Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pitch Wars . . . The Agents!



Pitch Wars ... the agents!

Are you ready for this? We have 16 incredible agents vying for our Pitch Wars team manuscripts. We're so excited to see what pitches they fall in love with, and what teams will win the coveted Pitch Wars Most Requested Manuscript title. 


And, in no particular order, here are the agents...



Louise is seeking teen Sci-Fi and Young Adult horror.  She's also on the hunt for deep, dark contemporary YA and select Middle Grade fiction with a literary feel--it must be realistic and thought provoking and the characters must be authentic and original. Louise loves horror and romance, especially Regency and Victorian.





Jessica Sinsheimer
Twitter: @jsinsheim 

Jessica is seeking Literary, Women's, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Fiction.




Twitter: @Natalie_Lakosil 

Natalie is looking for commercial fiction, with an emphasis in children’s literature (from picture book-teen), romance (contemporary, paranormal and historical), and upmarket women’s fiction. Specific likes include historical, multi-cultural, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, and middle grade with heart. 


Twitter: @BookaliciousPam

Pam represents young adult and middle grade children’s book authors, and adult romance authors. 

Twitter: @bluedragonfly81 

Jordy is on the look out for Romance (contemporary, historical/Regency, and paranormal). YA contemporary/historical or dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy with romance elements. She's also open to YA GLBT within those genres. She'd love to see unique, well-developed plots featuring time travel, competitions, or travel.


Twitter: @andreasomberg 

Andrea's looking for the following categories: Fiction; literary, commercial, womens fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, middle grade.




Jennifer Mishler
Twitter: @literarycounsel 

Jennifer is seeking Young Adult Fantasy, Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Literary, and Young Adult Historical. 




Suzie Townsend
New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
Twitter: @sztownsend81 

Suzie represents adult and children's fiction. In adult, she's specifically looking for romance (historical and paranormal), and fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy). In Childrens' she loves YA (all subgenres) and is dying to find great Middle Grade projects (especially something akin to the recent movie SUPER 8).

  

Victoria Marini
Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, Inc. 

Victoria is looking for literary fiction, commercial fiction, pop-culture non-fiction, and young adult. She is very interested in acquiring engaging Literary fiction and mysteries / suspense, commercial women's fiction (romantic suspense, sci-fi, fantasy), and Young Adult (contemporary, sci-fi/fantasy, thriller and horror ).



Kerry is looking for Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction, both commercial and literary. She tends to shy away from werewolves, zombies, faeries, and the like, but she’ll read anything with a fresh voice and compelling characters. She is particularly keen on contemporary YA, quirky MG, books with a strong cinematic element.  




Drea is currently seeking: fiction, memoir, crime, non-fiction and YA. Her roster consists of British, American, and Canadian clients. International talent is welcome. 




Katie Shea

Katie specializes in fiction and memoir, especially women’s fiction and commercial-scale literary fiction, and realistic YA.  She is most interested in coming-of-age stories and stories of unique relationships.


 Elise Capron

Elise is interested in serious character-driven literary fiction, well-written narrative nonfiction, and short story collections. (Note: She is not interested in Fantasy, young-adult/middle-grade, picture books, romance, and sci-fi.) She aims to work with writers who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience.



Jodell is interested in YA, MG (especially funny) , fiction and nonfiction, book proposals, and picture books. She will also coach writers wanting to self publish.  She simply loves a well-paced story that moves her between joy and tears.


Brittany and Michelle are teaming up to look for Adult, YA, and MG manuscripts. 


 Michelle Johnson
Twitter: @MJsRetweet 

Michelle’s published one novel, The Footloose Killer, and edited several others for publishing houses and private clients. She also is a Script/Story consultant on an independent film in Halifax, NS, Canada, and enjoys working closely with writers to help them develop their voice and craft.



Brittany Howard
Twitter: @brittanydhoward


When reading, Brittany  loves to be introduced to new and interesting people and places. She looks for strong voice, good storytelling, and fascinating relationships between characters—romantic or otherwise. More than anything, she loves when a book surprises her.




There's just one more day to get your applications in for Pitch Wars. Make sure to check out this post here to get all the details.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pitch Wars: What I'm looking for.

Hi guys!! The time has finally come for us to share what we'll be looking for as mentors during Pitch Wars. If you don't know me already, I'm a YA writer represented by Michelle Witte (that's Witt-y) at Mansion Street Literary. I'm also a blogger over at The Secret Life of Writers. I've been writing all my life, whether it was short stories, poems, blogs, etc. It wasn't until summer of 2011 that I wrote my first YA manuscript and considered querying.

It's been a dream of mine to become a published author since I was kid. I never pursued it because, well, I thought you had to be some fancy college graduate who spent six years of their life taking writing classes. It never occurred to me that becoming a writer was all about practicing the craft and doing it because you love it. The intimidation of it alone was frightening. Am I any good? Will anyone read it? Do I even know how to write? Finally, one day I just started typing. I kept writing and writing, not knowing how many stories I've had buried inside me all this time. It was such a relief, not to mention so much fun, finally getting the words and images out of my head. After a solid year of writing and querying (if you want to hear more about my query process, keep an eye on the Secret Life of Writers blog. I'll be sharing my experience soon.), I found myself an amazing agent who loved my story as much as me. It was so surreal.

