Thursday, December 8, 2011

First book on an e-reader?

My friend, Dawn Rae Miller, has just come out with her debut novel, Larkstorm. It was released on the 6th and she's been having some amazing success and wonderful reviews all over the place. Yay Dawn!

Another friend of ours JUST got her first e-reader (a Kindle) and she was very excited to be downloading Dawn's book as her very first. I remember that excitement of getting my e-reader and was trying to remember what the very first book I purchased was. It was Courtney Summers' newly released Fall For Anything. Nothing for me will replace the feel of a real book with pages and bookmarks and covers that I can lay on my night table and fall asleep staring at, but there is a real excitement about having any book you want at your finger tips, without having to go anywhere or do a whole lot to get it (actually, that would be the "dangerous" part of e-readers: not getting carried away and downloading EVERYTHING you want to read).

So, for those of you who have an e-reader, what was the very first book you downloaded? If you don't have one and you were going to get one for this holiday season or sometime in the near future, what would be the first book you would want to download?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Win a Kindle and a copy of Larkstorm!!!

My buddy Dawn Rae Miller's self-published book, Larkstorm (the first in a series), is set to release on December 6th. Anyone in this industry (or trying to make it in this this industry) knows that this is the BIG payoff. For some of you it might be the dream of money and glory and fame and MORE MONEY, but once you come off that cloud and step into reality of what the biz is really about, just being able to say you're a published author is a huge, GINORMOUS accomplishment and the one true payoff.

So, to celebrate this accomplishment and the release date of Larkstorm, YA Highway is generously giving away a kindle and a copy of her novel. Can you believe it??? I'm so insanely excited that I'm going to shove another Peppermint Oreo in my mouth and take a huge swig of my yummy cold milk because it's too damn early for wine!

Here's the summary of Larkstorm:


In the years following the destructive Long Winter, when half the world’s population perished, the State remains locked in battle against the Sensitives: humans born with extra abilities.

As one of the last descendants of the State’s Founders, seventeen-year-old Lark Greene knows her place: study hard and be a model citizen so she can follow in her family’s footsteps. Her life’s been set since birth, and she’s looking forward to graduating and settling down with Beck, the boy she’s loved longer than she can remember.

However, after Beck is accused of being Sensitive and organizing an attack against Lark, he disappears. Heartbroken and convinced the State made a mistake, Lark sets out to find him and clear his name.
But what she discovers is more dangerous and frightening than Sensitives: She must kill the boy she loves, unless he kills her first.


Tell me that doesn't sound ridiculously awesome?!?

And for another peek at her story, check out the very cool book trailer:




Now get over to YA Highway and enter to win! You only have until Monday night, December 5th, so HURRY!!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

CONTEST!!

no, not mine, but i promise you i will be doing one VERY soon!

in the meantime, my buddy, Bethany Griffin, author of Handcuffs (f you haven't read it, shame!) is having a contest over on her blog for an ARC of her book, Masque of the Red Death.




all you have to do is mention a book you are thankful for and you could be a winner! it's that easy. so get over there, join her awesome blog and give yourself an opportunity to win a book of AWESOME PROPORTIONS!

Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Blogger Blues

Just checkin' in. I have not been blogging lately because, well, because I didn't think I have anything that you would be interested in hearing. And honestly...I still don't. ha. But, I didn't want anyone to think I dropped off the face of the Earth, though I don't know if anyone is really paying all that much attention. In any event, this post is to prove to MYSELF that I did not fall off the face of the Earth. Are you still here, Me?

Yes! Yes! I'm here! Hello *waves at self enthusiastically*

I gots me the blogger blues.

I don't have anything all that interesting to report except that I finished my dystop novel, UCDs, which I'm extremely proud of and excited to query even though I'm scared shitless since Dystopian is out and whatever genre I'm NOT writing is in. I have this tendency to just write the stories that come to me and Dystop it was. I wasn't even sure what genre it was when I started, but alas, Dystop is what I ended up with. Next, I have a SNI for a Vamp horror story. Isn't that funny? A VAMPIRE story? Oy. Will I never learn?

Oh, and I'm extremely annoyed that the comma on my keyboard is not working well.

Okay, yeah, that was super random. But that is the mode I seem to be in.

What have you been up to?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vampire Academy, A 30-Word Review

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead


Goodreads summary:

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.




My 30-word review:

Holy ass-kicking MC! Literally.
LOVE ROSE SO HARD! Tough, gorgeous, snarky,
yet vulnerable and flawed.
Brilliantly incorporated dual POV.
Great story. Great world-building. Great characters.
Very addictive reading!



#2? YES PLEASE!!!!!!

Thoughts?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Courtney Summers and...Zombies? HELL YEAH!

Okay, so most writer friends who know me, know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE Courtney Summers books. I've read all three of her published novels:

Cracked Up to Be













Some Girls Are













Fall for Anything













Since the moment I read the last word of Fall for Anything (which I will admit, I downloaded onto my iPad and then also purchased 'cause I HAD to have a copy of it to add to my others to put on my bookshelf), I have been eagerly anticipating her 4th novel. I had NO idea what it was about, but it didn't matter. I knew if she was writing it, I was going to love it. And I'm excited to have just learned (though I'm ashamed to call myself a fan since this info was posted on her blog on Aug. 26th. Doh!), that she has revealed the cover of her new book titled THIS IS NOT A TEST. Here is the summary/plot as written on Courtney Summers blog.


It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up.

As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life–and death–inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?


And here is the COVER!!!!!!














I follow CS on Twitter and I've seen her talk often about zombies. From video games to random thoughts about them, her fascination regarding zombies is so apparent that I don't know why I find myself surprised that she's written a book about them. I guess it's just something so different from her other stories and it really excites me because I lover her writing style, and I love how well she develops and delves into such depth with her MCs. She is the master of "voice" and I have read that she still manages to maintain those wonderful skills and now applies them into a terrifying, heart racing, nail biting plot.

All I need to know now is...WHEN THE HELL DOES THIS BOOK COME OUT????

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz-A 30-Word Review


Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Goodreads summary: Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive....

My 30-word review:

Fun, quirky writing style.
Amazingly realistic familial relationships.
LOVE how the story spans over several years.
Brilliantly incorporated deaf character- a
wonderful new experience.
IS runs the gamut of emotions.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Keys are Disappearing!

I'm looking at my laptop keys and some of the letters have almost completely faded off. Thanks goodness I can type without looking at where the letter keys are, but the other day my husband was all like, "Where the hell is the letter A?" haha. Yes. My A has pretty much vanished. And all that's left of the letter E is the bottom line. Other letters that are fading are the S, D, C, B, N, M, L and, the... > key? Okay, do NOT know what that one is about cause I seriously...Oh, wait. dur. That key also holds the period. Okay. Now THAT makes sense. And, now that I think about it, the A, N, M, L, and E keys are all in my name. Do I type my name that often?? I don't think I do. Hmm...


