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Let’s Party! Lucky 7 Brazen Bachelors!

  Posted by Jean Oram in The Love Bug Blog, 26 March 2015 · 4 views

It’s giveaway time! It’s also party time!

Author Susan Hatler (love her books! Fun, short reads) has invited me to help celebrate her latest multi-author box set, The Lucky 7 Brazen Bachelors. (You may have already read Lucky 7: Bad Boys.)

Come join me today at 7:45PM EST today, March 26th, on Facebook. I’ll be giving away…something exciting…while celebrating this 99 cent boxed set full of tons of great romance authors. If you’re a voracious romance reader or looking to add a few new favourites to your list of authors this set is for you!

Grab the box set here:


Join me at the party here:


Don’t forget to tell your friends. The more the merrier! Tweet about the party by clicking here.

Lucky 7 Brazen Bachelors, 99 cent romance box set

Come party with us!

The post Let’s Party! Lucky 7 Brazen Bachelors! appeared first on Jean Oram.



Growth and Awareness

Posted by JordanTheNinja in JordanTheNinja's Blog, 26 March 2015 · 49 views
growth, writing, character

There comes a time in everyone’s life (I’m not exclusively talking about a writer’s life) where you really come to a sense of awareness. Awareness of who you are, what you love to do, the kind of person that you are. And, as I approach the ending of my teenage years, I feel as if I’m on the brink of this realization.

When I was younger (and I still do this) I looked up to people who showed ambition and who always brought other people up and encouraged and inspired them. This inspired me to be the same way whenever I got older and I got into my profession. Now, years later, I’ve developed into a writer. I’ve always loved writing, but when I say that, I mean it in the most personal, emotional sense. I never realized that the characters I wrote about all had different facets of my personality—or attributes I wish I had. Emotion is the key when I write, because, without realizing it, writing was a way for me to express my fears and my desires and everything that went on in my head. I never knew that until I looked back at my characters and saw that, as I grew, so did that. They weren’t the same people I wrote when I was 14, just like I’m not the same person I was then. And I think that’s what is really crucial in a writer’s life. Not to write for fame or money (not that I wouldn’t mind getting paid to write) but to do it for your soul. To show your growth as a human being. For me, this is what it means to write—to examine yourself in the process, and show others different parts of your soul.

I know now that I will never stop writing. Not because I want to get published (although I do) but because I have to. It’s the only real way—for me—to analyze my life and how I’ve grown and where I came from. I don’t know if other writer do that, but I’m pretty sure they do without knowing it.

Young or old, seasoned or a newbie, I truly wish every writer out there is able to tell their story, and I hope that every single one of you becomes successful. Even that—I hope everyone becomes successful in whichever career, job, ambition they are pursuing. I promise I will spend my life pursuing the things I desire (non-material) and won’t stop pushing for inspiration in others. I want to see us all win and grow and develop.

I wish you all the best.


*Treasure Hunt count down*- 5 days left

  Posted by mlebleek in Bleeker Street, 26 March 2015 · 10 views

Five more days until you can find Wreckage in one of 1334 Walmart stores! Don’t forget the fun Treasure Hunt where you can be entered to win a Walmart gift card when you post a picture of yourself with a copy of Wreckage in-store.

Follow these steps to be entered:

1- Starting March 31st, check for Wreckage at your local Walmart store.

2- Take a picture IN STORE, post on a social media site and tag me:

-Facebook: @emilybleekerauthor

-Twitter feed: @Emily_Bleeker

-Instagram: @emilybleekerauthor

3- Make sure to list the location of the store you found it in. IE: Found Wreckage in Vernon Hills,IL Walmart!!

Don’t forget, this is what you are looking for—

Screenshot 2014-12-12 12.20.13



The Case of the Missing Ace - Tiffany Rose

  Posted by SC_Author in SC Write--Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter, 26 March 2015 · 10 views

I'm very excited about today's #WriteInclusively guest post and guest blogger. It's about a sexual identity (Asexuals - people who have no sexual desires) that I knew little about - and as such, I desperately needed to read this post. I'll strive to learn more in my free time. For now, take it away, Tiffany!