So. When I found out about Pitch Wars, I just had to take part. If there's any way that I can help another writer pursue their dream, just like all the published and unpublished writers helped me, I have to do it.

With that being said, let's get to it!

What I'm looking for: 

YA manuscripts in these sub genres.

YA Horror/Supernatural: I'm not a fan of gore, but if you've got something like ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD or THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER, CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT, SCREAM, SLEEPAWAY CAMP etc. I want to see something involving ghosts that has a great twist or a slasher that I could find in a classic horror movie. These are the things I'd love to read about. I want to be scared.

YA Psychological Thriller: If you've got something like SLICE OF CHERRY–– serial killers and crazy storylines with an unreliable narrator, I want it! I love twisted narrators that make me want to know what they're all about. It doesn't necessarily have to be first person. I like action, but I'm not looking for guns and car chases. I want the premise to be so bizarre that I can't figure it out until I read the end.

YA Magical Realism: Personally, I don't think there's enough of this out there. If you've got a story like BIG FISH, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS, NIGHT CIRCUS or IMAGINARY GIRLS, please please please send it to me! I want to read this story and feel as if I've stepped into another world without even realizing it. I'm not asking for straight fantasy. This is all about real world colliding with the impossible. I want your story to make me feel like magic truly exists.

If you pick me as your mentor, not only will we have a blast, but we'll be Vandancing our way through this contest.


Now for all the details.

Submissions start today (11/26)! The cut off time to get your applications (query & first five pages of manuscript) in is 8AM EST on December 5.

Send your applications to brendadrakecontests@gmail.com. Writers can apply for up to 3 coaches. The coaches' categories are set. Coaches can only consider the categories they've signed up for. Writers cannot apply for a coach that is not in their category.

For additional information about this contest go HERE!

· This is open to finished manuscripts only.
· You may only enter one manuscript.
· Only the genres requested by each coach will be considered for the contest.

Formatting...

Subject line: Pitch Wars Application: Coach Name you want to apply for: Title (Example: Pitch Wars Application: Brenda Drake: GONE WITH THE WIND)

Name: Your Name Genre: The genre of your manuscript

Word Count: The word count of your manuscript

Query letter here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.

