Lots of Sparkly Things Happening…

This post is going to be a little different because there are a few things happening around the interwebs that writers (and readers) might be interested in. I LOVE helping my peoples out when I can, so here you go!

1. There’s a new agent at my agency! *throws confetti*

Here are some deets:

Name: Rachel Ekstrom

Currently Seeking: young adult, women’s fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and romance…

Query email: rachel.queries(at)irenegoodman(dot)com

Query Guidelines: Please check out irenegoodman.com  for current submission guidelines.

Also, check out Rachel’s twitter feed for all your agent stalking goodness @EkstromRachel

2. My friend Ruth L. Steven is hosting a FABULOUS agent judged contest on her blog!

The details:

You’ll need your query letter and the first five pages to enter. 10 winners will be chosen by Ruth to advance to the agents. (Please note, your manuscript MUST be complete.)

RULES:

1. This is open to all fiction genres of YA and MG.

2. The contest itself will run on the 18th April. The submission window is 9am – 5pm EST.

3. In that window, you’ll need to send your query letter and the first five pages of the ms in the body of the email. The address to send to is lottiehumphries14@yahoo.co.uk

This competition is for Ruth’s followers, so you must be following her blog to enter.

For the FULL contest details and PRIZES click here.

Agents Judging the contest are Julia Churchill of Greenhouse Literary and Gemma Cooper of The Bright Literary Agency. (Contest is open to everyone.)

3. My agent is teaching a webinar TOMORROW! Wheeeeeeee!

The juicy details:

I already touched on this last week, but there are only a few spots left for people to attend. IT’S SO GOOD, GUYS.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

The essential elements of each subgenre within thriller/mystery in adult and young adult

Writing that “killer” query—one that reveals “the hook, the book, and the cook”

The components of a compelling hook within your book

Common themes and trends seen in successful crime books

How a familiar idea can still be unique—i.e., how to distinguish your own work from similar stories flooding the marketplace

The opportunities in both e-book and traditional publishing for thriller and mystery

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Writers who are actively querying agents and publishers in both adult and YA

Writers who feel they are hearing similar themes in rejection letters

Writers in the initial stages of writing who need to nail down what subgenre they are writing in and who would be most interested in their submission

Writers who will be pitching their concept at a conference

Writers who write for adults but are thinking of trying a YA novel in the mystery/thriller genre

To sign up CLICK HERE.

4. One of my best writing pals, Anita Grace Howard revealed her debut’s cover!!!!

It’s SO freaking awesome – have you seen it yet?! If not, here it is: SPLINTERED’s Cover Reveal (video)

SOOOOO PRETTY *pets screen*

Ahem. Back to the point… Anita is doing a HUGE giveaway on her blog to celebrate SPLINTERED’S amazing cover! There will be not one, or two, or even five, but TWELVE lucky winners!!!!!! SQUEEE!!!!

Get over to her blog immediately and enter as the contest is ending promptly at midnight on Friday. (THIS Friday, LIKE TWO DAYS FROM NOW Friday.)

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE PRIZES AND ENTER THE CONTEST

Say what? Publishing Terms Defined

Publishing has a lot of jargon we take for granted because we’re around it ALL the time. Over the weekend I was asked a few questions, so here are some definitions if you’re seeing things floating around twitter or the blogosphere and feel out of the loop…

Please note: This list isn’t all inclusive, so if there’s something you’re a little unsure of – or if there’s something you’d like to include – please ask or add it in the comments.

Agatha Awards = awards for mystery and crime writers who write via the same method as Agatha Christie (i.e. closed setting, no sex or violence, amateur detective).

ARC = Advanced Reader Copy. (These are used for book reviews.)

ALA = American Library Association (they have a GREAT annual conference)

Auction = when more than one publisher offer on the same project and bid against each other.

BEA = Book Expo of America (it’s like Disney World for new books, check the link out.)

Beta Reader = a person who reads your manuscript with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, etc.

Critique = in-depth feedback on areas where you can improve your manuscript.

Critique Partner = someone who you exchange manuscripts with to offer helpful feedback.

Edgar = Award given for the best in the mystery genre.

Elevator Pitch = is a short summary used to quickly and simply describe your book.

