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Why You Should Still Write When Everything Around You Is Going To Hell

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 30 January 2017 · 72 views

Writing is not easy.<br /><br />It's never been easy. I'm not the kind of writer who springs out of bed, eager to start the day's work. In fact I've only sprung from my bed once, and that was when I thought there was a burglar in my house and the only thing I had to defend myself with was a thirty pound bag of cat litter.<br /><br />But that's another story.<br /><br />There's a great hashtag on Twitter at the moment, <a href="[url="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WriteYourResistance&amp;src=typd"]https://twitter.com/search?q=%23WriteYourResistance&amp;src=typd[/url]" target="_blank">#WriteYourResistance</a>, and I encourage anyone who has characters who stand up when they're told to sit down or shout when they're told to shut up to check it out. And while those are easily recognizable acts of opposition, equally important are the characters who enact quieter forms - refusing to kick someone who is down, or even helping them up.<br /><br />It's hard to tear yourself away from the news feed to work on a piece of fiction. Our fake worlds feel paper thin, motivations for people who don't exist hard to come by when a paradigm shift is happening in reality, and there are impactful actionable items on your to-do list that may shape tomorrow.<br /><br />Those things are important. Go do them.<br /><br />Then come back to your book.<br /><br />What I'm working on right now is a humorous paranormal. Yes, you read that right. It's a weird, quirky little thing that no one is ever going to label as important. My characters aren't planting their flags or taking the moral high ground. They're running down spooky eBay listings and wondering if the little bit of plastic fork they accidentally bit off is digestible.<br /><br />So how can I turn off the reality IV and put my time into something so trite?<br /><br />Because I might be reading 1984 right now, but last night I watched Romancing the Stone.<br /><br />For fifteen years I worked in a high school in one of the poorest counties in my state. Some of my students didn't have heat, clean clothes, or food in their stomachs. Those kids weren't reading heavy, message-laden books. Not because they were incapable, but because they know enough about reality.<br /><br />What they were looking for was escape.<br /><br />And they found it in books.<br /><br />So write your book, even now. Write to communicate your message of strength and love. Write for that reader in the future that needs to get away for an hour or two.<br /><br />Just write.

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Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 28 January 2017 · 52 views

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://rclewisbooks.com/"]http://rclewisbooks.com/[/url]" target="_blank">RC Lewis</a>&nbsp;and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet,&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 />I’m pleased to offer my YA novel RED LIGHTNING for your consideration. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">I honestly think it's better to&nbsp;jump in with the hook. It's purely opinion, but I always put title, word&nbsp;count, etc at the bottom. The agent can probably assume that you're pleased to offer it :)&nbsp;</span>Livia is hands off and walls up when it comes to boys. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Nice! I like the hook - get it out there first and don't bury it&nbsp;under an opening line that doesn't really convey anything&nbsp;important.&nbsp;</span>She’s determined to maintain the safety she earned when she sent her abusive father to prison for life. Then news of her cousin’s disappearance catapults her <strike>back</strike> <span style="color: #6aa84f;">since it's a memory, the "back" is assumed</span> into memories of when he saved her life from a mentally deranged man, claiming that if he killed her he’d become the next Augustus. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">And... you lost me. Lots of people and things going on in this sentence, not to mention pronouns. We've got cousin (he) , a&nbsp;mental&nbsp;deranged man (another he)... and, Augustus? Confused. Tell us the cousin's name to cut down on the pronouns. Maybe save the Augustus information to the next para, where it can be worked in with the context of Roman history.</span><br /><br />Livia realizes that her family has lied to her about what really happened that day. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Hmm... how?&nbsp;</span>Following leads, she hacks into a Roman History reenactment website and discovers a secret society <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Err... the secret&nbsp;society isn't terribly secret if they have an internet site,&nbsp;hacking or not&nbsp;</span>with four houses (each with a paterfamilias), a senate, and a military force called the legionnaires. Each house has supernatural abilities that need to remain secret in order for their society to stay safe.<br /><br />Livia needs to convince this society that her family is not a threat to their way of life and that means joining them. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Does it really? If they think she's a threat why would they possibly let her in?&nbsp;</span>Livia has to put her reservations aside to marry a man <span style="color: #6aa84f;">!?!?!?</span> influential enough to counter the madman who has rediscovered her existence, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Wait, so he forgot she existed? And what about the cousin?</span>&nbsp;and convinced a faction that his delusions are fact.<br /><br />RED LIGHTNING is complete at 120,000 words and available upon request. I have a BA in Latin and History teaching from Brigham Young University.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Word count is long in the tooth, even for a fantasy, or urban fantasy. You're going to want to get his down to under 100k as a debut&nbsp;author. Also, in the opening para you describe it simply as a YA novel which doesn't fly. This is a genre title, and you'll have to&nbsp;label it as such.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">The big thing here with me isn't&nbsp;necessarily the query or how it's written, but the bigger questions of plot and motivation. The cousin fades away. The mention of supernatural abilities is kind of on the fly (Does she have them? Why do the&nbsp;societies think she is a threat?) And quite&nbsp;honestly, a teenage girl&nbsp;who was formerly "hands off and walls up" about boys "putting aside reservations" to marry a man (um, how old is he?) in order to protect&nbsp;herself is simply not going to fly with an agent, editor, or with readers.</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Get the answers to all the questions I&nbsp;ask above into your query, and pare down that word count. Otherwise I think the premise is quite interesting. We just need to know more about it, and how it's actually impacting Livia and her cousin.</span>