First five pages of the manuscript here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.

 ````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.

Check back soon for a complete list of the amazing agents participating in the contest. There's over a dozen! 

Today all the coaches are posting bios/wish lists on their blogs. So before choosing your top 3 picks, check all the coaches' posts in your category before deciding which coach to submit. To jump from blog to blog, just click on our pictures below.
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Good luck! I can't wait to read your entries. xo

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Secret Life of Writers

It's official! The blog I've been working on with fellow agented writers is finally up. Find out who they are and what we're about here!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pitch Wars!


We're extremely excited to announce an upcoming event where  agented authors, industry interns, and editors team up with aspiring writers to shine up their manuscripts and pitches to present to some awesome agents.

Here's the deets...

  • The teams will consist of 1 agented author or industry intern or editor (coaches) and 1 aspiring author.

  • November 26: The coaches (listed on the linky below) will post on their blogs what genre/category they want to coach. They'll be very specific genres. Aspiring writers will hop around and decide which coaches best fit their manuscripts.

  • November 26 through December 5 at 8PM EST: Aspiring writers will submit 3 "applications" to their top choices for coaches to the contest email (brendadrakecontests@gmail.com). That means, participants will send three separate emails to the contest email addressing each with one of their three top choices for coach.

  • December 5 through December 10: Coaches will read the applications and pick teammates.The coaches don't have to pick from their applications. If a coach passes on an application, it is then up for grabs and another coach, if they haven't connected to their applicants, can snatch it after notifying the applicant and if the applicant chooses the coach.

  • December 12: Teams will be announced. On the announcement post there will be instructions on how the winners must send their work.

  • December 12 through January 16: Each coach will read their teammate's manuscript and give general notes on any issues they find. The coach will help their teammate get his or her pitches ready for the agent round.

  • Note: The material for the agent round will be a 3 sentence pitch and the first 250 words of your manuscript. Coaches will read manuscripts and query letters only once and give notes. It is up to the writer to use the notes from their coaches to get the manuscript and query letter in as best shape as they can to send to requesting agents. The coaches will critique the three sentence pitch and first 250 words. The coaches will read them as many times as they deem necessary. In no way will writers expect the coaches to read the manuscript and query letter more than once or the pitches more than twice.

  • January 20: Coaches will submit shined pitches to the contest email.

  • January 23 and 24: Agents will read and make requests on the pitches they like (it is likely that not all participants will get requests).

  • January 25: We'll announce the team with the most requests and who will take home the winning prizes (an amazon gift card for each).

  • This is open to finished manuscripts only.

  • You may only enter one manuscript.

  • Only the genres requested by each coach will be considered for the contest.

 Formatting...

Subject line: Pitch Wars Application: Coach Name you want to apply for: Title (Example: Pitch Wars Application: Brenda Drake: GONE WITH THE WIND)


Name: Your Name

Genre: The genre of your manuscript

Word Count: The word count of your manuscript


Query letter here  (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.


First five pages of the manuscript here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.


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REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.


Our mentors ...

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween with a YA Misfit

Happy Halloween, lovelies!! We get to celebrate today with a guest. Who, you say? I've got the beautiful Jenny Kaczorowski from the YA Misfits to do an interview with me, right here on this very blog. Are you ready? 

Say hello to Jenny!! 

What do you love about the YA genre?

The intensity. When I was teenager, EVERYTHING was life or death. Everything. There’s a level of passion that adult fiction just doesn’t match for me. All the angst and the drama and the discovery makes for wonderful stories. YA lets me see the world through newly opened eyes again. It lets me fall in love for the first time, experience heartbreak for the first time, discover myself for the first time.

What book made you feel ALL THE THINGS and inspired you to write?
You might laugh, but probably a Beatrix Potter story. My mom read to me and my siblings every night when we were little. I remember trying to write my own story about the rabbits in our backyard because I wanted my little sister to have her own Peter Rabbit story. I began taking my writing seriously after a friend loaned me Twilight. I know those books get a lot of hate these days, but my inner 15-year-old ate it up. It made me realize that all those bits of stories stashed on my computer might have a place after all. Of course I started querying about a year too late and the market is pretty saturated, but I love a good paranormal story and I write what I love.

What genre do you write?
I like to call my writing “beautiful-dark fantasy.” I love to have some kind of otherworldly element, but usually in a contemporary setting. The manuscript I’m querying is an urban fantasy with a strong mystery element. My work in progress is somewhere on the border of contemporary fantasy and magical realism. I’d love to write Science Fiction, but my brain overloads when I try to make the fantastical elements make sense.

Name your top five favorite YA books.
I have to go with something published, right? Because I’ve beta read some AWESOME books that just haven’t found their homes – yet. My list of favorites is ever-changing, but here’s the first five that popped into my head:

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

What YA book would you love to see as a movie?
My husband works in the movie industry and I love film to an unreasonable level. But honestly, I prefer most books to stay as books. Big screen adaptations are almost never as good as the books are in my head. I watched The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at one of the big theatres in Hollywood, with fake snow falling on the audience and an organist performing before the show. Then all I could do was pick out the flaws in the movie. I like my books as books.

Who is your favorite villain?
The best villains are the ones who you understand on some level. The ones you almost find yourself rooting for. Their means might be flawed, but their motives make sense. I also love super-intelligent villains – like Hannibal Lector or the Scarecrow from Batman. I’d much rather be taken down by someone smarter than me.

