers, your attention is not on your words and your story. You kind of have to go in with the attitude, “I can totally do this! But if I don’t, there’s always December, and my story will be awesome no matter when it’s finished!” And definitely don’t compare how far you are to how far other people are. Because that makes you lose focus on your story, too.

Don’t get caught up in editing. That takes up valuable time. Being a copy editor, I’m generally a proponent of editing, but for this one month project, just don’t. Sometimes it helps not to second-guess yourself. Sometimes it’s just good to set all that aside and save it for your next draft.

Consider a subplot. If you’re not sure you can focus on one story line for an entire month, maybe adding a side story will help. When you start to get that itchy, maybe-I’ll-watch-a-movie feeling, you can switch over to the other plot. I’ve heard solid subplots should be about 25-30 percent of your story, though that’s not a hard and fast rule. Subplots can be different characters from the same family or organization, or it can be side characters who actually interact with your mains. The key thing is to make it interesting, and make it complimentary to your main plot line, which can mean emphasizing the opposite.

Love your story. If it’s work, it won’t get done. But if you’re genuinely excited about your story and your characters—if every time you sit down you don’t have to force yourself to focus, you just are focused— NaNoWriMo will go far better.

Love the people in your life. You have to have buy-in from your family members to even attempt this, and more important, you have to remember that this is setting an artificial deadline for yourself. If it doesn’t work out, who really cares? November will pass, and the people who love you will still be there, and so will your manuscript, just waiting for your tender, loving care and everything you can imagine for it.

www.selene-bell.com

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#imawriter

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 25 October 2014 · 16 views

Coming December 2014!
This has been some week and a half. At my school, where I love my kids so much, I saw the aftermath of a fight (less a fight, really, than a senseless beating) and injured myself breaking up another. Every day I hear stories of other fights throughout the school. It's getting to the point where I dread walking the halls for fear of what I'll come across around the next corner. When you add to that just how debased the children seem to have become, from little freshman girls using language that would make a trucker blush to the "good" kids doing dances that could only be described as sex with some clothes on, and I ended a tweet this week with #iwanttobeawriternotateacher.

I never thought I'd say it, but I really am losing the joy of teaching and am finding the idea of writing full-time more attractive every day. And yet, teaching pays so well, at least compared to the unsure future of writing, and I really am good at it. I like to think I make a positive impact on my students, though I become less convinced every year that my example and words have an appreciable impact.

The idea of retiring early and jumping into a writing career with both feet sounds great, but I simply don't have that option. I have financial obligations that won't go away simply because I haven't sold any books this week. If I only had to consider myself, the life of a starving writer would be fine. But I don't only have myself to consider. There's another person in my life who depends on my income and, even though we aren't together anymore, my obligation to help her live and pay her bills doesn't go away.

So early retirement is probably not an option, at least not yet. And it's not going to be an option ever if I continue to make exactly zero dollars as a writer. So it's time to quit dawdling. It's time to quit saying one of these days. It's time to quit waiting for an agent or a publisher to come along and take a chance on me. It's time to take a chance on myself. It's time to publish my books. I have two manuscripts ready to sell. I believe they're good. I'm well into the third, and I think it has potential to be just as good, if not better, than the first two.

So here's my commitment: I will publish my first book by the end of this year. I will hold a combination Christmas/publication party at which I will debut Harsh Prey to my family and friends. I will, in the ensuing months, publicize my book in every way I can find, from social media to readings and signings at bookstores, libraries, church basements--anywhere that will allow me. I will tell everyone I meet about it. And in a few months after that, I'll publish the second and do it all over again. And by then, I'll have the third book in the can and ready to go.

If I want to be able to say #imawriter, then I need to stop just saying it and start actually doing it. If it's going to happen, I can't depend on anyone but myself to make it happen.

So those of you who are looking for a good book to put under the Christmas tree for the detective fiction lover in your life, this is the year you're in luck.

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Memory Lane

Posted by JordanTheNinja in JordanTheNinja's Blog, 22 October 2014 · 80 views
writing, publishing, english

I sit, staring off into space during ninth grade English. It’s October, leaves falling and cold air nipping at me as I go through the courtyards to reach my other classes. I was young, incredibly naïve, but with a dream that still has yet to vanish. We talk about literature and I find myself becoming excited at the idea, that, maybe one day, I could rank myself up there with The Greats –J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, all of those people that seemed to grace their way up the NY Times list. But this is merely a daydream, a fantasy, and I immediately stop imagining this kind of life because, realistically, it wasn’t likely to happen. But I still imagined; still dreamed. I’d caught the writing bug, and there was no way I was going to cure myself of it—I couldn’t even if I’d wanted to. Being young, I still knew that rooted inside me was the seed of determination. That, even if the likelihood of me becoming this “legendary writer” was just a far off daydream, I still strived, still would keep going. It’s hard, when you’re 14 with this forced pressure of being good, of trying to perfect your writing, of constantly going back to the drawing board. I was so cocky, but at the same time so scared: how in the hell was I going to pull this off? Was it just an impossible feat for someone as young as myself to write something that would affect a reader in the same ways The Greats have affected me?

My teacher continues onto Shakespeare and poetry and I find myself zoning out again, reliving another daydream filled with interviews and book signings, movie deals and money. This is where I learned that you won’t get anywhere without working hard. To me, this meant constant revision, constant changes. I knew virtually nothing about what “markets” are into; I just figured that if someone liked the things I wrote, they could publish them. It was almost as if I lacked any fear, but the real answer was I lacked knowledge. I didn’t know anything about the publishing word really. All I had to go one was some vague ideas and misconceptions. I was currently finishing up my first novel that year. I was proud of that, because I’d really put work into it and created something that would be my own. But I was biased; in reality, the writing was nowhere near as good as what that same novel is today. But I loved it because I’d made it.

I used to get so annoyed, so frustrated with this whole thing. I was impatient (still am), I was confused as to why an agent wasn’t responding or that I didn’t already have a book deal. I figured this thing would be so easy. My character flaw was pride, and that had taken several blows over the course of it all. When you’re young, it’s easy to feel trapped. It’s easy to feel afraid. Easy to be manipulated by what you see or read or hear.

Then I came across AQC. And you guys really put me in check. You put a stop to my cockiness and shredded my queries to bits (for that, I’m eternally grateful; I wouldn’t have been steered in the right direction had you not) and I came to know a community that was just as driven and determined as I was. We all rejoice the good news, and lend a helping hand when things aren’t going so well.
I know I’ve come a long way since my pompous, gangly, 14 year old self, and I know I still have a lot to go from here, but I’m glad that I’ve made some friends and have made some changes along the way. I’m curious to know what the future holds for me.

One thing though, I’m still channeling my 14 year old phantom, because that was when I started to be determined, to enjoy the beginnings of an adventure through writing.

That is one thing that will never change.

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Lakers Reversed Jazz, Kobe Bryant 26 Points for Coming Back

Posted by oolorres in oolorres' Blog, 20 October 2014 · 37 views

Lakers Reversed Jazz, Kobe Bryant 26 Points for Coming Back Oct. 20 NBA preseason, the Lakers vs. Jazz, results in 98-91 reversal opponent, ending three-game losing streak. The Lakers trailed by 22 points in the second quarter, but Bryant led the team to 31-5 wave of attacks hit the go-ahead score, and ultimately difficult to win. Bryant shot 7 of 22 contribute 26 points, five assists and four rebounds, Jeremy Lin (microblogging) and Nash injury continued truce.

