Saturday, February 13, 2016

0 Julie Mayhew, author of RED INK, on getting into the writing habit

We're thrilled to have Julie Mayhew join us to share more about her debut novel RED INK.

Julie, what was your inspiration for writing RED INK?

Two small sparks set me off writing the book. The first was a trip to Crete. We drove past a melon farm and a truck pulled out in front of us loaded with a pyramid of melons. There was no net or tarpaulin holding the fruit in place, yet the driver didn’t drop one melon. Quite a feat considering how bumpy the roads can be there! That stuck in my mind. Then during a writing class I wrote a small scene during an exercise about a teenage girl in a changing room trying on bras with her very embarrassing mother. The two scenes joined up like a jigsaw. Or rather I knew there was a novel in piecing the two together.

Friday, February 12, 2016

1 Hearing Voices: A Craft of Writing Post on POV by Hannah Barnaby

Please welcome Hannah Barnaby to the blog today. She's here to share some insight on a subject every writer must question with every book we write. What point of view is the best choice to tell this particular story? Hannah breaks it down for us, the good and the bad.

Also be sure to check out Hannah's upcoming release, Some of the Parts, below -- a story told in first person present tense.

Hearing Voices: Finding the Right Point-of-View for Your Story by Hannah Barnaby


Last year, I attended a workshop at the Writing Barn in Austin, Texas. Nicole Griffin, Tim Wynne-Jones, Anne Bustard, and Joy Preble—all brilliant writers and lecturers—led us through talks on a variety of subjects, including point-of-view. And while everyone in attendance agreed that first person is the current standard in young adult fiction, we also issued a collective sigh as we realized that we were denying ourselves the delicious opportunities that come with other viewpoints.

There are pros and cons to every point-of-view, of course.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

17 Red Light/Green Light Contest: Announcing the Top 50 Submissions!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Below are the top 50 entries in our Red Light/Green Light contest, where writers are vying for the prize of a phone call with fabulous agent Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary.


Be sure to check back next Thursday, when we'll post our agent judge's top 25 selected entries!

CONGRATS to all who made it in, and good luck going forward!

And now, presenting:

