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Book Talk & GIveaway: BLOOD ROSE REBELLION by Rosalyn Eves

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 17 February 2017 · 52 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://images.gr-assets.com/books/1474748822l/31020402.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1474748822l/31020402.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1474748822l/31020402.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>In a re-imagined historical world where magic matters as much as money, Anna Arden only has one. She is Barren, a member of high society that cannot call magic. Not only that, but whenever Anna is near magic, spells seem to backfire. When she accidentally ruins her older sister's spell at her debutante ball, Anna's family sends her away to her grandmother in Hungary.<br /><br />There she meets her cousins, as well as Romani Gabor, who believes that Anna does indeed have an ability - that negating magic is in fact, her skill. Unrest is spreading across the country, anger against the Luminate - the reigning magical circle, who keep magic sequestered away from the general population.<br /><br />Romani knows that not only the wealthy can wield magic - anyone can. But the Luminate has long fought to keep magic out of the hands of anyone they deem unworthy. Anna could be the key to changing that, if she can learn how to use her skill to break the spell that keeps magic from all but the wealthy. But to do so means betraying the world she was born into.<br /><br /><form [url="action="]action="https://www.paypal.com/fk/cgi-bin/webscr"[/url] method="post" name="_xclick"><input name="cmd" type="hidden" value="_xclick" /><br /><input name="business" type="hidden" value="bigblackcat97@gmail.com" /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><input name="item_name" type="hidden" value="Mindy's Mailing Costs" />*********************************************************************************</div><input name="currency_code" type="hidden" value="USD" /><br /><input name="amount" type="hidden" value="00.00" /><br /><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 /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b228" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b228/"[/url] id="rcwidget_ra6hugvu" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>[/url]

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Rachele Alpine On the Whispering What-Ifs

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 14 February 2017 · 76 views

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to us like a lightning bolt, through the lyrics of a song, or in the fog of a dream. Ask any writer where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers, and in that vein I created the WHAT (What the Hell Are you Thinking?) interview. Always including in the WHAT is one random question to really dig down into the interviewees mind, and probably supply some illumination into my own as well.<br /><br />Today's guest for the WHAT is <a href="[url="http://rachelealpine.com/"]http://rachelealpine.com/[/url]" target="_blank">Rachele Alpine</a>, author of both MG and YA novels. Her newest MG release <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33122055-you-throw-like-a-girl"[/url] target="_blank">YOU THROW LIKE A GIRL</a>, about a girl who pretends to be a boy in order to play the sport she loves, releases today!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1480025657l/33122055.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1480025657l/33122055.jpg"[/url] width="215" /></a></div><b>Ideas for our books can come from just about anywhere, and sometimes even we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Did you have a specific origin point for your book?</b><br /><br /><i>Yes! &nbsp;When I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with hockey. &nbsp;I watched it, I read books about it, I played street hockey on rollerblades, and begged my mom to let me learn to play on ice. &nbsp;The problem was, my local ice rinks didn’t have a program for girls. &nbsp;I always thought about how unfair that was (and for the record, they do let girls play now), and the idea for You Throw Like a Girl came out of there</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>I would have dressed up like a boy and played hockey in a heartbeat if I could have gotten away from it, so that’s what my main character does. &nbsp;I loved writing about her experience trying to fool the boys’ team! &nbsp;I tried to figure out problems that she’d get into and obstacles along the way. &nbsp;I didn’t want the path to be easy for her, so it was a lot of fun trying to come up with funny situations to put my character into and figuring out ways she could get out of them. &nbsp;I sometimes feel bad that I torture my characters, but it’s always out of love, and they always prevail! &nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?</b><br /><br /><i>I used to write with a plot in mind and then sit down and see how where it goes. &nbsp;When I wrote like that, my story was always changing and surprising me. &nbsp;However, now that I juggle teaching and being a mother, I’ve gotten a lot more rigid in my writing. &nbsp;I don’t sit down to write a book into a have a very firm story in place. &nbsp;I’ve sold my last few books on proposal, and instead of turning in a summary to my editor, I give her a chapter by chapter outline that is usually nine to eleven pages. &nbsp;I find it’s so much easier to write this way because life is so busy, and I try to squeeze my writing time into any little space I can. &nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>However, you can’t really develop voice in an outline, so I find that as I begin to draft my story, my main character’s personality comes out and she starts to take over the story. &nbsp;There are definitely twists and turns that take me off the path of the outline, but I always find that those are the most fun, because they surprise me and usually make the story better.</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>I always say that my mind is a crazy crazy place because it’s never quiet. &nbsp;It’s full of story ideas, characters, and “what ifs” spinning around. &nbsp;I have a notebook where I jot down all my book ideas as they come and always have a few that seem to be whispering for me to write them. &nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?</b><br /><br /><i>It’s usually the one that I can’t stop thinking about. &nbsp;My books come to me in scenes, so I’m constantly visualizing chapters in my mind. &nbsp;I usually write the one that is the most vivid and keeps coming back.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I write middle grade and YA. &nbsp;I started writing YA first, but my YA is pretty dark and focuses on heavy topics. &nbsp;I always say that I started writing middle grade, because I need something funny after writing a book that was pretty depressing. &nbsp;I &nbsp;like to jump back and forth, because it’s not always easy to dwell too long in the worlds of my YA novels. &nbsp;My middle grades give me a much needed escape and laugh!</i><br /><b><br /></b><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>I definitely draw information from the world around me. &nbsp;I teach high school American Literature, so I’m surrounded by teenagers every day. What we read often sparks discussions and debates about what is important to them, and it’s those ideas, fears, and worries that inspire what I write. Not everything I write is a based off of my opinions or views on a topic, but the way I see the world definitely influences what I write and the themes in my books all spring from issues that I feel connected to in some way. My writing is often a way to understand things that are going on in my world, even if I’m exposing the ugly side of things. I’m working to create some kind of meaning to what is oftentimes hard to understand or accept. &nbsp;</i>&nbsp;