Are you working on something now? What is it about?
My work in progress is currently called Signal Hill. It’s about a boy who controls lightning and the girl who protects him from people who want to exploit his gift. I’m about halfway through and there is a whole lot of kissing.

If you could give one piece of advice on writing, what would it be?
Write what you love and keep writing it. The publishing industry is brutal. If you’re writing for anyone other than you, you won’t make it. You have to love every story – they need to burn inside of you – or it’s far to easy to give up. If you believe in your stories, agents and publishers will recognize that and, if my critique partners are any indication, you’ll find someone who loves your story as much as you do and it will be magic.

Thank you so much to Jenny and the YA Misfits for letting me feature them on my blog today. You can follow Jenny on Twitter and be sure to check out their blog. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

NaNoWriMo


For the first time ever, I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I wasn't sure if I could handle the pressure, but I'm willing to take the challenge. If you're not familiar with it, it's basically a way to encourage writers to complete a novel within one month. Signing up gives you a place to meet other writers and to hold you accountable when it comes to getting those words in. It's especially helpful for those who need that extra push to stare at the computer for hours and hours, and to write a novel without constantly editing. I used to be really bad at that when I first started. I'd write a chapter or two, then go back and edit the thing to death before I even got the guts of the story in place. Now that I'm more familiar with my craft, I feel that NaNoWriMo will be a fun way to interact with other people and to cheer on my fellow writers.

If you're participating during the month of November, feel free to add me here! It kicks off November first, so be sure to sign up soon. Hope to see you there!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Spooky Books for a Spooky Month

I've been M.I.A. on the blog lately. If you don't follow me on Twitter, which I believe most of you do, you might have missed some big news. Two weeks ago I announced that I am officially represented by Michelle Witte from Mansion Street Literary. This is HUGE news and I'm thrilled to be a part of the Mansion Street Team. I haven't decided whether I'm going to post an agent story or not, but believe me when I say that I knew it would be Michelle all along.

I also celebrated my birthday on the tenth, so I guess you can say that October has been pretty awesome. And to celebrate this month, because it's my ultimate favorite, I've been sticking with some pretty spooky and creeptastic books.

If you haven't checked out The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, then you are seriously missing out. Maggie's writing is hauntingly beautiful, telling the story of four boys and one girl on the search for spiritual energy that will lead them to the source of an ancient legend. Each character has intriguing backstory, and as their worlds collide, more and more secrets are revealed. I couldn't put this book down.

I have yet to finish my next book, but I have to share it because it fits right along with the theme.
The Diviners by Libba Bray is the first book I've ever read by her, and it's a wonderful story with a curious mystery I'm anxious to find the answer to. The concept is intriguing and the killer is one who will definitely give you chills.

Are you celebrating October with a creeptastic YA? Do share!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What Book Got You Reading?

This post is inspired by my 3rd/4th grade teacher, whom I've just found once again after all these years. It reminded me of the time she read this book in class that had me completely intrigued. The characters and story were both relatable, as a girl with an older brother who acted more like a younger brother, and funny, because the things the MC got himself into were hysterical. I remember being fascinated by this story and I couldn't wait for her to read more every day, if even just for a few minutes. I got so sucked in that I just had to have this book. I remember asking my mom over and over again, "Can I have this book? Can I have this book? CAN I HAVE THIS BOOK?" Until finally! *a light shines down from the heavens* There it was in my hands.

I read this book so many times, there was a point when I could have told it to you by heart. This story had me grabbing for every book in the entire series. I couldn't stop myself. I was a reading machine! It was the book that started it all. Reading had become the one thing I loved most because of that book, and since then I never looked back.

What book was it, you ask?

I still look at this cover and see the little boy who opened his eyes to all these strange faces staring down at him. The little boy who discovered these strange things called hands, and the excitement of this little boy named Sam walking for the first time. Just thinking about it makes me want to run out the door, head straight to B&N, and buy this book. I can't even believe I no longer have it.

So tell me, friends. What book got you reading?

Monday, September 17, 2012

ALL THE FEELS

I'm way behind on this, but if you follow me on Twitter then you know I just got done reading ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins.

Now, I read LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR first, which I know is out of order. So in the end I knew what would become of Anna and St. Clair. I thought that would ruin it for me, but it absolutely did not. Since I'd already checked out Lola, I knew that I could expect an amazing story from Anna. And let me tell you, it didn't disappoint.

Have you ever read a book that made you want to hug it close to your chest after you finished it? Yeah, that was Anna. I just got through this amazing journey with this character, and ended up falling in love with St. Clair along with her, that I just didn't want it to end. (Pretty much exactly how I felt after reading Lola.) I sat there staring at the cover, wishing for just a few more pages. A part of me wanted to start reading Lola immediately after, but then I realized my friend is borrowing it and inside I screamed, "NOOOOOO!"

I seriously cannot wait for Stephanie's new book: ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. Will she bring Lola and Cricket in for a special appearance along with Anna and St. Clair? I bet she will somehow!

What book gives you ALL THE FEELS?


Sunday, September 9, 2012

ORIGIN Giveaway


So I won a signed ARC of ORIGIN by Jessica Khoury last month from the Intergalactic Academy, and I just loved it so much that I have to share it with you guys! It is such a unique story and I loved all the characters, especially Pia and Eio. I just couldn't put it down because I needed to know what happened next. Jessica has such a great writing voice and I am so looking forward to reading her next book.

The Rafflecopter below will enter you into the giveaway. It ends next Sunday, September 16th. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's Almost Fall! Know What That Means?

