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1. Wish

0 Comments on Wish as of 10/2/2014 1:11:00 AM
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2. Inheritance (The Evolution Chronicles Book 2) by RJ Palmer

They were midflight when the trouble started. Raine had tried not to think about the deep disquiet that had settled in the pit of his gut when he and Sierra had boarded the plane. He had tried to concentrate instead on them simply taking their seats and had pushed the horrifying notion that something was going to go terribly wrong to the side of his consciousness. Clairvoyance was not among his many talents. For all that it was he was capable of, he could not see the future.

Sierra was all too happy to chatter somewhat aimlessly about cakes, food and decorations. She didn’t even care that Raine was only really listening with half an ear. She was completely involved in planning a graduation party for Renee and had successfully blocked out most everything else.

Elizabeth was supposed to be there, too. She had planned on taking time off of work to come and see her sister graduate from college. Elizabeth had chosen differently than her sister in life. While Renee had furthered her education, seeking a degree in neuroscience of all things, Elizabeth had thrown herself full tilt into the adult world immediately upon graduating high school. Sierra could not be any more proud of either of her daughters and she wasted no time bragging about them both to anyone who would listen.

Raine had seen the various consequences of his choice to keep moving the kids around after that fateful night at the mental institution all those years ago. After about six years of them moving around all the time and never staying in one place for more than a year, he and a “Higher Authority” as he liked to call them had reached a tentative agreement. He would not wreak havoc where ever he went, and they would leave his family alone to live and grow as was their right. They really had no other choice, he reflected bitterly. The girls and Sierra had grown tired of moving around from state to state to try to “keep under the radar” and he was ready to settle and live in the same place for awhile, as well. They needed stability in their lives and he knew the “Higher Authority” could keep them running forever. The “Higher Authority” knew that all Raine had to do was think it and they would be cleaning up frightful, massive messes that would have been all that would be left of a few good men. Tentative truce, indeed.

The years of moving around had taken their toll on the girls anyway. Elizabeth never stayed in one place for very long and Renee placed too much importance on staying in one place. Both girls had taken it too far to extremes. Elizabeth refused to even sign a lease on a place of her own, preferring instead to rent rooms where she could simply move in and out at will. She never dated any one man for very long and always spent most of her extra money running from party to party. She called it “the fun life” while Raine thought of it more as wandering aimlessly.

Renee had worked tirelessly during her college years and now had most of the money she needed to buy a home of her own. She had even gone so far as to state that she would never move again once she had the house she liked. Raine had asked her about it once being a worried father and she had said that she just wanted to wake in the same bedroom every morning for the rest of her life. It wasn’t that he could blame her, for he understood all too well. It was simply that he saw in her an uncompromising nature that could well make her life lonely and solitary and even though she had always been the introverted type, she would regret it later in life.

Raine thought about all this while he listened to Sierra talk about different foods for a graduation party and whether or not she might have it catered. He also began to see the flight attendants begin to urge passengers back to their seats. Their outward calm was unshakable, but the tension around their eyes was unmistakable. Their voices as they talked to one another were low and tense and here and there, some of them had darting gazes. Raine knew something was going on, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.

Then a voice came over the intercom, filled with forced calm and cheer and Raine felt the bottom drop out of his stomach. The voice stated that they were flying through some turbulence and the next few minutes would be a bit of a bumpy ride but that everyone could rest assured that they would be free of it very quickly and the rest of the flight would be smooth as silk. Flight attendants worked to secure passengers and then themselves. No one seemed to notice the slight temperature change in the air or the fact that the lights burned brighter for a moment.

Raine worked to try to control himself. He knew better than anyone else just how disastrous a loss of his self-control could be. More than once, he’d left people nearly dead when he lost his ever tenuous hold on his instinctive power. Sometimes, he simply couldn’t control it and the effects were devastating. Houses leveled, buildings crumbled and people driven utterly insane by the intruding presence in their heads. He’d rather just try to hold onto his errant talents and leave others safe.

He took deep breaths while the plane began to shimmy. Sierra stopped talking and looked at him with a vaguely alarmed expression and said, “It’s getting warmer in here, Raine.”

He tried to manage a small smile for her sake which probably looked more like a pained grimace and continued to breathe deeply. The plane dropped by several feet and then leveled again and some of the passengers stifled cries of alarm.

The lights flickered and temperature in the air rose by several degrees. No one but Sierra and Raine paid any attention to the flickering lights. No one thought anything of it. They were the only ones who knew what was going on and Raine fought with everything he was to try to stem the tide of power. Sierra began to kick him in the shin to try to shock him out of it. Sometimes it helped and others it didn’t. Sometimes it stopped him cold and sometimes, Sierra just earned an angry husband and a bruised foot for her trouble. There really was no telling what would happen.