What about you? Which of your computer/laptop keys are disappearing on you?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers-A 30 Word Review


Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

Goodread's summary:

Perfect Parker Fadley isn’t so perfect anymore. She’s quit the cheerleading squad, she’s dumped her perfect boyfriend, and she’s failing school. Her parents are on a constant suicide watch and her counselors think she’s playing games…but what they don’t know, the real reason for this whole mess, isn’t something she can say out loud. It isn’t even something she can say to herself. A horrible thing has happened and it just might be her fault. If she can just remove herself from everybody--be totally alone--then everything will be okay...The problem is, nobody will let her.

My 30-Word Review:

LOVED being inside Parker's head--sad, angry, painful, scary.
3-dimensional characters with seamlessly interwoven subplots.
Character's reactions to MC, questionable at times.
Slightly bummed with rushed-felt ending.
Overall? AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Siren by Tricia Rayburn-- A 30 Word Book Review


Siren by Tricia Rayburn

Goodreads summary:

Vacationing in Winter Harbor, Maine, is a tradition for Vanessa and Justine Sands, and that means spending time with the Carmichael boys. This summer, Vanessa is determined to channel some of her older sister’s boldness, get over her fear of the ocean, and maybe turn her friendship with Simon Carmichael into something much more.

But when Justine goes cliff-diving after a big family argument, and her body washes ashore the next day, Vanessa is sure that it was more than an accident. She is more certain of this, when she discovers that her sister was keeping some big secrets and Caleb Carmichael’s gone missing. Suddenly, the entire oceanfront town is abuzz when a series of grim, water-related accidents occur, with the male victims washed ashore grinning from ear to ear.

Vanessa and Simon team up to figure out if these creepy deaths have anything to do with Justine and Caleb. But will what Vanessa discovers mean the end of her summer romance, or even life as she knows it?


My Review in 30 Words:

Minimalist writing style. Me likes!
Characters believable, relationships well developed.
Great mystery element, interesting supernatural twist.
Weaving in more foreshadowing would have made for a stronger, more plausible reveal/climax.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater-A 30 Word Book Review

Okay, so I thought I'd try something new. Since I've never done an actual book review (because there are so many people out there who can do them sooooo much better and soooooo much more eloquently than I ever could) I've decided I would do a book review in a different way. You know how they have those 30 second bunnies that do movie recaps?



Well, I've decided to finally do my own book reviews, but I will do them in 30 words. We'll see how it goes.

My first book review will be for Linger, the sequel to Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Oh my Gosh! That's the first time I ever spelled it right w/out looking!)

Here is the summary from Goodreads:

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Here is my review:

Lovely prose.
More parent involvement. Yay!
New character, Cole--Rock on!
Isabelle--Harsh bitch. Made me LOL several times.
Sam and Grace--Holy plot! Love them so hard. Touching twist.


Feel free to share your 30 word review and I'll add it w/mine on my new page tab for 30 word reviews. You don't have to agree with me. But try to keep it respectful, please.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Very Cool Pitch Contest!

My friend Chanelle is running a pitch contest with her agent Victoria Marini of the Gelfman Shneider Literary Agency. For full details, check it out here.

Good luck!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Querying Hiatus Over

I just sent out a bunch of queries for Breaking Out today. It's been a while. I took a hiatus from querying to take care of some other things, but I'm back on the Query Highway and riding it hard and fast.

It's making my stomach a tad bit queasy.

Lot's of wine for me tonight ('cause nothing goes with a queasy stomach like a glass of merlot, right?). :D

How's it going for you?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Books Made Into Movies

Hey all! I was just thinking that this year (this month actually!) the final Harry Potter movie will be coming out. I mean, holy crap, right? THE LAST HARRY POTTER MOVIE! It's crazy to think this will be it and we will not be anticipating another HP film. For an emotional HP red carpet event, check this YT vid out. Also, by the end of next year, the final movie from the Twilight series will come out and that will come to an end as well  (why oh why couldn't they do BD as just one movie???).

But of course, turning YA books into movies are the big thing now and there are some I'm absolutely beside myself waiting for: HUNGER GAMES ANYONE???? But the one I cannot CANNOT wait for is The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones. Like, I think I will cry when these movies come out.

I was thinking about other books that I would love to see as movies. When I read books, I see them as movies in my head and there are some that I wish so desperately to see come to life. Here are a few I would love to see:

Raw Blue
Shiver
Graceling

What about you? What books would you LOVE to see come to life on the big screen?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rejection equals Happy? Who Knew!?!

So, querying is hard. Many of you know this. Many of you have been there done that, and many of you will at some point experience it if you have not yet gotten to that point (unless you are one of the super duper "lucky ones"). 


I'm not going to spend forever telling you how sucky it is to receive a rejection letter, or even worse, the dreaded, "form letter". Those of us who are riding the Query Highway or have been on that road before know how much they suck butt. However, I recently received a form rejection letter from a particular agent (I would never say who cause that would be inappropriate) that actually put a huge HUGE smile on my face. 


So you know how sometimes agents will break down a query letter to show what's working and not working for them? I thought I'd try it with this rejection form letter and share with you why it totally put a smile on my face :-).

Dear Author, This does not bother me at all. My name wasn't used, (thus my assuming it's a form R and not written to me personally), but hey! The agent referred to me as an author!!! WIN!

First, my apologies for this form e-mail response, and for the delay in getting back to you. Wow. An apology? Seriously? How awesome is that? This agent is showing me how much s/he cares. S/he acknowledges just how stressful this process is to me and apologizes for causing me to open my email 5,837 times since sending my query letter. :-) (Okay, so I might be exaggerating a little. It was more like 4, 582 times)  The huge volume of queries that I receive makes it impossible for me to individually respond except concerning projects that I wish to pursue. Hey, I totally get it and I totally forgive you because you've already made me so happy. You called me an author and apologized for the form R and for a delayed response! For one reason or another, your project does not seem right for my list. Drats. Aww, well. If I don't fit your list, I don't fit your list. What can I do? At least you have a list and have made it clear to me that you are looking for something specific and there isn't just one particular reason my project doesn't seem right. Maybe my next project will fit your list! 

Publishing is a complicated business, Wait a minute. So you mean to tell me that you've already rejected me and now you are going to go on and explain why? YOU ROCK AGENT DUDE/TTE! and the response of any individual agent—or indeed dozens of agents—is not necessarily a comment on the inherent value of the project or your skill in telling it.  So, let me get this straight. You are admitting to me that even though my project has been rejected by a couple of DOZEN agents, that it is not necessarily a reflection of the value (friggin love that word!) of my work or story telling ability? I mean, I've had sooooo many writer friends tell me to not give up and keep querying and revenge query and I've read about successful authors who queried 50, 60, or even 100 or more agents before they found that one agent who believed in their story. So you, an agent, are telling me to not give up??? I LOVE YOU MR/MRS AGENT WO/MAN!! It's one thing to have my writer friends tell me to not give up, but to hear an agent say it? Whew. That is totally reassuring! Every agent has individual tastes, a unique workload, and particular business requirements. Hmm. Interesting. I know that agents have individual tastes, but a unique workload and particular business requirements? Not totally sure what that means, but you know what? Somehow this REALLY makes me feel better. It's not JUST about tastes. It's not just the fact that you might think my story sucks butt. There are other factors that go into the decision of why you might be rejecting my particular project.  