VAMPIRE DIARIES RETURNS!!!

First of all, can we talk about this trailer? *SPOILER ALERT* Don't watch this if you haven't seen the third season.

When I first heard about Vampire Diaries I was like: "Ugh. Please. It's just another Twilight." I stayed far away for the first two seasons. It's a dumb excuse but it's true. Then I found out that *duh* Vampire Diaries came out in book form way before Twilight and I was being totally ridiculous and needed to jump on the TVD train immediately!

In comes my favorite thing ever: NETFLIX. I kept passing the TVD cover in my suggestions and finally I was like okay, let's do this. The first episode or two were kind of cheesy, but I instantly fell for the Stefan/Elena romance. Who wouldn't?! Of course there was Damon and my life changed when I discovered the hotness of Ian Somerhalder. Bye bye, Edward! (Btw...what happened to the Damon fog?)

Anyway...I got sucked into this show like everyone else, and the third season took us all on this insane roller coaster, leaving us going "WHAT?" I seriously can't wait to see what happens this next season.  A part of me hopes that Jeremy will come back and they'll axe Bonnie because she's just there when it's convenient. I think the biggest question is: Will Elena feed? I'm thinking HECK YES! But they'll probably drag it out way longer than necessary. Overall, I just need more Damon in my life and that wish will be fulfilled the day AFTER my birthday on October 11th. Woo hoo!! Best belated gift ever? I THINK SO!

What do you think will happen this season?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Insomniac Alert

What is it about being a writer that keeps us up at all hours of the night? I often find myself wide awake well after midnight, and whenever I go on Twitter it'll more than likely be filled with my writer friends having the same problem. Sometimes I attempt to go to bed at a decent hour, but all I do is stare up at the ceiling thinking about how I'm going to kill off a character, or if I'll get that long awaited email in the morning. I'm pretty sure we all have those problems.

I think most of you lovely people stay awake because the kids have gone to bed and it's your time to write. Others seem to get those creative juices flowing in the early hours of morning. Me? I suppose it all depends on where I'm at in my manuscript or if I'm brainstorming. Most of the time my mind is filled with all the different possibilities of where my writing will take me. Call it a daydream or whatnot.

It's fun to imagine where I'll be in a year. Heck! Even a month from now. So much has happened from the time I decided to plop myself in front of the computer and actually write something. That was a year ago last month, I do believe. I've learned so much, and I can't help but imagine what else could possibly happen.

There are about a million things that keep me awake at night, but I'm glad I have all of you to keep me company. Being an insomniac isn't too shabby when I've got a ton of Twitter friends to chat with.

What about you? Do you do most of your writing at night? What keeps you up?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Reading List

Lately I've been in the mood for some dark and creepy reads. As most of you know from Twitter, I've been consuming Kendare Blake's sequel to ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD:
I can honestly say that Cas is one of my favorite male protagonists. He's hilarious. He's believable. He kicks major ass. The minute GIRL OF NIGHTMARES was released I couldn't wait to purchase it. I knew that it was going to be just as amazing as the first book. And let me tell you, it's not only as good, it's twice as freaky and twice as freaking awesome. The first chapter captured my attention instantly, sucking me right back into the story the way a sequel should. I'm not even done with this book and I can tell you that it's gonna be my new favorite. 

The next book on my list is: 
I realize I'm a little behind on this one, but don't judge me! POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil has received a lot of praise and I've been meaning to read this book for months. It takes a lot to scare me as far as books go (movies are entirely different), and I'm really hoping this one gives me the chills like everyone says it will. Not that I'm judging this book solely on that, because I'm sure I'm going to love it! 

I also have my eyes set on: 
Isn't this cover hauntingly beautiful? I was lucky enough to come across THE UNQUIET by Jeannine Garsee on Goodreads, and immediately after reading the premise I added it to my TBR list. The idea that she's a bipolar MC was intriguing to me. I've heard great things about how Jeannine really captures the illness along with throwing the MC into supernatural territory. Those two things mixed together give me all sorts of ideas about what could happen in this book and I'm so anxious to find out! 

These are the books I've got lined up for the next few weeks. What's on YOUR reading list? 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Inspiration

Lately I've been thinking a lot about what inspires me. What is it that makes me sit in front of the computer and write an outrageous number of words? What drives me to spends hours upon hours revising a manuscript over and over again?

Well, we all have our goals. We all want to do something bigger and better that what we are currently doing in our lives. That's not to say that we're unhappy, because I can honestly say that I love my day job. I'm fortunate enough to have a job that revolves around creativity and being my own person. I love that. But there's a part of me that needs so much more. I turned to writing because it was a passion I've had since I was a child. Whether it was a journal or a blog, I always found myself connected to words. Just by the way you can string them together to create some source of emotion or thought. I'd poor my heart out as if I were exposing myself to the world. That's what it feels like, doesn't it? It's like you're opening yourself up and showing everyone who you really are, because everything we say on paper is a piece of you that was created from an event or moment in your life.

It takes a lot for us to work up the courage to show anyone what we write. Handing over your manuscript to be critiqued can sometimes be the toughest thing you ever do. We're basically handing over our work and saying "Rip it apart and tell me how to make it better." And even though you know that's what you're asking these people to do, it still doesn't soften the blow when you receive those critiques with all those bright yellow notes saying "FIX THIS."

So why do we put ourselves through this torture? Because we have a passion for what we do, and we want more than anything to become the best that we can be. Not only does my love for writing drive me to continue, but the support I receive from all of you each and every day inspires me. I'm not just talking about all the positive things you say to me to make me smile. (Though I do love that very much.) I'm talking about the way you all support one another. When I go online and see how everyone gets along, and how we all motivate each other to keep writing ALL THE WORDS throughout the day, it makes me the happiest writer in the world. To be a part of such an awesome community makes all the difference to me. It makes me realize that where I am in life is exactly where I was meant to be.