Game review: Jazz end the Lakers with 22 points reversed three-game losing streak

Opening, Bryant feel bad, before three shots were wide of the basket, but the Lakers rely Price and Hill scored, the first gain an advantage. Since then, the Jazz back attack feeling, Hayward pointers and free throws to help the team go-ahead score. Bryant promptly force, consecutive field goal, the Lakers biting score. But before the end of the first, Bryant end, the Jazz took the opportunity to play a 10-5 wave of attacks, will expand the advantage to double digits, a single to lead the Lakers 32-20.

Second section, the Lakers lineup rotation poor performance, was jazz played 11-2 offensive. See the team behind as many as 21 points, Kobe Bryant can go it alone, he forced two consecutive third shot hit, three-point play and later succeeded in his marker. Under section 9 points Bryant single stimulus, the Lakers finally play some improvement, Boozer storm and free throws. Before the end of this section, the Lakers answered with a 8-2 offensive half to 38-54 behind the Jazz.

Ex situ battles, Jazz let Hayward, Favors two main early break, the Lakers continued the second last paragraph of section excellent condition. Bryant free throws, three and CIC quickly scored six points, Carlos Boozer and Johnson, who also lend a helping hand. Only 6 minutes, the Lakers finished 23-3 offensive surge, in one fell swoop to 61-57 go-ahead score. Since then, the Jazz finally found the feeling, the use of long shot and breakthroughs up points, to stabilize the situation. Three kick, jazz advantage almost gone, only the Lakers leading 72-69.

Distal, the Lakers up is a 7-0 attack wave, again ahead score. Since then, both teams refused to give the Jazz hit two three-pointers, the Lakers will rely on rookie Randall cut points, his scoring range jumper in the rapidly contributed 8 points. Call of Duty, Bryant played again, and assists Davis layup after Ellington hit third, the Lakers lead six minutes. Since then, the Jazz offense sluggish, Bryant made ​​two free throws to seal the victory. The Lakers defeated after three consecutive games, finally ushered in returning to the victory.

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Exactly about Sports Gambling Traces

Posted by haiiroe in haiiroe's Blog, 16 October 2014 · 84 views

Individuals who have recently been followers regarding sports would certainly are planning to help make the ability regarding observing the particular game titles a lot more advantageous. Quite often, they are going to check into the particular sports gambling traces for your newest media in terms of their particular clubs and also participants. Getting up to date will be everything that is made for these. At times, if they are misplaced inside the dialogue of these close friends, they might lookup the net when they go back home. The net is a superb destination for a remain up to outlet sale date in terms of sports. It is possible to head to legitimate sporting activities sites and even the state internet site with the clubs to learn just what they are carrying out. When you can find virtually any revelations in regards to the method or perhaps the particular enjoy, there exists a possibility you will initial examine that right now there. It really is really great to stay the particular realize regarding existing activities, specifically if it is in regards to the sports activity you adore.

Folks can question an individual regarding media and will also be capable of offer that in their mind. Sports gambling traces are usually constantly available in order to guess normally when you need. Way more, you can even guess although game titles remain continuous. Contact friends and family to assist you using this to enable you to determine correctly.

Which is aware, friends and family furthermore desire to guess. The harder gamble, themerrier. When possible, an individual also also can separated the particular payout between her and also head out to get a handle. That is one thing you may not arrive at carry out each day. Besides gambling, you can even make an effort to study about making the gambling a lot more successful. Folks will get trapped with all the current pleasure at times in which they cannot also look at the probabilities should they can acquire or perhaps not necessarily. Provided that they will guess, which is that for the kids. They should be mindful also, due to the fact gambling also can result in these several problems making use of their funds occasionally. Sports gambling traces are usually definitely the following to keep. They've got produced any indicate inside the lifestyles of men and women as well as the sporting activities planet at the same time. Remember to own entertaining observing the particular game titles and possess several helpful gamble together with several the best close friends. In case an individual drop, usually do not sense negative. Right now there can constantly appear an occasion which you will have to become around the shedding conclusion. Which is aware, within your subsequent guess, you may come out the winner following your extended hold out. More visit http://outletsalecheap.wordpress.com/

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OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS Query Critique

Posted by jadah in The Query Faerie, 13 October 2014 · 67 views

OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS Query Critique


Or


A Tale of, Er, Um, Mermaids and Centaurs?


