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Writer, Writer Pants on Fire


Natasha Sinel On Taking Feedback From Rejections

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 05 May 2015 · 49 views

If there's one thing that many aspiring writers have few clues about, it's the submission process. There are good reasons for that; authors aren't exactly encouraged to talk in detail about our own submission experiences, and - just like agent hunting - everyone's story is different. I managed to cobble together a few non-specific questions that some debut authors have agreed to<br />answer (bless them). And so I bring you the submission interview series - Submission Hell - It's True. Yes, it's the SHIT.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1426580839l/24263287.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1426580839l/24263287.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/1426580839l/24263287.jpg"[/url] width="213" /></a></div>Today's guest for the SHIT is Natasha Sinel, author of <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24263287-the-fix?from_search=true&amp;search_version=service"[/url] target="_blank">THE FIX</a>, which is about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean. Natasha writes from her home on a dirt road in Northern Westchester, NY. She drives her kids around all afternoon but in her head, she’s still in high school and hopes no one near her can read minds. You can find her on <a [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/natashasinel"[/url] target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a [url="href="]href="https://www.facebook.com/people/Natasha-Sinel/100006454480932"[/url] target="_blank">Facebook</a>. THE FIX is her first novel.<br /><br /><b>How much did you know about the submission process before you were out on subs yourself?</b><br /><br /><i>I’d never realized that an editor goes through so many approvals in order to make an offer. I thought if an editor loved a manuscript, then she could make an offer right away. It makes sense, then, that an editor has to really fall in love with a manuscript to want to go through all those hoops.</i><br /><br /><b>Did anything about the process surprise you?</b><br /><br /><i>It surprised me that a few editors never responded to my agent, even though they’d expressed interest and had requested the manuscript. Even a one-sentence “no thank you” or “not for me” would have been better than crickets.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you research the editors you knew had your ms? Do you recommend doing that?</b><br /><br /><i>I’ll admit to Googling, reading interviews, Twitter-stalking. On the one hand, I learned so much about the publishing world by reading up on editors, and found some new favorite authors this way. On the other hand, it was not useful to see cryptic tweets, read into every word, and wonder if they were talking about my manuscript.</i><br /><br /><b>What was the average amount of time it took to hear back from editors?</b><br /><br /><i>A couple of passes came within a couple of weeks. Some never responded—one of these crushed me since I’d had a conference critique with him and I thought he seemed to connect with the manuscript. But, I’d say the average response time was six weeks.</i><br /><br /><b>What do you think is the best way for an author out on submission to deal with the anxiety?</b><br /><br /><i>At first I wanted every answer that came in as soon as my agent got it. But I found that a pass popping up in my inbox at random times was a surefire way to ruin a perfectly good day. So, I asked my agent to let me know only if there was something positive. A couple of times, I caved and asked her if she’d gotten any news, and then she’d forward a pass if she’d received one. But at least that way I was prepared.