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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST by Susin Nielsen

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 27 January 2017 · 51 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/1469405417l/30335388.jpg"]https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469405417l/30335388.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/1469405417l/30335388.jpg"[/url] width="212" /></a></div>Accidents happen. This is something Petula is only too aware of after the tragic death of her little sister. Accidents happen so often, in fact, that she starts to keep track of them in a scrapbook. Cranes falling. Babies tumbling from open windows. Runners with buds in not hearing approaching cars.<br /><br />Petula is ready for anything, and isn't going to let something happen. You can't prepare for everything, but being eternally pessimistic does at least up your odds. Her therapeutic art classmates don't quite share her feelings, nor does her former best friend, who she cut contact with when seeing Rachel's little sibling brought too much pain for her.<br /><br />But Jacob - the new kid in therapy - has his own pile of guilt to go along with his half-bionic arm to replace the natural appendage he lost in a car accident. Flippantly answering any queries with plots from movies (which Petula calls him out on), Jacob manages to draw Petula out of her shell. Soon she's walking past construction sites and scaling graveyard walls in order to help her fellow therapy students address their own issues.<br /><br />The past is never far though, and a little digging shows Petula that Jacob hasn't been entirely honest with her - or their fellow students. If the new life she's forged for herself is based on a lie, does that mean she should retreat back into her shell?<br /><br />Want to help me with all the mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated! Donating has no impact on your chances of winning.<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 /><br /></form><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b226" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b226/"[/url] id="rcwidget_z6rbo09t" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script>[/url]

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Wednesday WOLF

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 25 January 2017 · 61 views

<div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">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.</div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">In any case, 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.</div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">My clever pal and fellow author&nbsp;<a href="[url="http://authoraghoward.blogspot.com/"]http://authoraghoward.blogspot.com/[/url]">AG Howard</a>&nbsp;asked me once if I could tell her the origin of the phrase, "storm in a teacup." Well, Anita must be British, or at least more cultured than I am, because I'd always heard it phrased, "tempest in a teacup."</div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">Whether you like to sound UKish or prefer alliteration, it all boils down to the same thing (pun intended). A "tempest / storm in a teacup" means something major is happening, but the ripples aren't going to reach far. An event of paramount importance to a handful of people probably won't be making the national news (think "Book Club Breaks Up Over Inability to Agree On Next Month's Title.")</div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">So where does it come from? The earliest known reference is in the August 30, 1820 edition of the <i>Conneticut Gazette</i>:</div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dYR-qDs8BIg/TifPDI5PNGI/AAAAAAAAAJw/WpPmKyuipXk/s1600/tempest+1820.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="288" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dYR-qDs8BIg/TifPDI5PNGI/AAAAAAAAAJw/WpPmKyuipXk/s320/tempest+1820.jpg"[/url] width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">What?<br />You can't read that?</td></tr></tbody></table><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">Anecdote of the late Lord Chancellor Thurlow:&nbsp;A person once came running&nbsp;almost out of breath to the Lord Chancellor, saying, "My Lord, I bring you tidings of calamity to the nation, and I do&nbsp;not know how far the direful effects of it&nbsp;may spread to endanger the church and&nbsp;state."--"What is the matter, man?" said&nbsp;the impatient Chancellor. &nbsp;"My Lord," continued the person, "a rebellion has&nbsp;broken out"--"Where, where?" &nbsp;"In&nbsp;the Isle of man." "In the Isle of Man!"repeated the vociferous Chancellor. &nbsp;"A&nbsp;tempest in a tea-pot."</div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;">So it appears we have the vociferous Lord Chancellor Thurlow to thank for that one.</div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /><b>What's your favorite word origin? Tell me, or ask one you've always been curious about - I'll do my best to find the answer and get back to you in a future WOLF!</b></div><div style="margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-top: 0px;"><br /></div>

