Wednesday, November 15, 2017

YA Book Pick: The Siren

Once a month, we choose an outstanding YA book to review.  We want to spotlight books of interest to aspiring writers, as well as highlight some of our favorite books and authors.

This month's book pick is The Siren by Kiera Cass.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

You must never do anything that might expose our secret.  This means that, in general, you cannot form close bonds with humans.  You can speak to us, and you can always commune with the Ocean, but you are deadly to humans.  You are, essentially, a weapon.  A very beautiful weapon.  I won't line to you, it can be a lonely existence, bt once you are done, you get to live.  All have to give, for now, is obediance and time..."

The same speech has been given hundreds of time to hundred of beautiful girls who enter the sisterhood of the Sirens.  Kahlen has lived by these rules for years now, patiently waiting for the life she can call her own.  But when Akinli, a human, enters her world, she can't bring herself to live the rules anymore. Suddenly the life she's been waiting for doesn't seem nearly as important as the one she's living now.

First line:     It's funny what you hold on to, the things your remember when everything ends.

Highlights:    Interesting premise and characters.  The relationship between the Ocean and Kahlen is intriguing. The story has great beginning and good ending. 

Good read for:  Those interested in mermaid tales, those wanting light romance, and those self publishing. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Parties with Book Themes

Halloween is right around the corner and so I thought it would be fun to have a Book themed party.  I decorated my yard to look like a gingerbread house and I have a witch and Hansel in a cage.  In addition, I made the book theme even more extreme by decorating my house and backyard with other book characters and made a scavenger hunt with which to challenge the guests.  This is just another way to support not only a love for books, but also local authors by incorporating their tales into the decorating. Plus, it is just a fun way to take a break from writing and enjoy life right?!  Happy Writing and remember to keep it real!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Author Success Story: Tristina Wright shares her path to publication for 27 HOURS + a giveaway!

I'm excited to welcome Tristina Wright to share her inspiring path to pub success story for her debut novel 27 Hours, out now from Entangled Teen.  Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for a chance to win a 27 Hours prize back!

In 2005, a character started nagging at me. He was stubborn and wouldn’t take no for an answer no matter how much I tried to ignore him. After a few years of pushing him to one side in favor of day jobs and making ends meet, I started jotting down scenes and forming the first of what would be many, many drafts with this character named Rumor.

Between 2009 and 2011, I wrote probably four or five different books with Rumor and various characters, trying to find the right story for him. I thought I had it a few times, circling closer and closer each time until I hit on a dystopian concept that relied heavily on the gargoyle mythology toward the early of 2011. I polished it and began querying middle of 2011, I think?

Querying took forever. It feels like forever. The best advice I would give for querying writers is to find the writing community and dive in. Find other writers who are at the same stage as you are so you have commiserating buddies. No one else truly gets it like someone else who’s there. You can swap querying tips. Y’all can talk agents together. Y’all can swap queries and pages for feedback. I met some of my earliest critique partners when I was querying—people I still talk to and write with today.

Also, while you’re querying, work on something else. I wrote a steampunk star-crossed romance based on Eros and Psyche. Took me about a year. When it was polished and ready to query, I let the final queries on Rumor’s book run out (meaning I didn’t send out any new ones when I got rejections).

In 2012, I received an offer of rep from an agent on my steampunk romance. While that romance went on submission with editors, I pulled Rumor back out and worked on him with my agent and my critique partners. I still felt a pull toward this story and a need to tell it.

Needless to say, the romance didn’t make it very far, and we went back out with Rumor & Co. for the first round of submission in early 2014. It got close. Really close. After a very long talk, I decided to revise it, which is when I decided to put it in space. It took me not quite a year to revise it to that effect and we went back out on submission with it in late 2015.

While I was working on it, however, I would keep myself sane by tweeting lines and such on Twitter. And to make it easier to search later, I kept track of them by using the same hashtag. That’s where #queerteensinspace came from. My now-editor Kate Brauning saw the hashtag and contacted my agent and basically said, “When she’s done with that, I want to read it.”

So, she did. And then she offered. And the rest is, as they say, history.

The biggest piece of advice I’d give to writers is: Don’t call yourself aspiring. If you write, you’re a writer. There are those who will try to tell you that you don’t qualify unless… They’ll try to apply qualifications or checklists. You have to meet all these requirements. And that’s silly. Do you write? Yes? Then you’re a writer. End of discussion. You’re not aspiring. You’re a writer.

About 24 Hours:
27 Hours by Tristina Wright
Publication Date:  October 3, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother's shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon's darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.

About Tristina Wright

Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid,
but no one can get confirmation. She fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at a young age and frequently got caught writing in class instead of paying attention. She enjoys worlds with monsters and kissing and monsters kissing. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up more stories for her wombfruit, who keep life exciting and unpredictable.

Giveaway Details:
A 27 Hours Prize Pack, including:
* A 27 Hours Candle
* A set of 27 Hours Character Cards
* AND a copy of an October release *
*Open internationally wherever The Book Depository ships

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

National Novel Writing Month - November- is right around the corner

Ah fall, time for football, homecoming mums, colorful leaves, pumpkin, and hours and hours of writing.

October is finally here and just around the corner is November which means NaNo time.  Writing 50,000 words in one month may seem overwhelming but here's a few tips that might help.

1.  You can start now by planning.
      You can develop ideas, characters, story arcs, outline, plan     
       chapters, etc.
       NaNo Prep has some more tips on their website to help with this. 

2.  Once November hits and you start writing, take breaks as you need them.
      Breaks help you clear your head and regroup - so use them. 

3. Ditch the distractions.
    Sure TV has geared up with their fall line up, but record & watch those shows later.
    Social Media is another time suck - albeit a fun one.  Just monitor time spent on it.
     Clean up or take care of projects in October before NaNo so that you don't have clutter
      or half finished work staring at you while you write. 

4.  Just write. 

5. Above all . . . have fun! 

                                                                 Happy Writing!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Self-Publishing — Is It Right for You?

"Are you going to self-publish?" "Did you know you can put your book on Amazon and sell it?" "Why are you wasting time trying to get an agent if you can just do it yourself?"

If you're pursuing traditional publication and you aren't a runaway success story, you've probably had well-meaning friends and relatives ask you about self-publishing (I know I have!). It can sometimes be tough to explain your reasoning when it's taking years to make forward progress.

One very good reason? Self-publishing the right way, to give yourself the best chance of success, is expensive. Author Susanne Dunlap published a blog post this week that breaks down the costs, including cover design, editing, and social media marketing.

Distribution can be an issue, too. If you've always dreamed of seeing your work in the checkout line at Target or at the Scholastic Book Fair, you'll have a much better shot if you publish traditionally.

Of course, the decision between self and traditional publishing is largely dependent on your goals. Do you want to make a career out of writing, or are you happy if it's something you do on the side around your day job? Do you enjoy and/or are you good at marketing yourself? (It's important to note, though, that traditional publishers expect their authors to carry a good chunk of the marketing load themselves these days too.)

Here are some good resources for researching the pros and cons of self-publishing:

Writer's Digest — The Pros and Cons of Self Publishing (& Traditional Publishing)


Business Know-How — Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing