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Authors Move In Groups For Our Mental Well Being

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 18 August 2014 · 44 views

The best part about being a writer is meeting other writers.<br /><br />People ask me all the time what my favorite published experience has been, and this is always my answer. Yes, seeing my name on a book for the first time was awesome, but much like Christmas, the best part about publishing is when it has nothing to do with what you're getting.<br /><br />This past weekend I had the awesome experience of meeting some really amazing ladies. Joseph-Beth hosted the first of a two-part YA Beach Bash featuring myself, Mindee Arnett (<a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12411635-the-nightmare-affair?from_search=true"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12411635-the-nightmare-affair?from_search=true[/url]" target="_blank">THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR</a>, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17149396-avalon?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">AVALON</a>), Melissa Landers (<a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13574417-alienated?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">ALIENATED</a>), Kristen Simmons (<a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10677277-article-5?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">ARTICLE 5</a>), Saundra Mitchell (<a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11974142-mistwalker?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">MISTWALKER</a>), and Julie Kagawa (<a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6644117-the-iron-king?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">THE IRON FEY</a>, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10215349-the-immortal-rules?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">THE BLOOD OF EDEN</a>).<br /><br />Authors are a different sort of people. If you are one, or if you've ever met one, this probably isn't news to you. The week before last I had the chance to sign with both Rae Carson (<a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10429092-the-girl-of-fire-and-thorns?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS</a>) and Ann Aguirre (<a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7137327-enclave?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">RAZORLAND</a>, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13508415-mortal-danger?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank">MORTAL DANGER</a>). During the course of normal conversation I mentioned vomitoriums (as one does) and I didn't have to explain what those are. It's worth nothing that neither one of them blinked, either. I knew I was among my people.<br /><br />So, meeting other authors is always welcome. It's an expansion of the realization that I'm-Not-So-F'ed-Up-After-All hangover from high school. Or at least, if I am F'ed up, I'm not the only one. Meeting people and maintaining friendships has become more of a driving factor to me when I agree to do events than selling books. Most authors will tell you that when we do a convention, festival, or signing, we do so not because we think we'll be moving copies, but because our friends are going to be there.<br /><br />I like friends. Friends are good.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-y5gDkwg1lms/U_E4Qi9n3LI/AAAAAAAACoM/CBl5n1JGC88/s1600/BvMJVjvIcAAFj3h.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-y5gDkwg1lms/U_E4Qi9n3LI/AAAAAAAACoM/CBl5n1JGC88/s1600/BvMJVjvIcAAFj3h.jpg"[/url] height="300" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Kristen Simmons, Mindee Arnett, Julie Kagawa<br />Melissa Landers, Saundra Mitchell, Mindy McGinnis</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br />

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 16 August 2014 · 27 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 />Fifteen year old Emmett Jaredson will be faced with one choice that will make or break the future of humanity in a crippled future where natural disasters and terrorists take reign. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">It's a good hook, but I need delivery on why Emmett is the key element.</span><br /><br />Emmett wakes up to an earthquake, and the stark reality that his foster parents have been killed in a tsunami.&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">Having a main character wake up as the first action in the novel (which, I don't know if it is or is not) is a faux pas that most agents and editors will tell you to avoid. I'd avoid using it as the beginning of the body of your query as well.</span><br /><br />Petrified&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">this means that he's completely unable to move, so it's not a good word to use here&nbsp;since he ends up running to Providence</span>, enraged&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">why is he angry?</span>, and desperate to avoid another foster placement, Emmett runs to the heart of Providence, Rhode Island, in an attempt to use his stolen money&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">stolen from where?</span>&nbsp;to buy a used car&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">hmm... I'm imagining chaos...&nbsp;why isn't he just stealing a car or looting?</span>&nbsp;On the brink of the second earthquake he teams up with Melanie Austins after saving her life in the chaos. Together they struggle to remain alive, surviving through tidal waves, earthquakes, and explosions, but even then Emmett and Melanie don't realize the magnitude of their dilemma until a stranger approaches Emmett and tells him that he would be useful for his cause, and that Emmett should join him.&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">I'm feeling a lot of vagueness here - there's definitely a lot of drama and danger, but I'm not seeing why we should care about Emmett or Melanie. Drama and&nbsp;adventure are great, but they matter for little if we don't care about&nbsp;the people it's happening to.</span><br /><br />Shortly after, Emmett discovers the stranger is actually a terrorist attempting to destroy the government, and that he plays a key role in the natural disasters. Emmett will soon be faced with the choice to save his life or fight for the remains of society, but saving his life could mean utter chaos for the world—the fight for what is right could very well be his end.&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">This raises a lot of questions, like how a&nbsp;terrorist organization would cause natural disasters, why would Emmett have anything to offer them (a special power? If so, that needs mentioned) Also, the first para sounded like the entire Earth was in an&nbsp;uproar, but this makes it look like a targeted thing&nbsp;against "the government." Whose government? Is it just the US&nbsp;under attack? What is Melanie's role here? It sounds like she's just a female who needs saved, yet you mention here in the query so she must have a more&nbsp;important role in the plot.</span><br /><br />QUIETUS, at 80,300 words, is a Science Fiction Young-Adult Thriller that stands as the first in a planned trilogy. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Your word count looks good, but you need to&nbsp;specify why this is science&nbsp;fiction. Also, it's very hard to sell trilogies right now. Work to see if you can make this a standalone with series potential.</span><br /><br />