Find it on Amazon at Inheritance (The Evolution Chronicles Book 2)

0 Comments on Inheritance (The Evolution Chronicles Book 2) by RJ Palmer as of 10/2/2014 1:13:00 AM
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3. Reading Roundup: September 2014

By the Numbers
Teen: 10
Tween: 3
Children: 2

Review Copies: 10
Library: 3

Teen: Sway by Kat Spears
I really liked this examination of a morally grey kid with a surprisingly good heart.
Tween: My Year of Epic Rock by Andrea Pyros (link goes to my review)
It's a tale as old as time - dumped by your BFF on the first day of seventh grade. Luckily for Nina, there's nowhere to go but up from here.
Children: Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
The third adventure for the royal family finds them far from home and trying to work out what really happened hundreds of years before. You really have to have read the whole series to understand everything that's going on in this one, but if you have, this continues the enjoyment.

Because I Want To Awards
Because What Could Go Wrong with a Jailbreak?: The Graham Cracker Plot by Shelley Tougas
Good kid, poor choices. Lots of poor choices. Oh, so many poor choices.
The Path of True Love Never Did Run Smooth: Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan
See, this is what Shakespeare meant by that. After getting together at the end of the last bo
ok (I'll Be There), Sam and Emily find themselves hitting speedbumps, hard. Nice to see a book where happily-ever-after isn't shown as smooth sailing.
Almost Named a Standout: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
It was so hard to pick, you guys. SO HARD. Nelson's novel of estranged twins, each narrating a different era in their lives, is full of sneaky surprises and lovely language.

0 Comments on Reading Roundup: September 2014 as of 10/2/2014 12:21:00 AM
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Picture a young girl growing up in a remote part of the Cape in South Africa in a village named Riemvasmaker (meaning strap tighteners… possibly stemming from a place where the harnesses of the ox wagons were shortened before crossing over the Orange River?) 

The year is 1973. The Government want the land for the military. 1 500 people are arbitrarily removed to other areas by train and lorry with some of their livestock – but not before witnessing their houses being axed and torched in front of their eyes. It is cruel and barbarous.

Six year old Pascalena Florrie finds herself deposited in Demaraland, in Namibia. Given that Namibia is the combined size of the UK and France together but only has just over 2 million inhabitants, the loneliness in the vast desert of Demaraland, can’t be imagined.

In this bleak moonscape where no towns or schools or means of transport except donkey carts exist, and where only a few natural springs provide water, Pascalena becomes goatherd to her family’s goats.

She takes them into the veld each morning to graze, along with some dogs to keep marauding leopard, desert elephant and lion at bay. No time for school – there is no school – and at night sleeping on the dung floor of a house made from unfired, mud bricks. This is no Heidi story.

On a recent visit to Demaraland, I met Lena and she told me that as soon as she heard that Wilderness Safaris was setting up a conservancy in the area, she applied for a job as waitress. In spite of the fact that she spoke only Afrikaans, the language forced on the Nama people by the Government, she was given the job. She persuaded the Camp Manager – the first white person she had ever laid eyes on – to give her list of words every day – simple words like broccoli, butter, glass, coffee, good morning.

Today Lena is Area Manager responsible for four camps in north-west Namibia and she was the first black Namibian to be appointed as a manager of a guest lodge after the country’s independence. She provides the link between Wilderness Safaris and the local communities who are joint venture partners of these four camps. She initiates local projects, hosts journalists and agents and attends the community meetings, helping them participate meaningfully as stakeholders.

On the day after I met her she attended one of these meeting and the next morning, she was beaming and said she was feeling very ‘powerful’. Such is her energy!
This is a long preamble to something meaningful for us as children’s writers. Many of you have already generously contributed books through dynamo Nicky Schmidt’s plea on Facebook, to the Children In the Wilderness Project. 

Two weeks ago I met Janet Wilkinson who heads the Project and donated some of my books – both of us coincidently wearing white shirts but her's emblazoned with the Wilderness Safari logo! While chatting I realised I was about to visit some of the very camps where the children of Children In the Wilderness are hosted.

The children stay in the same camps normally taken up by tourists, to learn how to communicate not just with nature but with people too and to learn to be good stewards of the world. They hold binoculars for the first time, see the eyelash of an elephant up close, put on frog feet and goggles in the coastal camps and study the pulsating life of a jellyfish. The excitement is tangible. To this heady mix, add your books that will give them the fluidity of language to describe what they see and feel and do. 

If you know the landscape into which your books are going and what the children are gaining, you will understand the need and the value attached to your contributions.

Franco Morao was born in 1983 on a remote farm. At the age of two he was put into a children’s home (the SOS Children’s Village) in Windhoek, where he stayed for most of his school life. On completion of secondary school and by a stroke of incredible timing, Wilderness Safaris' Children In The Wilderness programme approached the SOS Children's Home to bring some of the orphans out into the wilderness to experience their country's natural wonders. In this group was a young, ambitious and eager Franco.

His words on the experience…
"We were hosted at Kulala Wilderness Camp. This overwhelmed me because most of us had never had such an opportunity to learn about the environment by being in the wilderness itself. I was brought up in a very enclosed environment, so that the only life I knew was that within the orphanage. When I saw the open spaces I realised that this was where I wanted to be. I had found a new family. Where there was a sanctuary and where everyone always feels welcome."

