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New Podcast Episode: THE PROS OF CONS Authors On Co-Authoring & Loving Con Life

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 12 March 2018 · 79 views

Today on the podcast I'm excited to bring you my first ever group chat episode featuring co-authors Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar and Michelle Schusterman who joined me to talk about the inspiration for their upcoming release, THE PROS OF CONS, as well as the co-authoring experience and lots of information about taxidermy.<br /><br /><iframe data-link="[url="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/dnxd9-8d0ba8?from=yiiadmin"]https://www.podbean.com/media/player/dnxd9-8d0ba8?from=yiiadmin[/url]" data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/dnxd9-8d0ba8?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe><br /><br />In other news, I want to thank everyone who reached out over Twitter and Facebook to wish my Panda kitty the best. He was diagnosed last week with both feline leukemia as well as a lymphoid tumor in his lung. We have begun chemotherapy and I'm happy to report that he is doing well so far. I was gone most of the week at SEYA in Murfreesboro, TN, but I was kept well informed on how my big guy was doing, by my other big guy, the boyfriend.<br /><br />This week I'm taking off again for NYC, so further good hopes and wishes for Mr. Panda Bear are much appreciated.<br /><br />In other (and happier) news, <a [url="href="]href="http://mindymcginnis.com/news.html"[/url] target="_blank">I've updated my appearances page!</a> So, if you're looking to run into me anytime soon, these would be good places to try:<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zLWymhWV9Eg/WqX8lJhrDII/AAAAAAAAEOA/_J_sBSVS01EG8R9BjGBez9qpkpIJgZqdwCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2018-03-12%2Bat%2B12.05.04%2BAM.png"[/url] imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="250" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zLWymhWV9Eg/WqX8lJhrDII/AAAAAAAAEOA/_J_sBSVS01EG8R9BjGBez9qpkpIJgZqdwCK4BGAYYCw/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2018-03-12%2Bat%2B12.05.04%2BAM.png"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Also, GIVEN TO THE SEA <a [url="href="]href="https://www.amazon.com/Given-Sea-Duet-Mindy-McGinnis/dp/0399544623/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1520827585&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=given+to+the+sea"[/url] target="_blank">releases in paperback tomorrow!</a>&nbsp;The paperback edition includes the first four chapters of GIVEN TO THE EARTH, so if you'd like a sneak peak - get in on that.</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tJyFg5hhY5g/WqX8927K3bI/AAAAAAAAEOI/VKxr0ygUhtwUf2I_OmDIF_dqpLll8ug9QCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/51kPfwMB%252B2L._SX331_BO1%252C204%252C203%252C200_.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="640" [url="src="]src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tJyFg5hhY5g/WqX8927K3bI/AAAAAAAAEOI/VKxr0ygUhtwUf2I_OmDIF_dqpLll8ug9QCK4BGAYYCw/s640/51kPfwMB%252B2L._SX331_BO1%252C204%252C203%252C200_.jpg"[/url] width="426" /></a></div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/new-podcast-episode-pros-of-cons.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/new-podcast-episode-pros-of-cons.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 10 March 2018 · 58 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://rclewisbooks.com/"]http://rclewisbooks.com/[/url]" target="_blank">RC Lewis</a>&nbsp;and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/p/query-critiques.html">shoot[/url] us an email.</a><br /><a [url="href="]href="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/p/query-critiques.html"><br[/url] /></a><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s400/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] width="247" /></a>We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to&nbsp;punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.<br /><br />If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/"[/url] target="_blank">AgentQueryConnect</a>. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br />Arcad is an island-kingdom where the word Possession has a singular meaning. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Meaning that <i>possession</i> only has one meaning? I get that's what you're saying, but (ironically) the word <i>singular</i> has more than one meaning so this is a slightly confusing hook.</span>&nbsp;The Possessed are taken forcibly to King Treista’s castle, a journey from which no one returns, dead or alive. Ten years ago, apprentice-potter Kumi’s brother was Possessed and her grief-stricken mother took her own life. When her father too is taken to Treista’s castle, Kumi determines to discover his fate with the help of Lillian of Sallika, the greatest living witch. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Okay, not bad. But I did get a little giggle out of referring to her as a living witch, as opposed to... a dead one?</span><br /><br />Kumi arrives in Sallika to find the city-state in upheaval. A plebiscite <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I'm a pretty smart person, but I had to Google <i>plebiscite. </i>The simpler your query, the better. A power hungry priest has taken leadership? Okay</span>&nbsp;has catapulted a demagogic priest into power. Witches and mages are arrested by authorities and murdered by mobs. Resistance is impossible because using magic to harm humans is the ultimate taboo. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">But can't they resist without using magic?&nbsp;</span><br /><br />Kumi’s need gives Lillian a way out. Together they journey to Arcad where Lillian uncovers what what Possession means. King Treista plans to conquer the world through a system of mind-control. Lillian realizes that stopping him is the greater priority, especially since Kumi's father has become a minister to the king. Kumi, though, cares nothing about saving worlds. She just wants to take her father home. If Lillian is not willing to help her, she will try on her own, even if it means putting herself, Lillian and their world in peril.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">So, the thing that's not working here is that the middle paragraph appears to have nothing to do with the rest of the plot, other than being the reason why Lillian is willing to leave Sallika to go with Kumi. If what's going on in Sallika has any plot tie to the King and Possession, that needs to be clarified. If it doesn't, even mentioning the plebiscite, the priest, and the magical purge, only takes word space away from the real plot - Arcad, the King, Kumi's father, etc. - which honestly, could use a little more oomph.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is there friction between Lilian and Kumi because of their differing goals and motivations? Is Kumi terrified about what's going on, or is she marching off with her chin in the air and her hand in a fist? Use your query to get small clues about character as well as plot involved.</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-saturday-slash_10.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-saturday-slash_10.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: HURRICANE CHILD by Kheryn Callender