You’ll see plenty of articles on how to write asexuals characters or how not to write asexuals. Seriously, you can find them on youtube, you can find them on tumblr (a lot of them actually). And while it is really important to know how to write diverse characters, I wanted to talk about a the what-ifs.

What if asexual characters were more common? What if everyone’s most known detective was asexual? I wanted to tell you about how including asexuals would build acceptance, and would help change society. That your single work, a single character can change the world. And that might be true. For example, Sherlock changed the mystery genre. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had forensics in fiction before it was used by the police. Imagine if in 1887 we had a character who explicitly stated that they don’t experience sexual attraction. Imagine how great that acceptance would have been for asexuals. How far that would have carried now in 2015.

Sadly, when things are “different” people want to ignore them at best. Writers censor themselves. They say things like, “Oh, I’d like to include diversity. I just don’t understand it so we will have to come back later.”

“You can't be what you can't see.” I love this quote. It powerfully shows the importance of representation in a simple and elegant way. However, there is a problem with it. In the case of asexuality you can be what you cannot see. Often times, people simply don’t know the word for it.

I’ve seen so many characters that are coded as asexual undermined for an acephobic reason that further belittles and shuns the community. I can’t say that including a marginalized group in your writing will fix this. Because, no single thing will.

But, by existing even fictionally they are acknowledged. I don’t mean universally they will be by everyone (who likely has some bigotry or self-hate to work out first), but it matters to quiet voices who need it. Repensation is a ray of sunshine to those who face hate and dehumanization daily.

It’s just a simple thing to avoid the case of the missing ace. Include them.

Because it’s not a simple thing to have a stranger you might never talk to, or ever see, include you in something as tangible literature. Please #WriteInclusively

About Tiffany Rose: 

Until Rose's Starfleet uniform comes, she spends her time writing about magical girls and the morally gray. When she's not writing there is a good chance Photoshop is open. Any extra time is spent looking out for plot bunnies and serendipity. Find the author on Twitter, Tumblr or follow her own #WriteInclusively story on wattpad [GAH! How awesome is that?!?! - SC]

Thank you for sharing :DDD If you would like to guest post about #WriteInclusively, please contact me through email! If you'd like to be signed onto the pact, also let me know and I'll manually add you on :D

 Make sure to thank Tiffany with a Tweet and take a look at her story!! THANK YOU for sharing!!!



Wednesday Words: A Victorian Flower Dictionary

  Posted by DebsBlueRoses in The Writer Ambitious, 25 March 2015 · 11 views

Happy Wednesday!

Most Wednesday, I share with you what I am currently reading. While I'm still reading Octavia Butler's Seed to Harvest, that will be a while, but I have also started reading the companion to a book I read a few years ago, Language of Flowers.

A Victorian Flower Dictionary by Mandy Kirkby has everything you need to know about the most popular flowers. Each flower has a meaning: like an iris means "message." There's one flower that has like 5 meanings based on the color, but I can't remember which one. One color means "I love you," but a striped one means "I never want to see you again." lol

So, as I use Random.org to help me choose a page, let's see what it gives me out of the 192 pages in this dictionary.........................page 126.

That is the chapter about (Wicked Witch voice) the Poppy, which means "fantastic extravagance." There is a poem on page 126, so here it is for you: "Poppies" by the 19th century poet Frida Wolfe.

The poppies in the garden, they all wear frocks of silk,
Some are purple, some are pink, and others white as milk,
Light, light for dancing in, for dancing when the breeze
Play a little two-step for the blossoms and the bees.
Fine, fine, for dancing in, frilly at the hem,
Oh, when I watch the poppies dance I long to dance like them!

The poppies in the garden have let their silk frocks fall
All about the border paths, but where are they at all?
Here a frill and there a flounce – a rag of silky red,
But not a poppy-girl is left – I think they went to bed.
Gone to bed and gone to sleep; and weary they must be,
For each has left her box of dreams upon the stem for me.




  Posted by LucidDreamer in LucidDreamer's Blog, 24 March 2015 · 27 views

Hello Everyone! I’m so happy to introduce to you the Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt Authors! We have eight outstanding teams this season. I am going to be a part of #TeamRed! The Scavenger Hunt runs from April 2nd through April 5th beginning and ending at noon Pacific time on those days. If you’ve never … Continue reading YA SCAVENGER HUNT!