After completing the internal training that Wilderness Safaris offered, he was appointed as a trainee guide at the same lodge where his life-changing experience took place. 'Now he is one of the most loved guides in Namibia - children adore him...'  says Janet. Today Franco is learning Italian, Spanish and German to be able to communicate with overseas guests and is now working as a Specialist Guide for touring groups. Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet him.
From goat-herd to Regional Manager, from orphan to Specialist Guide – just two examples of words and knowledge having made all the difference. Your books are meaningful in a landscape where libraries are few. Hopefully soon there will be a central point in the UK where donated books can be collected to save on the heavy postage costs.

Thank you dynamo Nicky for making us aware of this opportunity to give books to Children In the Wilderness that will help turn them into the more encompassing, Children of the Wilderness. If these are the children who are learning to manage and conserve the world, perhaps the future of the rhino will not be so bleak. Real sustainability is realised by a culture that involves children. 

No I didn't fly the 6 seater single prop plane! 
Photographs of Lena and Franco courtesy Wilderness Safaris
All other photographs copyright Dianne Hofmeyr

Dianne Hofmeyr's latest picture book Zeraffa Giraffa, illustrated by Jane Ray and published by Frances Lincoln, is on the UKLA longlist.

0 Comments on CHILDREN OF THE WILDERNESS – Dianne Hofmeyr as of 10/2/2014 1:59:00 AM
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5. 17th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Women’s/Upmarket Fiction

Welcome to the 17th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing women’s fiction, this 17th contest is for you! (The contest is live through EOD, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014.)




After a previous “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, the agent judge, Tamar Rydzinski (The Laura Dail Literary Agency), signed one of the three contest winners. After Tamar signed the writer, she went on to sell two of that writer’s books! How cool! That’s why these contests are not to missed if you have an eligible submission.


E-mail entries to dearluckyagent17@gmail.com. Please paste everything. No attachments.


Your query letter, as well as the first 150-200 words of your unpublished, completed book-length work of adult women’s fiction. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any any social-media. Please provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! Simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a tinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is http://tinyurl.com/of5zgqz. An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino at the end of your mention(s) if using Twitter. If we’re friends on FB, tag me in the mention. And if you are going to solely use Twitter as your 2 times, please wait 1 day between mentions to spread out the notices, rather than simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point. And if you use Twitter, put my handle @chucksambuchino at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet.)

Here is a sample tweet you can use (feel free to tweak): New FREE contest for writers of women’s fiction http://tinyurl.com/of5zgqz Judged by agent @PaulaSMunier - via @chucksambuchino


Women’s fiction (also called upmarket fiction when dealing with women’s stories). If you’re wondering what falls into this genre specifically, this is how our agent judge explains it: “These are stories that revolve around women, women’s roles as mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters, caregivers, friends, community leaders, etc., and a woman’s place at home, at work, and in society at large. They are for the most part domestic dramas. What separates them from love stories is that the heroine’s relationships with her friends and family are as important if not more important to the storyline as her love relationship. These stories explore women’s relationships—with each other, with men and children, with the world, and with herself. The themes are those that strike a chord with women: love, family, friendship, sisterhood, motherhood, self-actualization, and what it means to be a woman in the world, past, present, and future.”


  1. This contest will be live through the end of Oct. 17, 2014, PST. Winners notified by e-mail within approximately three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced on the blog thereafter.
  2. To enter, submit the first 150-200 words of your book as well as your one-page query. Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
  3. You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again. All that said, you are urged to only submit your best work.
  4. The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W Media, Inc.
  5. By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. (If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at chuck.sambuchino (at) fwmedia.com. The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.)


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)!


Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 12.37.35 AMScreen shot 2014-10-02 at 12.39.18 AMPaula Munier, Senior Literary Agent & Content Strategist at Talcott Notch Literary, has created and marketed exceptional content in all formats across all markets for such media giants as WGBH, Fidelity, and Disney. A writer and editor before becoming an agent in 2012, she’s always looking for good crime fiction, women’s fiction, mainstream fiction, high-concept YA and SF/Fantasy fiction, as well as nonfiction. She’s written several books, including Plot Perfect: How to Build Unforgettable Stories Scene by Scene and Fixing Freddie.



THE REGISTRY TRILOGY (William Morrow/HarperCollins)
By Shannon Stoker
The Registry, The Collection, and The Alliance
The exciting trilogy set in a United States in which girls are breeders and the prettiest girls go to the highest bidders – and  telling the story of the one beautiful young woman who refuses to play by those rules.

ORPHAN # 8 (William Morrow/HarperCollins)
By Kim van Alkemade
Coming in 2015
An orphan, subjected to experimental X-ray treatments at the orphanage, escapes to make a new life for herself, only to face her tormentor years later, inspired by the real-life Hebrew Orphan Asylum of Manhattan.

By Kate Defrise
Coming in 2015
Armed with nothing but insecurities, rivalries, and their mother’s recipe for Belgian chocolate mousse, siblings make their way from around the world to the family estate in Pennsylvania — where their father, the memory of their mother, and long-held family secrets all collide on Christmas Eve.