Best of luck finding the right agent and publisher for your work. And best of luck to you Mr./Mrs. Agent person. May you find the perfect story that fits your list, your taste, your workload, and your particular business requirements. That must be so stressful for you to find someone's work that has all those things going for you at once!

Sincerely, And I totally believe you mean this word. I mean, maybe you don't, but you know what? You made me feel happy. Who knew being rejected could actually put a smile on my face. :-) 

So, this is not to knock the other form R letters I have received. Some of the others have been really nice as well, but there was just something about this particular one that gave me the inner strength and courage to keep going and to not give up. Something that is really needed when you have gotten to that "dozens of agents" point and start to wonder if it's time to throw the towel in. The answer is no. 

Time to get out some more queries :-)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Twitter-How to Find Yourself UNfollowed (Twitter Etiquette)

I am still very new to Twitter. And in trying to figure out how to appropriately and effectively utilize it, I asked a group of fellow writer friends/Twitterers to share with me some of the things about Twitter, Twitterers, and tweeting that annoy the living poop out of them. In other words, I wanted to know what the etiquette to being a good Twitterer consists of and what NOT to do. These are some of the things that came up in our discussion (in no particular order):

1. Follow Fridays aka #FF. Apparently people find this VERY annoying. I myself had not done it simply because I didn't know how to or what it was. But now that I know, and have learned how many people feel about it, I will not be doing it. For a hilarious post on the #FF hashtag and how it was intended to be used vs. what it has become, read this.

2. Multiple tweets--Posting your tweet 10, 15, 20+ times in a day fills up people's Twitter feeds (had to figure out what a Twitter "feed" was--yes, I'm that clueless) and that can be extremely irritating. We get that you want to reach as many people as possible about your AMAZING giveaway/contest, or an INSPIRING post on your blog, or even some FANTASTIC news about your book coming out, but tweeting the same tweet 437 times in a day on multiple days and you are looking to actually lose your audience/fellow followers.

3. Pimping your book and contributing nothing else to the Twitter world or to those following you was another thing mentioned as annoying. Apparently some authors have been known to do this and it is really uncool and uninteresting. Twitter is about making connections with other people who are in the same field/business or share the same interest. Develop and nurture those relationships first and THEN promote your stuff like crazy (but DON'T multiple tweet!). They will care more about your book if they care about you first. (Plus you may find more people retweeting your promotional tweets. WIN!)

4. People who think they look cool because they have 1000 followers and only follow 100. Honestly, you pretty much look the opposite of cool 'cause what this says to people is that there are many people who think you are worth following, but to you there are so few. I understand there can be certain reasons for it, but to most people it just looks really...unbalanced.

5. And to go along with #4 is people who follow you and then UNfollow you after you follow them back. Apparently this has even been done by some "big name" people to others who swear they were respectful followers (not harassing them or filling up their feed) and would only comment now and then or RT them for something that was said that was truly meaningful to them. SO NOT COOL. I understand that sometimes people need to clean out some of the followers that are the afore mentioned things or people who only follow for the purpose of advertisement of a product, but come on people. That is a snobby thing to do (if it's intentional, of course ;-))

6. There is a 140 character limit for a reason, people! To keep things short and tight in your message. People find Twitterers who write a novel in a string of 500 posts extremely irritating. We're not talking the occasional continued post to finish a sentence or an important point, but do it often enough and you will find yourself UNfollowed.

7. Another one that several people mentioned as VERY annoying are twitterers who go on regular political rants. Just because you have a platform for your fiction dystopian 7 book series, it doesn't give you the platform to spew political rhetoric at your fans. They are following you for your writing and your stories, not your personal political views.

8. Cliques on Twitter. Okay. So, we know cliques kind of exist everywhere. And just because you're on the internet doesn't mean people won't recognize when you are being "cliquish". Apparently, there are many published authors in the industry who will ONLY respond to other published authors on Twitter and ignore comments made by fans or other writers who are working towards the goal of becoming published. It just makes you come off looking like a snob. If you're only interested in other authors being interested in your work and not the other people who are fans and dedicated followers and also buyers of your books, then go ahead. Remain in your small circle of Twitter peeps. But would it really hurt to reach out to others once in a while? Not saying you have to respond to every person who tweets you (surely impossible for some), but once in a while just respond to some of your followers to let them know that you know they exist and that you appreciate them following you. There are many authors who are absolutely wonderful about responding to RT@tweets and thanking people who retweet one of their tweets, but there are others who seem to think their poop don't stink and that if you're not published you're a nobody. NOT. COOL.

So there you have it. Some tips for you on What NOT to do on Twitter. I mean, you can do whatever you want, but these are some suggestions on ways to avoid loosing followers. BTW, a friend of mine pointed out this really cool link that allows you to see who you are following that is not following you back. In case you wanted to know ;-)

Anything you can add? Anything not mentioned that annoys the living poop out of you?

Monday, June 27, 2011

ARC of CREEP Winner is............

JOANN!

Congratulations, Joann! Send me an email with your address to mkramersantiago@yahoo.com and I'll get it out in tomorrow's mail!

To everyone else who entered, thanks so much for stopping by. I wish I had a copy to give everyone. That is the one downfall of doing these giveaways :-( But please look for Jennifer's book when it comes out because it is really a GREAT story and worth the purchase. I myself plan on buying the hard copy. I'm kind of excited to walk in the store and pick up the book and tell the cashier, "I know her! She's totally a buddy of mine and I read an ARC of the book and I loved it so much that I have to have a hard copy because i gave my ARC away in a contest giveaway and I have to support my awesome writer friends!" And then I"m sure he'll look at me like I have 5 friggin heads and think to himself, "Okay, lady. I think they better up your meds." And then I'll answer him as though he actually said those words directly to me and I'll say, "Acually, Sir. I don't need meds. Reading is my drug of choice." And then he'll really look at me like I have 5 heads 'cause instead of thinking I need psycho meds, he was probably actually thinking to himself, "Wow, what a great person to support her writer friend like that." And I'll say, "Thanks! That's so nice of you to say." And then he'll really look at me like I have 5 heads because I'm having this whole one-way conversation and say, "Umm, yeah. Okay. Here you go. Have a nice day."

Yeah. It will be awesome!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

Thanks to all who participated in my new blog/Kramer prize giveaway! I wish I could give everyone a prize :( But I used Random.org and these were the first 3 names that appeared.

First Prize: Hayley!
Second Prize: Alina!
Third Prize: Jennifer Hillier!

Again thank you so much to all of you for stopping by and giving me some blog makeover love and entering my contest.

To the winners, I will get your stuff out in the mail as soon as you email me your address to mkramersantiago@yahoo.com

Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview w/author, Jennifer Hillier. Win an ARC of her debut novel, CREEP!!!

My buddy Jennifer Hillier has a book coming out on July 5th called, CREEP, and being the awesome gal she is, has kindly agreed to give me an interview. Thanks, Jen!