Hey, hey, Lords and Ladies of the written word! Happy Monday to ye all. It’s been a while since I’ve done a query critique, and I have to say I am out of practice! Nothing better than taking a break from Doctor Who on a lazy, rainy Monday night to fire up the ole lasers.

I would like to make one announcement before we get down to business, if you’ll pardon the interruption. I’d just like to say that my short story, Letters to Jennifer, was published in this month’s edition of Blue Lake Review. It was inspired by a family member’s death this past summer, and it’s only 1,500 words, so I’d love if you took a moment to read it! You can find it at bluelakereview.weebly.com.

Anyway, enough of that!

Without further ado, off we go to Query Faerie land:

Original:

Dear Agent:

They were gods once. Gifted with magic and long life, thousands of Sapiens walked our world. But that which was, no longer is. And that which now is has only come to be because of their downfall.

I am Alexys Elizabeth Rothschild. Five ancient codices scribed in three lost languages, I was the key to unlocking their secrets. The translated result of my efforts is OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS.

Another world existed before the one you now know, but we humans in our native, virgin skin have been too blind to find it. We are so clever in so many ways, yet are clueless as to the true nature of our ‘myths’. Nearly everyone knows of grand creatures such as mystic Sapiens, Centaurs, Arachna Majora, Mermaids, and Gryphons, but know nothing of how they came to be, the lives they lived, their heroes and heroines, villains and villainesses, some obvious, most not, who ensured that each misstep of the East down a perilous staircase carved by the West brought Terra Australis ever closer to war.

A Mermaid Queen and Gryphon King seeking to dominate all, a Witch Queen hoping to break free the ‘mythical’ gem that is the Soul of Terra Australis from its haunted prison, and with it, unleash the ancient prophecy to transform all, a Centaur Chiron and Arachna King doing their best to withstand all; amidst this subtle chaos, a Centaur polymath named Adamarcus fights to keep the malice festering deep inside his forbidden love, Evagoria – young daughter of Queen Diedrika and the ‘Gift from Poseidon’ – from beating everyone to the punch and destroying all.

Script and hieroglyphs upon copper plates deciphered, a select few of us deserving enough to hear them gathered; I stand ready to tell the tale. Terra Australis at its peak – our story will begin but twenty years from its end. Will it begin without you? A simple, sweeping choice is now yours to make: Hurry with great haste to West Antarctica and embark on a great discovery or keep firm your blissful ignorance.

A completed historical fantasy at 297,000 words, OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is a departure from most fantasy works. Similar to the movie TITANIC, the novel uses a present day timeline to set up the historical one. In addition, it introduces major characters with a variety of ethnicities such as Nubian, Huaxia, and Olmec. OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is gender balanced and contains as many female as male characters.

Cordialement,

Dr. Alexys Elizabeth Rothschild
P.S. Please direct all correspondence to my liaison in the States, REDACTED


My critiques:

Dear Agent:

They were gods once. Gifted with magic and long life, thousands of Sapiens walked our world. But that which was, no longer is. And that which now is has only come to be because of their downfall.

Right away this is very vague. You’ll need a stronger hook to draw an agent in. This opener leads to a lot of questions, and not necessarily the good kind. Who were gods? What was? What is now? What downfall? This paragraph confuses more than it intrigues. You’re better off starting with specifics, such as the main character and introducing us to the conflict right away.

I am Alexys Elizabeth Rothschild. Five ancient codices scribed in three lost languages, I was the key to unlocking their secrets. The translated result of my efforts is OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS.

So, is Alexys the main character? First person queries can be done, but this doesn’t work for me. The main character talking to the reader feels a bit gimmicky. Also, this paragraph leads to more questions. Ancient codices? What secrets? Why is she the key? If OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is what she’s transcribed, is this a book within a book? Bookception?

Another world existed before the one you now know, but we humans in our native, virgin skin have been too blind to find it. What purpose does this sentence serve? Does it introduce any plot to the reader? I’m keen to say that it doesn’t. Let me keep reading. We are so clever in so many ways, yet are clueless as to the true nature of our ‘myths’. Nearly everyone knows of grand creatures such as mystic Sapiens, Centaurs, Arachna Majora, Mermaids, and Gryphons, but know nothing of how they came to be, the lives they lived, their heroes and heroines, villains and villainesses, some obvious, most not, who ensured that each misstep of the East down a perilous staircase carved by the West brought Terra Australis ever closer to war.

Okay, now that I’ve read it I can say that whole entire paragraph is fluff. It’s unnecessary. It can be cut and I won’t miss it, and good thing too, because this query is heavy by about 100-150 words. That paragraph is cumbersome to read, and almost ambling. As in, if you read it to yourself, does it tell us anything about the plot? You used 100+ words to tell us mankind is clueless and name off a few races.

A Mermaid Queen and Gryphon King seeking to dominate all, a Witch Queen hoping to break free the ‘mythical’ gem that is the Soul of Terra Australis from its haunted prison, and with it, unleash the ancient prophecy to transform all, a Centaur Chiron and Arachna King doing their best to withstand all; amidst this subtle chaos, a Centaur polymath named Adamarcus fights to keep the malice festering deep inside his forbidden love, Evagoria – young daughter of Queen Diedrika and the ‘Gift from Poseidon’ – from beating everyone to the punch and destroying all.

This is information overload. I forgot it as soon as I read it. It’s a general rule to mention no more than three characters to avoid turning a query into character soup. It seems like you’re naming off all the characters of the book…without even giving them names. Who are these people? How will I know which ones are the MOST important? There is a hint of plot in this paragraph: a witch queen breaking free a gem from a haunted prison. But for what? What’s the plot here?

Script and hieroglyphs upon copper plates deciphered, a select few of us deserving enough to hear them gathered; I stand ready to tell the tale. Terra Australis at its peak – our story will begin but twenty years from its end. Will it begin without you? A simple, sweeping choice is now yours to make: Hurry with great haste to West Antarctica and embark on a great discovery or keep firm your blissful ignorance.

Please cut that entire paragraph. It doesn’t make any sense to me and adds nothing to the query.

A completed Is this adult, YA, MG, etc? historical fantasy at 297,000 Holy Jesus. You do realize that’s three long novels, right? And by reading the query, I’d imagine a good one third of it could be pared away. words, OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is a departure from most fantasy works. Similar to the movie TITANIC, It’s not really typical or advised to use a movie as a comparison for a novel. the novel uses a present day timeline to set up the historical one. In addition, it introduces major characters with a variety of ethnicities such as Nubian, Huaxia, and Olmec. OF MERMAIDS AND CENTAURS is gender balanced and contains as many female as male characters. Pointing out the balance of ethnicities and ratio of men to women character seems like a really strange thing to showcase. They’re interested in the merit of the plot and writing, not the balance of men to women.

Cordialement,

Dr. Alexys Elizabeth Rothschild
P.S. Please direct all correspondence to my liaison in the States, REDACTED

By your closing I can now tell that you’ve written the entire query in the first person POV of your main character. I encourage you not to do this. In some cases it does work, but not this case. This reads as gimmicky.

I’ve read approximately 400 words and I have no idea where the plot is in these 300,000 words. Let me take a moment to comment on the word count. Novels with high word counts like this need to be spectacular, especially for a breakout novel. I’ll tell you why. More words means more ink and paper. More ink and paper means it costs more money to print the novel. Being published is already an exception to the rule. Don’t try to make yourself an exception to the exception to the rule.