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Tiffany D. Jackson On The Inspiration for ALLEGEDLY

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 24 January 2017 · 53 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 /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X0p2fTSXhtM/WIYdTaD1yqI/AAAAAAAAD0M/XquupJRF120HMhPI1oFl_Lyg4ZtWYuRCQCK4B/s1600/AllegedlyHC-003-199x300.jpg"]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X0p2fTSXhtM/WIYdTaD1yqI/AAAAAAAAD0M/XquupJRF120HMhPI1oFl_Lyg4ZtWYuRCQCK4B/s1600/AllegedlyHC-003-199x300.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: right; float: right; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-left: 1em;"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X0p2fTSXhtM/WIYdTaD1yqI/AAAAAAAAD0M/XquupJRF120HMhPI1oFl_Lyg4ZtWYuRCQCK4B/s400/AllegedlyHC-003-199x300.jpg"[/url] /></a></div>Today's guest for the WHAT is <a [url="href="]href="http://writeinbk.com/about/"[/url] target="_blank">Tiffany D. Jackson</a>, whose debut <a [url="href="]href="http://writeinbk.com/books/"[/url] target="_blank">ALLEGEDLY</a> drops today from Katherine Tegen Books.&nbsp;Tiffany is a TV professional by day, novelist by night, awkward black girl 24/7. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Film from Howard University and her Master of Arts in Media Studies from The New School 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 /><b><br /></b> <i>First time insomnia worked in my favor! LOL! I was up late one night, cruising the internet when I came across <a [url="href="]href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20628597,00.html"[/url] target="_blank">this story on People.com</a> of a nine-year-old girl charged with murder. I was blown away and couldn’t stop thinking, “What if she didn’t do it?”</i><br /><br /><b>Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?</b><br /><br /><i>Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I had a week off from work and wrote the entire first draft of the novel in a week! There were huge plot holes and missing back story but the story just poured out of me. I then stepped back to strategically do research and start conceptualizing how to add in the excerpts.&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>Of course! The original ending of ALLEGEDLY was completely different in my head. By the fourth or fifth review of my draft, with plot holes plugged and backstory layered in, I had a sudden epiphany in the shower one morning that turned the entire book upside down.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?</b><br /><br /><i>I have about approximately five books in my head right now. Sometimes I start thinking of dialog for the next book before the one before it is done. I rely heavily on my “Notes” app when inspiration strikes at random, so I don’t forget scenes dancing through my skull and am constantly telling characters to wait their turn when they start talking. I’m officially the crazy dog lady on my block.&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>Whatever story has the most notes in my phone that’s the story I go with.&nbsp;</i><br /><br /><b>I recently got stitches in my arm and was taking mental notes the entire time about how I felt before, during, and after the process of being badly injured. Do you have any major life events that you chronicled mentally to mine for possible writing purposes later?</b><br /><br /><i>I remember every moment of my Grandmother dying. I remember the feeling when I got the call that she was about to pass, the anxiety of trying to get to her hospice, the look on her face as she struggled, the way the room smelled, the color of her blanket as I laid beside her, the sounds of her last breath, the voices around me telling her it was ok to let go, then the unimaginable agony when she finally did. When I write hard, gut wrenching scenes of pain, I always pull from that. &nbsp;</i><br /><br />Want to help me with all the mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated! 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The Importance of Facts, Even In Fiction

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 23 January 2017 · 51 views

I'm a discerning reader, possibly to a fault. A factual slip can throw me out of a story and anything set in the country (or God forbid, on a farm) damn well better have been researched or I'm going to skewer it. In private, of course, but it will be skewered.<br /><br />I researched for 18 months before writing A MADNESS SO DISCREET. I like to tell people I know so much about lobotomies I could perform one (I don't add that it's not a terribly delicate surgery). When it came to MADNESS, I dove in. Lobotomies, medical treatments for the mentally ill, the history of criminal profiling, the setting per 1890's culture, even speech patterns. I wanted to be thorough.<br /><br />Originally MADNESS was supposed to have a connection to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and America's first known serial killer, H.H. Holmes. That was scrapped later on for various reasons, but I had already done so much in-depth work framing the book for the 1890's that I didn't want to deal with a very big roadblock.<br /><br />Lobotomies as we know them weren't in use until the early 1900's.<br /><br />Whoops.<br /><br />A part of my plot hinged on lobotomies and I'd read over a thousand pages concerning them, so I wasn't going to toss everything in the bin. Instead, I needed a feasible reason for a doctor in 1890 to have enough medical evidence to support performing something like a lobotomy... and I found that in the story of <a href="[url="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/phineas-gage-neurosciences-most-famous-patient-11390067/"]http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/phineas-gage-neurosciences-most-famous-patient-11390067/[/url]" target="_blank">Phineas Gage</a>.<br /><br />I read another thousand pages in relation to Phineas before executing the scene in MADNESS where Thornhollow describes to Grace the function of the frontal lobe and explains the procedure he's about to perform on her.<br /><br />Thousands of pages of research went into roughly three pages of that book.<br /><br />In the same vein, I researched water for six months before writing NOT A DROP TO DRINK. I read about the history of water, about the projected water shortage, and even a book concerning - yes, really - water law. I can tell you things about water law that you really, really don't care about.<br /><br />But in all of my thorough research concerning water I overlooked something vital.<br /><br />Gasoline expires.<br /><br />Did you know that? I didn't.<br /><br />It was something I didn't even think to look into. Most post-apocalyptic movies show plenty of roving bandits on motorcycles and people driving around in cars. Totally wouldn't happen. This was pointed out to me at a conference the year that IN A HANDFUL OF DUST (a book with, yes, people driving cars) released.<br /><br />I'm not above telling you that it really, really bothers me that any scene in DRINK or DUST that involves gasoline is bogus.<br /><br />That's how important facts are to me, even as a fiction writer. So important, that one of my favorite quotes from a historical figure found it's way into IN A HANDFUL OF DUST. I'm going to leave it here at the bottom of this post as well, and you will be seeing it pop in my social media feeds as we move forward this year.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-NJKsRpvzlAs/WIYa2VXwScI/AAAAAAAAD0E/VSBkAkNhXzE5i-FSmht3opH_FJQUw22fwCK4B/s1600/Unknown.jpeg"[/url] imageanchor="1"><img border="0" [url="src="]src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-NJKsRpvzlAs/WIYa2VXwScI/AAAAAAAAD0E/VSBkAkNhXzE5i-FSmht3opH_FJQUw22fwCK4B/s400/Unknown.jpeg"[/url] /></a></div><br /><br />

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Saturday Slash

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 21 January 2017 · 48 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 />Eleven-year-old Skye Schuster understands “Military Math.” It’s what happens when your father is killed in combat. And, just like that, you go from a family of three to a family of two. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Ah, okay - maybe get the actual math in there just a touch sooner, possibly by&nbsp;combining these two&nbsp;sentences. Otherwise, good hook.&nbsp;</span>And they say you’re a war orphan. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is this&nbsp;still a commonly used phrase? It gives this a&nbsp;touch of historical feel and you might not want that since so far&nbsp;there hasn't been much indication of genre. (Unless, of course, it is a&nbsp;historical in which case, carry on).</span>&nbsp;And then… <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Hmm, I'd kill the ellipsis. It's an&nbsp;awkward transition into the next para, which I see is a theme for the&nbsp;query. I wouldn't do this&nbsp;unless it's ALSO a theme in the book or indicative of voice.&nbsp;Which, honestly an&nbsp;entire&nbsp;book full of&nbsp;quirky transitions might not work. I'd&nbsp;consider a smoother transition.</span><br /><br />Your <span style="color: #6aa84f;">the transition from the hook POV of Skye to the "your" is only&nbsp;present here in the middle, then switches back out to Skye as 3rd in the last para. I'd keep it consistent throughout.&nbsp;</span>mom decides to marry some guy who hardly talks to you at all. You call him “Dim Tim” and you wear your dad’s dog tags on a chain around your neck so he knows he won’t ever be as good as your real dad. It’s working pretty well until…<br /><br />A car crash leaves your mom in a coma. Now, all those feelings of loss for your dad intensify as they swirl around inside your heart with the biggest fear of all: that your mom might never wake up.<br /><br />And what does that dork Dim Tim do? He brings home a book called The Idiot’s Guide to Almost Anything to help deal with stuff. Wow. Did somebody write a book just for HIM? <span style="color: #6aa84f;">This reference&nbsp;makes it sound like a contemporary. We need a better feel for what the setting is here. An allusion to what war his dad was killed in is all it takes.</span><br /><br />Skye’s struggle to cope with the death of a parent in a military conflict is not unique; it's experienced by kids in the aftermath of every war. Since September 11, 2001, more than 5,000 American children have lost a parent or loved one who was serving in the U.S. Military. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Now you're addressing the&nbsp;agent about market, which is fine, but again there's been a massive shift here.</span><br /><br />As a war orphan who understands Military Math, I wrote my 107-verse, middle-grade novel in verse, <span style="color: #6aa84f;">you&nbsp;mentioned twice here that this is verse. I think regardless of how many verses&nbsp;there are the&nbsp;book will still be judged&nbsp;lengthwise on word&nbsp;count. So use that as an&nbsp;indicator instead of number of verses.</span>&nbsp;Skye Blue, for kids like Skye. My author’s note lists websites and resources, including Camp Hometown Heroes in Wisconsin, where war orphans from all over the country can meet one another and work through their journey of healing. <span style="color: #6aa84f;">Here&nbsp;again you are telling the prospective agent about who the market is for and how you will engage your audience, but not&nbsp;necessarily&nbsp;telling us much about the actual plot of the book.</span><br /><br />I am a former children’s librarian and storyteller. My non-fiction chapter book, My Underpants are Made from Plants (Schoolwide, Inc.), was published in March, 2015. Ah-Choo!, a fiction picture book (Sterling Children’s Books) came out in March, 2016. I have written for magazines, anthologies, and the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (2016 and 2018.) I am currently under contract with Greenhaven Press as a compiling editor and am an active member of SCBWI.<br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Good bio - but&nbsp;the para above this one is partially&nbsp;biographic as well. Pull the fact of being a war&nbsp;orphan&nbsp;yourself and fold it into this&nbsp;para. Everything that speaks about author's notes is something that would come during a later conversation, not in a query letter.</span><br /><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Overall I would say that you've&nbsp;made it very clear here that you are in a great position to understand your&nbsp;audience and the&nbsp;market... but haven't really made it very clear&nbsp;what&nbsp;the plot of your book is. I&nbsp;understand that can be a&nbsp;little more challenging with a&nbsp;verse novel, but you&nbsp;have to get the plot front&nbsp;and&nbsp;center, not&nbsp;marketing ideas and audience interaction.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="color: #6aa84f;"><br /></span><span style="color: #6aa84f;">Is this book funny? Is this book sad? I can't tell. Is it about Skye&nbsp;becoming closer to his stepfather and accepting him? Is it about Skye dealing with the mother's possible loss? Um... is Skye a boy or a&nbsp;girl? Get Skye and the plot front and center before you move to talking too&nbsp;much in depth about possible&nbsp;audience and outreach.</span>