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 09 March 2018 · 53 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1500877258l/32056397.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1500877258l/32056397.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="317" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1500877258l/32056397.jpg"[/url] width="213" /></a></div>Twelve-year-old Caroline is a Hurricane Child, born on Water Island during a storm. Coming into this world during a hurricane is unlucky, and Caroline has had her share of bad luck already. She's hated by everyone in her small school, she can see things that no one else can see, and -- worst of all -- her mother left home one day and never came back. With no friends and days filled with heartache, Caroline is determined to find her mother. When a new student, Kalinda, arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, seems to see the things Caroline sees, too. Joined by their common gift, Kalinda agrees to help Caroline look for her mother, starting with a mysterious lady dressed in black. Soon, they discover the healing power of a close friendship between girls.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b302" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b302/"[/url] id="rcwidget_obod069i" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>[/url]

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/book-talk-arc-giveaway-hurricane-child.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/book-talk-arc-giveaway-hurricane-child.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Randy Ribay On Plots That Shift While Drafting

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 08 March 2018 · 61 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.<br /><br />Today's guest is Randy Ribay,&nbsp;Randy Ribay is the author of the contemporary YA novels <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31179039-after-the-shot-drops"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31179039-after-the-shot-drops[/url]" target="_blank">AFTER THE SHOT DROPS</a> (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) and <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24266809-an-infinite-number-of-parallel-universes?ac=1&amp;from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES</a> (Merit Press/Simon &amp; Schuster, 2015). He's also a high school English teacher, reader, gamer, watcher of great TV, husband, and father of two dog-children. He can probably be found somewhere making lightsaber sound effects with his mouth.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1502746493l/31179039.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="317" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1502746493l/31179039.jpg"[/url] width="213" /></a></div><b>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?</b><br /><br /><i>Sports were a major part of my teen years, so I’ve always wanted to tell a story that explored some aspect of high school athletics. At the same time, I didn’t want to tell the standard sports story which focuses on the star athlete and their path to the championship. As such, I decided to write instead about two best friends and what happens to their friendship when one experiences success while the other does not.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>I had a vague idea of the climactic scene before I started writing, but I didn’t know how I was going to get there exactly. Drafting, then, was a process of finding the plot beats that would get my characters into that situation.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?</b><br /><br /><i>It definitely shifted as I drafted and in each round of revisions, which I think always happens to me. Because as I get deeper into the story, I understand the characters better. Suddenly, actions or decisions I planned for them suddenly don’t make logical or emotional sense for their character anymore.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>When I’m in brainstorming mode, it’s pretty easy for me to find those ideas. But I really do have to approach the world hunting for inspiration. If I’m not in that mindset—like when I’m trying to hit a deadline—then I might not add anything to my running list of ideas for weeks.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?</b><br /><br /><i>I go with the one that is the “stickiest.” By that, I mean the idea that my mind naturally keeps drifting back to whenever I’m bored. When an idea feels “sticky” for months or even years, that’s an indication that I’m interested in the story enough to spend (probably) several years developing it.&nbsp;&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>I have 8 cats (seriously, check my Instagram feed) and I usually have at least one or two snuggling with me when I write. Do you have a writing buddy, or do you find it distracting?</b><br /><br /><i>I do have two dogs, and they love to cuddle. But since I’m an early morning writer, they’re usually still in the warm bed snuggled against my wife while I’m left working alone in the predawn darkness. It’s very sad for me.&nbsp;</i><br /><div><br /></div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/randy-ribay-on-plots-that-shift-while.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/randy-ribay-on-plots-that-shift-while.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Author Abbie Fine On Writing A Book 20 Years In The Making

