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Writer, Writer Pants on Fire


Cover Reveal For Liz Coley's TOR MADDOX: UNLEASHED

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 15 April 2015 · 39 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 />So what's it like when you're doing your <i>own</i> cover? When it's solely your own responsibility there's a whole new set of worries and concerns - not to mention the job set squarely on your shoulders. Today's guest is Liz Coley, author of <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13450398-pretty-girl-13?from_search=true"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13450398-pretty-girl-13?from_search=true[/url]" target="_blank">PRETTY GIRL-13</a>, and her newest release, TOR MADDOX: UNLEASHED. And don't forget to enter the <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25308316-tor-maddox"[/url] target="_blank">Goodreads giveaway </a>for an advance copy!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WZ9TWrAQnqk/VSJ-WQunRDI/AAAAAAAADIk/gf_wdNBKxxk/s1600/LizColeyCover.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-WZ9TWrAQnqk/VSJ-WQunRDI/AAAAAAAADIk/gf_wdNBKxxk/s1600/LizColeyCover.jpg"[/url] height="640" width="420" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><i>When sixteen-year old Torrance Olivia Maddox, self-confessed news junkie, figures out that the mysterious and deadly New Flu is being spread by dogs, she has one question—if the danger is that obvious to her, why hasn’t the government revealed the truth and taken action?</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Her search for the answer will take her farther than she ever imagined. But then again, she never imagined that man’s best friend could become public enemy number one, that men in black might show up in her cozy suburban neighborhood, that she’d spend her sixteenth birthday as a teenaged runaway, and that her effort to save one dog would become a mission to save them all.</i></div><br /><b>Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?</b><br /><br /><i>I knew I wanted my front cover to include my heroine Tor and her dog Cocoa, but aside from that, this cover has gone through three versions of images and title! I hope third time’s the charm!</i><br /><br /><b>How far in advance from your pub date did you start working on the cover?</b><br /><br /><i>Eight years? I created the first draft of the novel now known as Unleashed during my very first Nanowrimo back in November 2007. I had a motivational habit of designing my imaginary covers and using them as a desktop screensaver while I was writing, so the first version of the cover with the original title Best Friends dates back to 2008. That was a close up of a girl nuzzling her dog with the genetic code for canine flu as a pale blue background. Hours of perusing “girl &amp; dog” stock photos failed to produce a pair who matched my descriptions, so I knew this place-saver cover was just for fun. In 2009, I reworked my website and updated the cover to a pair of sexy legs in high heels and a cute terrier, a different breed from mixed-race Cocoa. Finally, when I got serious in 2014 about self-publishing what had grown into a short prequel and a series of three books, I knew I needed a new look and a unifying theme. Book 1 was now titled Tor Maddox: Unleashed. The three elements of the image were going to be legs (not sexy), a red leash, and a dog.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you do this entirely on your own, or did you call in favors from friends?</b><br /><br /><i>I have a friend with some graphic design experience who offered to be a sounding—that is, looking—board while I was working with alternate images for the whole series and for two unrelated 99¢ short stories I’m planning to publish to help with promotion (Practically Invisible &amp; Sticks and Stones. My two teenaged nieces and my daughter cast honest, skeptical, and helpful eyes on some early cover mockups. I’ve become handy enough with Photoshop over the years to do my own image manipulation and layout.</i><br /><br /><b>Was it expensive to do the cover yourself, or was it more of a time commitment?</b><br /><br /><i>My only direct costs were the licenses for the photo images, so something like $75 for the whole shebang. Mostly it was the time commitment of searching huge databases of images, downloading samples, mocking up several possibilities, making and purchasing selections, manipulating images, and tweaking and tweaking and tweaking layout.</i><br /><br /><b>Was there any one thing about the process that made you particularly batty?</b><br /><br /><i>Looking at images until my eyes were crossed! I literally walked around in a blur for days. As the years passed, the real life girl I had based Tor’s appearance on grew up and went to college and stopped looking like a teenager. So having made the decision not to go searching for a new perfect live model and spend a fortune on photo shoots, I had to find stock photos that suited the different stories and were conceivably the same girl—age, coloring, face, body. In one case, I had to change blue eyes to brown using translucent brown ellipses over her irises (Photoshop contact lenses!). Also, finding my adopted mixed breed Cocoa proved to be impossible. He’s described as having the sweet temper and coloring of a lab, the size and stature of a beagle, and the spirit and mustache of a terrier. I ended up merging two different dog photos together to create my own digital mutt.</i><br /><br /><b>What surprised you most about the process?</b><br /><br /><i>Pink. If you’d told me back when I was making edgy backgrounds like DNA sequences and Confederate flags that I’d end up coloring my books pink, I’d have choked. But when it came down to branding my kick-ss mystery thriller girl to appeal to the 14-year-old (the sweet spot in my target demographic) and to soften the weaponry and trench-coated spy-girl images, pink seemed to do the trick.</i><br /><br /><i>Any advice to authors who want to make their own covers?</i><br /><br /><i>If you are going to print, don’t forget the back. It’s actually very time consuming to write back cover copy, let it sit for a while and revisit it. If you want to include any reviews or reader blurbs, plan way ahead to get them and figure where they’ll fit into the layout.</i><br /><br /><i>Also, there’s the “shout line” or one line teaser, which can take literally days/weeks/years to write. Even more than an elevator pitch, it forces you to find the sharpest point of your hook without giving too much away. I ended up with two per cover—one for the specific story: “Man’s best friend has become public enemy number one” and one to brand the whole series: “A heroine for our times.” That suggests that the stories are contemporary, not fantasy or futuristic dystopian, and that the reader is entering the danger/adventure/thriller zone.</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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Announcing My New Book Deal!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 13 April 2015 · 49 views