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BEELINE TO MURDER: A Henny Penny Farmette Mystery (Kensington)
By Meera Lester
Coming in 2015
Inspired by the author’s real-life Henny Penny Farmette homestead and blog, the first in a new series featuring a former San Francisco Bay Area police detective, who leaves the force and retreats to the country only to find herself caught in a black swarm of blackmail and betrayal — a veritable beeline to murder.

SNIPER (Skyhorse)
By Vaughn Hardacker
A Boston homicide detective’s investigation of a sniper attack on Boston Common draws the former Marine sniper into a cat-and-mouse game with the killer that takes him from the streets of Boston to a remote island off the coast of Maine for a final deadly showdown.

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 12.40.10 AM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 12.40.26 AM Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 12.40.51 AM



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6. This Is The Water Yannick Murphy

The first two words in the title of the book is the way Ms. Murphy began many sentences in THIS IS THE WATER, and it seems to be her writing style. To me, it was an odd, unique style and took a bit of getting used to.

THIS IS THE WATER is about a swim team, the parents of the swimmers, and about a murder that affected the entire community.

I was looking for a mystery, but found a book mostly about swimming and the personal lives of the team's parents.

It was a bit difficult to get started because of how the book was written.  ​The book did keep you guessing, though, about who the murderer was that was killing young girls at ​rest stops. When it was revealed, the scene was quite scary, and the murderer was someone you wouldn't expect.

I continued to read the book because I wanted to find out how it would end, but I did skim quite a few pages.  2/5

This book was given to me and my book club as a win in a contest on TLC.  No compensation was given, and this review is my opinion.

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For this Halloween season......a new edition of the timeless collection that introduced Ichabod Crane, the Headless Horseman, and Rip Van Winkle.

This new collection of larger-than-life tales contains Washington Irving’s best-known literary inventions—Ichabod Crane, the Headless Horseman, and Rip Van Winkle—that continue to capture our imaginations today, and features an introduction and notes by Elizabeth L. Bradley, author of Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York and literary consultant to Historic Hudson Valley, the caretakers of Irving’s Tarrytown, New York home.

Not only is this collection a riveting must-read for the fall 2014 season, it also is an excellent companion to Fox’s hit television series Sleepy Hollow. 

The series is a modern-day adaption of Irving’s classic short story with a supernatural twist, and premiered in September 2013. Sleepy Hollow ended its first season with enormous success and the second season debuts on September 22, 2014.

You can be the lucky winner of a copy of Washington Irving’s, THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW AND OTHER STORIES, out September 30, in time for Halloween.  

Complete this form to enter

USA and CANADA Entries Only Please


About the Authors:

Washington Irving (1783–1859) is generally credited with being the father of the American short story and was the first American writer to achieve international renown.

He debuted in 1802 with a series of observational letters to the Morning Chronicle, and is best known for his short stories Rip Van Winkle (1819) and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He has written several historical works covering figures such as George Washington and Christopher Columbus.


Elizabeth L. Bradley, the author of Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York, serves as literary consultant to Historic Hudson Valley, the caretakers of Sunnyside—Irving’s Tarrytown, New York, home. She also wrote the introduction and notes for the Penguin Classics edition of Irving’s A History of New York.


Brooklyn, NY 

Headless Horseman Variety Show October 16 
The Morbid Anatomy Museum - 8pm

New York, NY 

Reading of the Legend, featuring Lev Grossman, October 29
Megan Abbott, Randy Cohen and Tonya Hurley - 7pm

“It is an early American horror story...And that’s why people know it.
Because it’s got the kind of symbolism that good fairy tales or horror stories have.”

—Tim Burton


Introduction and Notes by Elizabeth L. Bradley

Penguin Classics - $11.00 

On-sale: October 7, 2014  


0 Comments on Giveaway of THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW AND OTHER STORIES as of 10/2/2014 2:09:00 AM
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8. Writing Competition: The Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize

The Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize, sponsored the Great Plains Writers’ Conference at South Dakota State University, is given annually to a writer of the Great Plains region who has not yet published a book, but whose work and career shows exceptional promise. The winner will receive a $1000 honorarium and a featured reading at the conference in Brookings, SD in March, 2015, as well as land travel and lodging.

Submissions open October 1, 2014. Postmark deadline December 1, 2014. All genres open; include a maximum of 15 pages of poetry or hybrid-genre work, or a maximum of 20 pages of fiction, nonfiction, drama, or screenplay. Work submitted may be previously published, but must be stripped of all information identifying the author or the venue. Judging will be blind. Entry fee $15. 

The Great Plains region is broadly defined as reaching from western Minnesota to eastern Montana and from the Canadian border to central Oklahoma. We consider writers to be “of” this region if they have resided here more than three years or have a demonstrable historical link to the region (e.g., you grew up here and moved away). Please state your relationship to the region in your cover letter.

For full guidelines visit our website.

Submit electronically here.

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I receive so many questions about what to do when you do not get a reply to what you submitted. I think we all will be interested in this article written by Elizabeth Law about how to handle the situation.


Waiting for a reply can seem like watching the tumbleweeds roll...

Waiting for a reply can seem like watching the tumbleweeds roll…

#1.  Maybe an editor said something encouraging to you at a conference, and, as requested, you sent them your manuscript.  Since then it has been radio silence.  Here’s what you can do.  After 10-12 weeks, follow up with an email, reminding him or her, “we met at XXX, you said you’d like to take a look at my story about XXX, and because 10-12 weeks have passed, I wanted to follow up.  Here is my manuscript again, thank you very much for your time and consideration.”  That’s right, attach the manuscript, don’t have the editor go hunting for your email from 10 weeks ago. This way they can click and start reading.  If you haven’t heard back in another month, move on.

Mandy and Bernadette knew it in Sunday in the Park with George: you've got to Move On.

Mandy and Bernadette knew it in Sunday in the Park with George: you’ve got to Move On.

(In this case, move on means submit to the next person on your list, and don’t expect ever to hear back from the original publishing house. You don’t need to officially withdraw the manuscript.  If by some miracle the first editor later says he or she is interested in your book, and you haven’t yet sold it, then great.  But meanwhile you’ve taken your career into your own hands.)<img Mandy and Bernadette knew it in Sunday in the Park with George: you’ve got to Move On.”

Mandy and Bernadette knew it in Sunday in the Park with George: you’ve got to Move On.

#2.  Regrettably, in this era, silence is the new no.  Many literary agents have realized they don’t have the time to reply to every query they receive, so they’ve enacted a policy of “if you don’t hear from us in ___ weeks, assume we’ve passed.”

Here’s what to do when you’ve queried and agent and the allotted time to hear back has passed: MOVE ON.

Waiting for just the right literary agent or editor to say yes to you is like being in 7th grade and waiting for just the right boy, the one you know is perfect and you will spend the rest of your life with, to ask you out.  You are much, much better off moving on to the guy standing right next to him in the lunch line.

This is also a good rule for a publishing house accepting unsolicited manuscripts, and for editors or publishers who are accepting submissions for a certain period after a conference. If you don’t hear back from them after 12-16 weeks, assume it’s a no and move on.

#3.  You have signed with a literary agent, but they aren’t getting back to you.  Maybe they don’t return your calls, maybe they don’t answer your emails.  Everyone slips up now and again, of course, and that’s not what I’m talking about.  Have you left a few messages in a row for your agent, either by email or phone, and not gotten a reply? Has that happened several times? End the relationship.  The LAST thing you want is an agent who doesn’t return your calls or emailsThe publishing process is frustratingly slow and thorny and fraught with all sorts of issues.  Your agent is your champion; he or she goes into battle for you.  You do not want to be in that battle not knowing when your weaponry is going to show up.  Send an email and say you’re terminating the relationship. Do it now.

(And don’t be scared. Most agents are excellent.  But I get asked about this every few months, so I’m including it.)

#4.   An editor tells you he is taking your manuscript to an acquisitions meeting, then you don’t hear anything further. Follow up, by phone or email, remembering the rule, “always be polite and to the point.”  Say “You said you were bringing my book to the committee, has there been a response?” I know, I know, who wants to send that email and hasten the chance of hearing “I’m afraid the committee passed?”  But it’s better to hear “no” and move on. It’s also possible your editor needs to be prodded to get that book onto the meeting agenda.  You just don’t know.  You need to follow up.

Nota bene: ALWAYS be nice. Never lose your cool and yell at an editor, even by email, even when he deserves it.  First, you never know the full story—I got screamed at, really screamed at, once when it was my boss causing the delay, but what could I do but take the heat? And second, venting is what you have friends for.  The editor is disorganized, doesn’t value your time, has kept you hanging, repeatedly breaks her word about when she’s going to reply… all true.  Still, be professional, courteous, and polite. For one thing, when a writer is nice and understanding, we, the editors, only feel more guilty and determined to treat you well and to finally get you an answer.  Secondly, one day you may need that person you just reamed out.  He may be sitting in the audience at sales conference, and be able to tell a rep “Oh, I know that author, so talented.” Or you may end up sitting next to that editor on a panel at a conference, who knows? Don’t burn bridges.  Act professionally and then go out for drinks with your BFF and get it all off your chest.

manuscript#5:  Perhaps your book is under contract, but your editor isn’t getting back to you with editorial notes, or with anything else.  You want to revise, you have another book you need to work on, and you need to know what’s going on.  But although you’ve emailed the editor three times to ask about the book’s schedule, you hear nothing.  If you have an agent, easy, just tell the agent and he or she will deal with it.  (Unless the agent doesn’t return your calls, in which case, see #2).  But if you don’t have an agent, and you aren’t hearing back from your editor? Email their boss.  Yup.  Email the publisher, remembering to be professional and concise, saying “I haven’t had an answer to my questions about the book’s schedule and I’m getting worried that my revision might conflict with another project; of course I understand how busy my editor is, but I wonder if you have information for me?”  The publisher then forwards it to the editor who deals with it immediately.

Ok, everyone hates that answer, but it really works.