Author Lauren Gibaldi Talks Inspiration

  Posted by bigblackcat97 in Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, 24 March 2015 · 16 views

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to us like a lightning bolt, through the lyrics of a song, or in the fog of a dream. Ask any writer where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers, and in that vein I created the WHAT (What the Hell Are you Thinking?) interview. Always including in the WHAT is one random question to really dig down into the interviewees mind, and probably supply some illumination into my own as well.

Today's guest is Lauren Gibaldi, whose debut THE NIGHT WE SAID YES will be available from Harper Teen June 16, 2015. Lauren is also a public librarian. She's been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). She has a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies, both from Florida State University.

Ideas for our books can come from just about anywhere, and sometimes even we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Did you have a specific origin point for your book?

Kind of. I wanted to write about a crazy night, that was the original plan. I like the idea of one night that can change everything, and the magic and possibility a night out with friends holds when you’re in high school. It evolved and changed quite a bit, but I like to think the original feel is still there. I do remember I thought of the title while driving on the interstate with my husband…I kind of just blurted it out, and that shaped the whole “saying yes” plot.  

Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?

I originally had the “then” idea – the one crazy night where the four teens say yes to every idea they have. So I thought about fun things they’d do, crazy places they’d go. But when thinking about it, I kind of wanted to see what would happen next – how the one night changes them and where they would end up one year later. So after writing the first “then” chapter, I went back and wrote a “now” chapter and it stuck. 

Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?

I had a lot of plotting for it because I had to make sure each “then” chapter line up with a “now” chapter. But I threw a lot of that original plotting away and kind of wrote on the fly, which made it more fun, in a way. So, locations and motives changed and I was okay with that. I also realized that the characters evolved as I went on, so I had to go back and alter voices and such. 

Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?

Ideas come to me often…GOOD ideas do not. For instance, while typing this I thought: “You know what would be funny? A vampire retelling of The Great Gatsby.” You know what’s NOT a good idea? A vampire retelling of The Great Gatsby. 

How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?

I’m facing this issue right now! I start writing the first that comes to me and see if it sticks. Sometimes I just don’t like it enough to go past the first chapter. I keep it around, in case I ever want to go back to it, and then start on something else. It’s not necessarily the best idea, but I like giving each possible story a shot. The hardest thing is putting an idea aside when I’m working on a story I’m really into. I’m always worried I’ll forget it. 

Sometimes when I’m cooking ground beef I get distracted by the fact that it definitely looks like a brain. Does that happen to you?

Can’t say it has. BUT NOW THAT’S ALL I’M GOING TO THINK ABOUT. A friend once told me that he feels his brain move every time he drives over a speed bump, and now that’s permanently in my head, too. YOU’RE WELCOME. 

Or, wait, was that a metaphor? 




  Posted by Michelle4Laughs in Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details, 23 March 2015 · 14 views

Genre: Chapter Book – Historical Fiction Mystery
Word Count: 9,500


Dear Michelle and Sharon,

As the 1920s roar through New York City, no one enjoys them more than 10-year-old adventuress Pooky Thursday. She dances the Charleston, explores the wilds of Central Park, and reads her way through the library at Banner Court, the city's most fabulous mansion. As the cook's daughter, Pooky must navigate not only the mansion's nooks, crannies, and secret passageways, but also the worlds of the downstairs staff and the upstairs swells.

One day, Pooky discovers a kid-size, lizard-shaped painting peeking out of the library's trash. What's a mystery but an adventure with a question mark? Pooky puts on her detective hat to question everyone from the butler to Commodore Banner himself, research reptilian facts in the chronicles of great explorers, and search for answers on what the painting means and who it belongs to.

Pooky is up to her knee socks in clues when Frank, the Banners' spoiled and stinky son, demands that she turn the lizard painting over to him. When Pooky refuses, Frank threatens to out her as a sneak thief to the Banners and, even worse, her mama. Now Pooky must find the mysterious owner of the painting and fast. Otherwise, she'll be branded a no good robber forever, and Frank will get his grubby little hands on the treasure.

POOKY THURSDAY INVESTIGATES! THE LIZARD IN THE LIBRARY is a 9,500-word chapter book. Please find the first 100 words pasted below.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First 100 Words:

My name is Pooky Thursday. I am a modern girl in the world's most modern city – New York!