THE TOP 50 ENTRIES
Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Terry Bell
Young Adult Fantasy
1
Pa was taking too long to cut the boys’ throats.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Amber Duell
Young Adult Fantasy
2
War is beautiful chaos.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
D Lollis
Middle Grade Contemporary
3
"Mom, Brandon is smelling his dirty underwear—again," my older sister Bethany yelled as I crawled on the cold marble tile of the third floor laundry room.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
KD Proctor
New Adult Romance
4
If it’s possible for a tray of pastries to blackmail me, I think I might need to file a restraining order against The Steamy Bean’s cinnamon chip scones.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Kara Reynolds
Young Adult SciFi
5
The universe should have a rule that bad news can't arrive over breakfast, but it doesn't.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Mary Hallberg
Young Adult Paranormal
6
As Penny walked inside the funeral home doors, the cold air stung her skin.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Traci Kenworth
Young Adult Fantasy
7
Of all the things Karrie Hunter's mother missed about Earth, color remained the biggest.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Ellie Luken
Young Adult Fantasy
8
Only fools or the desperate wandered beyond the city walls by themselves.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Jennifer Schafer
Young Adult Contemporary
9
Dad says the empty spaces in our lives, like moments of silence in music, amplify or accentuate the importance of the people we hold closest.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Devyn B. Makin
Young Adult Magical Realism
10
Routine is what predators look for in their prey.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Laura McFadden
Young Adult Contemporary
11
I tug out two wipes and inhale the sharp bleach and lemon scent.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Sarah Vance-Tompkins
Young Adult Magical Realism
12
Not every fairy's tale begins with once upon a time.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Gabby Gilliam
Young Adult Other
13
My name is a bit of a joke, a cruel trick of nature to punish my parents.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
VV Sinnott
Young Adult Magical Realism
14
My parents were whispering in the living room, a sure sign they were talking about something they didn’t want me to hear.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Dill Werner
Young Adult SciFi
15
I was born to a woman who never loved me.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Michele Blood
Young Adult Contemporary
16
A bead of sweat nestled itself beneath the bandages pinching Alex's skin.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Anikó Rajci
Young Adult Fantasy
17
The thick string of dark red fury slips out of my fingertips in quick waves.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Olivia Hinebaugh
Young Adult Magical Realism
18
There wasn’t a funeral.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Angela Dahle
Middle Grade Fantasy
19
There aren't any unlucky numbers, only unlucky people.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Mare Hagarty
Young Adult Paranormal
20
The first time I saw her, she was a pink and black blur, all sharp edges and hollows.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Heather Lea
Young Adult Dystopian
21
Though humanity watches with apprehension and bated breath, I find myself drawn to this mysterious matter blanketing our world in gray.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Laurine Bruder
Young Adult Fantasy
22
Ivy Greenhill's mind ticked as the prison wagon trundled along the dirt road.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Gillian Libby
Young Adult Romance
23
I didn’t know it was possible to screw over your entire family after you’ve been dead for two hundred years, but it turns out you’re never too dead to ruin a legacy.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Dana Nuenighoff
Young Adult Fantasy
24
Purple mountains jutted into the sky before me as I choked back tears and instead a smile spread across my ocean-weathered face: the Pass.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Patricia Nesbitt
Middle Grade Historical
25
Last year, when I was nine, things were a good sight better.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Tiffany Dawn Munn
Young Adult Fantasy
26
Alorna Mirone studied her tiara, her nose crinkled in an expression of distaste.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Joan Albright
Young Adult Steampunk
27
Silas clung to his tiny chainskiff, arms wrapped around the rail while it rocked and pitched and finally settled against the chain that held it in the sky.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
PJN
Young Adult Fantasy
28
Four years ago no one knew my name.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Carol Baldwin
Young Adult Historical
29
Dead bodies don't bother me none.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Mae Parker
Young Adult Fantasy
30
Henbane Tower pierced the night like a dagger thrust into the heart of my kingdom.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Holly Pettit
Young Adult Historical
31
In the dark part of the city – the Soviet sector – a garden party was just breaking up.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Cindy Williams Schrauben
Young Adult Paranormal
32
It's a challenge to breath in a vacuum.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Cass Newbould
Young Adult Fantasy
33
Heat, intense but not unpleasant, hits my face as flames flicker along the wooden floor of my bedroom.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Lana Pattinson
Young Adult Historical
34
Ominous clouds hovered over the loch, and Rowan Sinclair was about to lose his chance at freedom.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
KPKnupp
Young Adult Suspense
35
For the first time since the accident, she felt comfortable in her own skin.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
TL Sumner
Young Adult Contemporary
36
I could do anything for fifteen seconds.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Gabi Snyder
Middle Grade Contemporary
37
After the funeral, I fall asleep and dream of snow.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Leslie Hauser
Young Adult Contemporary
38
They say music is the key to the soul or maybe it’s the heart.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Jennifer Pickrell
Young Adult Contemporary
39
I couldn’t stop staring at Chase Lewis.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Holly M. Campbell
Young Adult Paranormal
40
The man standing in the kitchen had not been dead long.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
ML VIllax
New Adult Fantasy
41
I hated Mother’s day, always had, always would.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Jodi Cardillo
Young Adult Contemporary
42
I hate it when bad music gets stuck in my head.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Marcy S. Hatch
Young Adult SciFi
43
I paddle out, breathing evenly in the early dawn, mist rising from the water.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Hess Oster
Middle Grade Other
44
Once there was a man who loved children.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Marva Dasef
Middle Grade Fantasy
45
A dark figure dropped silently from the window ledge to the alley below.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Cassidy Taylor
Young Adult Fantasy
46
Sounds of revelry drift up to Ruby's sitting room, but she wants no part of it.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Jenny
Middle Grade Fantasy
47
Deep in the forest, where the trees grew crooked and the wind whispered tales of woe, there was a tower, and in the tower there lived a girl.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Mary Bartek
Middle Grade Contemporary
48
Applause for the previous speaker was still dying down when the headmaster returned to the podium on the auditorium stage.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Lizz Huerta
Young Adult Fantasy
49
The stink of the Fire Warrior reached Indir before he spoke.