</i><br /><br /><i>Everyone says that diving into a new project is the best way to deal with anxiety while on sub. I agree—if you can do that. I wasn’t particularly successful at it. I did a lot of reading, though. And errands.</i><br /><br /><b>If you had any rejections, how did you deal with that emotionally? How did this kind of rejection compare to query rejections?</b><br /><br /><i>At first the rejections were kind of exciting! It was amazing that an editor at a real publishing house had read my manuscript (or part of it, at least), considered it seriously, and had taken the time to compose a thoughtful response. After a while, though, the thrill faded a bit and the passes would start to break my heart—particularly if it was an editor who I thought would be a great fit or if the comments were so incredibly positive and then would end with a BUT…(for example, “I was enthralled and it reminds me of Eleanor &amp; Park but…” —that one resulted in some tears and chocolate consumption).</i><br /><br /><i>The editor passes were much easier to handle than query rejections, though, because I had my agent on my team.</i><br /><br /><b>If you got feedback on a rejection, how did you process it? How do you compare processing an editor’s feedback as compared to a beta reader’s?</b><br /><br /><i>I really appreciated feedback from editors when they offered solid ways to improve the manuscript. One editor passed because she had a book coming out with a similar theme (this is why I prefer to call them passes, because it doesn’t always feel like a rejection), but she went on to give a few suggestions on plot and character that were so helpful, I ended up revising the manuscript based on her comments.</i><br /><br /><i>In general, when I receive feedback, whether from an editor or from a beta reader, I appreciate the time they’ve taken, and then try to take a step back to consider what resonates with me and what doesn’t. When an editor (or beta reader) points something out that isn’t working or could be improved upon and I agree, then I have no choice but to change it. If I don’t feel like I would’ve written it that way, though, then I won’t do it. I made that mistake in another manuscript, and I cringed when I re-read it. It felt like someone else had written those parts (and not in a good way). Now, I make sure that there is not a single sentence or scene or character trait that could make me cringe on a read-through.</i><br /><br /><b>When you got your YES! how did that feel? How did you find out – email, telephone, smoke signal?</b><br /><br /><i>I had some heads up from my agent that stuff was happening—the editor loved my manuscript but needed to bring it to the editorial meeting, and after that, the publisher. I had no idea how long that would take. Knowing the business, I was prepared to wait months. And there was always that chance she wouldn’t get the okay to make an offer. But she did! My agent called the day before my birthday, while I was feeling sorry for myself that I’d have to spend yet another birthday with no book deal. When I saw my agent’s name on my phone, I told myself, she might be calling to say it was a no. But when I answered, she said “This is the call!” I was sort of in shock. It’s overwhelming to get what you’ve always wanted. And then I called family and friends, and with each call it felt more real, and then I was ecstatic.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to wait a period of time before sharing your big news, because of details being ironed out? Was that difficult?</b><br /><br /><i>From the time I got the offer to the time I announced was about six weeks, which is actually pretty fast. Once the contract was signed, the Publishers Marketplace announcement came out a few days later. Before that, I was allowed to tell people close to me, I just couldn’t put it on the Internet until the PM announcement came out. That part of the waiting was so much less difficult than any other period of the process. I had a signed contract, and I knew it was happening!</i><br /><br />

