Publishing 101 – Review Requests

Hey, Sweet Readers! I’m blogging today’s Publishing 101 installment over at Pen and Muse!  (the first bit is here, but the rest is there, so you might as well just click through now. ;))I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book.  As a self-publisher, you’ve decided that the only audience whose approval of your book matters is the readers. Not agents, not editors – readers. If the reader is the most important judge of your book, then it follows that the book reviewers/bloggers with large audiences of readers are your new gods and godesses. Worship them. No, I’m not kidding. Not one little bit. Out of sheer benevolence (and possibly maybe one day ARCs of Big Deal Books) these people started using their precious personal time, without pay, to write thoughtful and helpful reviews of books. Those reviews were so good that other people started to read them, rely upon them, anticipate them, and follow their blogs. The more followers a reviewer has, the more authors want them to review their books. That means that the book reviewers/bloggers you most want to be reading your book... read more

To the Recently-Decided Self-Publishing Author

Dear recently-decided self-publishing author,  Congratulations!!! You’ve just made a huge decision, and it’s a very exciting one.  I know you don’t feel like those words fit right now. I know your hands are shaking and your stomach is in knots and your knees have turned to jelly. I know you are trying to hold back tears, or maybe you stopped trying a long time ago and now they’re just pouring out. I know that you think I should be saying, “You are an idiot,” rather than “Congratulations.”  I hope you have a good friend next to you, like I did, to rub your back and let you cry on her shirt, to tell you that she will be there for you every step of the way. I hope that friend is telling you that you are making a good decision – not the only decision, but a really, really good one.  If you don’t, read these sentences over and over and over again until you feel them in your bones: You are a hard worker. You believe in your book. You have what it takes to build your own career. You are making a good decision.  You have learned that there is a wrong way and a right way to publish a book, and that self-publishing is in the “wrong way” category. You may be very concerned about that right now – specifically, how people will view you and your book when (if?) you self-publish it. I wish I could say something to make that worry go away, but I can only tell you the truth you already know – that stigma against non-traditional... read more

Publishing 101 – Scheduling Your Release (and a 2-months-til-ONE GIVEAWAY!!!!)

Hi, sweet readers!!!! I know it’s been awhile since I posted…well…anything over here.  Truth be told, I’ve been in sort of a holding pattern with ONE for the last couple months. Pretty much everything’s been done on the book since then, and my last blurb just rolled in a couple days ago (thanks Emma!) I just sent the final print version, pretty formatting and blurbs and acknowledgements included, to the printer, last week. Right now, I’m holding the final printed copy of ONE in my hands. I could put the ARC sticker on the front, but I probably won’t. This one’s a gift to one of my nearest and dearest CPs, and it’s the same as the one anybody will be able to buy from Amazon. So, why don’t I start selling this mofo tomorrow? *sigh* I wish I could. But waaaay back in December, I set the calendar for ONE’s release…based on the release date for TWO, its sequel. It’s common wisdom in the self-publishing universe that the closer the release dates between an author’s books, the better. This is especially true for sequels. Three months is ideal, four is workable. Why? Well, really the same reason that it’s a good idea for any sequel to have a close release to its first installment. We keep readers’ interest more easily. Especially in the primarily digital book world, there’s an expectation that things will happen more quickly. Really, because we self-publishers can pull off a close release, we should. It’s better for building an audience and making a profit if a reader who loved ONE can buy TWO in short order.... read more

Cover Reveal: CLICKS by Amy Evans!

Hi, sweet readers! I’m so very very very excited to be part of the team hosting a cover reveal for my Inkslinger PR sister, Amy Evans. And hey – the cover is awesome, but I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be ready to read the book, cover or not, after this description. Because – LOOK: ABOUT CLICKS: Born and bred to win, Cami’s family expects her to join a secret society called The Guard, marry one of the two identical twin boys next door, and stay on Pinhold Island for the rest of her life. Home to perfect waves, black sand beaches, and the world-famous Surf Carnival, Pinhold seems deceptively perfect. While visitors are jealous of the few hundred people who get to live there, Cami feels stifled. Thanks to the intense link she shares with her own twin, Mica, she can’t even be alone with her thoughts. While Cami’s more than happy to be a lifeguard, a lifelong commitment to the endless summer feels like a trap. For mainlanders, success in the Surf Carnival means a place to live on Island constant access to the huge, perfect waves that crash just off shore.  Cami sees it as a way out til a seemingly small injury turns her world upside down and prevents her from the first competition. Descendants of the ten families who originally settled on the Island, Cami and Mica are part of a new generation, the most perfect example of what nature and time can create. This summer was their time to prove that the years of training have paid off, but it’s not going as... read more

Publishing 101 – Getting a Great Cover

 Hi sweet readers! I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book. Your book’s cover is one of the most important things for making sure it reaches the maximum amount of readers. I know we say that people shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but that’s ridiculous. Your book’s cover is the outward representation of what’s inside. If you didn’t invest creativity, care, and professionalism into your cover’s design, how do you expect your readers to think you did anything differently with the words and story inside? I had mad cover envy for Trisha Leigh’s covers for her The Last Year series, and when she told me her cover designer, Nathalia Suellen, was a freelance cover artist and open to clients, I emailed right away to reserve my spot. I contracted her for both ONE and TWO right then. First, she asked me to tell her a bit about the book and give me a description of the main character, if I wanted her on the cover. So I sent her this blurb and the photo I had worked off of when describing... read more

Publishing 101 – Copyedits

Hi sweet readers! I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book.  So. It’s pretty shocking how few rules of grammar I know.I’m not kidding.  I mean, this manuscript went through three revisions, got polished up to send to editors in big publishing houses, went through intense line edits with Jamie. I was all confident in its perfection when I sent it to my fabulous copyeditor Becca Weston. This’ll be no problem for her, I thought. She’ll have it done in no time, because it’s so close to perfect.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I was hilarious. Every page was FILLED with the red of the track-changes path. Seriously. Once there was like half a page with no corrections and I did a little victory dance in my chair. Here are some of the grammar and formatting issues that were running rampant through my perfectly shiny and polished manuscript before I sent it to my copyeditor: Endash vs. Emdash (I didn’t even know there was a difference. Truth.) lie vs. lay vs. laid (No, I don’t really know the difference between all of them. No, I... read more

ONE giveaway – Custom art by Andrea Hannah

Hi, sweet readers. I’m all emotional today. You know that I believe in a few things when it comes to this whole crazy publishing business. One is that the people who love you and your book are POWERFUL when it comes to getting the word out. Another is that one of the best ways to promote art (yes, I’m calling my book art, hush.) is with other art. Well, I’m very lucky that one of the people who loves me and ONE most in the whole world also happens to be a super talented artist. Combine those two things and it’s like one of Andrea Hannah‘s superpowers (along with writing heartbreakingly beautiful characters and poetic prose) is creating stunning custom art for ONE.  Yeah. I know. “Lucky” doesn’t even begin to cover it.  She had this idea, to take some of the things that most moved her about ONE and to translate them into custom minimalist prints with a mixed-media feel.  I didn’t really give her much guidance, because I wanted to see what SHE loved about the book. It was a great instinct, because OMG YOU GUYS LOOK: That’s a quote from Merrin, and it’s one of her most emotionally bare moments in the whole book. She’s taking a huge risk by admitting that, and guess what?  I had totally forgotten about that line. But Andrea picked up on it. Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL? I’m so excited that Andrea and I are giving away the signed print that you see above!All  you have to do is leave a comment below, telling us which quote you would most like to... read more

NOW CLOSED!!! Official Call for Members of #TeamONE!!!

