“Dear Lucky Agent” Contest!


Writer’s Digest has a new contest going and boy, do I love this one!!!  Why, might you ask?  Because this one is open to YA authors!!!!  Whoo Hoo!!  If you’re a YA author, you’re going to love this one, too.

So what are the rules to enter?

 

  1. You must have a completed YA manuscript.
  2. Send the first 150 – 200 words of your manuscript by e-mail to: dearluckyagent15@gmail.com. Please paste everything. No attachments.
  3. You must mention the contest twice through any social-media.  Provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so your eligibility can be verified.  Please read all the details HERE.

 

What is the prize if you win?

Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com ($50 value)!

So, do you have a YA manuscript you’ve been wanting to get feedback on?  Here’s your chance, folks.  The contest is open to all genres and all authors, young and old, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W Media, Inc.

Go on!  What are you waiting for?  You have until 11:59 PM PST April 9, 2014 to submit.  I’ll race ya!  :-)

 

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Secret of the Souls cover reveal!


OMGosh, I can finally reveal this cover!  I’ve been sitting on it for over a month.  Isn’t it swoon-worthy?  Too bad I have to wait until October to read it.

Secret of the Souls

Pool of Souls
by Terri Rochenski
Release Date: October 6, 2014
Target Reader: Adult
Keywords: Fantasy

Back of the Book

Thrust out of their homes by a human High Priest on a vengeful mission, the Natives of Derlund no longer have a place to call their own. One escaped capture, however, and now she, Hyla, is the only one who can save her people.

For, Hyla, though, saving her nation isn’t her ultimate goal—returning to the Pool of Souls is. Becoming its Guardian and preserving their faith is her heart’s desire. The perils of her current journey, though, could leave her unable to fulfill that dream.

To find her way back to the Pool, Hyla must live among dangerous, powerful humans willing to defend the Natives, and must submit herself—her Talents—to them. While her protection is paramount, plots to end Hyla’s life will push her to her physical and emotional limits.

On the edge of sanity, her courage tested, and convictions nearly broken, Hyla’s final test of loyalty to her faith comes with the death of one she could have loved.

URL: http://www.jtaylorpublishing.com/books/34

About this author:

Picture

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with storytelling.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not playing toys, picking them back up, or kissing boo-boos, she can be found sprawled on the couch with a book or pencil in hand, and toothpicks propping her eyelids open.

Other books in this series:

Eye of the Soul

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UNNATURAL Release Day Book Bash!


UnnRDBB

UNNATURAL RELEASES TODAY!

Unnatural

Unnatural. One word to sum up werewolf Kyle Larsen—his mood swings, abnormal body, and choice of female.

The first two, he blames on the vampire venom.

The third, though? No, feline shifter Brook Nicholls was all his doing—a female of whom the pack will never approve.

As part of the Coalition, an organisation with even stricter rules than the pack and a rigidly warped sense of responsibility, Brook comes with a whole lot of opposition of her own.

No wonder the two of them keep their relationship secret for as long as they can.

Now, distanced from his family by his own indiscretions, Kyle’s left to fight battles he’s unsure how to win—some of them even against his own pack.

Is one woman really so important that he’s willing to defy his Alpha for her?

If his heart has any say in the matter, the answer will be yes.

add-to-goodreads

To celebrate Unnatural‘s release, CAGED, Holloway Pack 3 is on SALE!

The UNNATURAL Blog Tour begins tomorrow, and throughout the duration of the tour, CAGED will be available for just 99c.

CagedSale

AND there’s a GIVEAWAY!

Up for grabs is:

UnnRDGiveaway

Enter in Rafflectopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

To grab your own copy of UNNATURAL, click on any of the purchase links below.

J.A. BelfieldBest known for her Holloway Pack Stories, J. A. Belfield lives in Solihull, England, with her husband, two children, two cats and a dog. She writes paranormal romance, with a second love for urban fantasy.

Website | Blog | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Booklikes

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Seeking Traditional Publication: How Long Should Your Manuscript Be?


kford2007:

Excellent post. I would like to see more recent ‘norms’ than 2008 figures, but those are all I seem to find when searching the net. I agree…Colleen seems to know her stuff so these are nice figures to keep handy.

