Sunday, May 28, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 5/28/17


Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I hope you enjoy this week’s links for writers.

Writing for Publication—Before the Sale:

Writing for Publication—Book Marketing and Social Media:

Author Interviews:

Adventures in YA Publishing Author Interviews:

Literary Agent News and Interviews:

Writing Craft:

Writing Inspiration:

Publishing News & Trends:

New YA E-Book Deals:

New YA Book Giveaways:

YA Book Awards and Congratulations:

YA New Book Deals and Releases:

If there’s a news story or blog post you found particularly interesting, please share it in the comments!



Saturday, May 27, 2017

1 Free 1st 5 Pages Workshop is Now Open!

Our May workshop is now open! In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Becky Wallace  as our author mentor and Connor Eck as our agent mentor! (See below for Connor's background and query preferences!)

The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?

  • You are mentored by at least two traditionally-published published or agented authors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales.
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants.
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right!
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy.
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works

Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. We will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman, @MelissWritesNow), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

June Guest Literary Agent Mentor
Connor Eck joined Lucinda Literary in 2016. He brings a multifaceted literary skill-set, having experience in both the editorial and marketing spheres—for GOLF Magazine, CBS Television Studios, and The Weinstein Company, among others. Connor graduated with a B.A. in English from Union College in Schenectady, NY, where he was quarterback and captain of the football team. His thesis, a feature-length screenplay, was selected in 2016 as a finalist for the 25th Woods Hole Film Festival. Connor has a passion for writing, nurturing literary talent, and for bolstering the careers of fellow writers. He most enjoys reading fiction, for all age ranges. To query Connor directly, email connor@lucindaliterary.com.



June Guest Literary Author Mentor
In second grade, BECKY WALLACE had to sit in the corner because she refused to write anything besides princess stories and fairy tales (and because she talked too much). Her time in isolation gave her plenty of opportunities to dream up the fantasy worlds she's been dabbling with ever since. She was lucky enough to find her own, real-life prince charming. They have four munchkins and live in a happy little town outside Houston, Texas.




About THE SKYLIGHTER
Johanna and Rafi are in a race against time to save their country before a power-mad Keeper destroys everything they hold dear in the “enthralling magical world” (Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles) introduced in The Storyspinner.

As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans…Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves.

And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself?

With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late…even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world.

Where To Buy:
Amazon Barnes & Noble Indigo

Add It On Goodreads!

0 Virginia Macgregor, author of WISHBONES, on writing with courage

Our wish was granted to be joined by Virginia Macgregor, who shares more about her latest novel, WISHBONES.

Virginia, what was your inspiration for writing WISHBONES?

It started with me reading a news story about a woman who was so obese that when she died she had to be lifted through her bedroom window by crane. This image really stayed with me and got my imagination whirring: I wondered who she was and what had happened to make her start eating – and keep eating, to the extent that she couldn’t leave her house. I wondered whether she had any friends or family and how they felt about her situation. I then started to craft the character of Feather and realized that the story should be told from her point of view: the view of a daughter who loves and cares for but is beginning to question who her mother really is.

0 Kathleen Baldwin, author of REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS, on being surprised how a character resonates with readers

We are pleased to have Kathleen Baldwin here to tell us more about the third book in her Stranje House series, REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS.

Kathleen, what was your inspiration for writing REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS?

It surprised me to learn that Lady Jane is the character out of all five girls at Stranje House that the most readers told me they identify with. At a signing two girls approached and one stood directly in front of me. Her friend said, "She is Lady Jane."

Confused I asked, "Do you mean her name is Jane?"

"No. She IS Lady Jane. She's so much like her, they could be twins." The other young lady nodded, affirming her friend's assessment.

This and similar experiences surprised me, because while Jane is extremely capable, I'd also made her a bit bossy, kind of like me. Apparently a lot of readers relate to that trait. Who knew?

My daughter is brilliant, a mastermind in her own right. She's able to juggle multiple projects at her architectural firm and still do an amazing job. So she was a key resource as I wrote Lady Jane's story.

0 Susan Juby, author of THE FASHION COMMITTEE, on finding creative outlets that make the world disappear

We are thrilled to be here with Susan Juby, who lets us become a part of the committee and gain some insight into her latest novel, THE FASHION COMMITTEE.

Susan, what was your inspiration for writing THE FASHION COMMITTEE?

