Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pre- Writers Conference Giveaway: NYRC 2013

Cross-posted to Operation Awesome:

Woot! I love it when Operation Awesome is operation: AWESOME!

It's time to spread the word about our upcoming online writers conference, and what better way than with an awesome online giveaway!

Enter using the rafflecopter form below.

New Year's Revisions Conference 2013

January 4, 5, and 6 

Totally free, totally online. 

You wrote the crap out of that book in November. Or maybe you've been working on yours even longer. The time has come... revision time. Pay the piper, meet the reaper -- all those lovely euphemisms for the real work of writing: revising. You do not have to do it alone. We have gathered a group of fabulous book lovers: the ones who write the books, the ones who represent the authors, and the ones who edit the books. They all want you to succeed in making your book as shiny as it can possibly be before you query/publish.

That's the focus of NYRC 2013.

If you love books, want to write, or have written a book, this conference will have plenty for you to love in the way of professional publishing advice, and yes, more giveaways. There will also be a critique partner matching service for those looking for a second pair of eyes for their work.

We'll be live-tweeting the events @OpAwesome6 and using the #NYRC hash tag. Hope you'll join us!

To recap:

  • Professional publishing advice from our panel of experts
  • Guest posts by literary agents, editors, and published authors - all with an eye toward helping you through the revision process
  • Book giveaways - *happy sigh* mmm, books.
  • Critique partner matching service (January 3, the day before the conference officially begins)

Giving away today via rafflecopter (giveaway runs from Dec. 21-24):
SHADOWS OF THE HIDDEN by Anne Riley (e-copy)
DEADWOOD by Kell Andrews (signed ARC)
AMAROK by Angela Townsend (e-copy)
A LITTLE BIT WICKED by Robyn DeHart  (e-copy)
SHIMMER OF ANGELS by Lisa Basso (e-copy)

$10 gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Chain: The Gift of Writing Advice


Cole's question Christmas is a time of gift giving. If you could gift aspiring authors with one piece of advice, what would it be?

When I was a baby writer, just starting out in this very complex industry, I was on the receiving end of a lot of very good advice. My critique group started Operation Awesome as a way to pay it forward, and we've been passing along good advice and writing insights there for the past two years. 

Coming up in January is our very first free, online writing conference, inspired by the awesome ladies of WriteOnCon and the need for a solution to the NaNoWriMo hangover. It's called:

New Year's Revisions Conference: January 4-6, 2013

NYRC is going to have a LOT of free advice for aspiring and experienced writers alike. We'll have Q&A's with literary agents and guest posts by editors, authors, and agents. There will be giveaways and critique partner matching. It's our way of using the connections and knowledge we've been blessed with as Operation Awesome and Mystery Agent administrators to help other writers sharing our journey. 

As you can see, I'm very excited about it! And I hope to see you there, blog buddies. 

But to answer Cole's question, here's the best writing advice I can think about in this moment. It isn't new, and it isn't profound. It's just the best thing I've ever remembered about being a writer. 

Writers write. 

Perseverance is the only thing all writers have in common. If you're querying, write. If you're releasing a book, write. If you're lost for ideas, write. If you're overflowing with ideas and can't focus on just one, write. The only thing you can control in this industry is you. I'm not published yet, but I will be. And while I wait for somebody else to recognize my unique brilliance, the one thing I have complete control over is how seldom or how often I do what I do. How often do you write?

I'm writing every day right now and loving it. I don't always feel like I 'have time' to write. That's why this piece of advice is the most important one to me. It reminds me that my dreams and aspirations are just puffy clouds in the sky unless I do something about them. 


And when that's fulfilled, writers revise! See you in January at NYRC!

Also check out Christine Fonseca's blog for her answer. And tomorrow, Lisa Amowitz will answer this week's question.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Return to Bookishness


All it takes for me to fall into my favorite pastimes of reading and writing is one good book. And by 'good,' I mean emotional, romantic, universal, painful, cathartic. Just one good book, and I'm hooked until the next major life event unhooks me. :)

Granted, with three kids five and under now, I have less time to write and indulge in reading. But time can be managed. And I'm learning to do that out of necessity.