Author:
Genre:
Entry #:
Entry:
Amanda Perry
Young Adult Fantasy
50
The ship screams in protest as it skips over treacherous waves.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

4 Beth Revis and Cristin Terrill on women writing science fiction

It’s Jocelyn sneaking in a non-weekend post because Lindsey was kind enough to let me borrow one of her WoW slots for an interview with Beth Revis and Cristin Terrill. A while back, I attended one of their Wordsmith Workshops and Retreats, and it was amazing! In between craft sessions, critiques, writing, fellowship, and delicious food, I found time to chat with these delightful ladies. See what they had to say about being women who write science fiction.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

8 Secrets, Lies, Mistakes, and Wounds: The Trick to Creating Engaging Characters in Fiction (Part One)

We all lie. We may not admit it, we may not even know it, but we do. And those of us who are loudest to proclaim our honesty are often those who lie the worst. All we have to do is look at the current political campaign with a clear eye to see human nature in all its brutal glory. There are  candidates so convinced of their superiority that they can't see or (at least admit) the complexity of any issue or implementation. Other candidates are so eager to achieve a goal that they will bend the truth in any way necessary. Still others have studied what to say to sway voters to the point where they can hardly find their own voices, and others are so mired in proclaiming that the system is broken that they cannot offer viable solutions. And for every message, there is a willing ear who is able to tune out the doubts and filters that automatically alert us to the lies.

Why is that?

The reasons are as unique as fingerprints. Each of us measures truth according to our own individual barometers. Our definitions of truth bend and flex in ways that shield us from the lies we cannot bear to face. That's what makes us interesting as human beings, and that, also, is what makes for fascinating characters in fiction.

Fascinating Characters Are Wounded Characters

Whether we are writing commercial fiction, or literary fiction, or something in between, we have to understand the importance that emotional wounds and self-protection mechanisms play for both our characters and our readers. Characters who act but at the same time delude themselves, protect themselves, is the key to writing characters that resonate with readers.

Wounds make our characters:


Monday, February 8, 2016

14 New Release Giveaway, Interview, and Round Up for 2/8-2/14

It's a quiet week in YA Fiction, but that doesn't mean that the books that are releasing are any less great. This week, we're giving away a copy of Nicole Castroman's BLACKHEARTS for our US readers.

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Martina, Lindsey, Erin, Susan, Sam, Shelly, Sarah, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK

Blackhearts
by Nicole Castroman
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 2/9/2016

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Purchase Blackhearts at Amazon
Purchase Blackhearts at IndieBound
View Blackhearts on Goodreads

YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS

Almost Midnight by C.C. Hunter - Ellie M.
Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little - Kimberly V.
Games Wizards Play by Diane Duane - Caitlin O.
Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell - Stephanie H.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

Red Ink
by Julie Mayhew
Hardcover
Candlewick
Released 2/9/2016

A sharp-witted teenager discovers surprising truths after her mother’s death in a wry and heartrending novel touching on denial, identity, and family lore.

When her mother is knocked down and killed by a London bus, fifteen-year-old Melon Fouraki is left with no family worth mentioning. Her mother, Maria, never did introduce her to a living, breathing father. The indomitable Auntie Aphrodite, meanwhile, is hundreds of miles away on a farm in Crete, and she is not likely to jump on a plane to come to East Finchley anytime soon. But at least Melon has The Story. The Story is the Fouraki family fairy tale. A story is something.

Balanced with tenderness and humor, this time-shifting novel offers a narrator by turns angry and vulnerable, hurt and defiant as she struggles with sudden grief—and the unfolding process of finding out who she really is.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Red Ink?

I am endlessly intrigued by the stories we tell and, in particular, the stories we tell ourselves to make life feel achievable and bearable, and sometimes to make it magical. So this is the part of Red Ink I love the most, the story that Maria tells and also the story that Melon tells herself. I’m fascinated by what happens when people realise the stories they have told themselves are not true. Many of the characters I write in my books and plays are emerging from denial and are forced to make change. It can feel like a disaster when it’s happening to you but it’s actually a brilliant beginning. A butterfly moment. The other reason I love this aspect of the book is because I enjoy hearing other people’s family anecdotes. You know they’ve been embellished over the years to make them bigger and funnier, but I don’t care. That it’s a good story is what matters.