I dropped out of fashion design college after six months and this book was a way for me to relive some parts of that wasted opportunity. Also, the book examines how some kids get every opportunity and others barely stand a chance. Our education system reflects the inequality at the heart of our economic system. I was also inspired by the kids with incredibly difficult home lives who try to overcome those deficits through sheer force of will. Their resilience and resourcefulness is a reminder of how heroic kids can be. On the other hand, I wish so many young people didn’t have to be quite so heroic.

0 Trish Doller, author of IN A PERFECT WORLD, on a bumpy road to publication

We have entered a perfect world, where we are lucky to be joined by Trish Doller to chat about her latest novel, IN A PERFECT WORLD.

Trish, what do you hope readers will take away from IN A PERFECT WORLD?

I hope readers will fall in love with the historically dense, frenetic, smelly, wonderful city of Cairo. I hope they swoon for the charming boy whose dream is to work in a world-famous kitchen someday. And I hope they gain a respect for the differences and an appreciation for the similarities between Islam and Christianity.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

I think people who enjoy travel romances like ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS or LOVE AND GELATO will enjoy the kissing, kushary, and kindness of IN A PERFECT WORLD.

0 Free 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop Opens in 1 Week!

Our May workshop will open for submissions on Saturday, June 3rd at noon, EST. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Becky Wallace  as our author mentor and Connor Eck as our agent mentor! (See below for Connor's background and query preferences!)

The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?

  • You are mentored by at least two traditionally-published published or agented authors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales.
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants.
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right!
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy.
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works

Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. We will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman, @MelissWritesNow), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

June Guest Literary Agent Mentor
Connor Eck joined Lucinda Literary in 2016. He brings a multifaceted literary skill-set, having experience in both the editorial and marketing spheres—for GOLF Magazine, CBS Television Studios, and The Weinstein Company, among others. Connor graduated with a B.A. in English from Union College in Schenectady, NY, where he was quarterback and captain of the football team. His thesis, a feature-length screenplay, was selected in 2016 as a finalist for the 25th Woods Hole Film Festival. Connor has a passion for writing, nurturing literary talent, and for bolstering the careers of fellow writers. He most enjoys reading fiction, for all age ranges. To query Connor directly, email connor@lucindaliterary.com.



June Guest Literary Author Mentor
In second grade, BECKY WALLACE had to sit in the corner because she refused to write anything besides princess stories and fairy tales (and because she talked too much). Her time in isolation gave her plenty of opportunities to dream up the fantasy worlds she's been dabbling with ever since. She was lucky enough to find her own, real-life prince charming. They have four munchkins and live in a happy little town outside Houston, Texas.




About THE SKYLIGHTER
Johanna and Rafi are in a race against time to save their country before a power-mad Keeper destroys everything they hold dear in the “enthralling magical world” (Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles) introduced in The Storyspinner.

As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans…Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves.

And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself?

With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late…even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world.

Where To Buy:
Amazon Barnes & Noble Indigo

Add It On Goodreads!

0 Free 1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop Opens Today!

Our May workshop will open for submissions today, at noon, EST. In addition to our wonderful permanent mentors, we have Becky Wallace  as our author mentor and Connor Eck as our agent mentor! (See below for Connor's background and query preferences!)

The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?

  • You are mentored by at least two traditionally-published published or agented authors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales.
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants.
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right!
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy.
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works

Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. We will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman, @MelissWritesNow), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

June Guest Literary Agent Mentor
Connor Eck joined Lucinda Literary in 2016. He brings a multifaceted literary skill-set, having experience in both the editorial and marketing spheres—for GOLF Magazine, CBS Television Studios, and The Weinstein Company, among others. Connor graduated with a B.A. in English from Union College in Schenectady, NY, where he was quarterback and captain of the football team. His thesis, a feature-length screenplay, was selected in 2016 as a finalist for the 25th Woods Hole Film Festival. Connor has a passion for writing, nurturing literary talent, and for bolstering the careers of fellow writers. He most enjoys reading fiction, for all age ranges. To query Connor directly, email connor@lucindaliterary.com.



June Guest Literary Author Mentor
In second grade, BECKY WALLACE had to sit in the corner because she refused to write anything besides princess stories and fairy tales (and because she talked too much). Her time in isolation gave her plenty of opportunities to dream up the fantasy worlds she's been dabbling with ever since. She was lucky enough to find her own, real-life prince charming. They have four munchkins and live in a happy little town outside Houston, Texas.




About THE SKYLIGHTER
Johanna and Rafi are in a race against time to save their country before a power-mad Keeper destroys everything they hold dear in the “enthralling magical world” (Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles) introduced in The Storyspinner.

As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans…Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves.

And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself?

With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late…even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world.

Where To Buy:
Amazon Barnes & Noble Indigo

Add It On Goodreads!

