Category Archives: Author Advice

Ponder. List. Outline. Type. The YA Gal’s Guide to Plotting.

Are you a Plotter or a Pantser? Writers love to bandy around that question in online chatrooms and Facebook forums. Do you plot out your novel to the very last scene before you start writing, or do you let the Muse guide your pen, and write by the seat of your pants?

I’ve found that neither strategy works well for me. I’ve tried plotting intricate outlines and lost inspiration fast. When I sat down at my computer and just “went for it” I ended up with story arcs that fizzled out.

Over the course of many years and two published novels, I’ve created my own method of plotting that fits my needs. It’s an easy structure to remember because PLOT says it all: Ponder. List. Outline. Type.


Ponder

PKO_0005504The Ponder step is the most important. The publishing industry is so competitive, that unless a concept is perfect a book is doomed. I spend several months, and sometimes years, formulating the right idea. I let the story germinate in my mind while I drive around town running errands, or struggle to fall asleep at night. During the Ponder step, I determine what my logline hook will be. With GENESIS GIRL it was “An Internet innocent gets sold to the highest bidder.” For DAMAGED GOODS it was “Scarred by a childhood spent in captivity, Blanca struggles to recognize friend from foe.” The hook is the one sentence description that describes the whole novel.


List

unending-list-aBefore I start writing a book, I list out my main characters. One of the hardest things about writing a book is making characters seem alive. If Good Morning America interviewed the people in a novel, the author should know exactly how the characters would respond. But getting to that level of intimacy is difficult. One trick I use to help flesh out my characters is a graphic organizer I call my Character_Map. I print out a page for each major person in my book and fill it out in detail. These lists of descriptions, quirks, backgrounds and secret desires give me a strong cast of characters to utilize.


Outline

Every writer has a different level of comfort when it comes to outlining, but even a simple outline can help keep a manuscript on track. Jotting down the main plot points ahead of time gives a story structure and helps define story arcs. If I’ve done the Pondering step properly then I already have a one sentence description of my book before I start writing an outline. Taking time to formulate a beginning, middle, and end saves me time in the long run.


Type

For a writer, following the Muse is essential. That’s why when I finally sit down to type my story, I sometimes change course while composing my first draft. Story arcs change. quick-typing-aCharacters are eliminated. Often I don’t nail down a person’s name until I’ve written hundreds of pages. Typing out the first draft is the hardest part for me. But the effort I spend in the Pondering, Listing, and Outlining steps, makes the Typing step easier. Once I’ve written my first draft, it’s time to celebrate—and let my manuscript sit for a couple of months before I start revising. For me, revising has its own separate process, but unfortunately, I haven’t come up with a cute acronym yet!


Jennifer Bardsley writes the column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. her novel GENESIS GIRL debuted in 2016 from Month9Books. GENESIS GIRL and its sequel, DAMAGED GOODS, Jennifer Bardsleyare about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” on Facebook, the @the_ya_gal Instagram, and @JennBardsley on Twitter. Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is the founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives in Edmonds, WA with her family and a poodle named Merlin.


Genesis Girl (Blank Slate, #1)About the Blank Slate Series

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet.

Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint makes her extremely valuable, and upon graduation, Blanca and those like her are sold to the highest bidders.

31950044Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is.

All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable.

By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

Damaged Goods: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD

Genesis Girl: Goodreads | Amazon |  B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Books A Million | Google Play | IndieBound

Please don’t come and arrest me because of by browser history! @DanaProvo

When writing a book, one of the most important aspects is research.

PKO_0007533Authors are not only wordsmiths, they are also doctors, lawyers, teachers, and whatever else their characters dream of being. Authors need to research as much as they can about what they are writing. Sometimes a character will change their path and start walking toward an unknown area of expertise and it’s the author’s job to make sure all PKO_0005301the facts are correct. I tend to write realistic fiction for young adults and adults so when I come across a subject I’m not familiar with, I put on my researcher hat!

Writing the first draft of Bleeding Hearts came easily for me. But when it came to editing, there were some parts in the book I had to stop and do extensive research for.