So right now, my bookish to-do list:

  • Co-writing a YA time travel thriller with my baby sister
  • Revising an MG and YA project of my own, intermittently
  • Reading the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Getting ready email-wise for the New Year's Revisions Conference we're putting on at Operation Awesome. Totally free, totally online writer's conference for your NaNoWriMo hangover. Hope to see you there!
  • Unpack some of the book boxes from the move because I've got some serious reviewing to catch up on. 
  • Start critiquing again. I so miss this. It's a duty, yes, but it's also a privilege. And I've missed doing it.

Squee! I get so excited when the future holds fabulous stories.

What's on your bookish to-do list?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Vote for Literacy (and a Grant for NaNoWriMo)

Vote for the Office of Letters & Light to keep NaNoWriMo and the Young Writer's Program going: 

Even if you don't do NaNoWriMo, you can appreciate the Office of Letters & Light and their efforts to promote literacy everywhere. 

If you're like me, you don't always have the cash to donate to these awesome causes. 

Your vote for this video will put the Office of Letters & Light in the running for the Project for Awesome 2012 grant. 

So here's that link again. Promote literacy! :)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Co-Writing a Novel: Challenges and Benefits

If you write MG (middle grade) or YA (young adult) and attended WriteOnCon, you've likely heard of LiLa.

Lisa and Laura Roecker are sisters and co-authors of The Liar Society...

On Goodreads

...and The Lies That Bind...

On Goodreads
Awesome, right? Sisters who write, writing together. 

Well, I happen to have a sister who writes. We often talk about writing, and reading, and stereotypes vs. reality, and good vs. evil, and symbolism in literature and film.... We have great conversations. 

Recently, we decided to start a little co-venture of our own. 

The conversation went something like this:

Me: We should write a book together. I know of these two sisters who wrote a book together and it's been very successful. 
Her: That could be fun. What would it be about?
Me: *laughs* I don't know. I had a weird idea a while back based on a dream I had. [describes dream in all its weird glory]
Her: That could work, but we should change this part so it makes more sense and is easier to write.
Me: *blank stare* That's genius. How come I never thought of that before?

This led to an intense telephone brainstorm that lasted an hour or two. A few days later, we did it again. My phone battery died, so we caught up online to chat, sharing research links like crazy. 

I realized... this is the easiest time I've ever had researching a novel, outlining a story concept, and fleshing out characters. Best of all, I was having a BLAST! 

She wrote the first scene from her character's POV. I wrote a horrible first draft from my character's POV. And we're revising back and forth to make sure our characters sound consistent. The two divergent voices don't matter so much since we're writing from different characters' points of view. 

We're only at the beginning of this adventure, but already the story has taken on dimensions I wouldn't have thought of on my own. And it's fun! It's so, so fun. 

  • Consistency in voice for shared characters
  • Shared vision of setting and sequence of events
  • Communication

  • Unparalleled brainstorms
  • Out-of-your-box experiments
  • Sister bonding (or whatever bonding if you choose to write with a buddy) 

Would you ever co-write?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Elana Johnson's Birthday But YOU Get the Gift

Happy Birthday to the Dystopia-licious Elana Johnson!!

Christine Fonseca and Michelle McLean have gifts for YOU in her honor. Fill out the rafflecopter form on one of their blogs for a chance to win. 