Please note: the call for members of TeamONE is now CLOSED, since we hit fifty members!  Wooohooo! Thank you so much, everyone!!!  Last month, I announced that I’m self-publishing my debut novel, ONE, about a girl with half a superpower and the boy who makes her fly. It comes out in June, and I’m hoping that the characters I love so much reach a TON of readers, and that they love them, too.  We all know that one of the most challenging parts of making a book successful is getting the word out. Selling books is not like selling food, or toothbrushes, or snuggly winter sweaters. No one literally needs a book.   So, what makes someone buy a book? And more importantly than that, one book over another? Enthusiasm. Excitement. Bouncing and squealing and grinning recommendations from people they know and trust. But the world is so big and I, the author am so small! How will I ever recommend ONE to even a fraction of the people in this world who might enjoy it? Well, the answer, I hope, is a Street Team – a group of people who have read the novel and liked it, AND THEN do their best to gab about it in reviews, in blog posts, on social media, and in person to anyone who seems like they’d enjoy reading it. Then I thank them profusely with ARCs, book swag, loud public exultation, and all the (virtual, non creepy) hugs and kisses they can stand. I’m super lucky that there are about 35 members signed up for #TeamONE already. I’m looking for 15-20 more people to join. It could be... read more

(Off topic!) Hamantaschen Recipe

Okay. I know this is a writing blog. But it’s Purim, and with Purim come hamantaschen (see pic below) and I just feel like I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t tell you how to make them. So, here’s the recipe and instructions. Happy Purim, sweeties. Here’s what you’ll need for about 3 dozen large-ish cookies:3 eggs1 c sugar1/2 c margarine4 c flour2 tsp baking powder1 tsp salt1 tbsp lemon juice3 tbsp orange juice Cream together eggs, sugar, and margarine until very light and smoothMix in the remainder of ingredients.  It will look kind of crumbly at first, but keep working it with your hands until it comes together:Roll it out to about 1/8 inch and cut into circles with the rim of a drinking glass:Now, do all your assembly and baking on parchment paper.  Trust me.  Just do it.  Brush the circles with egg whites and place filling in the center.  This will go best for you if you buy the cans of pastry filling in the baking aisle instead of trying to make do with jam, etc.  It is expensive, but a little goes a long way (I think one small can made around 2 dozen cookies):Pinch the sides of the dough together to form a three-cornered shape:Into the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. You want them to be golden at the seams:I plated mine six to a paper plate.  You can wrap the whole darn thing in saran wrap and stick in the freezer, then pull it right out for easy... read more

ONE’s first chapter!

It’s no secret that I’m in love with Trisha Leigh’s The Last Year series. (Beginning with WHISPERS IN AUTUMN, so gorgeous.)We became friends after I read and fangirled over the first and second books and critiqued the third (!!! I know. I’m so lucky.) It was then that Trisha said, “You know, I have some downtime. Would you like me to read ONE?”WOULD I?!?!?!?!?!?(Yes OMG YES.)So she read ONE. Funny thing about writers who become good friends and CPs – often, their writing is kind of similar. Turns out that Trisha’s and my writing? Is A LOT similar. Yep. We both write pretty lyrically, about strong, occasionally snarky, female protagonists who don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. So, she loved ONE, and I died of happiness. Then I asked her to blurb it, and died of happiness again when she said of course she would (!!!) And THEN? She offered to put the first chapter of ONE in the back of the final installment of her The Last Year series. So, of course, I screamed, accepted, and did an epic happy dance. Because I. Had. Arrived.To make a long story short, SUMMER RUINS, the fourth and final installment in The Last Year series, comes out today. Which also means that anyone who buys it can read the first chapter of ONE in the back (!!!)I was going to make all of you buy SUMMER RUINS, but my assistant John said that wasn’t fair, and that I should post it here. And, of course, he was right, as he always is. So. Without further ado, the first chapter of my debut Young Adult... read more

Cover Reveal! CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE by L.M. Augustine!