Originally posted on High Fantasy Addict:

String

Greetings Brave Adventurers,

I’ve spent a lot of time researching manuscript lengths on the internet (mostly as either an avoidance tactic to actually writing, or when the word count of my project begins to balloon out of control).

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to suggested manuscript word counts. The good news is that these rules of ‘word counts’ are broken all the time. The bad new is, that they’re usually broken by seasoned authors, sequels or that extraordinary run-away bestseller (and while we all think that’s probably us, it just as likely probably isn’t). Of course, us Fantasy / Sci-Fi writers are the worst culprits when it comes to phone-book word counts. Bigger is better, right?

So what is ‘industry standard’ when it comes to manuscript word counts?

The follow list is taken from the website:

http://theswivet.blogspot.com.au/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html

There’s a lot of conflicting information on the internet. Of the…

View original 258 more words

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Elementary, My Dear Watson! The Astounding Adventure of the Ancient Dragon


Published: April 3, 2014
Publisher:  Curiosity Quills
ISBN13:  9781620075074

In the interests of disclosure, the publisher provided me with an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in exchange for an unbiased review.

When Curiosity Quills, the publisher of this middle grade novel, approached me and asked if I would like to read and review a copy, I enthusiastically said yes.  I’ve always enjoyed Sherlock Holmes mysteries and found the premise to this novel to be fun and interesting.  I was not let down. Let’s look at the back cover blurb so you can get an idea of the storyline.

***

When 12-year-old John Watson is sent to Candlewood boarding school, he makes quick friends with a boy named Sherlock Holmes, a universally disliked know-it-all and amateur sleuth. Before long, Sherlock embroils his new friend in a covert investigation of the mysterious disappearances blamed on a vengeful ghost. Dodging the meaty fists of the bully Moriarty, and aided by bumbling patrolman Lestrade, they uncover a deadly secret hidden deep underneath Candlewood. But does the duo have the brains–and the brawn–to crack this dangerous case?

***

One thing I really enjoyed about this tale was that it takes place when Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are twelve years old. The author, Jose Prendes, did an excellent job in capturing Sherlock Holmes’ voice, and Watson’s baffled admiration of his best friend.

The story is narrated by Watson, as always, and I really enjoyed his voice, though at times I did find it strayed from that of a twelve-year-old, sometimes sounding younger, sometimes older.  However, it was never enough to distract me or make me want to put the book down.

The story opens with enough action to keep the reader engaged.  Watson finds himself in the midst of a tragic state of family affairs that requires him to be sent away to Candlewood School for his own good.  The plot moves along at a steady clip throughout, peaking and falling off when it should.  I could picture the settings easily in my mind and the mystery itself, and Holmes’ strategy to figure it out was perfect for Middle Grade readers.  I found the introduction of Moriarty unusually interesting, but the cockney accents of Moriarty’s clod mates was difficult to read and took me slightly out of the story.  However, Holmes’ character quickly brought me back to the forefront and grounded me back to the plot.  I found myself laughing out loud at times.

There were a couple of things I had issues with.  Watson is sent to Candlewood School because of a very stressing family issue that has him quite torn up.  However, once he arrives at the school and meets Holmes, he tends to forget the troubles back home a bit too easily for me.  There isn’t enough angst or worry or feelings of not fitting in on Watson’s part.  I would have liked to have seen a bit more emotional development with him.  There were also times that Watson appeared to be completely clueless when he should have been able to understand a simple matter.  I think the author made him a little too dweebish at times in order to make Holmes look smarter than he really was.  Watson seems like a bungling clod much of the time.  I would have liked to have seen him a bit more confident. In all fairness, however, there was enough growth in Watson’s character to satisfy me and pleased that I took the journey with him.

There was a lot of action that would entertain most middle grade boys.  In addition, the story was filled with sarcasm, humor, mystery and adventure, hidden stairwells, blossoming romance and feelings of friendship and camaraderie.  The story wraps up nicely after a blazing ending that will have MG readers on the edge of their seats.  Overall, Elementary, My Dear Watson:  The Astounding Adventure of the Ancient Dragon was a pleasant read and I would definitely pick up the next book in the series.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars for its fun, enjoyable, and quick read.  Thank you Curiosity Quills for providing me with a copy of this novel for reading.