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Finally I Vlog Again! An Insane Asylum Primer From Yours Truly

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 04 May 2015 · 42 views

I know it's been awhile since I made a vlog... I've been busy, you know, writing. But today I thought I'd educate you a little on how insane asylums operated in the 19th century. So don't try this at home.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="[url="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/nIxXTFAGthw/0.jpg"]https://i.ytimg.com/vi/nIxXTFAGthw/0.jpg[/url]" frameborder="0" height="280" [url="src="]src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nIxXTFAGthw?feature=player_embedded"[/url] width="380"></iframe></div><br />

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 02 May 2015 · 62 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, 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 /><div><br /></div>An electronic device was implanted into Grey Wayward’s brain when she was three-years-old. It was programmed with two tasks: Modify her DNA to add gills so she can blend in with the Tridens on their tiny planet, and send a signal that allows everything she sees and says to be monitored light years away on Earth. Transforming her into an unknowing spy. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Great hook - you've done a good job of setting up genre and giving plot hints while providing an engaging first line. The one thing I'll say is that you've got an incomplete&nbsp;sentence&nbsp;dangling there at the end.</span><br /><br />Abandoned on Triden, Grey was adopted by a loving family and raised unaware of her origin. When Earth suddenly appears in the sky <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Hmm... how would Earth suddenly appear?</span>&nbsp;and a security checkpoint is set up outside her small town, sixteen-year-old Grey gets an unusual reading on the scanner and is sent running <span style="color: #6aa84f;">as in she runs away b/c she's in danger b/c of the reading? Or like they&nbsp;actually send her to discover things?&nbsp;</span>to discover who she really is and how she got the scars that have always marked her as different.<br /><br />Eighteen-year-old, witty and fierce human, Rebel, finds Grey and informs her there are two different groups of Humans on Triden. The Patriots who are planning to kill the Tridens and take the planet for themselves and the Resistance who are working with some of the Tridens to bring a peaceful union to both species. Rebel claims Grey’s parents are working with the Resistance, but admits that she knows nothing about Grey’s origin.<br /><br />Before Grey can decide if she trusts Rebel she’s captured by Triden soldiers, including the first-born-prince-of-Triden, Easton Phillips. The journey across the planet to have her origin tested takes several weeks. Along the way, she needs to decipher the cryptic messages left by her mom and decide who she’s loyal to. Meanwhile, she must navigate her conflicting emotions toward Easton, who has just-enough-tragic-baggage to allow Grey to fall for him despite his faults. (The love of Easton’s life was murdered, leaving him bent on revenge.) <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I'd axe the parenthetical here. We don't need to know the origin of his baggage.</span><br /><br />The only advantage the Tridens have over the Humans is their gills. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Why is this an advantage?&nbsp;Are battles waged underwater?&nbsp;</span>&nbsp;Grey’s origin test proves she’s human, making her the ultimate threat. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Unclear on&nbsp;why her shared parentage would make her the ultimate threat?&nbsp;</span>Easton will do anything to protect her from the leaders of Triden, including selling his birthright in exchange for her safe passage to Earth.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">This&nbsp;is a pretty good&nbsp;query,&nbsp;with the&nbsp;exceptions pointed out above. We need to know why having gills is an advantage, and why it makes her a threat. Also - why wouldn't the people who placed her there in the first&nbsp;place be&nbsp;reclaiming her now that they've come to the planet? It seems like they could&nbsp;gather more information from her as an&nbsp;implanted spy.&nbsp;</span><br /><br />OXYGEN is a 63,000 word YA science fiction/romance novel and the first in a planned trilogy. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">You would definitely&nbsp;improve your chances here by stating that it could standalone but has series potential -- only if that's&nbsp;actually true though.&nbsp;</span>I am a thirty-seven-year-old mother of two girls from Shelby Twp. Mi. with no previous publications. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Don't worry about a bio since you don't have any publishing credits of a bio that ties in with your subject matter -- not having a bio won't hurt you.</span>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-saturday-slash.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-saturday-slash.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Book Talk & Giveaway: DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 01 May 2015 · 73 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/1381437107l/18053060.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381437107l/18053060.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/1381437107l/18053060.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div>Amy doesn't have it easy. She spends her days at school avoiding the bullies who call her Salvation Amy, and her time at home hiding her mom's pill stash in their trailer to keep them from her. Everything changes when a tornado rips through their Kansas town, taking Amy's trailer to Oz - somewhere that should be better than home... but it's not.<br /><br />Oz is not the place Amy thought it would be, and Dorothy is not the girl everyone knows from the stories. Magic has made her greedy, and the former Kansas farm girl has destroyed Oz in order to mine magic, enslaving the munchkins and monkeys. Glinda the Good Witch is anything but, the Tin Man a horrifying mechanical solider, the Scarecrow a mad scientist, and the Lion a true predator.<br /><br />With everything turned on its head, Amy learns that the Order of the Wicked are actually the good guys in this new Oz - and they want to kill Dorothy, which only another girl from Kansas can do. With the differences between good and bad more than a little fuzzy, Amy has to decide which side she's on, and how far she's willing to go to join them.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b116" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b116/"[/url] id="rcwidget_8zxzo5tr" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/05/book-talk-giveaway-dorothy-must-die-by.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/05/book-talk-giveaway-dorothy-must-die-by.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Thursday Thoughts

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 30 April 2015 · 24 views

Thoughts lately -<br /><br />1) If copper is so expensive now, why are pennies still only worth one cent?<br /><br />2) What did medieval people think of static electricity?<br /><br />3)&nbsp;There aren't many gender neutral insults, yet instead of being irritated by this I have found humor in it. For example, calling someone a douchebag is like saying, "You are a really useful hygienic tool." Calling someone a dickhead is like saying, "I don't need you. People have been cutting those off for centuries."