The city is the perfect place for an adventuress like me who likes to try new things. I track treasures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, jiggle with the chorus lines on old Broadway, and ride the rails from one end of Manhattan to the other. Life here is the bee's knees and cat's pajamas all rolled into one!

I live in Banner Court, the fanciest mansion around. It sits across the street from Central Park. Some people call it the "House of A Thousand Rooms."




  Posted by Jemi in Just Jemi, 23 March 2015 · 14 views

I did it! I managed to get my entire draft recovered and saved (in multiple places!) after my latest computer disaster. I even found the Changes file I needed to remind me of all the things I needed to tweak. I've updated my Mozy and Dropbox folders too.

In the process, I've been learning a lot about my new Mac.

It didn't take too long to get used to the touch pad - scrolling with 2 fingers, right click is now a 2 fingered click, and scrolling upside down.

I've also figured out most of my short cuts. I used the Home & End, Page Up & Down keys a lot on my old laptop, but they don't exist on my Mac. Between the Function & Command Keys, I've got most of those figured out. Took longer to figure out the Delete key being the old backspace & Fn+Delete being the old delete.

I'm still finding the positioning of the Command key awkward, but I assume I'll get used to it too.

Now, my big problem is switching between the Mac at home and the PCs at school. We'll see how messed up my brain gets with all the switching!

At this point I can't say I've really got a preference for either PC or Mac - I like them both. What about you? Are you a PC or a Mac user?



Nike Free Trainers 3.0 V5 Noir et Bleu Royal Refnk0261

Posted by uytiuyoiuo in uytiuyoiuo's Blog, 23 March 2015 · 23 views

De plus la nike free flyknit uk nike3Åu8free3Åu8flyknit3Åu8uk 4TJUU5CV page à l'intérieur avec le chien en utilisant un flux de vent robuste. Intérieur de la photo nous avons pu constater que ce genre de jeu de chaussures 7ZPSX4R6 utilisant un épiderme de la concurrence concernant l'emplacement styles énorme, avec substance peau, afin que votre expérience en matière de chaussures ou des bottes emballées avec enviroment natrual vierge. Ainsi que la fourrure il ya certainement une zone plus de la partie supérieure est construit en daim de brevet crocodile stries, les deux styles uns avec les autres pour produire ce genre de jeu de chaussures avec tout le style qui concerne directement l'engouement particulier. Ashley semblait en outre avec une augmentation de ce qui concerne la fille qui pleure sur la fille beau-père super-ennuyeux et aussi à quel point il a vouloir acquérir la jeune fille aime vraiment, même si elle a, mais de préciser exactement pourquoi la dame n'a pas réussi à déposer le plus récent automobile cette particulier a acquis la jeune fille quand elle a donc contre votre animal obtenir les éléments de fille.
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3 marketing metaphors that actually make sense

Posted by keithmoorekm25 in 3 marketing metaphors that actually make sense, 23 March 2015 · 16 views
marketing marketing metaphor

There are a thousand different marketing metaphors out there (though you’ll pardon the technical writer in me that would point out these are actually similes because they use the word “like” to make the comparison). Each one is supposed to boil down the basics of marketing so they’re easy to understand and relate to concepts people easily understand. Each metaphor approaches marketing from a different perspective and has different lessons to teach depending on the point of view of the marketer who came up with it.

But why have such a narrow point of view? There is knowledge to be gained from every viewpoint. So here are some creative metaphors for marketing and the essential lessons they communicate.

Great marketing is like a good first date

Entrepreneur.com contributor Chris Kocek likened successful marketing to a good first date. He pointed out, “When you go on a first date with someone, do you tell them how wonderful you are and all the great things you can do, then ask them to marry you? Probably not.”

It’s easy to see what this has to do with marketing. Some marketers are disappointed when brilliant marketing schemes don’t have immediate ROI or blogs or social media sites with lots of followers don’t have a dramatic, measurable influence on revenue. The thing is, as Kocek said, “Entrepreneurs tend to forget . . . that the first shot isn’t there only shot.”