Full = when an agent requests your entire manuscript

Frankfurt = Frankfurt Book Fair aka the largest book and media fair in the world.

Hook = One sentence pitch on what your book is about. (The more gripping, the better.)

Hugo = Award given for the best Science Fiction or Fantasy novel from the previous year

MS = Abbreviation for manuscript

MWA = Mystery Writers of America

Nebula = award given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), for the best science fiction/fantasy fiction published in the United States during the previous year.

Partial = when an agent requests part of your manuscript. (Normally they will specify how many pages to send them. I.e. 50 pages.)

Pre-empt = a preemptive offer from a publisher. (Usually a large sum to avoid going to auction.)

Query Letter = a 3-5 paragraph business letter that introduces your book, a short author bio, and reason for contacting a particular literary agent. Normal length is 250-350 words. (check out QueryShark for excellent examples.)

RWA = Romance Writers of America

SCBWI = Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

SFWA = Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America

Sublist = submission list. (Your agent sends you a list of publishing houses/imprints that are currently considering your manuscript.)

Synopsis = extended summary of your book. (Including the ending.) (The best examples of summaries are on wikipedia for any given movie.) Usually range in length from 1-5 pages, single spaced. The tighter the better.)

WIP = Work In Progress

Great sites for writers to check out:

Absolute Write: A wonderful forum/community for writers at any stage in the game. Ask any writing/publishing question/share your work & find critique partners, and do research before querying agents here. (Not to mention meeting and hanging around with other amazing/knowledgeable writers.)

Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog: A fantastic resource for new agent alerts, and tips for EVERYTHING.

Hey, there’s a dead guy in the living room blog: I’m going to link you to my agent’s (Barbara Poelle) blogging days here. I may be biased, but I think reading through her blog archives is AMAZING.

Miss Snark: The mysterious secret agent who will live on in blogger history. She may not be blogging anymore, but there’s a WEALTH of information worth checking out.

Nathan Bransford: This former mega-agent’s (now author) blog is the guide to publishing BIBLE. Countless hours were spent there when I first started researching everything I could about publishing. It’s like the Holy Grail of the book world. Seriously.

Preditors and Editors: If there’s one site you add to your MUST list before querying, it’s this one. It’s a great resource for finding agents/agencies that are not scammers.

Pub Rants: Agent Kristin Nelson dishes on everything industry related. There are also some great examples of query letters that worked posted on the sidebar.

Publishers MarketPlace: I highly recommend that you get a subscription. Daily deals are posted as well as breaking industry news. I peruse my Pub Lunch every single day.

QueryShark: A phenomenal blog dedicated to the art of crafting a great query letter, run by super agent Janet Reid.

Query Tracker: Keep track of your query letters, search for agents who represent your genre, and hang around other writers in the query trenches. Another amazing site that has a forum where you can have your query letter critiqued by your peers.

Writer Beware: Is basically a watchdog blog for writers to avoid scammers and bad eggs. Highly recommended.

I’ve been interviewed for Criteek Week!

Hey guys I’m over at Taryn Albright’s (aka my Critique Goddess) blog today! She interviewed me about my revision process and a whole bunch of other fun writerly type things. If you’d like to stop over there and say hi, I’d hug you awkwardly through my computer screen for at LEAST thirty minutes.

No really, I totally will. *Opens arms, waits patiently for hug*

…For the interview, click HERE.

I HEART YOU. XOXO

(Comments are closed on this post)

Attn Writers: My agent is doing a webinar!

Hey writer friends I’ve got something for YOUUUU! My agent is doing another Writers Digest Webinar (From Cozy to Carnage: An Agent Explains the Ins and Outs of Thriller/Mystery Writing–For Both the Adult and YA Markets) on Thursday April 12th.

Are you squinting at your screen wondering why you should be interested in this? If you’re nodding your head, here’s my answer: I attended the last one in November and ended up signing with Barbara on my next project. WOO HOO! I’m walking proof that these things work – it opened up the doors for our communication. Not to mention, the query letter and first page critique that came with the webinar were AWESOME.

Some of what Barbara pointed out helped me while crafting my next novel. She’s got SERIOUS superpowers with identifying areas that you can improve in your manuscripts and queries. ALSO you might be one of three people asked to submit sample chapters OR a full manuscript based on your first page. Not too shabby.