Hey, sweet readers!  Today I’m so, so excited to be hosting a COVER REVEAL! Let’s get right down to business! Click To Subscribe Author: L.M. Augustine Genre: YA romance Release Date: April 2013 Designer: Allie Brennan (who is fantastic and brilliant and totally recommended by L.M.) Blurb: 1,135,789. That’s how many subscribers sixteen-year-old West Ryder has on his web vlog series. But he only has eyes for one of them. As one of the internet’s most prestigious video bloggers, West talks about high school relationships under the name “Sam Green.” As far as he knows, no one from school, not even his best friend, Cat, has seen his videos. But the highlight of the whole thing is Harper Knight, who comments every day at exactly 2:02 in the afternoon. He doesn’t know anything about her aside from the occasional deep philosophical messaging on why pizza tastes so delicious, but as stupid as it sounds, he might be falling for her. So when they finally agree to meet in real life, West’s hope for romance seems more and more in reach. But that all changes as soon as he arrives at their meeting spot and sees Cat walking toward him, wearing the same “I To his alarm, West realizes he is falling in love with the best friend who has always been a sister to him. Without further ado…… Add it on Goodreads. Author: Blog  Twitter  Facebook Some Things: To celebrate the cover reveal… there is a giveaway! Note: ARCs won’t be ready until late March/early April, but if you win one, you will be the first to get it. (All of the winners will be emailed a... read more

A Little (HUGE) Exciting Awesome Announcement!

Hey, sweet readers! I’m jumping, dancing, and squealing with excitement about this, so I’ll cut to the chase – I’ve been chosen as one of the new Muses over at Pen and Muse! I was seriously biting my nails over this one, since Kristen and Jolene received so many applicants for their new Path to Self-Publishing monthly posting crew, but really, the two-round “interview” process was an absolute pleasure and so much fun. I loved getting to know them and setting up my intro post, which will go live tomorrow. For those of you who don’t know, Pen and Muse is dedicated to EVERYTHING a writer needs to know about publishing – from the craft of writing (see some excellent guest posts on outlining from one of my writing besties, Andrea Hannah) to amazing branding and marketing tips, and everything in between! It’s a bookish haven for those of us writers who are looking for one blog that can guide us in any direction we’d like to go. About a month ago, Kristen and Jolene decided they wanted that to include advice on self- and indie-publishing. And they picked me to help them out! Excuse me while I try to contain my excitement.  Seriously, I’m so honored and humbled. I can’t wait to start posting for them, along with my fellow new Muses J. Meyers, Faith McKay, Cara Elizabeth, and Rebekah Crane. I know we’re going to make and awesome and enthusiastic addition to the team. So please, if you haven’t already, go follow Pen and Muse everywhere possible:Blog: www.penandmuse.comTwitter: https://twitter.com/PenandMuseFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/PenandMuse I’m gonna have so much fun with this.See you... read more

Publishing 101 – Working on Your Platform

Hi sweet readers! I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book. Okay, guys. It’s time to talk about the ever-elusive PLATFORM. First, a definition. Your platform = you + your book + your online presence. You might have thought that you + your book = your platform.But if all you have is you + your book, then what you have is a sales pitch, not a platform.  Online presence is so important because it’s what  tells people who you are, what your personality is like, how professional you are, and how hard you work. It’s important because people assume that your book is  a reflection of you. (Because, honestly, it is.) For this reason, you need to make decisions about how you present yourself on social media, especially. For example, here’s what I tweet and post on Facebook about 90% of the time – a summary of my online presence.  Stuff about my writing and publishing process  Anecdotes from raising my four punk children YA Literature  Writing advice and encouragement of others  Assorted vanity tweets – my hair is pretty, my husband is... read more