So tell me, friends. What inspires you?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ghosts and such

You know what I love about ghosts? I love the idea of them. Weird, right? Hang with me for a second. The thing I find fascinating is the concept that unworldly things like ghosts exist and feed off our energy. That they just sort of linger around causing mischief. I don't think the mischief thing is all they're about, but you get what I'm saying. You can argue that no one knows for certain that they're real, because it honestly depends on what you believe in. It's all a matter of believing, because once you believe you start to experience things on your own.

I've always been a sucker for a good ghost story, mainly because I love to be scared. The idea that these people or things lurk about unnoticed is just chilling and incredible at the same time. Shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures are my absolute favorite! Sure I can't watch them when I'm alone at night, but that's why I love it! They make you "feel" something. Whenever they catch something on camera or an EVP, I get chills. My heart starts racing, my head wants to turn away or I want to cover my ears from hearing its unsettling words, but my brain is like "I have to know!"

When it comes to movies, I tend to enjoy ghost stories like Woman in Black. It has that creep factor, but it's not overly gory. I also felt like it had an older, more classic horror feel to it, which is a big win for me. But then I also enjoy movies like The Eye that was made in Japan. I don't know what it is, but Korean and Japanese horror films are seriously amazing. The plots and effects know how to scare the living hell out of me. They're not always completely predictable like some movies. *eye roll* They know how to deliver an idea without beating you over the head with cliches. I was watching another ghost story on Netflix the other night called White. Holy. Crap.

Where some ghost movies become over-saturated with gore, I rather enjoy the ones that are all about the scare. That's also what I look for in a good book. I want to understand the ghost, get to know them. Not just think: "Wow. That throat slashing was a bit unnecessary." The ghost needs to be three dimensional, it needs a reason to exist.

So tell me, friends. What are some of your favorite books/movies that involve ghosts? What do you think about the idea of them?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Greetings, Fellow Browncoats!

So there's this show that came out back in 2002, maybe you've heard of it. It's called something like this:



Someone called me out on Twitter ::cough:: @TrishaleighKC ::cough:: when I mentioned that I didn't know who "Jayne" was via a convo between a few people. When I announced that I hadn't seen it, they said:

Basically, everyone on Twitter told me I had to drop everything and watch this show. I listened, because you don't mess with Twitter folk when majority of your feed is screaming "DO EEEET." And let me tell you something, Twitter knows what they're talking about.

The first time I saw the credits and figured out that it was a space western, I was like:
Because HOW AWESOME IS THAT!? How could I have missed something this amazing all this time? Where have I been?!

Some people said it would take a few episodes to get into, but with such hilarious and fantastic characters surrounded by phenomenal world building, it sucked me in from the get go. As I've told a few of you already, I am completely baffled by the fact that this show was canceled so early on. Actually, when I looked it up and found out it was taken off the air mid-season I was like:


So here I am obsessing over this show with the knowledge that the awesomeness is only going to go so far. Once it's on I can't look away, like this guy:


Ever since I started watching Firefly, I feel like I've become part of some badass club I never knew anything about:


And people no longer have to think this about me:


I love finding new things to get into and this was something that needed to be done ages ago. I'm embarrassed by how long it took me to discover Firefly, but now that I have I'm like:


So thank you, Twitter, for the best recommendation EVER! Now if you excuse me, I have a Firefly marathon to get back to.

Monday, July 30, 2012

SURPRISE!

I GOT MARRIED!!!!

Okay. So I realize no one had any idea this was going down last weekend. Let me explain: I kept it a secret for several personal reasons, and I realize that's kind of strange, but just go with it. Believe me when I say it was the most difficult secret to keep EVER. Seriously. You know how much I adore you all and I wanted to tell you so bad!! I dropped a few hints here and there, but I really wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

You forgive me, right? Right? I know you do, because you're way too excited for me to be upset. *winky face*

It'll be a while before we get the professional photos, but Facebook is already blowing up with millions of candid shots and cell phone related pictures. So much fun!

Here's a shot of me from our suite as I wait for the big moment.
I'm gonna keep the photos to a minimum, but I have to share a photo of us newlyweds.
I'm so sad the day is over. It was absolutely perfect in every way. Truly a dream. I look forward to reliving it every day through the beautiful pictures and to spending the rest of my life with my wonderful husband.

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I heart you all!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Love Triangles

I've been watching a lot of Korean dramas lately (aka kdramas), and I have to admit that as a YA writer, you can learn a heck of a lot from these shows. Why? Because they know how to tell a well-executed love story with just the right amount of affection. It's not in your face or over the top, which at times can be a little overwhelming. I'm not the only one who thinks so. There are several writers/agents out there who agree that kdramas have the tension and excitement that come with having a new love. Check out Laura's blog post where we talk more about that topic.

The biggest thing I enjoy about the relationships in any story is a good love triangle. Yes, I am one of those. You throw in two smart/gorgeous guys and you've won me over. Of course, there's always the badass, right? Then there's the good guy. Majority of the time, the badass always wins, but every once in a while we see the good guy come through.

Here's what I personally like to see in a love triangle: best friends/brothers going after the same girl. See, when it's two guys who hate each other, it's too easy. I almost always cheer for the good guy, because even though he's perfect for her in every way––you know she won't pick him––but it makes you love him even more. It's like I want to say "But I love you, Good Guy!" And when I talk about bad guy, I don't mean the hot badass with the potty mouth. I mean the guy who completely treats the girl like crappola. Why must the girl always go after the jerk? Let's not get into that. I could go on forever.

The only time I've ever rooted for the bad guy was in Vampire Diaries. Look how sweet Damon turned out to be. He used to make me cringe, but now I'm all for him! This has nothing to do with my massive crush on Ian Somerhalder, I swear. *le sigh* (SPOILER: If Damon and Elena don't end up together next season, so help me.)

Back to what I was saying. When it's two best friends/brothers, I'm completely torn. To me, that's a curveball. Now, I realize that Damon and Stefan are brothers, but I'm talking about brothers who actually like each other. Sure they like each other now, but that wasn't always the case. With that said, I hate to see a girl come between two friends/brothers, but boy do I love all the Oh snap! moments. When best friend/brother #1 gets oh so close to making a move, but then best friend/brother #2 comes to her rescue and swoops her off her feet. Game on, man!

There's always those sweet moments when you think something is finally going to happen, and you're in the background with your pom pom's cheering them on. Out of nowhere, best friend/brother #1 brushes his hand oh so gently across her face, and she swoons. It goes on and on and on. One does something adorable, then the next guy one-ups the other.

I mean, sometimes the girl is a complete moron, and you're like "Really, lady?!" It's like you want her to choose and end all the suffering, but then you don't because you're enjoying the show. That's the kind of love triangle I like to read about or watch. It keeps me sucked in, teetering on the edge of my seat, anxious to see what happens next.

What do you think? What keeps you wanting more in a love triangle?

*p.s. If you haven't yet, make sure you enter my giveaway to win a YA book. Winners choice!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

From Me to You

I am so thrilled to have finished my fifth YA manuscript over the weekend! After several nights staying up until three in the morning, I completed the first draft and even finished the first round of revisions. As of this morning, the manuscript has been sent off to my critique partner, and I was so excited that I thought: "IT'S TIME FOR A GIVEAWAY!"

You have all been incredibly supportive, cheering me on through Twitter the entire way. I'd love to share how grateful I am by coming up with the coolest giveaway I could think of it. Are you ready for this? No, really. Are you ready?

Here it is!

One person will win the chance to pick ONE YA book of their choice. That's right, any YA book! It *must* be YA, for obvious reasons. Preferably something that has already been released, because waiting for something to come out would just be no fun.

This giveaway is open in the U.S. ONLY. I'm so sorry international peeps. I promise to do something for everyone next time! The Rafflecopter below will get you started. The contest is open until August 6th. Good luck!! *update* Please leave your email, so I can contact you if you win! UPDATE: THE WINNER IS JESSICA TAYLOR!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Writer Survival Guide 101

I've been involved in the writing world for just over a solid year. There are a lot of things to learn about putting yourself and your work out in the world and some of those things are: patience, handling criticism, proper online etiquette (this is a HUGE one) and supporting others.

Let's start with Patience:
From what I've experienced, and what I'm told by others, you will always be waiting. Whether it's waiting to hear back from a query, a request, or a submission. Waiting is the name of the game, and in order to win, you must learn to be patient. Otherwise, you have a long and suffering road ahead.

Twitter stalking, or whatever else there is, will do you no good. Let's be honest with ourselves and say we've all done this. I learned the hard way when I thought an agent was talking about me, then of course all my friends agreed (because why wouldn't they?), and when I found out it wasn't about me––let's just say it wasn't fun. Tracking what agents do or say gets you absolutely nowhere. I know it's hard, but don't do it to yourself. It's not worth the stress and heartache, because eventually someone will say yes, and it may not be that agent you've been tracking like a hawk since you sent your query.

Be patient. Keep writing. Stay busy. And wait.

Criticism:
Oh, the sweet yet bitter taste of criticism. It's excruciating to have your work in the hands of someone you know and admire. Their feedback means a lot to you, but sometimes feedback isn't always positive. And that's okay. Everyone needs that harsh reality about they're writing, because how else do we learn? If all anyone ever tells you is the good things, how is that going to help? No first draft, not even the second, is going to be perfect. Maybe it's happened before, but it's very rare.

You have to remember that when people give you constructive criticism, they're only doing it to help you better yourself and your writing. This is why it's so important to have betas/critique partners you trust. Yes, it is hard to find a trustworthy partner. Here's why: sometimes you'll find someone who's out only for themselves. It's a harsh truth, but true nonetheless. Choose wisely and get to know them. It's extremely important.

I've received quite a few hardcore feedbacks since I've been writing, and let me tell you, my writing has changed significantly. I'm thankful for those who were honest with me, as opposed to telling me what I wanted to hear.

Overall, take a deep breath and don't assume the worst. You are an amazing writer and just because someone gives you a few not-so-fun critiques, take it and run with it. LEARN from it. That's the best thing to do, and your writing will thank you for it.

Online Etiquette:
Oh, dear. This is something that shouldn't have to be said, but as there's a whole lot of hoopla going on, I guess it does. DO NOT put anyone down or mistreat fellow writers/publishers/editors/agents through social networks, or ever. It's obvious, right? Everyone can see everything said on Twitter. That's the whole point.

Twitter is not your personal punching bag. Going around harassing people and being downright rude isn't going to get you anywhere. As a matter of fact, the publishing/writing world is so small online––since everyone knows everyone––this is the worst move you could make. You're setting yourself up to be the bad guy, and nobody likes a bad guy, unless it's a well-written antagonist. Save your angst for your writing!

Now, no one can tell you what to do or say online. That is your own business. Please, feel free to rant all you want. Who am I to tell you otherwise? But if you plan to have a presence in the writing world, I'd suggest against it. Twitter is for getting to know other people in the industry, not just making contacts, but making friends. I can honestly tell you that every single person I talk to online is considered my friend. If I see them in real life, I am positive we'll talk just like we do online––like old friends. And that's why I love social networks. It makes me feel apart of something amazing.

Don't take all of this for granted. Be kind. Be supportive.

And that leads us to the last topic.

Support:
