Waiting On Wednesday – 52

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir (expected publication: 28th April 2015 by Penguin/Razorbill). It’s a YA High Fantasy debut whose world-building was inspired by Ancient Rome. Paramount Pictures has already bought the rights to the book (se details here). Doesn’t it sound great?

An Ember In The Ashes

From Goodreads:

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

Elias is the academy’s finest soldier— and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Vow your blood and body to the empire.

Keep your heart for yourself.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

Book of the Week – Every Ugly Word

Hello gentle reader,

You may remember that in November 2013, I interviewed my friend Aimee L. Salter as she self-published her debut BREAKABLE. Today I’m delighted to share with you some fantastic news about Aimee’s book: it has been acquired by Alloy Entertainment and it’s being published TODAY with the new title EVERY UGLY WORD.

Here is an extract from the press release:

Today, Amazon Publishing and Alloy Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Television Group, announced a digital-first imprint that will focus on young adult, new adult and commercial fiction.(…) Every Ugly Word will be one of the first of three titles to be released under the newly launched imprint. Alloy Entertainment will also look for opportunities to develop acquired titles as television series, feature films, and digital entertainment.

Here is the book’s new cover:

Every Ugly Word

And here is the book’s new blurb:

When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school, bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

Perfect for fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and THE LIST, EVERY UGLY WORD is a gripping and emotional story about the devastating consequences of bullying.

Aimee L. Salter2

Here is what Aimee says about her book’s shiny new version:

“It’s slimmer, richer and 100% better than the original, in my opinion. Same premise and basic plot, same characters – but a lot of new content and a completely new delivery of the ending.

I’m so excited because this story, which has always been so close to my heart, has finally found a home — a home with people who are mind-blowingly talented, passionate about my characters and story, and so much fun to work with that I’m keep waking up and pinching myself to make sure it’s all real.”

And here are a few quotes from other authors who’ve read EVERY UGLY WORD:

“Original. Authentic. Heart-breaking….Officially one of my favorites!”
— Cora Carmack, New York Times Bestselling author of Losing It.

“A gripping story about a teen facing her demons with twists you won’t see coming, Every Ugly Word is a chilling and heartbreaking debut with raw emotion searing every page. I couldn’t put it down.”
— Katie Sise, author of The Boyfriend App.

“Every Ugly Word is a punch to the gut from chapter one. The tension and mystery build through every page to an inevitable showdown that left me breathless. With a splintered protagonist you can’t help but root for, you’ll battle through the worst of humanity’s ugliness to emerge at the end dirty and broken and full of hope.”
— Mary Elizabeth Summer, author of Trust Me, I’m Lying.

And here is where you can buy EVERY UGLY WORD for your Kindle.

Congrats, Aimee!

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Hello gentle reader,

I was invited by the awesome Rhiann Wynn-Nolet to join the Writing Process Blog Tour. Rhiann is one of the co-founders of the Like A Virgin Contest and the CriTiki Lounge, which both help writers in their querying process. She’s represented by Stefanie Lieberman of Janklow & Nesbit, and writes YA/NA fiction with a gothic atmosphere and passionate characters. She blogs here and you can also find her on Twitter here.

What am I currently working on?

I’m working on a YA Historical Fantasy entitled THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST. It takes place in the 1920s during the London Season and it involves flappers in jazz nightclubs, debutantes in Mayfair mansions, dark magic and strange creatures. I like to think it as THE GREAT GATSBY meets DOWNTON ABBEY with magic, because that’s not ambitious or anything ;)


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

YA Historical Fantasy – Fantasy set in a specific historical era – is quite a niche genre. When I researched YA Fantasy books set in the 1920s, I found that most of them were set in the US and I thought it’d be interesting to write a story set in London instead. The Roaring Twenties did cross the ocean after all, and post-WW1 England is a great, dark setting which I wished to explore.

Why do I write what I write?

My answer to this question is always the same: I write the books I want to read. So I write books with clever, strong female characters, with magic and monsters, with darkness and love.

How does my individual writing process work?

I’m not the kind of writers who gets a Shiny New Idea and spends the next three months turning it into a book. I’m quite a slow writer. I get a Shiny New Idea, then I mull it over for months. Once this New Idea is fleshed out with a world, main characters and a loose plot, I outline. Only then do I start writing a first draft, which will need many, many rounds of revisions before it finds its way into the hands of my beta-readers. My CPs are the only one whom I ask to read earlier drafts, and I’m so lucky they’re the most patient people in the world.

And now, to tag some friends!

The wonderful Katie Bucklein who let me read her AMAZING YA Fantasy novel with pirates. She’s the Next Big Thing, you’ve been warned.

The lovely Melody Marshall who writes YA Fantasy and Science Fiction and is always happy to chat on Twitter.

My wonderful CP Jessica Rubinkowski who writes YA Fantasy and who just had a baby! She’s awesome, I’m telling you.

