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Writer, Writer Pants on Fire


Where I'll Be This Week & NaNoWriMo Check-In

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 13 November 2017 · 32 views

I've got a busy week this week - three appearances and (hopefully) will be finishing a draft of HEROINE. So yes, I'm busy! But, as always, I'm happy to be so.<br /><br />TODAY! November 13&nbsp;@ 7PM I'll be at <a href="[url="http://lakewoodobserver.com/read/2017/11/08/calling-all-aspiring-writers"]http://lakewoodobserver.com/read/2017/11/08/calling-all-aspiring-writers[/url]" target="_blank">Lakewood Public Library</a> to discuss writing and the processof publication to help celebrate NaNoWriMo.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rLeOVfJGQqM/WgiQV7ZE9OI/AAAAAAAAEFk/sK2XuTkF7DQ4d2bEhq-3bdNRpCXS5_9fgCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-11-12%2Bat%2B1.17.24%2BPM.png"[/url] imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="348" [url="src="]src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rLeOVfJGQqM/WgiQV7ZE9OI/AAAAAAAAEFk/sK2XuTkF7DQ4d2bEhq-3bdNRpCXS5_9fgCK4BGAYYCw/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-11-12%2Bat%2B1.17.24%2BPM.png"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">On Thursday, November 16&nbsp;@7PM I will be at<a [url="href="]href="http://engagedpatrons.org/EventsExtended.cfm?SiteID=9896&amp;EventID=310824&amp;PK="[/url] target="_blank"> Geauga County Public Library</a> (Geauga West Branch) to talk about my journey from aspiring to published writer, as well as give a little overview of all my books. You do need to register for this event so call the number below or <a [url="href="]href="http://engagedpatrons.org/EventsExtended.cfm?SiteID=9896&amp;EventID=310824&amp;PK="[/url] target="_blank">follow this link</a> to do so!</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LZQ203HfGuM/WgiRXvpe0YI/AAAAAAAAEF0/sGDXJB-aiCMZxrk6rENXYqqttU7syYI0ACK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-11-12%2Bat%2B1.21.54%2BPM.png"[/url] imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="181" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LZQ203HfGuM/WgiRXvpe0YI/AAAAAAAAEF0/sGDXJB-aiCMZxrk6rENXYqqttU7syYI0ACK4BGAYYCw/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-11-12%2Bat%2B1.21.54%2BPM.png"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><div style="text-align: left;">If you're located in Central Ohio and are looking to get a jump on the Christmas shopping I will be signing and selling at both of these events, as well as at the <a [url="href="]href="https://www.facebook.com/cardingtonlincolnholidaybazaar/"[/url] target="_blank">Cardington Holiday Bazaar</a> on November 18, 9-3.</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">I just got back from the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) Conference in Phoenix, where I got to meet Daniel Jose Older and Alexandra Bracken. We had a great panel and I got to sign in both the Harper Collins and Follett booths, which was a good time. Although once again I ended having to explain that I might be funny and charming, but my books are not funny. Or charming.</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Really my entire persona is misleading.</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">So how did I do on Nano while traveling and putting together these week's podcast episode? Not bad at all. I've written 19k words already this month, putting me slightly ahead of schedule and also pushing HEROINE into the home stretch. Nano helped me finish GIVEN TO THE EARTH last year, and it's going to top off HEROINE for me this year - thank you, Nano!</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-se6x1MguATA/WgiTb0StJ6I/AAAAAAAAEGA/SiBcE0Ue8HUB206foZTmtVc45wRQdtTcQCK4BGAYYCw/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-11-12%2Bat%2B1.30.38%2BPM.png"[/url] imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="288" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-se6x1MguATA/WgiTb0StJ6I/AAAAAAAAEGA/SiBcE0Ue8HUB206foZTmtVc45wRQdtTcQCK4BGAYYCw/s400/Screen%2BShot%2B2017-11-12%2Bat%2B1.30.38%2BPM.png"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">If you're doing the Nano thing and want to take about a 40 minute break to hear from another author and how they have managed their career, listen to the newest Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire podcast episode, featuring author Tori Rigby.</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /><iframe [url="data-link="]data-link="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/dhyj4-7b701d?from=yiiadmin"[/url] data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/dhyj4-7b701d?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe><br /></div>