What did my internet browser look like? Here’s a list of searches I did:


  1. Serial Killers
  2. Gun safety
  3. Can a gun go off if it is dropped?
  4. Gun Laws in Virginia
  5. Police procedures for a murder
  6. How to get out of a choke hold
  7. Can a woman overpower a man?
  8. Tendencies of a stalker
  9. How far down can you fall without dying?
  10. Wine tasting for beginners

 

Fight PKO_0013559

Those are only ten things I looked up when I started editing Bleeding Hearts.

I even got my husband to demonstrate how a woman could easily overpower a man in a crisis or get out of a choke hold.

Yes, that was an interesting conversation, but he helped me.

The next time you want to start a realistic book, make sure you set aside some much needed research to make your book as accurate as you can.


Find out more about my book and even read an excerpt. Bleeding Hearts is a new adult, romantic suspense novel.

 

Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.

31390356Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.

Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?

You can Purchase Bleeding Hearts here!


Here is a short excerpt of the first chapter:

31390356My arm trembles as I grip the cool handle of my pistol, keeping a firm grasp to ensure it doesn’t slip out of my sweaty hand. It usually stands sentry in my left nightstand to scare the nightmares away. But this isn’t a dream. The room is dark and hides the face of the man whose intent is to kill me. But I know who he is. A metallic taste fills my mouth; I want to gag. My blood drips off the blade in his hand in slow, steady beats on the carpet. My arms shake as I lift the barrel and point it in his direction. He doesn’t move. His heavy breaths alert me to the meager distance between us.

We’re at a stalemate.

A soft glow from the lamppost just outside my window casts a sliver of light on his face. His dark, beady eyes that I have grown to know rake over my body like I’m another one of his many victims. He lifts the edges of his mouth into a smile. My heart plunges into my stomach. I know what that sinister expression means, and I think back to all the times he had looked at me like that before. I had been so blind.

31390356Before I react he lunges at me, grabbing onto my waist and twisting me to the ground. I shriek as my head slams against the bed frame. Black spots flood my vision. I squeeze my hand only to find it empty. My gun is gone. The sound of the knife clattering on the floor gives me slight hope. Not much though. He climbs up my body trying to pin my arms to the floor. I thrash my fists around, desperate to knock him off.

“Get off!” I scream, pulling on his shirt and kicking him off balance. Wrapping his hands around my arms, my attacker cuts off the circulation of blood. Rug burns flare across my skin as he drags me across the carpet. He closes his hands around my neck, shutting off my air supply. I pull at his hands but it’s no use; he has always been stronger than me. My pulse drums a frantic beat in my ears. The air slowly leaks out from my lungs, killing any hope I may have left. I search for the gun around the room; it may be my only savior now.

“Why are you doing this?” I struggle to get the words out. He squints his dark eyes. I’m wondering if there might be a chance that he will stop this madness. I am wrong.

“It’ll be over soon, sweetheart.” His hands again tighten around my neck, blocking the air from entering my lungs.


danaauthor

Dana Provo has always loved books and reads everything from young adult fantasy to adult historical romances. When she’s not reading or writing her next novel, Dana can be found riding her horses and getting ready for competition. Dana lives with her husband and two house plants in Richmond, Virginia.

Social Media Links:

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You can Purchase Bleeding Hearts here!


Hello out there!

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


Catch up with me on social media!

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Anatomy of three very similar rejection letters

Recently, a friend of mine asked for some help after receiving two very similar rejections letters. Up until this point, she had received many stock “No thanks” responces, or the dreaded crickets in the email (as in no response at all.)

Ugh_Back_to_the_drawing_board

Every few months, she edited and sent out a new set of queries. Then, after getting a few manuscript requests, she received something different. Yes, still rejections, but two days in a row she received rejections with FEEDBACK. Score!

Woa!

I looked over the feedback she was sent by three different agents, and realized the reasons for the rejections were very similar.

Without giving her name, or showing the exact rejections, I am going to cut and paste my analysis of those rejections. Even reading this back to myself after I’d written it, gave me ideas to go back and revise things in my own manuscript.

I hope you find this helpful!

***

Hey you! First of all, YES I believe you read into this correctly. Your writing is so polished that a few people decided you were worthwhile enough to tell you why they decided to pass. So, on that point: CONGRATULATIONS!

All three of these emails confirm that you have an awesome, original concept that they all believe has the power to be a hit. This is the first hurdle everyone needs to overcome. Rock on, girlfriend!

