Stalking Jack the Ripper at B&N B-Fest

***UPDATE: for those who’ve asked; SJTR tattoos will be available at ALL B&N locations across the country. (Even if your store doesn’t have an ARC, you can still snag some awesome SJTR swag at your local store!)***

i received some AH-MAZING news last week and could not wait another SECOND to share it with you! from June 10th – 12th Barnes and Noble is hosting a teen event, nationwide, at EVERY store called B-Fest. and guess what??? YOU can stop in over the weekend and pick up some STALKING JACK THE RIPPER temporary tattoos! they are as fierce as my main character, and I hope you LOVE them.

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER TEMP TATTOO.png

but that’s not ALL the good news….

what if i said there will also be SJTR ARCs given out at 30 B&N locations across the country on Saturday June 11th at 11 am????? because that’s EXACTLY what’s happening! i’m going to post the B&N flyer so you can read about ALL the festivities taking place at your local B&N, and then i’ll share the list of 30 stores that will have STALKING JACK THE RIPPER ARCs as well as temporary tattoo swag. (at the bottom of this post) gah! i am THRILLED that you’ll be able to walk into a store and experience this fun festival for books.

 

B&N B-Fest

 

the what: B&N B-Fest at your local Barnes & Noble.

the who: a bunch of authors and swag and book-related festivities all weekend long

the when: June 10 – 12 at Barnes & Noble locations, nationwide

BUT WHAT ABOUT SJTR ARCs: Saturday June 11th at 11am at select locations

jack

and now….for the 30 locations where you can be among the first to snag special ARCs of STALKING JACK THE RIPPER…..

200 East Northern Lights Blvd Anchorage, AK

7849 North Blackstone Avenue Fresno, CA

189 The Grove Drive Suite K 30 Los Angeles, CA

7651 Carson St Long Beach, CA

21400 Hawthorne Blvd Torrance, CA

40570 Winchester Rd. Temecula, CA

340 Christiana Mall Newark, DE

12405 N Kendall Drive Miami, FL

1450 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 1272 Honolulu, HI

101 Jordan Creek Parkway Unit 12170  West Des Moines, IA

6501 N Grape RD Mishawaka, IN

98 Middlesex Turnpike Burlington, MA

17111 Haggerty Rd. Northville, MI

3055 South Glenstone Springfield, MO

395 Route 3 East Clifton, NJ

5555 S. Virginia St. Reno, NV

567 North Stephanie Henderson, NV

33 East 17th Street New York, NY

91 Old Country Road Carle Place, NY

131 Colonie Center Suite 355 Albany, NY

150 East 86th Street New York, NY

555 Fifth Avenue New York, NY

1560 Polaris Parkway Columbus, OH

4015 Medina Road Akron, OH

3700 West 41st Street Sioux Falls, SD

1201 Lake Woodlands Dr. #3008 The Woodlands, TX

1430 Plaza Place Southlake, TX

2601 Preston Rd Unit 1204 Frisco, TX

3300 Expressway 83 # 1100 McAllen, TX

330 East 1300 South Orem, UT

Yay!!!!!! i hope you get to snag a copy and some temporary tattoos! if your B&N isn’t listed? maybe one of your sweet friends will be super nice and run to their local B&N for you. if you go and grab some swag be sure to use #BFestBuzz and tag me (@KerriManiscalco on twitter) so i can live vicariously through you. 😀 ❤

SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS

Screen shot 2014-03-24 at 1.28.55 PMWhy, hello there lovely blog friends. It’s been…well…it’s been a SHAMEFULLY long time. Between moving a thousand miles, unpacking, decorating, writing books, revising books, going through the submission process, reading/critting/and beta’ing friends books, researching the ever loving heck out of my new book, and…excuses, excuses. I know. Hope you’re all doing exquisitely on this lovely spring day. Did you do something different with your hair? It looks GOOD. How the heck have you been, huh?

So, one of my very best pals has something awesome going on, and it’s big enough to yank me out of my blog silence. Bethany Crandell’s debut SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS is hitting shelves on April 1st, and I’m not foolin’, it’s hands down one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Even if Bethany wasn’t so near and dear to my 90s music-loving heart, I’d be shouting from the proverbial rooftops for you to all add it to your TBR piles and buy it at your local bookstore immediately. Bethany is an amazing talent. She creates these characters that are SO believable, it’s crazy. If you’re in the market to laugh until you cry, or if you’re a writer and want to see how a master creates characters and emotions, do yourself a favor and grab a copy. Her cover is awesome, the prose is awesome, and Bethany is even more awesome than that.

Oh! But you know what’s even MOAR awesome??? There this BIG FANCY GIVEAWAY going on at the swoony boys podcast. You can win lots of great summertime swag including a copy of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS! HUZZAH! Go enter. It takes two seconds and you could get free stuff. Pretty. Darn. Awesome.

Here’s the blurb for SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS:

Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell.

Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there’s life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she’s ever had.