Friday, May 26, 2017

0 How to Use Your Character's POV to Inform Your Setting by Kim Culbertson

Have you ever read (or written?) a long passage of boring setting description eager to get to the good parts about the character? Well, author Kim Culbertson is here to share with us today some of the best advice for avoiding this stumbling block. She's also celebrating the release of her newest novel, The Wonder of Us. So be sure to check it out below her WONDERful post!


The View from Where She’s Standing: Using POV to Inform Setting

by Kim Culbertson


I’ve always loved the immediate quality of Point of View in YA novels. In much of the young adult writing work I do, I use a first person narrator and often write in the present tense. This gives the story a sharp, candid lens through which to see this character’s world. It also creates a focus for the setting – whatever sense of place I develop in a work must be funneled through this specific character’s sensibilities.

When I was writing my first novel Songs for a Teenage Nomad, a critique partner noticed that my main character Calle described a landscape in a way that he felt didn’t fit her voice. She was using words and experiences to describe something that didn’t ring true for what he already knew of her character. He pointed out that this type of description was the author (me) creeping in and it popped him out of the story. He was right, and I tweaked the particular description to be more “Calle-esque.” I’ve taken that advice to heart with each new character I develop. In Instructions for a Broken Heart, Jessa is a heartbroken drama kid traveling in Italy with a school drama group, so what she notices about Italy and about the people she interacts with there must ultimately be channeled through this lens. It will be a bit more maudlin and more sensitive to dramatic elements than a character viewing Italy as a chef or as someone in a more upbeat emotional space.

The lens of the POV changes the shape of the storytelling.

0 Thank You to the Participants and Mentors of the 1st 5 Pages Workshop!

Congratulations to all of the participants who worked so hard during our May1st 5 Pages Writing Workshop! And a big thanks to our wonderful guest mentors, Kit Alloway as our author mentor and Hillary Jacobson as our agent mentor! They both provided terrific critiques. And as always, thank you to our talented and fabulous permanent mentors, who read, comment, and cheer on our participants every month!

The June writing workshop will open on Saturday, June 3, at noon EST. The workshop is designed to help writers struggling to find the right opening for their novel or for those looking to perfect the all important first five pages before submitting for publication. Why the first five pages? Because if these aren't perfect, no agent, editor, or reader will continue reading to find out how great the rest of your story really is!

Why is the First Five Pages Workshop a GREAT Opportunity?
  • You are mentored by at least two traditionally-published published or agented authors for the duration of the workshop. These authors have been through the trenches and know what it takes to get a book deal, solid reviews, and sales. 
  • In addition, you receive feedback from the four other workshop participants. 
  • Feedback is given not just on your initial submission, but on two subsequent opportunities to revise your manuscript based on the previous feedback so that you know you've got it right! 
  • The final revision will also be reviewed by a literary agent, who will also give you feedback on the pitch for your story--the one that may eventually become your query letter or cover copy. 
  • The best entry from among the workshop participants will receive a critique of the full first chapter or first ten pages from the mentoring agent, which may, in some cases, lead to requests for additional material.

How It Works
Please see the complete rules before entering the workshop, but in a nutshell, we'll take the first five Middle Grade or Young Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements. (Double check the formatting - each month we have to disqualify entries because of formatting.) Click here to get the rules. I will post when the workshop opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages. In addition to the rotating team of our wonderful permanent author mentors, the final entry for each workshop participant will be critiqued by our agent mentor.

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

Happy Writing (and revising!)

Erin



About the Author

Erin Cashman is AYAP's  1st 5 Pages Workshop coordinator, and a permanent mentor. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, three kids, and an energetic rescue dog.

Her YA fantasy debut, THE EXCEPTIONALS, was named a Bank Street College of Education best book of the year. For up to date information about the workshop, you can follow Erin on twitter here



Thursday, May 25, 2017

0 Writing 101: Surviving the Query Trenches

**This post is part of the Writing 101: From Concept to Query (and Beyond!) series. For an overview of planned posts, take a look at the series introduction. Previous posts have explored the drafting processnovel revisions, why you may or may not want to query literary agentshow to write a query letter, and how to spot a shmagent**

We’ve come a long way from first drafts. You’ve diligently revised, done your research on agents, and you’re ready to query.

Stop. Take a breath. You wrote a book, and you’re amazing.

Alright. Let’s talk querying.