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Book Talk & Giveaway: BUTTER by Erin Jade Lange

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 15 August 2014 · 46 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/1330188575l/9634267.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1330188575l/9634267.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1330188575l/9634267.jpg"[/url] width="213" /></a></div>Butter weighs in at 423 pounds. His weight has ballooned to the point that he can't even play his beloved saxophone for long without losing his breath. School is torture, and life is exhausting. One of the only things that he looks forward to is talking to Anna, the pretty blonde cheerleader from school who he chats with online... only she thinks he's an athletic boy from another school, and she wants to meet - soon.<br /><br />When the lists of the seniors "Most Likely To..." list is compiled for the year, Butter is listed as "Most Likely To Die From A Heart Attack." Butter reacts by creating a website and inviting everyone to come see it go down in real time - if they think that little of him, the least he can do is give them a show. Butter announces that he will eat himself to death on New Year's Eve.<br /><br />The site get hits. Then comments. Suddenly, Butter is invited to sit with the jocks at school. Girls are talking to him - even Anna, who isn't quite as interesting in real life as she is online. Suddenly invited to parties and riding around with friends, Butter isn't drowning his sorrows in food anymore. In fact, he's losing weight. 20 pounds fall off fairly quickly.<br /><br />Life isn't quite so unbearable anymore... until Butter realizes that his infamy has been won by promising to kill himself.<br /><br /><a class="rafl" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b71/"[/url] id="rc-2071810b71" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script>

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Debut Novelist Courtney Alameda Talks Cover Anxiety