I’d say you’re better off starting over and telling me 1) Who the main character is 2) What the main character wants 3) What stands in the MC’s way 4) What must the MC do to overcome that obstacle, and 5) What are the stakes for the MC if they cannot overcome it? This last one is very important. Why should I care about this person? Why should I read THEIR story when there are millions of other stories I could read?

From reading the query it seems like the story may focus around several story arcs, several characters. Pick a similar BOOK to use as a comparison.

Hope this has helped, and feel free to contact me with any questions.


Love,
The Query Faerie

P.S. Damn folks, I still got it! ;)

Thanks for reading!

Follow me on Twitter: @TheQueryFaerie
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Follow my blog: TheQueryFaerie.wordpress.com

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Tribute to My Father

  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 13 October 2014 · 49 views

I haven’t been posting much — life has gotten in the way and made me focus on some things rather more essential than blogging. The truth is, my dad passed away on Sept. 29th. This was not unexpected, as his health had been declining over the last few years, and he had been moved to […]

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Surreal For-real

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 05 October 2014 · 39 views

The day before I left for vacation with my family to Disney World I received an email from my editor with my copy-edits, due two days after the end of our vacation. This meant I either got to mush all my edits into two days (there were almost 3,000 edits soooo that wasn’t going to happen) or I needed to find time to work on the copy-edits at night and early in the morning DURING vacation while the kids were sleeping. No biggie. I actually enjoyed the quiet time every night and morning, rereading WRECKAGE for what I calculated was the 27th time.

Vacation-quote

Then, one night as I typed along in my hotel room, kids snoring on either side of me, as I stumbled upon a fun surprise. WRECKAGE on Amazon. It’s already available for pre-order! WHAT?

I shared the news on my Facebook page and Twitter and over the past week my friends, family and even some new readers have taken the plunge to pre-order. And that, my friends, is when it got real. All this work, all the time and effort into writing the story, revising, editing, querying, submitting, editing again and again and now, in a few short months, people are going to read this thing!

Soon after returning from my trip I was introduced to my Lake Union author team. They’ll be helping me through the next phase in the publishing process. My wonderful author’s relations manager already emailed me about personalizing my Amazon author page and filling out a questionnaire for the audiobook. Wait, let me say that again *clears throat*. The AUDIOBOOK. Ah! See what I mean?

I know there will be a lot more of these times ahead of me. They make me nervous and excited at the same time. There is still work to be done on this book and plenty of books still to be written but I’ve decided to just enjoy these “it’s really happening” moments as they come because they are awesome. Really awesome.

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The Gathering of Wits and Nerves