There are two keys to keeping your querying experience as simple as stress-free as possible. They are

Organization
and
Support

Organization

In order to keep track of your queries, you’ll need work out an organizational system, otherwise you’ll end up getting muddled and querying the same agents over again (which is a definite querying no-no). Your system can be as simple or as complex as you like. Some people love spreadsheets, I personally don’t, and just used a Word doc with color-coded text to keep myself organized. Here are some of the things you may want to note down when querying.

Agent and agency’s names
The date your query was sent
Expected response time (or when you can assume you won’t be hearing back)

Many agents have a “no response means no” policy, to reduce their workload. Noting the expected time frame before you can assume a rejection from them will streamline your querying process, particularly if they belong to an agency where you can query multiple agents consecutively (NOTE: agencies tend not to allow overlapping queries—meaning you can’t query more than one agent at a time. Some do, however, let you query another agent within the agency after receiving a rejection. Others only allow one query for the entire agency, though, so choose your agents wisely and keep track of this sort of information).

Once you start receiving rejections (which I’m sorry to say you’re very likely to) keep track of those as well, particularly if they include feedback. If several agents give you the same piece of feedback, it’s a good idea to revise your manuscript or query accordingly before sending new queries.

When you receive a request for additional pages, first REJOICE! Secondly, make note of any pertinent information. Was it a partial or a full request? Did the agent indicate how long it might be before you can expect a response?

If an agent reads your full manuscript and wants to see changes made which they provide notes on, but they haven’t yet offered representation, congratulations! You’ve received a revise & resubmit, or an R&R. An R&R means an agent sees great potential in your work and is seriously considering making you an offer, but also needs to see a few major changes made to your book before they’re comfortable offering. Whether you carry out an R&R is up to you—if you’re excited about the direction it would take your book in, then go for it! If you hate the suggestions, you’re under no obligation to carry out the R&R, but do think carefully about it before rejecting it out of hand. Either way, let the agent know how you plan to proceed.

Support

All this organizing and querying will come along with a steaming pile of rejection. It’s never fun, and it’s a difficult part of the writing journey. Comfort yourself with the fact that all readers respond differently to a book, and that the rejections you’re receiving are based on very subjective tastes. And surround yourself with sympathetic friends, who’ve either been there before, or who are in the trenches right along with you. If you’ve already found CPs, as recommended when we talked about revision, they may provide literary shoulders to cry on. Non-writer friends may also be willing to provide a listening ear. Whoever you add to your querying trenches support network, make sure you keep your querying woes between you and your trench buddies. It’s considered unprofessional to spend too much time bemoaning the fate of the querying author on public social media profiles, and may serve as a red flag to agents who might consider making you an offer of representation.


Next week, we’ll talk about the light at the end of the querying tunnel: receiving an offer of representation!

About the Author


Laura Weymouth is AYAP's contest coordinator, working to create opportunities for you to get samples of your work in front of agents right here on Adventures in YA Publishing.

Laura lives on the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, a spoiled cat, and an indeterminate number of chickens. Her YA fantasy debut, THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS, is forthcoming from HarperTeen in the fall of 2018.

You can follow Laura on Twitter and add her book on Goodreads.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

4 Agent Spotlight: Q & A with Connor Eck of Lucinda Literary

Today, I’m excited to talk with literary agent Connor Eck of Lucinda Literary!

Connor Eck joined Lucinda Literary in 2016. He brings a multifaceted literary skill-set, having experience in both the editorial and marketing spheres—for GOLF Magazine, CBS Television Studios, and The Weinstein Company, among others. Connor graduated with a B.A. in English from Union College in Schenectady, NY, where he was quarterback and captain of the football team. His thesis, a feature-length screenplay, was selected in 2016 as a finalist for the 25th Woods Hole Film Festival. Connor has a passion for writing, nurturing literary talent, and for bolstering the careers of fellow writers. He most enjoys reading fiction, for all age ranges.

Hi Connor! Thanks so much for joining us at AYAP! Can you share with us how you began your career in agenting?

I always knew I wanted to work in a creative field, though I was never quite sure what that would be. Around the time you’re supposed to have a legitimate answer for the question what do you want to be when you grow up? I found a word that felt right: writer. So I declared English as my major, very knowingly cementing a precarious fate for myself, and vowed to let hard work and the universe carry me somewhere great. My first internship was at a startup magazine company writing about the band One Direction (go ahead, laugh). For a semi-macho football player, it was awful, hysterical, and fulfilling all at once. Next was The Weinstein Company where I worked in distribution and really began to hone my passion for film. Then I found myself running around as a production assistant for CBS Television Studios, which was fun and crazy, though ultimately it left me editorially unfulfilled. I had to get myself back behind a desk doing writerly things. 