Purchase Red Ink at Amazon
Purchase Red Ink at IndieBound
View Red Ink on Goodreads


MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


Glass Sword
by Victoria Aveyard
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 2/9/2016

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Purchase Glass Sword at Amazon
Purchase Glass Sword at IndieBound
View Glass Sword on Goodreads

* * * *


Little White Lies
by Brianna Baker and F. Bowman Hastie
Hardcover
Soho Teen
Released 2/9/2016

Seventeen-year-old honors student Coretta White's Tumblr, Little White Lies--a witty commentary on race and current events, as well as an exposé of her brilliant-yet-clueless parents--has just gone viral. She's got hundreds of thousands of followers; she's even been offered a TV deal. But Coretta has a confession: she hasn't been writing her own posts. Overwhelmed with the stress of keeping up with her schoolwork and applying for colleges, she has secretly hired a forty-one-year-old ghostwriter named Karl Ristoff to help her with the Tumblr. His contributions have helped make it a sensation, but unable to bear the guilt, Coretta eventually confesses the scandalous truth to a select few to free herself of the burden.

The fallout is almost instantaneous. Before she knows it, her reputation has been destroyed. The media deal disappears. Even her boyfriend breaks up with her. Then Karl is thrust into the limelight, only to suffer a precipitous fall himself. Ultimately, the two join forces to find out who is responsible for ruining both of their lives . . . someone who might even have had the power to fuel their success in the first place. And to exact justice and a clever revenge, they must truly come clean to each other.

Purchase Little White Lies at Amazon
Purchase Little White Lies at IndieBound
View Little White Lies on Goodreads

* * * *


Peas and Carrots
by Tanita S. Davis
Hardcover
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 2/9/2016

A rich and memorable story from a Coretta Scott King honor award-winning author about a teenage foster girl looking for a place to call home.

Dess knows that nothing good in life lasts: her mother’s sobriety will inevitably fade, her abusive father’s absence is never long enough, and her brother Austin—the one bright spot in their family—was put into foster care when he was still a baby. Disappointment is never far away, and that’s a truth that Dess has learned to live with.

Dess’s mother’s arrest is just the latest in a long line of disappointments, but this one lands the teen with Austin’s foster family. Dess doesn’t exactly fit in with the Carters. They’re so happy, so comfortable, so normal, and Hope, their teenage daughter, is so hopelessly naïve to the harsh realities of the world. Dess and Hope couldn’t be more unlike each other, but Austin loves them both like sisters. Over time their differences, insurmountable at first, fall away to reveal two girls who want the same thing: to belong.

Purchase Peas and Carrots at Amazon
Purchase Peas and Carrots at IndieBound
View Peas and Carrots on Goodreads

* * * *


Reign of Shadows
by Sophie Jordan
Hardcover
HarperTeen
Released 2/9/2016

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

Purchase Reign of Shadows at Amazon
Purchase Reign of Shadows at IndieBound
View Reign of Shadows on Goodreads

* * * *


Where Futures End
by Parker Peevyhouse
Hardcover
Kathy Dawson Books
Released 2/9/2016

Five teens.
Five futures.
Two worlds.
One ending.

One year from now, Dylan develops a sixth sense that allows him to glimpse another world.

Ten years from now, Brixney must get more hits on her social media feed or risk being stuck in a debtors' colony.

Thirty years from now, Epony scrubs her entire online profile from the web and goes “High Concept.”

Sixty years from now, Reef struggles to survive in a city turned virtual gameboard.

And more than a hundred years from now, Quinn uncovers the alarming secret that links them all.

Five people, divided by time, will determine the fate of us all. These are stories of a world bent on destroying itself, and of the alternate world that might be its savior--unless it's too late.