Blurb for CREEP:

Dr. Sheila Tao is a professor of psychology. An expert in human behavior. And when she began an affair with sexy, charming graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she knew she was playing with fire. Consumed by lust when they were together, riddled with guilt when they weren't, she knows the three-month fling with her teaching assistant has to end. After all, she's finally engaged to a kind and loving investment banker who adores her, and she's taking control of her life. But when she attempts to end the affair, Ethan Wolfe won't let her walk away.

Ethan has plans for Sheila, plans that involve posting a sex video that would surely get her fired and destroy her prestigious career. Plans to make her pay for rejecting him. And as she attempts to counter his every threatening move without her colleagues or her fiancé discovering her most intimate secrets, a shattering crime rocks Puget Sound State University: a female student, a star athlete, is found stabbed to death. Someone is raising the stakes of violence, sex, and blackmail . . . and before she knows it, Sheila is caught in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with the lover she couldn't resist—who is now the monster who won't let her go. 



Does that not sound friggin' AWESOME??? I was lucky enough to win a copy of a CREEP ARC on her blog and while I suck at writing book reviews, I will say that the book was completely gripping and filled with heart racing tension. Jennifer managed to create a story with great settings, a plausible scenario, and a wonderful diversity of three dimensional characters, each of which had very distinct voices. I especially love Ethan who she brilliantly manages to make both incredibly hot and sexy and yet creepy and scary as all hell. The ending was surprising and while the story has a solid ending, she left it with an OMG moment which has allowed the story to have a sequel. WHICH IT WILL!!! YAYAYAY.

Now I want to share the love cause the book is, well, EFFING AWESOME! It's not YA, but it does take place on a college campus and since I myself have always wanted to write a YA Thriller, I was excited to read this book. And since reading it, I have in fact begun that YA Thriller :-) So, for all of you interested in writing a thriller whether it be in the YA or adult market, you should definitely check this book out!

Interview time!


Could you give us a brief herstory (J) about your journey to publication?

Ha, love the wordplay, Mel! Thanks for having me!

I started writing seriously back in 2007. Wrote one novel, trunked it, and wrote another in 2008. That second book was CREEP. I workshopped it like crazy, received some excellent feedback, and ended up with seven drafts just over a year later. Started querying in October 2009 and signed with my agent in February 2010. My agent took me through another two rounds of revisions, and we went on sub at the end of April 2010. The book sold to Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books in June 2010.

Summing it up like this, it seems like everything went pretty smoothly, but I definitely had my share of agent and editor rejections (52 combined – and yes, I counted! I've kept them all!).


Why Thrillers?

It's hard to explain how it started, but I've always loved thrillers. I love stories that are dark and fast, with high stakes and gruesome murders, and villains who are smart and unusual. I love heroes who are put in impossible situations and have to dig deep to survive. Reading and writing thrillers are an adrenaline rush!


Do you remember what you were doing or where you were when the idea for this story hit you upside the head?

I was hoping nobody would ever ask me this question, because my answer is SO LAME!

Mel, I had a dream. Yep, a dream. I dreamt about a college student who was also a serial killer leading this crazy double life. I woke up and couldn't stop thinking about him all day. He was gorgeous and twisted, and I thought maybe I'd turn him into a short story. What I ended up with was a first chapter.


As a former psychology major myself, I noticed that you had a strong sense of the terminology being used, which really authenticated the feel of what was going on in that respect. What knowledge/experience did you bring to the writing of your novel CREEP and what things did you have to research? How did you go about doing that research?

Thank you! I'm glad to know that paying attention in class paid off! Honestly, nothing, really. A good portion of the story takes place in a university, and having been a university student (I majored in psychology), plus having worked in a couple different post-secondary institutions, the college setting seemed natural to me. Other than that, I used my imagination! Obviously I drew from my own experiences in order to make the classroom scenes as authentic as possible. I did do quite a bit of research about psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists to make my villain as real as possible (I hadn't studied them much in school). I also spent a lot of time researching disguises (my villain likes to play with makeup and prosthetics), which was creepy good fun.


Do you use any kind of formula to writing your thrillers? Plotter, pantser, or other?

No formula, other than to revise revise revise! I'm a pantser by nature, but I'd love to be a plotter.


I LOVE thrillers and wish there were more in the YA genre. Would you ever consider writing a YA Thriller?

Oh, definitely! My only concern would be getting the voice right. It's been so long since I was a young adult myself that I worry I'd sound inauthentic, but I would love to write a YA thriller someday.


What advice would you give to a writer interested in trying their hand in the Thriller genre?

I feel a bit unqualified to give advice, but I'll give it my best shot. Read extensively in the genre. Keep your narrative clean and your dialogue snappy. A good thriller is always paced well (and fast), and timelines are usually short. Keep the stakes high, and never, ever lose tension.


Is there anything you can tell us about the sequel that's coming out?

There's so much I'd love to spill, but I'd better not! I'm only on draft two and it's entirely possible that everything will change by the time I hand it over to my editor. I will say this, though: I love villains. And there is no shortage of villains in my next book.


And now for some insanely random questions:

The mountains or the beach?
Tough one! I'd normally say beach… unless it's a choice between the beach and the mountains. So, I’m thinking mountains. The scenery and crisp air would be so inspiring.

Favorite music?
I like just about everything, but I could listen to '90's R&B anytime. Brings me back to my high school days!

Favorite book?
IT by Stephen King. I love the way he writes children, and the villain – who morphs into whatever/whoever your biggest fear is – scared the crap out of me.

Favorite movie/tv show
Dexter. True Blood. Mad Men.

3 things on your bucket list?
Visit Italy and Greece. Buy a cottage by the lake. Watch Wimbledon live.

Cats or dogs?
I'm a cat person (I have four!), but I've met some pretty cool dogs, too.

Biggest fear?
Dying with regrets.

Coffee or Tea?
Both! I love coffee in the mornings and tea in the afternoons.

Salts or sweets?
This is a close one, but I'd pick sweets. Chocolate should be its own food group.

Favorite holiday?
Easter.

Can you lick your elbow? Touch your nose w/your tongue? Cross one eye? Apply lipstick using your bra? J

Oh, hell. I was so sure I could lick my elbow – not even close. Also no to the nose/tongue thing, and a big no to the crossing one eye. As for the lipstick with the bra thing… well, it depends on the bra. ;)

Thank you so much Jennifer for being such a trooper and best of luck and much success in the release of CREEP!!!

Don't forget that Jennifer Hillier's book, CREEP comes out on July 5th from Simon & Schuster! To enter the contest to win your ARC of CREEP, all you have to do is leave your name and either your email address or a link to your blog in the comments section so I can contact you. That's it! Easy, right? Contest ends on Sunday, June 26th and I will use Random.org for selecting the winner. You can get extra entries if you blog about it and tweet about it, but be sure to let me know in the comments that you have done so. Good Luck!!!