Soon after voicing my displeasure to the universe, coupled with many rounds of feverish networking, I landed an internship at GOLF Magazine (Thanks, John Cooney!) and another at Lucinda Literary (Thanks, bookjobs.com!). Professionally, that was without a doubt the best summer I’ve ever had. Working under Lucinda Blumenfeld, founder of Lucinda Literary, I discovered that my writerly niche is working with authors, so I was thrilled when she offered me a full-time position last summer. I’m very grateful to have such a brilliant and conscientious mentor. So here I am building my list! Hard work and the universe have been wonderful companions to me.


All of your previous experience sounds pretty fascinating, but it's great that you've found your passion. And this is an exciting time for you as an agent since you’re moving into representing fiction. As an agent who is building their client list, we’d love to know more about the types of fiction you’re looking for within adult, MG, and YA. Are there certain genres in these categories you’re really excited to receive?

As a kid I was really into Captain Underpants, so I definitely have a soft spot for original fiction that is silly and endearing, and whenever an author can weave in important human values, you know you have a worthwhile book in your hands. I remember Dan Gutman’s Honus & Me having a profound impact as well, an underdog baseball story driven by magical realism but more so by the desire for solidarity, acceptance, and achievement. A Wrinkle in Time sits on my nightstand, and I’m also sure to keep Harry Potter close by of course, and also Hunger Games is another example of the type of fiction I’m drawn to. 

I’m particularly keen on eccentric characters with depth and idiosyncrasies, those with a burning desire or some type of trauma ailing them, like Margo Roth Spiegelman and Alaska Young. (I'm a big John Green fan.) Male characters that chase the girl never cease to compel me either, and I’m a sucker for a good romance or family drama. I think in any work, fiction or nonfiction, regardless of age range, it's the human underpinnings of a story, and of course good writing, that create valuable, powerful reading experiences. I just want to be moved, really, and it's not the genre that determines that for me. Plus I enjoy exposing myself to every kind of literature. You never know where inspiration and a good story might lie. I’m also excited to represent nonfiction, as well!


And specifically for YA, can you expand on what submissions you’d love to see?


Oops, I think I got a little carried away and answered this in the previous question! To put it plainly, in YA I look for authenticity and heart. I err away from anything that feels diluted or that harps too closely on stereotypes or cliches. I’m open to anything and everything!


What types of fiction are you not interested in?


Apologies for being repetitive, but it's true! I'm not interested in stories and characters that are cliche, stereotypical, or predictable, and writing that is diluted or melodramatic.


No problem! It’s great to have a clear idea of what you are and aren’t drawn to.
When reviewing query letters, are there any pet peeves that turn you off immediately?

I always try to give every query a chance no matter its flaws, because I recognize how difficult the query process is for writers. The way I see it, there’s possibility that behind a bad query letter lies a promising talent, so I do my best to give each submission the attention it deserves. I personally like queries that are short and sweet: author bio, story synopsis, and why you’d like me to represent you—that’s pretty much all I’d hope for. The best query letter however, includes a compelling manuscript.


Do you like a personalized introduction to know why a writer queried you, or do you prefer to get right into the pitch?

I think any time a writer acknowledges why he or she has queried me, the submission immediately stands out. A personalized touch shows thought and effort, that a writer is serious about finding a true partner for his or her work. That being said, don’t spend too much time on it, keep the query short and sweet.


Would you consider yourself an editorial agent, where you work with your client to edit their manuscript before going on submission?

Yes. I love working with authors from the raw editorial phase. Here I feel my personal literary passions and greatest ability are most realized.


Can you describe your perfect client?

My perfect client deeply respects the art of writing, takes constructive criticism graciously, is honest, hardworking, friendly, writes from the heart, and communicates efficiently.


And now for our lightening round of questions! Ready, set…go!

Please tell us your:


Favorite TV show (current or past): The Office, for comedy, definitely—every character is so memorable; I can’t help but smile just thinking of them. Breaking Bad, for drama. Walter White gave me so much wonderful anxiety watching that show for the first time.

Favorite YA novel: I can’t pick a favorite! I’d feel too bad for the ones I didn’t pick. Here are a few: Looking for Alaska, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, 13 Reasons Why, If I Stay, Paper Towns, Holes, Touching Spirit Bear. The list of favorites only grows!

E-book or hardcover: Easily hardcover. Books are trophies; they’re meant to be held and appreciated. They belong on shelves.

Coffee or tea: That’s like choosing Mom or Dad. I’d say both. At separate times, please.