Marketing is like a slinky

Another interesting comparison comes from Moxie Marketing, which suggests marketers think of online marketing as a slinky. Contributor Tamara Macduff explained, “Think about it, the best way to use a slinky is to let it do its thing, naturally, slowly, and one step at a time. Online marketing works the same way.”

Macduff’s point is that introducing, improving, or increasing online marketing won’t necessarily make huge leaps in ROI all at once. And in fact, it won’t solve all your marketing problems. The trick, she said, is to work with someone who knows how slinkies (online marketing works) and don’t get frustrated if a little tangling happens along the way. Eventually, you’ll smooth everything out and start making headway.

Marketing is like a circus

This metaphor comprises several aspects of marketing, including how marketers need to maintain good balance, develop the courage to jump into the unknown, and make audience-pleasing their number one priority. Combining all these aspects isn’t easy. Katie Foley, a writer for marketing company Lotus823, said, “Sometimes making these things jive is challenging but when you get it right, the spotlight of success shines brightly on both you and the [company].”

Marketing News brought to you by ClickToCallMarket.com
Source: entrepreneur.com/article/229437

Tags: marketing, marketing metaphor, great marketing, smart marketing, successful marketing, online marketing, ROI


The Beauty of Damaged Things

  Posted by Rick Pieters in Room to Wonder, 22 March 2015 · 7 views

How often we toss away broken, cracked treasures.

I inherited from my grandfather, brought home from his years as a missionary in Korea, a Korean celadon bowl. It had been cracked and chipped, but thought beautiful enough to have been mended. 

With gold.

I don't know its history. But in the veins of gold, I see the value someone placed on this lovely bowl with its clouds and cranes.

What a more beautiful world if we placed such value on damaged beautiful things. And people.

Ourselves, to start.

And everyone else. No one isn't cracked, chipped, injured, broken.

Instead of tossing, why not do what we can, if only with a smile, to mend them with gold. A smile, a hello, a nod of recognition, can be gold.

Let's don't toss away, pass by the damaged. We have gold to give.



Book Thoughts: The Sin Eater’s Daughter

  Posted by Mia K Rose in Mia K Rose | Forsaken Illusion, 22 March 2015 · 8 views

Have you had a chance to read this book? If so, how wou […]



Why Being a Writer is Fun

  Posted by Joe Stephens in My Train of Thought, 21 March 2015 · 33 views

This week is a reminder of all the reasons I'm glad to be a writer and hope to do it for a living someday. And none of them are that I hate my day job!

First of all, I got the opportunity to be interviewed by a terrific guy named Eric Douglas, who has a show called "Writer's Block" on a web radio station named Voices of Appalachia. Last week he posted that he had some slots open for interviews and anyone who was interested should message him. I almost didn't do it because, after all, I'm just a tiny little nobody writer who's probably spent more money on this job than he's actually made through sales. Last week's interview was with our state's poet laureate. Why in the world would he take me? Well, take me he did, and I had a blast. Eric is a great interviewer who immediately set me at ease. He also taught me some things. I hope I didn't sound like a complete moron. We'll find out Monday evening at 7pm. If you're interested in hearing it, go to this link: http://voicesofappalachia.com. If you miss it Monday, it will be available as a podcast by going to the Writer's Block page of the site.

Next, and directly related to something Eric Douglas told me, I now have a new domain name for my website. I am made happy by such silly little things. One of them is that my name is a website domain now. The site itself hasn't changed, but you can now access it by going to joestephenswrites.com. The choosing of the name was an epic unto itself. Some of my AP English students helped me. I went through several possibilities: joestephensauthor.com, authorjoestephens.com, joestephenswriter.com, josephusbohunkus.com, and josephdstephens.com. The only one I tried that wasn't available was just plain joestephens.com. We all went back and forth on the merits of my given name versus the less formal yet more informative joestephens along with my job. And when we decided I should be Joe and not Joseph, what to go with it? Author? Writer? Writes? We all finally agreed that writes sounded the most comfortable. I sat with my finger on the mouse button for a full two minutes before I could bring myself to click the button, though. This was a big decision. Hopefully, this was going to be the link to my site for a long time, so I needed to choose wisely. I finally bought the domain and felt not an iota of buyer's remorse.