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/04/thursday-thoughts.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/04/thursday-thoughts.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Miriam Spitzer Franklin: Make A Mood Board For Your Cover

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 28 April 2015 · 60 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 for the CRAP is <a href="[url="http://miriamfranklin.com/new/"]http://miriamfranklin.com/new/[/url]" target="_blank">Miriam Spitzer Franklin</a>, author of the MG debut&nbsp;<a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23130145-extraordinary?from_search=true&amp;search_exp_group=group_b&amp;search_version=service"[/url] target="_blank">EXTRAORDINARY,</a> which releases May 5th from SkyPony Press. Besides reading children’s literature and writing, Miriam loves to teach. She's taught kindergarteners up to eighth graders in public and private schools. Her favorite subject to teach? You guessed it– reading and writing!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1414559681l/23130145.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" [url="src="]src="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1414559681l/23130145.jpg"[/url] width="444" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Last spring, Pansy chickened out on going to spring break camp, even though she’d promised her best friend, Anna, she’d go. It was just like when they went to get their hair cut for Locks of Love; only one of them walked out with a new hairstyle, and it wasn’t Pansy. But Pansy never got the chance to make it up to Anna. While at camp, Anna contracted meningitis and a dangerously high fever, and she hasn’t been the same since. Now all Pansy wants is her best friend back—not the silent girl in the wheelchair who has to go to a special school and who can’t do all the things Pansy used to chicken out of doing. So when Pansy discovers that Anna is getting a surgery that might cure her, Pansy realizes this is her chance—she’ll become the friend she always should have been. She’ll become the best friend Anna’s ever had—even if it means taking risks, trying new things (like those scary roller skates), and running herself ragged in the process.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Pansy’s chasing extraordinary, hoping she reaches it in time for her friend’s triumphant return. But what lies at the end of Pansy’s journey might not be exactly what she had expected—or wanted.</i></div><br /><b>Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?</b><br /><br />I knew that I wanted my cover to portray the story in an optimistic way. Because my book deals with some heavy subject matter (Pansy's best friend suffers a traumatic brain injury), I needed to make sure the cover didn't appear sad or depressing. <br /><br /><b>How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?</b><br /><br />My editor asked me to start thinking about ideas for the cover in May 2014, a year before the book came out.<br /><br /><b>Did you have any input on your cover?</b><br /><br />My editor suggested that I put together a mood board -- examples of MG covers that I liked and the overall feeling I wanted to convey.<br /><br /><b>How was your cover revealed to you?</b><br /><br />Actually, my editor asked me for an author photo for the catalog because she said they weren't satisfied with the designs and they had asked the illustrator to rework the design. I was glad that they weren't accepting a cover they weren't satisfied with but disappointed that the catalog was going out without my cover! A few days later, my husband was searching the internet and found my cover! I e-mailed my editor to tell her I loved it and hoped it was the final design! Apparently they reworked the illustration in time for it to go out in the official catalog, so it all worked out the way it was supposed to.<br /><br /><b>Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?</b><br /><br />I did not have an official cover reveal date, but I found out about it in late October, around 5 months before the book's release.<br /><br /><b>Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?</b><br /><br />I didn't have to keep it to myself since it was already out on the internet! Though I did check with my editor to see if it was okay if I shared.<br /><br /><b>What surprised you most about the process?</b><br /><br />I was most surprised at the way the illustrator came up with the perfect cover for my book. I'm assuming he didn't actually read the book, but the Best Friend necklaces worked perfectly to capture the theme of Extraordinary.<br /><br /><b>Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?</b><br /><br />If your editor doesn't ask for input, you should let him/her know what you would like to see in a cover. Because authors may not have a final say in the cover design (mine was finalized before anyone showed it to me), you'll feel a lot better if you have the discussion upfront. Offering up a mood board to your editor is a good way to show what types of covers you'd like to see. In the end, you have to trust your publishing house and hope they will put out the type of cover that best represents your book, as mine did!