Click to read Elizabeth’s Bonus Tip and the rest of the article.

Elizabeth Law is available for consultation on your manuscript and career and for social networking tutorials, among other services. See her website, ELawReads.com, for more information.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Advice, article, Editors, need to know, reference, submissions, Tips Tagged: 5 Ways to Follow Up With An Editor or Agent, Elizabeth Law

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10. Livin' La Vida Writer

I am a week and a half in to a four-week paid sabbatical from my day job. As a result, I'm on a 12-day streak,  spending at least three hours a day on my dream job.

Some of my friends think it's odd that I would spend the four weeks away from my writing job writing, but I'm loving it. Although I refer to it as "working" every day, i'm working on my own stuff, doing what I want to do.

I spent the first week writing original material. In the recent PitchWars, a Middle Grade manuscript I considered finished got an excellent response. The people who gave me feedback agreed on one thing, however: my book was too short. So I fixed that, writing just over 15,000 words in six days. Since then, I've been revising my WIP, writing new scenes (including one I've been dreading for months).

It's the most productive I've been since I took a two-week writing vacation a couple years ago. Part of the success is due to the lessons I learned during that vacation.

Follow a Routine

As tempting as it may be to sleep in while I have the chance, I know I'm most productive between about 10 and 1:00.  That means that, although I do stay in bed a little later than usual, I am in my home office (my Schreibwinkel) by about 9:30. I've started as early as 7:30 and as late as 10:00, but on all but a few days, I've started between 9:00 and 9:45. Except for one day when I worked on a scene that exhausted me so I had to stop around 12:30, I've worked until around 1:30, occasionally as late as 2 or 2:30.

That's a fairly aggressive schedule, but it works for me. I work through my most productive time and stop when I feel the mojo weakening.

Because I write at the beginning of my day, every day, I wake up ready to go. Sometimes, my morning dreams are even related to the work I need to do that day.

Minimize Distractions

My family is used to me needing to be left alone in my Schreibwinkel. I frequently work from home, so they've been trained for years to let me work. They're used to me being unavailable, even if I'm in the house. 

Because I'm working shorter hours than usual, they know that if they leave me alone for a few hours, I'm theirs when I'm done. Most things they need from me can wait.

I've also made it a rule that, for the most part, I check email and Facebook before and after I work. Once in a while, I'll check during a break, but I've mostly been good about this.

I'm used to working through the typical household noises, but I am easily distracted by talking and laughing. It helps me minimize distracting noises to listen to music. Music can also distract me, though. I've learned that putting my music on shuffle instead of listening to favorites works for me. I recently read an article that suggested putting on music you don't especially like. I don't take it that far. In fact, sometimes a scene calls for a certain kind of background music, even though nobody else would necessarily connect the two.

Take Breaks

Because my writing period is fairly long, I take breaks. Some are informally scheduled. For example, there have been several days when I've written from 9 until about 10, then stopped for breakfast.

There have also been scheduled breaks. There have been some days when my writing group has scheduled writing sprints where we work for a specified period, then check in with each other on our Facebook page.

Each writer has unique break needs. Some of us can only write for so many minutes without a pause. Some of us need to look away from the screen now and then during an intense scene so we can keep enough distance to write well. And some of cannot stop without breaking the spell.

I know when I need a break. My only real rule for breaks is that I don't allow myself to become distracted by another task. My breaks are no longer than necessary, and my family members understand that I may be showing my face, but my time is not theirs yet.


This is what works for me. My family situation allows me to work this way. My kids are older. Two grandkids live with me, but I'm not the only caregiver in the house, like a lot of moms (especially) are. And I already have work routines when I'm home.

The result of putting structure around my writing time is that I remain productive, and that I enjoy my writing time because other stresses are reduced as much as possible during those hours.

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11. Betrayal review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of a new translation of the second of Giorgio Scerbanenco's Duca Lamberti-quartet, published as Betrayal by Hersilia Press last year, and now available in the US from Melville House as Traitors to All (closer to the original Traditori di tutti ...).
       The title confusion can't have helped the book -- which was previously translated as Duca and the Milan Murders (1970) -- as, for example, the (US) Publishers Weekly review relies on the Hersilia edition and uses their title (which probably confuses booksellers and librarians who rely on PW ...).
       Too bad -- it's even better than the first in the series; indeed, it's exemplary, in some ways, and you can understand why the Italians named their big mystery-prize after Scerbanenco.

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12. Call for Poetry Submissions: Hartskill Review

Hartskill Review is looking for challenging, evocative, and insightful long poems for its December issue. In this context, a "long poem" is considered anything between 4 and 12 manuscript pages. No submission fee; pays one contributor copy.

Submittable link.

And, as always, regular length poems are welcome. Please consider submitting to Hartskill Review!

Submission details on Hartskill Review website.

Submit 1-3 poems at a time.
Gather your submission into one file.
Poems should be single spaced on the page.
Submit rich, complex, and ambitious poems that reward repeated readings.
Submit poems that mean something to you and stand a chance of meaning something to others.
Simultaneous submissions are okay (notify if accepted elsewhere).
Please include a short biographical note about yourself.
Write "comments welcome" if you wouldn't be averse to receiving comments from the editor.