It's not a competition, guys. We are all out there doing the same thing––telling our stories and sharing it with the world. It's not an easy thing to do, but that's why we need to support each other. Getting an agent and getting published involves a lot of time and hard work. We all need each other to get through the hard times, and especially to celebrate the good.

If you're first to get an agent out of your group, don't forget what it was like in the trenches. Remember what your peers did for you as you battled through the long waits and heart wrenching rejections. Just because you've reached the top, doesn't mean you've outgrown them. It means this is your chance to show them how you succeeded and how they can do the same. Be there, not just for your friends, but for everyone. Whether someone sold their book to a Big Six, or has their newly published book hitting the shelves––support them. It doesn't matter if they're ahead of the game. One of these days, you'll be there too, and you'll want all the love and support you can get. It's what keeps us going. It's what keeps us from falling into a hole of anxiety and frustration.

Everyone needs a positive reminder of why they're doing what they're doing; whether you're just starting out or your book is climbing up the NYT Best Seller's list.

Always remember this: We are all in this together.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Never Gets Old

If you follow me on Twitter then you know that on Friday night I completed the first draft to my WIP. If you don't follow me on Twitter, well why not?! Just kidding. (sort of)

My goal was to reach 70K on this draft, but I was just shy of 63K. I'm not terribly disappointed about falling short of my goal, because I now get to start on revisions, in which I'll add a few things and bump  up my word count. But talking about word count isn't why I started writing this post. Can you say snoozefest?

The current WIP is my fifth manuscript. That feeling of accomplishment never gets old. Whether it's your first or twentieth manuscript, the fact that you completed something you set out to write is a huge deal. I couldn't even believe I reached the end. When I wrote the last sentence, I leaned against the couch, staring at the computer screen and was like "Huh. Did it just end?" I guess it's because I got so sucked into the story, I wasn't ready for it to end. It's one of those things where you love the idea and your characters so much, and being that it's a standalone, I'm not quite ready to say goodbye. Of course, after a second to let it sink in, I felt like this:


GIFSoup

I want to thank all of my Twitter friends who have been so supportive and for pushing me to write when I lacked motivation. It's a wonderful feeling to know that I can hop on Twitter and receive so much help and love from all of you. You are all amazing and I can't wait to share the title of the WIP with you, but I'll save that for another time.

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

11 Random Questions

I got tagged by my good Twitter friend, Suzy G, to answer 11 Random Questions. With that, I also need to tag a few people to join in on the fun. You can answer these questions by vlogging or with a simple blog post. Totally up to you. I did a vlog and you can watch it here:

I'd like to tag:
Stephanie (@stephpellegrin)

Jennifer (@justlyjennifer)

Meredith (@zeitlingeist)

Megan  (@meganwhitmer)

Nicole @nicolewolverton)

Here are the questions:

1) What are your top five favorite movies?

2) Would you rather go a year without make-up or without shaving?

3) What is a recent good book you've read?

4) What is a recent not so good book you've read?

5) Name one food you could eat for one meal every day for a year.

6) What was the best part of your senior year of high school?

7) What is one piece of electronic equipment you could live without?

8) Do you usually drink from a straw, a glass, or another type of container?

9) Would you rather have glow-in-the-dark skin or squishy teeth?

10) Who would win a fight between Gandalf and Dumbledore?

11) Are push-up bras a form of dishonesty?

There you have it. Have fun!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Process In Which I Write

As an independent contractor, there are moments when I have a lot of free time. Usually I'll stay at home and write, and other times I take my computer to work with me. Almost every time I write at work, the minute I bust out the computer, my co-workers (more like family, cause I've been there for so long) ask me about my "writing process." I feel so cheesy calling it that, but that's what it is. They've come to know me as "the writer" at work, which they find fascinating. I kind of love it when they ask me questions, because I know they truly support me and they're interested in what it is I do.

So, when they ask me how the writing thing works, this is what I say:

It starts with an idea. Of course, right? Some people have ideas from years ago that stick with them, maybe even have a few manuscripts they work on all at once. I, on the other hand, can only work with one idea at a time. After I finish something, it takes a while for another idea to come to fruition. It usually begins with a scene in my head. Whether it's a dead girl rotting in a corner (ex: Drowning Bailey), or a girl walking alone in the middle of an alley. You get what I'm saying. I see these characters in my mind and I want to know more about them. Who they are, what's their motive, and why in the world this girl is dumb enough to walk alone in an alley in the dead of night.

With that idea in mind, I start writing. Yep, just like that. That image is always the beginning. It somehow works out that it fits perfectly with telling the story, and introducing this strange new character. I take that scene and describe everything about it. The character, the scenery, what she's thinking or feeling. From there, I have a general idea of where I want the story to go. I mean, out of nowhere, the idea just sort of unfolds in my head.

Most sane people will write out an outline to keep their sanity in check. What do I do? I write chapter by chapter––no outlines. There are times when I reach the end of a manuscript that I will jot down a really short outline for the last few chapters, but nothing too big. I find that writing chapter by chapter puts me in the mind of the reader, as if I'm reading it for the first time along with them. I love being surprised by my characters. They have me feeling scared, sad, angry, shocked; all those things you're supposed to feel as a reader, and seeing it as it's developing really gives me that sense of where the story needs to be.

My newest thing is: not reading the manuscript through until it's completely done. I write until the very end and then go back and revise/edit. It keeps the story fresh, and I don't feel sick of it because I've already read it a million times. That always put a damper on things when it came to editing. By the time the story was complete, I was burnt out and not at all interested in reading it over again for the hundredth time. This way my mind is clear and ready to give the manuscript my full attention.

When I've completed that part of the process, that's when my CPs and Beta readers come in.

So there you have it! This is the process in which I write. What's your writing process?