About Jennifer:
Jennifer Hillier was born in Toronto, which is where she spent the first three decades of her life. When her husband was offered a transfer to Seattle, she didn't know which would be worse: leaving Canada or moving to the West coast. She spent her first few months on American soil bemoaning her existence and writing her first novel. Now nicely settled in the Pacific Northwest, the only thing she misses – other than family and friends – is snow.
Jennifer blogs at The Serial Killer Files (www.jenniferhillier.ca). You can also find her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/JenniferHillierAuthor), Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/JenniferHillier), and her official author website, www.jenniferhillier.org.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Under Appreciated Books--Share Your Thoughts/Suggestions

I was visiting the blog of my good friend Naomi yesterday who had a great post about books she owns but has not yet read. And it started to make me think not only about the books I own (or have downloaded onto my iPad) that I have not yet read, but the books that are not even on my TBR list, but totally should be. There are a lot of books out there that for whatever reason, do/did not get the hype they so deserve. One book I read recently that is a great example of this is a wonderful YA contemporary written Bethany Griffin called Handcuffs. Most unfortunately, her book came out smack in the midst of the economic crisis and so for various economic reasons, Handcuffs did not get the recognition or publicity that it duly should have. The book is wonderfully written and has an MC with a wonderful and strong voice and the romantic tension is KILLER.

I'm very much aware that she is not the only author with the only book that has somehow managed to get lost under the radar. So my question to you is,

What book would you recommend in the YA category (any genre) that you feel everyone SHOULD read and add to their TBR list, but may not really know about for whatever unfortunate reasons? What is it about that book that makes you say to someone, you MUST read this book?

Thanks!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Contest has been extended for one more week!

I've decided to run the contest for another week. Hope others will join in on the fun!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

So...what are YOU up to?

I'm currently working on a YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi AND a YA Contemporary Thriller. I'm just over half-way through with the Dystop and about 8k in to the Thriller.

Was just wondering what all of you, my blogger buddies, are currently working on. What genre are you writing? How far in are you into your project? What stage are you in? Any new and exciting SNIs you are toying with? Revising? Editing? On a writer's hiatus? What are you up to?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rejection is not personal? I beg to differ.

Today I want to talk about where I am in my journey to publication. Yes, ladies and gents, I am going to go on a long rant talk about that dreaded capital letter, R. Anyone who is in this biz and has gotten to the querying stage knows what that letter stands for: R is for Rejection (they don't teach you that one on Sesame Street ;-)) I have gone from riding the Query Highway to riding the Rejection Highway and let me tell you, it has got to be one of the bumpiest most depressing roads I've ever traveled thus far in my writing journey. And to think I'm just in the beginning stages! Manhattan potholes? Psssht...They aint nothin'.

After reading a couple of posts on a couple of different agent's blogs talking about rejection and how it's not personal, I started to think long and hard about it and what I've come to realize is that rejection on an agent's end is NOT personal. As Nathan Bransford said in his recent post,  how can it be personal when the people rejecting you don't even know you?  And he's absolutely right. And I think it is absolutely insane when people get angry at an agent because they decided, for whatever their reason, to pass on your work. However, being the rejected and being the rejectee are two different things. Just as being the dumped, and being the dumpee in a relationship are two very different things. It may not be personal on the agents end, but it is most definitely personal on the receiving end. My work is a direct reflection of ME. It is my heart and soul and inspiration and ideas poured onto pages that have been revised, revised, revised and then edited, edited, edited, and then BETA read by a good number of people in the biz and then revised and edited again and again and again. And then I spend countless hours, days, or weeks on developing the perfect query letter and I go through Query Letter Hell where my peers tear the shit out of my query letter and break it down and around and smack it and flip it upside down until I am utterly confused and left in tears cause I don't even know where to begin or who to listen to because EVERYONE has an opinion and they are often quite contradictory. But eventually I plow through the query letter writing process and finally...FINALLY write a version that has a few people saying, "If I were an agent I'd request to see more." And then...AND THEN...I spend the next couple of days, weeks or months perfecting my synopsis. THE DREADED SYNOPSIS. And not just one synopsis. No, I have to cover all my bases cause some agents request a 3-5 page synop, some want a 2 pager, and others want a 1 page synopsis. Not wanting to limit my options of whom I can query, I prepare all three!

Then there's another good month of researching the agents I want to query for this particular novel, which is a whole other topic in itself, but it's a very important part of the process. To not do the necessary research on the agents I plan on querying is to waste all the time I've spent on everything prior to this point. It's a waste of my time and of the agent's.

So, (a year to two years later) I have a rock solid query letter, my 1, 2, and 3-5 page synopsis, a novel that has been BETA read to death and that I have been told is a very well written story with a unique concept/plot, my list of agents that I believe are a good match for my work, and then I get a glass of wine and start hitting the send button.

At this point, I've done EVERYTHING right. I've done everything I was told I'm supposed to do if I'm serious about being a published writer and so I wait. And I check my inbox 4,738 times a day. And then one day I see that number 1 in my inbox and my heart jumps into my throat and I feel like I might hurl all over my keyboard, And there's this tiny little bit of hope that when I open the email, it's going to be an agent requesting a partial, or a full, but in reality, I've mentally convinced myself that it will be an R because I think it will make the blow softer. I finally muster up the courage to open it and...and...AND...I receive my first R. It stings pretty bad that first R, but I tell myself, that's okay, I have more agents out there who have received my letter. It's just a matter of time. It's just a matter of finding that perfect agent. It's just a matter of...Hmm...another R. And another. And another.

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Friggin' ouch.

Rejection is absolutely personal. Maybe not 1 rejection letter, and maybe not even 2 or 3 or 10, but when the numbers keep climbing up and up and all that is coming in are R's, I MUST take it personally.  If rejection wasn't personal, I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't believe there is room for improvement. I wouldn't stop and think, hey, maybe I need to re-think my query letter. Or, consider the idea that maybe I need to re-think my my first chapter, or if there was a request for a partial and it was rejected, maybe I need to re-think the beginning of my story. Or maybe this story is just NOT THE ONE. Something is not working. I didn't do SOMETHING right. That is personal. It doesn't get much more personal than that. Individual agents sending a (form) rejection might not being personal, but when you are receiving multiple rejection letters, it is one huge conglomeration of personal. My work is a reflection of me and so to reject my work is to reject me and I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that. I mean, if an agent LOVES your novel and requests a partial and then a full and then calls you to offer representation, you take that personal, don't you? So why can't it be so for the opposite? Rejection is not personal? I beg to differ. I think it is and I think it can be important to take it as so.

What are your thoughts?  
 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My New Blog Look and...A CONTEST!!!

So, here it is folks. My new blog look! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Lori (the designer) is a genius! She completely captured the feel of what I wanted and was so amazingly patient with my meticulous requests and wants. I love the idea that I have a blog that feels so ME. Take a look at her site and check out some of the other AMAZING designs she's created!

Now for the...CONTEST! This is my first!!! So, in lieu of what's been going on re: The Wall Street Journal article, which you can read here, I've decided it's the perfect topic for the contest. As someone who writes "edgy" and  "gritty" YA, this article was particularly...frustrating to me. Don't get me wrong, I also love to read some of the fluffier YA stuff, but edgy and dark is more in my comfort zone. To enter the contest, all you have to do is be a follower or become a new follower and leave a brief comment telling me how YA literature has impacted your life. Why do you read it and/or why do you write it? If you don't read or write YA (*spank, spank*, you should, give it a try!) then perhaps you can tell me about someone you know who has been impacted in someway. That's it. Easy, no?

