Book of the Week – The Violinist of Venice

Hello gentle reader,

Violinist of Venice

Last winter I received an ARC of The Violinist of Venice by the lovely Alyssa Palombo, but I only recently found the time to read it. This Historical novel came out last December, and it’s Alyssa’s debut.

The story takes place over 30 years in 18th Century Venice, and follows the life of Adrianna D’Amato, a gifted violinist who falls in love with her tutor – the virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. This relationship is impossible in many ways – Adrianna’s father marries her off to another man, and Vivaldi himself is a priest – but their affair will impact both their lives long after it ends.

Although I did enjoy the plot, what really kept me reading this beautifully written book was the world building: Alyssa has seamlessly recreated 18th Century Venice and her descriptions make us feel as if we’re there with Adrianna. It’s also a very interesting portrait of the upper society of the time, where women had very few choices in life and even less freedom.

I recommend this book if you love Historical fiction, Italy and strong female characters. Here is the link to Goodreads if you want to add it.

What have you been reading this week? Feel free to leave me your recommendations below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 62

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on RISE OF ORION by my friend Rachel O’Laughlin. The book cover was revealed yesterday on the IceyBooks blog. It’s an Epic Fantasy and it’ll be the third book in the SERENGARD series, sequel to COLDNESS OF MAREK and KNIGHTS OF RILCH (expected publication: 2d December 2014 by Dublin Mist Press). If you’ve been following this blog, you may remember I really enjoyed Books 1 & 2, which means I can’t wait for Book 3 and Mikel’s point of view!

RiseofOrionCover

From Goodreads:

After the border wars, Mikel Orion flees Serengard and seeks haven in the Desert of Aldad. Although he and his sister Kierstaz must become slaves in order to set foot inside its borders, the hot sands hold a bitter kind of peace—one he wants to keep. But he risks destroying the cover story that protects him and Kierstaz when he becomes entangled with an Aldadi girl. Aura has tragic secrets of her own, but she gives Mikel a purpose beyond his birthright…as well as scars that run deeper than skin.

Twelve years later, trouble brews among the Aldadi and the Drei alike. Trapped in a dungeon as the prize prisoner of Trzl—an orchestrator of the rebellion that killed his parents—Mikel is out of maneuvers. Even while Kierstaz gathers a force in the west to attempt his rescue, Trzl sharpens her daggers and begins to resemble the hypnotic ruler she claims to loathe…and Mikel becomes convinced that peace has never been within his reach at all.

“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?

How to Write a Successful Twitter Pitch

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

Hello gentle reader,

#PitMad is tomorrow! Organised by Brenda Drake (@brendadrake), it’s a great opportunity to “pitch” agents and editors on Twitter, with a 140-character tweet presenting your manuscript. You may know my agent found me thanks to a Twitter Pitch Party like this, so I can only encourage you to participate if you have a completed manuscript ready to query.

However, I know summing up a 80k novel in 140 characters is very hard. So here is my recipe for a successful Twitter pitch. Ready?

1 – Inciting Incident

2 – Main Character

3 – Plot

4 – Stakes

If you can fit it in:

5 – Category and Genre (ie: YA F for Young Adult Fantasy)

6 – Voice

Here are two examples of the pitches I used during the last Twitter Pitch Party I participated in:

1862: When dark magic throws London into chaos, a 16yo flower girl must sleuth through Whitechapel to save her job & city YA F

A flower girl in Victorian London tries to save the city from dark magic. SOMETHING STRANGE & DEADLY meets THE INFERNAL DEVICES YA F

It’s best to have at least 3 different pitches and to vary them throughout the day. It’s also advised to tweet only one pitch per half hour. Make sure to always include the hashtag in your tweet.

If an agent or editor likes your pitch and wants to request it, they’ll favorite it. As a result, don’t favorite pitches you like: you’ll give false hope to a fellow writer! Instead, show your support by retweeting their pitch.

Best of luck if you’re taking part in #PitMad tomorrow!

I’ll be around most of the day to support you, so don’t hesitate to ask for help with your pitches if need be!

QUITE THE QUERY: EM Castellan and LILY IN THE SHADOWS

I’m sharing my successful query letter on Amy Trueblood’s blog today!

chasingthecrazies

QuiteTheQuery

If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few writers say that writing their query took them almost as long as drafting their book!

Some people have the talent of being able to summarize their book in a few sentences. But for those who don’t, I wanted to provide a resource so writers could learn what works, and what doesn’t, in a query.

With that in mind, I’m please to share today’s successful query from writer EM Castellan. This great query connected her with her agent, Erin Niumata of Folio Literary Management.

Between trying to make a living as a flower girl, dodging local gang leaders and hiding the fact that she is almost…

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Waiting On Wednesday – 56

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on STRAY by Elissa Sussman (expected publication: 7th October 2014 by Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins. It’s a YA Fantasy pitched as “an original fairy tale, a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in”. Needless to say, I’m intrigued…

Stray

From Goodreads:

Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after.

When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray.

But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take.

After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?

STRAY is the first in a collection of intertwined stories, all set in a world where magic is a curse that only women bear and society is dictated by a strict doctrine called The Path.

“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?

#RevisionTips

Hello gentle reader,

a few weeks ago I tweeted a couple of revision tips using the #revisiontips hashtag and I was joined by other writers. I was then asked by Jani Grey if I could sum this tips up in a blog post… So here we are!

Tips from Kat Ellis:

After the first pass or several, fresh eyes are vital to spot things you won’t.

If you’re a visual person, get your colour code on. There’s a reason writers hoard all those glitter/neon pens.

I read my manuscripts aloud to my husband. Great way to spot clunky phrasing, especially in the dialogue.

Tips from Dahlia Adler:

If you have a Kindle, sending your manuscript to it and reading it that way can be immensely helpful in finding errors etc.

Keep track of your ms’s smaller details, especially if you’re planning a series, to keep things consistent and minimize error.

Use betas w/different strengths and skill sets if you can. It’s amazing what different people can bring to the table for you.

Be honest w/yourself about what’s unnecessary. Cutting 10K words only sucks til you realize how much better your ms is for it.

Tip from Marieke Nijkamp:

Change the font, the font size, and/or the page layout. Trick your brain into thinking it’s a new story.

And finally, tips from me:

Revising can feel overwhelming. Fixing the plot, the characters, the setting, etc It’s a lot. Being organized is essential.

Have a plan. If you don’t know what a revising plan looks like, check out @stdennards: Hers is FAB.

I tackle the big picture 1st (plot, relationships, characters, world building, pacing).Then I line-edit for filler words etc

Take your time. Whether you’re editing alone or based on your agent/editor’s feedback, take as much as time as is needed.

Print your manuscript and read through it in one sitting. Makes it much easier to catch typos and inconsistencies.

That’s it! I hope this is helpful. Feel free to add your own revision tips in the comments!