If you follow me on <a href="[url="https://twitter.com/MindyMcGinnis"]https://twitter.com/MindyMcGinnis[/url]" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a [url="href="]href="https://www.facebook.com/MindyMcGinnisAuthor"[/url] target="_blank">Facebook</a> you know that last week I signed a two book deal with Putnam for&nbsp;<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 of an epic, multiple POV, fantasy series set on an island of rising tides, where tribes battle for resources, unexpected alliances are forged, and love bends to the whims of war.<br /><br />Yes, it's true I'm jumping genres yet again. I started out with post-apoc survival for both <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13112869-not-a-drop-to-drink"[/url] target="_blank">NOT A DROP TO DRINK</a> &amp; <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20359647-in-a-handful-of-dust"[/url] target="_blank">IN A HANDFUL OF DUST</a>, veered over to Gothic historical thriller with <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24376529-a-madness-so-discreet"[/url] target="_blank">A MADNESS SO DISCREET</a>, and will be dishing out a really dark contemporary for you in Fall of 2016 from Katherine Tegen, tentatively titled THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES.<br /><br />I feel very lucky that publishing has trusted me to hop around with my stories. My brain likes to churn out books, but it's never been fond of staying on any one particular path. Hopefully my readers have similarly chaotic reading tastes that like to bounce around and see what's going on elsewhere in the world... even totally different worlds.

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Book Talk & Giveaway: STARTERS by Lissa Price

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 10 April 2015 · 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://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389556656l/15797745.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1389556656l/15797745.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/1389556656l/15797745.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>Life isn't easy after the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. Teens everywhere have to take care of their younger siblings, and Callie hasn't had the best of luck so far. Continuously on the run from other squatters who are just as desperate as she is, Callie is desperate for an out - any way to offer a better life to her little brother Tyler.<br /><br />Prime Destinations is a disturbing new business in Beverly Hills. For an exorbitant price the elderly - called Enders - can rent the bodies of teens. A neurotic implanted in the teens - Starters - brains gives the Enders complete control of the teens' bodies. But the pay is good and Callie is desperate.<br /><br />When Callie's neurochip malfunctions she wakes up living the life of her renter - and discovers that the woman who is inhabiting her body isn't just looking to have a good time. She's plotting a murder.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b111" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b111/"[/url] id="rcwidget_jn2o1ylg" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>

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Successful Author Talk With ZEROBOXER Author Fonda Lee

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 07 April 2015 · 40 views

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1417959263l/20320562.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1417959263l/20320562.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/1417959263l/20320562.jpg"[/url] width="206" /></a></div>Today's guest for the SAT (Successful Author Talk) is&nbsp;Fonda Lee. Fonda writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults.<a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20320562-zeroboxer?from_search=true"[/url] target="_blank"> ZEROBOXER </a>(from Flux/Llewellyn) is her debut novel. Fonda is a recovering corporate strategist, an avid martial artist, a fan of smart action movies, and an Eggs Benedict enthusiast.<br /><br /><b>Are you a Planner or Pantster?</b><br /><br /><i>An unrepentant Planner. I tried Pantsing once. It was ugly.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How long does it typically take you to write a novel, start to finish?</b><br /><br /><i>It takes me a couple of months in the beginning just to research, outline, and walk around lost in thought. The first draft takes 3-4 months. Revision takes another 2-3. Then it’s off to beta readers. More revision. Off to my agent. More revision. So 10-12 months from concept planning until submission.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Do you work on one project at a time, or are you a multi tasker?</b><br /><br /><i>I always have one primary project, but due to the publishing process I often need to multitask. For example, I’ll be in the middle of a first draft and an email arrives and I’ll need to switch to doing edits on another manuscript for a week.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have to overcome any fears that first time you sat down to write?</b><br /><br /><i>I had a successful career in corporate strategy going before I made it my life goal to be a novelist. Truth be told, writing had always been my life goal, but I didn’t act on it seriously until I was in my thirties. By then I wondered if it was too late for me, and if I was being foolish, dialing back on a normal, respectable, well-paying job to chase my dream.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><i>My fear these days is whether I can make it in the long run, writing and publishing enough good books on a consistent basis to achieve some measure of career success.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How many trunked books did you have before you were agented?</b><br /><br /><i>One. I spent a year writing a novel that I loved but that didn’t go anywhere.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Have you ever quit on an ms, and how did you know it was time?</b><br /><br /><i>I did. I had an outline written up and was all ready to go. I got about 10,000 words in and suddenly thought, “I don’t want to do this.” It just wasn’t a book I felt a burning passion to write. I set it aside. Several months later I came back to it, took another look, and thought, “I still don’t want to write the book, but this would make a great short story.” I wrote it as a short story and ended up loving it.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Who is your agent and how did you get that "Yes!" out of them? &nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I got my agent through a cold query. However, it certainly helped speed things up when I got three competing offers out of a conference I went to. I’m represented by Jim McCarthy at Dystel &amp; Goderich Literary Management.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How long did you query before landing your agent?&nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I’d been querying my previous manuscript for eight months with no success. When I started querying ZEROBOXER, everything happened very fast thanks to a conference I went to (the Willamette Writers Conference) where I pitched to agents in person. A month later, I was agented.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to aspiring writers out there on conquering query hell?</b><br /><br /><i>Don’t be surprised if your first book doesn’t land you an agent. Keep querying, but more importantly, keep writing. When you get a rejection, send out another query, shut down your email, and get back to work on the next book. I wrote ZEROBOXER during those many months of query hell when I was riddled with anxiety about ever getting an agent, much less being published.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How much input do you have on cover art?</b><br /><br /><i>My editor and I brainstormed closely early on. He gave me his initial ideas, and I gave him mine, and we sent photos and other book covers back and forth as we brainstormed. After we’d figured out the general gist of what we wanted, he took it to Flux’s internal launch meeting. A few months later, my editor emailed me the cover the designer had created and the Flux team had chosen. It was so awesome I just about fell out of my chair.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>What's something you learned from the process that surprised you?</b><br /><br /><i>How hard copyedits are. Really. By the time you reach the copyediting stage, you’ve read your book a dozen times at least and the words have completely lost all meaning. You’re like, “Is this even good? Is it crap? I honestly can’t tell.”&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>How much of your own marketing do you? &nbsp;</b><br /><br /><i>I think all authors these days do a lot of their own marketing. I have a <a [url="href="]href="http://www.fondalee.com/"[/url] target="_blank">website</a>&nbsp;of course and I’m on <a [url="href="]href="http://twitter.com/FondaJLee"[/url] target="_blank">Twitter</a>. Occasionally I’m on <a [url="href="]href="https://www.facebook.com/fonda.lee.94"[/url] target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a [url="href="]href="http://fondalee.tumblr.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Tumblr</a>. I don’t blog. I only have a certain number of words in me each day, and I’m not going to waste them on blogging when there are books to write.</i><br /><br /><b>When do you build your platform? After an agent? Or should you be working before?</b><br /><br /><i>If you’re doing anything before you get an agent, it should be developing your network of fellow writers. They will be your greatest source of knowledge and support going forward. Incidentally, some of them will also like your work and spread the word when the time comes. But I would spend very little time worrying about your platform when you have no books. Your books are your platform.</i>

