Tuesday, November 30, 2010

6 Conference Round-Up: The Art of Pitching



The SCBWI Western Canada Chapter is constantly holding amazing workshops that make us want to pack up and head north right away. One recent workshop focused solely on pitching, and featured Publisher Crystal Stranaghan and Senior Editor Jared Hunt of Gumboot Books. Please welcome Ronda Payne, who kindly offered to tell us all about this terrific event. If you have recently attended, or plan on attending an SCBWI event and would like to share your take-aways, please let us know.
                                                                                                                                         

There’s nothing like taking your prized, near-finished work, wrapping it up into just a few sentences and pitching it to a complete stranger, to cause anxiety. For the introverted writer in all of us, there is never enough preparation to make us comfortable in this kind of situation.

The Surrey International Writer’s Conference in Surrey, BC was fast approaching and to help a few of us nervous writers prepare for the pitch opportunities at that conference, Crystal Stranaghan and Jared Hunt, of Gumboot Books (check out their site at http://gumbootbooks.ca/ ) shared their knowledge.

Jared explained that when he meets an author or reviews their work, he’s looking for answers to these three questions:
- Why is this the right person to write this story?
-          Why is this the right story for right now?
-          Why should they (as publishers, editors or agents) act on it now?

He advised that instead of hoping for a ‘yes’ right there, in the moment you are pitching (which almost never happens), hope instead for a ‘let’s talk more about this’. That is the greatest win in a pitch session. It moves you from unsolicited to solicited writer.  

Get started by considering what your fears are and what you are afraid will happen in a pitch session. By writing it down, you’ll be able to face those fears head-on and control the power they have over you.

Some of my fears were:
-          I’m not going to express this properly
-          They’ll think I’m an idiot
-          My face will turn red and I’ll appear insecure and unprofessional

To work through these natural jitters, Crystal suggested the following, wonderful, technique.

  1. Put both feet flat on the floor. No crossed legs, or feet on the ‘rails’ of the chair.
  2. Feel how grounded you are in this position.
  3. Imagine your energy coming in through you and what you don’t need going out through your feet.
  4. Accept the nervous energy; use what you need, diffuse the rest.
  5. Imagine holding your book in your hands.
  6. Feel the sensations this accomplishment delivers.
  7. Take these positive sensations with you and use them together with the energy.
Another great tip that came out of discussing nervous jitters was to grab some crayons, felts, paints or whatever you like and create the cover of your book. Put this somewhere that you will see it on a daily basis.

Now that we have a way to deal with the nervousness, it’s time to begin crafting the pitch itself.

Write five words that come to mind about your book – any words are fine. Some that came up for the picture book I’m working on were: kindergarten relationships (okay, that’s two words!), independence, learning, nature, bullying. Remember that these theme words are generally not spelled out in the story.

With those thought-starters in mind, think about what changes in your main character from the start of the story to the end. This is a bit challenging, but keep in mind that if nothing changes, there’s no point to the tale. Once you have the change firmly in place, answer the question: why does this change matter? What does it really mean?

Next we need to look at four questions Crystal and Jared have crafted:
-          What is this book about? My answer was – learning to take responsibility to solve problems
-          What type of book is it? My answer was – picture book
-          Who is this book for? My answer was - boys aged dealing with bullying
-          What is special about this book? My answer was – it deals with bullying in a light, humorous way that explores solving your own problems

You have a lot of content to build your pitch from now! Take your answers to the 4 questions above and mix them together with the answers from the earlier exercises to give you an opening paragraph. Then, add more content – the point here is to have enough material to speak until the person you are pitching to says “stop”, or you feel you have explained everything you need to.

Other bits to make your pitch into a two to three minute explanation include:
-          What is the one thing your character wants at the start of the story
-          Think about what your main character’s obstacle or opposition is to getting what they want
-          Note any setting points that are relevant or unique to the story

Combining all these mini exercises, you will have created a pitch you can feel confident with! Crystal and Jared have written “Book Marketing Mixology” available as an ebook on the site http://liveyourdreamworkshops.com/ to help you through this and many other elements of marketing your work.

A writer since she could hold a pen, Ronda Payne is passionate about her craft. In 2007, she kissed ‘real jobs’ goodbye and began her true occupation as a full time copywriter and freelancer. A regular contributor to “Country Life in BC” and “Ihr” (Integrated Health Retailer), Ronda continues to grow in her career by helping businesses find the right words and helping publications deliver meaningful content. Though she doesn't have a writer's website yet, she can be found blogging at renovatorswife.wordpress.com. She can also be found on Twitter at @Rondapayne or on Facebook at Ronda Eyben Payne.