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 12 August 2014 · 17 views

I love talking to debut authors. Our experiences are so similar, yet so very different, that every one of us has a new story to share. Everyone says that the moment you get your cover it really hits you - you're an author. The cover is your story - and you - packaged for the world. So the process of the cover reveal can be slightly panic inducing. Does it fit your story? Is it what you hoped? Will it sell? With this in mind I put together the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) Interview.<br /><br />Today's guest is&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://courtneyalameda.com/"]http://courtneyalameda.com/" target="_blank">Courtney Alameda</a>, who holds a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University, spent seven years working for Barnes &amp; Noble, and currently works as an Adult &amp; Teen Services librarian at the Provo City Library. Her forthcoming novel, <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20757532-shutter" target="_blank">SHUTTER</a> (winter 2015, Feiwel &amp; Friends/Macmillan), is a tale spawned in part by Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, in part by her experiences both paranormal and not-so-paranormal, and features a cast of monsters inspired by everything from Japanese folklore to survival horror video games.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1403198824l/20757532.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1403198824l/20757532.jpg" width="424" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.</i></div><br /><br /><b>Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?</b><br /><br /><i>Surprisingly, no! When I heard Rich Deas would be designing the cover, I banished any thoughts of what “could be,” because I knew what “would be” was going to be so much more badass than any of my own ideas. Rich’s work is incredible, and he’s designed some of the most iconic covers in the YA world.</i><br /><br /><b>How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?</b><br /><br /><i>I started hearing tidbits about comps going to marketing in January. Since I knew Rich would be doing the design, and both he and my editor, Liz Szabla, are super savvy and über-creative, I didn’t worry. My cover was in the best hands!</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have any input on your cover?</b><br /><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><a href="http://25.media.tumblr.com/514c43cfa7fc1fecae05ea448e27a639/tumblr_mt8anfJ7lI1s58le6o1_400.gif" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://25.media.tumblr.com/514c43cfa7fc1fecae05ea448e27a639/tumblr_mt8anfJ7lI1s58le6o1_400.gif" height="145" width="320" /></a></div><br /><br /><b>How was your cover revealed to you?</b><br /><br /><i>I moonlight as a teen librarian, so I was working the reference desk when I got the email from Liz with “cover comp” in the subject line. I gasped, and when the librarian seated next to me asked me what was wrong, I managed to squeak out, “Cover!” to which she replied, “OPEN IT NOW!”</i><br /><br /><i>So I did . . . but upon seeing the ghost on the cover, I head-desked. Literally. (Horror projects of any ilk rarely feature the monster on their posters/covers/promotional materials.)</i><br /><br /><i>After some flailing, I emailed my agent. Macmillan was incredibly gracious while I threw my prima donna fit over the monster, and even tried designing several new concepts. In the end, no comp quite compared to the screaming, sonic-blue specter, so we compromised: They kept the artwork, and I got a sans-serif font for the title with cool, POLTERGEIST-y details; better placement for my name, and a nod to the novel’s photography elements. When Liz sent me the final, I sat back and thought, “Wow! Okay, I can work with that!”</i><br /><br /><i>Months later, I’m very grateful for the ghost on the cover, which I’ve come to think of as the book’s triple dog dare and warning label. It’s unique, beautifully executed, and very fierce, which I hope reflects the book’s contents, too.</i><br /><br /><b>Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?</b><br /><br /><i>Yes, and we had a fantastic reveal with Hypable in June, organized by my lovely publicist, Ksenia Winnicki. The reception bowled me over—I couldn’t believe how many people were sharing and retweeting the cover! I spent somewhere between eight and ten hours on social media that day, just watching the cover love unfold and thanking people for their kindness.</i><br /><br /><i>So you win, Macmillan—the monster on the cover is AWESOME!</i><br /><b><br /></b><b>How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?</b><br /><br /><i>Almost a full year; SHUTTER will be released in February 2015, and I saw comps in March of 2014.</i><br /><br /><b>Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?</b><br /><br /><i>No! Isn’t it obvious that I have the patience and composure of a Jedi master? (Kidding!) But I didn’t wait long—there was maybe two weeks between my seeing the final cover and the reveal.</i><br /><br /><b>What surprised you most about the process?</b><br /><br /><i>Definitely the reception on the cover reveal day! I thought a few friends would share the cover around a bit, but the hundreds of tweets and Facebook shares made my head spin. I still want to hug the internet for it all!</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?</b><br /><br /><i>Just this: Your publisher wants to see your book succeed just as much as you do. You invested your time; they are investing their time and their money. Your publisher’s going to design a cover that they believe in, and hopefully you’ll love it, too!</i>[/url]

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Bis zum letzten Tropfen Jetzt Erhältlich - Eingeben, um ein signiertes Exemplar zu gewinnen!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 11 August 2014 · 22 views

<a href="[url="http://amzn.to/1nGWovj"]http://amzn.to/1nGWovj" target="_blank">BIS ZUM LETZTEN TROPFEN</a> eine post-apokalyptischen Überlebensgeschichte wo Wasser ist fast nicht existent<br /><br />Eine starke Heldin, eine unbarmherzige Wildnis und eine Geschichte, die einen von der ersten Seite an fesselt! Am 11. August 2014 erscheint Mindy McGinnis' spannende Survivalstory »Bis zum letzten Tropfen« bei Heyne fliegt.<br /><br />Eingeben, um ein signiertes Exemplar zu gewinnen!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UjmaWJhLXww/U-jnepnPjOI/AAAAAAAACnw/nZYa2atJas0/s1600/GermanCoverDRINK.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UjmaWJhLXww/U-jnepnPjOI/AAAAAAAACnw/nZYa2atJas0/s1600/GermanCoverDRINK.jpg" height="640" width="418" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hltEIVVBabY" width="460"></iframe><br /></div><br /><a class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b69/" id="rc-2071810b69" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script><br />[/url]