If I haven’t tagged you and you’d like to share your answers to the writing process questions, please feel free to do so in the comments section below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 51

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on BETWEEN THE SPARK AND THE BURN by April Genevieve Tucholke (expected publication: 14th August 2014 by Dial). This will be the second and last book in the Between series. BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA was April’s debut, a YA Gothic Romance which I think is the perfect summer read!

Between the spark and the burn

From Goodreads:

The conclusion to Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, this gothic thriller romance with shades of Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier is a must-read for fans of Beautiful Creatures and Anna Dressed in Blood.

Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world. But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry. The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.

If you haven’t read BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, here is the blurb:

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery… who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

The Quest for a Critique Partner

NB: this was originally posted on There And Draft Again in August 2013, but I have tweaked it slightly to share with you again today.

Hello gentle reader,

Today I’d like to share a few tips about finding the right Critique Partner(s).

frodosam

What is a Critique Partner?

A writer working alone always gets to a point where he needs another set of eyes to let him know how he can make his Work In Progress better. Beta readers can help by pointing out what they liked or disliked in the story’s plot, structure and characters. But their advice can only take the writer so far, because they are only readers, as their designation points out. Enter the Critique Partner. A Critique Partner is a writer, who can help another writer with all the aspects of his story, from plot holes to grammar mistakes.

Where can you find a Critique Partner?

If you’re lucky enough to have a local critique group, start there. But if you don’t have anyone in real life you feel can fill this role, look online.

- Social media is a good place to start, especially Twitter.

- Specialised websites also offer to help writers get in touch: Ladies Who Critique, How About We CP, CP Seek, She Writes, PublishingCrawl.

- Online writing conferences and writing contests are also a great way to find people who write your genre: WriteOnCon, PitchMadness, PitchMas, PitchWars, etc.

- For those of you writing MG/YA Fantasy, do check out the SCBWI forums and YA Writers Reddit.

- The National Novel Writing Months (NaNoWriMo, JuNoWriMo and CampNaNo) are also a good way to find writers in your genre.

- And don’t forget forums like Absolutewrite and Agent Query Connect.

How do I know I’ve found the right Critique Partner?

A CP’s feedback needs to be honest, constructive and helpful. But this works both ways: your feedback on your CP’s manuscript also needs to be honest, constructive and helpful. You need to agree on time frames, manuscript length and genre.

Most partnerships start with a casual conversation, then a first chapters swap. If you’re happy with the feedback received/given, you can move on to full manuscripts, and hopefully a long-term friendship!

How can you make it work?

Finding a good match isn’t easy: don’t be afraid to say ‘this isn’t working for me’ if you feel your CP’s feedback isn’t what you expect. Chances are you are going to be reading A LOT of each other’s writing in the next few years, so you need to be happy with each other’s schedules and comments. Balance is key: this is a partnership, and ideally both writers are at the same stage in their writing.

You know you’ve found the right CP if you feel this balance is there, and if you think your partnership works both ways. Hopefully this partnership turns into friendship, and your CP becomes the first person you turn to for anything related to your writing career, whether you’ve jut received a request for your manuscript or hit rock bottom while drafting your Work In Progress.

So tell me: do you have a hard time finding a CP? If you have a CP, where did you find each other? Let me know in the comments below!

How to plot your Fantasy novel

NB: this was originally posted on There And Draft Again in May 2013, but I have tweaked it slightly to share with you again today.

Hello gentle reader,

Today I’d like to share with you a few tips to plot your Fantasy novel effectively. Whether you use this template for your first draft or your tenth one, I believe it’s always useful to keep in mind your novel’s important milestones. It helps with the pace of the story and it enables you to keep the reader engaged.

one-does-not-simply-write-a-book

There are dozens of templates out there (the most famous being the Save The Cat Beat Sheet by Blake Snyder). I’ve come up with the one below by taking bits and pieces from here and there. I have found it works well for a Fantasy novel. Feel free to reuse and adapt it to your needs…

Plot Point 1 Opening/Protagonist intro (1% in)

Plot Point 2 Inciting Incident (5%)

Plot Point 3 First Turning Point (10%)

Plot Point 4 First Big Twist (40%)

Plot Point 5 Middle Turning Point (50%)

Plot Point 6 Second Big Twist (70%)

Plot Point 7 Climax (85%)

Plot Point 8 Resolution (95%)

Plot Point 9 Finale (100%)

So what do you think? Do you use a plot spreadsheet to outline or revise your novel? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 50

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on UNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee (expected publication: 17th March 2015 by Putnam Juvenile). It’s a YA Historical novel set on the Oregon Trail in 1849. I’ve ‘known’ Stacey online for a while, thanks to a pitch contest I entered last year. Her debut sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it!

Under A Painted Sky

From Goodreads:

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?