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AMONG THE SHADOWS Update - A YA Horror Anthology From 13 Of Your Favorite Authors

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 06 April 2015 · 59 views

Last week I told you about a little endeavor into self-publishing that myself and a dozen other amazing YA authors have jumped into. AMONG THE SHADOWS is an anthology of 13 dark tales from a fantastic line up of some of your favorite young adult authors.<br /><br />I'm happy to share that our <a href="[url="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1701040115/among-the-shadows-a-ya-anthology"]https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1701040115/among-the-shadows-a-ya-anthology[/url]" target="_blank">Kickstarter</a> to cover some of our production costs has surpassed it's goal, but we still have some great reward options if you want to contribute. Still available are signed copies of many of the contributing authors' books, as well as manuscript or short story critiques. You can also back us for as little as $5 to receive a digital copy of AMONG THE SHADOWS, along with a personalized Thank You email from one of our authors, or you can go whole hog and give $500 to have the book dedicated to you (or someone of your choosing), as well as an advance copy signed by all the authors, an e-copy, a t-shirt, your name in the acknowledgments and a personalized thank you email.<br /><br />There are lots of backing options still available, and we greatly appreciate all the support so far!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uk9vYsrlVwI/VRlb8gyVOSI/AAAAAAAADII/7sh4bHrZhbU/s1600/Cover-2.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uk9vYsrlVwI/VRlb8gyVOSI/AAAAAAAADII/7sh4bHrZhbU/s1600/Cover-2.jpg"[/url] height="640" width="420" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Q9oVGAtkQe8/VRlb7ZJ7cvI/AAAAAAAADIA/UbREdiBUJZI/s1600/Back%2BCover-4.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Q9oVGAtkQe8/VRlb7ZJ7cvI/AAAAAAAADIA/UbREdiBUJZI/s1600/Back%2BCover-4.jpg"[/url] height="640" width="420" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><br />

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YA Scavenger Hunt!

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 02 April 2015 · 34 views

<div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QgyE-ZOgXpI/TtUZg0OKQ8I/AAAAAAAACQg/YK80Abuf7EE/s1600/scavenger+hunt.jpg"]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QgyE-ZOgXpI/TtUZg0OKQ8I/AAAAAAAACQg/YK80Abuf7EE/s1600/scavenger+hunt.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-QgyE-ZOgXpI/TtUZg0OKQ8I/AAAAAAAACQg/YK80Abuf7EE/s320/scavenger+hunt.jpg"[/url] height="134" width="320" /></a></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;">Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author</span> <a [url="href="]href="http://www.colleenhouck.com/">Colleen[/url] Houck</a> <span style="color: #ea9999;">as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive&nbsp;<b>one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team</b>!<b>&nbsp;</b>But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!</span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xwOeyasYwjk/VRFVmQGMePI/AAAAAAAADHI/4kdM_kt74XI/s1600/Orange%2BTeam.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/-xwOeyasYwjk/VRFVmQGMePI/AAAAAAAADHI/4kdM_kt74XI/s1600/Orange%2BTeam.jpg"[/url] height="240" width="320" /></a></div><b><span style="color: #ea9999;">Go to the</span> <a [url="href="]href="http://yascavengerhunt.blogspot.com/">YA[/url] Scavenger Hunt</a> <span style="color: #ea9999;">page to find out all about the hunt. </span></b><span style="color: #ea9999;">There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the</span>&nbsp;<span style="color: orange;">ORANGE TEAM</span><span style="color: #ea9999;">--but there is also a red team, blue team, gold team, green team, teal team, purple team, pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!</span><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to</span><a [url="href="]href="http://yascavengerhunt.blogspot.com/p/prizes.html">[/url] the YA Scavenger Hunt page</a>.<br /><b style="text-align: center;"><br /></b> <b style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #ea9999;">SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE</span></b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><br /></b></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Directions:</b>&nbsp;Below, you'll notice that I've listed my&nbsp;favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the</span> <span style="color: orange;">orange&nbsp;team</span>, <span style="color: #ea9999;">and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).&nbsp;</span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: blue;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Entry Form:</b>&nbsp;Once you've added up all the numbers,</span> <a [url="href="]href="http://yascavengerhunt.blogspot.com/p/enter-here.html">make[/url] sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize</a>. <span style="color: #ea9999;">Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.</span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;"><a [url="href="]href="http://media.virbcdn.com/files/resize_1024x1365/f3/FileItem-184631-AuthorPhoto3.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://media.virbcdn.com/files/resize_1024x1365/f3/FileItem-184631-AuthorPhoto3.jpg"[/url] height="320" width="213" /></a><span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Rules:</b>&nbsp;Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by <b>April 5, at noon Pacific Time</b>. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.</span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b>SCAVENGER HUNT POST</b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;"></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;">Today, I am hosting Rachel Carter&nbsp;on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Rachel Carter likes to write about time travel and far away worlds. She's the author of the So Close to You series with HarperTeen, and a regular contributor to BookTrib.com. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.</span><br /><div><br /></div></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;">Find out more information by checking out the <a [url="href="]href="http://rachel-carter.com/"[/url] target="_blank">Rachel's&nbsp;website</a> or find more about the author's book <a [url="href="]href="http://www.phoenixbooks.biz/book/9780062081117"[/url] target="_blank">here</a>!</span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b>EXCLUSIVE CONTENT</b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381441781l/17278933.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1381441781l/17278933.jpg"[/url] height="320" width="212" /></a></div><span style="color: #ea9999;"><i>Lydia has been trained into a person she might have once feared: focused, fierce, deadly. Although she never wanted the life of a Montauk Project recruit, the Project has captured someone she loves-someone she'll do anything to save.</i></span><br /><div><br /></div></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;">From Rachel:&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;">The other day I realized I’ve never made a playlist for any of the So Close to You books. I listen to so much music while I write that I’ve always had a hard time trying to narrow each book down to just a few songs. But while I might not associate any specific music with specific scenes, there are definitely songs that instantly put me into a character’s head, that make me feel like I’m standing right next to them, and that sometimes break my heart when I think of everything they’ve gone through. So, just for YASH, here is an exclusive character playlist for the So Close to You universe:</span><br /><span style="color: magenta;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Lydia:</b> “Greater than Consequence,” by Amos and the Transparent</span><br /><span style="color: magenta;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" [url="src="]src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CQRPZwpz_iA"[/url] width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">Not only is this one of my favorite songs of all time, but I think it perfectly captures what Lydia goes through in the series. The tune is melancholy and brutal, and just listen to the lyrics: “Hide yourself from all this consequence/Cause its seen more love than sense/So forward on.” Lydia is consistently blinded by love. She lets that overcome reason in So Close to You, and then has to deal with the consequences of her actions in the next two novels. She learns hard lessons, almost gives up, but ultimately never stops moving forward. I couldn’t imagine a better song for her if I tried.</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Wes:</b> “The Ocean,” by Noah Gundersen</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <br /><div><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" [url="src="]src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Adnyi0N9JHw"[/url] width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">My favorite word for Wes is “yearning.” There’s so much he wants, but he truly believes any happiness is impossible. This song, with its mournful violin and its searching lyrics (“And maybe one day I will reach the ocean.”), is so sad and so Wes. Also, it reminds me of post-This Strange and Familiar Place, where there’s so much Wes wants to say to Lydia, but all he can do is wait and pray that she has faith in him. &nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Lydia’s Grandpa:</b> “Keep Me in Your Heart for a While,” by Warren Zevon</span><br /><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" [url="src="]src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MKDGlQLf7ls"[/url] width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">Every time I think about Lydia and her grandfather I want to cry. Peter Bentley goes through so much in this series, and Lydia tries so hard to save him. Accepting his – and her – fate is part of her journey, but I love listening to this song and imagining it as a letter to Lydia.</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Mary:</b> “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B,” by The Andrews Sisters</span><br /><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qafnJ6mRbgk" width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">I tried to find a modern song for Mary, I really did. But she seems so frozen in the 1940s with her red lipstick and old timely slang that I knew she needed a retro song to represent her. Plus this song appears in So Close to You when they go to the USO dance! Energetic, bright, happy – a perfect Mary song.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Lucas:</b> “Watching You Watch Him,” by Eric Hutchinson</span><br /><br /><div><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5ddz7MZCMG8" width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">I was hesitant to pick this song, as I think it really only represents Lucas in book 1. But from the first moment I heard it, I instantly thought of Lucas. Not just because of the lyrics, but the energy of the song – upbeat despite the sad message. That lightness and optimism even in the face of hardship are what make him and Mary a perfect couple.</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>LJ:</b> “Drive,” by the Cars</span><br /><div><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xuZA6qiJVfU" width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">I’ve always loved this song and I think the atmospheric quality fits LJ really well. “Can’t go on, thinking nothing’s wrong” – is there a more perfect lyric for him? He’s faced so much, and then his world is upended all over again. When I hear, “Who’s gonna drive you home tonight?” I imagine it’s LJ wondering who’s going to take care of him now, and how he’s going to make things right.</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Tag:</b> “Carry On,” Fun.</span><br /><div><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" [url="src="]src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-7uYRFWrtJw"[/url] width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">On the surface Tag seems really easy-going, but he’s also a street kid and a survivor, a passionate artist, a father-figure/protector, a loyal&nbsp;</span><span style="color: #ea9999;">friend, and a compassionate leader. When I heard this song, I just knew it fit. Tag never gives up, and he never stops being strong for the people around him.</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Nikki:</b> “This Woman’s Work,” by Greg Laswell</span><br /><div><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/lxFfd3fTg0U" width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">I get chills when I listen to this Kate Bush cover. And it’s so perfectly Nikki: “I know you have a little life in you yet. I know you have a lot of strength left.” She thinks she’s given up, she thinks she’s hit the bottom, but she hasn’t. She’s a character who doesn’t know her own strength, and this song is heartbreakingly fitting.</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Tim:</b> “King and Lionheart,” Of Monsters and Men</span><br /><br /><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5AiSrCPvpco" width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">Tim’s a newer character (another recruit in Find me Where the Water Ends), but I kind of wish he’d been around since the beginning. He’s exactly what Lydia needs in her life – an uncomplicated friendship that helps her come back to herself. Just like Tim, this song is about having a lion-heart and taking a stand instead of giving in.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #ea9999;"><b>Twenty-two:</b> “Ghost Towns,” Radical Face</span><br /><div><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/9MUA9hoDa40" width="420"></iframe><br /><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;">Oh, Twenty-two. She’s such a tough character to like. Her attitude is understandable – the Montauk Project has completely broken her – but she certainly makes things hard for Lydia. I love this song for her though; if anyone is a walking ghost town, it’s Twenty-two. And with how much names matter to her, this line is perfect: “There’s no going home, with a name like mine.”</span><br /><span style="color: #ea9999;"><br /></span><span style="color: #ea9999;">There are so many more characters I want to find songs for – Hannah, Grant, Dr. Bentley – but I’ll just have to save that for the next Scavenger Hunt!</span><br /><div><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: orange;">*****************************************************************************************</span></div><div><br /></div><span style="color: #ea9999;">And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Rachel Carter, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is</span> <span style="color: orange;">9</span>.&nbsp;<span style="color: #ea9999;">Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the</span> <span style="color: orange;">orange team</span>&nbsp;<span style="color: #ea9999;">and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!</span><br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><b>CONTINUE THE HUNT</b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><br /></b></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: #ea9999;">To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the <a [url="href="]href="http://www.maryweber.com/blog/"[/url] target="_blank">next author!</a></span>&nbsp;</div><br /><a class="twitter-hashtag-button" data-related="bethrevis" data-size="large" [url="data-url="]data-url="http://YAScavengerHunt.blogspot.com"[/url] [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?button_hashtag=YASH&amp;text=Check%20it%20out%20RIGHT%20NOW!%20The%20YA%20Scavenger%20Hunt%2C%20with%20over%20a%20hundred%20signed%20books%20as%20a%20grand%20prize!">Tweet[/url] #YASH</a><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nwnphiw4Wyo/VRFeLNcuUlI/AAAAAAAADHY/bExAd7_eEOM/s1600/Team%2BOrange.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nwnphiw4Wyo/VRFeLNcuUlI/AAAAAAAADHY/bExAd7_eEOM/s1600/Team%2BOrange.jpg"[/url] height="400" width="326" /></a></div><br /><script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");</script> <br /><br /></div></div></div></div></div></div></div>