Past this point, you need to prove that the structure and voice are good enough for them to RISK countless hours of their own time to try to sell your work. (Because, hey, if they can’t sell it, they don’t get paid)

Read-hold up PKO_0016876So, this is what I see when I read each email…

#1. “I had a hard time connecting…”

#2. “I didn’t connect with the narrative voice.”

#3. “The narrative wasn’t able to keep me as entranced as the plot would suggest.”

These all said pretty much the same thing, which is AWESOME! Now you know what you need to fix.

“Connection” has to do with VOICE and DEEP POV.

VOICE: You need to ask yourself: Is the voice that I am writing in authentic to my main character? If she is 16, does she sound like a 16 year old? (In spoken word, inner thought, and also in the narrative)Point_of_View2

DEEP POV: Does the overall narrative flow without any bumps that will draw my reader out of the story and remind them they are reading a book? (look for “gentle” show verses tell issues. Look for words like WAS, LOOK, SEE. Check for passive tense.)

 

Basically, you want to hook the reader on the first page and draw them so deeply into the POV of your character that they can’t get out. They forget they are reading, and all of the sudden it’s 6 hours later and they flip the last page. [[Not that I am an expert at this, but every draft I do gets me closer]]

Now, on comment number three: “The narrative wasn’t able to keep me as entranced as the plot would suggest.”Huh

This could be one of two things. Because of the first two comments, I would guess that the issue is voice and/or deep point of view. HOWEVER… it is also possible that there is a pacing issue.

PACING: Does the book lag anywhere? Are the slow parts just slow enough to let the reader take a breath, or are they so long that the reader gets bored? Can you concatenate the slower chapters to give the required information quickly so you can get back to the good stuff?

“I had a hard time connecting with the way the mystery unfolds.” This could also be pacing, but also ask yourself if there is a “build” in your mystery as each stone is unturned. Is the reader DYING to know whodunit?

I’d look over the manuscript again, thinking about each of these topics INDIVIDUALLY. I think you should only work on one of them at a time. (At least that’s what I do) It helps to keep focused, and gives you less of a chance of missing the opportunity to make a good paragraph GREAT if you are trying to accomplish too many types of edits at the same time.

This is probably the most exciting edit you will ever do… the one where little bells will go off in your head as you see the manuscript come to life. Have fun!

[BTW – just writing this has me thinking about my own manuscript, and a couple of things that I want to look at again, so THANKS for the push!]


So, there you have it. Rejection isn’t always bad. I remind myself that Fire in the Woods was rejected quite a few times, and I’d revised over and over before I received two rejections with feedback similar to above.

My next edit after that feedback got me a three book deal!

Keep submitting, and don’t be afraid to edit some more.

Happy_Writing!

.


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |


Catch up with me on social media!

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3 reasons why trying to publish a novel feels like trying to win The Voice @MelissaJCrispin

When Melissa approached me with this topic, I couldn’t resist. The publishing business is so subjective, just like singing. Let’s hear what Melissa has to say!


Thank you for having me on your blog today, Jennifer!

0086_scribble2 While I know The Voice has been on for several  seasons, I only started watching it recently. As cheesy as it sounds, it moves  me to watch all the people on this show pursue their dreams. It reminds me so  much of what writers go through on their journey to publication, and here are  three reasons why.


1.       Many of them have walked a long road just to get to the blind auditions. There  are so many stories of singers who struggled and worked tirelessly for years for  the chance to get on that stage. It isn’t so different for us as writers. Several  challenges come up along the way as you work to finish your book, and you need  to push forward and make it happen, no matter how hard it seems sometimes.


2.     0086_scribble1  A  lot of the contestants talk about going on the show to prove to themselves they  can do this. They’re looking to validate their dream, to see that other  people can believe in their talent and potential. Even if they don’t get a chair turn, having a successful artist in the music industry tell them they’re
good and to keep working is a huge encouragement. When a writer first starts
querying agents and publishers, similar thoughts cross their mind. If their
manuscript is rejected, constructive feedback can feel like a win. It lets the
writer know, you are almost there. Don’t give up yet.