Purchase Where Futures End at Amazon
Purchase Where Futures End at IndieBound
View Where Futures End on Goodreads

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

0 This Month for Writers - January 2016


A new year brings new writing goals and a swath of information to help writers develop their craft and challenge themselves with each new project. This past month, in addition to celebrating the authors honored with the American Library Association's YMA awards, we were also excited to find articles with tips on writer self-care, as well as loads of advice on how to keep readers turning pages and coming back for more, and encouragement for writers to stop following "rules" and forge their own writing path. Read on, and keep writing!



0 Diane Duane, author of GAMES WIZARDS PLAY, on never being afraid that you won’t be original enough

GAMES WIZARDS PLAY is the latest novel in the Young Wizards series, and we're thrilled to have Diane Duane with us to chat about writing.

Diane, what's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I do love to work away from home when I can, and some of my favorite books have been written that way. I’ve written a Spider-Man novel in a Bavarian country beer hall and an X-Men book in a medieval townhouse in Bruges, and I’ve outlined a Star Trek novel in a flat buried inside the walls of a Scottish castle. My all-time record daily word count (13,000 words and a bit) happened when I was writing in a chocolatier/cafe in the Swiss capital city of Bern, while I was working on the fantasy novel A Wind from the South. …But I also get good results at home, which is probably just as well, as that way I get to see my husband a lot more. (Of course he has his own writing to do too, so when we're not working at home, sometimes we wind up in the same city but different cafes…)

Generally speaking I don’t listen to music when I’m writing, these days, because I find it interferes with me clearly hearing character voices when creating dialogue. I do listen to it, though, when writing action scenes or when I need to get myself into the mood to do a particular kind of emotionally loaded scene.

In terms of ritual, the only one I’ve got is that I do my best to write something every day, whether it’s contracted work or one of the too-many-other-projects presently choking my to-do list. A good day’s writing for me varies widely in terms of word count: it might be as few as a thousand words or as many as ten, but about four thousand would be average — a couple thousand in the morning, a couple thousand in the afternoon/evening. For screen work, since for me that's much harder work than prose, ten pages of screenplay would be a good day. Either way, I alternate between composing at the computer via keyboard, or dictating using Dragon Naturally Speaking (sometimes I do this while out walking).

0 Will McIntosh, author of BURNING MIDNIGHT, on not boring readers during quiet scenes

We're honored to have Hugo-Award-winning Will McIntosh here to talk about his first YA novel BURNING MIDNIGHT.

Will, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

For me, the hardest scenes to write tend to be the quiet ones, the ones where characters are talking, planning, getting to know each other. They’re essential to the story, but you always risk boring readers. One of the hard scenes to write in Burning Midnight involved an argument between the two main characters, Sully and Hunter. Sully accuses Hunter of being closed off and secretive, and Hunter, furious, reveals the secret that drives her to keep to herself. I had to rewrite it a few times to bring out each character’s emotions in what I hope is a realistic and emotionally powerful manner.

The scene I love, the one I tend to read when I’m doing a public reading, is where Sully and Hunter find a very, very rare sphere in the middle of winter in a very unlikely place. It made me very happy to give my poverty-stricken characters that moment.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

0 Sorry but the 1st 5 Pages Workshop is Now Closed!

Hi Everyone,

Sorry but the Free First Five Pages Workshop is now closed. Once again, we filled up in under a minute! I will email the participants that made it into the workshop today. If you don't hear from me, I'm sorry but you didn't get in this month. Please try again next month!

Erin

0 Free 1st 5 Pages Workshop is Now open!

Our February workshop is now open! We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have author Brian Katcher and agent Christa Heschke!

So get those pages ready - we usually fill up in under a minute - and good luck!

Erin

0 Kimberley Griffiths Little, author of BANISHED, on the importance of determination and perseverance

BANISHED is the second book in the Forbidden series, and we're delighted to have Kimberley Griffiths Little here to chat about it.

Kimberley, what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Chapter 20 ended up being added after I already had a complete draft of BANISHED. I’d foreshadowed treason with two other characters and hadn’t carried it through to its climax. I still needed to write the BIG confrontation. Somebody had to die, but who, and how?

I quickly drafted the chapter in a frenzy since my editor’s deadline was looming within days. It stunned me when all the plot pieces came together. The chapter didn’t suffer too many revisions either, which is always a bit astonishing.

I particularly love the emotional scene between Jayden and Kadesh at the end of Chapter 20. Kadesh is tearing himself into pieces over the fact that he had to carry out capital punishment on the traitor and the king’s son, his unwitting accomplice. It’s the first time the burdens and weight of responsibility as heir to the throne comes into full force and it almost does him in emotionally because he had to punish men he’d known his entire life. The tender scene between Kadesh and Jayden made me cry for him. It was also a great opportunity to show a new side to their deepening relationship.

0 C.C. Hunter, author of ALMOST MIDNIGHT, on secondary characters auditioning for a lead part

We're thrilled to have C.C. Hunter stop by to tell us about ALMOST MIDNIGHT, her collection of novellas.

C.C. , what was your inspiration for writing ALMOST MIDNIGHT?

My Shadow Fall fans were the real inspiration and reason this book came to be. Since Turned at Dark, an e-story about Della Tsang becoming a vampire, was released in e-print I’ve been getting emails from readers wanting it to come out in paperback. The story wasn’t long enough to put in hard print. Then, St. Martins published Saved at Sunrise, another e-novella about Della, Unbreakable, an e-novella about Chase Tallman, and Spellbinder, an e-novella about Miranda Kane. Finally, due to many more requests from fans, my editor decided to put these stories in a paperback anthology. Then we decided to add a bonus novella in the mix. But who was this novella going to spotlight? There had been a character knocking on my mind and asking for her story to be written. I tried to ignore her because frankly, she wasn’t exactly a likely candidate. She wasn’t even likable for most of the series. She was Kylie’s archenemy in the first four books. But Fredericka Lakota wouldn’t give up, so I gave in. As I started brainstorming Fredericka’s story, Fierce, the inspiration for this piece quickly became overcoming obstacles in our lives.

0 Lisa Maxwell, author of UNHOOKED, on working on a book for years

We're excited to have Lisa Maxwell join us to talk about her latest novel UNHOOKED.

Lisa, how long did you work on UNHOOKED?

UNHOOKED was a long time coming. The book started as my 2011 NaNoWriMo project, but when I was done, it was a hot mess. I revised it for almost a year before I queried it, and then it went through a round of revisions and two agents before it went on submission. After the first round of submissions didn’t pan out (no pun intended), I revised the book again, changing it from past tense to present tense. That was back in 2012. So I’ve been working on one version of this or another for over four years, and I’ve gone through two agents and countless revisions for this book, so I’m so excited my characters finally are making their way out into the world.

0 Free 1st 5 Pages Workshop Opens Today!

Our February workshop opens today at noon, EST. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have author Brian Katcher and agent Christa Heschke!

So get those pages ready - we usually fill up in under a minute!

February Guest Mentor – BRIAN KATCHER

Brian, a Stonewall Book Award-winning author, is the author of THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAKALMOST PERFECTEVERYONE DIES IN THE END, and PLAYING WITH MATCHES. Brian’s worked as a fry cook, a market researcher, a welding machine operator, a telemarketer (only lasted one day), and a furniture mover. He lived on an Israeli military base one summer, and once smuggled food into Cuba. When he’s not writing, he works as a school librarian. He lives in central Missouri with his wife and daughter.

THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA AND ZAK

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date.

It all begins when Ana Watson's little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.If slacker Zak Duquette hadn't talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn't have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.

But in spite of Zak's devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…


Purchase it at your local bookstore, or online. And add it to your shelf on Goodreads!


February Guest Agent – CHRISTA HESCHKE

Christa started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children's Literature Department since 2009 where she is actively acquiring for all age groups in children’s. For YA, she is especially interested in contemporary fiction, thriller/mystery, and horror. She is always on the lookout for a compelling voice combined with a strong, specific hook that will set a YA novel apart in its genre and the flooded market. She is open to all types of middle grade and especially enjoys adventure, mystery, and magical realism, whether in a voice that is more light and humorous or one with more of a timeless, literary feel. For both YA and MG, she is particularly interested in unique settings and cultural influences, interesting storytelling structure, complicated romances, diverse characters, sister or friendship-centric stories, and stories that feature artists of any kind.