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Gearing Up For IN A HANDFUL OF DUST Release With Giveaways!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 22 September 2014 · 50 views

Oh boy. So, today is the last day you have to suffer without IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, and tomorrow you can start suffering in all new ways.<br /><br />As a reader myself I know that sometimes you get excited about a book, but the TBR pile is huge, and you never get around to reading the first one. Believe me, I know.<br /><br />So, in order to help you out, I'm pre-celebrating the arrival of IN A HANDFUL OF DUST with some NOT A DROP TO DRINK giveaways.<br /><br />5 E-book copies are up for grabs, as are 5 paperbacks with extra content, including a short story.<br /><br /><a class="rafl" href="[url="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b76/"]http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b76/[/url]" id="rc-2071810b76" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script><br /><br /><a class="rafl" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b77/"[/url] id="rc-2071810b77" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/gearing-up-for-in-handful-of-dust.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/gearing-up-for-in-handful-of-dust.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 September 2014 · 47 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://www.rclewisbooks.com/"]http://www.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, shoot us an email.<br /><br /><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" [url="src="]src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] height="320" 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 />The Prophet's Daughter is a set in a post-apocalyptic world suffering from the consequences of orchestrated murder - an attempt at genocide. Sixteen years after the initial destruction and spread of the disease that ravaged the human race, Arin is thrown headfirst into the world without any skills of her own to keep her alive. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">OK - lots of questions arise here. If there's an attempt at genocide, who specifically was targeted? I assume this is set on Earth, so the question of genocide means you&nbsp;will be saying who was being murdered by whom, which has the possibility of raising sticky questions, at best. Also, is the disease the weapon? Or is this something else that followed on the heels of the human genocide? And why would Arin have no skills to survive? You say that she is "thrown headfirst into the world," so where was she for the 16 years before that?</span>&nbsp;The book follows her journey as she begins to discover the truth of how the world became what it has become and learn the true reason for her parent’s murder.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is a pretty short query, which is good&nbsp;because you have plenty of space to expand and answer all the questions above. As it stands right now this query is too vague -&nbsp;there are tons of already published post-apocs and I'm sure many more hopefuls on the desks of agents and editors. Get the&nbsp;details of what makes yours different and unique into the query.</span><br /><div><br /></div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-saturday-slash_20.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-saturday-slash_20.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Free Swag Pack For Libraries, Classrooms & Bookstores!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 19 September 2014 · 28 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><iframe frameborder="0" height="500" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="[url="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HpeJNVRYeWgVhXLLGdTe-CTopEhRk7vFATRK9asMCYs/viewform?embedded=true"]https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HpeJNVRYeWgVhXLLGdTe-CTopEhRk7vFATRK9asMCYs/viewform?embedded=true[/url]" width="500">Loading...</iframe><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VPUZSdPRNcs/VBwgXVGS49I/AAAAAAAACsI/YGFAtEI_Sdg/s1600/SidebySideBig.jpeg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-VPUZSdPRNcs/VBwgXVGS49I/AAAAAAAACsI/YGFAtEI_Sdg/s1600/SidebySideBig.jpeg"[/url] height="301" width="400" /></a></div><br />

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/free-swag-pack-for-libraries-classrooms.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/free-swag-pack-for-libraries-classrooms.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Thursday Thoughts

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 18 September 2014 · 27 views

Thoughts lately...<br /><br />1) Cut my finger on a can the other day and realized that getting stabbed is probably just awful.<br /><br />2) When you do the, "My name is AIIEEEEEEEEEE....." reference from Splash and nobody gets it, it's incredibly awkward for everyone.<br /><br />3) I have no idea what it's like to live in a non-writer brain. The other day I was having a normal conversation with an acquaintance who had read an ARC of IN A HANDFUL OF DUST and in the middle of the convo she stops and says, "I'm sorry. I just can't help but wonder what you're actually thinking about right now. I feel like it's probably just awful."<br /><br />Well... <i>sometimes</i> it is, yeah.