3.      If  the contestant gets on the show, it’s only the beginning. They have much to learn and will grow as a result of all they’re exposed to during their time on the show. When your first book finally gets accepted for publication, it’s the
start of the next phase in your career. I’m yet to meet a published author who
said they learned nothing when they published their first book, and I suspect I
never will.

Do you watch The Voice? Can you think of other
reasons why it’s like pursuing publication?


When the balance between Earth, Afterlife, and Heaven are threatened, the fate of the universe falls on a selfish girl who must sacrifice everything to save it.

Kayla has a plan. She’s moving to the city after graduation and Luke’s coming with her. He’ll eventually become a doctor, she’ll be a ballerina—and they’ll live happily ever after. That is, until dark forces, led by a sister she never knew existed, start hunting her down for a power she never knew she had.

When Kayla starts working with a boy named Alec to learn how to defend herself and to stop the evil from eliminating the worlds, she finds herself falling for him. Hard. Torn between two loves and struggling to do what’s right for Earth and Afterlife, Kayla must decide if she’s fighting to keep her life together, or letting it go to save everyone else’s.

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Evernight Teen   Goodreads


Melissa  J. Crispin lives in Connecticut with her husband, two kids, and an adorable  Siberian Husky. She spends her days in the corporate world, and pursues her passion for writing in the late nights and early mornings.

From micro-fiction to novels, Melissa loves to write stories in varying lengths.  But, no matter the story, it’s almost always about the romance.

Facebook Melissa J. Crispin – Author 

Twitter: @MelissaJCrispin  

Instagram: @MelissaJCrispin

www.melissajcrispin.com

 

 

How to Write Epic Young Adult Characters

Woohoo!  If you’ve been hanging out here long enough, you know I am a perpetually long-lived teenager. Writing a teen voice is natural to be because, well, I kinda still talk like that. Ya know?

But for some who may have given in to the peer pressure of growing up, finding that authentic teenage voice might be a little hard.

Today, I invited author Jennifer DiGiovanni to chat about writing a really believable teenager. Take it away, Jennifer!


Advice for Ex-Teenagers: How to Write Epic Young Adult Characters

Writing for teens means getting into their mindset.

You might call yourself an ex-teen, a teen plus or a former young adult but you still need to be able to empathize with the challenges faced by today’s young generation to write relatable stories.

Here are five tips to consider when you’re writing epic teen characters.

Ask Teens for Input

Have an actual teenager (or 2) read your book. You may be surprised at their reactions. If you have your own teens at home, chances are they’ll be happy to tell you about the overly detailed, boring parts of your manuscript. (My most recent critique: You sure do use a lot of adjectives!). If you don’t have any teens in your family, seek out a young adult reading group at your local library. If you’re willing to pay for their reading time, many teenage book fans will be happy to give you their opinions.

Learn from those who write specifically for teens

When I first started writing, I attended a long string of local writers’ workshops. I met mystery writers and romance writers. But, it wasn’t until I sought feedback from authors who’d devoted their careers to writing for teens that I truly felt their advice start to click. From story ideas to dialogue, kids need to relate to your writing. I‘ve found that I’ve learned the most from authors who are successful at connecting with a younger reading demographic.

Stay up to date on technology

Today’s kids communicate differently. No longer do they share one phone per household which is hanging on the wall in the center of the kitchen. Entire conversations take place via text message and as writers, we need to portray modern technology authentically in a teen novel. Texting, social media posting and Face Time have replaced landlines and even emails. If your novel doesn’t reference any form of modern communication, teens will notice and your book won’t feel relevant to them.

Interact with teens and ask them about their interests

With so many exciting new technologies available in schools today, kids are working with highly advanced robotics and artistic media. Expand your writing by creating characters who have unique interests appealing to today’s young adults. Don’t be shy about interacting with your audience through young writers’ workshops or other community organizations.

But … don’t forget your personal teen experience

Authentic teen fiction connects readers with a highly emotional time in everyone’s life. Teens are all about firsts – first love, taking the first step toward independence, or trying something for the first time which ultimately becomes a life-long hobby or career. When writing, consider your own teen experiences. Recapture the excitement, or challenges, of your teenage years within a unique and modern framework.
Writing for teens as an adult gives you a unique perspective. I know that I never could have written an effective parent-child relationship before I was a parent. Having survived your teen years, you’re able to look back on an important time in your life and write about what impacted you most, which in turn should help today’s teen readers to gain inspiration from your stories.


School days don’t get easier just because you’re a senior! It’s the final semester of senior year, and everyone at Harmony High can’t wait to find out the results of the Senior Superlative votes! But the balloon bursts in Sadie’s face when she discovers she’s been voted “Most Likely to Get Married” to Andy – a boy she’s never dated or ever thought of as a potential boyfriend. Completely and utter mortification sets in. To prove high school means something more than a Senior Superlative award, Sadie and her best friend Jana decide to create their own list of awesome non-academic achievements to be completed before graduation. Yet, the harder Sadie works to show everyone she’s not the least bit attracted to Andy, the more appealing he becomes. Typical for the girl who can’t seem to achieve anything important, even the completion of one lousy college application. When senioritis kicks in and the school year dwindles down to mere weeks, Sadie decides to risk her good girl reputation to prove that an Awesome Achievement means much more than any Senior Superlative vote. By the time Sadie realizes her epic screw-up, she just might have lost her chance at the prom date of her dreams.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Releasing in September: My Disastrous Summer Vacation (a novella) – and – My Junior Year of Loathing

How I Learned to be Zen About Book Reviews with @Artzicarol

Today’s featured guest is Carol Riggs, author of the new YA sci-fi release, The Lying Planet. So without further ado, please welcome Carol!

How I Learned to be Zen About Book Reviews

I SAID NO WAY, NEVER. In the summer of 2015, my debut book, The Body Institute, was about to release. I vowed never to read the reviews about my “baby”—I didn’t need to know what people thought, and I knew I’d obsess over the negative reviews instead of the good ones. That would mess up my writing mojo for unfinished novels because doubts would lodge in my brain. Many wise, already-published authors advised against looking at reviews.

I SAID WELL…MAYBE A FEW. But then the ARCs went out for my debut, and advanced reviews started coming in on Goodreads. I had to look. My friends—even strangers—gave me great reviews. I floated on the high. This was fun! And when some negative reviews came in (1-star, 2-star), I dared to take at peek. After all, my “skin” was pretty thick, since I had experience with critique partner feedback as well as a long submission process before I found a publisher, in which one editor would love one thing and dislike another, while another editor loved and disliked exactly the opposite things. Reading reviews was pretty much the same experience, although I did have some anguish when some reviewers condemned the book for a misunderstanding or for some random thing no one else had a problem with. It was puzzling, admittedly agonizing, and yet morbidly fascinating all at the same time.

I SAID OKAY, MAYBE A FEW MORE. It went downhill from there. A cat’s curiosity gripped me. I kept reading the reviews. My writing was described as “delectable” while another reviewer said: “The. Writing. Was. Horrible.”

Gah! Doesn’t that drive you crazy? You want to pull out your hair wondering “Which one is right?”

Answer: It didn’t matter. Authors can’t please everyone. I’d known that in my head, but I began to experience it. It helped to look up the first Harry Potter book on Goodreads and see JK Rowling had more than 64,000 1-star reviews (compared to nearly 2,539,000 5-stars). Whoa!

I SAID BRING IT ON. The reviews for my debut kept rolling in—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In July 2016, I published Bottled, my YA fantasy. Reading those reviews was a lot easier. When a low rating would pop up, I was like, oh, there’s my first 2-star review. While one person couldn’t bear to finish the book, another raved and wanted a sequel.

In September 2016, The Lying Planet released, and I got an amusing range of reactions there too—is the concept unique and creative, or is it cliché science fiction, derivative of books like Divergent?

I’M ZEN WITH IT. So, after three books, I’ve concluded readers have incredibly different tastes, and the best thing I can do is accept that subjectivity and just go back to my writer cave and write more books, doing the best I possibly can. I treasure the readers who do connect with my writing. In the end, as long as people are reading and enjoying my book; those are the ones I’m writing for. My true fans.


Preach it, Sister! I’ve found exactly the same thing. It is impossible to please everyone. Just do your best to please most people. Good luck with The Lying Planet!