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Valentine's Day For The Non-Romantic

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 13 February 2017 · 55 views

You may have guessed this, but I'm not a romantic.<br /><br />I grew up on a farm, and while others have always said it's the thought that counts, I'm much more impressed by physical labor and an eye for practicality. It's February in Ohio, and if a guy gave me a wood cord for Valentine's Day, I'd be impressed.<br /><br />It's true that there might be a tinge of bitterness involved in my Valentine's Day thoughts. I wasn't an attractive pre-teen and don't remember getting anything for Valentine's Day until my junior year - by a guy who dumped me shortly thereafter, my first heartbreak.<br /><br />As I often answer people who ask me why there's a distinct aversion to the happily-ever-after in my novels, it's because I'm divorced. I'll add that my ex's birthday is very close to Valentine's Day.<br /><br />And - time for the zinger - my annual pap smear (to which we've recently added a mammogram) always lands around February 14, bringing an added layer of meaning to V-Day.<br /><br />So yeah, not a fan.<br /><br />But - I'm not against it either. I get love. I'm <i>in love</i>, for heaven's sake. I just happen to have fallen for a guy just like me, a guy who might bump his Corona against mine at dinner and say, "Oh yeah by the way, happy Valentine's Day." But he'll probably do it on Wednesday or Thursday because he often doesn't know what day of the week it is.<br /><br />All that being said, I know there are romantics in the world and I don't deny them this day to celebrate. As a former Hallmark employee (long story) I actually get my back up a bit when Valentine's Day is referred to as a Hallmark Holiday. Valentine's Day has ancient historical roots, ones I won't bother linking off to here because I'm sure you'll find them everywhere tomorrow.<br /><br />However, if you want to mark your calendars for my favorite made-up holiday, flip forward to October and make a note. October 14th is <a href="[url="http://nationalferalcatday.org/"]http://nationalferalcatday.org/[/url]" target="_blank">National Feral Cat Day</a>.<br /><br />On that day, I encourage you to find one, and hug it.