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THE LITTLE SEAHORSE – Another Sheri Fink masterpiece


Best-selling children’s author, Sheri Fink, has done it again.  Before her latest children’s book, THE LITTLE SEAHORSE, hit the shelves, it had already claimed best-seller status.  And it’s no wonder.  Look at that adorable cover, and the story within is just as captivating and charming.  What is it about?  Let’s take a look.

Synopsis:  The bashful Little Seahorse discovers a mysterious object during his adventures and has to learn to speak up for himself and ask for help in order to bring his mother this amazing gift. In the process, he increases his self-confidence and makes wonderful new friends.

I was able to catch up with Sheri to ask her a few questions about her new book and her future plans.  Here’s what she had to say.

***

Where did the idea for The Little Seahorse come from?

I have always been enamored with seahorses. They just look so magical. I visited a few aquariums to discover more about them. Once I visited the Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm in Hawaii and got to hold a few seahorses! I was smitten. They are very special little creatures and I’m happy to get to increase awareness of them through my book.

Oh, you lucky person, you.  Not many people can say they’ve held a live seahorse.  Very cool.  Now, you write picture books for small children. Do you have any plans to test the MG or YA waters at some point in time?

I’m open to the possibility of exploring stories for other age groups. I have a few ideas for chapter books. I’m going to follow my inspiration wherever it takes me.

What was your most embarrassing (but funny) moment as a child?

I was a very serious kid. It’s interesting that I can’t think of any embarrassing moments from childhood that were actually funny. I’m not sure what that says about me. :)

If you could be any character from one of your children’s books, who would it be and why?

Hmmm… I relate so well to all of my characters. I would probably choose the Little Firefly. I’m sometimes impatient with myself and just want to achieve my goals already. Sometimes it’s difficult to share that you’re not where you hoped you would be. True friends will love and appreciate you exactly as you are, whether you’ve achieved your goal or not. And, things happen when they’re meant to, not necessarily when we want them to. The Little Firefly discovers unconditional love when she accepts and shares her authentic self. I think we all need that reminder from time to time as we navigate this journey.

Speaking of journeys, what gets you through the rough times in your life?

I’ve always been very hopeful and optimistic. Being a big dreamer helps. I think what’s made the biggest difference for me is surrounding myself with friends who really believe in me. These are wonderful friends who accept me as I am, especially when I’m going through transition and need support.

What is the most memorable moment you’ve had as an adult that took your breath away and made you giddy like a little girl?

I have many moments like this as an adult. I think the most memorable is when the shipment of my first book, The Little Rose, arrived. It was the first time I’d ever seen my words in the physical form of a book, complete with my name on the front and my photo on the back cover. It was such a beautiful moment. I cried tears of joy and gratitude. I do every time I receive the first copies of my new books. It’s a magical experience.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I prefer to write outdoors on a sunny day. I like to sit at a nice patio table with a sunbrella overhead and a cold glass of water by my side. A quiet spot with nature sounds works best for me.

I completely agree.  Now onto more serious matters.  :-)  Your books incorporate animals as the main characters.  Tell us, what is your preference:  dogs or cats?

I love animals. I enjoy cuddling with both cats and dogs (and humans).

Mountains or ocean?

I live near the ocean. There’s something very powerful about the sight, sound, and smell of the ocean for me.

As a Floridian, I completely understand.  Tell us, Sheri.  You’ve won awards for your writing. How does that work? Did you have to submit your books for judging or does someone else submit? 

Most of the book competitions require you to submit your books for consideration. It’s always a fun surprise to find out that your book has been acknowledged. I love it!

Please give us a peek into an average writing day.

I start almost every day with inspirational reading and meditation. After breakfast, I head to the gym and workout. I typically check my email and Facebook during breakfast. I spend about an hour a day responding to a Fan mail, even on writing days and weekends.

After a shower, I sit down and clear my desk. I try to minimize distractions by turning off my phone and removing any objects that might call for my attention while I’m writing. I do a creativity meditation and then listen to brainwave music that’s supposed to stimulate your creativity. It sounds like rain and is very relaxing. It seems to help me focus.