 

THE LYING PLANET
Promise City. That’s the colony I’ve been aiming for all my life on the planet Liberty. The only thing standing in my way? The Machine. On my eighteenth birthday, this mysterious, octopus-like device will scan my brain and Test my deeds. Good thing I’ve been focusing on being Jay Lawton, hard worker and rule follower, my whole life. Freedom is just beyond my fingertips.

Or so I thought. Two weeks before my Testing with the Machine, I’ve stumbled upon a new reality. The truth. In a single sleepless night, everything I thought I knew about the adults in our colony changes. And the only one who’s totally on my side is the clever, beautiful rebel, Peyton. Together we have to convince the others to sabotage their Testings before it’s too late.

Before the ceremonies are over and the hunting begins.

Purchase linksAmazon   |  Barnes  & Noble  |  Kobo   |  iBooks  |


Carol Riggs is an author of young adult fiction who lives in the beautiful green state of Oregon, USA. Her books include her sci-fi debut, The Body Institute, as well as her fantasy, Bottled, and her recently released sci-fi, The Lying Planet. She enjoys reading, drawing and painting, writing conferences, walking with her husband, and enjoying music and dance of all kinds. You will usually find her in her writing cave, surrounded by her dragon collection and the characters in her head.

Connect with CarolWebsite  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |

Did you know that Libraries BUY BOOKS? Find out how to get your books onto librarians’ lists! @kristathegold

You’ve written an amazing novel. You want to share it with the world. But you’re only you.

Thankfully, there are others who can help: Librarians.

At the Library A

What many authors don’t realize is that libraries receive a set amount of monies each summer and they must spend it all in that time frame.  Librarians want your books. Hundreds of Dollars MoneyReaders need your books.  But since they’re about 120,000 libraries in the United States, it isn’t possible for you to contact them all. However, you can contact a few, even out of state, and get your book on a shelf by following some simple etiquette.

Once you’ve decided on which libraries to contact (http://www.publiclibraries.com/ has a comprehensive list of addresses and phone numbers for all states and cities), you want to be sure that your request is effective.  When calling, ask for the Library Director or Branch Manager and let them know that you are requesting a purchase order of your novel to be added to their collection.

Phone InterviewBriefly tell them what kind of book it is (fiction or non-fiction) and its particular audience. Most librarians will ask you to email them links and a synopsis of your book; many of them require you to have reviews, some require professional reviews (Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, BookList).  In your email, you may want to consider letting them know that you are willing to also hold public readings of the book, workshops, and other promising events.

Be sure to get their names and to thank them for their time and consideration!


About the Author:

Krista Wagner is a 70’s product of Southern California who lives with her Marine Corp veteran husband, three very entertaining children, and an indispensable faith in Christ.

Catch up with Krista On-line! Twitter | Wix.com | Facebook | Blog

 


THE GOLD

Ten-year-old Amanda is constantly teased and tormented in school. Her home life is less than satisfactory where her widower father, who is often away on business trips, leaves her in the care of her indifferent teenaged sister. Worse, not a day goes by when Amanda doesn’t miss her mom. To escape reality, Amanda creates fantasy stories, but when she discovers a talking golden pebble, her imagined world turns into a new-fangled reality.

Check out THE GOLD on Amazon!


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |


Catch up with me on social media!

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NYT Best Selling Author Julie Cross: Five things I would tell my unpublished self if I could back in time

Today I’ve invited NYT Best-Selling Author Julie Cross to discuss the five things she would tell her unpublished self if she could go back in time.

Take it away, Julie!


Hello, Jennifer, and thanks for having me. If I could go back in time, this is what I’d tell myself:

1)     Enjoy the freedom and innocence of pre-publication: This is a tough one because publication seemed so glittery and sparkly before I got there. And believe me, it is all of that and more. But it’s also a job. As in time to be professional, have deadlines, get serious…there’s no way around the loss of some of that pure enjoyment that comes before publication. Maybe it isn’t like that for everyone, but for me, I wouldn’t mind telling my pre-published self, “hey, relax a little, take it all in. It’s okay.”

2)     Travel to another country and write about it: I feel like every writer I know has done this except for me. I’m always looking for ways to take my writing to the next level, add depth of understanding. Plus, it would be really fun to say, “I’m in Ireland researching for my novel…” on my out of office email reply.

