Tag Archives: young adult books

How I started writing seriously, got an agent, and other stuff

Once upon a time, my teen daughters complained about the required reading their English teachers assigned them in class. We spent a lot of time talking about what we loved to read, what made a good story, and what made one dry or boring.

This went on for months.

The more we talked, the more original story ideas our discussions produced. I’ve always been dramatic, always had a big imagination, and loved storytelling. If you write, you might be nodding right now, I don’t know. Anyway, after messing around a while, I decided to write my own story. And I did. Seventy thousand words of awesome premise and absolutely hideous writing. With no background in creative writing and a poor formal education, multiple learning disabilities remained a challenge. I had no clue what I was doing.

None.

BUT PEOPLE,  I LOVED DOING IT! The writing part. I just had to figure out how to do it well.

I used to dream some writer, who was further along than I was, would magically show up at my local Barnes and Noble and give me sage advice. I really did. That never happened. Then some gentle soul said, “Idiot! You need some help. You’re not allowed to write like Jane Austen anymore, with hundreds of pages of flowery description. Not if you want to get published. You need feedback from other writers, so you can learn. Your. Craft!”

Good advice. An though I would continue to write if I never published a thing, I hoped to someday see my stories in print. So, I persevered. I ended up joining some online critique sites and ultimately found an amazing group of women writers that form the bulk of my critique partners today. Thank you, Sisters of the Traveling Pens. You all rock baby kittens.

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They explained the definitions of common writing problems like, back-story, purple prose, superfluous descriptions, POV, slow pacing, flat characters, plot holes, conflict, and over use of the dreaded adverb.

Armed with new information, I wrote another book, a better one. My pen sisters shredded it. I rewrote and so on. Of course, in my ignorance, I continued to do everything wrong. I went to a writers conference and pitched my story to an agent. A really well known, super ninja agent. Oy.  She may have requested the partial out of sheer pity. I was visibly sweating and shaking, I was so nervous. She rejected the manuscript. She should have. It wasn’t ready. Did that stop me? Heck no, I edited my story (still wasn’t ready, people) and queried sixty agents at once. *sigh* Multiple rejections and non answers followed.

Back to the drawing board with another story that became my YA urban fantasy CRUX. After months of writing and rewriting, I queried J Taylor Publishing who accepted my story for publication. Yea! Thank you, J Taylor!

Yeah, that was beyond cool, but I still didn’t have an agent and my writing wasn’t as strong as I wanted it to be. I started several novels that I didn’t finish. I wrote another urban fantasy that I loved, but it had some issues. I grew weary of what always needed fixing. People kept saying, don’t write what you think will sell, write what you love.

What do I love … what do I love …?

I love young adult. I love southern gothic romances, alpha males, magic, and adventure. I love courageous heroes with attitude and feisty heroines that won’t quit.  Fairy tales and their retellings are a favorite, too. That was enough to inspire a brand new story. I wrote the sucker. Sent it to a few trusted beta readers who, again, gave me amazing advice. One of those betas suggested I query the lovely, amazing and talented Brittany Booker of the The Booker Albert Literary Agency. She asked for the full, read it, and a few days later offered me a contract. (Did I mention Brittany Booker is lovely, amazing and talented?) I did? Good. She is.

Wow. My eyes are still dilated from my talk on the phone … with my agent!

So, that’s how I got to this point—with a long way yet to go …

I’m sure I’m not saying anything new, but maybe that’s okay. Maybe it bears repeating that the overnight success stories we hear about are rarely that.  Reading about other writers who are pursuing their dreams challenges me to work harder.  I love reading about their ideas, triumphs, and yeah, even their failures—because mistakes say nothing more than that they had the guts to try.  These writers remind me to take heart, keep going, that it can take a long time, and that each new goal met really is worth the struggle. I guess that’s what inspired this post. The idea of hope.  And while much of writing is a solitary effort, it’s nice to remember we’re not alone. We wordsmiths are in this together.

Keep writing, people.

I’m cheering for us all.

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The Balborite Curse Book Blast and Giveaway!

balborite

The Balborite Curse

The Balborite Curse is the fourth book in Kristian Alva’s bestselling Dragon Stones Saga.
After five years of fragile peace, things are changing rapidly. The dwarf kingdom is crumbling into civil war in the midst of the worst clan schism in a thousand years. With the clans weakened by infighting, the entire dwarf kingdom is vulnerable to attack.
Tallin Arai, the dragon rider, must leave the desert and the city he loves when someone puts a bounty on his head. He suspects the Balborites–a fanatic cult that trains deadly mageborn assassins. He sets out on a journey to save the dwarves from civil war and stop the Balborite assassins once and for all. Is Tallin strong enough to save them all?

Barnes & Noble * Amazon

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Author Kristian Alva

Kristian Alva was born into a family of writers and teachers. She worked as a staff writer and a ghostwriter before publishing her own manuscripts. She now writes young adult and middle-grade fantasy full-time. She currently lives in California with her husband and sons. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading all genres, especially epic fantasy.

Website * Blog * Facebook

Book Blast $50 Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 1/5/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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New release Paper Wishes by Jennifer M. Eaton is here!

Paper Wishes

Paper Wishes follows Jack and Jill on their journey from friendship to love over Christmas and New Years in two heartwarming stories.

Connect the Dots: Jill writes her most intimate Christmas wish to God—and throws it away for its ridiculousness—but Christmas wishes have a way of coming true, even when you don’t know what you’ve wished for.

A Test of Faith: One day after her Christmas wish comes true, Jill faces a wrenching choice that tests her deepest beliefs. Will love prevail over conviction, or is happiness nothing more than a fairytale?

Blurb:

Jill has no idea what she wants for Christmas, but when it looks like her best friend Jack is going to get exactly what he asks for, Jill makes a Christmas wish that will change both of their lives forever.

Excerpt:

I scrolled the words Dear Santa across the page. For crying out loud, how stupid is this?

“Come on, Mom,” Nicole said, placing a long fold in her letter. “It’s not that hard.”

I dropped my pen on the table. “It’s hard if you’re a grown-up.”

“Just write down what you want.” She bent and tucked the folds together, molding her letter into a perfect origami star.

“But I don’t want anything.”

Nicole held up her creation, scratching a freckled cheek. “Everyone wants something.” She fastened a paperclip to her star and hung it on the Christmas tree. The matte paper stood out from the bright glass ornaments.

I ran my fingers across my bare neckline. I’d love to have back the ornate silver and gold necklace that Nicole broke a few months ago, but I couldn’t write that. It would hurt her feelings.

“I’m too old to be writing to Santa,” I announced.

“Then write to God. He listens too.”

I narrowed my eyes. Stinker. “Okay…” I placed my pen on the sheet and crossed out Dear Santa. “Okay. Dear God.” I sighed. “It’s not helping. I still don’t know what to ask for.”

I threw my long, dark ponytail over my shoulder and tapped my pen across the sheet, leaving a wavy line of dots marring the clean, white-lined paper.

Nicole shook her head, jostling her auburn locks. “Come on, Mom. Just write something. It’s God. He already knows what you want.”

“Then can He tell me?” The rumble of the school bus granted me a temporary respite. “Grab your lunch.”

“Got it.” She tossed the brown bag into her backpack and grabbed her jacket off the back of the chair. “See you later, Mom.” The screen door slammed behind her, rattling the knickknacks on the shelf beside the door. The frigid December air swirled through the kitchen, pushing the paper across the table.

I tossed my pen to the side and poured myself another cup of coffee. Liquid heaven rolled down my throat. Well, day-old reheated liquid heaven. I tossed the rest down the sink. Coffee Stop drive-through here I come. I popped the last bit of toast into my mouth and grabbed my car keys.

The nearly empty sheet of paper shifted across the tabletop as I passed by. The words Dear God taunted me.

Writing the letter didn’t seem like a game anymore.

Dear God… it doesn’t get more serious than that.