  Posted by RC Lewis in R.C. Lewis, 04 October 2014 · 59 views

<p>A long time away from blogging, a lot of excuses. Last school year was tough—emotionally exhausting and stressful. It was hard to come up with anything to say that wasn’t venting, and no one needs that.</p>
<p>Then the momentum was gone. Still not sure I had anything to say.</p>
<p>Things happened, though. I survived the school year. I lost my editor as she got an amazing-awesome job at another house. (For those keeping count, this is <a href="http://www.fromthewr...publishing.html" target="_blank">the second time this has happened to me</a>. Editors should flock to me if they want promotions.)</p>
<p>I also went to Las Vegas for the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference and signed ARCs—my first-ever author event! Look, here’s proof:</p>
<div id="attachment_421" style="width: 310px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="http://rclewisbooks....12398831901.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-421" src="http://rclewisbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ALA-signing-e1412398831901-300x225.jpg" alt="Me and my signing buddy, fellow Hyperion author Melissa Landers" width="300" height="225" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Me and my signing buddy, fellow Hyperion author (of awesome!) Melissa Landers</p></div>
<p>I’m advising student council at my school for the first time ever, and I also went to a leadership conference with most of the kids over the summer. Lots of fun there.</p>
<p>Now the school year has started … well, actually, we’re almost through the first quarter. My classes feel more balanced for the most part, and I’m making things up as I go with student council. Generally, I feel like I have a better grip on things.</p>
<p>Well, except for the fact that my debut novel launches in ten days. Not sure I’m gripping that just yet. I keep expecting it to feel more real, but it doesn’t quite yet. Not even with a hardcover in my hands:</p>
<div id="attachment_423" style="width: 235px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href="http://rclewisbooks....W-hardcover.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-423" src="http://rclewisbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SNOW-hardcover-225x300.jpg" alt="It even FEELS pretty." width="225" height="300" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">It even FEELS pretty.</p></div>
<p>Maybe it’ll feel real when I’m standing in front of people, talking about it at the launch party. (If I don’t pass out and/or run screaming from the venue.) Or maybe when I see it stocked on shelves at the bookstore.</p>
<p>Maybe the rational, logical side of me took charge of this and accepted it as “real” ages ago, and that’s why I’m not noticing a difference. Maybe two years of students saying, “You wrote a BOOK??” helped it sink in. (If so, thanks, kids!)</p>
<p>So now it’s time for me to pull together. To gather my nerves for everything happening around the launch, and to hopefully gather my wits and come up with a few things worth sharing here now and then.</p>
<p>Wish me luck. <img src="http://rclewisbooks..../icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" class="wp-smiley" /></p>
<p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://rclewisbooks....ng-wits-nerves/">The Gathering of Wits and Nerves</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://rclewisbooks.com">R.C. Lewis</a>.</p>

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Are You That Person at the Back of the Room?

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 01 October 2014 · 54 views


That guy at the back of the room, the one at the edge of the party, the one in the bar who only talks to people who approach him? That guy isn't aloof. He isn't unfriendly.

That guy is me. I have been accused of being aloof and standoffish.

Could be you, too. Right? (Guy or gal, this is NOT gender-specific.)

I am shy. Most people don't guess that. I'm pretty much an introvert, although after a drink or three, you might beg to differ.

I don't like rejection (who does?) so I avoid putting myself out there.

At a party, I'll zero in on the person or two I know and hang with them all night. I don't work a room. Never could. I've no doubt missed interesting folk.

So have a set myself up for failure? Actually, no. I don't stay home and entirely avoid the situation.

Approach me, say hello, even toss a slight nod my way, and I'm ready to chat. A smile given gets a smile returned.

Know what?

Many, many people are the same. Just like us. Oh, they look friendly and outgoing in their immediate group. Remember what I said about zeroing in on the ones you know? Comfort zone. So you, we, look at them and think what a clique, bunch of snobs, stuck-up.

Of course, sometimes that is true. We do run the terrible risk of putting ourselves out there, saying hello first, introducing ourselves, whatever, only to find no interest, a down-the-nose glance, and a turn away.

It's happened. I didn't die. Sometimes you win.

My point?

Let me relate it to writing. I'm not convinced my stories or my book are great. Sometimes, not even really good. But I kinda do, and other people have thought so. When it came to the publishing world, the odds kept me from participating with serious intent for most of my younger life. Oh, I wrote. Plenty. Stories. A novel. I queried, some, not a lot. I expected rejection and got it, and it didn't kill me. I got a solid bite from an agent who rejected the manuscript. And a small publisher, when I decided I really didn't care about landing an agent and a deal with one of the Big Five, where I'd no doubt be buried alive, anyway. But I didn't stay home from the party.

Then someone said yes.

Sometimes you go to the bar and nurse a beer and go home alone. Sometimes you nod back when someone nods your way, and you go home with a hottie who may a great one-night toss, or may be a forever real thing.

Don't assume you won't win. Maybe you won't. But maybe you will. Maybe you'll be misunderstood, your reticence taken for arrogance. But maybe you'll connect. Don't be afraid.

One thing is sure. You never will if you don't go out and try. As "they" say, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Oh, and that other person, the one not talking, across the room, at the bar, the party, the one who looks so up-in-the-air? That person may be just like you. Like me. Smile.



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