Responds in 1-4 weeks.

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13. 파주 북소리 !

       It's time -- from tomorrow through 12 October -- for 파주 북소리 -- Paju Booksori, the big book festival at South Korea's famous 'book city'.
       In the Korea JoongAng Ilbo Kim Hyung-Eun has an overview of what's going on, in Literature comes alive in Paju Book City.

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14. Call for Poetry Submissions by Women: The Wide Shore

The Wide Shore, A Global Women's Poetry Journal, is opening submissions for its next issue from October 1-November 15, 2014. We seek strong poems and translations of poems by women.

Our mission: The Wide Shore is a global literary journal dedicated to connecting women's voices. We are committed to publishing poetry that reveals and unearths that which has been hidden, masked, buried, or unexpressed. We invite newly translated works by women whose voices have yet to reach wider shores. As Gwendolyn Brooks wrote, we are each other's/ harvest:/ we are each other's/ business:/ we are each other's/ magnitude and bond. 

For submission guidelines and to submit now, go here.

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15. Prize: Goldsmiths Prize shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's Goldsmiths Prize -- a £10,000-prize: "awarded to a book that is deemed genuinely novel and which embodies the spirit of invention that characterises the genre at its best".
       A pretty interesting-looking mix -- and one of the titles is actually already under review at the complete review (In the Light of What We Know, by Zia Haider Rahman), with another soon to follow (How to be both, by Ali Smith).
       The shortlist was selected from 119 entered novels -- a list they sadly/disappointingly/inexplicably apparently have not made public.
       And see also Leo Robson on All must have prizes ! How the Goldsmiths and Folio awards are changing the literary landscape in the New Statesman.

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Dear Friends,

Just a quick announcement!

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I am a Breast Cancer Survivor myself, I want to share some LOVE! SO I am offering FREE SHIPPING the ENTIRE month of October!! Domestic Shipping only (apologies to my international customers) In BOTH shops! You MUST USE the special code
OCTFREESHIP at checkout to get the free shipping. This offer expires November 1, 2014.

Here are the direct links to BOTH shops:

http://www.phyllisharrisdesigns.com/ and https://www.etsy.com/shop/PhyllisHarrisDesigns

I would be so honored if you would share!
As always, thank you for being a part of our wonderful community. We are so grateful for each and every one of you!


Gifts that give back
Phyllis Harris Designs & You – Giving the gift of love and healing
Every purchase of a heart-warming Phyllis Harris Designs illustration print donates 5 percent of every illustration print sold from our website to Children's Mercy Hospital.  

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17. Prize: Berliner Literaturpreis

       Another day, another German author prize announcement (several, actually, but this seems like the most noteworthy one): they've announced that Olga Martynova will get next year's Berliner Literaturpreis (confusingly also known as the Berliner Preis für deutschsprachige Literatur), picking up the €30,000 prize on 18 February 2015 (yes, they do plan ahead, don't they ?).
       Martynova won the 2012 Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis, and I'm kind of surprised she hasn't been picked up in English yet -- Mörikes Schlüsselbein, in particular, sounds like a title of particular interest; see information about that and her other books at the Droschl foreign rights page.
       Meanwhile, she's in pretty good company with the Berliner Literaturpreis: winners include Herta Müller (2005), Durs Grünbein (2006), and Ilija Trojanow (2007).

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18. Book-length Fiction Competition: 2014 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize

2014 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize, Black Balloon's annual award of $5000 and a book deal for an outstanding fiction manuscript.  

We are accepting submissions October 1st - 31st, 2014, and we are hoping you and your department colleagues will share news of this prize with your faculty, students, alumni, and social media communities. There's no reading fee to submit, and any previously unpublished, original, and completed fiction manuscript over 50,000 words in length is eligible. There isn't another prize like this awarded by an independent publisher, and we are proud to help talented writers find their readership!

Next month, Black Balloon will publish Fat Man and Little Boy, the novel by Mike Meginnis that won the 2013 Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize. The book has already received great early buzz, with The Sisters Brothers author Patrick deWitt calling the novel “beguiling, strange, and strangely lovely,” Publishers Weekly proclaiming it "imaginative...both surprising and incisive," and the Brooklyn Book Festival naming Meginnis one of "the year's most impressive debut novelists." 

Details at our website.

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19. Inheritance (The Evolution Chronicles Book 2) by RJ Palmer

It’s been twenty years since that fateful winter night in the Colorado asylum and the Donnelly twins are all grown up. Elizabeth is a bit of a bounder with a taste for adventure and Renee… Well, Renee just wants to be normal. Like that’s ever going to happen. When tragedy strikes the Donnelly family and everything goes haywire, Renee finds herself scrambling alone in a race against time to solve the riddle of a lifetime, fix what’s broken and figure out how it all went so horribly wrong to begin with.