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 06 March 2018 · 34 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.<br /><br />Abbie Fine is the author of <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37053510-the-last-first-daughter?ac=1&amp;from_search=true"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37053510-the-last-first-daughter?ac=1&amp;from_search=true[/url]" target="_blank">THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER</a>, and has directed more than 20 professional theatre productions. She works full-time as a nonprofit manager, supporting local arts and culture organizations. She currently works to enhance a large public library system and loves working with librarians, publishers, and authors.<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1512754032l/37053510.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="317" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1512754032l/37053510.jpg"[/url] width="213" /></a></div><br /><b>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?</b><br /><br /><i>The kernel of the idea for THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER came to me 20 years ago! I was 12 when the ANASTASIA cartoon movie came out. I developed a huge crush on Dimitri (my first crush!) and I thought the story was fascinating. Way back then, I had the idea that the story would be so much cooler if Anastasia knew she was a princess, but was going around in disguise. Then she’s asked to pretend to be the missing princess, but she doesn’t reveal her true identity right away. I guess I’ve always liked heroines who control their own destiny!</i><br /><br /><i>I’ve had many story ideas in the past two decades, but somehow this idea really stuck with me. I didn’t start drafting it until more than 16 years after getting the idea, when it was the right time for me to tackle it. My lesson learned? Don’t dismiss those “wouldn’t it be cool” ideas, no matter how or when they come!</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>In the 20 years since getting this story idea, I didn’t pursue writing—I became a professional theatre director, with a particular interest in the works of Shakespeare (total Shakespeare nerd here!). My favorite play is AS YOU LIKE IT, mainly because I love the heroine, Rosalind. She’s smart and complicated and sets her own course. One day I realized the play uses the same plot device as in my Anastasia-inspired idea. So that’s how my main character Rosalind (Lindy) was born, and how I built a lot of the plot. I stole from the best! I borrowed elements from the play that I loved and discarded others that weren’t as exciting to me. This helped get me through those stuck moments in the drafting process, even if plot points later changed during revisions.</i><br /><br /><i>You never know when your deep study of the classics will pull you through creative projects!</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?</b><br /><br /><i>The path of THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER changed many times throughout the process. I had been thinking of this as a “princess story” for two decades, but when I started putting characters to paper, it didn’t feel quite right. It turns out I was more interested in the unique challenges of present-day, so Lindy became a contemporary version of a princess—the First Daughter. It felt more relevant to have Lindy’s mother as President (rather than Queen) and gave me a chance to tackle some themes about technology. The setting became even more relevant as the years progressed (when I started drafting, our current administration hadn’t even announced a run for office).</i><br /><br /><i>I also found myself adding more obstacles in Lindy’s way as I put words on paper. Why would I make it too easy for my characters? That’s no fun!</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>I tend to stay fairly focused on my current creative endeavors, so I don’t have new story ideas to jot down weekly or even monthly. I do have several ideas in the queue, and I find I’m most inspired by some unique experiences I’m lucky to have. Write what you know, yes? My husband is a private pilot and we enjoy the hobby together—I’m dying to write a story about a teenage girl pilot.</i><br /><br /><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?</b><br /><br /><i>With my background in theatre, I use the same method in writing that I do in directing. When choosing a play to direct I ask myself two main questions: why this play now, and what is there to enjoy in this play? The “why this story now” question looks at why it might be important for this story to be told, today, in the current climate. Writing and publishing takes so long, I don’t mean writing to a specific trend or current event. But I do mean finding bigger themes that feel relevant. For THE LAST FIRST DAUGHTER, I wanted to write about a girl engineer who isn’t naturally the best leader, but works really hard at it—with her friends—to make change.</i><br /><br /><i>With the “what is there to enjoy in this story” question, I want to make sure there are elements that I think readers will find fun and, more importantly, that I will love writing. In my new manuscript, I’ve included a magic system based on the arts just because I love art. If I’m going to be working with a story for multiple years, I want to be passionate about it. I think this leads to a better end result, too.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>I have 8 cats (seriously, check my Instagram feed) and I usually have at least one or two snuggling with me when I write. Do you have a writing buddy, or do you find it distracting?</b><br /><br /><i>I don’t have any furry friends, but I’m having a baby girl this year—my first! She’ll be my snuggly writing buddy, and my inspiration. We’ll make it work! For now, my preference is listening to music while I write. My favorite is Lindsey Stirling and her badass violin. Her music has great energy, but not many lyrics to distract. Highly recommend!</i><br /><br />