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/04/miriam-spitzer-franklin-make-mood-board.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/04/miriam-spitzer-franklin-make-mood-board.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


Reversing My Position

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 27 April 2015 · 48 views

I used to be a strong advocate of not reading while writing. I was adamant about a little term I coined - something I called "<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2011/09/voice-bleeding-remedy-staunch-it-with.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2011/09/voice-bleeding-remedy-staunch-it-with.html[/url]" target="_blank">voice bleeding</a>." I fiercely believed that if I indulged myself in reading the same genre I was writing that I opened myself up to the voice of the other author leaking into whatever ms I was working on.<br /><br />And, to be fair, I still think that's a possibility.<br /><br />But you'll notice that the blog post I link to above is from 2011. Now, I've got four more years of experience under my belt, four years where I've been writing professionally, and four years of balancing simultaneous projects while still working full time as a librarian. And to be a good librarian you have to be aware of the market, aware of content, and aware of your collection in order to make good recommendations to your patrons.<br /><br />And to do that, you have to be reading.<br /><br />I want to be good at both of my jobs, so I decided I was going to be reading while writing. There was no way around it. At first I stuck to my old decree that reading nonfiction was non-damaging to my creative voice, and while I still think that's true, it also severely limits my reading choices.<br /><br />So I went a different route and decided to read the opposite genre of whatever I was writing. That definitely worked, until I came up against a book I really wanted to read <i>right now</i> that happened to also be a dark contemporary. It was GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn and yes, I'm glad I just went ahead and read it.<br /><br />Ironically, I found that reading the same genre I was writing didn't stymie me so much as inspire me. I'd read a few chapters and find myself burning to write, instead of having to put down the book I was reading and force my brain to jump tracks over to the genre I was writing. There was less of a lag, and instead of invading my creativity I felt like reading was bolstering it, challenging me to answer with my own voice and words.<br /><br />I finished up the first draft of my dark contemporary, tentatively titled THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES, last week. It's out to crit partners right now, and while I'm waiting for it to come back to me I've got to switch projects and focus on <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25314447-given-to-the-sea"[/url] target="_blank">GIVEN TO THE SEA</a>, the first in my epic fantasy series due out in 2017.<br /><br />How to best make that move?<br /><br />I think I'll ease into it by reading some fantasy.

<a href="[url="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/04/reversing-my-position.html"]http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/2015/04/reversing-my-position.html[/url]" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>