What do I want? I hadn’t thought of it much since Bill took off on us. The pressure of being both Mommy and Daddy left little time for thinking about me. What I wanted was for Nicky to be happy. Nothing else seemed to matter.

I eased back down into my chair, picked up the pen, and began tapping it on the paper again. Another line of scrolling black dots appeared across the sheet. What do I want… really? My wrist flicked, and I wrote the word please.

I stared at the letters, and before I knew it a sentence had formed. Fifteen little words stared up at me, the blue ink solid and demanding on the white ruled page.

Permanent, but ridiculous.

It’s not even what I want. I crumpled the letter into a ball and tossed it over the counter. It scooted across the beige surface before slipping off and falling into the trashcan.

Done.

I’m too old for Christmas wishes anyway.

 ***

Paper Wishes is on sale now for just $.99!  Snuggle up with a great Christmas Romance today!

Click here to buy it now!

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More Stories!

Make Believe

Last Winter Red:  In search of a husband, Emily leaves the safety of the city and risks her life stepping into the outside world.  What she finds there will question the foundations of everything she believes in. Available as part of the Make Believe anthology.

The First Day of the New Tomorrow

The First Day of the New Tomorrow: Maya dreams of having everything she wants, but when she gets it, she can’t give it back fast enough. (Coming in September, 2013 from Muse It Up)

  

Jennifer M. Eaton is a contemporary blender of Science Fiction, Dystopian, and Romance.  Her work ranges from the sweet contemporary romances of Paper Wishes, to the dystopian society of Last Winter Red and Optimal Red, with a dusting of young adult paranormal just for fun in The First Day of the New Tomorrow.

While not off visiting other worlds, Jennifer calls the East Coast of the USA home, where she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband, three energetic boys, and a pepped up poodle.

Full time team leader, full time mom, and full time novelist… what more can you ask for?  Writing help did you say?  Well, sure!  Jennifer hosts an informational blog aimed at helping all writers be the best they can be. Stop on by and chat. She loves to hear from fans! http://www.jennifermeaton.com/

Email | Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Manic ReadersGoodreads | Amazon

 

More Purchase Links:

Make Believe on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Make-Believe-ebook/dp/B00ACMPEGQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Make Believe on Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/Make-Believe%2FJA-Belfield/1113844175

Paper Wishes : http://www.astraeapress.com/ – !/~/product/id=26814032


Need $100? Enter The Christmas Cracker Scavenger Hunt!

Welcome to the J. Taylor Publishing Christmas Cracker Scavenger Hunt!

Today, TEN J. Taylor authors are taking part in the Scavenger Hunt, which means there will be multiple chances to enter for a shot at an AWESOME GRAND PRIZE!

PLUS, there are more goodies up for grabs at EVERY stop along the way, too!

In fact, here’s MY mini-giveaway:

All you have to do is name your favorite Christmas movie in the comment section of this blog and you will be entered to win an EBOOK of REAPER by L. S. Murphy 

Congrats to Cassandra, winner of L.S. murphy’s REAPER!!!

Thanks to all who entered. Ya’ll rock!

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 BLURB:

There’s no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.

She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.

It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.

Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.

Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.

Maybe … just maybe … that’s okay.

It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.

You have until midnight of Friday 20th December 2013 to enter, after which a winner will be selected using Random.org

Good luck!

And back to the …

So … the GRAND PRIZE?

Enter in the Christmas Cracker Scavenger Hunt, and you could win $100 Giftcard prize.

just in time for Christmas!

Yep: $100 Giftcard prize.

Still got last minute shopping to grab? Fancy treating yourself as a reward for surviving yet another year?

Here’s your chance.

In order to enter, you will need to answer a variety of questions. There are ELEVEN questions in total—so eleven chances to win—and you will find ONE question on EACH of the nine other participating author blogs plus the J. Taylor blog.

As for the eleventh? Well, that one’s below:

Question: On which mythology is my YA novel CRUX based?

If you need help, here’s a hint: You can find the answer in red  >> HERE!