Oh, there has to be a prize, right? Ha. Okay. So this is where the contest might seem a little...different. I know this is a blog dedicated to YA, but the prizes I'm giving away are not YA related. You see, I have this little connection to this guy named Kramer. I'm thinking that for some of you, that name automatically conjures some images and for others, a big question mark has popped up over your head. For those of you who DON'T know, once upon a time there was this insanely famous show called Seinfeld about 4 quirky neighbors living in New York City. And one of the most loved characters on the show was a guy named Kramer. But what some of you may or may not know is that the character Kramer is actually based on a REAL guy named Kenny Kramer. Well, I kind of know him and since I'm kinda broke at the moment, he has awesomely donated some prizes for me to give away! (*waves ferociously* thanks, dad!)

For those of you who are not fans of the show Seinfeld (yes, I do know there are some of you out there :D) and therefore say to yourselves that this is not a prize for you, I say enter anyway cause EVERYONE knows SOMEONE who is a fan of the show and/or of Kramer. If anything, this is a great prize to give as a gift for Christmas or Hanukah, Mother's Day or Father's Day, Three Kings Day, Chinese New Year, Congratulations on your Engagement/Marriage/Divorce, a birthday, or just to say thank you to someone for whatever. :-)

First prize:







*A choice of a gift certificate for four to Kramer's Reality Tour in NYC plus four admission tickets to the Stand Up NY comedy club OR the Kramer's Reality Tour on DVD, signed
*A Real Kramer T-shirt (XL), signed
*The Seinfeld Universe book, signed

Second prize:





*Kramer's Reality Tour DVD, signed
*The Seinfeld Universe book, signed
*Yada, Yada, Yada bumper sticker

Third prize:





*ASSMAN license plate, signed
*3 bumper stickers: Kramer for Mayor (signed), Yada, Yada, Yada, Vandelay Industries


Since the prizes didn't cost me anything (thanks again, daddy-O ;-)), I can afford to front the costs for shipping and have decided to open this contest to both U.S. and non-U.S. residents!

Contest ends Sunday, June, 12 at midnight. I will use random.org for the drawing and announce the winner on Tuesday. By leaving your comment about what I discussed above you are automatically entered. You can get extra entries by doing the following:

+2 if you're already a follower
+1 if you tweet about the contest
+1 if you blog about it
+1 if you add it as a sidebar on your blog

Please be sure to leave either your email, and/or a link to your blog so I can contact you in the event you are a winner and forget to check back (I know I enter contests and then totally forget about them. Who knows if I've ever won any of them and never got to claim my prize?)

Good luck and thanks for stopping by! Hope you come to visit again :-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hey Blogger Buddies!

My blog is in the midst of getting a makeover. I'm very excited. Once the new blog look is complete, I'll be back to posting regularly and I'm even going to host my very first CONTEST in celebration of my blog's makeover. Woot! Hope to see you then.

Peace, love and positivity!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shhh...I'm having an affair. Don't. Tell. Anyone!

I can't believe this. I've always believed in monogamy. I've always remained faithful. I mean, trying to handle one relationship is hard enough, right? But, I have to say that cheating is both exhausting and exhilarating. I can't really explain it. It's giving me a sort of high I've never felt before. They both make me so happy, but when one overwhelms me or frustrates me or pisses me off, I can run to the other for a much needed break and that feeling of pleasure and satisfaction that keeps me a happy girl. And they are both so, so different. I mean, they're both really exciting, edgy, and give me non-stop action, but they're from like totally different worlds!

So far they don't seem to know about each other. Think I'll keep it on the down low for now. Though, there's this other dude who's recently come back into my life, too. He was in lock up for a while and recently came out. I've begun messing around with him as well. What can I say? I missed him and I couldn't deny him the tender loving care he so desperately desired.

God. I'm such a whore.

:-)

Have you always remained a one manuscript at a time kinda person, or do you admit to whoring it up! Come on, CONFESS!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The process of querying...

 is so, so hard. it is mentally and emotionally exhausting.

that is all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Very Terrible, Cliche, No Good, Very Bad Query Letter

To Whom it May Concern:

I am sending you this letter because I'm writing a book called KISS ME, SUCK ME, YOU DIE. I'm not sure what the genre is, but I'm thinking it will either be Urban Fantasy Thriller or Paranormal Romance.  So far I've written 270K and I'm just about halfway through the story and thought you might be interested in reading what I have so far. I read that you like Edgy Contemporary and Dystopian/Apocalyptic stories and thought you would be a great match for my work!

Sixteen year old, Majestic Murphy, has considered having her name legally changed to Plain Jane cause that's what she is. She also has the balance and coordination of a baby making its first attempt to walk, but for some reason every gorgeous rich guy at her school is completely drawn to her and vying for her attention.

What nobody knows is Stacy holds the secret that could mean the ultimate destruction to all vampires until one day one of those vampires, the head cheerleader for the varsity football team, bites Stacy in a jealous rage after finding out her boyfriend (and football team quarterback) wants to hook up with Stacy. Within in seconds, the cheerleader drops dead on the floor (well, technically, she's already dead, but you know what I mean). Her body begins to sparkle and then it disintegrates into a pile of silver shimmering dust.

Why does this happen? Well, you'll have to read more of the book to find out. Actually, I haven't written that part of the story yet, but if you are interested in representing me, I can have the book finished for you in a jiffy. I have attached a document with what I have so far (the first 57 chapters) and I look forward to hearing from you. I know you'll love my story. My eleven year old sister read some of it and she LOVED it. I also let my 83 year old next door neighbor, Mrs. Schiedner, read some of it, but her memory's been a little wonky lately and she keeps re-reading the first chapter over and over cause she forgets what she read. But every time I ask her what she thinks she says she LOVES the first chapter, so at least she's been consistent in how she feels about the beginning. Can't wait to hear from you!

Sincerely,

Ms. Keebler




haha...this was fun! (of course this is not my attempt at a real query letter!!!!! it's just a joke, people.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Violence and Cursing and Sex...Oh My!

For some reason, I've been coming across a lot of threads and posts on a certain message board that I frequent regarding the topic of violence, cursing and sex in YA literature. I find myself getting very frustrated and feel my blood begin to boil when anyone makes such blatant comments insinuating that those things should NOT exist in YA literature. References to the YA audience being "children" and that writers of YA must consider that parents are the ones who are buying these books for our kids makes me want to give myself a bikini wax with a pair of tweezers! It makes me want to grab a hand saw and cut the top of my skull off so I can retrieve my brains, throw them on the floor and stomp on them until--Oh. I'm sorry. Was that too violent?

Oh, well. Perhaps you'd be more interested in someone else's bubblegum blog post full of flowers and rainbows and pixy dust.