The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 25 April 2015 · 52 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, 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 />Ginnifer’s past vanished at five when her parents died in a fire. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Her past&nbsp;vanished or any access she has to her past is gone&nbsp;because her parents are gone and she was too little to remember anything?&nbsp;</span>Now sixteen, all that remains is endless nightmares and visions which she hardly can recall the next day. Other than the fact that someone is ALWAYS <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I wouldn't use caps</span>&nbsp;trying to kill her in them! <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I wouldn't use an exclamation point either. Reserve those for&nbsp;major, major shockers.</span><br /><br />Her adopted gypsy-born <span style="color: #6aa84f;">if this is a contemporary story you might want to rephrase this... I&nbsp;don't know&nbsp;what it means to be a gypsy in the modern world&nbsp;</span>family only tells her that the dreams will fade with time, but everything changes when three new students show up at school. Ginnifer is drawn to them; especially the bad boy that most parents warn about. (It’s the eyes…definitely the eyes) Suddenly, a girl dies at the football game: the very same girl she had a vision of that morning. It was a memory…<span style="color: #6aa84f;">really unsure&nbsp;what you mean here - how is it a memory and a vision at the same time? Also earlier you said she can "hardly recall" the visions but now she can?</span>&nbsp;so now she’s not a total mental case. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">If the light tone here fits with the voice of the novel it's fine, but don't make the query purposefully campy unless it matches the tone of the book.</span><br /><br />But as more deaths take hold of the town, Ginnifer is determined to find her connection to them. She learns that she’s an Abnormal, a half-mortal with a masked rare gene. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Definitely need to&nbsp;expand on this - half-mortals have been done over and over again in YA. What is this masked gene? Why is this story different from&nbsp;every other already existing urban fantasy?&nbsp;</span>One whose life will always be surrounded by blood. Then the bombshell: the killer might actually be targeting her. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Why? And if she's the&nbsp;target, why kill others first?</span><br /><br />As if being a junior in high school wasn’t hard enough. Not only is she in a twisted gypsy protection <span style="color: #6aa84f;">&nbsp;</span>program from someone who wants her dead,&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">What's so twisted about it? And what about those three new students? Is that the program you mention here? They were mentioned and then dropped</span>&nbsp;but she is torn between the life she knows and the life she forgot. &nbsp;Ginnifer is hell bent to find an in between. She must make a choice: either seek out the killer and fight or stay hidden.<br /><br />ABNORMALS is a 94,000-word YA urban fantasy. This book would appeal to fans of The Vampire Academy and The Mortal Instruments.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">There definitely needs to be a correlation drawn&nbsp;between her visions, the gypsies, the program, and what this gene is that she harbors. Is the gene the reason she has visions? What's her purpose? Why would the gene mean she's always&nbsp;surrounded by blood? What does the gene&nbsp;actually do? Why would someone want her dead and why are the&nbsp;gypsies the ones that are supposed to protect her? If she's only half-mortal, what's her other half? Angelic? Demonic? God? You'll need to get the fine points in here in order to differentiate this from existing titles.</span>

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Book Talk & Giveaway: THE QUEEN OF BRIGHT & SHINY THINGS by Ann Aguirre

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 24 April 2015 · 69 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/1411311736l/17998543.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1411311736l/17998543.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/1411311736l/17998543.jpg"[/url] width="213" /></a></div>Sage is better known as Princess Post-It in her school. She makes it a goal to look for someone everyday who is having a hard time - whether they're being bullied, going through a breakup, or just look down in the mouth - Sage can always come up with something nice to say to them by putting a Post-It on their locker. Between that and heading up Green World, the sparsely attended environmental group in the school, Sage has the "good girl" image all locked up.<br /><br />But that's exactly what it is - an image. No one except the aunt she lives with knows about Shadow Sage, the person Sage was before she moved in junior high. That girl has been through foster homes, court-mandated treatment, and any number of medications in order to find a way to deal with her past. She's done a good job of forgetting all about Shadow Sage firmly, until Princess Post-It falls in love.<br /><br />Shane has his own secrets, ones that demand he keep a low profile and stay under the radar. But Sage draws him out, certain that nothing he hides can be worse than her own past. But with Shane as a target for some of the jocks, Shadow Sage is having a hard time keeping her anger under control. Erupting could protect Shane, but it could also destroy the image of the girl he fell in love with - the one he thinks he knows.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b115" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b115/"[/url] id="rcwidget_5nijo1sg" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>

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No Agent? No Problem! A Successful Author Talk With THE ARK Author Laura Liddell Nolen

