Friday, March 30, 2012

Chantele Sedgwick on Being a Writing Mom

When Brooke asked me to do a guest post on her blog, I got all nervous. I'm not that interesting. :) But then she told me what the topic was, and I relaxed a bit. She basically asked me a question. How am I able to write with three little kids and one on the way? To be honest, it's not easy. But writing at any stage in life isn't easy. If you love writing enough though, you can set a schedule for yourself no matter how busy you are.

For example, I can't write at all during the day, since I have little ones running around. They are my top priorities, so I do all of my writing when they go to bed. I allow myself to write for a few hours until I'm too tired to think anymore. Some nights are pretty late, but lately, since I'm pregnant I find myself falling asleep at the computer pretty early. That will change in about 5-6 months though. I also never write on the weekends. I have to spend some time with the hubby so he doesn't feel ignored! The weekends are our "date nights". Just time spent together and me not worrying about writing. :) As for what my kids think of my writing, well, I have a 7, 5 and 2 year old, so they don't really understand yet. I write young adult, so they aren't old enough to read my books, but they do know mom likes to write books. In a few years I think they'll understand a little better. And hopefully I'll have more time to write without any toddlers running around! (Ha!)

So, what I'm trying to say, is no matter what stage in life you're in, you can make time to write. It doesn't matter if you have an hour or if you have three. If you're able to work on your writing for even a few minutes, that's saying something. Set smaller goals at first and then once you accomplish those, aim a little higher. You'll be surprised how much time you'll be able to spend writing instead of doing other things. :)

Find Chantele At: Blog | Facebook | Twitter

About Chantele Sedgwick: I have three little kids, a hubby of almost 9 years and we live in Utah with a perfect view of the mountains. And the canal behind our house.

I love to read. Anything YA, I'm there. I'm not a huge fan of classics. I know. Don't yell at me. I also love writing. Young adult fiction is where my muse is found. Mostly fantasy. You know. Urban, paranormal and classic. But I do love me some dystopian and contemporary as well.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Picture Painted These Words

As part of last year's New Year's Resolution to become better at critiquing, I joined Unicorn Bell. I am fairly active there, submitting and critiquing pieces. Now, I am participating in their first blogfest.

The idea is to use a picture for inspiration. Go here to see the ten possible choices. The one I chose is below with my story.


Perhaps disobeying her mother was a mistake, but she never regretted it. Especially not this time.

Never go to the park.

She swayed lazily in the swing, her foot scraping the ground. The playground was deserted. Not unusual. Neither was the sound of rusty chains creaking, the wind fancied itself a child, but it caused her to glance at the swing beside her anyway.

If you ever see him, run.

Resting in the arch of worn leather was a giant spider. Not the size-of-your-big-toe giant. Larger-than-your-head giant. Her foot came down flat, ceasing her endless motion. She blinked, slow, deliberate.

Spider coloring gone, he sat watching her. His black hair fell over a couple of his eight eyes, red ringing each pupil. He had an arm laced around the swing’s chain, eight fingers laced through it.

Don’t speak to strangers.

“Tell me, are your spidey senses tingling?” She started to swing again.

When he blinked, his eyelids moved in a wave of motion. “You aren’t frightened?”

“Well,” she leaned toward him, her swing bumping his, “show me your fangs.”

---to be continued

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mark Murata - Use All Five Senses

Use all five senses when telling a story. I use my piece of flash fiction for the First Campaigner contest as an example (though you can understand my descriptions without reading it).

Sight is normally assumed to be used for almost any description, since that’s how we get the majority of our sensory input. I had spikes and fangs protruding from the shadow of a creature, which gives added detail. Also, leather armor on the elbows and knees of a man and woman allows the reader to visualize them.

Many make the mistake of only adding visual details. I added the sense of hearing by a man rasping as he speaks, and there’s even a death rattle, for those familiar with the concept.

I would have added what the aerosol in the story smells like, but I was challenged to put the word “orange” in, so it ended up as a visual detail—orange as a smell would be too sweet for the scene.

I kind of cheat when it comes to the sense of touch by having the main character claw at his buckle and hammer at some latches. I do not say what these objects feel like, but it gives the impression that they’re hard.

The sense of taste is the most difficult. If the person is not eating, I improvise. The air might taste bitter, or a woman might catch a bit of her hair in her mouth, the taste reflecting the environment. Or there is the concept of a bitter taste in the mouth or the taste of gall. But if those are too cliché, I readily substitute any internal sensation (which, when you think about it, is the overall category that taste falls in). In this case, the man rasps when he speaks (which covers both hearing and internal sensation) and his muscles jitter. Internal sensations include internal temperature (as compared to external, which counts as touch), sense of balance, all sorts of stomach and muscle sensations, sensations inside the head or jaw, etc.

The usual advice is to hit all five senses in the first two pages of a novel, then to hit them all again every five pages or so, though I’ve noticed successful writers don’t have to do it that frequently. It takes some practice so it doesn’t sound like you’re just going down a list, but it makes the story more vivid.

Find Mark At: Blog

About Mark Murata: I'm an aspiring writer of fantasy and science fiction. I tend to walk inside malls or go running outside for exercise. And yes, that's a picture of Dr. McCoy on my T-shirt. So far, I've had a short story published in the Star Trek Strange New Worlds V anthology. I keep on submitting novel manuscripts to agents and editors, in hope of getting published.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kate Coursey on Drawing from Life Experience

One of the first pieces of writing advice I ever received was, “Write what you know.” To some extent, I think this is true. Your thoughts and emotions in real life should always inform your writing. However, I’ve heard this advice used multiple times as a reason why teenagers, with their lack of so-called life experience, can’t write publishable material.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that life experience varies from person to person, and not necessarily based on age. In 2010 I spent the summer in Africa, and I guarantee you that many of those Kenyan children have more life experience than your average American adult. They take care of younger siblings, tend farms, haul water several miles each day, and endure starvation during dry years. They cope with physical pain in ways we can’t imagine. And when it comes down to it, only memoir writers truly adhere to the rule “write what you know.” For us fiction-writers, some of it has to come from the imagination. It’s the intersection between imagination and reality that makes a truly fantastic book.

Take Suzanne Collins, one of our generation’s most popular writers. I enjoyed Hunger Games as much as the next person. Now, did Suzanne actually experience a fight to the death broadcasted on national television in a dystopian North America? Doubtful. But I’m sure she drew from her own life experiences when she wrote about Katniss’s emotions and fears. In a sense, I think the “write what you know” rule is fatally flawed. Most of us don’t have interesting enough lives to write only what we know. It’s the bits and pieces, the most basic human emotions, that really make a story come to life.

Brooke asked me to write a post about being a young author. In addressing other teenaged writers, I say this: don’t let “lack of life experience” hold you back. Life experience is measured not necessarily in years, but in how you’ve utilized your time. I know many writers are solitary, introspective people, but every once in a while it’s necessary to break out of your shell. Do something crazy. Have an adventure. Go on a trip, or try a new sport, or have a conversation about a hot-button issue with someone who disagrees. If you’re Christian, find someone who’s Buddhist or Wiccan and ask them to talk about their faith (perhaps even consider attending a session of worship). Older writers possess an inherent advantage in that they’ve had more time to experience the world. In order to make up for this, you must be attentive and curious and active in your search for knowledge. Try to look at the world from different perspectives.

There is no reason why a young author can’t write something publishable. Just remember that all fiction authors draw from their imaginations as well as real-life experiences, and therefore you should seek out new ways to broaden your mind.

Find Kate At: Blog | Twitter

About Kate Coursey: I'm a 19-year-old YA Fantasy writer from Salt Lake City, Utah. I am represented by Edward Necarsulmer IV of McIntosh & Otis.

I'm addicted to soy chai lattes and frozen yogurt and calorie-laden Mexican food. My goal is to streak on all six continents (there's no way I'm going to Antarctica...way too cold). So far I've got North America and Africa under my belt...four more to go.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Kaylie Austen on Writing Different Genres

Thanks for having me, Brooke. As many have noticed, I write in several genres. While many authors stick to one genre, one age group, I like to tackle different ones. I’m fond of so many different things that I can’t imagine sticking to just one. Maybe, in the corner of my mind, I believe if I stick with YA fantasy, all of my stories will sound the same, or become boring, predictable. My writing really reflects my literary tastes, and it bounces from YA fantasy to the occasional adult contemporary.

Sci-fi and fantasy are my bread and butter, hands down. I’m a diehard graphic novel lover, and every variation thereof. I’ve taken quantum physics, genetics, and astro-biology classes, and weaving those bits and facts to create a viable civilization in or from outer space is a passion. But, fantasy doesn’t have scientific limits. You can do whatever you want with fantasy, whether it’s urban, epic, high, or dark. My characters can have inexplicable powers, and live in a world within our own without too much explaining and hard facts. It’s a fun genre, and it really tests the imagination.

Aside from the genres mentioned above, I’ve tried my hand at mystery because most of my co-workers enjoy mysteries. I took on this challenge with Hellhound. It was very difficult to write for me, to fill in the gaps and cut off loose ends while holding onto consistency. I don’t foresee another mystery in my future. It’s too much work!

In the end, my imagination is all over the place. My muse creates characters, plots, and sets the genre. I just try to corral it long enough to make sense of the storylines

Find Kayle At: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

About Kaylie Austen: I was born during a monsoon in an Indian village that lacked a doctor and a hospital but had many nesting cobras nearby. That’s the most fascinating thing about me. Other than that, I’m a true Texan, and yes, I bleed orange (Longhorns!). Currently, I reside in the Pacific Northwest with my husband. My novels include YA fantasy, YA sci-fi, and paranormal romance/mystery.

I’ve been writing since the age of ten, and completed two novels before high school graduation. I love to learn, my life is rich with culture, and I’m an undercover nerd.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Zombie Love #2 (Wanted: Dead or Undead by Angela Scott)

Today I am showcasing one of two books that have just been released this month. They are very different, but they do have one thing in common. The Undead. -dun dun dun-

Wanted: Dead or Undead -- YA Western Zombie Romance

Goodreads | Amazon

Trace Monroe doesn’t believe in luck. He never has. But when a fiery-headed cowgirl saunters through the saloon doors, wielding shotguns and a know-how for killing the living dead, he believes he just may be the luckiest man alive.

Trace wants to join "Red’s" posse, but she prefers to work alone—less messy that way. To become her traveling companion, Trace has to agree to her terms: no names, no questions, and if he gets bit, he can’t beg for mercy when she severs his brain stem. He agrees, knowing only that Red is the sharpest shooter he’s ever encountered. The fact she’s stunning hasn’t escaped his attention either.

What he doesn’t know, is that Red has a very good reason to be on top of her game. She not only has the answer for how they can all outlive the plague taking over the wild, wild west, she is the answer.

And, not only is Angela giving away some awesome zombie swag over at her blog, she has also agreed to give away a free copy of Wanted: Dead or Undead right here. To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Extra entries can be earned by a) posting comments on the other posts related to this month's theme on my blog or b) posting, tweeting, or in any way sharing Wanted: Dead or Undead. If you share, be sure to leave accurate links. Everyone, be sure I have your email address.

Bonus Question: I know you wrote this book in response to a challenge to step outside your comfort zone. But why zombies? And why the west?

Angela: Why zombies and why the west? I say, why the heck not? Just kidding. I think because zombies and cowboys in a wild west setting was so far from anything I had ever written, I latched onto the idea and wondered if someone like myself--Utah mother of three--could pull it off. My critique group had issued the challenge, and I ran with it. I had always called myself a YA Contemporary Author. All my work, up that point, had a contemporary feel to it. No werewolves. No vampires. No magic. Just teens living life and dealing with their various struggles. Writing a book about cowboys and zombies pushed me out of my comfort zone in a big way. Not only did I write about zombies, but I also wrote this book in 3rd person and from the POV of a male for several of the chapters. I'd never done any of those things before. Was I successful? I hope so. All I know is that I've never had so much fun writing a book in all my life.

Find Angela At: Blog | Facebook | Twitter 
About Angela Scott: For the most part, I write contemporary Young Adult novels. However, through a writing exercise that spiraled out of control, I found myself writing about zombies terrorizing the Wild Wild West—and loving it. I live on the benches of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains with two lovely children, one teenager, and a very patient husband. I graduated from Utah State University with a B.A. degree in English, not because of my love for the written word, but because it was the only major that didn’t require math. I can’t spell, and grammar is my arch nemesis. But they gave me the degree, and there are no take backs.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Zombie Love #1 (My Zombie Dog by Charmaine Clancy)

Today I am showcasing one of two books that have just been released this month. They are very different, but they do have one thing in common. The Undead. -dun dun dun-

My Zombie Dog -- MG Horror

Amazon | Goodreads

Zane had the worst birthday ever. He spent it arguing with his Mum and burying a dead dog. Things just get worse. The next day Zane wakes to find the dog in his room, covered in dirt and… wagging its tail.

This is not Zane’s idea of the perfect dog. It’s shaggy, smells undead and bites people. And why do its victims all turn sluggish and keep asking for brains?

Can Zane find the solution to save his neighbourhood from a zombie plague?

This is a cool zombie story for children and young teens. It's funny, a little creepy without ever getting too scary, and the tone is perfect for its target market. Zane is a likeable narrator, and poor little Fossil is endearing, even as she decomposes. Charmaine Clancy writes well and is definitely a natural born storyteller. (And how perfect is that cover?)
-Paula Weston, author of Shadows (taken from Goodreads)
Charmaine is also hosting a majorly awesome, majorly generous giveaway of either a Kindle Fire (United States only) or a Kindle 3G. To enter you must a) buy a copy of My Zombie Dog for $2.99 or b) blog about My Zombie Dog (this includes reviews and interviews of Charmaine) or the giveaway. Bonus points are given for tweeting. Giveaway ends March 31st. Remember, you must fill out the entry form at the above link to be in the running.

Bonus Question: What inspired you to make your initial zombie an animal instead of a person?

Charmaine: The zombie creature in My Zombie Dog was inspired by... my zombie dog. No really. We had this little dog that would go totally whacko without warning and lunge and attack everything. This dog got into so many fights with much bigger dogs and during the attacks it would flop down and act dead. I thought it was many times. Then it would 'rise' again a few minutes later. This is the real 'Fossil,' who now lives with my mother where she is rewarded for keeping terrorists away from the front door. We still have our other two dogs, and they still suffer nightmares about the zombie dog.

Find Charmaine At: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ 
About Charmaine Clancy: Aussie writer Charmaine Clancy loves to create characters for mystery, fantasy and adventure. All her stories are fictional, except maybe MY ZOMBIE DOG (some say to this day you can hear her dog softly moan the plea 'braaaains').

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hellhound + Silver Waters by Kaylie Austen

Continuing with my March theme, author Kaylie Austen is here to tell you about the two books she is releasing this year; one with World Castle Publishing and one with kNight Romance Publishing. Exact release dates are to be announced.

Hellhound -- Paranormal Romantic Mystery:

Selene is the Hellhound, a powerful and ruthless descendent of the Greek gods. She is bound by tradition and tied by bloodlines to lead her people against the mortals. Although she is arranged to marry Nathanial, she falls for Demetrius, the self-professed Black Angel, and things take a bitter twist. When she stumbles across the corpses of her father and Nathanial, all eyes move in on Demetrius. Selene must take the assignment to hunt down her accused lover. Facing the untrustworthy cerebral chamber, powerful shape-shifting sentinels, superhuman archers, and a deceitful Council, the Hellhound must work quickly to uncover the truth before she is forced to annihilate her lover.

Silver Waters (Book One) -- YA fantasy:

After centuries of human tolerance, mythical creatures band together to liberate themselves by destroying mankind with torrents, storms, and earthquakes. Loral is the last surviving human girl. When the king’s guards drag her into the water anomaly, she transforms into a mermaid, kept as the last surviving artifact from the lost world.

After treason occurs against her prince captor (Trent), Loral flees for her life only to stumble from one deadly situation into another. Mistaking her for being a part of the propaganda against humans, the rebel prince (Tripp) kidnaps her. When he realizes her innocence, his feelings for her change, and his love for her ignites an old rivalry against Trent.

Except, Trent isn’t the biggest obstacle underwater. An insidious council of sea elves, an army of water dragons, and an untamed species of sea serpents threaten the love between the last human female and her prince.


Brooke: You have another manuscript, RAVENS, that has also been picked up by kNight Romance Publishing. From your blog I have gathered that there have been some issues with getting it ready for publication. What is the current status for this novel?

Kaylie: RAVENS hit a few snags and required major revisions. I received a good word about RAVENS. It’s been “resurrected” and will hit editing this week. RAVENS is YA Urban Fantasy, inspired by the X-Men, and involves a romance with a bad boy, a girl transformed into a Raven and hunted by humans, and a reunion with a younger sister thought to have died 10 years ago. Ravens aren't as the world wants us to believe, sinister and without human

B: In this post, you mentioned that you recently wrote a novelette length contemporary romance. From what I can gather, this is very off from your normal genres. How did it feel to write something lighter?

K: This isn’t my usual cup of tea, but sprang from a dream. It’s weird to write contemporary. I’m always tempted to throw in something supernatural or sci-fi. This turned out to be a light comedy with some big, romantic sparks. It was fun, but I don’t foresee writing a novel from it, perhaps not even another contemporary short story.

B: From your blog and website I have gathered that you are not entirely unpublished. Give us a list of all your published works (shorts, novelettes, etc.) and where we can buy them.

K: I had a series of paranormal romance novellas appear in the Weres in the City digests from Midnight Showcase in 2010. This small publisher closed its doors, so the novellas are no longer available. However, since the rights reverted to me and I’ve made significant changes, the novellas turned into an accidental novel (if that’s possible). I didn’t intend on revisiting the stories, but they beckoned and turned into a full-length novel…which turned into a five book series (in my head at least). Perhaps readers will see this series in a couple of years.

Find Kayle At: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

About Kaylie Austen: I was born during a monsoon in an Indian village that lacked a doctor and a hospital but had many nesting cobras nearby. That’s the most fascinating thing about me. Other than that, I’m a true Texan, and yes, I bleed orange (Longhorns!). Currently, I reside in the Pacific Northwest with my husband. My novels include YA fantasy, YA sci-fi, and paranormal romance/mystery.

I’ve been writing since the age of ten, and completed two novels before high school graduation. I love to learn, my life is rich with culture, and I’m an undercover nerd.

Kaylie will return on Friday with a guest post on writing in multiple genres. Be sure to come back by!

Friday, March 09, 2012

If You Catch It

Go here for the prompts and challenges. I chose to do activities one, two, and three in the adult genre.


The isle of Rihn is home to a rare, contagious muscle disease. If you catch it, you’re dead. Rihn’s inhabitants are trapped there, the bridge connecting them to the mainland long ago destroyed and the surrounding water a great incubation place for the disease. The people live in squander, the outside world forgotten in favor of surviving this one. But, when a plane crash gifts them with Julio, a world renowned engineer, repairing the bridge suddenly seems possible. The only thing is, if they leave their little island, the muscle disease of Rihn might not be so rare anymore.
-99 words

          Julio watched his boy roll the ball up and down the stable section of the ruined bridge. A high-pitched laugh drifted on the wind. He pushed the long strands of wet hair off his forehead and glanced at his wife. She stretched out, her leg held away from her body. Her eyes met his and she smiled.
           “Don’t worry, Julio. It’s not that deep.”
           His gaze jumped to her torn leg. “Maria, you know exposed muscle triples your chances.”
           She pushed herself up on her elbows. “That doesn’t mean I’m going to catch it.”
           He picked up a handful of the rough sand, let it fall. “I told you not to dig in the trash heaps.”
           “Would you rather Javier did it instead?” She said, her soft fingers twisting through his.
           “We can survive without eating garbage.”
           She snorted. “And how do you suppose we do that? They’re never going to rebuild the bridge, Julio. The world has abandoned us from fear.”
           A splash cut through the silence. He jumped to his feet. The white ball rode the ripples caused by his son’s fall.
           He ran, knowing it was too late.
           The disease had struck.
-195 words

run, run, run
a s f a r ,
as you can

run, run, run
away from the body
away from the Disease

though you’re the one in front
you just might
catch It
-36 words                              

Thursday, March 08, 2012

But Occasssionally, I Wanna Talk About You

In February, I wrote six posts. Three of them contained samples of my writing. One was an update on my goals and one was a wrap-up of my first author signing experience. Only one wasn't completely centered around me and it was two paragraphs of information 200 other people posted as well.

Also, with 237 followers, I have reached the point where I have a follower for each of my published posts. That could not have happened without you. I know I don't say it very often (or ever), but I love and appreciate that you all take the time to read and comment despite your busy lives and the hundreds of other great blogs out there.

