YA 101: “Contemporary” Genre

Hi all.  Welcome back to  day 5 of sifting through the YA genres.  Today’s victim:  Contemporary fiction.

Stories set in modern-day times that don’t bring in any elements of fantasy are considered contemporary.  It is also known in a large circle as ‘realistic’ fiction.  Stories in this genre usually focus on offering the reader an insight into a person’s everyday experience and what it feels like to ‘walk’ in their shoes.  There should be little exaggeration as fans of this genre tend to shun ‘contemporary’ stories that stray from authenticity and far-fetched notions.

There are sub-genres to contemporary such as contemporary historical, contemporary romance and contemporary christian.

Popular novels that fall into the Contemporary genre include:


Agents and Publishers accepting YA contemporary:

Taylor Martindale of Full Circle Literary 

Entangled Publishing



On May 12 I got an e-mail from a complete stranger.  Her name . . . Keri Neal.    In her e-mail, she asked me if I would like to review her latest book,  FLIGHTLESS.  Now, I’m normally hesitant when I get these e-mails as I receive tons of requests for reviews. Sadly, I have to turn away more than I can accept for various reasons, the primary ones being the stories are not YA, the topics aren’t ones I feel comfortable with, and/or I wasn’t impressed by the blurb. But when I read the following line, I knew I had to get a copy of the entire story to review.

“Flightless is a love story set in modern day.  The protagonist is a former guardian angel who falls in love with a human girl.”

Okay, Keri, you got my attention, and with a click and a big “Yes!”, it was in my inbox.  Folks, let me tell you, this is one of the best YA novellas I’ve ever read.  It’s quick paced, has tons of drama, and is loaded with suspense.  Pen is a very ‘naughty’ red-headed fallen angel but he’s got a heart of gold.  Jade is a complete mess, haunted by a tragic event she witnessed when she was six years old.  Together, they find their strengths and come to terms with their pasts, but their path to the future is paved in treachery.  The cast is brilliant and the story well-played.

I had some slight hiccups in the beginning with sentence structure.   There seemed to be too many sentences strung side by side with the same cadence, but that quickly ironed itself out.  Flightless is also told from two points of view.  For some people this might be a little distracting.  After the first switch, it didn’t affect me anymore.  In fact, I liked the telling of the story from two sides, and the transitions were very well done.

I would have liked to have known a little more about the character, Flinn and Jade’s background.  Both are touched on to a satisfactory level, but I would have liked a bit more so I could ground myself in the whys and hows of the events that happened in Jades’ young life.

I do have to say the pace is perfect and the story is a quick, energetic read.   My final score:  4.5 stars.

Thank you, Keri, for the opportunity to read your novella.  I will definitely check out your other published works.  For the rest of you, continue reading below for the excerpt of FLIGHTLESS, and to find out more about Keri Neal.  Also, Keri said she might drop by today, so make sure you leave a comment below and say hello.



Pen and I are lounging under a big white umbrella. I am curled up with my head on his chest. His heartbeat is steady and slow, his breathing shallow. He is asleep. I pinch his arm playfully. “You’re going to miss it.”

He takes a deep breath and chuckles. “I’m awake. And I’ve seen my share of sunsets.”

I turn my head and rest my chin on his chest. His eyes are still closed. “You’re a grouch, you know that?”

He opens one eye and stares at me. “You know I’m going to find you. You don’t need to do this.”

My throat burns with emotion. “Yes, I do. You might not make it in time.”

Both his eyes open and stare blankly up at the umbrella. He is angry. His jaw clenches and his nostrils flare.“It’s almost time.”

I crawl up and lie down, straddling him. My blonde hair makes a curtain around us. He looks sad as he reaches up and holds my face.  “I don’t know how to say goodbye to you.”

I smile. The sun is glowing in the horizon. Its resting place comes alive with color. I see it all happen in the reflection in his eyes.

“Yes, you do.”

I press my lips against his, urgently stealing every taste of him. I pull his lip through my teeth, and he groans loudly. The sound is erotic. Suddenly his hand is on the back of my head, pulling me roughly against him. His lips are not gentle anymore. They are rough and scaly, like a snake. He is hurting me. I push hard against his chest, only to realize my hands are bound. I start to cry as the sun descends into its salty grave.


Keri Neal designs book covers. FLIGHTLESS is her fourth published book.

She lives near Austin, Texas with her husband, two children, two hamsters and a snake. She crochets, sews, reads, paints and loves all things artsy & craftsy.