Summer on the Short Bus is a very non-P.C., contemporary YA with a lot of attitude, tons of laughs, and a little life lesson along the way.

 

Query Critique

The Original Query:

THE LOST STORY, completed at 80,000 words, is the tragic and triumphant story of Danielle (Dani) Caldwell, an American girl who meets a Cuban boy and falls in love, only to find their world-views divided over the Cuban Revolution.

The story opens in 1980.  Dani’s walking through the streets of Manhattan when she sees a man laying in a puddle on Wall Street, looking half dead, while passersby walk over him on their morning commute.  It’s enough to overcome her; to beckon her to the side of a man she doesn’t know.  She steps onto a metal bench, and as if it were her pulpit, pleads with the onlookers in defense of the broken man.

Some people say a radical is born in an instant, like a crime of passion, but for Danielle, her transformation begins when her mother gives her the gift of travel as a graduation present.  The year is 1958.  It’s the summer before the Cuban Revolution, Eisenhower is in office and there’s still a daily flight to Havana, Cuba.  Each year, a deluge of high rollers, high society and socialites descend on the Forbidden City; known for its legal gambling, glamourous nightclubs and white, sandy beaches. None of which Dani has any interest in experiencing, until she meets Jose Medeiro, a progressive, intelligent store owner who’s smitten with her.

In the heat of the Danze de Amore, under the moonlit skies of the Malecon, Jose breaks down Dani’s walls of reserve and steals her heart.  But when the American mob threatens the future of his family’s storefronts, Jose aligns himself with Fidel Castro, and the two young lover’s stars cross as their worlds collide.

Author Bio:

Name Withheld is a wife, mother and writer.  She has written mostly non-fiction for television, newspapers and websites.  She writes a monthly column for ____.com, focusing on lack of sleep, how potty training can save your marriage and other self-deprecating and humorous tales from the home.  She holds a master’s degree in converged journalism.

Thanks again,

Name Withheld

Contact information

The Query Critique:

Dear Ms. Agent’s Last Name,

THE LOST STORY, (what genre is it? i.e. THE LOST STORY is a YA Historical complete at… Maybe even give the agent an idea of which readers it will appeal to.) completed at 80,000 words. is the tragic and triumphant story of Danielle (Dani) Caldwell, an American girl who meets a Cuban boy and falls in love, only to find their world-views divided over the Cuban Revolution. (This is unnecessary “telling.” Your query letter should “show” the agent what your story is about. I’d totally cut this part out. Also, just as a personal preference, I’d put this down toward the bottom and open with your blurb, unless an agent states they like a more personalized greeting upfront.)

The story opens in 1980.  Dani’s walking through the streets of Manhattan when she sees a man laying in a puddle on Wall Street, looking half dead, while passersby walk over him on their morning commute.  It’s enough to overcome her; to beckon her to the side of a man she doesn’t know.  She steps onto a metal bench, and as if it were her pulpit, pleads with the onlookers in defense of the broken man. (I’m going to pause right here. So far this is a GOOD synopsis, but it’s not really a query. You want your query letter to read like the back of a book blurb.) 

What is your hook? Your hook needs to sum up the main conflict of your novel in a way that makes the reader (agent) want to read more…NOW. 

Example: Main Character has everything a sixteen-year-old could want…except for  _____.  (What is the main driving force of your novel? What does your MC want more than anything? What is the major conflict?)

To really show the agent what kind of novel you’ve written, adding a few extra details will immediately let them know what genre your book is. 

Ex: Jane Doe has everything a sixteen-year-old astronaut warrior wants…except for an alien annihilating spaceship.

Now the reader (agent) is grounded in this being some sort of science fiction or fantasy AND we know there’s a major conflict. An astronaut warrior without a spacecraft is quite an issue; how oh how will the MC go about securing themselves a spacecraft and kick some alien invasion butt? We can also assume it’s a YA book based on the MC’s age.

IF your hook is an “American girl and Cuban boy fall in love during the Cuban Revolution,” you’re going to need to flesh it out a bit more. Highlight the stakes and don’t be afraid to really let your conflict shine. Then build from there in the following sentences/paragraphs. SHOW the reader (agent) this amazing world you’ve built. (I.e. Is Dani a mobster’s daughter? If she is, and her family is threatening Jose, then that spells out MAJOR conflict.) 

Here are some helpful hints/questions to keep in mind while working on your blurb:

What is your hook?

What does your MC want?

What’s preventing your MC from getting what he/she wants?

What choice(s) does your MC face?

What happens if he/she doesn’t succeed?