I set little rewards for myself for achieving writing goals throughout the day. For example, if I write for 2 hours, then I can play on Facebook for a half hour. I set bigger rewards for achieving milestones. When I finished writing The Little Gnome, I treated myself to a long weekend in Maui. That’s motivating!

What is your next project?

My next children’s book in The Little Series is The Little Unicorn (coming March 22, 2015). The project I’m working on right now is my debut novel for adults. It’s a fun, sexy, happily ever after story for hopeful romantics like me. I’m really enjoying writing it.

I can hardly wait for The Little Unicorn.  Being a fantasy author, this one will surely touch my heart.  Thank you Sheri for your time and good luck with THE LITTLE SEAHORSE.

Sheri_Fink

Bio:  Sheri Fink is a #1 best-selling, award-winning children’s author, founder of “The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink” children’s brand, and an international speaker. Sheri writes books that inspire and delight children while planting seeds of self-esteem. Her first book, The Little Rose, was a #1 bestseller on Amazon for over 60 weeks and became the #1 top-rated e-book on Amazon. Sheri is the recipient of multiple literary awards including three gold medals in the Readers Favorite International Book Awards. All five of her books are #1 bestsellers.

In 2013, her children’s book series received the Gold Mom’s Choice Award for excellence in family friendly entertainment. Sheri was selected by CBS Los Angeles as one of the top 3 authors in her local area, a distinction she shares with Dean Koontz. Sheri was honored with the 2013 Extraordinary Inspiration award for her long-lasting commitment to spreading inspirational messages of hope and self-esteem through her books, her moving life story, and her brand.

#1 Best-selling, Award-winning Children’s Author and Founder of “The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink” Children’s Brand Become a Fan!

website:  www.TheWhimsicalWorldofSheriFink.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SheriFinkFan
Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/Sheri_Fink

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5 things teens might like to say to their parents


caution teen snarkLast night I had a brainstorm for a new YA book.  It’s a cross between paranormal and urban fantasy and my main character is this saucy, little smart-mouthed young lady who is unafraid to ‘give it back’ to her mom.

The following conversations popped out of me as I hunched over my computer at 3:30 a.m. and I realized how much she sounded like I wish I could have sounded when I was a teen.  Now, keep in mind.  I was a freaking goody two-shoes.  I NEVER did anything I wasn’t supposed to do.  I wouldn’t be alive today if I’d snuck out of the house or did drugs or drank.  My Army dad would have seen to that.  This didn’t mean I didn’t want to sass back with some quirky, disrespectful comments (and sadly, I did after my dad passed away).

Iris Ridley is that unabashed teen who readily speaks her mind and doesn’t care who’s in the line of fire, including her alcoholic mother.  As a parent, I want to strangle her. As a teen, I totally get her and almost applaud her.

What do you think?  Do you hear bits of you in Iris or Mom?  if you were/are a teen, how would you respond to Mom?

***

Mom:  “As long as you live in my house, you will live by my rules!”

Iris:  “Your house?  If that’s true, why is the bank taking it back?  Looks like we’re living by their rules, not yours, huh.”

***

Mom:  “You never lift a finger to help around this house.  You’re always out with your friends.  You just expect everything to be done and ready for you.”

Iris:  “Yeah, well at least I have friends.  You’re still searching for yours in a bottle and a glass.”

***

Mom:  “You’re the child and I’m the parent. What I say goes.”

Iris:  “Fine.  Then don’t ask for any money I make from my, what did you call it?  Oh yeah, my menial part-time job.  I mean, aren’t parents the ones who are supposed to provide for their kids, not the other way around?”

***

Mom:  “I know you are not leaving the house dressed like that.”

Iris:  “I can’t believe you’re staying in the house looking like that.”

***

Mom:  “You’ve got a bad attitude, young lady!”

Iris:  “You’d have one, too, if you didn’t have your hands wrapped around Captain Morgan all the time.”

***

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how to braid arm pit hair


Is anyone else’s blog dying a slow death?

This time last year, my blog had almost 200 hits a day.  This year, I’m lucky if I hit 30 a day.  Two days ago, I had 16 hits.  What happened?

I look back at what I was doing then.  Nothing really different than now.  It’s like my blog caught some cyber disease and is slowly croaking.  I wonder if I should put it out of its misery or perhaps start up a blog on how to braid arm pit hairs. I hear there are lots of patterns depending on the length.