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 21 April 2015 · 77 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1425443454l/25066493.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1425443454l/25066493.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/1425443454l/25066493.jpg"[/url] width="208" /></a></div>Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is <a [url="href="]href="http://www.lauraliddellnolen.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Laura Liddel Nolen</a>,&nbsp;who grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She has a degree in French and a license to practice law, but both are frozen in carbonite at present. She lives in Texas with her husband and two young children. Her debut, <a [url="href="]href="http://www.lauraliddellnolen.com/#!book/c1sbj"[/url] target="_blank">THE ARK</a>, is available now from Harper Voyager.<br /><br />Laura's success story is doubly special to me, because she was a participant in the <a [url="href="]href="http://writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com/search/label/PAPfest"[/url] target="_blank">PAPfest</a> - a writing contest that I hosted on my blog back in 2013. Laura is also a great example of a non-traditional path to success. She's an un-agented writer published with a major house - not something that happens everyday!<br /><br /><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>Total planner. That being said, things rarely go according to plan.</i><br /><br /><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><br /><i>Since THE ARK is my first, I guess I have to say five years. But the sequel is scheduled for publication next year, with the last book in the trilogy one year after that, so I’m going to have to work on my record quite a bit. To say the least.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?</b><br /><br /><i>I work on one project until I get writer’s block, which happens fairly often. Then I procrastinate by writing a short story or starting a new project. It helps my confidence overall, but not my faith in whichever manuscript is stalled at the moment.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>One problem with writing is, you have to be slightly delusional even to attempt it. Like, what makes me think anyone will want to read my stories? But the more you write, the better you get. It’s quite a learning curve. If nothing else, I can always pull up an old story and cringe my way through it, which helps with confidence in my more current stuff.</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?</b><br /><br /><i>I actually don’t have an agent yet. I’m planning to start querying this summer. I’m living proof that editors read their slush, though!</i><br /><i><br /></i><b>Tell us more about being published as an un-agented author.</b><br /><br /><i>I’m happy to share my “stats,” in case they offer any hope to other writers: I queried nine agents. Six asked to read my manuscript for THE ARK. Of those, four gave me some helpful comments. Of the original nine, two agents sent a form rejection, and one didn’t even reply!</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I also submitted THE ARK to Harper Voyager, the science fiction and fantasy imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, when I heard they were accepting unagented work.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I planned to revise the manuscript and resend it to the four agents who’d given me comments. But then I got a call from Natasha Bardon, editorial director of Harper Voyager UK, saying they’d like to publish me! I guess I got the cart before the horse, in a sense.</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b><br /><br /><i>Yes! My first attempt at a novel was just awful. I think I was trying to copy everything I thought YA lit should be like, which is a great recipe for a terrible book. I’m glad I got that out of my system. I knew it was time to quit when my friend Taylor said, “I can’t believe you’re not writing science fiction. That’s what you always wanted to do, right?” The next day, I started The Ark, and I haven’t looked back.</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b><br /><br /><i>Rejection is an absolute given in this business. That doesn’t make it hurt any less, but at least know that you’re not alone when it happens. It only takes one yes, and bam! You’re in.</i><br /><br /><b>How did that feel, the first time you saw your book for sale?</b><br /><br /><i>It’s completely surreal. And I’m not sure who’s more excited, me or my mom.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Just kidding. Definitely me.</i><br /><br /><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>I was given two options for a cover. The one I chose is the one the editor liked best as well. I’m thrilled to say that I really do love it, and it was clear to me that the artist had read the book. The details are amazing. For example, the meteor matches her eyes. How cool is that? And there are a couple of lines in THE ARK referencing Char’s ratty hair, which is reflected in the cover image.</i><br /><br /><b>What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>It’s amazing how supportive the writing community is. I think you wrote a post about this recently, and it really made me smile. As an aspiring writer, you don’t even need an agent or a book deal to reach out and find thousands of other people in the same boat, almost all of whom will be happy to cheer you on along your way. I’ve made some great friends on this journey. There are also tons of established writers who are committed to helping up-and-comers. It’s an exciting, inspiring group to be a member of.</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you? &nbsp;Do you have a blog / site / Twitter?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>Nearly all of it. Yes, thanks for asking!! I'm on <a [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/LauraLLNolen"[/url] target="_blank">Twitter</a> and have a <a [url="href="]href="http://site./">site.</a></i><br[/url] /><br /><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>If I could do it over, I’d have gotten involved with Twitter a lot sooner. Otherwise, there’s not a whole lot to market before you have a product to sell. I think there’s value in focusing on writing the best book you can.</i><br /><br /><b>Do you think social media helps build your readership?</b><br /><br /><i>Definitely! Just look at your blog! I started reading Writer, Writer waaaay before NOT A DROP TO DRINK came out. By the time it was finally published, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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