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The Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 11 February 2017 · 68 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 />Sixteen year old Selena Bennet’s life is ruined, again, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">hopefully there's a reason for this "again." Right now it reads as a slightly humorous bent</span>&nbsp;when she is kidnapped and whisked away from her new <span style="color: #6aa84f;">her life was already new and she's being whisked away again?</span> life. Her kidnappers think her memory has been erased, and therefore their test has failed; if she doesn’t remember, it means they found the wrong girl. And that is exactly what Selena wants them to believe.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Wow. Okay, I'm confused. But I can see that this is probably the kind of plot that is by nature confusing, so I will give the query the benefit of the doubt and keep reading.</span><br /><br />What nobody can know is that Selena remembers everything. She knows she’s back in Coronam, the magical universe she left behind when her palace was attacked eight years ago. She knows why she’s being hunted down. The only things she doesn’t know are what she spent the last eight years of her life pining to forget, including how to use her powerful magic.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Okay - this is the first indication that this is a fantasy. The opening query speaking of kidnapping and memory erasing made me think we were in a contemporary, or even a futuristic setting. But we're not, we're in a fantasy... or did we start in the contemporary world and then she's taken back to her fantasy origin world? And, while Selena might know why she's being hunted down and why her palace was attacked, the reader doesn't. At this point we just know that we're in a fantasy with a reluctant magic wielding MC who is in danger of some type - which could be any fantasy.</span><br /><br />Desperate to keep her secret safe <span style="color: #6aa84f;">what's her secret, that she is the right girl? Do they still think she's the wrong girl? If so why would she be in danger?</span>, Selena is thrown back into her dangerous world with hopes to still leave it. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">She doesn't want to be there?</span> But when she realizes that a lot has changed since she was still the princess, leaving may no longer be an option. The war has started, and this time, she will fight. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Why? If she doesn't want to be there and doesn't want to use her magic?</span><br /><br />Coronam's Lost a YA fantasy completed at about 95,000 words. It’s perfect for readers who love strong female characters and political intrigue, and will appeal to fans of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, The Young Elites by Marie Lu and Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I've spent two summers at the BIMA Arts program for creative writing at Brandies University.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">To be honest, mostly I'm just confused right now. If the supposed memory loss (that is faked?) is a big enough plot point to be your hook, I don't understand how it plays out through the rest of the plot. If she's the magical princess (but doesn't want to be either of those things) but is pretending to be the wrong girl, how does she end up back at her palace reassuming her role?&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Why did she want to leave in the first place? What is the role of the memory loss? What is her magical ability? Why was she kidnapped? Did she leave willingly or by force? Was she returned willingly or by force? What is her secret and why is she in danger? Who are the bad guys? What is this war about? Why has she changed her mind about fighting this time?</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #6aa84f;">It sounds like your plot is pretty convoluted - and that's fine, but it makes it difficult for the author to condense into a query because you intrinsically know all the answers to the questions above, and might see the answers in what you've written, even though you're subconsciously answering them yourself. They're not in the text.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #6aa84f;">The best way to clarify a query like this is to have multiple people who haven't read your book (like me) take a look at the query. Anyone who has read it may also autofill the answers. Fresh eyes on this is will help point you in the right direction.</span>

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Book Talk & Giveaway: ADDIE BELL'S SHORTCUT TO GROWING UP by Jessica Brody

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 10 February 2017 · 70 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://images.gr-assets.com/books/1462892465l/26259493.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1462892465l/26259493.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1462892465l/26259493.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>Addie thinks that being twelve is pretty lame. Her older sister Rory has drawers full of makeup, great clothes, and a different Boyfriend of the Week. Addie has frizzy hair, a flat chest, and the same best friend since forever. Grace only wants to do the same things they've always done, things that Addie is starting to think are childish. On the night before her thirteenth birthday, she says so, hurting Grace's feelings.<br /><br />Upset, Addie visits her neighbor - an elderly woman who claims to be descended from Marie Antoinette's favorite court witch. She gives Addie a box, and warns her that whatever she wishes for and puts inside, the wish will come true. Throwing caution to the wind, Addie decides to give it a shot. She wants to be sixteen. Now.<br /><br />Addie wakes up with chemically straightened hair, a closet full of great clothes, and yes... a chest. She's got a string of texts from the most popular girl at school - with whom she apparently runs a very popular makeup and fashion YouTube channel - a car in the driveway she doesn't know how to drive, and a cute boy who likes her that she doesn't know how to talk to.<br /><br />Worse yet, Grace isn't even speaking to her. Something awful happened between them in the four years that have passed, and Addie is determined to find out - even if it means discovering that the person Adeline Bell became isn't very nice.<br /><br /><form [url="action="]action="https://www.paypal.com/fk/cgi-bin/webscr"[/url] method="post" name="_xclick"><input name="cmd" type="hidden" value="_xclick" /><br /><input name="business" type="hidden" value="bigblackcat97@gmail.com" /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><input name="item_name" type="hidden" value="Mindy's Mailing Costs" />*********************************************************************************</div><input name="currency_code" type="hidden" value="USD" /><br /><input name="amount" type="hidden" value="00.00" /><br /><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="2071810b227" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b227/"[/url] id="rcwidget_cq1aa6qe" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script><br[/url] /><br /><br />

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Wednesday WOLF

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 08 February 2017 · 8 views

I'm such a big nerd that I tend to look up word origins in my spare time because I'm fascinated by our language. The odder the origin, the better. I've got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications.<br /><br />I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of an acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field - that's right, the WOLF. Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.<br /><br />So many of the things we say make no sense. Take for example the term <i>baker's dozen</i> - which, if you don't know, actually means 13 of something, not 12.<br /><br />Why?<br /><br />Bakers were subject to pretty strict laws in medieval times, and sold their wares often not by the number but by the weight. In the year <a href="[url="http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/Bakers-dozen.html"]http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/Bakers-dozen.html[/url]" target="_blank">1266 Henry III passed a law</a> that established a correlation from the price of what to the price of bread. Bakers who short weighted their bread (by putting less actual wheat in it) could be fined, pilloried, or even flogged.<br /><br />To avoid even the whiff of being guilt of such a thing, bakers would add an extra loaf to their dozen, nicely ensuring that the scale would save their skins.<br /><br />

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STARFALL Author Melissa Landers On Writing A Companion Novel

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 07 February 2017 · 32 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 writers where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers. 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 Melissa Landers, a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids.&nbsp;She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, "Sweetheart of Ohio,” where she writes science fiction and fantasy for Disney Hyperion.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1456568054l/21793182.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1456568054l/21793182.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em; text-align: left;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1456568054l/21793182.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div><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>STARFALL is the second book in a duology, so its origin point was the first book, STARFLIGHT. Instead of a sequel, STARFALL is more of a companion novel. It picks up right after the previous story ends, but it’s told from the points of view of Cassia and Kane, who were supporting characters in the first book.</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>To me, building a plot for a companion novel is infinitely harder than crafting a fresh plot with original world-building and a cast of characters that I can shape to fit my needs. It’s confining to write a sequel because so much is already established. For that reason, it took a lot longer to craft Cassia and Kane’s story than it did to create Doran and Solara’s. But I still drew inspiration from American history. In book one, I modeled a large part of the premise after the events of Westward Expansion, and book two was largely inspired by the rise of Las Vegas, particularly the mafia’s nefarious means of getting—and keeping—employees.</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?</b><br /><br /><i>Oh, yes. All the time. Any synopsis I write beforehand is just a guide.</i><br /><br /><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1485698258l/25026403.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1485698258l/25026403.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>Ideas come to me often, but they’re rarely as cool as I think they are in the moment. Often times I’ll go back and read my file of “Shiny New Ideas” and roll my eyes at some of the concepts I thought were sooooooo exciting when I first wrote them down.</i><br /><br /><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?</b><br /><br /><i>I’m a practical gal, so when I have more than one story concept in mind, I pitch them to my editor and let her decide which one is the most marketable. Then I develop that idea into a proposal (3 chapters and a synopsis) and wait until I have a deal before writing the rest of the book.</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>You’re right—2016 wasn’t an easy year, and 2017 isn’t shaping up to be a carnival ride, either. I still draw inspiration from the world when I can, but mostly I use writing as my escape. The biggest challenge for me is staying focused on writing when my mind is occupied by other things. Characters can’t whisper ideas to me when I drown out their voices with worry.</i><br /><br /><i>But, hey, a little escapism is an essential part of self care. (Or at least that’s what I tell myself.) So if you love sci-fi adventure and need some time away from reality, I hope you’ll pick up the Starflight duology today. Starflight and Starfall are both available in stores and online. ☺</i>