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MG Author Laurie McKay On Writing The Second Novel

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 31 March 2015 · 31 views

Welcome to the SNOB - Second Novel Ominipresent Blues. Whether you’re under contract or trying to snag another deal, you’re a professional now, with the pressures of a published novelist compounded with the still-present nagging self-doubt of the noobie. How to deal?<br /><br />Toady's guest is <a href="[url="http://lauriemckay.net/"]http://lauriemckay.net/[/url]" target="_blank">Laurie McKay</a>, who has a master’s degree is in the discipline most important for writing middle-grade fantasy: Biological Oceanography. Her debut novel <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22249699-villain-keeper?ac=1"[/url] target="_blank">THE LAST DRAGON CHARMER #1: VILLAIN KEEPER</a> was released from HarperCollins in February 2015.<br /><br /><b>Is it hard to leave behind the first novel and focus on the second?</b><br /><br /><i>Yes and no. Since book two is the second in the trilogy, I stayed with my (beloved to me) book one characters. But it was daunting writing a brand new novel. When I compared my book two rough draft to the shiny, edited, copyedited, proofed version of book one, there was a virtual mountain to overcome to get book two to the same place. I just had to keep climbing. Now, book two is close to being finished, and I’m doing it all over again with book three.</i><br /><br /><b>At what point do you start diverting your energies from promoting your debut and writing / polishing / editing your second?</b><br /><br /><i>I’m a flurry of semi-organized chaos when it comes to partitioning my energies. I work on everything at once. It takes a lot of slow starts and pondering and waiting. Usually, at some point, something clicks and I gain some focus, and get better at managing my time. At that point, I scribble down a list. If I check off stuff, it helps. Honestly, people have always told me I’m organized, but it’s a frantic type of organization. And prioritizing helps.</i><br /><br /><b>Your first book landed an agent and an editor, and hopefully some fans. Who are you writing the second one for? Them, or yourself?</b><br /><br /><i>All three. Book one just was released in February, so I hope there are some fans, and I hope they’ll want to read the next two books. The great thing about having an agent and an editor is that there are more people to give me feedback on my ideas, and both my editor and agent are supportive. I think it’s important to listen to them.</i><br /><br /><i>When it comes to the story, it’s my book and my characters. It’s important to be open to criticism, feedback, and ideas. In the end, though, I have to write a book I’d want to read, and with which I connect. And I really hope that my story will resonate with others. As writers, I think we need to be true to ourselves.</i><br /><br /><b>Is there a new balance of time management to address once you’re a professional author?</b><br /><br /><i>The hardest thing about being a professional author with respect to time management is having deadlines! Before I would write regularly, but I could take all the time I needed. If I wanted to take a break one week, no problem. Now, I have to be much more thoughtful. And speedy. In some ways, it’s helped me. Having a time limit, means I can’t do as much staring at an empty page. And, hey, I actually get things done faster now.</i><br /><br /><b>What did you do differently the second time around, with the perspective of a published author?</b><br /><br /><i>I started book two before book one was published, but one big difference was that I knew what to expect with editing book two. And I’d worked with my editor – who is wonderful – before. It took away some of the anxiety of revising. Also, I hope my experience with my first book helped me improve my writing overall even before I turned in my early book two draft. I outlined more. I thought more about plot structure and tried to keep book three in mind as I wrote book two. For book three, I plan to have an even better outline.</i><br /><br /><i>One thing I learned was that while some of the worries about my debut novel diminished, others didn’t, and some new ones popped up as I wrote my second one. Likewise, the excitement was still there for the second book. There was a great sense of accomplishment writing ‘THE END’, and seeing the cover sketch for book two was as thrilling as seeing the cover sketch for book one!</i>

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Want To Read Creepy Short Stories By 13 Awesome YA Authors?

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 30 March 2015 · 34 views

Most writers have a couple of short stories banging around their heads, and no good place to put them. In a lot of ways shorts are harder to write than novels, and difficult to place because publishers don't necessarily want to produce anthologies.<br /><br />Luckily twelve other awesome YA authors with darker sides have that same problem - little stories with nowhere to go. We've banded together to self-publish AMONG THE SHADOWS: 13 STORIES OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT. We've got a <a href="[url="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1701040115/among-the-shadows-a-ya-anthology"]https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1701040115/among-the-shadows-a-ya-anthology[/url]" target="_blank">Kickstarter</a> to help cover our costs, so if you feel inclined to give a little, please do. Pledges range from $5 to $500 with rewards for both readers and writers alike.<br /><br />We've got a gorgeous cover and a great lineup of authors!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uk9vYsrlVwI/VRlb8gyVOSI/AAAAAAAADII/7sh4bHrZhbU/s1600/Cover-2.jpg"[/url] height="640" width="419" /><a [url="href="]href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1701040115/among-the-shadows-a-ya-anthology"[/url] [url="target="]target="_blank">https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1701040115/among-the-shadows-a-ya-anthology</a></div><div[/url] class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Q9oVGAtkQe8/VRlb7ZJ7cvI/AAAAAAAADIA/UbREdiBUJZI/s1600/Back%2BCover-4.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Q9oVGAtkQe8/VRlb7ZJ7cvI/AAAAAAAADIA/UbREdiBUJZI/s1600/Back%2BCover-4.jpg"[/url] height="640" width="420" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><br /><br /><br />