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/thursday-thoughts.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/thursday-thoughts.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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YA Author Emery Lord On The Second Book Baby

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 16 September 2014 · 32 views

Welcome to another of my fabulous acronym-based interviews. The second novel is no easy feat, and with that in mind I put together a series of questions for debuts who are tackling the second obstacle in their career path. I call it the SNOB - Second Novel Omnipresent Blues. Whether you’re under contract or trying to snag another deal, you’re a professional now, with the pressures of a published novelist compounded with the still-present nagging self-doubt of the noobie.<br /><br /><a href="[url="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vPga_hS9Dfc/U_py2gVIHpI/AAAAAAAAB5k/hzFAmExryH8/s190/authorpic.png"]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vPga_hS9Dfc/U_py2gVIHpI/AAAAAAAAB5k/hzFAmExryH8/s190/authorpic.png[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-vPga_hS9Dfc/U_py2gVIHpI/AAAAAAAAB5k/hzFAmExryH8/s190/authorpic.png"[/url] /></a>Today's guest is <a [url="href="]href="http://www.emerylord.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Emery Lord</a>, a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes that make you feel combustibly alive and also more awkward than you thought was possible. If you're not sure how to pronounce Emery, try slurring the name "Emily," and that will get you really close. Emery's debut,&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="http://www.emerylord.com/2012/04/open-road-summer.html"[/url] target="_blank">OPEN ROAD SUMMER</a>, is available now from Bloomsbury. Her next offering, <a [url="href="]href="http://www.emerylord.com/2012/03/the-start-of-me-you.html"[/url] target="_blank">THE START OF ME AND YOU </a>releases March 21, 2015 from Bloomsbury.<br /><br /><b>Is it hard to leave behind the first novel and focus on the second?</b><br /><br /><i>For me, it wasn't. As daunting as it can be to stare down the blinking cursor of a blank page, I think- I hope- every new project is an opportunity to improve as a writer. I was ready for a fresh start and new voices/themes/settings to play with.</i><br /><br /><b>At what point do you start diverting your energies from promoting your debut and writing / polishing / editing your second?</b><br /><br /><i>You know, I ducked in and out, and I think I'll keep doing that. When drafting was making me crazy, I'd stop and take care of swag, return emails, do guest posts, etc. And when promo felt overwhelming, I'd go back to writing. And, actually, I believe the best promo you can ever do is honing your craft on a second book! So...one in the same sometimes :)</i><br /><br /><b>Your first book landed an agent and an editor, and hopefully some fans. Who are you writing the second one for? Them, or yourself?</b><br /><br /><i>Always myself first. Haha- that sounds terrible on its face! But it's because I can't hope anyone else will even *like* my book if I don't love it. Now that I have an agent and an editor/team of awesome people at my publishing house and readers who I really connect with, I feel all the more passionate about making sure I give them something I believe in.</i><br /><br /><b>Is there a new balance of time management to address once you’re a professional author?</b><br /><br /><i>Absolutely. The main thing is juggling multiple books. Still work to do for released Book 1, promo for Book 2, edits for Book 3 and drafting Book 4. And there are just...so many emails, haha. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance it all! (If anyone has figured this out, give me advice! And coffee. Give me coffee.)</i><br /><br /><b>What did you do differently the second time around, with the perspective of a published author?</b><br /><br /><i>I did two things differently. First, I used my "perspective of a published author" to make a huge rookie mistake. I was editing my second book while being publicly reviewed for the first time. And I kept letting those voices in- which was paralyzing. I could hardly make choices about my writing because I kept subconsciously lingering on what people would ultimately say. But, then, it finally clicked for me- the actual perspective of a published author that I needed: people are going to criticize me no matter what I write. So I might as well write balls-to-the-walls about the things I care about most. That's what I did differently for my third book. *shoots pistols into the air* No regrets.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/ya-author-emery-lord-on-second-book-baby.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/ya-author-emery-lord-on-second-book-baby.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Of All The Books In All The Stores & Libraries In All The World...

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 15 September 2014 · 42 views

I get dizzy when I go into bookstores and libraries. Physically dizzy.<br /><br />Granted, I do have vertigo but I don't think that's necessarily what sets me off every time. I think it's the limitless possibilities I see in front of me, the stacks and piles of books that I couldn't plow through in an entire lifetime even if I dedicated every minute that I have to just reading.<br /><br />And yes, there's an element of bittersweetness to that. I'm highly aware that I won't ever make it through my TBR pile, and that if my tombstone listed all the books I wanted to read but didn't get to it would be bigger than the Washington Monument. That makes me a little bit sad, but it's also a testament to the nearly inexhaustible choices all readers have.<br /><br />And of all those books, quite a few of you have picked me.<br /><br />Awwwww....<br /><br />No, seriously. I'm not lying when I say that I sometimes walk into bookstores with full intent to find my stock and sign it, then I end up browsing, reading, lounging, buying, and walking back out having never even glanced at my own book. And I'm the author.<br /><br />So HUGE thanks to everyone that went into a bookstore or library with the intention of picking up something with my name on it, and equal thanks to anyone that browsed, spotted my cover, read the flap and thought, "Sure, I'll give this McGinnis girl a try."<br /><br />You're awesome.