And finally, today I get to meet some people and tell them about my books. I enjoy book signings because it gives me a chance to do something I do well--talk. I like it when people I know come out to support me, but I really hope to meet several new folks and let them know who I am and what I do. I hope I can convince them to give my writing a try. Who knows--maybe they'll become fans. Even better, maybe they'll become friends.

So you have lots of ways to be in touch with me this week. You can listen to my interview, you can go to my website with its shiny new domain name, and you can come see me at the Vienna Public Library today (March 21) from 2pm to 3pm. While you're at my website, by the way, don't forget to sign up to be on my mailing list! Everyone on my list will soon receive a free preview of the first four chapters of my upcoming new title, Kisses and Lies. And other freebies will appear in your inbox from time to time, such as short stories and maybe even a discount or two.



Review and Interview Planned with John Byk of Writers Alive

  Posted by Deb Borys in Debra R. Borys, 20 March 2015 · 64 views

Originally posted on BOX OF RAIN: another STREET STORIES suspense novel:
John Byk of Writers Alive has been on my mailing list since he did a podcast interview of me for the release of Painted Black back in 2011. When…



W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Sarah Henning

  Posted by Amy Trueblood in Amy Trueblood's Blog, 18 March 2015 · 29 views

    “No query or pitch is ever perfect on the first draft.” I love this line from today’s W.O.W. with Sarah Henning. Sometimes we think we can get it all done in one attempt, but as Sarah points out “there’s always tweaking to be done.” The key thing to remember is revision is important. It […]



#nestpitch 2015!

Posted by jadah in The Query Faerie, 12 March 2015 · 54 views

Hi everyone! I want to announce #nestpitch 2015! I’ll be slush reading in this agented Twitter contest, and I CAN’T WAIT to see some awesome entries that will blow me away. Submission is April 1st, and below is just a general overview. I’ll be posting updates as the sub time gets closer.

A full list of dates, rules and conditions will be posted on the 23rd / 24th of March. For now just remember March 23rd /24th and April 1st.

The submission consists of:
(i) 35-word pitch
(ii) Answer to this question: If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be? (no more than 15 words please)
(iii) 1st 300-words of your manuscript*

*1st 300 = if you have a prologue, then your 1st 300 starts from your prologue. If you don’t think your prologue is strong enough then perhaps you need to rethink your prologue.
Finish at the end of a sentence. This is 300-word MAX, so your last word is 300-words. If your sentence finishes on 292-words, submit that. If your sentences run into 30 or more words, then rethink the length of your sentence(s). Broken sentences do no one favours.

This year we will not be accepting PB’s – I have something special planned for PB’s (and perhaps MG’s) for December 2015 assuming I can get all my ducks in a row.

Two things to add/note:

(1) A condition of entry is any MS #pitch submitted to previous #pitches, which resulted in being selected, in the twelve months prior to April 2015, is ineligible. The only sub-clause to this is #PitchSlam. Please let us know if you have the same MS in #PitchSlam & #Nestpitch, and again if you’ve been selected. I have spoken to the Host of PitchSlam & we’ve agreed to work closely on this one.

(2) This year there will be less final selection featured pitches. (Expecting final number to be around 40). With each Team concentrating on fewer submissions, we can be more hands-on with feedback and mentoring. By doing this, not only will the pitch + 300-words be stronger, but so will the entire MS. This year there will be rounds.

a. Round #1: Last year I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt when errors were made in following guidelines. That will not be the case this year, aside from formatting issues (which happen). To get past #1 the author’s must be able to follow guidelines.

b. Round #2: This year each Team will select an initial 5-8 submissions and then request more pages/material. Based on the additional pages/material, each Team will drill their selection down to between 4-5 to go to the next round

c. Round #3: On having picked their final 4-5, each Team will then critique the first 2,500-words and ‘get to know’ the author(s). This is a 3-fold process. Being selected does not necessarily mean being featured. Teams will want to know the author(s) are willing to accept feedback etc. The Teams will work with their author’s for 3 weeks, offering feedback, sharpening pitches, & suggesting improvements. After this, the author’s have a full week to re-read their MS in full & make any final changes; before the agent round.

Just a general overview. For more information and to stay updated about dates and agents involved please follow the #nestpitch blog.


Join my campaign against female characters who blush!