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 09 August 2014 · 14 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://www.rclewisbooks.com/"]http://www.rclewisbooks.com/" 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 href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s400/NewestSatSlash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg" 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 href="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/" 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 />All hope is never lost. Not even in Nowhere. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Decent hook. I like it. Nice and concise.</span><br /><br />Cerulean and Amarillo Saffron are sisters separated by guilt, regret, and a secret the Ardor Laboratory Corporation will go to any lengths to protect. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Again, this is a good starter&nbsp;sentence. Their names are a little tongue&nbsp;triply, but if those are their names then that's the case.</span>&nbsp;Only hope can reunite them and save the Lost Children of Nowhere. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Now you are getting pretty vague, this is actually a decent sinker to put at the end, but right now I don't know if Nowhere is a real town, a secret location, or even if we're talking about Earth here.&nbsp;</span>Amarillo hasn't seen her baby sister since the day she disappeared from their family home nine years ago. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So is Cerulean only 9 years old? Or do you mean just "little" sister?&nbsp;</span>A chance assignment given to her by her boss <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Boss? So how old is Amarillo that she has a job?</span>, Mayor Naples Orange of Somewhere, proves to Amarillo that there was nothing she could have done all those years ago to protect Cerulean. It also gives the spunky young woman&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">definitely need to say how old she is, or give&nbsp;an indication&nbsp;</span>something else she sorely needs--hope that it is still possible to save her sister, and all the other Lost Children who are trapped in the neighboring city of Nowhere. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I&nbsp;definitely think you need to&nbsp;clarify whether this is set on Earth, a future version of Earth, or&nbsp;somewhere else entirely.&nbsp;</span><br /><br />To save the Lost Children, Amarillo has to get inside Nowhere. That is no small feat. No one in Somewhere can remember anyone ever being able to get in or out of their sister city, except maybe Nowhere's mayor, the boogeyman Mayor Blue. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">If no one has even been there, or gotten in or out, how do they know who the mayor is, or that the children are there?</span>&nbsp;But Amarillo knows she can do it, even if she has to do it alone. Mayor Orange is busy with his pet road project, the Roy G. Biv highway that will connect Somewhere and Nowhere and hopefully spur economic growth. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Why would it spur&nbsp;economic growth if no one ever goes in or out?&nbsp;</span>Also there is the issue of the continued hope theft from the emotion recycling plant. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This subplot here comes out of nowhere, and firmly lands this in the realm of&nbsp;sci-fi, or at least speculative fiction.&nbsp;</span>At first Amarillo thinks she may be able to turn to Deputy Mayor Scarlet for help, but when she spots him inside Nowhere--on the other side of the seemingly impenetrable force field that seals that city off from the rest of the world--with an armload of stolen emotion actuators, she knows he is up to no good. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I feel like there's a lot going on here, and no real indication of what our MC wants - to get into Nowhere and get her sister out? But how does she know she's there, and why is she so certain she can do it? And how does the subplot actually connect with the main plot?</span><br /><br />What is Somewhere's deputy mayor doing? Maybe it has something to do with The Outlawz, the elusive gang of saboteurs who have been attacking the road construction from the very beginning. Both Mayor Orange and the Somewhere Times have surmised that The Outlawz are probably a youth gang comprised of Lost Children. No one has any suggestions about what the saboteurs' motives might be, but when Amarillo sees Deputy Scarlet inside Nowhere with the pilfered hope, she gets an idea. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">What's the idea? Why would hope and the highway be connected? And why would anyone believe that the Outlawz are Lost Children if they think no one can get in or out of Nowhere? And why would lost&nbsp;children want to sabotage the road?</span><br /><br />The more Amarillo digs into the problem of the Lost Children, the more she realizes it's not just a Nowhere issue. The histories of Nowhere and Somewhere are inextricably connected, and they are tied to the secret that the Ardor Labs Corporation <span style="color: #6aa84f;">You mentioned them in the beginning, in connection with the little sister and a secret, but now they come up again in connection with the highway, so this is kind of confusing&nbsp;</span>--the largest employer in Somewhere and the biggest supporter of the Roy G. Biv highway--will do anything to keep buried. Amarillo finds an ally in Somewhere Times reporter Fern Viridian, and together, they--along with Mayor Orange--fight to unravel that secret and free the Lost Children. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">There are a LOT of names being mentioned in this query. You want to avoid that, especially when they are all different shades of&nbsp;color and potentially confusing. Earlier you said that our MC was going to do this alone, and now she's teaming up with two adults?</span><br /><br />What Amarillo doesn't know is that the Lost Children have not been sitting passively by, waiting to be rescued. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">She&nbsp;should though, shouldn't she? If everyone suspects the Outlawz are Lost Children then it shouldn't be a huge surprise.&nbsp;</span>Led by her intrepid little sister Cerulean and former Outlawz members Azure and Denim, they have been fighting: against the other Outlawz,<span style="color: #6aa84f;">&nbsp;So there's faction fighting among rebels?&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;against Deputy Mayor Scarlet, and even against the evil Mayor Blue. When the battle finally unites the forces from Somewhere and the forces from Nowhere, they are ready to stand together and vanquish their foes with their strength and their hope restored. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Except, honestly at this point I'm pretty confused about who is friend or foe, and what&nbsp;exactly the point was in the first place. You hint at a big secret that a corporation wants buried, and it has something to do with a road and possibly disappearing children but I'm not entirely sure on that last point. There are WAY too&nbsp;many names being mentioned in this query, it's highly&nbsp;confusing and reads more like a synopsis than a query.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">You need to keep your query word count low - around 300 words. Don't name so many characters - stick to your prime movers&nbsp;and focus on the main plot point. Right now you've got a lot going on in this query - so much so that it will lead an agent to wonder if your novel is just as convoluted and&nbsp;confusing.</span><br /><br />ROAD TO NOWHERE, a young adult urban fantasy novel, is complete at just over 77,000 words. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I'm not sure that it is urban fantasy - UF is typically set in a recognizable place, with&nbsp;magical or SF elements. This seems like it's somewhere else entirely, or at least in the future.</span>[/url]