Animal you'd love to be for a day: Koala. They seem like some pretty chill dudes, and I bet they give the best hugs in all of the animal kingdom.

There is suddenly only one sport left on Earth—which one do you choose to exist: The obvious choice is underwater basket weaving—not only does it build up the lungs, but it builds character. Only kidding. I’m going to go with golf, because you can play golf into your elder years, it helps you harness your nerves, it builds concentration, it’s harmonious with nature, it can be social or solitary, you rarely get concussions from it or break your bones (unlike football), and it’s a heck of a lot of fun to whack a ball long distances in the air over immaculately manicured grass.

Thanks so much, Connor! It's been a pleasure getting to know you!

If you’d like to learn more about Connor, you can connect with him on Twitter (@connoreck11), and be sure to visit Lucinda Literary as well.


Monday, May 22, 2017

6 New Releases this week 5/22-5/28 plus 4 Giveaways

Happy Monday! This week, we have four awesome giveaways to feature! We're also shining a spotlight on a few more awesome books so don't forget to check out all of them below.

Happy Reading,

Shelly, Sam, Jocelyn, Martina, Erin, Susan, Kelly, Laura, Emily, Anisaa, and Lori Ann


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS THIS WEEK


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In a Perfect World
by Trish Doller
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Simon Pulse
Released 5/23/2017

Caroline Kelly is excited to be spending her summer vacation working at the local amusement park with her best friend, exploring weird Ohio with her boyfriend, and attending soccer camp with the hope she’ll be her team’s captain in the fall.

But when Caroline’s mother is hired to open an eye clinic in Cairo, Egypt, Caroline’s plans are upended. Caroline is now expected to spend her summer and her senior year in a foreign country, away from her friends, her home, and everything she’s ever known.

With this move, Caroline predicts she’ll spend her time navigating crowded streets, eating unfamiliar food, and having terrible bouts of homesickness. But when she finds instead is a culture that surprises her, a city that astounds her, and a charming, unpredictable boy who challenges everything she thought she knew about life, love, and privilege.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about In a Perfect World?

It's hard to narrow down my favorite thing because Caroline's dad is a stand-out character and so many mouthwatering foods to read about, but in the end, I'd probably say Adam Elhadad. He is sweet, kind of shy, and utterly charming, and I really can't wait for readers to meet him.

Purchase In a Perfect World at Amazon
Purchase In a Perfect World at IndieBound
View In a Perfect World on Goodreads

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Refuge for Masterminds
by Kathleen Baldwin
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Tor Teen
Released 5/23/2017

Lady Jane Moore has a secret that must be kept buried. If anyone discovers the truth, her life at Stranje House will crumble. And with Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of England underway, everyone at Stranje House is already in mortal danger.

Jane knows it. She may not be like Tess, who has the advantage of prophetic dreams. Nor is she like Sera, who notices every detail no matter how miniscule and draws conclusions based on the smallest thread of evidence. She doesn’t possess Maya’s ability to soothe the tempers around her with a few well-spoken words. Neither is she a brilliant scientist like Georgie.

According to Miss Stranje, Lady Jane Moore is a mastermind.

But Jane believes herself to be an ordinary young lady. She only has an excessive bent toward the practical, grasping the facts of a situation quickly then, devising and implementing a sensible course of action. It's a trait that comes in handy in a world full of spies, sabotage, and double-dealing. Especially when Lady Jane and Sera have rooted out the truth: There's a traitor at Stranje House.

Someone is sneaking information to Lady Daneska and Ghost, Napoleon’s spies. Jane is determined to find out who it is before the bonds of friendship at Stranje House are ripped apart. Her desperate hunt for the traitor ensnares Robert Fulton’s nephew, Alexander Sinclair, a brash American inventor, in an ambush that puts his life in danger. Sinclair may be the most maddening man in all of Christendom, a wicked-tongued rascal with boorish manners, but Lady Jane cannot bear the thought of the golden-haired genius being harmed.

Is Jane enough of a mastermind to save Alexander, her friends at Stranje House, and possibly England itself?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Refuge for Masterminds?

I loved watching Lady Jane struggle to find her emotional balance. She's so smart. Much smarter than I am, so it was a challenge to write her, but delightful at the same time. I especially loved watching her battle her fiercely protective nature, and learn to be a little more trusting of others' capabilities. alexander is a perfect foil for her. He is so easy going and laid back compared to Jane. The way he teases her was pure fun to write.