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Book Talk & Giveaway: SIX MONTHS LATER by Natalie Richards

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 27 March 2015 · 49 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/1374679727l/17343998.jpg"]https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1374679727l/17343998.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/1374679727l/17343998.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>Average-achiever Chloe falls asleep in study hall on a beautiful spring day, and wakes up to the snow falling outside her classroom window, standardized test scores that have Ivy Leagues fighting over her, and the crush of her life as a boyfriend. But six months have been erased, and she has no idea how her life became perfect.<br /><br />Her best friend won't talk to her, making it very clear that Chloe has done something unforgivable. The brooding school bad-boy's number has somehow ended up in her phone, and she has the compulsion to call him constantly, even though they've never exchanged more than a few words. A perfect, pretty classmate has suddenly left town, leaving a wake of unanswered questions. Notes Chloe left to herself in pages of books claim there's a connection, but Chloe can't piece it together.<br /><br />Memories she can't place start to surface- conversations that never happened and situations that definitely didn't exist. As her life begins to spiral out of control, Chloe has to wonder what price she has to pay to be perfect... and if perfect is what she wants in the first place.<br /><br /><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b110" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b110/"[/url] id="rcwidget_3njusglk" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script src="//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>

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Author Lauren Gibaldi Talks Inspiration

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 24 March 2015 · 37 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 is Lauren Gibaldi, whose debut <a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23287168-the-night-we-said-yes?from_search=true"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23287168-the-night-we-said-yes?from_search=true[/url]" target="_blank">THE NIGHT WE SAID YES</a> will be available from Harper Teen June 16, 2015. Lauren is also a public librarian. She's been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). She has a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies, both from Florida State University.<br /><br /><b>Ideas for our books can come from just about anywhere, and sometimes even we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Did you have a specific origin point for your book?</b><br /><br /><i>Kind of. I wanted to write about a crazy night, that was the original plan. I like the idea of one night that can change everything, and the magic and possibility a night out with friends holds when you’re in high school. It evolved and changed quite a bit, but I like to think the original feel is still there. I do remember I thought of the title while driving on the interstate with my husband…I kind of just blurted it out, and that shaped the whole “saying yes” plot. &nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>I originally had the “then” idea – the one crazy night where the four teens say yes to every idea they have. So I thought about fun things they’d do, crazy places they’d go. But when thinking about it, I kind of wanted to see what would happen next – how the one night changes them and where they would end up one year later. So after writing the first “then” chapter, I went back and wrote a “now” chapter and it stuck.&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 had a lot of plotting for it because I had to make sure each “then” chapter line up with a “now” chapter. But I threw a lot of that original plotting away and kind of wrote on the fly, which made it more fun, in a way. So, locations and motives changed and I was okay with that. I also realized that the characters evolved as I went on, so I had to go back and alter voices and such.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><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…GOOD ideas do not. For instance, while typing this I thought: “You know what would be funny? A vampire retelling of The Great Gatsby.” You know what’s NOT a good idea? A vampire retelling of The Great Gatsby.&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>I’m facing this issue right now! I start writing the first that comes to me and see if it sticks. Sometimes I just don’t like it enough to go past the first chapter. I keep it around, in case I ever want to go back to it, and then start on something else. It’s not necessarily the best idea, but I like giving each possible story a shot. The hardest thing is putting an idea aside when I’m working on a story I’m really into. I’m always worried I’ll forget it.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Sometimes when I’m cooking ground beef I get distracted by the fact that it definitely looks like a brain. Does that happen to you?</b><br /><br /><i>Can’t say it has. BUT NOW THAT’S ALL I’M GOING TO THINK ABOUT. A friend once told me that he feels his brain move every time he drives over a speed bump, and now that’s permanently in my head, too. YOU’RE WELCOME.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Or, wait, was that a metaphor?&nbsp;</i><br /><div><br /></div>

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