Ronda joyfully lives in Maple Ridge BC in yet another renovation project home with her husband and their pets.

Monday, November 29, 2010

13 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways)

Here comes another fabulous week of YA reads! YALit.com continues to keep us on track to find these amazing new releases. Read on to find something that catches your eye and be sure to scroll all the way down for a chance to win one of these books!

This week's interview


The Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie
  • From Goodreads: After her father's slow death from cancer, Carlie thought things couldn't get worse. But now, she is forced to confront the fact that her family in dire financial straits. To stay afloat, her mom has had to sell their cherished oceanfront home and move Carlie and her younger brother Keith to the other side of the tracks to dreaded Las Pulgas, or "the fleas" in Spanish. They must now attend a tough urban high school instead of their former elite school, and on Carlie's first day of school, she runs afoul of edgy K.T., the Latina tattoo girl who's always ready for a fight, even on crutches. Carlie fends off the attention of Latino and African American teen boys, and one, a handsome seventeen-year-old named Juan, nicknames her Princess when he detects her aloof attitude towards her new classmates. What they don't know is that Carlie isn't really aloof; she's just in mourning for her father and almost everything else that mattered to her. Mr. Smith, the revered English teacher who engages all his students, suggests she'll like her new classmates if she just gives them a chance; he cajoles her into taking over the role of Desdemona in the junior class production of Othello, opposite Juan, after K.T. gets sidelined. Keith, who becomes angrier and more sullen by the day, spray paints insults all over the gym as he acts out his anger over the family's situation and reduced circumstances. Even their cat Quicken goes missing, sending Carlie and Keith on a search into the orchard next to their seedy garden apartment complex. They're met by a cowboy toting a rifle who ejects them at gunpoint from his property. But when Carlie finds him amiably having coffee with their mom the next day -- when he's returned her cat -- she begins to realize that nothing is what it seems in Las Pulgas.

Your young adult novels tackle tough issues teens face each and every day. Tell us about the problems faced in The Princess of Pulgas and what inspired you to write this book.
My poor protagonist, Carlie Edmund, loses her beloved father and soon her privileged way of life. She struggles to keep her desperate situation secret from her old friends while she tries to adjust to living in a very different world – one without money or security or a sense of belonging.

I started the story in 2008 when I was in a New York hotel room at SCBWI. I'd just sold my first book, Sliding on the Edge, and I'd come to the conference hoping for feedback on that story. Since there was no reason to present Sliding for comment, I sat down and asked, "Now what?" The answer came in the form of another question, "What if a family lost everything?" Ironically, the next year after I had a rough draft of Princess many Americans did lose everything, just like the Edmund family.

You say you enjoy writing for teens because it gives you the excuse to escape to your own teen years, when anything was possible. What was your favorite moment as a young adult?
If I had to choose a favorite time from when I was in high school it would be the summers at the beach. We'd take a small cabin for a couple of weeks and once we were there, the adults did their thing and we kids did ours. It was a free and wonderful time of body surfing, bonfires, and first kisses. Whenever I go to the beach I can almost be fifteen again.

Readers fall in love with your main character, Carlie. How did you build her personal story?
When I was growing up my family had some economic downturns, so it was easy to pull up those memories of my mom's worried looks or packing and moving, not because we wanted to, but because we had to. At the time I didn't understand all that was happening; I only knew there would be a new school, I'd lose my friends, and that everything would be different. Along the way I must have also learned that different didn't necessarily mean worse. I let Carlie find that out too.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? Any rituals you have to follow?
I don't know if it's quirky, but I do like to wear my hoodie when I write. Well, it's really a signal to my family. When I'm at the computer with my hood up that means DO NOT TALK TO ME UNLESS THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE. When it's not up I'm only dealing with email or blogging, so they can ask me anything then.

Your teen books have cross-over appeal, would you consider writing for adults?
I'm enjoying writing books with young protagonists. Adult readers have all lived through those teen years, so I hope they will connect with my young characters and enjoy reading about experiences that might mirror some of their own. I guess what I'm saying is I think I'm already writing for adults.