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Book Talk & ARC Giveaway: THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 20 January 2017 · 47 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 /><div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="[url="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wx_lRmXktkg/WIIXctR4CBI/AAAAAAAADzs/19rSJ6dZXBU3idX-j4ISexgYiGGl9viIwCLcB/s1600/32075671.jpg"]https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wx_lRmXktkg/WIIXctR4CBI/AAAAAAAADzs/19rSJ6dZXBU3idX-j4ISexgYiGGl9viIwCLcB/s1600/32075671.jpg[/url]" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" [url="src="]src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wx_lRmXktkg/WIIXctR4CBI/AAAAAAAADzs/19rSJ6dZXBU3idX-j4ISexgYiGGl9viIwCLcB/s320/32075671.jpg"[/url] width="211" /></a></div><div>Starr feels like two different people. At home in Garden Heights she feels free to talk and act like her family and friends, but when she's at her affluent school, she's careful not to act "ghetto," even around her white boyfriend. Always careful to keep the two sides of herself separate, Starr is suddenly thrust into the middle of an event full of racial tension.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Khalil, an old childhood friend, is killed in front of her when they are pulled over during a routine traffic stop. Khalil is yanked from the car and told to stay still. When he opens the door to ask Starr is she's okay he is shot three times in the back by the white cop.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>The event throws her neighborhood into turmoil. Starr travels daily from home - where tanks roll through the streets and the smell of smoke always hanging in the air - to school, where students are protesting Khalil's death and the lack of punishment for the cop... some of them only taking part in order to get out of class.</div><div><br /></div><div>As the only witness to a racially charged crime, Starr is forced to remember another death, this one from the past - her best friend cut down during a hot afternoon in a drive by - and what her actions in the present can do to help shape the future.</div><div><br />Want to help me with all the mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated!<br /><form [url="action="]action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"[/url] method="post" target="_top"><input name="encrypted" type="hidden" value="-----BEGIN PKCS7-----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-----END PKCS7----- " /><br /><input alt="PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!" border="0" name="submit" [url="src="]src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_donate_LG.gif"[/url] type="image" /><br /><br /><img alt="" border="0" height="" [url="src="]src="https://www.paypalobjects.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif"[/url] width="" /></form><a class="rcptr" data-raflid="2071810b223" data-template="" data-theme="classic" [url="href="]href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2071810b223/"[/url] id="rcwidget_by5vo0dw" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><br /><script [url="src="]src="https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js"></script></div>[/url]

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Liz Coley On Cover Input As An Independent Author