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/author-abbie-fine-on-writing-book-20.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2018/03/author-abbie-fine-on-writing-book-20.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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New Podcast Episode With Tricia Springstubb PLUS - ARC Giveaways for GIVEN TO THE EARTH and DREAD NATION!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 05 March 2018 · 24 views

A new episode of the podcast is up, featuring fellow Ohio author Tricia Springstubb, who was one of my first guests on the blog all the way back in <a href="[url="https://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2011/03/interview-with-tricia-springstubb-sat.html"]https://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2011/03/interview-with-tricia-springstubb-sat.html[/url]" target="_blank">March of 2011</a>. In this episode, Tricia joined me to talk about&nbsp;the transition of changing from being a lover of stories to a writer of them, and why she writes for the age groups she does, how she takes real life inspiration and uses them in her fiction, and the challenge of writing chapter books for the readers who are in between picture books and novels.<br /><br /><iframe [url="data-link="]data-link="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/dsc52-8c46cf?from=yiiadmin"[/url] data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/dsc52-8c46cf?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">And - there's a giveaway running right now for advance copies of GIVEN TO THE EARTH!</span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1501084239l/34859900.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="317" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1501084239l/34859900.jpg"[/url] width="213" /></a></div><b>Duty, fate, desire, and destiny collide in this intricately wrought tale.</b><br /><br />Although she was born to save the kingdom by sacrificing herself to the rising sea, Khosa's marriage to King Vincent has redeemed her. As the Queen of Stille, she's untouchable. But being Queen hasn't stopped her heart from longing for the King's stepbrother, Donil. And it hasn't stopped her body from longing for the sea itself, which still calls for her.<br /><br />While Khosa is made to choose between loyalty and love, Dara is on a mission for vengeance. Years ago, the Pietra slaughtered the entire Indiri race, leaving only Dara and her twin, Donil, alive. Now, spurned by King Vincent, Dara has embarked on a mission to spill the blood of Pietra's leader, Witt, and will stop at nothing to show his people the wrath of the last Indiri.<br /><br />As the waves crash ever closer to Stille, secrets are revealed, hearts are won and lost, and allegiances change like the shifting sand.<br /><i><br /></i> <i>"The end of the world is nigh, and the characters from Given to the Sea (2017) must decide how to meet it. The distinct perspectives shine, and the harsh-yet-hopeful conclusion ensures this duology doesn’t succumb to the tired trope of happily-ever-after, making this a worthwhile read." - <a [url="href="]href="https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mindy-mcginnis/given-to-the-earth/"[/url] target="_blank">Kirkus, starred review&nbsp;</a></i><br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b301" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b301/"[/url] id="rcwidget_ionzasyi" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">AND there's a giveaway running for DREAD NATION by Justina Ireland!</span><br /><br /><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1497900615l/30223025.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="314" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1497900615l/30223025.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a>Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.<br /><br />But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b294" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b294/"[/url] id="rcwidget_obe07232" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script><br[/url] />