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Gayle Rosengren On Finding Inspiration in the Present to Illuminate the Past

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 07 November 2017 · 55 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 included in the WHAT is one random question to really dig down into the interviewee’s mind, and probably supply some illumination into my own as well.<br /><br />Today's guest for the WHAT is <a href="[url="http://www.gaylerosengren.com/"]http://www.gaylerosengren.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Gayle Rosengren</a> author of <a [url="href="]href="https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780399163524"[/url] target="_blank">WHAT THE MOON SAID</a> and <a [url="href="]href="https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780399171833"[/url] target="_blank">COLD WAR ON MAPLE STREET.</a> Gayle has worked in both the children's and young adult's section of public libraries, and as a copyeditor for The Pleasant Company, which produced the first American Girl books. In addition to her MG novels, Gayle has published short stories for children in <i>Cricket, Ladybug, Jack and Jill</i> and <i>Children's Digest</i> magazines.<br /><b><br /></b><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>Yes and no. I had wanted to write a story about the week of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 for quite a while and had made a start on it more than once, but I didn’t really get serious about it until I realized how many people had never heard of it. I couldn’t imagine that a week that had brought our country the closest it had ever been to nuclear war had been forgotten! It seemed the fact that “nothing happened” meant it wasn’t important, whereas that was precisely the reason I found it of great significance. Nothing happened. The Soviet Union and US didn’t let pride and ego be their guide. They talked. They negotiated. And war was avoided. Isn’t there an invaluable lesson to be learned from this?&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>So I wrote my story and finished it a few weeks shy of September 11th. The first attack on our own soil. I thought how frightened kids had to be seeing the twin towers crumble over and over again on TV and the focus for my story shifted ever so slightly. How does a parent or a teacher address the very natural fear of another person, especially a child?</i><br /><br /><i>Thus, communication became the underlying theme for my story. It was already there, but it wasn’t as strong as it could be, so I developed it more. The underlying message became, “When you have a problem or a worry or a fear you can’t handle on your own, speak up to a trusted adult in your life. Just by saying the words out loud the burden is lightened substantially. Talking about it makes it seem more manageable. Sharing it is comforting. Let’s face it; no one likes to suffer alone.</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>In this instance I already had much of the plot. I had based the story on my own experience of that frightening week. Some images remained vivid in my mind: John Kennedy Jr’s special news announcement the night of October 22nd; the clusters of frightened kids on the playground the next morning, the bold headlines in the newspaper that week. I had a brother who’d been in the navy a few years earlier, so I decided to give my main character a brother in the navy who was smack in the middle of the action around Cuba.&nbsp;&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>This gave her one more reason to be afraid of what might happen—not just to her but to her beloved brother. And instead of a mom who was open to talking about the possibility of nuclear war, I made Joanna’s mother a Great Pretender, refusing to admit that she was frightened herself, especially for her son, and eager to act as if there wasn’t anything to worry about, redirecting the conversation whenever Joanna did try to talk about her concerns, insisting everything was going to be fine. And that works for a 5 year-old and maybe even a 9 year-old, but not so much for a 12 year-old.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you draw any inspiration from the world around you, or do you use writing as pure escapism?</b><br /><br /><i>What was happening around the world definitely impacts what I write. In this case the book was published in August of 2015, before everything went completely off the rails. The wars in the Middle East were raging on and terrorism created a constant level of fear that really shot up if you had to fly and go through airport security. But it’s what’s been happening more recently in 2017 with North Korea that brought back all the emotions of the Cuban Missile Crisis and therefore made me think about my book all over again.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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6 Tips For Table Selling

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 06 November 2017 · 39 views