This is how I roll. This is how I write. And believe it or not...THERE IS AN AUDIENCE WHO DESIRES AND CRAVES THE EDGIER SIDE OF YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE. You have no interest in writing material with sex, violence, drugs, cursing and the such? Fine. Don't write it. You don't want to READ books that contain this subject matter? Great. Don't read it. But to tell people that these topics don't belong in the entire genre of YA is nothing more than your very own conservative opinion and taste of what you like and dislike w/in the genre (or perhaps any genre).  I don't go around telling other YA writers that they HAVE to have sex or underage drinking or drugs or homosexual activity or fighting or cursing or some combination of them in order to relate to their audience. There is an audience for all that is out there. Yes, there are teens out there who might not curse (at least not in front of their elders ;-)) and who wait until they are married to have sex and would never even consider trying a cigarette--let alone drugs, who would never drink until they are legal, and who view homosexuality as a sin (what. ever.), but this is not the reality of ALL teens. EVERYONE enjoys reading books that they can connect to and many of the "taboo" topics happen to be things that MANY teens deal with and live.

Any and all of these taboo topics can work if they are done properly and not written gratuitously. If I have cursing in one of my books, its' because it works in that scene. It works for that character and gives that character believability. In my novel Breaking Out, I have characters who run the gamut regarding foul language. Libby HATES foul language. She never uses it and it makes her cringe when kids around her use it. Sam curses occassionally, and Josh will sometimes curse, but he usually does it in Spanish when he's having a Ricky Ricardo (from I Love Lucy) moment. Then you meet KK who is a high school drop out, pretty much from the streets and lives with his older brother where the two of them deal in some highly illegal business. Anyone who has met KK (aka my many beta readers--love you all!) has told me that the language that comes out of his mouth is very fitting to his characters. I questioned my beta readers if it was too much and all of them said "no way, it fits his character." In fact, one of my beta readers suggested I stick a few more in. haha. She was only kidding. I think... Not only that, I was told by several of my beta readers that KK is one of the best secondary characters they've come across. Obviously his horrendous foul mouth was easily overlooked because it completely fit his character.

Anyway, the point to my post is that these "taboo" topics in YA are here to stay. You don't have to read it or write it, but you NEED TO GET OVER IT. If you don't want to read it and it's not your cup of tea, lucky for you there are people who LOVE to write the kinds of books that have none of the things you loath. And by all means, if you like to write those kinds of books...ALL THE POWER TO YOU. Write it. And guess what? I may even pick it up, read and probably enjoy it. What can I say? I have an eclectic taste. Likewise, for those of you who love a good violent oriented, foul mouth filled, sexing it up, drugged out book, there will always be someone ready to write  what you long for.

Don't judge. Freedom of choice. Free will. To each his own. But for goodness sake...STFU about what "belongs" and "doesn't belong" in the genre of YA. I live on the edge. I read on the edge. I write on the edge. You don't like the edge? What can I say?

Move the %&#%*$^#@ back! Personally, I like it here.


:-)

Friday, April 8, 2011

My Fantasy of the perfect Harry Potter hook-up

Dear Harry,

It is getting harder and harder for me to play out this charade, but please understand that things must remain this way for now. If anyone knew about us it would be the hugest scandal ever. My family's name would be forever tainted and though I'd be willing to make that sacrifice for the sake of shouting to the world that I love you and want to be with you, now is not the right time. The Wizarding community would not be ready to accept this—to accept us—on so many levels. It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I must continue to put on this act when all I want to do is play with your magic wand (haha). Keep in mind that anything I do or say in front of others is all a part of the front. I don't mean any of it! Hopefully one day, we can let the world know the truth about us. In the mean time, stay focused on staying alive. He Who Must Not Be Named will not give up until you are dead. I'll try to continue to give you any information I can on anything I hear about. For if the day should ever come that something happens to you and you are taken from me, my heart will surely die.


                                                                                                                             Forever Yours,

                                                                                                                             -- D



P.S. I hope you like the picture (Muggle cameras are so weird!), but please be sure to burn this entire letter when you are done reading it. Better to not have any evidence lying around. Sorry. I know you hate all this secrecy, but please try to understand.

P.S.S. Oh, by the way, great catch on the Snitch at today's game! You guys totally kicked Hufflepuff's asses. I was totally stoked for you.







Why not? They're actually really hot together!


*Please note this post is not intended to insult anyone. I am a huge supporter of everyone having the right to choose whatever life style they see fit for themselves. Freedom of choice!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dealing with Negative Reviews

Wow! I actually had an idea for a post today! WOOT WOOT. Yeah, I been suckin' in the bloggin' world cause honestly, I'm tryin' to find some sort of unique angle/twist to my posts and nothin' has been comin' to me. (Let's see how many times I can kill the g in my ing verbs :-) ).

But, today I was lead to a blog post with a review on someone's self-pubbed book. The review itself was actually pretty good, but the reviewer did mention that some of this author's sentence structures, typos, and grammatical errors sometimes disrupted the flow of what would have otherwise been some compelling and emotional scenes. Sometimes the scenes worked great, and sometimes the reviewer felt pulled out of this author's story because of the afore mentioned problems. Overall, the review was really nice. Unfortunately, the author read the review and apparently felt a need to defend herself and her writing. As I read the back and forth posts between the posters and author's posts, I was utterly flabbergasted by her responses. She was so angry and defensive and started posting positive reivews from other places and she went so far as to start telling posters to (and I quote) "Fuck off!"

Wow. Can you say professional suicide? Turn off? Have no intentions of buying her book and supporting her career? That chick will be needing a pseudonym and some major plastic surgery to change her appearance if she has any plans on making it in this biz. I mean, she acted COMPLETELY out of line and really upset A LOT of people who follow this reviewer's blog. And you know how that goes. Remember the Faberge Organics commercial from the 80's with Heather Locklear? "And they'll tell a friend, and they'll tell a friend and so on and so on and so on."

Anyway, it got to the point where this author sounded like a little brat having a temper tantrum. She hears one review she doesn't love and she flips out completely. I mean, I can imagine how hard it is to have your book out there and even though you know there will ALWAYS be someone who doesn't love your work and will tear it up, that those negative reviews hurt. So, I started thinking that if I ever when I get one of my books published, will I read all the reviews? Will I read the negative ones as well as the positive ones? Will I ask people to just send me the positive ones to keep me encouraged or is it important to at least consider some of the points made by those who had issues regarding your writing/story telling. I guess it's hard to say/know until I'm actually there, but I do know that the bad will come with the good. It's inevitable.


My question to you fellow writers (published and wannabe published), what is your take on this? Do/Will you read all the reviews both positive and negative, when your book gets published? How will you prepare yourself to handle it? And to those who are published and have had to deal with this, please share your take on this! How have you handled it all?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oh Where, Oh Where Did My Brainmojo Go...

Oh where, oh where could it be?

So, I'm sitting there on my first break of the day after cleaning the house and entertaining a friend and her son for a playdate. My kids are occupied and I've got my laptop opened and I'm ready to add some words to my new WIP. I stare at the screen and finally write a sentence. Nope. Don't like it. Delete. I stare at the screen again and try writing a different one. Uh uh. Nope, not loving it. Delete. I stare at the screen again and type yet a different sentence and...WTF??? No!!!! No, no, no, no, no, nooooooooo. What the H E double hockey sticks is happening to my brain??? Why can I suddenly not put words together to form a good sentence? Several minutes later I'm sitting there thinking,"Oh my God! What if I've can never write again? What if this is it for me and the past two and half years have been this big tease on my life??? What else will I do with myself if I can't write? Have I really lost my writer's Mojo???"