What do you think?  Has anyone braided their pit hairs?  Did you use beads?  Orrrr, maybe you pierced or tattooed your arm pit?  Remember, pictures speak 1,000 words.  I’m not sure if anyone would want to see them, but hey…what a conversation piece, eh?  

 

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Advertising and the Affect on Teens and Young Women


I found these videos called Killing Us Softly.  Everyone – old, young, male, female, needs to watch this series and understand advertising’s implications on our teens’ and young women’s self-esteem.

There are 4 videos and I’ve linked them below.  Personally, I’m sick of female objectification.  Everywhere we look, women are turned into nothing more than sexual objects. I cannot go to a movie without seeing T & A.  Heavens, I just watched the Wolf of Wallstreet and I couldn’t get over all the naked women and the way they were treated as if nothing more than whores.  I am irritated by sexual innuendos everywhere we turn, especially from the men who supposedly love us, as well as the use of disgusting words and phrases to describe our body parts.  It irritates me that men feel they are entitled to sex with their wives simply because there is a ring on the finger.  I’m disgusting by men who think ‘No’ means “Yes’.

I can say I grew up with these unrealistic expectations to be classy during the day but become a slut in bed.  All, save for but one man in my life, treated me like I should be a sex slave to them.  Shut up and put out.

This same message is coming across loud and clear in the advertising directed at our teen girls.  Padded bras for 7-year olds?  Yes, they’re out there.  3-year olds wearing makeup for pageants?  High heel shoes for babies?  What in the hell are we teaching our young girls?  Be innocent, demure and sexual and thin as a toothpick.  If you’re not these things, you’re disgusting and fat and no guy will ever like you.

What a horrible, horrible message to send to our young female youth.

I implore you to watch the entire series below and then make your own mind to help our young women empower themselves not with sexuality, but with self-esteem.

Please note, the use of the following media is protected under the Fair Use Clause of the US Copyright Act of 1976 which allows for rebroadcast of copyrighted materials for the purpose of commentary, criticism and education.

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Oggy Doggie Wednesday


My son asked me the other day, “Who are you?”  I’d just done something rather insane and idiotic so the question wasn’t meant to be philosophical, but it got me thinking.  Who am I, really?  Deep down.  What makes me tick?  So, like any writer would do, I got out a piece of paper and I wrote down the things that make me, well, me.  The first five ‘things’ that spewed forth were:

  • Mom
  • Writer
  • Animal lover
  • Nut case
  • Sentimental fool (hey, I cry over Mary Poppins and Edward Scissorhands)

That got me thinking:  if I wrote these things down in this order, is this the value I place them in my life?  Are these the primary building blocks that define me as a person?  What about being a wife?  That was like #12 on the list.  It didn’t even make the top 10.  What does that say about me?   Am I condemned to Hell because my faith didn’t top #1? What about ‘being employed’?  Am I bringing about bad financial juju because I’m content with working from home as a writer, even though I haven’t seen one cent from anything I’ve written?

Or am I over thinking?  Is the placement irrelevant so long as the ‘defining things’ made the list? Or, wait.  Here’s another question.  Do I see myself as others see me?  Would my list match my friend’s or family’s list? Better yet?  What difference does it make?  Am I defined by their list or mine?  Both?

Oh  my gosh, finding out who I am is like trying to map out a character in one of my novels…except worse.  Geez, I mean, I can create them, mold them, make them be however I want them.  I can’t do that with…

Wait.  Hold the phone. Shut the front door.  I just had a revelation.  I’m a writer.  Of course I can create me, mold me, make me however I want.  What a doofus I am.  It’s called free will, Jenny Minny.  And why do I care how I appear on anyone else’s list?  I’m not in charge of their opinions of me.  That would involve gathering an army of minions.  I don’t have the energy for that.  All that matters is my own list.  And here’s something else I learned.  It doesn’t matter where any of the ‘things’ fall on my list, because they all make me who I am, and you know what that is?  Special.  And if you disagree with me, I’ll turn you into a character in my book.  Let’s see how you like those apples.

What about you?  Do you let others define you or do you define yourself?  Do you have an army of minions I can borrow?

pic 1

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