Any writer today will tell you that the time of just being an author is over. We're now marketers, publicists, promotion machines, and even hawkers of our own wares. The last one is the element that most of us like the least, and yes, it can be both intimidating and awkward. The first time someone put me behind a card table with stacks of my books on top and said, "Okay, now sell these to strangers," I was like, Dear God, but how?<br /><br />Five years later, I kind of get it.<br /><br />1) <b><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Stand up</span></b> -<b>&nbsp;</b>Seriously. Stand. Up. If you're sitting, you're passive, and people are less likely to make eye contact with you. Stand up and say hello to people. Most often, they'll say hi back. This makes them pause - in front of your table. Good job.<br /><br />2) <b><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Give them something</span></b> - People love free things. Candy always works, but think about who that's going to attract - mostly kids. Do you have a book about rape culture or lobotomies on your table? I do. Can you sell those books to these free sugar bandits? No. So what's the point? No matter where you are, your audience is always readers not eaters, and the people that are interested enough to come to an event where books are being sold probably like books. They might even like yours.<br /><br />So give them something related to your book... like a bookmark. Even if they only stop long enough to lift free loot off your table, now they're carrying around something they're going to use that has your name, book cover, and title on it - not something they're going to eat and then throw away the wrapper. Anyone can give them candy. Why don't you give them something that actually markets your book?<br /><br />3) <b><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Hand them the book</span></b> - This one can be tricky, but a good way to judge interest is to watch their eyes. If someone makes eye contact with you, ask them the question in #4. If they're not into you but you see their eyes scanning your wares and pausing on one, attracted by the cover, give them the one sentence pitch - then <i>hand them the book</i>, flipped to the back cover or opened to the dust jacket flap that has the summary.<br /><br />Not taking it is rude, and they don't want to be rude. So they'll take it from you, and you just kind of cornered someone into reading your book summary. Yes, this move is a touch pushy and not for everyone - but remember - these are book people that came here to buy books. It's not like you're standing on a street corner selling meat out of the back of your van to vegetarians.<br /><br />Example: I spot someone's eyes lingering on NOT A DROP TO DRINK, so I take the top copy of the pile and say, "This is post-apocalyptic survival set in a world with very little water," and hand it to them with the back facing up.<br /><br />The vast majority of the time if I can get someone to read the back or the flap, they end up buying the book, and I just turned a browser into a buyer.<br /><br />4) <b><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Ask them what they like to read</span></b> - If you're like me and write across genres, you want to make sure you're leading them the right direction. Eyeing what else they're buying can help, too. If they've got an armful they picked up at other tables, say, "You're a mystery / fantasy / sci-fi reader? You might like..."&nbsp;+ hand them the book&nbsp;+ one line pitch.<br /><br />Example: I spot four fantasies tucked under a lady's arm. "You like fantasies? This is the first in my fantasy series, set on an island continent with rapidly rising sea levels." Then I hand her GIVEN TO THE SEA.<br /><br /><i>Pro-tip:</i> Are their hands full from other books they already bought? Offer to hold them, or at the very least let them set their load on your table so their hands are free to flip through your book.<br /><br /><i>Super pro-tip:</i> Do you get a ton of tote bags from all the conferences and book fairs you attend? Take them to events like this and offer them to particularly weighed down persons.<br /><br />5) <span style="color: #6aa84f;"><b>Know your audience</b> </span>- Be a total Sherlock and dissect their clothing, then pitch appropriately.<br /><br />Educators and librarians tend to shop in pairs or groups, and most of the time at least one of them will be wearing something that announces their profession, or school affiliation. If I see librarians or educators shopping I am sure to point out that DRINK was a Choose To Read Ohio title with cross-curricular applications, and that both THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES and THIS DARKNESS MINE were JLG selections. That won't mean much to the average reader, but it's selling gold to educators.<br /><br />Likewise, if I spot that mystery reader I'll add that A MADNESS SO DISCREET won an Edgar Award - something that doesn't carry weight with the Sci-Fi crowd, but will impress them.<br /><br />What else? Look for geek t-shirts promoting movies, video games, fandoms, or anything else you might be able to tie one of your titles to. But don't be a pretender - if you don't have the street cred to participate in the conversation you just started, you're going to look like an idiot... unless you're a consummate bullshitter. (Ahem).<br /><br />Lastly, for the adults - check their hats, coats, pullovers, and windbreakers. A lot of employers give apparel with their logo to their employees, and there's a chance - small, but it's there - that you can sell them a book that way. I've sold DRINK to people who work for the water company, SPECIES to police officers, and MADNESS to mental health workers.<br /><br />6) <b><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Make that pitch honest</span></b> - I use this one-liner for MADNESS - "It's a Gothic historical thriller set in an insane asylum." People either dive for it, or back away - and I mean they actually back away with their hands in the air. That pitch is either a 1 or a 10, much like the book. You're either way into what I'm selling, or you're terrified of me. I'm fine with either reaction (hey, lobotomies aren't for everyone), and I'm being up front with you about content.<br /><br />Same for my other books, especially SPECIES and DARKNESS. When a younger teen is looking at either of them and a parent is present, I typically ask how free they are with them and reading material. If it's even a question, I suggest that the parent read it first - or I direct them to NOT A DROP TO DRINK and IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. Yes, I want the kid to read a book of mine - but I want to make sure it's something they're ready for... and that their mom agrees with that assessment.<br /><br />I know I make it sound easy, but it's not. Even for me. Sometimes I'm just not in the right head space to put myself out there, and most of the time I can't keep it up for the full 6 to 8 hours of the festival. I'll retreat into myself for a little bit, ten or fifteen minutes. Check my phone, talk to the author beside me, trade texts with my friends who I know are at the event, just take a little down time and a minor recharge before standing up again and saying hello to people.<br /><br />Another author who is really good at table selling is my guest for today's <a href="[url="https://writerwriterpantsonfire.podbean.com/"]https://writerwriterpantsonfire.podbean.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire podcast</a> episode. Listen below!<br /><br /><iframe [url="data-link="]data-link="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/c5hhc-79af8b?from=yiiadmin"[/url] data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/c5hhc-79af8b?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe><br /><br />