What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever been given, and who shared the top secret with you?
I'm a self-taught novelist. No MFA. No creative writing class at all. That's not because I wouldn't have liked to enroll in a degree program or take classes; I just didn't have the time. But I did have the time to read and this is the best advice I ever read: A writer's job is to reveal the unspoken--what people see or feel but don't say. If a writer does his job, the reader gleans insights from what convention and shame seek to hide. That's a paraphrase from Sol Stein.


Additional Releases
Matched by Allyson Condie

  • From Goodreads: In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

At the Crossroads by Travis Hunter
  • From Amazon: Franklyn "Franky" Bourgeois is fifteen, and he's already done more living than most. First he was blasted out of a normal childhood in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. Determined to survive, he left town with two older cousins. They were nothing short of thugs, but they were all he had. And hard as he tried, even for a good kid like Franky, their influence was hard to resist. . . Now Franky's just a heartbeat away from a life of crime--until he gets an unexpected chance to turn things around. Getting back on track is easier said than done, especially when a group of prep school fools set out to keep Franky on the streets. But Franky's always been a survivor. He'll just have to prove it one more time. . .
Giveaway

We're pleased to announce an awesome giveway of C. Lee McKenzie's THE PRINCESS OF LAS PULGAS! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and fill out the form below. The contest will run through Wednesday evening and is open to US residents. Go!

Happy reading,
Martina & Marissa



Sunday, November 28, 2010

3 Who Won Charlie Price's Latest Book?


Congrats, Jessica Souders!!!

Many thanks to Charlie Price for helping us develop better technique pacing our writing, as well as this awesome giveaway!

Happy reading and writing,
Martina & Marissa

Friday, November 26, 2010

7 Best Articles This Week for Writers 11/26/2010

Inspiration
Craft of Writing
Self-Editing
Critiquing
To Market
Social Media, Twitter, and Blogging
Just for Smiles
After the Sale
Book Reviews
Congrats
Contests
 Other Weekly Round-Ups:
Did we miss anything? Anyone? Please leave a comment!

Happy reading and joyous writing,

Martina & Marissa

Thursday, November 25, 2010

3 In Stores This Week: Contest Winner!

Thanks to the generosity of Jenny Davidson, one lucky reader has been selected to win this awesome book...


Congrats, Britta!!!

Many thanks to Jenny, and many thanks to YOU for expressing weekly support for this feature. We'll see you back on Monday for more terrific books!

Happy reading,
Martina & Marissa

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

10 WOW Weds: 7 Ways to Write When You Don't Have Time

As the end of the year approaches and we're in the midst of holidays and end-of-the-year time crunches, it's easy to let our writing slip through the cracks. It's also easy to look at what we haven't accomplished in the past year and judge ourselves.

Stop. That. Right. Now.

While we are being thankful for other things, we need to take time out to consider what we have accomplished as writers. What have we learned this year that we didn't know before? What have we done?  Have we written a few new chapters? Revised a manuscript? Written a new draft? Sent out queries with better responses than previously?

We have to give ourselves some credit, because face it, we're not likely to get much from outside ourselves. Thanksgiving is a time to be proud of our own accomplishments.

Here's a trick. While we're being thankful for everything else, let's write down three things we've done right in our writing lives this year. They can be big or small. And remember, that's three more than all those people who sit around saying they are going to write a novel, someday, if they ever have time.

I've heard from a lot of friends recently that they won't have time to write again until January. First and foremost, that's okay. As long as we're not feeling guilty or pressured about it. For the rest of us, aka the guilty and pressured, here are some things we can do in our heads even when we can't get to the computer:
  1. Fine tune plot elements. Look for holes and question every coincidence to make sure it is substantiated. If it isn't, find a better way for things to happen.
  2. Review character motivation. Ensure that everything every characters does has a reason that jibes with that characters goals and needs. Make this true for minor characters, too.
  3. Deepen characters. Make sure they all have quirks, likes, and dislikes. Do they each have traits to make them stand out from the other characters and make them easily identifiable? Describe every character in a sentence--and see if they sound interesting and unique. Twist them to make them just a little "out there."
  4. Check subplots. Do they all have a resolution? Do they all weave together into the theme or the main plot in some way? Are there enough? Too many?
  5. Assess world-building. Make the setting and world specific. Answer the big questions, but simultaneously shrink it down to details. What small, surprising things can bring the story to life? Think like JK Rowlings with her rich, surprising magical details that underscore that life at Hogwart's is magical, or Stephanie Meyer who shows us what it is to have vampire strength in a game of baseball.
  6. Consider theme. How do plot, subplots, characters, and worldbuilding work together to add meaning to the story?
  7. Shuffle scenes. Rate them. Rank them. Are any weak, lacking in tension, or just plain dull? Stand them on their heads, shake them up, and bring in something new and exciting.
It isn't important to answer all these questions at once, or even finishing answering any of them. But considering one while stuffing the turkey will engage the subconscious and keep the brain puzzling at it long after we're sitting down to eat.