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20. The last 100 reviews

       So having reached (and now passed) 3400 reviews at the complete review it's time to look at the numbers re. the past 100 reviews (3301-3400):

        - the 100 reviews were posted in 181 days (previous hundred: 187 days), and totaled 92,723 words (the highest average to date; previous hundred: 89,132 words). 28 reviews were over 1000 words, 4 were under 500 words in length. The longest review was 3610 words.

        - the 100 reviewed books had a total of 24,995 pages (a statistic I've just started tracking this year). The longest had 1003 pages, but only five were longer than 500 pages (with eight more between 400-499 pages); eight were shorter than 100 pages.

        - reviews were of books originally written in 27 different languages (previous hundred: 22) -- the best-represented languages being English (22), followed by French (18). One new language was added (Romansh, barely), bringing the total number of languages represented at the complete review to 64.
       Amazingly, at least one title in each of the 15 most popular langauges (of books already under review) was reviewed.
       See also the language list for a full breakdown of all languages.

        - reviewed books were by authors from 37 countries (previous hundred: 36), led by France (13), the UK (10), Japan and the US (8 each).

        - 81 reviewed titles were novels (previous hundred: 89), and there were six story-collections; there were two volumes each of poetry and diaries, and six volumes of (various) non-fiction

        - One title received a grade of A; 10: A-; 31: B+; 50 B

        - 17 reviewed titles were first published in 2014; 50 between 2010-2014; 21 between 2000-2009; 5 in the 1990s; 3 in the 1980s; 5 in the 1970s; 8 in the 1960s. Three were published before 1900.

        - 22.5 of the reviewed books were written by women -- a ridiculously low percentage but (by quite a margin -- over 10 per cent) the highest total ever recorded at the site for a 100-book block of reviews, upping the percentage of female-authored titles at the site from 15.08 per cent to a record 15.29 per cent; see also the full breakdown here.

       Good to see that there were (slightly ...) more female authors, as well as the usual spread of languages (though it's a bit disappointing that the dominant languages were again dominant -- the fifteen most popular languages each were represented by at least one title). I'm not sure about the trend towards lengthier reviews -- at what point do they get too long ?
       And worth keeping an eye on: it'll probably be another 150 reviews of so, but at some point in the foreseeable future the percentage of all titles under review originally written in English will drop below 40 per cent. (Recall that of the first 1000 reviews, 681 were of books written in English, and even after 2000 reviews these still constituted 53.30 per cent of all titles.)

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21. Fiction Competition: Story Quarterly

StoryQuarterly is accepting submissions for our Fourth Annual Fiction Contest through October 31. The winner will receive $1000, the first runner-up $500, and the third $250. All three winners will be published in StoryQuarterly 48 (January 2015).

 Entry fee: $15.00

The contest will be judged by Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck and Other Stories, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, Niagara Falls All Over Again, The Giant's House, and Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry. 

Please visit our website for full guidelines and to submit your work.

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22. (Re)Tired

Here’s a thought I had today
(And really, it’s inspired):
It’s possible to be exhausted
When you are retired.

For if, in your retirement,
Some interests you’ve acquired,
You may be far too busy
For the sleep that you’ve required.

So if a work cessation is
A goal that you’ve desired,
Accept the fact that you will be
Both “re” and “re”-less tired.

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23. FAMOUS LAST WORDS by Katie Alender {Review}

Review by Valerie FAMOUS LAST WORDSby Katie AlenderAge Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and upHardcover: 320 pagesPublisher: Point (September 30, 2014)Goodreads | Amazon Willa is freaking out. It seems like she's seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- is trying to send

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24. Books to Movies Giveaway Hop

Thanks to BookHounds and I am a Reader for hosting the Books to Movies Giveaway Hop! This hop features books that have been made into movies or TV shows.

Some blogs will be giving away the book, some the movie & others both! I'm posting a little early, so if you're reading this before October 2 you may have to wait a while for all the blogs to post their contests.

We are giving away $25 worth of The Maze Runner goodness! The winner can pick book(s) and/or a movie gift certificate, as long as the total doesn't go over $25. For example, the winner can pick the paperback boxed set ($24.11 on Amazon) or The Maze Runner eBook for $5.99 + $19 on a Fandango or Arclight gift card (or whatever his or her local movie place is) to go watch the movie.

I actually didn't particularly like the book (only read the first one) BUT I did think it would make a great, fun movie, and I was right! Now that I've seen the film, I definitely want to take the time to read or listen to the rest of the series. I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did.

Check out the cast Q&A with awesome photos by our friend Katie Ferguson.

Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter and then head on to the other blogs on the hop for more chances to win.

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Open to US residents only. Ends 10/10/2014.
  2. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. 
  3. One set of entries per household please. 
  4. If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address. 
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends. 
  6. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner. 
  7. If you have any questions, feel free to email us. You can review our full contest policy here
  8. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find. Thanks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Beryl Markham - a woman ahead of her time. http://buff.ly/1vpNXLl Promise the Night #mustread by Michaela MacColl Chronicle Books CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEWS - PROMISE THE NIGHT by Michaela MacColl

from Google+ RSS http://ift.tt/1sNYRwL

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