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Signed IN A HANDFUL OF DUST Giveaway & Trailer Reveal!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 07 August 2014 · 20 views

I'm excited to share the trailer for IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, which the ladies over at YA Highway graciously offered to host for me. The original music is by my friend <a href="[url="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ingenious-plans/id895943959"]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ingenious-plans/id895943959" target="_blank">Jack Korbel</a>. I'm also giving away a signed copy of DUST!<br /><br /><a href="http://www.yahighway.com/2014/08/trailer-reveal-in-handful-of-dust-by.html" target="_blank">Bleak, barren, and a little badass, the trailer captures the feel for IN A HANDFUL OF DUST perfectly!</a><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-o5nozmM94hw/U-OEvFUtWKI/AAAAAAAACtk/SX-P0fQgEic/s1600/20359647.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-o5nozmM94hw/U-OEvFUtWKI/AAAAAAAACtk/SX-P0fQgEic/s1600/20359647.jpg" height="640" width="422" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><br /><a id="rc-2071810b68" class="rafl" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b68/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script>[/url]

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Successful Author Talk with Debut Author Joy N. Hensley

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 05 August 2014 · 36 views

Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is Harper sister Joy N. Hensley.&nbsp;Joy N. Hensley is a former middle school teacher. She used to spend her twenty-minute lunch breaks hosting author Skype chats for her students. Once upon a time she went to a military school on a dare. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two children, finding as many ways as she can to never do another push-up again. Joy is the author of <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18285437-rites-of-passage"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18285437-rites-of-passage" target="_blank">RITES OF PASSAGE</a>, available September 9th from Harper Teen, &nbsp;and <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22733897-the-harder-you-fall" target="_blank">THE HARDER YOU FALL</a>, slated for 2015.<br /><br /><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>If you’d asked me this question even a few weeks ago, I would have said pantsers of the world unite! Now, though, that there are deadlines looming and less time to get my pantser lifestyle on, I’m learning the “joys” of plotting. A TON of work up front, but holy cow, I’m figuring out stuff for my new book before writing one draft that normally would have taken two or three revisions to figure out….so I might be a convert…Can I be a plantser?</i><br /><br /><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><br /><i>Man, I wish I had a formula or timeline down for how this works, but seriously every novel is different. My first book (the one I signed my agent with) took me four years. It never sold. My second one I wrote in about a year but no one’s ever seen that. Rites of Passage took me six weeks to draft (yay NaNoWriMo!) but I revised for nine more months before going to copy-edits. My latest book I wrote in nine months, but now I’m completely re-writing it from scratch, so who knows how long it will take? Man, books will be written how they want to be written—I’m not trying to fit them into a timeline anytime soon!</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?</b><br /><br /><i>I usually try to fast draft one project at a time. I find that if I take time off from that excited early rush of a project, I lose my love for it. During the revision process I can usually do more than one thing at a time. I have an e-mail folder labeled “Ideas” though that I use to jot down snippets of conversations and characters that come to me while I’m writing. All my best ideas come when I’m smack dab in the middle of something else!</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>I didn’t have any fears at first. Now? I have tons. I feel them every time I sit down. What if this book doesn’t work? What if I’ve forgotten how to “book”? What if no one likes it? What if it doesn’t work for the market? What if I have to go back to teaching and everyone knows I “failed”? I thought once I sold a book, things would be honky-dory from then on. I think it’s scarier on this side of the fence rather than back when there wasn’t any pressure other than getting an agent or selling a book.</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?</b><br /><br /><i>I have one I trunked before I got my agent (450 pages or some nonsense like that—I had NO CLUE what I was doing) and one I trunked after—though this one is starting to nibble at my mind again.