The holidays are full of small, mindless tasks, many of them thankless. Turn them into writing time. Fuel the imagination. Inspiration doesn't come without preparation. We have to kick start it with a question or an observation, something to get it going, but it rewards us by continuing to puzzle at problems long after we've gone on physically to something else.

Happy holiday and happy writing,

Martina

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 Pacing: Racing vs. Spacing

We're excited to have author Charlie Price joining us today to discuss the ever-so-sticky wicket of pacing. Charlie works with kids in at-risk schools, mental institutions and psychiatric hospitals. He is also an executive coach and a consultant who conducts business workshops. He lives in Northern California, but went to high school in Billings, Montana where his most recent novel, THE INTERROGATION OF GABRIEL JAMES is set.
                                                                                                                                                 
Pacing balances acceleration with aesthetics to make each story a trip worth taking. Writers decide whether a section is best served by speed toward a particular destination or a winding journey through evocative details. Paragraph by paragraph we choose the route, rate of travel, and scenery.

I recently finished The Interrogation of Gabriel James, a novel I had written and re-written ten or eleven times from various points of view, always in sequential fashion. The story had a quiet girl with a bizarre home life, racism and hate crimes, sports, arson, family drama, homeless heroes, police, mayhem, and even love! Still, something about it didn’t grab me by the lapels.

One afternoon while I was doctoring a particular scene, an idea bobbed to the surface. What if I could tell the story as a day’s interrogation? Ten weeks, collapsed to six or eight hours in a room with two detectives? And further, what if their questions would not only be answered in real-time dialog, but would also open zip files in the protagonist’s memory? We would spend the day with the kid, and the law officers would force the whole complex tale out on the table.

Since, once the interrogation began, I was going to rocket into the story’s events, I could afford a more leisurely, almost literary, initial approach: a cold and lonely graveyard scene on the buffalo plains of Eastern Montana seen through Gabriel’s eyes.

“I stood at the back of a small crowd in a bleak cemetery north of the Yellowstone River, the second funeral I had attended this week. . . . I knew enough to wish that time could collapse like an old telescope, that some events once seen in greater detail would disappear from the horizon, gone for good. Gone forever.”

Then, after a single space break, the Interrogation:

“Why don’t you start at the beginning?” The deputy folded her hands on the table between us.

“I’m not sure what the beginning is,” I said. It was true. I never caught up with what was happening.

“What do you know about the fire?”

“Not much. I saw it, Anita saw it from the highway when we were driving back the day before school started.”

“Anita . . . ”

“I don’t want to drag her into this.”

“You already have.”

Thereafter, short sentences and terse dialog direct the revelations as the officers steadfastly push at the boy, knowing he’s a reluctant witness. Their questions elicit specific responses, but the boy’s memories of the actual events follow unbidden, opening like parachutes, until another question interrupts the recollections, and the process starts again. The reader gets only enough setting and description to locate the action and illuminate the characters.

When I charted that course, I had no idea the degree of challenge question-oriented story-telling would present. How hard could it be? Turns out it was a pacing conundrum, something akin to using a stopwatch to speed up a striptease that ends with a card trick. First I had to write the story all the way through the interrogation and make sure that, though the questions were not oriented sequentially, the information revealed would be.

When I write fiction, I’m watching a movie unfold, watching characters get in and out of trouble. I type what I’m seeing and as soon as I feel the scene get fuzzy, I stop writing and wait – (never easy) – wait for the characters to resume their struggle. So, I didn’t try to force the detectives’ questions into any particular pattern. They asked whatever came to their minds as the day progressed. But to maintain the story’s tension, nothing could be told before its time . . . a literary card trick because the story had to be shuffled repeatedly, and, at the end, the deck had to come out in ordered suits. Voilà! Right?

Finally, the boy gets to confront the Guru. Gets his chance to accuse the man of child abuse, hate crimes, and arson. The man may be armed. What’s going to happen? I slow the pace at this point to build a clear picture and increase tension. I describe the room, the character’s positions, the options the boy has if things blow up. But when they actually start talking to each other, hell breaks loose.

From that point until the scene’s climax, words fly like hatchets, misunderstandings escalate, and muscles bypass reason. Whew. In the aftermath, detail, setting, and position seep back into the scene and we see where the bodies lie; we identify the implement the girl used to cold-cock the punk.

Since, I was watching a movie, lost in the experience, I relied on my own emotions as a fan or a viewer might. Yawn, want a soda, means speed up. Dizzy, bewildered, slow down. When I’d finish one rewrite, I’d wait a week, print it out, and read it for pace. Every spot where I felt impatient, or bored, or confused or hurried, I would mark and work on during the next revision.

This process dictated that I eliminate some important (I thought) anti-racism speeches by the boy’s mother, some beautiful (I thought) descriptions of the Montana countryside, and some interesting (to me) scenes involving the homeless people at the community center. I chucked the wise and funny community center's staff, a droll and beautiful nurse, and a quirky girlfriend who dressed in gypsy fashions. While it pained me to cut these elements, I knew that every writer uses both ear and eye to let some good parts go. Fortunately, when we’re excited by a story, we have the energy to keep paying attention, to notice what may be wide of the mark. When I could read my book at a sitting and not think about my wife, my daughter, fishing or basketball, I figured the pacing might be about right.

Thanks so much, Charlie! And now for a contest...

One lucky reader will win a copy of Charlie's recently published book THE INTERROGATION OF GABRIEL JAMES simply by leaving a comment on this post and filling out the form below. The contest is open to US residents and will close at midnight EST on Saturday, November 27th. Good luck!


Monday, November 22, 2010

8 In Stores This Week (with Interviews & Giveaways)

This week features two intriguing historical fiction books by Jenny Davidson and Esther Friesner, as well as a dystopian mystery by Orson Scott Card. Read on for author insights on their journeys toward publication and be sure to scroll down and enter to win Jenny's new book!

This week's interviews

Invisible Things by Jenny Davidson
  • From Goodreads: In an alternate 1930s Europe, sixteen-year-old Sophie and Mikael, now more than a friend, investigate her parents' death, setting off a chain of events that unravels everything she thought she knew about her family, and involving them in international intrigue and the development of the atomic bomb.

How long did you work on this book?
Well, it's a slightly deceptive question! Let's just say that all books take much, much longer from start to finish than the writer can possibly imagine.... I first started thinking hard about The Explosionist (to which Invisible Things is a sequel) in the summer of 2003. I drafted that novel in the first half of 2004, then rewrote it several times before I ended up with a two-book contract. I was thrilled with that, but it was still tough coming back to write the sequel after several intervening years of life: I guess I wrote the initial draft over the summer and fall of 2008/winter of 2009, then revised it pretty heavily over that winter and spring. I am certainly very happy that it is now seeing the light of day!

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
I think the hardest thing is finding an agent - they seem to have become the main gatekeepers, so that once one has an agent, it is more likely that the book will find a publisher. The journey to publication is always rough, though - the rejections feel painful, the acceptances come with further obligations and complexities that never feel that easy (but one can't complain without sounding like an utter ingrate!). The hardest thing I ever did in my life was get my first novel published (that was Heredity, which appeared from Soft Skull Press in 2003) - nothing to do with The Explosionist or Invisible Things was quite that harrowing...

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Be patient! You have to go back to the book again and again to make it right, and sometimes you might even need to move on altogether from a project in which you've invested a great deal - but you'll always take something away in terms of skills and techniques learned. Don't write on the basis of what you think others will want, think about what you really like to read - read a LOT - and listen to the advice others give you. If their attention flags when reading, it's probably not them, it's your job to fix those bits and make the reader really stay with you!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
It doesn't make anything feel that different! But really, no, it is still a thrill - I still remember the huge kick of getting my first ISBN, what an amazing thing!

Pathfinder (Serpent World #1) by Orson Scott Card
  • From Goodreads: From the internationally bestselling author who brought us Ender’s Game, a brand-new series that instantly draws readers into the dystopian world of Rigg, a teenager who possesses a secret talent that allows him to see the paths of people’s pasts. Rigg’s only confidant is his father, whose sudden death leaves Rigg completely alone, aside from a sister he’s never met. But a chance encounter with Umbo, another teen with a special talent, reveals a startling new aspect to Rigg’s abilities, compelling him to reevaluate everything he’s ever known. Rigg and Umbo join forces and embark on a quest to find Rigg’s sister and discover the true depth and significance of their powers. Because although the pair can change the past, the future is anything but certain…

How long did you work on this book?
Such an ambiguous question. There were long stretches where it was pure play; lots of work happened before I knew that the book was going to be. But I suspect you are asking how much time I spent typing - to which the answer is about 140 hours (averaging five pages an hour), which works out to about 35 writing sessions of 3 to 5 hours each. Toward the end, there were two sessions a day, so in total I'd say four weeks (i.e., 28 work-days). There were days off in the midst of the project, however.

I'm not sure that's a terribly useful number, though. There are projects that I've worked on for decades, if you count "thinking about" as "working." Others practically fly onto the paper the moment I think of them (Enchantment; the Women of Genesis books). All the readers see - or need to see - is the finished product, and the gestation time and the writing time are as unimportant as knowing how many days the actors rehearsed before putting on a play. Either the play is good, or it's not. No excuses, no apologies, no explanations. Ditto with books.

How was your journey to publication? Long, short, how many rejections?
This book existed only as a cool idea (a colony world divided into 19 different regions separated by walls, so that humans could evolve 19 different cultures and have a full range of human history in each) when I sold it to Simon & Schuster as a YA novel. Ironically, I had created the proposal for Scholastic, which had been asking for a sci-fi book for years. But when push came to shove, Scholastic passed on the project, and Simon & Schuster took it. So before I wrote word one, the book was under contract. As I thought about the book, the character of Rigg began to emerge, as also the character of Ram, the pilot who brings the colony ship to the new world. I began to develop reasons for those 19 regions to exist. But it was not until I developed the Expendables in writing the Ram sections that I understood just how the main novel should begin - with the death of Rigg's father. Once I understood that, then the rest of the book flowed pretty smoothly. Even though I was winging a lot of it - that is, constantly revising my outline as better and better stuff came up along the way - and there are major characters who existed in none of my plans, the core idea was absolutely fulfilled. And now I'm writing the next book in the series - you know, the one where I have to start showing some of those 18 OTHER cultures!

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
It depends on which writers you're talking about. For instance, if you're talking about Patrick Rothfuss, then my advice is, Get Me The Sequel To 'The Name of the Wind' or ugly things will start happening to the squirrels in your yard. Similar advice/threats/pleas should be relayed to many other writers whose work I'm following.

Then there are the writers who wrote something wonderful years ago, and now I don't see their name in print anymore. My advice is: Just because you didn't get rich from it doesn't mean you should stop! You were doing wonderful work! Get back to it! Even if we only get a book every ten years, your voice needs to be heard!

But if you're talking about writers who are still struggling to get published, my advice is: 1. If you've been in the same writing workshop for more than a year, quit it at once. You already learned everything you're ever going to learn from those people, and now it's just a support group, social club, or crutch. Settle down and write your novel.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
No withholding of taxes. That was a killer. If there was no such thing as tax withholding, I can promise you, Americans would never stand for this income tax thing. When you actually see it come into your bank account, and then watch vast portions of it go back out again, you'd get really serious about electing Congresspeople who would keep that income tax rate down around ten percent.

Additional Releases


Threads and Flames by Esther Friesner
  • From Goodreads: It's 1910, and thirteen-year-old Raisa has just traveled alone from a small Polish shtetl all the way to New York City. It's overwhelming, awe-inspiring, and even dangerous, especially when she discovers that her sister has disappeared and she must now fend for herself. She finds work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sewing bodices on the popular shirtwaists. Raisa makes friends and even--dare she admit it?--falls in love. But then 1911 dawns, and one March day a spark ignites in the factory. One of the city's most harrowing tragedies unfolds, and Raisa's life is forever changed. . . . One hundred years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, this moving young adult novel gives life to the tragedy and hope of this transformative event in American history.
 Giveaways

Thank you, Jenny Davidson for kindly offering a copy of INVISIBLE THINGS to one lucky reader! Please fill out the form below and leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. The contest is open until midnight on Wednesday the 24th and is open to US residents!

Happy reading,
Martina & Marissa

Friday, November 19, 2010

11 Best Articles This Week for Writers 11/19/2010

After the Sale
Book Reviews
Congrats
Contests
Craft of Writing
Critiquing
Inspiration
Just for Smiles
Self-Editing
Social Media, Twitter, and Blogging
To Market
 Other Weekly Round-Ups:
Did we miss anything? Anyone? Please leave a comment!

Happy reading and joyous writing,

Martina & Marissa