And you can enter in the Rafflecopter form below.

Good luck!

And don’t forget to enter the NEXT STOP on the Hunt for another chance to enter!

Don’t worry if you get lost. Simply hop back to the J. Taylor Blog by clicking on the link or either of the Hunt buttons, where you can find the complete list of authors and links.

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Terms & Conditions of E-Book Giveaway

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Lastly, here is the Rafflecopter code/link:
Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/abafc927/


Giveaway! FIVE ARCs of Darkest Day by Emi Gayle

J. Taylor Publishing is giving away FIVE ARCs of Darkest Day by Emi Gayle!

Check it out!

Mac Thorne’s time as a Changeling is coming to an end.

It may have taken eighteen years, but Mac did finally manage to do what the Council wanted: she chose a teacher and renounced the in-between.

There’s just one last step. She must say goodbye to her human. Forever.

After being challenged in every way possible, Mac leaves what she thought would be the easiest task for the last possible moment. As midnight on July fourth draws near, though, she hasn’t found a way to give up Winn Thomas.

Nor does she want to.

With time running out, Mac stands at a literal crossroads. Choose Winn, and she’ll be stripped of the only family she’s ever known — vampires, dragons, and her favorite demon. Even her own mother. Accept her position on the Council and rule as an equal to her twelve peers, and she’ll forget Winn ever existed.

Independence and freedom have never before been so limiting.

In this final chapter of the 19th Year Trilogy, it’s time for Mac to decide.

Responsibility? Or Love?

DARKEST DAY is the third installment in the 19th Year Trilogy, featuring Changeling Mac Thorne and her hot-geeky boyfriend Winn Thomas. And J. Taylor Publishing is giving away FIVE ARC copies.

To YOU!

You don’t even have to be a book blogger!

Nope, so long as you are willing to leave an honest review between the dates December 23rd 2013 – January 6th 2014, you are eligible to enter.

Interested?

Then just fill out the form and keep your fingers crossed.

Enter Here!

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Other books in the series:

About Emi Gayle:

Emi Gayle just wants to be young again. She lives vicariously through her youthful characters, while simultaneously acting as chief-Mom to her teenaged son and searching for a way to keep her two daughters from ever reaching the dreaded teen years.

Ironically, those years were some of Emi’s favorite times. She met the man of her dreams at 14, was engaged to him at 19, married him at 20 and she’s still in love with him to this day. She’ll never forget what it was like to fall in love at such a young age — emotions she wants everyone to feel.


Book Blast and Giveaway for ROOK

rook updated

Rook

Could you be the monster to save who you love?

Two women, separated by generations, must leave what they know to start a new life. Seventeen-year-old Kate’s senior year is ruined when she’s moved from the only home she’s ever known. After an isolating month alone in her apartment, school starts, but neither her classmates nor her teacher are who they seem. Kali, a single mother living in the nineteenth century wilds of Montana, is stalked by a malicious past. She fights to keep her daughter safe while her freedom is threatened by her less than benevolent benefactor. Both find love, and with it hope, but that is quickly ripped away as one woman must learn the lessons of the other — before it’s too late to save either.

amazon blog

Praise for Rook:

“This book also drew me in. I couldn’t let go of what was happening and when life intervened and forced me to close my computer I kept looking for a few moments to sit down and read some more.” Brookeworm, a Blog 4 Stars

“Rook had me hooked from the first page. It all started so mysteriously that I just had to know what it was all about. “ Jannat Bhat, Obsessive Compulsive Reader 4 Stars

“Rook is an amazing story that had me at the edge of my seat.” Tee Loves Kyle Jacobson Blog, 5 Stars

Excerpt

Is that him? Is he back?

My legs jerked, kicking and twitching me around to face the sound. I managed to roll slightly, knocking against a soft, solid object at my feet. It grunted weakly, and immediately I recoiled as though I had been bitten. Squinting, I stared, willing my eyes to find light in the dark, but there was nothing.