So, I've decided that this month, it's all about YOU. That's right. All (or most, but all sounds better) of my posts in March are going to revolve around you guys.
  • Do you have a book coming out soon? Tell me! I will either 1) write a post about it or 2) publish a post written by yourself.
  • Are you hosting a giveaway, contest, or blogfest? I want to know! Again, I will either 1) write a post or 2) publish one written by you.
  • Would you like to gain more exposure for yourself or your blog? Write a guest post and send it to me. I will post it!
  • Does getting interviewed sound fun? All you have to do is ask! Include a link to your blog or website if you have one and your email address. I will send you eight (because seven is too clique) questions that you can answer in the email OR, if you're feeling adventurous, in a vlog.
I have already asked Kate Coursey and Chantelle Sedgwick to write guest posts. They will premiere in the later half of the month. Meanwhile, here is an interview with Kate and a post about Rachel Morgan's debut novel, Guardian. I hope you enjoy this break from all me, because next month I'll be back in full force with NaPoWriMo.

If you have any questions, suggests, or want me to host you in any of the ways mentioned above, feel free to email me at

P.S. If you don't know what song my title is referencing, here:

Monday, March 05, 2012

Launch Day: Guardian by Rachel Morgan

Today the Creepy Hollow series kicks off with the release of the first story, GUARDIAN!

GUARDIAN introduces readers to the magical world of Creepy Hollow, a realm where fae creatures — both safe and definitely-not-so-safe — dwell. Things are cool as long as the fae stick to their own realm. It's when they find their way into the human world that things start going wrong...

1. Receive assignment.
2. Save a life.
3. Sleep.
4. Repeat.

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until one of her assignments—a human boy who shouldn’t even be able to see her—follows her into the fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the fae realm. Easy, right? But Nate and Vi are about to land themselves in even bigger trouble—and it’ll take all Vi’s training to get them out alive.

Buy from:
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords

The Creepy Hollow Series
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Book Trailer

Author Info
Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+

To find out more about the series, the author, and the characters, check out the blog tour that’s happening over the next two weeks.

Click here for the blog tour schedule.

And there is a GIVEAWAY going on at Rachel's blog!

Friday, March 02, 2012

21 Minus Blog Tour - Kate Coursey Interview

As you may or may not know, I turned fifteen at the beginning of February. My age is not something I usually advertise, though I don't try to hide it. However, when Anna Waggener* approached me with the 21 Minus Blog Tour, how could I resist?

The 21 Minus Blog Tour is, as suggested by the title, made up of writers under the age of twenty-one. Today, March 2, the twelve of us are posting interviews with one another. However, no one knows who interviewed them because all questions were sent anonymously through Anna.

I was chosen to interview Kate Coursey. Hi, Kate! -waves-

Brooke: All of your previous novels have been YA/MG fantasy, sometimes coupled with historical fiction. From your blog, I have gathered that your newest project is contemporary. How does it feel to be working on a new genre? How do these two genres differ and how are they alike, as in content and your writing process?

Kate: Although I’m now writing stories in a contemporary setting, my work is still fantasy. I absolutely love the change. Contemporary is nice for me, as a teenager, because it’s very easy to slip into the protagonist’s voice, and I don’t have to do quite as much research regarding historical dialects and customs. The ease of world-building in contemporary fantasy is truly a relief for someone so used to historical. However, the essence of the characters remains the same. Emotions and relationships are universal, so in that sense the two genres don’t differ. It’s the main character’s internal journey that really brings a story to life.

B: You obtained an agent at the age of seventeen. How did you inform him and other agents that offered representation that you were underage? Did you mention it in your query letter or after the fact? Is this the method you suggest for other underage aspiring authors?

K: I personally decided not to reveal my age in query letters. Age can bias an agent against you before they even read sample pages, and I wanted my writing to stand on its own, without the agents’ preconceived notions about teenage writers.  That being said, two of the six agents who offered representation already knew I was 17 (Edward, because I came to him through a referral, and a second agent who I’d met in person). When I informed offering agents of my age, most of them were surprised but not put off. I would definitely recommend this route to other young aspiring authors. You don’t want agents to make snap judgements based on an ultimately insignificant number.

B: You are represented by Edward Necarsulmer IV, an agent who you heard about through a referral. Tell us about him. How is working with him? Is he helpful in your creative process? Would you recommend him to others?

K: Yes, I came to Edward through a referral from client Alane Ferguson. Edward is absolutely wonderful. He’s very well-established, business-savvy, smart, and fully dedicated to his clients. Working with him is a dream come true. Over the past eight months we’ve collaborated to revise AILLEA’S CARDS, and the notes he’s given me have been spot-on. Rather than simply asking me to change parts of my manuscript, he encourages me to delve deeper, to discover solutions that fit within my creative vision for the story as a whole. I think a big part of it is finding an agent with that same creative vision. Edward and I make a very good team, and I would certainly recommend him to any and all aspiring YA authors.