Contact info
Blog: writingas.kerineal.com
Cover Artist: booklovers.kerineal.com
Twitter: @authorkerineal
Facebook: facebook.com/authorkerineal


Available on KDP Select and Paperback
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Release date: May 30, 2013
ISBN: 1484157338
ISBN13: 9781484157336


YA 101: “Bildungsroman” Genre? What the heck is that?

Good morning people weeples.  Happy Friday.  I was supposed to post this topic yesterday, but I forgot to hit the ‘schedule’ button.  Then Tropical Storm Andrea came through which kept my PC in the dark all day (even though I had to drive to work.  Don’t you feel bad for me?  Of course you do.)

First things first.  Pull up a comfy seat and relax.  Here, have a cup of coffee.

cup of coffee  Don’t like coffee?  Here, have some tea.

cup of tea Don’t like tea?  Sorry kiddo. You’re on your own.

Okay, today we’re going to dive into Bildungsroman.  I bet some of you are scratching your heads, wondering what the word even means, much less if your novel falls into this category.  Don’t worry.  Odds are if you’re writing YA, your entire book is based in this genre, or, at the very least, you probably have a touch of it lying on the pages.  What is bildungsroman?  Simply put, it’s a coming-of-age story.  In these stories, (i) the main character portrays his struggles and growth, (2) he must have suffered some loss or discontent to jar him away from home or family at an early stage, (iii) the process of maturity is long, arduous and gradual where there are repeated clashes between the hero’s needs and desires and what society demands of him/her, (iv) in the end, the protagonist discovers himself and asserts himself in society.

Examples of bildungsroman YA novels?

 (that’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower if you can’t read it)


Do you have a MS that fits this category?  Are you ready to submit?  Try the following agency to represent your novel.  They take unsolicited manuscripts, too.

The Greenhouse Literary Agency

Okay, folks, that wraps up today’s post.  I have to go now and get ready for work.  I’m happy, though, as today is  a short day for me.  My youngest graduates from high school tonight.  Where did the time go?

See you, Monday, everyone!  Have a great weekend.

YA 101: The “Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic” Genre

Welcome to day 3 of the YA 101:  Genre exposition. Today’s topic:  Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic genres.

After doing research for these posts, I realized how much confusion there is between Apocalyptic and Dystopian.  Let me say for the record, folks, these are two different beasts entirely.  I’ll get into their differences more when I get to the Dystopians.

Apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction and the tales center around the end of human civilization.  It is written as the event, (nuclear explosion, alien attack, pandemic, supernatural phenomena, warfare, etc), takes place.  Think movies like Armageddon.

Post-apocalyptic fiction is set in a world or civilization after such a disaster. The stories can take place right after the event or years after, sometimes as long ago when all that is left is myth (think of stories of Atlantis).  Most of the time, very little of the previous world is left, and technology is advanced (think Terminator).

Examples of Apocalyptic novels:


Post-Apocalyptic novels include:


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YA 101: the “Alternate History” genre

Welcome to day two of YA 101:  Book Genres.  Today let’s take a look at “Alternate History”.

Alternate History, also known as Alternative Reality, are set in worlds where one or more historical events unfold differently than it did in the real world.    Think Germany wins WWII, Lincoln never gets shot, and the Titanic never sank.  Many times this genre will contain sci-fi, time travel or psychic awareness elements.  If writing an Alternative History novel, the characters should maintain their ‘true to life’ traits, the when and how of the ‘point of diversion’ needs to be believable, and the alternate history must be plausible.

YA books in the genre:


Agents and/or Publishers:

Tanglewood Press

Amy Boggs – Donald Maas Literary Agency

YA 101: the “Adventure” Genre

Today begins my four-week crash course on book genres.  I’ll attempt to keep the posts short and sweet and will, when I can:

  • provide examples of YA books you may have heard of that fall into those categories
  • Provide the name of an agent/publisher open to unsolicited manuscript submissions

So let’s get started.  Today’s genre:  Adventure

Adventure stories are dominated by action.  The hero/heroine must overcome danger, take risks while taking the reader on a rollercoaster of excitement.  The action is fast-paced, and the adventure should be extraordinary.  Settings are usually magical or exotic.  Most of all, the adventure must change the hero somehow.

YA books that fall into this category:


Agent/Publisher accepting manuscripts (always research agents and publishers before sending your manuscript):

Adams Literary

Barry Goldblatt Literary 

Whiskey Creek Press