3)     Use Scrivener now! It took me until January of 2015 (nearly 6 years into my writing journey to pry myself from Microsoft Word. Scrivener is another word processor program like Word but it really works well for me and my brain. I tend to create all kinds of documents with lists, and brainstorming, and casting characters and planning future books in a series and then I save those documents in random places, with random names. Scrivener allows for all my notes, outlining, summaries, etc…to be right there in the document. You can see daily progress. I could go on forever but if I’ve intrigued you, Google it and check it out.

4)     Those amazing chapters you keep writing at 2am? Just don’t. Trust me.

5)     The first draft will always be the easiest part: I had very little idea of what went into getting a novel from draft 1 to bookstore shelves when I got my first book deal. It didn’t seem like there could be so much work left to do after writing THE END. Let’s just say I was a little shell-shocked going through the steps with that first book. And even now, I tend to struggle with all the re-reads. When I finish a project, I’m ready to move on.


Awesome! Thanks so much for stopping by Julie!


Julie’s new book was just released!

Find out more about CHASING TRUTH

At Holden Prep, the rich and powerful rule the school—and they’ll do just about anything to keep their dirty little secrets hidden.

When former con artist Eleanor Ames’s homecoming date commits suicide, she’s positive there’s something more going on. The more questions she asks, though, the more she crosses paths with Miles Beckett. He’s sexy, mysterious, arrogant…and he’s asking all the same questions.

Eleanor might not trust him—she doesn’t even like him—but they can’t keep their hands off of each other. Fighting the infuriating attraction is almost as hard as ignoring the fact that Miles isn’t telling her the truth…and that there’s a good chance he thinks she’s the killer.

Purchase Links:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | IndieBound | BAM | TBD  | Goodreads


About Julie Cross:

Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press). She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing credibility’s, Julie Cross is a committed–but not talented–long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Rafflecopter! Click below for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card + a paperback copy of Whatever Life Throws at You (INT)

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What evokes childlike wonder? And as adults writing for children, how can we recapture that? @DonnaGalanti

Harnessing Your Inner Child by Donna Galanti 

Fairy Wonder AChildlike wonder. What was yours as a kid? I walked along rock walls under the stars at night. Climbed trees to sing songs to the woods. And hid away in rose bush caves with a notepad to write my stories – all the while believing that magic existed.

Regaining a childlike sense of wonder isn’t about returning to a childlike state, it’s about letting yourself be awed by the little things in your grownup life. The mundane every day is what can dull our wonder. And just because those little things happen every day doesn’t mean they aren’t miraculous.

Sled Ride BBut keeping your childlike wonder can be difficult when grownup duties mount. One winter day as I tried to write, I watched two kids sled. Their laughter and joy snapped me out of my trapped trance. I remembered being ten years old and how a whole day of sledding was magical.

 

And I realized now that in order to do my job well as a children’s author, and to find joy in it, I needed to rekindle my kid wonder again. How can we keep that kind of wonder with us?


Caption:

Me with my lion ring.

I found wonder in my hero then, the lion from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis.


My wonder list:

  1. Re-visit pictures of yourselves as a kid. Daydream about what you were doing in those photos. What were you excited about?
  2. Did you write diaries as a child or teen? Go back and read them to inspire that voice of youth in your own writing.
  3. Look at the world from a different perspective. Like the snow. I went out in it and made a snow angel and looked up at the sky. Something I hadn’t done in years.
  4. Create a new bucket list together with your kids or grandkids. What do they dream of doing that you could do with them?
  5. Read stories by your own children, or grandchildren, to see how they view the world in their words.
  6. Revive memories of being the age of your characters. Draw a map of the neighborhood you grew up in. Remember what you saw, what you felt, and how you reacted to events there and write them down.
  7. Act out a scene in your book, or any book, with dramatic flair.
  8. Face a childhood fear (mine was going down in our dark 200-year-old cellar where I had been sure dead bodies were buried in the dark hole in the wall).

Stylish YouthIn doing these things myself, I remembered how awesome it was to be a kid again and lost in the moment. And that every day as a kid was about being swept up in the magical moments. And I could once again be lost in the wonder – and the small things.

How do you harness your childlike wonder in writing for tweens or teens?