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Author Macye Lavinder Maher On Finding Inspiration

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 07 February 2017 · 29 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 writers where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers. 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&nbsp;Macye Lavinder Maher, author of <i><a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31353419-fireworks-and-fertility?ac=1&amp;from_search=true"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31353419-fireworks-and-fertility?ac=1&amp;from_search=true[/url]" target="_blank">Fireworks &amp; Fertility</a></i>.&nbsp;Macye divides her time between writing fiction and managing Live Water Properties, a brokerage firm specialized in hunting, ranching, fly fishing, and conservation properties in the Rocky Mountain West and Pacific Northwest. A member of the board of the Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference, she holds a Bachelor’s of Science from the McIntere School of Commerce at the University of Virginia where she also earned a minor in Environmental Science. &nbsp;She lives in Jackson, WY with her husband and three children.<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?&nbsp;</b><br /><b><br /></b><i>I believe a lot of well-written works of fiction are conceived as an essay or short story. Mine was birthed at the Dave Matthews Band Concert in Chicago…eons ago. Good vibes, good birth.</i><br /><i><br /></i><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><b><br /></b><i>I wanted this scene at the concert to be the beginning of Fireworks and Fertility, but it was moved to the middle on the rewrite/edit. Apparently major action is needed to engage readers!</i><br /><i><br /></i><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 /><b><br /></b><i>My mind transfers the thoughts pretty efficiently to the page. I make sure to eat well beforehand, so that indecision is in another building.</i><br /><b><br /></b><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><b><br /></b><i>Fresh material is everywhere from the guy carrying the ladder to fix something in your office to the latest story on what it takes to get pregnant when you are in your thirties. The world is quirky. That’s the best fodder for a story idea.</i><br /><i><br /></i><b>How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?</b><br /><b><br /></b><i>If I have more than one idea or inspiration, I make little notes that I cut into triangles that then form a pile or pyramid of triangles on my desk. I never forget about those lovely triangles.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><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 /><b><br /></b><i>Struggles and triumphs are long processes; they’re journeys. Losing my 98-year-old Grandfather, Roy C. Kinsey, Jr., was traumatic for me. I wanted him to live forever. He left a lasting star—the famous neon star on Mill Mountain in my hometown (Roanoke, VA). He shines brightly and reminds me that you have to do it for you. He created that star. So many people told him it was foolish, it wasn’t worth it, and he and his brothers conquered it anyway. I feel like there is this amazing connection between the souls on this side and the ones on the other. The proof for me is in that gigantic star so I dedicated the book to Roy C. Kinsey Jr. and my family, who also appreciates five points on a Blue Ridge Mountain.</i>

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THIS DARKNESS MINE Cover Reveal!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 06 February 2017 · 21 views

Today is the day! YABC is hosting the reveal for the cover of THIS DARKNESS MINE, my newest contemporary, which will release August 10th from Katherine Tegen Books / Harper Collins. <a href="[url="http://www.yabookscentral.com/blog/it-s-live-cover-reveal-this-darkness-mine-by-mindy-mcginnis-giveaway"]http://www.yabookscentral.com/blog/it-s-live-cover-reveal-this-darkness-mine-by-mindy-mcginnis-giveaway[/url]" target="_blank">Head over to YABC to enter to win an ARC!</a><br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Wy3UPKMBlTg/WJiZIOAOKxI/AAAAAAAAD1U/xYQoj1wiLGQGc8wnxe9Q4yHHe3U4PhhfgCK4B/s1600/b2ap3_large_ThisDarknessMine-HC-final-header.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="165" [url="src="]src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Wy3UPKMBlTg/WJiZIOAOKxI/AAAAAAAAD1U/xYQoj1wiLGQGc8wnxe9Q4yHHe3U4PhhfgCK4B/s400/b2ap3_large_ThisDarknessMine-HC-final-header.jpg"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.</i></div>

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Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 04 February 2017 · 30 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 />Indy Ramsay has <strike>studied and trained</strike>&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">pick one</span>&nbsp;her entire <strike>teenage life</strike>&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">technically if she's done it for her entire teenage life, then her teenage years might be in the past. How about "childhood?"&nbsp;</span>for the day she would be recruited to the Reverend Council—the elite corps that runs the <strike>Aet-El Empire, the Ever Empire</strike>&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">pick one</span>. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Okay, that's a heck of a mouthful and a lot of information for a hook. See my above strikethroughs for how to pare down. It's not bad, just long in the tooth.&nbsp;</span>Instead, it is her grandfather, Eldritch, who is chosen and then promptly sent away on a mission of the utmost importance, leaving behind a shattered and dejected Indy.<br /><br />The very next day, the Council is under siege from an unknown enemy; the annual market <span style="color: #6aa84f;">My first thought on this phrasing was that this was their DOW Jones or something, then I rethought and was like, wait,</span>&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">people only go shopping once a year?</span>&nbsp;has been burnt to cinders, the Parliament stands destroyed in an earthquake, and Eldritch returns home to find his entire family murdered, all except his grandson. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Right now we're in Eldritch's POV... a grandfather. Not sure on the focus of the query being on him at any point makes for a solid YA push.</span><br /><br />He will get his grandson <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Who might that be?&nbsp;</span>back <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Nothing in the earlier para indicated he'd been kidnapped, only that he was alive</span>, he is told, if he betrays the Empire. A simple act . . . <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Still in grandpa's POV and the ellipsis is a tease. Queries aren't the place to tease the agent about what might happen next. They need to know exactly what it is so they can judge whether it's a cliche or something new and interesting.</span><br /><br />Unbeknownst to him, Indy is also alive . . . Humanity, kindness, justice, and above all else, the Empire. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Not a sentence.&nbsp;</span>These are the lessons Eldritch has taught her. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Back to Indy, good. But I'm not sure there was a reason to switch over to Eldritch focus in the first place, query-wise.</span><br /><br />Targeted for death <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Except, no one knows she's alive?</span> as Eldritch's blood, she manages to learn of the enemy's plan for the Empire and Eldritch. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Which is what exactly? And what about that grandson?&nbsp;</span>Now, as riots rage throughout the city and the enemy brings its true might to bear upon the Empire, Indy will prove herself worthy of the Empire and the validation she was denied. She will find and stop Eldritch, she will save the Empire at any cost.<br /><br />Then what if the cost be Eldritch himself? <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Convoluted. Also, don't end on a question.&nbsp;</span><br /><br />THE BURNT STATE is a fantasy novel about a girl and her grandfather, and the Empire that tilts on their decisions. It is complete at 113,000 words.&nbsp;<span style="color: #6aa84f;">Word count might be a touch heavy, but it is fantasy so you get some wiggle room for world building. I would see if you can pare it down to just under 100k, if possible.&nbsp;</span><br /><br />I have previously had a short story titled "Something Something" published in Apex Magazine, a Hugo award nominated science-fiction and fantasy magazine. Other than that, I am an anonymous voice from the ether. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Cool. Those are laurels. Wear them. Get rid of the self-effacing bit at the end.</span><br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">I think you've got a great angle here with the focus not being on a romance, or rescuing a sibling, or the fracturing allegiance with a former best friend. You've got a girl and her grandpa - that's awesome. But in order to keep this firmly in the YA realm you need to keep your teenage protagonist as the focus of your query, as I assume she is the focus of the book. Unless this is a dual POV narrative (which you need to mention, if so) keep a tight focus on Indy.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Plotwise, I'm muddled. So, there are good guys (Grandpa, Indy) and bad guys (here only called "the enemy") a crumbling empire, a last bloodline situation, betrayal and loss... basically everything any number of other fantasies have. What makes yours different? What is Indy's goal? (Save the Empire! From who? How is she going to do that?) She's going to prove herself worthy... how? (Physical fighting? A bake off?)</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">I have no idea what Indy's talents are, where her worth lies, or what this training is that she's had. Also, the grandson is mentioned as a blackmail type of narrative for Eldritch but is a non-mention for Indy. Is this her brother? Cousin? What bearing does he have on anything?</span>

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