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 17 January 2017 · 43 views

I love talking to authors. Our experiences are so similar, yet so very different, that every one of us has a new story to share. Everyone says that the moment you get your cover it really hits you - you're an author. The cover is your story - and you - packaged for the world. So the process of the cover reveal can be slightly panic inducing. Does it fit your story? Is it what you hoped? Will it sell? With this in mind I put together the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) Interview.<br /><br />Today's guest for the CRAP is Liz Coley, whose best-selling psychological thriller <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> has been published in 12 languages on 5 continents. Liz’s other publications include time travel romance <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12037380-out-of-xibalba"[/url] target="_blank">Out of Xibalba</a>, the <a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25308316-unleashed"[/url] target="_blank">Tor Maddox</a> “pink thrillers” series, and her most recent sci-fi release T<a [url="href="]href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30973963-the-captain-s-kid"[/url] target="_blank">he Captain’s Kid</a>. Her short fiction has appeared in Cosmos Magazine and print anthologies. She has ventured into playwriting and developing a YouTube serial, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QxqOgLXMUQ"[/url] target="_blank">Undercover Reading</a>, for young teens.&nbsp;You can also follow Liz on <a [url="href="]href="https://twitter.com/LizColeyBooks"[/url] target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.instagram.com/lizcoleybooks/"[/url] target="_blank">Instagram</a>, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.facebook.com/LizColeyBooks/?fref=ts"[/url] target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a [url="href="]href="https://www.wattpad.com/user/LizColeyBooks"[/url] target="_blank">Wattpad</a>, and visit her website at <a [url="href="]href="http://lizcoley.com/">LizColey.com</a><br[/url] /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1472844546l/30973963.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="640" [url="src="]src="https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1472844546l/30973963.jpg"[/url] width="420" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Whenever his parents went out on missions for the Space Survey Corps, Brandon Webb was left behind on Luna, left to dream of journeying between the stars, meeting aliens, defeating villains, saving the world. Now it's his turn for adventure, permitted at last by the captain, his father, to join a year-long trip to a failing colonial planet on an emergency resupply run. Or so he's told.</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>Brandon's former dreams could turn to nightmares when the starship is sabotaged, the alien holds secrets about his past, the villain is on the right side, and the world isn’t ready to be saved.</i></div><br /><b>Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?</b><br /><br /><i>When I imagined the cover of The Captain’s Kid, it was important to me that the art depict the sci-fi genre very clearly and also show off the multiracial and mixed gender cast of buddies in this teen adventure. I wanted the focus to be on characters as much as our future in space. I figured the central image should be the main character and first person narrator Brandon Webb, of course, but I hoped the supporting characters could be as visible on the cover as they are in the story. The striking elements of Masuna’s eyes above and the villainous figure in silhouette were brought into play by my amazing cover artist—more about him below</i>. <br /><br /><b>How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your artist?</b><br /><br /><i>Since this book was going to be independently published, timing was completely up to me. I looked for and signed a contract with my cover artist Joe Slucher four months before my target publication date (October 27, my oldest son’s birthday). Joe came recommended by another local artist I have known for several years, and I can’t be more grateful for the introduction. He was a joy to work with.</i><br /><br /><b>Did you have any input on your cover?</b><br /><br /><i>The greatest delight of independent publishing is the control and input the author has over the whole process. Joe and I had a very collaborative approach to concept. I said stuff and he read my mind and turned it into art. We first met at Joseph Beth Bookstore after he had read the entire novel—which tells you all you need to know about his work ethic! I don’t think that’s typical. He came prepared with general ideas based on the setting, characters, specific scenes, and technology. We looked together at character-centric covers in the “tween” section of the store so he could get a feel for my taste and my vision as well as what appeals to boys in this age group. Then this happened:</i><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/--BKnwH6YUOc/WHuxXIt0iCI/AAAAAAAADzI/sbs1KNjcBHYrRa05Tez65H7Iez0s_-vVwCLcB/s1600/Slucher_ckid_thumbs.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="342" [url="src="]src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/--BKnwH6YUOc/WHuxXIt0iCI/AAAAAAAADzI/sbs1KNjcBHYrRa05Tez65H7Iez0s_-vVwCLcB/s400/Slucher_ckid_thumbs.jpg"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><br /><i>Joe prepared fifteen thumbnail sketches to narrow down the content and composition. My impossible job was to choose two for him to develop into more detailed black and white line drawings. After my focus-group-via-email weighed in, I picked the “walk on the moon” (#8) showing Audrey and Brandon, and the movie poster style ensemble collage (#15) showing Karthik, Audrey, and Brandon. At my request, we added the character of Con Liu, who was equally important to the subplots. And so we had:</i><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uTW1HEQDC_Y/WHuxrzspl0I/AAAAAAAADzM/daDz2oiUKE0m6rOjPja9gHvxwAKgw5q7wCLcB/s1600/Slucher_ckid_tightdrawing2.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="186" [url="src="]src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uTW1HEQDC_Y/WHuxrzspl0I/AAAAAAAADzM/daDz2oiUKE0m6rOjPja9gHvxwAKgw5q7wCLcB/s400/Slucher_ckid_tightdrawing2.jpg"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><br /><br /><i>The next phase was choosing only one of these line drawings to take to the next level—fonts, faces, and eventually, full color palate. That was so hard! I loved them both, so I asked to buy #8 as an interior black and white illustration as a little Easter Egg for the readers. Font selection and color phases looked like:</i><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a [url="href="]href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6zS0_leIuGU/WHux8jIHVtI/AAAAAAAADzQ/FtSImwHF8i4DMIDytqtyzZd9gbq_tkHOQCLcB/s1600/SlucherRoughsketch1.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="381" [url="src="]src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6zS0_leIuGU/WHux8jIHVtI/AAAAAAAADzQ/FtSImwHF8i4DMIDytqtyzZd9gbq_tkHOQCLcB/s400/SlucherRoughsketch1.jpg"[/url] width="400" /></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="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-pRlSxEgXL5s/WHuyRqamNmI/AAAAAAAADzU/K_gQfyfKtg0lEyzVp6sgD29RlFp0ciJ-ACLcB/s1600/Slucher_ck_colorcomps.jpg"[/url] imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="147" [url="src="]src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-pRlSxEgXL5s/WHuyRqamNmI/AAAAAAAADzU/K_gQfyfKtg0lEyzVp6sgD29RlFp0ciJ-ACLcB/s400/Slucher_ck_colorcomps.jpg"[/url] width="400" /></a></div><br /><b>Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?</b><br /><br /><i>I adored the final cover so much, it was very hard to keep it under my hat. I’d shared the development steps with my family and with one other YA sci-fi author along the way so they were all in on it. YA Books Central hosted the cover reveal and a giveaway on September 2, seven weeks pre-release. At that point, I also set up the cover on Goodreads and Amazon, with the Kindle edition available for pre-order.</i><br /><br /><b>What surprised you most about the process?</b><br /><br /><i>I’ve never worked with a professional artist on an iterative process where the final product is approached by small logical steps. Every file I received from Joe was like a birthday present, and his enthusiasm for the project was truly gratifying. The attention to so many little details made me really happy, as did the guinea pig on the cover. And Masuna’s eyes. And the evil weedbot! And…</i><br /><br /><b>Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?</b><br /><br /><i>Sorry - this won’t help anxiety at all, but it’s true that covers are really important. My theory holds that people READ books because of recommendations, but people BUY books because of their covers.</i><br /><br /><i>From my authorial perspective, this indy-pub cover experience was entirely different from my traditional publishing cover experience. I’m sure the publisher’s production team goes through all of these steps, but generally behind a curtain, hidden from the author. When HarperCollins published Pretty Girl-13, my editor handed me a damp printout of my cover, fully and final-form rendered, and said, “Don’t you love it?” I did, in fact, think it was really cool, but that was the extent of my input. With The Captain’s Kid, the opportunity to be so deeply involved in cover design, except for the part involving actual skill, saved me any anxiety. At all phases, I knew my cover was in expert hands.</i><br /><br /><i>So, for a debut author setting out on a traditional pub experience, I recommend that you grab all your bravery and have a discussion with your editor ahead of time about how your cover will be developed and at what point you might put an oar in that water. For a debut author setting out on a self-pub experience, I advise you to think hard about how much time, effort, and money you want to invest in your cover. There’s a huge and visible difference between clip-art and original art, and a really nice, eye-catching original cover makes great postcards and other swag. You can also hope it makes your book hop off the table at signings and school visits.</i>