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/of-all-books-in-all-stores-libraries-in.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/of-all-books-in-all-stores-libraries-in.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 13 September 2014 · 51 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://www.rclewisbooks.com/"]http://www.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, shoot us an email.<br /><br /><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" [url="src="]src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg"[/url] height="320" 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 />I am submitting to you because ______________ At just over 70,000 words, The Kavanagh House is a YA mashup—a haunted house with a mechanized past.&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is strictly personal&nbsp;opinion, but I think it's better to start with a hook than with your ms specs. Also I'm not&nbsp;clear on how it's a mashup, unless what you're saying is that it's a paranormal steampunk.</span><br /><br />Parker, who feels ghosts, enters the Victorian stone house her mother chose, and is attacked by the spirit of Vincent, the designer of the house, who mistakes Parker for Eleanor, the girl he holds responsible for his death. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This sentence has me untangling&nbsp;plots and names right from the&nbsp;beginning.&nbsp;</span>That night Parker discovers the journal of Eleanor Kavanagh with the cryptic note: My father’s house is haunted and it’s my fault. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Now THAT'S a hook. Let's get this front and center. Also the casual mention of "Parker, who feels ghosts," kind of throws me off. I'm&nbsp;definitely interested in how the haunting is Eleanor's fault, and what the connection&nbsp;between Eleanor and Parker is.</span><br /><br />At first she avoids the rotunda where Vincent is trapped; however, when he attacks her family, Parker enlists the help of Miles, who can see the spirits of the dead, to help her get rid of Vincent. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Lots of commas, more names, much untangling. How does she know&nbsp;Miles? Is this an across-town move? And across-state move?&nbsp;</span>She and Miles must solve puzzle locks, clues to hidden compartments where journal pages are kept, and face her own fears. Unfortunately for Miles, Parker has developed a crush on her father’s campaign manager, the tall, available, and devastatingly good-looking, Declan.&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is unfortunate for Miles b/c he likes her, I assume? Also, why does that even matter? Is it relevant to&nbsp;the paranormal plot?&nbsp;</span>Meanwhile, her friend, Abbi contrives to have a Halloween party at Parker’s house. But two days before the party, her mother has the rotunda floor torn up, and Vincent is set loose. At the party, after Parker enjoys a romantic dance with Declan, Vincent terrorizes the guests and nearly kills Parker in the pantry trap. The next day she and Miles find Vincent’s body and bury him. But all is not at peace. That night, Parker again hears music playing in her room. Vincent has not left.&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is&nbsp;definitely starting to feel more like a synopsis than a query. The level of detail here is using up way too much space, and it looks like all the characters are being drawn into it, which is unnecessary in a query. You need&nbsp;to boil this down to the actual problem and the most pivotal characters.</span><br /><br />After the first four, the chapters alternate between Parker’s POV and Eleanor’s journal entries.&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">This could definitely get confusing.&nbsp;</span>The Kavanagh House is the first in the planned Mechanized Gears series. Each book has a different mechanized location, a depot, a lighthouse, a library, etc., in one of the model cities of the Gilded Age. The six members of the Innovator’s Club are destined to haunt the places they created. Parker and Miles (in the next book) learn that to break the force that holds their souls captive, they must collect pieces of a machine from each location to free the six condemned souls. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">While this sounds really interesting, the query isn't showing me how the house is mechanized or why that matters at all. Also, pitching a series is going to be difficult in any case. You need to focus your query on pitching one book, not the plot that arches over six. See if you can turn this book into a standalone with series potential, and focus the query on selling that first book.</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-saturday-slash_13.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-saturday-slash_13.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Book Talk & Giveaway: THE COMPOUND by S.A. Bodeen

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 12 September 2014 · 38 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 /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404929510l/2696181.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404929510l/2696181.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404929510l/2696181.jpg"[/url] width="207" /></a></div>The past six years of Eli's life have been spent underground. The compound that his super-rich father built in order to protect his family in case of a nuclear attack saved their lives... most of them, anyway. Eli's grandmother and twin brother were lost that night in the panicked rush to the hatch. He lives with regret, and the haunting suspicion that the better brother is the one that died.<br /><br />The rambling compound has everything they need, but the family struggles to keep their connections strong. Eli's father spends most of his time in his office, the door locked securely behind him. Eli's mother tries to put a good face on everything, even though her continued pregnancies drain her energy. Eli has always kept his distance from his siblings that were born after the hatch shut behind them. He knows well enough that they're not even supposed to have names, especially considering what the contingency plan for them is if the hatch food supply runs low.<br /><br />When Eli's laptop picks up a wireless connection one day outside of his father's office, he has to wonder where it could be coming from. If everything outside the compound has been destroyed, it shouldn't exist... and neither should the instant message he's getting from people he knows are dead.<br /><br />At least, that's what his father told him.<br /><br /><a class="rafl" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b75/"[/url] id="rc-2071810b75" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/book-talk-giveaway-compound-by-sa-bodeen.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/book-talk-giveaway-compound-by-sa-bodeen.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Thursday Thoughts

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 11 September 2014 · 47 views

Thoughts lately...<br /><br />1) How did people describe the texture of overcooked pasta or vegetables before the invention of rubber?<br /><br />2) The best way to cut a passive-aggressive person out at the knees is to say, "Are you being passive aggressive?" Usually you'll get the chance to use the follow up question, "Are you being defensive?"<br /><br />3) My bottle-fed kittens respond to the sound of my voice with panicked glee. My fifth grade classes respond to my voice with abject terror. I wondered what a combination of the two would get me, and then I realized it would be drunk Ewoks.

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/thursday-thoughts_11.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2014/09/thursday-thoughts_11.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


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Shallee McArthur: Learning What's Important When You Debut

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 09 September 2014 · 53 views

Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is Shallee McArthur, author of <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20578610-the-unhappening-of-genesis-lee?ac=1"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20578610-the-unhappening-of-genesis-lee?ac=1[/url]" target="_blank">THE UNHAPPENING OF GENESIS LEE</a>.&nbsp;Shallee originally wanted to be a scientist, until she discovered she liked her science best in fictional form. When she’s not writing young adult science fiction and fantasy, she’s attempting to raise her son and daughter as proper geeks.&nbsp;And because people always ask, her name is pronounced "shuh-LEE." But she answers to anything that sounds remotely close.<br /><br /><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>When I first wrote, I was a straight-up pantser, but eventually my planner brain took over. I usually spend months brainstorming and plotting a 3-act-structure plot diagram (I’m a visual person). But with my most recent story, none of that worked out! I couldn’t get a plot planned, couldn’t plan out characters, and eventually I just let the story pour out. Pantsing means I take longer on first drafts, but for that story, it worked out to be exactly what the story needed. So…I’m both.</i><br /><br /><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space: pre;"> </span><br /><i>The first book I queried took 4 months to draft and about 9 months to revise. The next book—The Unhappening of Genesis Lee, my debut!—took 6 weeks to draft, and a year to revise (and another few months to revise with my agent). My most recent story took over 6 months to draft! But it only took about 2 months to revise (though a few more revisions are needed).</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Basically, I’m unpredictable.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?</b><br /><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space: pre;"> </span><br /><i>I usually work on different stories at different stages. I can only really draft ore revise one story at a time, mostly because I get super obsessed with that idea. But I’m pretty much always, ALWAYS musing and planning and exploring a new idea (or several) in my brain!</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>More like I have to overcome fears EVERY time I sit down to write! I’m one of those been-writing-since-I-could-hold-a-pen types, and when I was young, I had no fear. All I had was a love of stories. But somewhere along the way, I started to doubt myself. I’m always afraid I’ll never have another good idea, or never be able to pull off another story, etc. etc.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>But it’s kinda funny how once I am in the midst of writing, all that matters is the story and how much I love it.</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books (if any) did you have before you were agented?</b><br /><br /><i>I’ve got dozens of wonderfully clichéd, poorly written stories of varying lengths that I love dearly and no one will ever see. But if we’re talking stories that I attempted to get published, I have one trunked novel. I queried it, but it wasn’t quite ready. I thought it was, of course, but at one point I re-read it and realized it was a story that I loved, but it just wasn’t “there” yet.</i><br /><br /><i>So I trunked it and wrote the next one.</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b><br /><br /><i>I have a folder full of stories at varying lengths of “completeness.” I haven’t really quit on them—mostly they just need more development time.</i><br /><br /><i>But the trunked novel I mentioned above…that was hard to decide to let go, because I still love it. I suppose I could have gone back and tried to revise it some more, but I knew the best thing was to move on and write the next one. Writing the next one is the best way to actually use all the things you learned writing the last one. And my next one is the one that’s getting published, so it worked!</i><br /><br /><i>One thing that helped me let it go was “selfie-publishing” my trunked novel. Not for selling to others or anything, just for my own self. I made a cover, printed it through Lulu, and now I’ve got a copy sitting on my shelf!</i><br /><br /><b>Who is your agent and how did you get that "Yes!" out of them? &nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>Hannah Bowman is my agent, and she is my agenty soulmate! I found her in a bit of a unique way. Before she was an agent, she actually read my trunked novel and gave me fabulous feedback. When she became an agent, I knew I wanted to query her. She saw me tweet a pitch for The Unhappening of Genesis Lee, and requested the full right there! I shrieked and freaked, but didn’t send it for a few months until it was ready. When she offered rep, there was &nbsp;much more shrieking and freaking!</i><br /><br /><b>How many queries did you send? &nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I queried around 20 agents, and Hannah offered in a week! I talked to two more great agents who offered over the next week, so it was just over two weeks from the start of querying when I officially signed with her.</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b><br /><br /><i>Timing and numbers of requests and all that jazz…it doesn’t matter. So what if someone had seven requests within a week? So what if someone queried for a year and finally got that one perfect offer? It’s hard to remember that when you hear all the stories, but when it comes to your career, those things don’t matter. You can still have a kick-butt debut that launches a kick-butt career, no matter how long it takes or how many offers you get.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How did that feel the first time you saw your book for sale?</b><br /><br /><i>Well, it’s not for sale until November 4, but I did just get my ARCs in the mail, and found out my eARCs are on Edelweiss. The knowledge that my book is in the world for people to read is exhilarating. I wrote this book—all my books—because the story feels like something I love and need to share. So now that it’s being shared, it’s like the book is finally fulfilling its destiny.</i><br /><br /><i>Which is also terrifying. Because I want everyone to love this book the way I do…and they won’t.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>I got to send in a document full of descriptions, pictures, and covers I liked as a “mood board.” The designer from Sky Pony worked from that and delivered a cover. There were a few changes my agent and I requested to the final cover, and they were wonderful about making some tweaks. I’m so happy with the way it turned out!</i><br /><br /><b>What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>How all the things you think matter SO MUCH…don’t. There were some things that happened that I didn’t expect, like the cover going online before I knew about it or could schedule a reveal, and I had legitimate panic attacks (my poor agent and editor!). I thought it was going to be such a huge deal, and it didn’t go the way I wanted, and it was SO IMPORTANT. And it wasn’t. It made no difference to anything at all. So basically, I’ve learned to relax!</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I do most of my own marketing, though my publisher has done some of the big things, of course (ARCs, etc.). I actually enjoy the “business” side of things, and I love social media! I’m on pretty much every social media platform out there, but the ones I use the most are my <a [url="href="]href="http://www.shalleemcarthur.com/"[/url] target="_blank">blog</a>, <a [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/ShalleeMcArthur"[/url] target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a [url="href="]href="http://shalleemcarthur.tumblr.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Tumblr</a>. I’m also on <a [url="href="]href="https://www.facebook.com/AuthorShalleeMcArthur"[/url] target="_blank">Facebook</a>, and plan on being more active there!</i><br /><br /><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>I totally say before. It takes a long time to build up connections and make friends, and publishing is a long process…but not that long (my own deal ended up being 11 months from signing with the publisher to my release date!) Besides, it’s the best way to not feel alone in the writing world!</i><br /><br /><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b><br /><br /><i>Absolutely. I don’t think there’s always a one-to-one correlation, but I don’t think that’s the point of social media. Not all the people who follow me on Twitter are going to buy my book, but I’ve made some great friends through social media. They might buy my book, and they might tell others who’ll buy it, and in the end, I have more people talking about my book—and most of all, more friends who support me in all kinds of ways.</i>

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