B: Teen Eyes is an editing business you run with your friend, Taryn. What do you edit and what are your fees? Why do you think being teen editors gives you an edge?

K: Taryn and I started Teen Eyes back in August. We focus on YA novels, although I also do some MG editing as well. You can find a list of our fees and services at (I don’t want to bore you with a list of prices). I think being teen editors gives us an edge because we have a better and more involved understanding of what modern teenagers go through. Considering rapid technology changes over the past decade, high school is very different now than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Obviously I can’t speak for all our clients, but I believe many of them appreciate the fresh, younger perspective we bring to the table, since YA fiction is aimed at teenagers.

B: You are also part of a teen blog, Noveltee(n), which is currently on hiatus until it can find more contributors. What are you looking for in prospective contributors? Why do you think people should become part of this endeavor?

K: Noveltee(n) is currently on hiatus due to lack of contributors as well as time constraints. Taryn and I are very busy, what with college, work, writing, editing, sports, and volunteering. We are hopeful, however, that Noveltee(n) will be revived with brand new contributors, perhaps sometime next year. Noveltee(n) started as a way to connect teenage novelists. I think it’s a great site for teens who want to network, and if we do decide to put out a call for contributors we’ll be looking for dedicated, eloquent teen bloggers who are willing to fully commit to the blog.

B: One of your biggest beliefs as a teen writer revolves around the way older writers see you. You do not want to be looked down upon because of your age. Yet, sometimes it happens. How do you think your writing career would have gone if you had waited until you were older to start writing? Do you feel you would have been less successful, more, the same?

K: There are certainly prejudices surrounding teen writers. Industry professionals don’t take young people as seriously, and mentioning age can have a negative effect during the querying process. Personally, I think age has been an asset to my career, mainly due to the PUSH Novel Contest. Working with Scholastic opened so many doors for me and I will be eternally grateful. Once published, I know my book will benefit from the marketing angle of being a young author. It’s difficult to deal with those people who look down upon me, or treat me as a child, but in the end I’m so glad to have discovered my passion at a young age.

21 Minus Bonus Question: If you had to describe your latest WIP in one word, what would it be?

K: Effervescent.

If you enjoyed Kate's answers, be sure to come back later in the month. She will be guest posting on my blog. Exact date to be announced.

*Don't forget to stop by Anna's blog to check out the book giveaway and other participants. Remember, one of them interviewed me!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

NYR Update - 2 Months

I feel like the month just flew by, leaving me scrambling to try and get things done. Toward the end of the month, I started getting that familiar anxious feeling. I don't think getting a week behind on blog posts helped. However, once I caught up, I felt much better and also more productive.
  1. I will have THINKING OF YOU ready for query. I have completed revisions on chapters one through three. I rewrote my blurb. You can see it on my projects page.
  2. I will have two new first drafts. I came up with another idea that may lead to something of novel length.
  3. I will win National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). NA
  4. I will submit at least two short stories to anthologies and/or contests. NA
  5. I will read at least one hundred books. I read five books this month and am halfway through two others. Goodreads informs me that I am two books behind.
  6. I will post at least one vlog a month. I recorded and started editing a video.
  7. I will exercise in some way once a week. I ran seven times this month, once for fifteen minutes, four times for twenty minutes, and twice for thirty minutes. I practiced choreography for our musical almost every day.
I did not try the strategy I mentioned in the first month's update: make a list of goals for every three days or week. At least, not officially. (Hurriedly written to-do lists don't count.) However, I did have another idea.

The Internet or, more specifically, social networking is my biggest distraction. While I believe that it's important, I can't let it obstruct my writing. It's impossible for me to merely cut back on my daily use. Instead I'm going to try going without for a week each month. One break will be included, however, because, as I learned this month, trying to catch up on a week's worth of posts is not fun. I also don't want to miss any important emails.

I don't know if I will implement this idea this month due to Spring Break. I will be out of town visiting family, which means I will have limited Internet access and no time to write. I don't see the point of disappearing for two weeks when I won't get to write for one of them anyway. Spring Break is part of the reason for this month's theme, which I will write a post about Tuesday, as well. (Hint, hint: It involves guest posting and promoting other writers.)

One of the productive things I did in February was revamping my blog. What do you think? Be honest.