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 03 March 2018 · 51 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://rclewisbooks.com/"]http://rclewisbooks.com/[/url]" target="_blank">RC Lewis</a>&nbsp;and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/p/query-critiques.html">shoot[/url] us an email.</a><br /><a [url="href="]href="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/p/query-critiques.html"><br[/url] /></a><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s400/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] width="247" /></a>We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to&nbsp;punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.<br /><br />If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/"[/url] target="_blank">AgentQueryConnect</a>. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">green</span>.<br /><br />Alliances are fragile, especially between galaxies. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I think we need a little more bite for the hook.&nbsp;</span>Lilavata Dewa hates space. More than that, she hates being Raejina. At seventeen, she was thrust into the position after her mother’s sudden passing, and now needs to appear to be the leader her planet deserves, despite her lack of training. Instead of enjoying her lush planet, she must attend the Intergalactic Peace Summit. There she must accomplish two things: protect her planet’s power source and keep her mother’s darkest secret about an unknown galaxy, one that’s been whispering of an interstellar war. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Okay, not a bad start. I do think we need to know what the power source is, and why it's in need of protection, and how an unknown galaxy can threaten interstellar war. That's something that can come later, just making a note of it here.</span><br /><br />Mako Nakamura, youngest Captain in Earth’s intergalactic fleet, knows his destiny. He will be General, better yet, he’ll be the youngest and most decorated General in history. However, his recently botched mission threatens that destiny, and now he’ll do anything to prove himself. His only option lies in an off-the-record mission: kidnap the Raejina of Chandra and locate her planet’s power source.<br /><br />Though Mako succeeds in securing the Raejina, he doesn’t account for her impulsive actions. She sends a distress call to nearby ships, accidentally alerting the Slaver planet <span style="color: #6aa84f;">this is a previously unmentioned planet with no relation to either of them?</span>&nbsp;to their position. As if crash landing <span style="color: #6aa84f;">why did the crash?</span> on a hostile planet wasn’t trouble enough, Lila receives a message from the unknown galaxy: their fleet is headed for her home planet and they expect full cooperation. Realizing that they must work together to break free <span style="color: #6aa84f;">from who?</span>, Mako and Lila make a truce. With his military knowledge and her unprecedented instincts, they manage to evade slavery, and even find enough middle ground to exchange information about each other’s governments. But as unveiled truths reveal deep rooted lies both their leaders fed them, Mako struggles with his grasp on destiny while Lila will have to decide whether to trust the enemy she knows or stand alone against the enemy she doesn’t.<br /><br />BETWEEN BRIGHT STARS is a YA science-fiction fantasy complete at 80,000 words. It is DEFY THE STARS meets EMPRESS OF A THOUSAND SKIES, and is the first in a planned duology. I have an MFA in creative writing from the Red Earth MFA Program at Oklahoma City University and am an active member of SCBWI. My flash fiction has been published in Mock Orange Magazine.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Great bio!</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Overall I think this is a good query, but it might be trying to do a little too much. When querying SF or fantasy it's easy to overload world building and proper names into the query, which can quickly make it a mire. I'd eliminate mentions of a planet that doesn't seem to have a connection to either one of them, by simply identifying it as "hostile" and that they have to band together to survive, in the course of which their previous allegiances... from there, you've got it.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Not bad at all, just get some of the unnecessary information out, and more necessary information in, such as why the power source of her planet is such a big deal, and how a completely unknown galaxy has the power to cause such a panic</span>

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GIVEN TO THE EARTH Advance Copies - Giveaway!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 02 March 2018 · 79 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1501084239l/34859900.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1501084239l/34859900.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="317" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1501084239l/34859900.jpg"[/url] width="213" /></a></div><b>Duty, fate, desire, and destiny collide in this intricately wrought tale.</b><br /><br />Although she was born to save the kingdom by sacrificing herself to the rising sea, Khosa's marriage to King Vincent has redeemed her. As the Queen of Stille, she's untouchable. But being Queen hasn't stopped her heart from longing for the King's stepbrother, Donil. And it hasn't stopped her body from longing for the sea itself, which still calls for her.<br /><br />While Khosa is made to choose between loyalty and love, Dara is on a mission for vengeance. Years ago, the Pietra slaughtered the entire Indiri race, leaving only Dara and her twin, Donil, alive. Now, spurned by King Vincent, Dara has embarked on a mission to spill the blood of Pietra's leader, Witt, and will stop at nothing to show his people the wrath of the last Indiri.<br /><br />As the waves crash ever closer to Stille, secrets are revealed, hearts are won and lost, and allegiances change like the shifting sand.<br /><i><br /></i> <i>"The end of the world is nigh, and the characters from Given to the Sea (2017) must decide how to meet it. The distinct perspectives shine, and the harsh-yet-hopeful conclusion ensures this duology doesn’t succumb to the tired trope of happily-ever-after, making this a worthwhile read." - <a [url="href="]href="https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mindy-mcginnis/given-to-the-earth/"[/url] target="_blank">Kirkus, starred review&nbsp;</a></i><br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b301" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b301/"[/url] id="rcwidget_ionzasyi" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>[/url]

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Wednesday WOLF

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 28 February 2018 · 40 views

<div style="margin: 0px;">I'm a nerd. I'm in fact such a big nerd that I tend to look up word origins in my spare time because I'm fascinated by our language. The odder the origin, the better. I've got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications.</div><div style="margin: 0px;"><br /></div><div style="margin: 0px;">In any case, I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of the new acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field - that's right, the WOLF. Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.<br /><br />Today, I want to talk to you about the cut of your jib.<br /><br />Every heard someone say they don't like the cut of someone else's jib?<br /><br /><a href="[url="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JQ8apx-KAbg/WpMWROrQ74I/AAAAAAAAENA/XnDiR_1MQbU_WEkBavYIgrwt8kg64FkagCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/jib.jpg"]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JQ8apx-KAbg/WpMWROrQ74I/AAAAAAAAENA/XnDiR_1MQbU_WEkBavYIgrwt8kg64FkagCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/jib.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-JQ8apx-KAbg/WpMWROrQ74I/AAAAAAAAENA/XnDiR_1MQbU_WEkBavYIgrwt8kg64FkagCK4BGAYYCw/s400/jib.jpg"[/url] /></a>It means that a negative first impression has been made, and we know that because of context clues and the general delivery. But - what's a jib, anyway?<br /><br />Interestingly, we get this little gem from sailing (we actually get a lot of phrases from the high seas - more to come). The <i>jib</i> is a triangular sail on the front of a ship, and most were shaped in accordance with the nationality of the ship. Therefore, other sailors could tell where this ship was hailing from, and subsequently whether this was someone they wanted to avoid or not.</div>

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Lyn-Miller Lachmann On The Gods Of Publishing - Who May Smile On You, Or May Not

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 27 February 2018 · 43 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.<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1418364079l/6024036.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1418364079l/6024036.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="312" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1418364079l/6024036.jpg"[/url] width="210" /></a>Today's guest for the WHAT is Lyn-Miller Lachmann, the author of three novels for teens—<br />Gringolandia (Curbstone Press, 2009), Rogue (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen, 2013), and Surviving Santiago (Running Press, 2015)—and the translator of five picture books from Portuguese to English.<br /><br />Both Gringolandia and Surviving Santiago were chosen as Best Children’s Books by the Bank Street College of Education; Gringolandia was also selected for the ALA/YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list and was an Américas Award Honor Book. Rogue was a Junior Library Guild selection. Her translations have been selected for lists by Kirkus, the Boston Globe, Fuse 8 Productions, USBBY, and CCBC Choices. She blogs about travel, diversity, and writing <a [url="href="]href="http://www.lynmillerlachmann.com/"[/url] target="_blank">at her site.</a><br /><b><br /></b><b>I</b><b>deas 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?</b><br /><br /><i>I have a lot of books—published, unpublished, and self-published. My debut trad-published novel, Gringolandia, was inspired by a friend who’d become reacquainted with his teenage son after many years of forced separation due to a military coup and dictatorship. Other books have come from my travels and living in Portugal part of each year. I write a blog that touches on various topics, but most of my readers come to it seeking information on travel to Portugal and beyond. My YA novel currently on submission grew out of the year I was hired to cover the fortieth anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, which ended 48 years of dictatorship and brought about the country’s first stable democracy. My current work-in-progress was inspired by a TV miniseries that ran while I was living in Europe, which I reviewed on my blog. And a blog post about traveling through Austria in search of a cake that my grandmother made when I was young led to a write-for-hire assignment for a chapter book that’s coming out this year.</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>My typical approach to the historical fiction is to start with real people and to create fictional characters based on them. Because I write about ordinary people in history rather than the elite, not much is known about each individual. My goal is to breathe life into individuals who were not rich and famous—not the Chosen Ones—to show the dignity and heroism of their lives and how they in their own ways changed the course of history. For instance, Daniel, my protagonist in Gringolandia, is on the sidelines of the democracy struggle in Chile because he lives in exile with his mother and sister in the United States while his father is a political prisoner. But when his father is released and rejoins the family, Daniel has to choose whether to help his father, disabled with PTSD, adjust to life in his new home and build a relationship with his father, or to help smuggle his father back into Chile to continue the fight, even though it means he may never see his father again.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?</b><br /><br /><i>I’ve never had my plot firmly in place. I start with characters, their situations and wants, and as they develop, I build the story around them. Generally, in lieu of a plot, I have a general idea of the ending (which can often change, as it did in Gringolandia’s companion, Surviving Santiago), and the key plot points. But I like my characters to surprise me. If they don’t and I’m just marching along to the beat of an outline, I lose interest.</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>After my second novel, Rogue, came out in 2013, I had a huge drought of ideas masked by the fact that Surviving Santiago, which I wrote long before Rogue, sold the year after and came out in 2015. I stalled out trying to turn a short story I wrote ten years earlier into an entire novel only to realize after a few rejections and many more no responses from editors that the characters and plot were too thin for a novel despite some of the best dialogue I’ve ever written. At that point, I acknowledged to myself that I didn’t have the popular culture knowledge or interest to write contemporary YA, and history has always been my love anyway. I’m now working on a thematic series of historical novels that draw from personal connections like my friendship with the Chilean musician that inspired Gringolandia and the post on the Carnation Revolution. If you read my blog, you may guess what’s next, but it also may be like searching for a needle in a haystack because I blog a lot. It’s my #1 means of self-expression.</i><br /><br /><i>And that brings me to a point I’d like to make for aspiring authors. Sometimes the publishing gods smile on you, and sometimes they don’t. When you have one, two, three manuscripts out there that haven’t found an agent or a publisher, it’s easy to question your ideas or the quality of your writing. I’ve had a run of foul luck lately, mostly related to smaller publishers going out of business or selling to larger entities and changing their focus, so I’m in start-over mode right now. In the meantime, my blog gives my writing a robust public presence and, hopefully, a decent source of income when I publish my e-book travel guide to Portugal later this year.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>I know blogging isn’t for everyone, but I recommend this approach—or a similar one like writing fanfiction on sites you enjoy or novellas to upload as e-books—to practice your craft, find your audience, and gauge their reaction to your work. Anything that helps you to develop your writing ability and range and connect with a community will help you through the long slog to the moment when it happens. And appreciate the freedom to explore ideas, because until you’re published, you’re not under any pressure. You can experiment with genre, timeline, and point of view. I’ve always wanted to write a novel with a collective protagonist, so I’m using my own exile from publishing to try this, knowing that if it doesn’t work, no one is going to pull my contract and demand their money back.</i><br /><br /><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?</b><br /><br /><i>The characters call me.</i><br /><br /><b>I have 8 cats (seriously, check my Instagram feed) and I usually have at least one or two snuggling with me when I write. Do you have a writing buddy, or do you find it distracting?</b><br /><br /><i>I have my longtime canine companion, Charlie. For a long time, I didn’t write dogs into any of my books, which surprised me considering the important role Charlie has played over the years. However, the novel set in Portugal has two canine characters—a German shepherd named Capitão and a terrier mix named Flor. And my next project is a short story for adult readers in which the protagonist makes an unfortunate choice because of a dog.</i>

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