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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: GIRL IN A BAD PLACE by Kaitlin Ward

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 03 November 2017 · 52 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492011653l/34669562.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492011653l/34669562.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="314" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492011653l/34669562.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div>Mailee and Cara take care of each other. Mailee is the star of the high school plays; Cara is the stage manager. Mailee can't keep her life together; Cara has enough organizational skills for the both of them.<br /><br />So when the girls are invited to visit the Haven, a commune in the mountains near their suburban Montana homes, it seems like an adventure. Until Cara starts spending every waking minute there ... and Mailee thinks it's creepy, almost like a cult. When Cara decides she's going to move to the Haven permanently, Mailee knows it's a bad idea. But how far will she go to save her best friend ... from herself?<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">*********************************************************************************<br /><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Want to help me with mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated! Donating has no impact on your chances of winning.</div><form [url="action="]action="https://www.paypal.com/fk/cgi-bin/webscr"[/url] method="post" name="_xclick"><input name="business" type="hidden" value="bigblackcat97@gmail.com" /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><input alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!" border="0" name="submit" [url="src="]src="http://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-butcc-donate.gif"[/url] type="image" /><br /></form><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b285" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b285/"[/url] id="rcwidget_6nziu58s" 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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Katie A. Nelson On Mixing Trial & Error With Inspiration

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 31 October 2017 · 46 views

<a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1486180055l/31213230.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1486180055l/31213230.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="316" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1486180055l/31213230.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a>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 for the WHAT is Katie A. Nelson, author of <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31213230-the-duke-of-bannerman-prep?ac=1&amp;from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">THE DUKE OF BANNERMAN PREP</a>, available from SkyPony.&nbsp;Formerly a high school English and Debate teacher, she now lives in Northern California with her husband, four children, and hyperactive dog.<br /><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>In my former life, before I became a full-time writer, I was a high school English teacher. One of the challenges that high school teachers face is trying to find a way into classic literature for their students. I taught American Lit for years, and when I taught The Great Gatsby it was always a struggle to relate the story to my students’ personal lives. So I’d been thinking about the themes and characters in the book for years before the story really took shape.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>One of the things we always discussed when I taught Gatsby was the idea of the American dream and the concept we have accepted as a society that if you just work hard enough, you can achieve anything you want. At the same time, I was coaching Speech &amp; Debate. Speech &amp; Debate is similar, in that it doesn’t take physical prowess to be successful, just a lot of hard work. And yet, as I taught and coached, it became obvious that there were issues of privilege at work in that area, just as there are in modern life. If your school has a large budget for Speech, if the students don’t have to work part time jobs and can spend their free time researching, etc. then that team has an advantage over less privileged schools. I thought it would be interesting to mash up the two ideas, and the initial idea for The Duke of Bannerman Prep was born.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>Initially, I tried to stay pretty close to the plot of Gatsby, hitting the major plot events in the classic novel. I found out relatively early, though, that it wouldn’t work for my story. In Gatsby, the narrator, Nick, observes the story, but it isn’t his story. I didn’t want that for my book, partly because it was one of the things that always bugged me about the original. So I made my Nick character (Tanner, in my novel) more of a central player, and the plot changed as a result of it.&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 /><i><br /></i><i>Definitely! My first draft of this novel was very different. It opened after the climax in the book, then flashed back to earlier scenes. While I like books that are written this way, it didn’t work for my story because it was hard for readers to care about these characters in crisis when they hadn’t met them yet.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I also wound up changing the plot of the last third of the book, so that required a massive rewrite as well. My critique partners were so patient with me, especially because I kept saying that I’d finished the book, only to re-write it six or seven more times.</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>Seeds for stories come to me all the time. I think I have four in various notebooks right now. I usually need a lot of time to think about them, to develop characters and see if there is any kind of plot that can come out of those seeds. I’ve been known to bring several first chapters to my critique group, only to set them aside and work on something else. I don’t know why, but that’s just how my brain works.</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>Usually through trial and error. I’ll start working on something, only to find that the story isn’t coming. Either I can’t quite hear the character’s voice yet, or I’m telling the story from the wrong point of view, or the story isn’t developed enough to be an actual story. When I find that I’m really struggling to write, usually that means that I need to set it aside and work on something else.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>2016 was not an easy year. Do you draw any inspiration from the world around you, or do you use writing as pure escapism?</b><br /><br /><i>Both? I usually find that my story ideas come out of the “what if” questions that I often ask. I see a story on the news and wonder what could have happened if a choice had been different. Or I read or hear about a person and wonder what it was that led them to a crucial point in their lives. All of my novels have been contemporary novels, so there are usually seeds of the world around me in all of them.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>At the same time, when I’m watching too much news or spending too much time on social media, it can be really scary and overwhelming. So I like to write to create a way out of darkness for my characters, which is invariably really what I need in my life at that particular time. 2016 was a difficult year, but I’ve also seen that out of all of the noise, some really amazing things have happened. People are speaking out more, getting involved and trying to make a difference. We’re having difficult conversations that we need to have. I’ve learned so much from the conversations that are happening, and I hope that my writing will be more empathetic as a result of it.</i>

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Do You NaNo? & Books By The Banks 2017!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 30 October 2017 · 45 views

We're close! November is <a href="[url="https://nanowrimo.org/"]https://nanowrimo.org/[/url]" target="_blank">National Novel Writing Month</a>, and for a lot of us, this means warming up the knuckle joints and stocking up on K-Cups.<br /><br />What is NaNoWriMo? It's a worldwide effort to get writers in front of laptops, typewriters, or just plain notebook paper, and write 50k words in a month. That might be a whole novel for you, it might not. You can start a book, finish one, or just crack out a lot of shorts over the course of the month. The daily word count goal is 1,667 words - totally doable.<br /><br />I'll be NaNo-ing this year, looking to finish one project and perhaps start another!<br /><br />And don't miss the newest <a [url="href="]href="https://writerwriterpantsonfire.podbean.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire podcast</a> episode, with guest Kate Watson. We talk about a variety of things, from how to market a quieter book, to the many different ways a person can be strong... and of course, we talk NaNo.<br /><br /><iframe [url="data-link="]data-link="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/e9mry-79ac7e?from=yiiadmin"[/url] data-name="pb-iframe-player" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" [url="src="]src="https://www.podbean.com/media/player/e9mry-79ac7e?from=yiiadmin"[/url] width="100%"></iframe><br /><br />I spent the weekend at Books by the Banks in Cincinnati -- and of course I had to Storify that.<br /><br /><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/books-by-the-banks-2017/embed?border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/books-by-the-banks-2017.js?border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/books-by-the-banks-2017" target="_blank">View the story "Books By the Banks 2017" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div>