Are you thinking I really WANT to BUT I’m working when the webinar is going on… FEAR NOT! You don’t have to attend the live event! You just have to register, then watch it at your leisure. After work, over the weekend, three o’clock in the morning – it’s all good.

If you’re looking to take your writing to the next level and make an agent connection, then this is the perfect thing for you. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be agent mates…that would be pretty freaking cool. 🙂

For those interested here are the details taken directly from WD:

ABOUT THE QUERY AND FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE

All registrants are invited to submit their query (one page) and the first full page (double-spaced) of their work. All entrants will receive a critique from instructor Barbara Poelle. If you choose to submit your work prior to the live webinar, you could be one of three entrants who are asked to submit three chapters or a full manuscript based on the first page during the webinar itself in order to show what captured Barbara’s attention and why.

This webinar is an exploration and discussion of the earmarks of each subgenre within the thriller/mystery world, including cozy, suspense, crime, and thriller, as well as the type of query and introduction that can capture the eye in this crowded field. The webinar will discuss tips on not only how to write a compelling story, but also how to pitch one to agents and editors.

Instructor Barbara Poelle has numerous national and international bestselling authors on her client list throughout all of the thriller/mystery subgenres (full list below) and loves to break down what truly makes something “thrilling” to read. She will explore titles and examples of each subgenre within the thriller world and walk writers through the process of captivating both a publisher and an audience.

INSTRUCTOR

Literary agent Barbara Poelle began her publishing career as a freelance copywriter and editor before joining the Irene Goodman Agency in 2007, but feels as if she truly prepared for the industry during her brief stint as a stand-up comic in Los Angeles. She has found success placing thrillers, literary suspense, historical romances, humorous/platform driven nonfiction, and upmarket fiction and young adult and is actively seeking her next great client in those genres, but is passionate about anything with a unique voice. Barbara has a very hands-on approach with the craft and editorial details of the books she represents, and loves working with her clients to take their writing to the next level.

Books within these genres Barbara sold within the last year include: BLIND FAITH by New York Times best-selling author CJ Lyons; THE EDEN PROPHECY by international bestseller Graham Brown; the Bad Day crime novel series (such as A BAD DAY FOR SORRY), by Sophie Littlefield, which have become national bestsellers short-listed for the Edgar, the Anthony, the Barry, and many other awards; THE NINTH DAY, by international bestseller Jamie Freveletti; and STARTERS, by Lissa Price, a major deal for a new YA series to be published by Random House in 2012.

*Please note this webinar is for both Adult and YA manuscripts. My book is a YA genre mashup (science fiction/thriller), so if yours isn’t a straight thriller or mystery but has those elements, don’t hesitate to sign up.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICKY CLICK HERE

25 Things Writers Worry About

Dear Writers & Creative People,

Did you notice all the “What If’s” and “Maybes” in there?

You’re not alone in your doubts, every creative person feels the same way at one point or another. I promise you’re going to be fine. You have so many stories to tell, creativity will flow out of your pores for the remainder of your life.

Please don’t worry about all those ‘what if’s’ – they’re just trying to hold you back. Keep reading, keep revising, tell the story only you can tell, and trust your gut. And most importantly, keep writing, writing, writing. With all that hard work, you’re bound to see results.

Go out there and do amazing things, I know you can.

Love,

Your future projects

Quotes on writing

You know I loves me some quotes, so here are ten I heart on writing. Maybe they’ll inspire you while you’re writing/revising/editing/drafting too. Hope your day is filled with tons of creative things, and maybe even some unicorns…

…or at least some springtime flowers.