Buy Joshua and the Arrow Realm and Joshua and the Lightning Road (book one on sale now for just $.99cents through 9/20) at: http://www.donnagalanti.com/books/


About Donna: Donna Galanti is the author of the Element Trilogy (Imajin Books) and the Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books). She is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. Donna has lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse that has lots of nooks and crannies, but sadly no ghosts. You can find her books, resources for writers, and upcoming events at www.elementtrilogy.com. For more information on her writing for tweens and teens visit www.donnagalanti.com.

Connect with Donna:

Website: Facebook: Twitter: Pinterest: GoodReads: Instagram:


 


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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |


Catch up with me on social media!

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Feeling the Pressure! AKA: Writing your second novel, after your first won so many awards @JGoochHummer

Woohoo! Today we’re welcoming Jennifer Gooch Hummer to chat about sending her second book into the world, after her first book, GIRL UNMOORED won TWELVE awards!  No pressure or anything! (List of awards is below)

So tell us about it Jennifer. What is GIRL UNMOORED about?

Hi Jennifer! Thank you for having me on your blog.

My first novel, GIRL UNMOORED, is a Young Adult book about a girl named Apron whose outcast life changes when she befriends two young men, both unbeknownst to her, have AIDS. The story takes place in 1985 when the fear of AIDS was rampant.

Clearly this is a much different genre than middle-grade fantasy! So even though I would love to repeat the amazing awards that I was lucky enough to win for GIRL UNMOORED, I can’t even begin to compare my debut to OPERATION TENLEY.

An editor once explained to me they look for two kinds of books: award-winning or commercially successful. My goal for THE FAIR CITY FILES series is to be commercially successful. I hope that does not sound too shallow. I certainly strived to write the best book possible, but it’s the story world in this book that I hope intrigues the most.

Besides, as every writer knows, each story is its own eco-system, completely separate from one another. I wasn’t sure I could love a character more than Apron Bramhall, but Tenley Tylwyth and Holden Wonderbolt have stolen my heart.

I’m writing Book II now and let’s just say… adventurous weather awaits!

Sounds awesome! So what’s Operation Tenley about?

Tenley Tylwyth is an Elemental Teen born with the power to produce weather. Cool? Not really. Elementals who can create weather make Mother Nature angry. It’s time she got rid of them. Only one thing is standing in her way—Fair Ones. These ancestors of fairies keep kids like Tenley safe, but when rookie Fair One, Pennie, fails to do so, she’s forced to travel to Earth—a place where no Fair One wants to go. Now, Pennie has forty-eight hours to convince Tenley to give up her power. It won’t be so easy. Tenley’s got a way with wind. And after falling deep into Mother Nature’s gardens, where trees grow upside down and insects attack on command, a little wind might be just what Tenley needs to survive. Even if it kills her.

Sounds great! Thanks for stopping by Jennifer!

Find out more about Operation Tenley at your favorite bookish places!

Goodreads  | Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Or enter the Rafflecopter [HERE] for the chance to win a copy!


About the author:

Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author and screenwriter for her debut novel, Girl Unmoored, which has been optioned for film. Her middle grade fantasy series, Operation Tenley; Book 1 of The Fair City Files, is forthcoming September 2016. Jennifer has worked as a script analyst for various talent agencies and major film studios. Jennifer lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three daughters.



GIRL UNMOORED has been awarded:
Maine Literary Awards, YA Fiction 2013
Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards 2012, YA Fiction Adult Themes.
Reader Views Kids Award Winner, Best Teen/YA Book of the Year, 2012
Reader Views Winner, Best Teen/YA Fiction 2012
Foreword Book of The Year Finalist, YA Fiction 2012
Indie Excellence Awards 2012, Winner Cross-Genre Fiction
Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2012, Winner YA Fiction
USA Book Awards, Finalist Best New Book 2012
USA Book Awards, Finalist Best Cross-over Fiction, 2012
Paris Book Festival Awards 2012, Winner YA Fiction
San Francisco Book Festival Awards 2012, Winner Teenage Fiction.
Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2012, Finalist Chick Lit Fiction
International Book Awards 2012, Finalist Best New Book
International Book Awards 2012, Finalist YA Fiction
Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2012, Best Cover Art

Please visit her at: http://jennifergoochhummer.com/
And her book blog at: http://allstorygirl.wordpress.com/