Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Cover reveal - ONE WISH AWAY

Today, we have the extreme pleasure of hosting the cover reveal for Kelley Lynn and her book ONE WISH AWAY. I urge you to check this book out, because it's got a truly stunning premise and a unique and fun angle. What would you do if you discoverd a star had gone missing from the sky?

One Wish Away

by Kelley Lynn

Release Date: 11/11/14
Bloomsbury Spark

Book Summary:

Be careful what you wish for…

Lyra has always been ahead of the curve. Top of her class in school, a budding astronomer, and with a best friend like Darren she barely has time to miss the mother who abandoned her family years ago. She's too busy planning to follow in her father's footsteps, and to become the youngest astronomer at Space Exploration and Discovery.

When a star goes missing Lyra is determined to get to the bottom of it only to discover her braniac dad is the mastermind of a top-secret government experiment. They promise to build a perfect world, one galaxy at a time, but with every tweak of the present, a bit more of the future starts to crumble.

Lyra has to go undercover to reveal the truth and let humanity decide if the consequences are worth more than wishing on a star.

About the Author

Eventually the day came when the voices in Kelley Lynn’s head were more insistent then her engineering professor’s. So instead of turning to her Thermodynamics book, Kelley brought up a blank page on her computer screen and wrote. Somewhere along the way she became a Young Adult author.

Kelley was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She’s not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands. Music plays a large role in her writing process as well as the characters and plot lines within her stories.

You can find Kelley hanging out at her blog, titled in her name, as well as the group blog she shares with her fellow critique partners, Falling for Fiction. Kelley is a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.

Author Links:

Cover Reveal Organized by:

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Shining gems in Pitch Wars

As the mentoring section is in full swing, I thought I'd take a moment to relate back why I picked who I did in Pitch Wars, in the hopes that anyone who wasn't picked might be able to learn a few tidbits about what can improve their chances in the future.

Let's start with my main mentee - C.M Franklin with BIG BOYS DON'T CRY (currently renamed as Hope On A Feather).

The first thing that struck me about this book was the character.  The character literally spilled off the pages.  This author did a wonderful job of showing me the heart and soul of her character, so much so I felt they were real.  How did she achieve this?  By giving each character a completely different personality, but by showing why these characters had bonded together.  She made them multifaceted.  They laughed, cried, joked around, and stood by each other.  Everything about them made it feel as if they had known each other for years.  In order to achieve this, you need to know your character inside and out.  You can't just open the page and write from page one.  You need to know what this character has experienced in their life, what they believe, and why they do.  It's like knowing someone else entirely different from yourself.  You need to make sure you're not just writing from your POV (which a lot of new writers fall into automatically by default).  As a new writer, you want to delve into your character and find out who THEY really are.

The second thing that struck me was voice - it felt YA (which is the genre I mentor).  The writer focused on what matters to teens, how they see the world, and how they bond with each other.  This helped create a believable voice.  It's not just an adult looking back and narrating what it's like to be a teen.  It's a teen talking on the page.

Thirdly, emotion.  This book dug deep into the emotion of each character.  It looked at not only the surface emotions of happy, sad, angry, etc.  It looked into jealousy, anger, envy, empathy, understanding and spite.  It went through the spectrum.  A lot of writers forget to really delve into the emotional spectrum.  This writer did, and she did it from page one.  I'd recommend all writers do the same.

Next, let's look at my alternate - Gwen C. Katz with AMONG THE RED STARS.

Style.  Style, style, style.  This writer's pages grabbed me because they were confident, stylish, and made me believe in what she was saying.  Style means delving into the world of your book and describing the people and events in it with confidence.  You have to know your world inside out.  You have to live and breathe it.  My alternate did just this.  She showed that this was her world and she had full command over it.  I believed everything she said because she picked out details unique to her world, she confidently described her characters, and she moved through her text with the skill of someone who knows where and when they are, and with whom they're with.

Secondly, she picked out a unique story with unique characters.  She didn't just opt for an average story.  She took a quirky historical moment in time and really developed it into the character's story.  This event in time didn't stay just about the event - it became about a specific person in that event.  It focused on how it affected them and why the reader should care.  And care I did.  Very much so.

Third, the thing that struck me about Among The Red Stars was the sheer mastery of scope at the same time as focusing on the personal.  She managed to encompass a huge world building breadth in her book, but tie it down to a personal, easy to relate to situation between one girl and her immediate family and friends.  This brought a great contrast to the book, which swept me off my feet.

So there you have it.  I hope this little insight into what made me pick my mentee and my alternate helps you hone in on where you can work on your own writing.  I will say, I am blessed that I have found two such amazing, talented and dedicated writers to work with.  I have faith they will both find their agent homes.  And I have hope that you all will too!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Rejection? Brush it off...

Rejection is a bummer.  A slap you in the face, rock your world, make you want to burn your writing bummer.  It happens to all of us.  Every single one of us.  And it hurts.  It hurts so bad your throat aches as you struggle to get breath out.  Or you scream at the laptop that whoever rejected you should go to you know where.  I know that, I feel your pain.

And then you get up, dust yourself off, and paste on your "I'm professional so won't react like this in public, but you're killing me" face and get back on the grindstone.

I know this.

How do I know?

Because I have been where you are in EPIC ways.  I wrote and subbed my first book (Adult crime) at 16.  I sent it direct to publishers.  They were nice and humoured the idiot child.  Obviously, that book didn't go anywhere.

I then spent the next 16 years writing - I wrote 9 full books.  I wrote 7 in varying stages as well.  I subbed 7 books out of all of these.  The rejections flooded in.  The full requests flooded in.  Rejections flooded in.  Rinse and repeat for a long, long time.  Like a LONG LONG TIME.  Years and years.

At times I threw a complete fit.  Seriously.  I threatened never to write again.  I stopped writing for 2 years.  One day I got a rejection that broke the camel's back and I sobbed (ugly sobs) for way too long.

Eventually, I'd dust myself off and start again.  Some wonderful agents gave me fantastic advice (one in particular I emailed the day I got my agent and I thanked her for being amazing towards me).

My rejections numbered in the hundreds.  High hundreds.

And I struggled with this a lot.  Especially as I'm a full time freelance writer and I ghost write.  So why couldn't I get an agent?

And then I entered PitMad.  And I got requests.  And then...I got offers!

I didn't do a happy dance at my offer.  I didn't fist pump.  I didn't shout yeah!

I sat.

In total silence.

Stunned and in shock.

16 years.  16 years of the hardest work of my life.

And I got my agent - the wonderful, amazing Jamie Bodnar Drowley who gets me.  And loves my work.  And has faith in me.  And the wonderful part is I know if I can do it, anyone with patience, persistence, and a belief that they want their work out there can do it.

 So chosen or not for Pitch Wars, I salute you, I support you, and if you need me, you only need to give me a tweet!