Photo by Kerri Maniscalco

Ten quotes for writers:

1.) “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ― Anton Chekhov

2.) “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” ― Stephen King

3.) “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” ― Ernest Hemingway

4.) “When writing a novel, that’s pretty much entirely what life turns into: ‘House burned down. Car stolen. Cat exploded. Did 1500 easy words, so all in all it was a pretty good day.” ― Neil Gaiman

5.) “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” ― Robert Frost

6.) “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” ― William Faulkner

7.) “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you.  And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” — Arthur Polotnik

8.) “Write your first draft with your heart.  Re-write with your head.” — From the movie Finding Forrester

9.) “If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don’t remove it – I might be writing in my dreams.” — Terri Guillemets

And for my favorite quote on writing this week…

10.) “If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury

TAG! You’re it :)

The SUPER awesome Kip Wilson Rechea (part of the #wipmadness crew on twitter, she also blogs as kiperoo) tagged me in a fun question-asking tag that’s weaving its way through the interwebz. Of course, I HAD to play along. Here are the questions she asked me, followed by MY questions for YOU.

1. Keeping with the foodie theme, what’s your signature dish? Something you make that blows people away and that you luuuuurve.

Oh my gosh, I don’t think I can pick just ONE signature dish, I’m a total foodie. But if I HAD to by knife point… I’d say… There’s this Greek calzone I like to make and it’s always a crowd pleaser. Followed closely by anything that has avocados or jalapenos in it – the hotter, the better!

2. If you could be any fictional character, whose story would you want to live?

Right now? I’d probably have to say Tris from DIVERGENT. Even though the world is going to hell and there’s death and fighting and SO MUCH HAPPENING. I’d love to be as kick-ass as she is, fiercely protecting the people she loves. Plus, being a member of Dauntless would be pretty cool – train jumping FTW!

3.  If you won a magical trip to any destination and had to use the setting in your next novel, where would you go?

Iceland!!!! The geothermal hot springs there would make a really interesting backdrop for a story. I mean, look at this place – it’s SUPER magical:

photo credit: pinterest.com/travel

4. Your favorite five authors. Go!

NO NO NO…this is like asking me which five fingers or toes you can chop off. NOT FAIR! I’ll do a little mix of contemporary and classic, but know that this list is always changing. 🙂

  1. Shakespeare – He’s got family drama, love, tragedy, and he wasn’t afraid of killing off his darlings. I never get tired of his work. I used to HATE high school, but once we started going over his plays in class my life changed.
  2. Jack Kerouac – I love his stream of conscious style. His prose is manic and beautiful and really amazing when you look at it closely. I have a book of his poems that I re-read occasionally just to get a beat or writing rhythm in my head.
  3. Suzanne Collins – I mean, I know The Hunger Games is still exploding all over the place, but Collins is a great writer. She has an ability to expose the harshest/darkest aspects of human nature and make you feel your way through them – rooting the characters on, hoping against all odds that they make it.
  4. Scott Westerfeld – The Uglies series was awesome. I gobbled the books up in a few days and loved the story arc. He’s got a smooth writing voice which makes for an infinitely easy read. Which as we all know is hard writing.
  5. Beth Revis – I love her debut trilogy thus far. Both Across the Universe and A Million Suns were fantastic reads, I loved the mixture of science fiction and mystery and she kept me guessing throughout. Excellent for people who want to dip their toes in the sci-fi pool.

5. What music are you listening to while working on your current WIP?

This is an easy one! I’ve got a nice little mixture of some local musicians from NYC that I adore, plus a few other bands.

Ryan Adams – Wonderwall (cover)

Nathan Angelo – Brighter Day

Lauren Pritchard – Stuck

Iron & Wine – Boy With A Coin

Feist – My Moon My Man

Ella Fitzgerald – It’s Only A Paper Moon

Chris Ayer – Relativity

Bright Eyes – Another Traveling Song

Christine Hoberg – Home

Mercy Bell – Icarus

Maryanna Sokol – Two

Okay so now you’ve read my answers, the rules state that I have to tag three more bloggers and come up with five questions of my own. BWAHAHAHA.

Here are the three lucky winners:

  1. Jennifer M Eaton – http://jennifermeaton.com/
  2. Aryn Youngless – http://www.weeklyadventuresordinarygirl.com/
  3. Dianne J Wilson  – http://diannejwilson.wordpress.com/

Here are 5 questions for YOU to answer:

  1. I’m also going to stick with the foodie theme – what’s your favorite dish you get out and what restaurant makes it?
  2. What are you reading RIGHT now?
  3. Do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hardbacks?
  4. What are your three favorite books of all time?
  5. What genre is your current project and is that your favorite to read?