Posted by Selene Bell in Confessions of a Binge Reader, 12 March 2015 · 52 views

I don’t write characters who blush. Once upon a time, it was the shorthand in YA novels and romances for females who are shy or bashful but who (at least secretly) like having someone push their boundaries. That’s a lot of meaning for a little blood rushing to someone’s cheeks, and authors big and small have used it. For example, R.J. Prescott’s The Hurricane, a recent novel that I liked, includes this:

“I already told you how intimidating you looked with them all. I’m not like those other girls you were with, O’Connell. I never will be.”

He looked like he was in pain as he stared hard at me. I couldn’t take the heat from that stare and dropped my eyes to the ground as I felt my cheeks colouring.

“I know you’re not, sunshine,” he responded sadly.

See? Innocence. There are several reasons this hasn’t been showing up so much in stories these days. First, the push for diverse main characters means fewer ivory-skinned, blush-prone protagonists grace our pages.

Second, leading ladies who start with this kind of naivety have become more rare as readers’ tastes have changed. Today, instead of perfect, readers like myself prefer more real-world characters, partly because it’s easier to identify with their flaws. That’s not to say a person with real-world flaws can’t blush, but it does kind of go against the innocent archetype.

Third, because this shorthand was used for so long so successfully, it’s become almost cliché. Take for example, the famous Bella Swan from Twilight, who repeatedly deals with things like this:

She’d had enough with the single syllable answers. “How much do you like him?”

“Too much,” I whispered back. “More than he likes me. But I don’t see how I can help that.” I sighed, one blush blending into the next.

Writers intent on doing something new will automatically reject the kind of character trait that feels too comfortable. But I also have a personal reason for not writing characters who blush. I have fair skin and blush easily, and it sucks. When I was young, people (worse, boys) could read my emotions by the color of my cheeks. I got red-faced when I exercised, so my coaches always pulled me out of games before I was ready to go, because I looked tired even though I wasn’t. As an adult, I blush in work meetings when questioned or challenged, simply because my heart rate picks up, not because I’m not 100 percent confident of what I’m saying. And worst of all, these years of repeatedly blushing have caused rosacea, a condition that can make the skin of my face irritated and painful.

When I read a character blushing in a novel, my first thought is “Oh, that poor girl. She’s going to need a good dermatologist.” Which is not what the author wants me to be thinking. Trust me, for people with my skin tone, a blush is never simple, and it’s certainly not sweet or cute.

So the next time you’re tempted to make your character blush, take pity on her future face, and find another way to say what you mean. The fair-skinned people of the world will thank you.



Because I Say So...

  Posted by K McClelland in Teardrops On My Book, 04 March 2015 · 50 views

I'm going to get back to things, it will happen, I'm working on it...And it will happen because I say so. That never works with my kids, but I'm going to go with it here. Only because it's something that can work in this situation. I have things I want and things I need to do to get the things I want and so only I can do it. I have to say so for it to happen.

Here's March, already. It happened way too fast. I'm just not ready for another year to just zoom past like the last several. I want time to slow down, only because I really want it to stop and I know that won't happen so I'll settle for a minor ease up on the gas pedal.

But, until that happens I'm here, in March, wondering if I'll be letting another month woosh past me with not a single writerly thing to show for it. Guess that all just means I'm feeling a bit insecure this month. Hopefully I won't soon. I want to have so many posts in a row, month after month, about how awesome writerly life is. But, my daughters are still homeschooling it, my youngest is right smack in the middle of competition season in gymnastics, and I'm still helping my parents out all the time on top of spending three days a week at the gymnastics place. So, not sure how secure things are going to get. If anything, I should probably just be hoping for things to not be so crazy and then work on the security once I've got that handled.

Nah, who am I kidding? If I lost the crazy, I wouldn't be a writer. :P

That's okay though. I'm starting to like it all a little. I would love to wake up and have a whole day of relaxing, but I know I can't right now and I'm okay with that. We'll just have to see what March and April bring and go from there. Who knows what may happen.

Until next time, make sure you're in the know on everything awesomely Alex(J. Cavanaugh) and this spectacular little Insecure Writer's Support Group we've got happening here.

See you later. Have an awesome day, y'all. :)


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