Not to worry good people (because I'm sure you all were quite concerned *insert eye rolling emoticon*). I did eventually find it (my mojo), but man was that a scary ass ride! Turns out I was just too tired and shutting the computer for a few hours and having a STRONG cup of coffee did the trick. Writing commenced.

Whew.

Has anything like that ever happened to you? Did you ever lose your writer's mojo?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I've been a bad blogger buddy...forgive me???

hey fellow blogger buddies!

just wanted to say hi and send out my apologies for my lack of participation in the blogging world lately. i have been overwhelmed with life and blogging has taken a temporary hit in my list of things i haven't had time for lately. i'm SURE you guys can all understand that sometimes...life just happens.

i have put querying for Breaking Out on hold for a short time while i do some small re-writes on it to address a few things beta reader number 7 pointed out. i feel like this re-write process never ends, but like everyone else, i want this book to be everything it can be--to show it's full potential. i'm also working on that out of the trunk novel and an SNI that wouldn't leave me alone. i will hopefully get back into the swing of blogging soon.

peace, love and positivity to you all!!!!

what takes a hit in your life when things become a bit overwhelming? 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Return of the Itches

As in the itches to write. Like really write. Something new. One of my several SNI's sitting there screaming, "Write me! Write me!" "Me first, Melanie. Pleeeeeease!!" "No. Me first. You know you've been thinking about me."

And I have. About all of them. So many stories to write so little time. So, why am I only itching to write and not writing? Because I'm giving myself a small break. I have been writing, and revising non-stop for over 2 years. I am now finally in the querying process and it is stressful as those of you who have been through it know. But that's not the only reason, I'm not writing. When I knew I was coming to an end of working on my latest novel (and let's face it, you are never really...done),  I took on a few beta commitments, so that has also been keeping me busy. I'm catching up with friends who have been practically ignored over the past couple of years because of my obsession to write with any spare moment I had. Being a full-time mother is my priority, so when I had a few minutes here and there to spare, guess where it went...yep--to writing.

But, the itch is getting stronger and stronger and STRONGER and I honestly don't think I can hold out much longer. I have been doing some revising on my recently out of the trunk novel, which I''m so super excited about, but I also feel a need to write something new, so I have a feeling I will be two-timing my projects. :-)

Do you take breaks from your writing? What do you do during your breaks and how long do/can you stay away?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

AWWW...YEAHHHHH



okay, is anyone else insanely excited that Ghostbusters 3 is coming out in 2012??? GHOSTBUSTERS PEOPLE!!! and we are talking the original writers, director and cast all returning. check it out on imbd, here.

that's all i gots for today :D

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Doing Book Reviews...My Two Cents

I'm a writer (not a pubbed one maybe, but I consider myself one none-the-less). I image some day having one of my books actually published, on the shelf in book stores, or being ordered on people's kindles and ipads, or being borrowed from the library, or from a friend who LOVED the book and desperately wants someone else to experience it and love it as much as s/he did. As a writer hoping to be published one day, I can not for a second imagine the pain of googling my name or book title  and coming across a horrible, mean, negative review. God, that must REALLY HURT. I mean, like a knife stabbing pain in the gut that slices up into your heart and back again.

Think about how hard you have worked on your book (or books). Think about the hours, days, weeks, months and even years you have put into writing your story, revising and editing. And revising and editing. And revising and...you get the point. Then there's that blasted query letter and the synopsis to get through. Then the querying process and the editing process from there and then it's still not over. Then, finally after all that blood, sweat and tears (LOTS OF TEARS and a few too many glasses of wine :-)), you finally get published. HOORAY!!!!!! You are high from the excitement in seeing your baby, your hard work, all pay off.

And then you read a review that says, "Eh, an okay read. Don't really recommend this book. The writing is mediocre, the story drags, and the characters would be better served in the Land of Make Believe cause they just didn't seem authentic to me."

OUUUUUCCCCCHHHHHHHHH! That friggin hurts!

Ya think? This person deeply believed in their book. In their story. Whether you think it's good, bad, or just so, so, their heart was likely embedded into that project. Not only that, their agent and/or publisher obviously believed in it too. IT GOT PUBLISHED!!!

Word of mouth is a very powerful tool in this biz. Silence can be too. Talking, bragging, and swooning over the books you love and not discussing the ones you don't basically has the same affect, but without the negativity and dissing of someone's work. Don't you think? I'm not talking about having book discussion with your friends or even discussing/blogging about the kinds of things that drive you crazy or anger or frustrate you in books in general (not naming the book). I'm talking about using public forums to discuss and sway others to not want to read a book. It may not be your intention to do that, but that is essentially what it does. It's hard enough dealing with the nut jobs who want to ban books and since they're not going anywhere, let's just leave the negativity to them.

So, there you have it. My really long blah blah blah two 37 cent post.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Querying...What I'm Learning Along the Way

I thought it would make sense to not just blog about the fact that I am querying, but what I'm learning about the process as I go along. Here's what I've learned so far:

Researching for the agents who are just right for my project is a lot more time consuming than I thought, but worth the hours and hours of research and work, and an essential part of the process. Unless of course, you want to just query every Tom, Dick, and Harry Agency only to receive a whole bunch of big ole' Rs. My process goes like this:

A) Go to Querytracker.com, Agentquery.com, and Guide To Literary Agents, and find the agents who represent YA (and whether or not they are accepting unsolicited queries).

B) From there, I check the agency against the bewares forum in AW to make sure the agency is legit and/or  the kinds of issues other writers may have had with them.

C) Check out their website, read what they are about, what they represent, who each agent is, what area/genre each agent is interested in, what authors they currently represent, and which agent you feel will be the best match for your work.

D) From there, you need to read the website (or individual agent's) submission guidelines. Do they want a query letter only, or query plus first 5 pages, or 10 pages, or first chapter, or first 3 chapters. Do they want a synopsis? And if so, do they want a 1 page synop,  2 page synop, or 3-5 page synop?

E) Once you compile a list of choice agents, you need to tailor your query letter to their requirements/needs and possibly for some personalization purposes. Ex. We met at a confrence in *** last month... or, According to your website, you are looking for edgy, upper YA stories and I think my work will be a good match for you...(lame, but you get the point).

F) Check that agent's recent sales on places like Publisher's Market to give you an idea of what's being sold by who and in what genre.

F) Finally, you need some sort of method for keeping track of who you have sent your queries to, when you sent them, what the responses were (Rejection, partial request, full request), what date you received those responses (it's good to keep track of the time frame for each agent so that you have an idea of their idividual time frame, though it can change, to keep you from going insane in the waiting game). I have various folders on my desktop, while others have an excel program to keep track.

So, there you have it. My querying process and how I go about it. Each stage of this novel writing process has it's ups and downs and requires a LOT of work and patience and some organization. I'm learning new things everyday about this business and to not take the time to put in the same work and effort towards finding the right agents as you do in writing and revising and editing your novel, query letter and synopsis is just plain silly. IMO :-)
 
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