If you can answer those questions your blurb will be in good shape. Moving along…

Some people say a radical is born in an instant, like a crime of passion, but for (insert her age here) Danielle, her transformation begins when her mother gives her the gift of travel as a graduation present.  (Okay. So I really like this paragraph. I’m thinking you can use this as your opening blurb and flesh this part out a bit more.) The year is 1958. It’s the summer before the Cuban Revolution, Eisenhower is in office and there’s still a daily flight to Havana, Cuba.  Each year, a deluge of high rollers, high society and socialites (using both “high-society” and “socialites” is redundant, eliminate one of those) descend on the Forbidden City; (a comma would work better here) known for its legal gambling, glamourous nightclubs and white, sandy beaches. None of which Dani has any interest in experiencing (why? I want MORE of her personality to shine through), until she meets Jose Medeiro, a progressive, intelligent store owner who’s smitten with her. (Is Jose her age? Is he a mysterious older guy? It’s unclear.)

In the heat of the Danze de Amore, under the moonlit skies of the Malecon, Jose breaks down Dani’s walls of reserve (how?) and steals her heart.  But when the American mob threatens the future of his family’s storefronts (why do the American’s threaten him?), Jose aligns himself with Fidel Castro, and the two young lover’s lovers’ stars cross as their worlds collide. (Is she a mobster’s daughter? If she’s not, I don’t really understand the tie-in with the mafia and how it challenges Dani and Jose. It kinda comes out of left field. How are their worlds colliding? Give the reader a hint more here. What happens next? What do they have to choose? End with the choice your MC will have to make. Does she have to choose her family or her love? And what are the consequences of her choices? You’ve got great bones in this section of your query letter, you just need to add more to flesh out the conflict.)

THE LOST STORY is a YA Historical Romance and is complete at 80,000 words.

Name Withheld is a wife, mother and writer.  She has I have written mostly non-fiction for television, newspapers and websites. (You might want to include which television shows/episodes, newspapers, etc. That way an agent knows if it’s national or local and the size of readership.) She writes I also write a monthly column for _____.com, focusing on lack of sleep, how potty training can save your marriage and other self-deprecating and humorous tales from the home.  She I holds a master’s degree in converged journalism. (Since this is a query letter, writing your bio in first person works well.)

Thanks again,

Name Withheld

Contact information

Okay! So I think with a few more tweaks (and fleshing out some of the details) this will really work. Here’s some of it without all my notes so you have a better idea of what it’ll look like. Take what you’ve got here and build up by applying those questions I mentioned earlier:

The query aftermath: 

Dear Ms. Agent,

Some people say a radical is born in an instant, like a crime of passion, but for Danielle, her transformation begins when her mother gives her the gift of travel as a graduation present.  The year is 1958.  It’s the summer before the Cuban Revolution, Eisenhower is in office and there’s still a daily flight to Havana, Cuba.

Each year, a deluge of high rollers, high society and socialites descend on the Forbidden City; known for its legal gambling, glamourous nightclubs and white, sandy beaches. None of which Dani has any interest in experiencing, until she meets Jose Medeiro, a progressive, intelligent store owner who’s smitten with her.

In the heat of the Danze de Amore, under the moonlit skies of the Malecon, Jose breaks down Dani’s walls of reserve and steals her heart.  But when the American mob threatens the future of his family’s storefronts, Jose aligns himself with Fidel Castro, and the two young lovers’ stars cross as their worlds collide.

THE LOST STORY is a YA Historical Romance and is complete at 80,000 words.

Author Bio:

Name Withheld is a wife, mother and writer.  She has written mostly non-fiction for television, newspapers and websites.  She writes a monthly column for ____.com, focusing on lack of sleep, how potty training can save your marriage and other self-deprecating and humorous tales from the home.  She holds a master’s degree in converged journalism.

Thanks again,

Name Withheld

Contact information

Thanks so much to the author of this (AWESOME sounding) novel for sharing your query letter with me. I hope this crit helps–keep up the amazing work!!!

I’ll be posting a new query letter critique each Wednesday from now through December. (With the exception of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.) 

If you’d like me to mark up your query letter (or first page) please send your work to Kerri.writes@gmail.com

Top Ten Books of 2011

Hey 2012, you look all fancy-like and wonderful – I don’t care what the doomsday-ers say, I see nothing but good things in your future. Seriously, I hope you guys had a great holiday week/weekend! To ease into the shiny new year, I’ve decided to share a top ten list.

Here are my FAVORITE books of 2011 and OMG I’m salivating for MORE, MORE, MORE in 2012. The books are listed in no particular order, because they’re ALL SUPER AWESOME.

1. DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

2. WITHER by Lauren DeStefano

3. HOURGLASS by Myra McEntire

4. THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER by Michelle Hodkin

5. ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin

6. ASHES by Ilsa J. Bick

7. AWAKEN by Katie Kacvinsky

8. LEGEND by Marie Lu

9. MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by Ransom Riggs

10. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis

Aside from the sequels to the books mentioned above, here are some debuts I’m SUPER EXCITED for in 2012: Apocalypsies FTW!

SPLINTERED by A.G. Howard

STARTERS by Lissa Price

THE VINDICO by Wesley King

FALSE MEMORY by Dan Krokos

INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows

WHAT’S LEFT OF ME by Kat Zhang

What was YOUR favorite book of 2011?