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On Strong Female Characters

  Posted by bigblackcat97 , 16 January 2017 · 47 views

I'm not going to lie to you. Many of us who write strong female characters have begun to wince when we're asked to talk about them at panels or during an interview. It's not because being a strong female is a trend that has passed, but because it was never a trend in the first place.<br /><br />Women were strong before Katniss picked up a bow or Tris jumped off a train. Read T<a href="[url="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8282.The_Long_Winter?ac=1&amp;from_search=true"]https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8282.The_Long_Winter?ac=1&amp;from_search=true[/url]" target="_blank">he Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder</a> - a true story - and you'll see a young girl braiding sheaves of straw together until her hands bleed so that her family has something to burn in their stove to ward off the bitter temperatures. Read that book as an adult and you'll understand that the family is dying, slowly starving to death while malnutrition and ennui sets in.<br /><br />I dabble in genealogy as a hobby, and have traced my German line back to the 1500s. There I found a woman who gave birth to 15 children - and outlived all but two of them. I ran the dates, and in one week she lost two adolescent daughters (due to an illness in the home, I assume), gave birth a few days later, then lost the infant the next week.<br /><br />She kept going.<br /><br />There were seven other children still at home that needed care. She went on to raise them, and deliver more healthy children that grew into adulthood. She lived to be nearly 100 - certainly an accomplishment in the 1500's - and buried all but two of the children she gave birth to.<br /><br />I bring up this ancestor from 500 years ago when I'm asked about writing strong female characters. This mother of fifteen didn't know about YA literature - in fact, she probably couldn't read - but I'm pretty sure she would have laughed at the idea of strong women being a trend.<br /><br />Women were strong then.<br />Women are strong now.<br />Women will continue to be strong.

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