And be sure to say Happy Birthday to the amazing author of POSSESSION and founding organizer of August's WriteOnCon, Elana Johnson: 

Abandon (Possession, #3)
add it on Goodreads

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ooh, Scandalous! (Entangled's newest imprint: launched)


USA Today posted interviews with Scandalous editors and authors yesterday in their piece:

It's a Scandalous Day: Entangled introduces its new imprint

There was a time when a mere glance at a handsome man, a seductive movement by a single woman or even a slight, knowing nod between couples would be cause for denunciation. Reputations were ruined; people were forced to flee to far-off lands to spare families from distasteful improprieties. Whatever became of these days of social morals and righteous standards? A time when men were men and women knew their place. Well, wonder no more. Welcome to the world of Scandalous, the newest imprint from Entangled Publishing.
Scandalous is historical, classical, sexy — romantic! Our tales are set between 900 and 1920s/1940s, anywhere from the lush hills of Ireland, Regency London, Renaissance Italy … or even the Viking age. These stories are bold, sexy and heartfelt, and can be funny, action-packed, mysterious or dramatic. They are full of romance, deception, love and, yes, honor between strong men and even stronger women. Wherever there's a masked ball, Scandalous will be there. Whenever there's a damsel in distress, Scandalous will be there. If there's a scoundrel to be had, Scandalous will have him.

Sounds great, right?

And great news for authors, Entangled's Scandalous line is looking for new authors! Check out their SUBMISSION GUIDELINES, which are deliciously detailed:
Specifically, we want:
  • Quality, well-researched story-telling
  • Authors who aren’t afraid to push creative boundaries
  • Prolific authors who can write three to four books a year are a plus
  • Time periods: 900–1950
  • Heroines who are age 20+, confident, and can be unconventional (a scientist, for example). If absolutely necessary to story, heroine can be 18-19.
  • Stories that feature an alpha male, whether he be the captain of a ship, royalty, or a warrior
  • Realistic stories—no manipulation of history, or alternate history
  • Although we are not a paranormal line, stories may contain light paranormal elements.
  • Active, dialogue-rich stories, with a minimum of narrative and navel-gazing, but firmly ground the reader in the setting and culture
  • Emotional depth depicted through strong conflict, theme, symbolism, and sub-text
  • Stories focused on the heroine and hero falling in love
  • Sensual stories, but the heat level should grow organically from the characters, their situations and emotions. We are not looking for erotica, but closed door is also fine on occasion.
  • Manuscripts must be 60-70K words in length
  • Revised backlist titles will be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • We accept agented and un-agented submissions, although agented submissions will receive first priority in the slush pile 
This certainly describe's Michelle McLean's upcoming regency romance, Treasured Lies, which I am hotly anticipating. 

Author Michelle McLean

Check out her blog and anticipate with me.

Blog Chain: Darkness in Fiction


Christine Fonseca says, 

I've been described as a writer of highly emotional and dark stories. So much so, that some could not read Transcend saying that while it was "beautifully crafted and written", the story was just too dark. So I ask you...How dark is too dark for your aesthetic? And is writing "dark" and "emotional" a "bad" thing?

This is a great question, and one all writers must face at some point. Where is my line? Where is the place I won't go, and why? There's a line for everything: violence, emotional oppression, sex, profanity, provocative symbolism. 

For me, the darkness line has to be drawn pretty close to the lighter side of the spectrum. My favorite recent series was Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. I also enjoyed the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter about girl spies. The lighthearted humor, true-love-wins-out theme, and lovable characters are a trifecta I can't resist. 

That said, I have written some pretty emotionally dark stuff, from a little boy who witnessed his father's vehicular manslaughter in gory detail to a girl being seduced by the devil himself. For me, writing dark stuff is like taking off all your clothes. It's nakedness for an author, because no two people are dark in the same way. That part of us is intensely personal. Authors are routinely mocked for the darkness in their stories, from The Shining to Twilight: Breaking Dawn. 

So for me, I prefer to keep it in the light part of the spectrum, with just a dip into the darkness for that all-important black moment, right before the cavalry arrives to save the day. 

How about you? How dark is too dark for you, as a writer? As a reader? 

See Christine Fonseca's blog for her original answer. And tomorrow, Lisa Amowitz will answer this week's question.