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 28 October 2017 · 55 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 /><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" 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 />Freja first experienced a claustrophobic attack when her aunt was sentenced to death. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">It's an interesting hook, but it sounds more like an anxiety attack than true claustrophobia if it came on suddenly.&nbsp;</span>Still plagued by the memory, Freja dives into the planet-wide ocean <span style="color: #6aa84f;">if it's planet-wide how does she dive into it? Wouldn't she require something to dive off of?</span>&nbsp;to escape the constant torment of her underwater home. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Confusing. She dove into the ocean to escape her underwater home? Wouldn't it make more sense to simply say she ran away?&nbsp;</span>Too bad the o-mask doesn’t protect her from the toxicity of the water. Or from her dead aunt’s voice. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Definitely confused when it comes to world building. She lives underwater yet requires a mask, so are there underwater cities that are built for humankind? When you say she dives into the ocean you mean that she left her home, right? Definitely clarify. Right now it's foggy. And why would she leave if she knows the water is toxic?</span><br /><br />Freja thinks she’s imagining it until her dead aunt leaves messages on her task screen <span style="color: #6aa84f;">so she's out in the massive ocean wearing only a mask?</span>&nbsp;warning of sabotage and murder. When she overhears the cloister leader <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So she didn't leave? She's back home? Did the toxicity of the water drive her back?&nbsp;</span>whispering about the same things behind closed doors, Freja searches for evidence. She abhors the cloister, but she won’t stand idle while something -- or someone -- attacks her home. It is, unfortunately, still the only habitable place left on the planet. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This is the first real grounding we get for setting in this query. Unfortunately the plot is still really murky - she's getting these warnings of sabotage and murder, but sabotage of what, and murder of who? Why does she hate the cloister and her home life so much, especially if it's the only place to live? We need reasons.</span><br /><br />To assist her, Freja recruits her best friend and partner-in-crime: Markus. He helps unravel their leader’s secrets until an accident puts him in a coma. He may know the last piece of information needed to expose the truth and rescue their home, but the cloister leader refuses to heal him. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">With magic, or medicine?&nbsp;</span>To save Markus and protect the cloister, Freja will have to break stricter laws than ever before. But, in doing so, she’ll risk death by removal from the cloister. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So what? She already left once of her own volition.&nbsp;</span>Just like her dead aunt. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is she actually dead if she's receiving these messages?</span><br /><br />SUBMERGED is a young adult science fiction novel complete at 84,000 words. It will appeal to fans of the TV show Ascension and Emily Skrutskie’s The Abyss Surrounds Us.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Right now you're being too vague about what the secret is. The biggest job of a query is to set the stakes - what's at risk? The only habitable place on the planet, okay. But WHY would anyone want to attack / sabotage such a place unless they are located elsewhere? Is it the only habitable place? Is that part of the plot? Don't be cagey in a query - tell us who the bad guy is, what their goal is, and how the protag is going to try to stop them.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">You're opening with an attack of some sort, but that doesn't actually seem to be key to the plot. Freja hates her home (why?) but can't leave (clarify) yet becomes the unlikely savior of it because... her dead aunt says so? It sounds like you have an interesting setting for an SF - spruce up the query to get the plot across.</span>

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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM by Dave Connis

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 27 October 2017 · 67 views

<a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492657399l/34138283.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1492657399l/34138283.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/1492657399l/34138283.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a>Adam Hawthorne is fine.<br /><br />Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.<br /><br />But Adam is fine.<br /><br />When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.<br /><br />Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">*********************************************************************************</div><div style="text-align: left;">Want to help me with mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated! Donating has no impact on your chances of winning.</div><form [url="action="]action="https://www.paypal.com/fk/cgi-bin/webscr"[/url] method="post" name="_xclick"><input name="business" type="hidden" value="bigblackcat97@gmail.com" /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><input alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!" border="0" name="submit" [url="src="]src="http://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-butcc-donate.gif"[/url] type="image" /><br /></form><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b284" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b284/"[/url] id="rcwidget_ib1u6b2o" 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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Alex Lidell On Using Swag To Build Rapport