A Guide to (and a Plea for) Propriety on Social Media

Hi, sweet readers! I want to talk to you about something serious today. A few months ago, I blocked someone on Twitter.I can’t remember exactly why – whether he was being overly confrontational, sexually suggestive, or otherwise inappropriate – and it doesn’t matter. (I’ve blocked people for many reasons, those being the most common.) I blocked him because, for whatever reason, I no longer wanted him to be able to communicate with me on Twitter. It is my right to make that decision, and so I did.That week, he emailed me. I can’t remember exactly what he wrote – whether he was apologizing, asking why he was blocked, or asking to be unblocked, it doesn’t matter.I no longer wanted to communicate with him, and so I didn’t reply. Weeks went by and I thought this person would now leave me alone. I was wrong. Last night, I received another email from him, asking me to “please, please unblock him on Twitter.” It sounds innocent enough, and maybe it is. Probably it is, even. But the fact that this person is going out of his way to ask me to unblock him on a social media site that should be, in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal, scared me. Because the fact that he’ll go out of his way to take the time to email me, makes me wonder if he’ll be motivated enough to take any more steps. Any further steps – and he only lives one state away. And it’s easy to find out where I work, and to approach me there. And, and, and. So, even... read more

Publishing 101.2 – Line Edits

Hi sweet readers! I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book.  It’s time to talk about…..LINE EDITS!!!! Wooooot!!!! (I really like line edits, but if you don’t, you’re not a freak. One of my besties hates them. So.) We covered developmental edits in the last two Publishing 101 posts here and here, and in the comments, some of you seemed to think that developmental and line edits were one and the same. Now, sometimes your developmental editor might go through the MS a second time to do line edits, but it is a completely different type of editing. The basic difference is this – Developmental editing is macro, line editing is micro. Developmental editors catch the big stuff; character issues, plot holes, thematic dissonance. Line editors catch the little stuff.Here are some examples of what embarrassing little things my line editor found in the FINAL DRAFT of One: Character Inconsistencies Things that you “just know” or “just make sense to you” about your character that don’t really jive for anyone else. Example: In one scene, I had Merrin “looking down as usual.” That was supposed to... read more

Publishing 101.1 part 2 – Hiring an Editor

Hi sweet readers! I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book. Today, please welcome Clare Davidson, author of the YA fantasy TRINITY. She hired a freelance developmental editor for her work, and since I didn’t choose to do that, I begged her to write a post all about it just so you all could see why this step is important for those who don’t have a pro team of readers like I did. Please feel free to ask anything – you can comment below or chat with Clare on Twitter – and thanks for reading! Take it away, Clare! If you’re planning on publishing independently, you want to release the best, most polished product possible–right?   Editing is a step that NO ONE can skip and I really mean NO ONE, can skip. I know we’re here to talk about self publishing, but let’s just look at the traditional publishing route for a minute. Those who are lucky enough to land an agent, will work with that agent to polish their book before it gets peddled around publishers. Those who are even luckier... read more

Drop Everything and Read WARM BODIES Now – a Guest Post by Zoara Christman

Hey, sweet readers! I’m super lucky that, as part of my day job, I get to have amazing conversations with college students about what interests and moves them, and that sometimes includes books. I was having lunch with Zoara a couple of weeks ago and she could not stop freaking out over how amazing WARM BODIES, a not-your-average-zombie novel by Isaac Marion, was.  So I asked her to write a review, so we could hopefully sell some more copies for the esteemed Mr. Marion AND let Zoara showcase her mad reviewing abilities in a warm, enthusiastic environment. So read, interact, and encourage her, won’t you? And then follow her on Twitter at @zoaralou. She’s pretty fabulous. Drop Everything and Read Warm Bodies Now Zoara Christman I got on the Warm Bodies wagon relatively late, only hearing of the film and the novel after seeing the trailer for the adaptation in a showing of Breaking Dawn: Part II. (I realize this might lower my credibility to some the readers of this review, but what if I said I was taken as a hostage?)  Anyway, after seeing the trailer– which looked quirky and cool– I waited 115 squirmy minutes for the closing credits to roll so I could pull out my phone and buy the Kindle edition of the Warm Bodies novel. Truthfully, I wanted to see if it was anything like the “saga” haunting the sides of movie theater cups since 2008. When I read a few other reviews of WARM BODIES, the general consensus seemed to be that it is a “zombie-romance.” This put me off because of the recent  “supernatural romance” fad which has come about in the... read more

Publishing 101.1 – One Last Round of Readers

Hi sweet readers! I thought I’d do a series of posts detailing my experiences taking Publishing 101 via publication of my debut novel.My goal is to publish a book that is indistinguishable to my readers from any novel from a Big Five publisher.  It can be done – in fact, finding such a novel is the one thing that finally got me off my butt and pushed me to self-publish ONE.Just as a traditionally published book has a huge team of professionals behind it, ONE does as well. My plan is to blog about every step of the process from agent-approved manuscript to published book. Please feel free to ask anything, and thanks for reading! So. Your manuscript has been polished and shined to a high gloss, and gotten the thumbs up from (almost) everyone who’s read it.So, it’s ready to go to a copyeditor for spelling, grammar, and punctuation check, right? No. Nopppe.NO. There are two stages I sent my manuscript through before I even thought about sending it to my copyeditor. For many people, the first of those those steps is hiring a developmental editor – someone who reads the MS and points out problems with characterization, plot, structure, worldbuilding, pacing – all big issues with the MS that someone who’s so very close to it (you, dear writer) can’t really tell how to fix, and may not even know are there. (Since I didn’t  hire an editor, I’ve asked my dear friend Clare Davidson to post later in the week on her experience working with a developmental editor. Can’t wait.) In my case, I’d had dozens... read more

From Writer to Author

ONE has always been a misfit of a book. This story about a girl with half a superpower and a boy who makes her fly grabbed onto me one late summer morning and hasn’t let me go since. It has also defied genre classification and YA-lit cliche, which, I have to admit, I’m proud of.  I poured my heart and soul into writing, revising, and shaping it for nearly a year, and I dreamed of publishing it since I wrote the very first scene.ONE has been lucky to have many readers – dozens, actually – and got mostly positive feedback. I was delighted, if not super shocked, when my agent also fell in love with ONE. It hadn’t had the best luck querying, and the fact that Agent Tricia not only loved the story, but understood it, had me hopeful that publishers would feel the same way.The novel went on submission in the late summer. I was so lucky that some of the biggest names in publishing agreed to read the manuscript, and that all of them loved the concept – X-men meets Sky High – and praised my writing. Each one, though, felt that something stood in the way of being able to take it on – something different each time, in fact. What it boils down to is this: The publishers we submitted to don’t think they can sell ONE, but that’s okay. Because I think I can.   I’m thrilled to announce that ONE, my debut novel about a girl with only half a superpower and her struggle to make herself whole, will be published on June 11th, 2013.The sequel, TWO,... read more

Why We Do Redux(es)

Hey sweet readers! Raise your hand if you love the movie CLUELESS. Cher is snobby, rich, and entitled, yet somehow we still love her. The way she sets up Miss Geist and Mr. Hall,  takes Tai under her wing and, by the end of the movie, totally comes around about resident stoner Travis – it’s all so awesome. And that ending with Josh? *swoon.* It’s almost as awesome – maybe, in some ways, better than – the original CLUELESS: Or what about TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU? The old school spoiled-yet-classic quirkiness of Padua High, the beautifully bitchy Kat, and the way Patrick Verona wins her – and our – heart? The adorable romance between Cameron and Bianca?  There’s actually nothing like it. Unless there was, like four hundred years ago. Reduxes, or retellings, aren’t confined to epically awesome movies from the 90s. They have popped up all over Young Adult literature in recent years. CINDER by Marissa Meyer, SPLINTERED by AG Howard, and FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund are all awesome examples. (I know there are dozens more – these were off the top of my head.) Why do we love retellings of classic literature so much? Why do we cling to it and retell it over, and over, and over again? I can think of a few reasons: – These stories have timeless themes. Love, the meaning of life, mourning loss, getting over our prejudices (and our pride. Hee.) Sacrifice and despair and overcoming it all. The ridiculousness and utter hilarity of life and clashing personalities. The simple truth that some people will... read more

I’m Jealous.

Hi, sweet readers.  I have a confession to make. I’m jealous.  I’m lucky to be friends with a lot of incredible writers, who also happen to be amazing people in general. As it happens, a pattern seems to be emerging with a lot of them – They’re also successful.Like, really awesome things are happening to them. Agents are fighting over them!They’re getting book deals (for two books! And three books! And getting paid real money! OMG!)Their books are in the Amazon top 100! And they get fan mail! And when that happens?  I’m over-the-moon happy for them.And I’m also jealous of them.  I totally compare myself to everyone. But I don’t let it steal my joy, if that’s what ‘s making that chick jump around on the beach with balloons.I never do that anyway. I think so often the word jealous has a negative connotation. But I think – and I really, really, believe this – that “I wish that would happen for me” does not automatically mean “And I wish that didn’t happen to her.” We all know that this is a business. And we all know that this is a subjective business. That means that very, very rarely are we ever in real, direct competition with our fellow writers. Because each piece of work is so different, there are no consistent factors that lead to success, and there are not very many situations where we’re honestly going head-to-head. So, in one example, someone didn’t get a book deal over me – she just got a book deal, and I didn’t. Yet. When a friend of mine celebrates a... read more

Fast Drafting over at YA Misfits!

Hi, sweet readers! I haven’t been posting too much at all, which I hate, but it’s for a reason I LOVE – I’ve spent the month Fast Drafting! I’m posting all about it, long-form, at YA Misfits today – including whether I’m succeeding! Some come check it out. But over here, a few things I’ve learned about Fast Drafting, in pictures: It is hard work. It’s a little insane. It can get very messy. And it’s totally worth it.  Come read about the Whys and the Hows at length over at YA Misfits, and have an awesome Wednesday!... read more

Author Trisha Leigh and BETRAYALS IN SPRING!!!

Hi, sweet readers!!! I’m so super excited about today’s post, because it’s an interview with one of my favorite authors!! Here’s what happened: I came across Trisha Leigh’s WHISPERS IN AUTUMN this past summer when I was browsing for some books to read. The cover was absolutely stunning, and when I read the description I was hooked. Basically, it’s a dystopian with aliens who subdue humans via mind control (!) but the main character isn’t affected. Awesome. ‘ (Tell me these covers aren’t like the most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen. Go on.) Anyway, I read WHISPERS IN AUTUMN and WINTER OMENS, all the while freaking out on Twitter like a crazy good fangirl does, and either Trisha was so scared of me or enamored of me that she let me read BETRAYALS IN SPRING before it was published!!!!!!!! I know. I’m freaking out too. Obviously. And even more exciting, the amazing author agreed to do an interview right here to celebrate the launch of SPRING. (Freaking. Out.)So without further ado, here she is! Enjoy! Q: Trisha, thank you SO MUCH for coming over. First, I’ll ask what all my readers really want to hear: Can you tell us a little bit about The Last Year series? A: Sure! The Last Year is a four part, post-apocalyptic series that begins about eighteen years after a race of aliens has conquered earth through mind control. The books are about four kids who aren’t what they seem, but might be able to find a way to save humanity from a future of slavery and annihilation. The stories are told from the... read more

The Importance of a LOVING Writing Community

Hi, sweet readers. I’ve missed you guys SO MUCH. And I really have a kajillion blog posts started, and I’m hoping that I can finally ease back in to blogging a little more soon. Especially because my second writerversary  is coming up, and I want to recap. #EgoClub But, BRIEFLY, the past couple weeks have reminded me of the importance of having a loving and supportive writing community. My sweet and brilliant friends Kelsey and Andrea wrote posts about that here (click here) and here (click here,) and you should read those. A few months ago, my friend Darci and I vlogged about that very topic. And today, she interviewed me (along with copious Jeremy Renner gifs) on her Arizona writer’s blog! So, if you’re so inclined, go say “hi” to us over there, and then hang out with us for a few minutes here: Do you  have a loving and supportive writing community? If  you do, tell me about it. If you don’t, what’s stopping... read more

EVER by Jessa Russo blog tour and GIVEAWAY!!!