Purchase Refuge for Masterminds at Amazon
Purchase Refuge for Masterminds at IndieBound
View Refuge for Masterminds on Goodreads

* * * *


The Fashion Committee
by Susan Juby
Hardcover Giveaway
U.S. Only

Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 5/23/2017

Project Runway meets I'll Give You the Sun in the story of a girl, a boy, and the fashion competition that could change both of their lives.

Charlie Dean is a style-obsessed girl who eats, sleeps, and breathes fashion. John Thomas-Smith is a boy who forges metal sculptures in his garage and couldn't care less about clothes. Both are gunning for a scholarship to the private art high school that could make all their dreams come true. Whoever wins the fashion competition will win the scholarship--and only one can win.

Told in the alternating voices of Charlie's and John's journals, this hilarious and poignant YA novel perfectly captures what it's like to have an artistic drive so fierce that nothing--not your dad's girlfriend's drug-addicted ex-boyfriend, a soul-crushing job at Salad Stop, or being charged with a teensy bit of kidnapping--can stand in your way.

With black and white art custom-created by fashion and beauty illustrator Soleil Ignacio, the book is a collector's item, perfect for anyone with a passion for fashion.

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about The Fashion Committee?

The book gave me a chance to write about what is great about fashion and what is deeply problematic about it. The adventures of Charlie and John allowed me to explore fashion as an art form and as a means to create identity. The book combines a lot of my obsessions and for that I'm grateful.

Purchase The Fashion Committee at Amazon
Purchase The Fashion Committee at IndieBound
View The Fashion Committee on Goodreads

* * * *


Wishbones
by Virginia Macgregor
Paperback Giveaway
U.S. Only

Harlequin Teen
Released 5/23/2017

Feather Tucker has two wishes:


1)To get her mum healthy again


2) To win the Junior UK swimming championships


When Feather comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother – one of Britain’s most obese women- in a diabetic coma, she realises something has to be done to save her mum’s life. But when her Mum refuses to co-operate Feather realises that the problem run deeper than just her mum’s unhealthy appetite.


Over time, Feather’s mission to help her Mum becomes an investigation. With the help of friends old and new, and the hindrance of runaway pet goat Houdini, Feather’s starting to uncover when her mum’s life began to spiral out of control and why. But can Feather fix it in time for her mum to watch her swim to victory? And can she save her family for good?

Author Question: What is your favorite thing about Wishbones?

That's easy: Feather Tucker, my protagonist. As soon as I found her voice and spent some time getting to know her, I knew that she'd be the perfect character to carry my story. She's courageous, passionate and idealistic - and has some flaws too (she thinks she can save her mum and the world all by herself!). She's also quirky - I have a weakness for those kind of people both in life and in fiction. Above all she's loveable: I loved writing her and recognise her character traits in so many of the amazing young people I know. I hope that readers, young and old, will fall in love with her too. Oh, and a close second favourite (if I'm allowed) is Houdini, her pet goat. They kind of go together.

Purchase Wishbones at Amazon
Purchase Wishbones at IndieBound
View Wishbones on Goodreads


YA BOOK GIVEAWAYS LAST WEEK: WINNERS


The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari: Erika C.
The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo: Patricia M.

MORE YOUNG ADULT FICTION IN STORES NEXT WEEK WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

MORE YOUNG ADULT NOVELS NEW IN STORES NEXT WEEK


* * * *


Crazy House
by James Patterson
Hardcover
jimmy patterson
Released 5/22/2017

A thrilling new YA novel from master of suspense James Patterson, who's created a frightening new future: a world where teens are taken, imprisoned, and forced to fight for their survival. Where 17-year-old Cass will do whatever it takes to save her twin sister from Death Row.

There were no charges. There was no trial. There will be no escape.

Seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield was snatched from her small hometown. She was thrown into a maximum-security prison and put on Death Row with other kids her age. Until her execution, Becca's told to fit in and shut her mouth... but Becca's never been very good at either. Her sister Cassie was always the perfect twin.

Becca's only hope is that her twin sister will find her. That perfect little priss Cassie will stop following the rules and start breaking them, before it's too late. Because her jailers made a mistake that could get them both killed:

They took the wrong twin.

Purchase Crazy House at Amazon
Purchase Crazy House at IndieBound
View Crazy House on Goodreads

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Dove Alight
by Karen Bao
Hardcover
Viking Books for Young Readers
Released 5/23/2017

The action-packed finale of this explosive sci-fi series for fans of Ender’s Game and Star Wars.

Shy, introverted Phaet Theta has gone from being a top student to an interplanetary fugitive to the reluctant but fierce leader of a revolution. With the Earthbound on their side, she and her friends finally have a chance at toppling the evil leaders who’ve held the Moon captive for decades. But as the death tolls rise, the cost of the war weighs heavily on Phaet, even as she’s forced to lead her siblings and Wes, the love of her life, into terrible danger.