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 24 October 2017 · 52 views

Most authors will agree that the creative part of the job is where we excel, the business and marketing side, slightly less. It’s lovely when the two can meet in the form of SWAG – Shit We All Generate. I’ve invited some published authors to share with us their secret to swag… little freebies that can sell a book longer after the author is no longer standing in front of a prospective reader. In order to create great swag, you have to be crafty – in more ways than one.<br /><br /><table cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="float: right; margin-left: 1em; text-align: right;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490639827l/34397006.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490639827l/34397006.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="316" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1490639827l/34397006.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Master and Commander meets Sarah J <br />Maas in a seafaring adventure of duty, <br />love, magic, and a princess’s quest to <br />protect her kingdom on her own terms.</td></tr></tbody></table>My guest today for the SWAG is Alex Lidell, an Amazon bestselling author of AIR AND ASH (Danger Bearing Press, 2017) and an Amazon Breakout Novel Awards finalist author of THE CADET OF TILDOR (Penguin, 2013). She is an avid horseback rider, a (bad) hockey player, and an ice-cream addict. Born in Russia, Alex learned English in elementary school, where a thoughtful librarian placed a copy of Tamora Pierce’s ALANNA in Alex’s hands. In addition to becoming the first English book Alex read for fun, ALANNA started Alex’s life long love for YA fantasy books. Alex is represented by Leigh Feldman of Leigh Feldman Literary. She lives in Washington, DC.&nbsp; Learn more at <a [url="href="]href="http://www.alexlidell.com/">www.alexlidell.com</a><br[/url] /><br /><b>Finding something that represents your book and hasn’t been played out by a million authors before is difficult. What’s your swag?</b><br /><br /><i>I have two very different freebies and they each have a purposeful role in my marketing strategy.&nbsp;&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Silicone bracelets. They are colorful, they stay on the wrist for others to see and ask about, and they have a reminder of my books on them along with a “Challenge The Odds” slogan. The greatest impact of these comes not from the freebie itself, however, but in the way I deliver it.&nbsp; I shoot them like rubber bands at kids and teens who answer/ask a question, make a comment, or do something else I can find a reason to reward them for.&nbsp; There is always laughter and people ducking to not get hit, and a general demolition of the barrier to interact. Also, ducking away from a rubber band creates an emotional engagement, that helps people remember who I am and wear the bracelet longer.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>E-novella. FIRST COMMAND is a prequel novella to my TIDES series and for a while I used it as a freebie magnet to entice people to join my mailing list, interact, and get familiar with my writing. I still sometimes gift it to readers for things like answering a riddle in my newsletter correctly.</i><br /><br /><b>How much money per piece did your swag cost out of pocket?</b><br /><br /><i>The bracelets were maybe $0.30-40 each?&nbsp; I got them in such massive quantity that I don’t remember.&nbsp; The novella is an ebook.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you find that swag helps you stand out at an event?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>The bracelets seem to be fairly high value swag as far as in-person freebies go - however putting things out on a table has never worked as well for me as “shooting” bracelets at readers. I have learned to be careful - the bracelets really don’t fly far or hard but some people think they will.&nbsp; So if I see a little fear, I aim at the floor or throw high up in the air.</i><br /><br /><b>What do you think of big item swag pieces versus cheaper, yet more easily discarded swag like bookmarks?</b><br /><br /><i>I think it’s about utility, and people USE bookmarks more than other things. I had some expensive swag like dog-tags, which cost me $2 a piece, and I found that the low quantity made them less than helpful. I now stick to bookmarks, bracelets and e-books.</i><br /><br /><b>What’s the most clever / best swag by another author?</b><br /><br /><i>Bracelets. I stole that idea from another author :)&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>And the biggest question – do you think swag helps sell books?</b><br /><br /><i>Bracelets do not help me sell books directly, they build rapport, my brand, and people’s memory of me. Bracelets are one of seven touch points of advertizing the customer goes through before deciding to buy.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>The novella absolutely helps sell books by getting readers to try the series.&nbsp;</i>

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My Insane Past Two Weeks

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 23 October 2017 · 55 views

<div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/my-insane-past-two-weeks/embed?border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/my-insane-past-two-weeks.js?border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/MindyMcGinnis/my-insane-past-two-weeks" target="_blank">View the story "My Insane Past Two Weeks" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div>

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