</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b><br /><br /><i>The one I quit on after I signed with my agent—there was just something wrong with it that I couldn’t figure out. It’s been two years and I think I’ve finally figured out what was wrong—hence the nibbling at my mind now. I have lots of projects that are partway done. I don’t think I’ll ever trunk anything again—I think maybe it’s just not the right time for them.</i><br /><br /><b>Who is your agent and how did you get that "Yes!" out of them? &nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I’m with Super Agent Mandy Hubbard at D4EO Literary Agency. I was very lucky because I’m one of those people who knew nothing about the process, really. So I queried her (thanks to a friend’s recommendation) and she read but rejected. In the response, though, she told me why she rejected, which was the biggest help I could have ever gotten. Stupidly, though, I tried to make a “quick fix.” I e-mailed her back with some superficial changes about two weeks later and she said that if the fixes were that easy, they probably weren’t big enough for her to reconsider.</i><br /><br /><i>After that I was pretty down. I went to a SCBWI writing conference up on a mountain. My grandma paid for it (I didn’t have the money) and I was too cheap to get a hotel room, so I pitched a tent and almost died in a thunderstorm (but that’s another story). Anyway, I learned a whole new revision technique that weekend and after looking at Mandy’s rejection notes again, I rewrote the entire manuscript in two months, this time, and re-queried her. She read it over the weekend and offered the next week.</i><br /><br /><i>Writers are NOT supposed to do that. I didn’t know better…</i><br /><br /><b>How long did you query before landing your agent? </b><br /><br /><i>I queried off and on for about 9 months. I’d say I sent about fifty queries out and I got two offers.</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b><br /><br /><i>Take a huge deep breath, and go slow. While the queries are out there, don’t just stare at your inbox (oh, I know how hard this is). Start something new. Continue writing. NEVER stop writing.</i><br /><br /><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>Picking a concept for Rites was hard, I think. I got a first cover comp and while it was ok I wasn’t sold on it. I didn’t like the color—it didn’t seem ominous enough. Mandy and I went back with some thoughts and Harper went through quite a few more comps (though I never saw any of them—man, would I love to!). When they e-mailed the black and pink cover I just KNEW that was it. They still played around with it a little bit, but I couldn’t ask for a better cover!</i><br /><br /><b>What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>Honestly, it’s something I’m still learning and trying to figure out how to navigate. Before you’re agented and before you’ve sold, you’re writing for YOU. You’re writing to make that dream happen with the book of your heart. Once you’re on this side, though, writing becomes a business. I’m trying to figure out how to make the business part and the “writing the book of my heart” part mesh—it’s definitely an acquired skill.</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you? &nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I’ve got a blog that I rarely do anything with. It saddens me, but I just don’t have time for it. I post links to book stuff, contact information, and appearances, but nothing else, really.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I do most of my social networking on <a href="https://twitter.com/joynhensley" target="_blank">Twitter</a>—that seems to be where the YA authors/bloggers/and YAs themselves spend most of their social media time. I don’t have tumbler and my Facebook page is just my tweets pushing through. Looking at that, I feel like a huge failure!</i><br /><br /><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>I think that’s different based on what type of writer you want to be. It’s hard for fiction writers to build a platform before having a book come out. I think you should be out there, certainly, trying to build a name for yourself, but in the end, if you’re a fiction writer, at least, your platform isn’t going to give you a deal. Your words are. Focus less on platform and more on your writing.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b><br /><br /><i>Sure, to an extent. I think it’s fun to be out there, talking to readers and teens and people eager about books, and your books in particular. Is it the end-all? No. Again, your words will speak for themselves—but being accessible, being a person, not just a mythical author is important, too!</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Thanks so much for having me! ☺</i>[/url]

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 02 August 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/" 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 href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s400/NewestSatSlash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oZ52KunZpiM/T_zy5Q521TI/AAAAAAAAArU/EQOi-3pr48Q/s320/NewestSatSlash.jpg" 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 href="http://www.agentqueryconnect.com/" 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 />Blood Reign is a YA Fantasy novel complete at 78,000 words, that will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Great - sounds like you know your genre and comp titles, but I&nbsp;personally put what I call "the vitals" at&nbsp;the end of a query letter. It's not a hard and fast rule, but I think it's much more interesting to put your hook out there front and center. Also, after having finished the query I'll add that if this is an Alice retelling, this is the place to&nbsp;mention that.</span><br /><br />Seventeen-year-old Alice never considered herself the suicidal type. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Oh, interesting - definitely raises the question of what changed her mind on that count.&nbsp;</span>That is until she finds herself trapped between the men who killed her mother, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">you don't need the comma&nbsp;</span>and a five-hundred-foot drop. Rather than face the killers’ dark plans for her, Alice jumps. But instead of death, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">slightly awkward phrasing here since you continue with a verb. I'd rephrase with "instead of dying"</span>&nbsp;Alice wakes up in a blood-soaked battlefield in <span style="color: #6aa84f;">slightly clunky sentence here, plus echo with "in"</span> an unfamiliar world, where men in armour are slaughtering peasants. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">The slaughter you mention here implies the blood and leaves you able to&nbsp;pare down this sentence. Plus (picky moment) if the peasants are being slaughtered then it's not technically a battlefield, but a killing field.</span>&nbsp;Terrified, she flees and encounters a seer, who reveals the only way to return to her world is to seek a witch. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Interesting enough, but I'm definitely confused about how her mother's death / murder / killers fit into this plot.</span><br /><br />Disguised as a man <span style="color: #6aa84f;">why?</span>, Alice must survive the war between the queen and rebels <span style="color: #6aa84f;">who is the queen and why are there rebels?</span>, and the flesh-eating monsters stalking Wonderland <span style="color: #6aa84f;">So we are actually in an Alice-In-Wonderland retelling? Why are there&nbsp;flesh eating monsters?</span>. Her growing lust for vengeance makes her determined to find her way home. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Why? To avenge her mother's death?</span>&nbsp;As Wonderland falls into chaos, Alice discovers slaying monsters might have its price--being hailed as a hero--or becoming a monster herself.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">This definitely all needs to be tied together. The mother's death feels like the impetus - it leads to her suicide - but then it's dropped entirely and only&nbsp;revisited as a mention later on&nbsp;through implication. There is a mention of a witch who needs to be found but then she disappears. The queen, rebels, and dead peasants are all in evidence but their relevance to the plot is not clear, and neither is the presence of flesh-eating monsters.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">You also have all the elements of this being an Alice in Wonderland (with zombies?) re-telling, but you never actually say so, which you probably&nbsp;should if that is, in fact, the case. &nbsp;Her newfound&nbsp;attraction for killing is a great plot point, but it's getting lost in the cast of&nbsp;characters who don't seem to all fit together cohesively. I'm also very&nbsp;unclear how Alice became a slayer of monsters in the&nbsp;first place, or why she is disguised as a man.</span>[/url]

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Book Talk: THE REVELATION OF GABRIEL ADAM by SL Duncan & ARC Giveaway

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 01 August 2014 · 26 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 />Seventeen year old Gabriel Adam has always been on the move because of his father's ministerial position. But when Gabriel starts to see a dark figure shadowing his every move, and their most recent home burns to the ground, his father is forced to share the truth about their nomadic ways. Gabriel is one of the four archangels born again as a human and sent to stop the end of the world.<br /><br />Gabriel had his own plans for his life, including attending NYU and settling down for once. His new destiny puts him on a plane back to his father's home country of England, where they will meet with the leader of an obscure religious group who has answers that will help Gabriel stop the dark figure still stalking their steps.<br /><br />Meeting the other archangels - including Micah, a girl who embodies the archangel Michael - proves that his father hasn't finally lost it, and Gabe must come to terms with his pivotal role in protecting humanity from the dark forces that shadow his every step.<br /><br />Enter to win an ARC below!<br /><br /><a class="rafl" href="[url="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b67/"]http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b67/" id="rc-2071810b67" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js"></script>[/url]

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