Hey, sweet readers! This is a super exciting day for me because I get to host the amazing Jessa Russo for an EVER blog tour showcase!!! There’s Jessa! Just as gorgeous as her book. EVER opens up with the haunting memory of a car crash, and I felt for poor Ever right away. The way Jessa describes Frankie’s ghost and his presence in Ever’s day-to-day life is, well, haunting. Jessa’s writing is beautiful, and I want one of my lucky readers to have a chance to read EVER too. So I’m giving away a Kindle copy to one lucky commenter this Friday, November 9th!!!Here’s the blurb from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.Of course, it doesn’t help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.Frustrated and desperate for something real, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.Some girls lose their hearts to love.Some girls lose their minds.Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul. WHERE TO BUY:  Amazon Barnes & Noble Kobo ADD EVER TO YOUR TBR! Goodreads Have YOU read EVER?  Tell us how much you loved it in the comments, or sign up to WIN an... read more

A Plea to Keep NaNoWriMo Discouragement-Free

It’s National Novel Writing Month!!!! Wheeeee! I’m super bummed that I’m not doing it. I know. I’m a party pooper. But this is the second year in a row it just doesn’t fall in the right month – I have 16k to go on my WiP, then I need to do a first pass edit, and then I’m outlining Two. (I KNOW!!!! I can hardly believe it either.) So, not exactly drafting weather over at my writer’s desk. Such a bummer. Maybe next year. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t seen all the discussion of NaNoWriMo happening on Twitter. For the most part, it’s super inspirational – people encouraging one another, inviting others to be ‘friends’ with them on the NaNo site, being interested in concepts, and all kinds of general writer cheeriness and support. So cool. As November approached, however, I started to see more and more writers and agents giving “advice” about NaNoWriMo that, in my opinion, only added up to so much discouragement.  “The words probably won’t be any good,”  “You’ll have to cut most of the words you wrote anyway,”  “Drafts can’t be rushed,”  “If you really wanted to write a novel you wouldn’t wait till November to do it,”  “You’re not an exception to the rule. Most people aren’t that lucky or talented or disciplined.” My one overwhelming reaction to all of this? Sadness. And then a little bit of anger. Because, seriously – WTF, you guys? (You know how I feel about writers discouraging other writers. Bad form.) So I started chatting with a bunch of my writer friends about their experiences with... read more

PitchLive! Agent Round – It’s ON!!!!

Welcome to the agent round of Pitch Live!!!!!!(And welcome, illustrious agents, to my blog – here you will find the scrappy, hilarious, skivvy-slinging, passionate, and many-accented members of #TeamLA. Hope you’re ready to read lots of subs!) Thank you so much, Brenda, for asking me to host – it’s been So MUCH FUN!!!!  The following entries have made it through the first round and are in the ten posts after this one.  Please no comments other than those from agents.  If you want to comment on the entries please go to this post here and click on each participants’ link. From today, October 17 – Friday, October 19 the agents will hop around and request pages from their favorite pitches. Check out all the agents viewing the pitches on this post here.   Submissions: Should you get a request from one of the agents, go to their websites and follow their submission guidelines. In your submission, make sure to put this in the subject line: Pitch Live Requested Material: TITLE OF YOUR NOVEL. Unless, of course, the agent puts specific instructions in the comments of your posts.  There are  a total of 30 videos and I’m hosting 10 of them here on my blog. So make sure to visit Brenda and Erica’s blogs for the other entries… We had a vote going for the best video during the blogfest part of the contest, so we’ll announce the winners now.  The runners up from the blogfest vote for best video, each receiving a $10 gift card from Amazon are …Sarah Blair and John Krissilas!!!!    And the top dog, Grand Poombah of video pitches,... read more

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