Phaet started this war because she lost someone she loved. Will she have to lose another to end it?

Purchase Dove Alight at Amazon
Purchase Dove Alight at IndieBound
View Dove Alight on Goodreads

* * * *


Lord of Shadows
by Cassandra Clare
Hardcover
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 5/23/2017

Sunny Los Angeles can be a dark place indeed in Cassandra Clare’s Lord of Shadows, the sequel to the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Lady Midnight.

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

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

* * * *


The Gauntlet
by Megan Shepherd
Hardcover
Balzer + Bray
Released 5/23/2017

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in the final novel in the gripping and romantic Cage series, about teens abducted from Earth by an otherworldly race.

Cora and her friends have escaped the Kindred station and landed at Armstrong—a supposed safe haven on a small moon—where they plan to regroup and figure out how to win the Gauntlet, the challenging competition to prove humanity’s intelligence and set them free. But Armstrong is no paradise; ruled by a power-hungry sheriff, it’s a violent world where the teens are enslaved and put to work in mines. As Nok’s due date grows closer, and Mali and Leon journey across space to rescue Cassian, the former inhabitants of the cage are up against impossible odds.

With the whole universe at stake, Cora will do whatever it takes, including pushing her body and mind to the breaking point, to escape Armstrong and run the Gauntlet. But it isn’t just a deranged sheriff she has to overcome: the other intelligent species—the Axion, Kindred, Gatherers, and Mosca—all have their own reasons to stop her. Not knowing who to trust, Cora must rely on her own instincts to win the competition, which could change the world—though it might destroy her in the process.

Purchase The Gauntlet at Amazon
Purchase The Gauntlet at IndieBound
View The Gauntlet on Goodreads


Sunday, May 21, 2017

0 YA Sunday Morning News: This Week for Writers 5/21/17

Happy Sunday!

This week’s links are light on news, but heavy with agent interviews. If you’re querying right now, make sure you check them out!

Enjoy!


Writing for Publication—Before the Sale:

Writing for Publication—Book Marketing and Social Media:

Author Interviews:

Adventures in YA Publishing Author Interviews:


Literary Agent News and Interviews:

Writing and Pitch Contests:

Writing Craft:

Writing Inspiration:

Publishing News & Trends:

New YA E-Book Deals:

New YA Book Giveaways:

YA Book Awards and Congratulations:

YA New Book Deals and Releases:

Just for Fun:

If there’s a news story or blog post you found particularly interesting, please share it in the comments!



Saturday, May 20, 2017

0 Crystal Cestari, author of THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC, on the intimidating blank screen

It is always a magical experience to talk to an author about their debut novel, and today Crystal Cestari shares details about THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC.

Crystal, what was your inspiration for writing THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC?

My favorite show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and one thing I always appreciated was how Buffy was handling such a powerful responsibility while the world around her had no idea. My narrator, Amber, does not save lives, but she shares that struggle in that her matchmaking ability is not something she can control or turn off; she's fighting her own good fight everyday in the name of love. Stories with a hint of magic have always pulled me in, and I'll never turn away a good romance, so this book is a mashup of two favorite genres.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

I've been writing since I was very young, and have dreamt of being an author for just as long, but this story lit me up like no other. I wouldn't say writing it was easy by any means, but the words did come together at an unprecedented pace, and I felt so connected to my narrator and her journey. Something in me said I needed to try and share this story with the world, and I've never had that feeling before.

0 Lisa Freeman, author of RIPTIDE SUMMER, on surviving riptides (both literally and metaphorically)

Lisa Freeman is back with RIPTIDE SUMMER, the second Honey Girls novel, and we couldn't be more stoked to be joined by her today.

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

For me, all writing starts with a pot of tea. English Breakfast or a variation of something strong and British so I can channel the Queen’s English.

I like working in a dark room, with a single, dim light. Windows are optional. This is not the best for one’s eyes, but it calms me down and allows me to instantly access my imagination.

A blank piece of paper and a pen are the only necessities because I’ve trained myself to be able to write anywhere. I have to write every day; I learned that from Ray Bradbury. When it comes to craft, an artist has to be flexible and prepared. I usually have something to read with me, poetry or a magazine to collect words. Usually I look for nouns and adjectives that spark a sentence. This leads me into whatever fragment of the novel I’m committed to work on that day. I move around freely in the timeline of each story, until I have a solid first draft or outline. Then, more tea.