The sound of the runner drew closer, as if they would trample me any moment. A dim, swaying light appeared through the trees, burning away the inky edges of the deep shadows. When light and sound were almost upon me, branches above me snapped, spraying me in a shower of dried pine needles and snow.

Rook copy

Tour Schedule

Monica M

Author Stella MacDonald

Stella is a married graduate student with three boys. Utah is home right now, but the need to wander has extended beyond the fantasy world of writing and into real life. She’s lived all around the US and even into the Middle East. The world is really a small place, only made bigger through imagination.

Social Media Facebook Social Media TwitterSocial Media Goodreads Social Media Website

BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/30/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Book Blast and Giveaway for The Watcher by Lisa Voisin

the watcher cover

The Watcher

Millennia ago, he fell from heaven for her.

Can he face her without falling again?

Fascinated with ancient civilizations, seventeen-year-old Mia Crawford dreams of becoming an archaeologist. She also dreams of wings—soft and silent like snow—and somebody trying to steal them.
When a horrible creature appears out of thin air and attacks her, she knows Michael Fontaine is involved, though he claims to know nothing about it. Secretive and aloof, Michael evokes feelings in Mia that she doesn’t understand. Images of another time and place haunt her. She recognizes them—but not from any textbook.

In search of the truth, Mia discovers a past life of forbidden love, jealousy and revenge that tore an angel from Heaven and sent her to an early grave. Now that her soul has returned, does she have a chance at loving that angel again? Or will an age-old nemesis destroy them both?
Ancient history is only the beginning.

From November 28th to December 1st The Watcher is on sale for just $1.99!

amazon blog Barnes and Noble

Download your copy today!!

Praise for The Watcher:

“Voisin’s THE WATCHER blends paranormal mystery and romance into a book that is sure to keep readers turning the pages late into the night.”
— Eileen Cook, author of THE ALMOST TRUTH

“Perfect for fans of angels and demons, Lisa Voisin has created an uplifting tale of redemption, love, and spirituality that gives hope. Never preachy, THE WATCHER is the perfect answer to critics who claim Young Adult literature is too dark.”
— Stephanie Lawton, author of WANT and SHRAPNEL

“The Watcher is stunning! A paranormal romance that you won’t want to put down. Voisin will enthrall you until the very last page.”
— Stephanie Keyes, author, THE STAR CHILD series

“Grips the reader, pulls them in and leaves them cheering for good!”
— InD’tale Magazine

“The Watcher is my favorite angel fiction tale yet.”
— Katrina @Kindred Dreamheart

“This book is phenomenal! I was hooked in right away and didn’t want to stop.”
— Michelle @Michelle’s Paranormal Vault

Book Trailer

Excerpt

Instead of saying more, he brushed his fingertips along my cheek, and his halo glimmered. I could hear the waves slapping the rocks behind us, the wind driving them in. That same wind whipped against my skin, but the touch of his hand on my face was all I could think about. It sent a current through both of us and filled me with longing for something I wasn’t sure I understood.

“I’m sorry.” He stepped back and shoved his hands into his pockets as the light around him faded. “You don’t know what it’s like. Being near you now, remembering those moments we had…” His hair blew into his eyes, but this time he didn’t move. I wanted to brush it back, but I didn’t know how he’d react. Would touching him be bad?

“You want to know who you were?” he asked. “You may look different, but you’re the same. I look into your eyes and see you.” He took in a deep breath, fixing his attention on the horizon. I’d seen and heard so much now that the logical part of my brain had long since given up arguing with me. I could feel what he was saying was true. All of it.

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Author Lisa Voisin

A Canadian-born author, Lisa Voisin spent her childhood daydreaming and making up stories, but it was her love of reading and writing in her teens that drew her to Young Adult fiction.

A self-proclaimed coffee lover, Lisa can usually be found writing in a local café. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her meditating or hiking in the mountains to counteract the side effects of drinking too much caffeine!

Though she’s lived in several cities across Canada, she currently lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her fiancé and their two cats.

Twitter * Facebook * Website * Blog

Book Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/18/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway